ileana and joseph

I've been dating my now fiance, Joseph Mier, for about two years. Here's the story of our engagement:

Being an aspiring photographer, I didn't want anyone else to take photographs of my boyfriend and I but myself. It's been something we have been putting it off for a while but one day Joseph really started to push the idea. Friday, April 4th I got off from work early and Joseph came up with the idea of having our shoot that day. Well, being a girl I immediately start panicking!

"What am I going to wear?!" "OMG my hair is a mess"     "What shoes?!"

Joseph has always been the more spontaneous and easy going. I always tend to be a little over dramatic and everything has to be perfect! But I took a couple deep breaths and pulled it together. He helped me put an outfit together, I did my hair and make-up, grabbed the tripod and we're off!

We finally arrived at our destination. We walk around, having fun taking pictures, completely enjoying our time together. Joseph then shares that he has an idea for a picture and pulls me towards the sidewalk, he gets the camera ready and tells me where to stand. He explains that he will be standing behind me and with the remote I will snap the photo. He walks past me I wait about 30 seconds and turn around only to see him down on one knee. My world stops and all the people and cars around us were invisible. It was just him and I. I begin to cry and cry... and cry. I begin to walk towards him, I see his eyes starting to tear up, his hands are shaking and with the biggest smile he proposes! With tears and everything I say "YES! But I forgot to take the picture!!!" We are so lucky to have a photographer having her own shoot nearby to capture the whole thing! 
It could not have been anymore perfect! This day was a dream come true for me!!!

The Future Mrs. Mier!         (That's so cool to say!) 



chris and christina


How We Met...Cristina decided she wasn’t going to her senior prom but her uncle, Misael "Mikey" Martinez, convinced her otherwise. He took care of everything, dress, jewelry, the works, including her prom date, his mentee, me. Little did he know what this one time encounter would evolve into. From that point forward we shared an honest friendship and though there was no consistency in communication, there was always a remnant of friendship. After over three years of a distant friendship, I felt in my heart to reconnect with Cristina. We made plans to meet at an ice cream shoppe where the spark was ignited. Both of us quietly waited for a confirmation from God, and once we recieved it, we began to build on the foundation of our future through relationship counseling with Rev. Dr. Terika Smith. After a little over 2 years of an amazing relationship, with the support of both of our families and friends, we both felt it was time for the next step....

When It Happened...Thursday, March 28, 2013

How It Happened...A day before my sister's birthday, Cristina was under the impression that we were heading to prepare a surprise party for her. After picking her up from the train station after work, I began to "vent" to Cristina about the chaos of the party planning at my house and asked if we could go take a walk to allow me to clear my mind a bit before heading back to my mother's house for the "party." Cristina, worried about not making it in time to help my mother prepare, asked me to please just call her and let her know we'd be running a bit behind and to make sure that would be ok. Once confirming that it was, I proceeded to drive to The Reservoir in Lawrence, a significant place to us as a couple. We took our "as usual" stroll around The Reservior until I led her to a beautiful display of roses located exactly where we shared our first kiss. Cristina then began to question what was going on and I told her that I wanted to surprise her with flowers. As she leaned in to thank me, she heard the sudden "click" of a camera and then asked me what was really going on, at which point I pulled out a little red box, got down on one knee and asked her if she'd marry me, to which she responded...YES! After the proposal, we then proceeded to Rev. Dr. Terika's house where I had gathered both of our families and some of ourclosest friends to celebrate with dinner and lots of laughs.

rachel and patrick

How we met: Patrick and I met when we worked at the same advertising agency, both of our first jobs in New York City, back in 2008. We first locked eyes at the company's holiday party, and became fast friends. Over the next year, our friendship grew closer and closer until we finally realized we had to be together. We've been best friends, and together, ever since. 

How he asked: Patrick mentioned a few weeks earlier that he wanted me to join him for brunch with some of his co-workers. The morning of the brunch, we took a cab to the East Village and he mentioned that the restaurant was on the same street as my first New York City apartment, the one where we first decided to start dating. 

As we walked closer to my old apartment, Patrick started telling me how much this street meant to him, how many memories we made together there, and how much he loved me. Because he's sweet all the time, it didn't seem weird to me at all. 

