Jen, Jo, and the Proposal – 1 year later

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IMG_7590Today is April 4, 2016. Formerly my birthday, but now christened “The Day We Got Engaged” by Joseph. I think this is his excuse of getting out of my birthday gift. WRONG YOU ARE, DEAREST BABES. WRONG YOU ARE. Just kidding. I love you.

It’s been a long time coming, but I have finally decided to post a blog about our proposal. It’s been exactly one year since Joseph asked me to marry him, but not a day goes by when I don’t look down at my left hand and think to myself, “Wow. I am really engaged to the love of my life.” *cue cheesy romantic music here*

IMG_3852The question that people tend to ask me, “Did you know it was going to happen?” Every time I reply, I see a look of disbelief and skepticism in their eyes. “REALLY? You had NO idea he was going to propose on your birthday? *eye roll*”

Scout’s honor! I really had no idea that he would propose on that day. Not even an inkling. The topic of marriage is not new to the both of us. We had been talking about spending the rest of our lives together for awhile now – maybe somewhere around year three of dating, and I had a general idea that 2015 would be the year he would possibly propose. It had been about five plus years or so of dating, Joseph moved to Houston for me, we’re both working full-time, and so and so forth. However, I figured that it would be at the very EARLIEST summer of 2015, and I never imagined he would propose on my birthday. Actually, I even mentioned to him a couple of times, “Psh you wouldn’t propose on my birthday or holidays, HOW CHEESY!” Hahaha. Oops. I promise I don’t think it’s cheesy now. On top of that, I knew (or at least I thought I knew) that there was NO way he could propose on my birthday because I had planned my own birthday weekend to a T. Here was my plan:

  • Friday: Get mani/pedi done in the morning and then crawfish dinner with my cousins
  • Saturday: Tea party with a few of my girlfriends in the afternoon, dinner at my parent’s house with my entire family, and then go two-stepping later that night with my friends
  • Sunday: Brunch with Joseph

I called and made reservations at a local tea shop, and I even decided the week of my birthday that I wanted to go running in the morning on Saturday with Joseph. I PLANNED my birthday weekend out. So even if I thought Joseph would want to propose that weekend, there was no way because I made the entire weekend schedule for myself. Or so I thought.


The weekend began according to plan. I treated myself to a mani/pedi, had dinner with my cousins Friday night (UGH THEY ALL KNEW ABOUT THE PROPOSAL THAT NIGHT HOW SNEAKY), and on Saturday morning, the day of the proposal, Joseph and I went running. Prior to the run, Joseph showed up at my house with a new dress and a Tiffany’s necklace. He walked towards me with a sign from Blake Shelton’s “My Eyes.”

Those high heels and that sundress,
turquoise heart hanging ’round your neck…

He purchased a birthday dress and a new necklace for my tea party. Ugh. Joseph is amazing at being thoughtful with his gifts. Again, there was no inkling of an impending proposal because this was my birthday. Of course he’d be all cute with a birthday gift like that. It’s Joseph. I know that sounds very boastful, but truly, for anyone who knows Joseph, they know that he goes all out with gift giving. Hey, I’m not complaining!

There was nothing in Joseph’s behavior that indicated that he was about to propose. He wasn’t shifty or nervous or anything like that. I was just moseying along in my life as usual. We finished our morning run, and I went home to get ready for my tea party, and he went back to his apartment to just… hang out alone I suppose. Haha, it never occurred to me.

One of my nearest and dearest friends (and sorority little sister), Jessica, was going to pick me up. This seemed normal. I am a birthday girl after all, and birthday girls are picked up on their birthday. I even sent a quick selfie to Joseph about 10 minutes prior to the pick-up saying, “I feel like a birthday princess!” This was about 20 minutes before he proposed. I wonder how he felt seeing my face and my text and knowing he was going to propose within the hour.

