we are engaged!! :)

I couldn’t be more thrilled to share with you all that Chris asked me to marry him on Saturday night. We are both overjoyed with the news! I'm so excited to share it with all of you wonderful readers! You have seen me through heartache, good and bad relationships and the very beginning with Chris.

I'm so grateful for your sweet emails and comments throughout our relationship and am so glad you have been part of our story as readers! The blogosphere is a weird place. I recently did a coaching call with someone from another country and at the start of the session, she said, “how is Chris?” I thought: someone in another country that I have never met is asking me about Chris. How wild! And, also, how wonderful – that I feel so cared for in this little corner of the internet.

So, before I share how it happened, I wanted to thank you all for your support of us as a couple!


Months ago, Chris asked me what my perfect Atlanta day would be. I told him I’d want to do a super hard workout class with him + my brothers, then go to a good brunch. After that, I wanted to spend the day at the pool with friends, then go on a date with him.

Saturday, Chris sneakily put these plans in motion without me discovering how intentional it was. I thought my brothers decided on a whim to attend the class and brunch with us, but little did I know it was all pre-planned.

After a wonderful day with friends & family, Chris picked me up for dinner. We drove to one of my favorite honey holes in the city, Lullwater, to go on a walk before dinner. We walked for a little while, Moscow Mules in tow, when I suggested we turn around so we could get to the restaurant before we got too hungry. But he told me he wanted to walk a little further.

About a minute later, we turned a corner and I saw a sweet picnic set up by the water. He’d enlisted my brothers’ help to set up the dinner and I was completely shocked! They’d all been in on the plan all day to have our dinner el fresco and had snuck out of our house to set it up while I got ready.

I was so happy! But had no clue he was going to propose.

After dinner, we headed to his house for a dessert he’d made. While in the woods, we got REALLY hot as the nighttime humidity rose. We were also by the water, so we got eaten by the bugs. Normally, I want to eat every meal outside, but, with the bugs being so bad, I told him I wanted to eat inside. Unusually assertive, Chris insisted we sit outside on the roof for dessert. I was surprised he was so opinionated about it, but didn’t really think twice.

When we climbed on the roof, he’d set up another picnic blanket – surrounded by candles. And yet, I still had no clue he was going to propose. I said, “wow this is a fancy date!” and didn’t think anything of it!

Chris brought up dessert, which was an ice cream sundae bar. He knows ice cream is my favorite food, of course!, and had done this for our first Valentine’s Day together. He walked me through the options for toppings and then said he had spoons in his pocket. He pulled out the spoon for me, and it had a ribbon around it. I looked at the ribbon and noticed there was a ring tied to the spoon, which said will you marry me?

I was in a state of shock! I kept asking him over and over if he was serious. And then I said yes!

We went inside after that to eat the ice cream and drink champagne. Chris gave me a stack of cards, on which he’d written firsts from our relationship – the first time he knew he wanted to ask me on a date, the first time he knew he liked me, the first time he knew he loved me, etc. After about fifteen firsts, I got to the last one, which was the first time he knew he wanted to marry me.

The entire day and night felt magical and I’m still on cloud nine. I am excited beyond words to start this new chapter with Chris. I just keep thinking I’m so excited to brush our teeth together at night and take road trips and come home to each other at the end of the workday. It sounds silly to be craving those mundane things but, the truth is, those are my favorite things to do with him – the every day.

My entire being just feels so grateful. For the way people have shared in our joy during the last few days and celebrated with us. I also feel so grateful for how God has blessed our relationship during the last year and half. I prayed for my husband long before I met Chris and I'm overwhelmed by how faithful the Lord has been. Chris is a better man than I could have imagined marrying and I'm honored to call him my fiance today.

Thank you again for sharing in our joy! :) Happy Wednesday!

Five Facts from a Guy {about girls} #2

Happy Friday, friends! I'm back today with Five Facts from a Guy, round two.