When we were standing in front of my old apartment, Patrick said, "Our entire relationship has been all about honesty, and I have to be honest with you right now. We're not going to brunch. I want to ask you, will you marry me?" As he got down on one knee and pulled out the ring, I immediately started crying. Our friend Allan, a professional photographer, popped out from behind a car and snapped all these precious photos. Of course I said yes!

I thought the surprise was over, but then Allan asked if we wanted to go get a drink around the corner to celebrate and call our families. He took our picture as we walked down the street, and when I opened the door to the bar, I was blown away to find my whole family, Patrick's family and all our friends there waiting to celebrate with us. The tears started all over again. It was truly the happiest day of my entire life!

From his perspective: Rachel likes to plan ahead, so I knew if I was going to surprise her I'd need a cover story. Brunch with my co-workers was a good one to nail down the time and place. So, while we made our way across town, our friend Allan - a professional photographer who I'd asked to help me plan and document the day - set up across the street from Rachel's old apartment. As we approached, I told her that actually we weren't going to brunch at all. She stared back at me a bit confused, until I dropped down on one knee. Confusion turned to shock turned to tears, smiles and what felt like many minutes of "Oh my god!" I finally asked if she could tell me "yes," which she was happy to do. 

Allan then led us around the corner to a bar where we could collect ourselves and call family. Only our families, along with lots of our closest friends, were actually waiting there for part two of the surprise. It was so amazing to see everyone gathered there. Even though I knew what was coming, I was still amazed as we walked through the door...and I definitely teared up a bit seeing that so many of the people closest to us had made the trip to help with the surprise and celebration. It really was an awesome day.

tabitha and angel

Ok, here goes...As a young girl I always pictured falling in love would be like a fairy tale. Marrying your first love, your high school sweetheart. As a teenager it seemed silly that I would meet this dream guy, fall head over heels for him, get married and live happily ever after. Until the day I met my dream guy...I was 15 years old when I walked into Blockbuster and met Angel for the first time. I'll never forget how I debated with my sister on which location to go to, I wanted to go to the one closest to our house and she wanted to go to the one further out. She won, thank God! I waited two days to make that first call but chickened out. So my sister called him for me while pretending to be me. Luckily he wasn't home and he ended up calling me back later that night. My Blockbuster boyfriend and I spoke on the phone everyday after that. A month later we had our first first kiss.We were together for a year before he left to boot camp to become a Marine. That night he left was the hardest night of my life, until the day came that he was deploying to Iraq. I'll always remember that feeling I felt on a daily basis. Wondering every second if he was ok. Days going by without speaking and wondering if he was even alive. Eight months later he was back :) He was living in California and I was in Florida. We tried to see each other at least once a month. About a year later he was sent back to Iraq. And then sent overseas again for another deployment. For four years we were a long distance relationship. I was often judged and asked "how do you do it"? My answer was easy, I love him. There is no one else in this world I would trade him for. I was 18 when he proposed, 21 when we moved in together, and 23 when we got married. We've been married for almost 3 years and he is still in the Marine Corps. His job has him away from home (very) often and it gets really hard being alone. But, that is the sacrifice I make for our relationship because he is worth it! He's my best friend. Our relationship may not be perfect, but it's ours. So sometimes fairy tales do come true. I got to marry my first love, my first kiss, my everything. And to top it off, he looks really hot in his uniform! ;) 


mill and raquel

Ok, so here it goes.....

Started out with a FB friend request. We began with little comments back and forth over a year or so. We finally met in person at Candlelight with a mutual friend. My first impression was that she would be very "girly" when it came to eating messy hot wings....boy was I wrong. The way she dug right in I knew I had to see her again. A month or so passed by before I saw her again, she was brave enough to join me on one of my outdoor workout sessions. From that moment on we got to know each other more and more and realized we've actually met many years ago when we were just kids. Her family use to come to my family's restaurant all the time and we use to play together, we even ended up at the same jr high school and not know it. Who would've known that 22 years after we first met we would be married and have a beautiful baby girl together. Never have I ever met a woman who would put all of her wants and needs aside just to make me happy, little did she know that I was raised the same way. We both share the love for FOOD, the constant want to make each other happy, and most importantly we follow one simple rule..."don't stop trying just because you've got them"! Who would've thought that the woman of my dreams is the same person that I wake up to every morning! Oh and 

we got married on March 11th, the 2 year anniversary of the very first date we went on. 

This is my piece, it's simple but genuine.




vicktery and justin


Here it is....