Jessica said she needed to pick up my other nearest and dearest Joanne. This made sense, Joanne was from out-of-town, staying at her in-laws, and with no car. Of course she needed a ride. And of course she would be running late which meant that we needed to “get out of the car and wait at the house for her to finish getting ready.” (LOL I LOVE YOU JOANNE) Again, everything leading up to the actual proposal made complete sense to me. Either I am the most oblivious person alive, or everyone was freakishly good. I think it’s a mixture of both. I had no idea that I was being proposed until the very moment that Jessica turned to me outside of her car and said, “Ummm… I think you need to go that way…”, pointed, and there I stood across the field and saw the path of books.

Everyone says that when you are getting proposed to is an out of body experience. This is very true. It’s surreal. You’re looking at yourself and going, “OHHMYYYGOOOOOOSSHHH IT’S HAPPENING!!!” Do I remember what he said? No, not at all. I only remember what he said because it was fortunately captured on video. Besides that, it would have been a blur of him getting down on one knee and me crying away whispering, “Yes! Yes!” To my knowledge, every bride-friend that I know does NOT really remember what their fiances/husbands said to them on the day of their proposal. It’s a blur of intense emotions. So tip to the guys, don’t stress too much about what you’re going to say. She loves you for you. Speak simply and from your heart. She’s going to say yes.

What I do remember is the moment that I realized it was happening. As I walked towards the first book station, I remember thinking, “Wait. No. Wait. Wait. What? This is not happening. Wait, I’m so nervous. Wait. No. It’s happening RIGHT NOW?” I was in a state of shock, and I felt nervous and tingly realizing that this was it.

Path of books leading to him. ❤ LITERARY LOVE.

During the large expanse of field that I traversed across, I encountered my favorite books of all time. The 5 Love Languages. Harry Potter. Perks of Being a Wallflower. Eleanor & Park. Pride & Prejudice. A single line was highlighted in each book with a short and personal message from him. I think by book two station I was bawling. I was so nervous, elated, flabbergasted… I can’t even begin to describe the wide range of emotions that my mind went through. 1) This guy is making me WORK by walking to him. He would. 2) This guy annotated books for me. That is an English teacher’s fiance, no doubt. 3) My Fitbit hit 10,000 steps during my walk. Woohoo! That’s a sign, right? Haha.

The last station held a book of “us.” Our story. The best story. And there he was. Waiting for me. Seeing him get down on one knee… that’s an image that I will cherish in my heart forever.

After the proposal, I turned and saw all of my family, his family, and my close friends cheering and whooping along. WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? I’m still in ugly-cry mode right now, but I guess that’s just how life goes.

But wait, whatIMG_7562 about my tea party that I reserved? Right? Joseph already called six months ahead and reserved the entire restaurant for the engagement. He told the owner that I would call sometime in the spring to reserve a table for myself. He told the owner to go with it. And she did. And after my proposal, everyone that gathered together for us continued to celebrate. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?

I love thinking about this moment. I love remembering the day and how it went, and I love remembering the shock and joy that I felt. Even now, I can’t believe it happened. And I can’t believe that Joseph did all of that for me. Joseph thought this all through. He’s amazing. I am thankful each and every day that I am engaged to someone like him.

So it’s been one year since we’ve been engaged. And there are now about four months until we are married. I cannot wait until we are officially husband and wife.

Here’s a video capturing the moment, filmed and edited my friend, Karmina. I HAVE AMAZING FRIENDS.

Until the next post,



Sautéed Brussels Sprouts With Bacon – RECIPE

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Our engagement day! Blog post to come soon!
Our engagement day! Blog post to come soon!

I know, shame, shame, SHAME on us for the… oh, you know, 4 month delay in a new post. I attribute it to… life happenings, being busy, but also being lazy at the same time. A lot has occurred between February until now. I (Jennifer) wrapped up my second year teaching, Joseph has added multiple group fitness formats under his belt (P90X, PiYo, and TCX), I finally PR’d a 5K in March, we got engaged, I turned 26, oh wait… what? WHAT? WHAT?! Yes, we got engaged. Most of our readers are our friends, so it’s kind of old news to y’all whomp whomp, but I think we have a few readers who aren’t as familiar with our personal lives, so yes… WE GOT ENGAGED!!! I plan on posting a FULL BLOW-BY-BLOW POST of my emotions and what happened and all that wonderful jazz. Because everyone loves a good proposal. And boy… did Joseph do good. (Yes, I know. Incorrect use of good, but stylistically it works for the purpose of my sentence. GET OVER IT, MS. NGUYEN’S KIDS)

But we’ll save that for a later post. And we’ll save wedding planning woes for later posts as well. But let’s get back to the true purpose of this blog. Paleo-friendly recipes. But hey, I DID mention in our original post that this would include life tangent posts. And I think wedding stuff is a pretty big life tangent and will include those posts for other current and future brides that would like to know more about planning a wedding. Everyone loves a good (or bad) wedding planning story!