Before I dive in, though, I want to make sure I'm addressing an important element of this series. This is not about telling you how to act, what to do differently or where you're inadequate. It's the opposite, in fact. I hope these facts shine light on the idea that you are enough. You are worthy of the best love and I hope this insight reminds you to never settle, to speak up for yourself, maintain your independence and to be confident in your utter beauty.

Today's facts are from my youngest brother, Sam. Here's what he has to say. Enjoy!

{Sam with his cute girlfriend, Abbey}

1. Maintain relationships with your friends. We’ve all been guilty of this one because it’s just so darn easy to do - don’t bail on your friends to spend time with your guy. Why? To start, it will hurt your friends. And dismissing your friends to spend all your time with your guy is a slippery slope towards dependence. And dependence can kind of freak us out. Don’t get me wrong, being apart can feel painful at times, but independence is really beautiful. Plus, some time for bromance makes us all better fellas.

2. Don't be afraid to tell me if I hurt your feelings. If a guy isn't willing to listen, genuinely admit his wrongdoing, and apologize, he doesn't deserve you. I know guys can be a bit  out of touch and stubborn, but that doesn't excuse us from being gentlemen. And don't let a guy play the unaware card; we are fully capable of identifying and understanding your emotional needs.

3. Own your personal style, not what’s in style. This may sting a little but, don’t let the fashion industry fool you; maxi skirts, middle parts and booties don’t look good on everyone. And this goes for men, too - we can't all wear slim fit selvedge denim or a double breasted suit. Do these things look great on some people? Of course. Understand what works for you and wear it with confidence - not for me, not for the world, for you. If high-waisted black jeans and a white tee are your home-runs, wear them, cause they’re your home-runs and you’ll feel confident in them. And there’s nothing more attractive than confidence.

4. My interests don’t have to be your interests. There’s a fine line here. It's a fun feeling to learn you are developing a new, shared interest. But, do you really give a hoot about how many goals Lionel Messi scored in La Liga last season? If that sounds like Spanish to you, that’s ok! I want you to support my interests, but if watching soccer feels more like watching grass grow then enjoy a little time apart. That’s a perfect chance to display your independence or call up those friends!

5. On the flipside, if none of our interests align, it might be time to cut it off. You sleep with all 3 of your cats, I’m allergic to cats. You fist pump to EDM, I want to be lulled to sleep by the Oh Hellos. You like white pizza, pizza blanca, or whatever the heck it’s called, I know that sauce is the best ingredient. You get the picture – we aren’t a match made in Heaven. So call a spade a spade and let it go.  A lack of shared interests will result in boredom and a disconnect.

In case you missed the first one, read last week's Fast Fact from a Guy

Five Facts from a Guy {about Girls}

My dear friend Megan once told me that men are waffles and women are pancakes. When you pour syrup on waffles, it stays in each square; when you pour syrup on pancakes, it goes everywhere. In the same way, men compartmentalize their thoughts, feelings and emotions, which allows them a great ability to turn on and off life influences. On the other hand, for women, everything is connected and there is very limited compartmentalization.

The analogy made me feel like I instantly understood men better. So they can just switch squares? Just like that? Amazing.

It got me thinking about understanding men. I sometimes post things like 10 Things for Single Girls and 10 Things I Can Tell You About Your Husband, which are typically based on insight from Chris and my brothers. So, I thought, why not go straight to the source?

how to understand men

This week, I'm introducing Five Facts from a Guy Friday. I thought it would give all ye ladies the chance to get a little insight into the minds of men. Will their rules be hard and fast? Maybe not. But, I've said it once and I'll surely say it again: men aren't that complicated. They just seem confusing to us because we're living in a pancake world.

Kick-starting this is my kind, wonderful boyfriend, Chris. Here's what he has to say about girls. {Note: I didn't give him parameters or guide him. This is straight from the horse's mouth.}

1. Guys are meant to pursue – and we love it.  Men were made to be chasers, pursuers and hunters when it comes to relationships.  If you want to know if a guy is interested, be patient, be yourself and see if he opens up the pursuit.  You will find out through his actions if he’s interested.  I know a lot of guys who are thrown off when a girl pursues them first – it can be scary to have a girl trying to fill that role.

what men want - a list

2. Wet hair and pajamas is the way to go.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen guys taken aback by a girl wearing too much makeup, but I’ve probably never heard “Man – if only she would wear makeup, she would be so much prettier.” We can feel a girl trying to be noticed and to be pursued.  Dress comfortably and confidently– let the guy see you as you are. We love it when girls have the confidence to dress for themselves, not for others. Ultimately, that’s the version of you your husband will see the most anyway.

3. Keep embracing your own interests. If you don’t like sports, don’t fake it to watch the game with the guy.  It’s usually a well-intended gesture, but if the guy knows you, he knows you aren’t interested and likely not enjoying yourself.  If he wants to watch a game and you don’t, use that time to pursue your own interests.  It’s OK to have separate interests – you each need your own space to pursue these. (But don’t be afraid to ask how our sports teams are doing….especially fantasy ones. We love that.)

how to get a guy to like you

4. Own your independence. One of the things I love about Whitney is how deeply she has invested herself in her faith, family, friends, health, blog, career and personal development to ultimately fulfill her. I don’t feel like she is depending on me to “complete” her.  Rather, she wants me alongside as she pursues those passions.  One my best friends once said he didn’t want to be any girl's “vessel to marriage”.  When a girl is just looking for a guy to bring her the marriage/children/house that will then fulfill her, guys sense that, get overwhelmed and question the reason a girl loves them.

5. Challenge us to understand our emotions and feelings.  From what I know (not much), girls are typically more in touch with their emotions than guys are.  I think we, as males, often get uncomfortable becoming in touch with our emotions because we don’t understand them.  We need some pushing here.  When you get to a point in the relationship where it’s appropriate, ask the “why?” questions about his emotions. Recently, Whitney has done an unbelievable job of challenging me explore root causes on my feelings and emotions.  It’s been fascinating to explore this and better understand myself in the process, and has enriched the way we are able to connect.

{magical 28}

I've been trying to write a post about my birthday since Sunday, but can't seem to find the words for how grateful I am. I feel like they aren't enough to express how greatly and deeply loved I felt all weekend, by family and friends near and far. 

Friday night was truly magical. Duke, Sam, Melly and Chris threw me a dinner party (a summer supper, if you will) in our backyard. It was enchanting. They strung lights and set out beautiful table settings. 

Duke and Sam started sweet, sweet toasts, which continued around the table and made me feel both nervous and so happy. 

They lit up gluten free sweet potato biscuits (my fav from Highland Bakery!) in lieu of cake.  

As I looked around dinner, surrounded by such dear Atlanta friends, my heart was filled to the brim. It can be so easy to go quickly in life right now - hustling from work to meetings and lots of stops in between. It felt so wonderful to slow down and take a moment to reflect on everything that has happened during the last year to bring me closer to these beautiful people. 

Saturday, Chris and I went to Rise and Dine for breakfast (so good by the way) to recap every detail of the evening. It felt like college in the best way :)

Saturday night, he took me to the Optimist, which was incredible. I'd heard so much about it, but had not gotten around to even look at their menu. I was blown away. I'm not a super adventurous eater (not an oyster girl) but I had no trouble finding multiple items I wanted to order. Including salted caramel and peppery vanilla ice cream for dessert. Of course!

A highlight of the restaurant also included putt putt. Restaurants with games - I am telling you - they're on to something. 

Sunday, we went to church and opened presents from my far-too generous family and friends, and basically just recapped the party again. We were on a post-party high, I think!  

I went to bed Sunday night filled to the brim with gratitude for the people in my life (both near and far) who constantly amaze me by how well they give and live love. Thank you all for all you do.

I hope your weekend was full of magic, too :)