So, to be perfectly frank, we’ve been pretty bad at trying out new recipes. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months for us, so we’ve just been sticking to our usual tried-and-true recipes (i.e the recipes we’ve already posted). Sometimes I’ll throw a random mishmash of ingredients together, but I never find them worthy enough to post because I don’t think they taste that post-worthy. I’m also really bad at actually measuring out ingredients (insert Joseph sighing loudly because he’s all about measuring), so I don’t even know how much of everything I put in… Oops.

Farm fresh brussel sprouts from one of Joseph's fitness clients! UGHHH BRUSSEL SPROUTS.
Farm fresh brussels sprouts from one of Joseph’s fitness clients! UGHHH BRUSSEL SPROUTS.

This recipe is for brussel sprouts. Ugh. Brussels sprouts. I hate brussel sprouts. Even when I cook them, I hate them. I hate the way they look. I hate their texture. I hate THE NAME. Brussels sprouts. It even sounds disgusting. But Joseph gets batches of brussels sprouts from some of his fitness clients, and I have to do something with them to make them palatable. And I discovered the magical ingredient that transforms brussel sprouts into something I can handle. BACON. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about bacon that helps ease the pain of brussels sprouts. So here’s my recipe… ENJOY!


  • Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Ground pepper
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder**
  • 2 tsp Onion powder**

**To be honest, you can season as you’d like. I kept it simple. I also don’t know the measurements… I just eyeball it. You can leave out the garlic and onion powder if you’d like!

Brussel sprouts - de-
Brussels sprouts – de-“stemmed” and halved – removed a few outside leaves that still looked dirty as well.
  1. Wash brussels sprouts well and then cut the “stems” off. I like to pull off a layer or two of the brussels sprout for sanitary reasons. I am possibly wasting a lot of good brussels sprout leaves, but I like to be clean!
  2. Cut brussels sprouts in half and then set brussel sprouts to the side.
  3. Slice your bacon into small pieces or however big your bacon pieces you would like to be (the world is your oyster)
  4. Turn your stove to medium. Take a big skillet and throw in that bacon! No need to use any ghee/oil because that bacon will create its own fat.
  5. When bacon is sufficiently fried/browned, spoon out the bacon into a small bowl. LEAVE THE FAT IN THE SKILLET! Lower the stove heat to LOW or OFF.
  6. Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet. MAKE SURE YOUR BRUSSEL SPROUTS ARE DRY, or you will get some painful oil splash back (learned this the hard way). Once you’ve added all your brussel sprouts, turn the heat back up to medium.
  7. Season your brussel sprouts accordingly. Cook for about 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Some of your brussels sprouts will brown. That is good (in my opinion). I’ll add a cover on top sometimes to give the brussels sprouts some steaming action. Helps bake the brussels sprouts a little more tender.
  8. After 10 minutes, turn the stove to low and add the bacon bits and stir around until everything is fully integrated.
  9. VOILA! YOU ARE DONE! I hope it tastes good for you.

    Brussel sprouts with uncured bacon pieces - bacon flavor is nicely infused into the brussel sprouts especially when cooking with bacon fat!
    Brussels sprouts with uncured bacon pieces – bacon flavor is nicely infused into the brussel sprouts especially when cooking with bacon fat!

Hope you enjoyed the recipe! Again, you can ALWAYS play around with the seasonings! I still don’t like brussels sprouts in the least. But now I know what to do with them! I might try roasting them next time, but I’ve had roasted brussels sprouts before, and they are not my cup of tea. We promise to try and not laze about before posting another recipe/update!

Until the next meal,

Joseph & Jennifer