Justin and I met as fall 2010 interns at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC. It was the first day of my internship and, of course, I was lost! I got on the elevator and there he was – this handsome man with beautiful brown eyes. Everyone knows that a good-looking man in a suit is my weakness! I asked for directions to the exit and he kindly walked me out. The next day, I discovered that we worked in the same office! You can just imagine my joy.  After that day, we were inseparable. Every day we had lunch and would even walk out at the end of the day together. Finally, one day I asked him for his number. That night, we never stopped texting – it went on all night. There was an instant connection! After a couple of failed attempts, we finally had our first date. We saw the most romantic movie ever (not!)…Paranormal Activity 2. After a couple of months, we became even more inseparable.  But, the semester was coming to an end and Justin had to go back to Alabama to finish his graduate degree. Due to our busy lives and other circumstances, we decided to leave it off as friends. A few weeks later, while I was in Guatemala, he left me a voicemail saying we should keep things going. Three weeks later, on January 23, 2011, we were official. And a few weeks later, I flew to Alabama to spend our first Valentine’s Day together. It was magical! Ever since that day, we have completed each other. We have grown together and I cannot imagine my accomplishments without him by side. Even our parents recognize that we've supported each other and gone to new heights together. Our love keeps growing every day! This summer we are moving in together and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. Asking him for his number was the best decision I ever made. 


sheena and george


I guess according to most people I don't have the most romantic love story.  Me and my husband met online, we talked for about a month before I decided to take a chance and meet him. The way I look at things you could meet a crazy person anywhere these days, but there was something about him that had me curious to get to know him more. I was a single mom with two kids and did everything on my own. I had a bitterness towards men because of my situation and what I watched my mom go through. I remember praying that god would bless me with a good man, not so much for my kids but just so I could have someone there, someone I know I can count on and build a friendship with. This man is more than I could ask for, he’s heaven sent! Yes we have our problems but he truly completes me in every sense! He shows me and my kids what real love is, he has stepped up and been a father to my kids no questions asked. In my heart I have the perfect love story because I truly believe God sent me this man.


melissa and joan

our long distance love....I was sick and enthralled by all around me. It seemed every single dude was after the same thing. After being exacerbated with the normal routine of life that seemed quite mundane, I gave up on Love. But she would not let me give up on her. I went on vacation to my native Dominican Republic and decided to live life and surrender all restrictions as I saw fit. My best-friend joined me and we had a ball traveling the entire country and experiencing life as we knew it.  One day she invited me to her home town to a local club and there was this tall, dark and handsome presenter working the Mic. We called him over to the table and told him I was a tourist from Cuba looking for a shout out on the mic. He laughed, introduced me to the crowd and nothing more was said. The next night we went to another party event and there he was again hosting that party. My friends approached him and let him know I was single and he should probably come and talk to me. He was excited and immediately sat next to me to get to know me on the spot. All along, he thought I was from CUBA, (the whole time I faked a Cuban accent). He invited me out the next night and we were insync from the moment we met. It was amazing it was like everything aligned at the right time and right place. We hung out and he introduced me to some of his friends and he was so excited to have me visit DR. That night I told him the truth, I am not Cuban I am American ..That wasn't even the worst part, I was leaving early the next morning. We swapped numbers and said goodbye that night with no expectations. He eventually called me the next day and we maintained conversations for a whole year without seeing each other. I was in the process of writing my thesis and could not travel at the time. This time was great and we cherished each other because the distraction of the physical never became an issue. When I completed my thesis, I went to DR to spend a month with him to see if this was really something. It was perfect! We were really into each other and love was in the air. I traveled back and forth for about 2 years and each time the goodbyes got worse. Tears and frustration met us at the airport and it was beginning to take a toll on each of us. He eventually said, Let's get married this is too much. We agreed! Got married 10-10-10 ❤ . It was a perfect wedding with more than 280 people. We were young and it was so clear to see love had captured us. I then petitioned for him to come to the states and he has been here since August of 2011. It has been such a great ride. We have learned to appreciate each other and be our strength and support in time of need. We still laugh and try to make the best of all things. God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy named Liam and since his birth, we have become even closer. We have a great understanding and allow each other to be individuals who light a single flame. He is my best friend and the best thing that ever happened to me ..I love him and I thank God for him every day!


samara and david

This should be interesting to many. My fiancé and I met when we were serving in the United States Marine Corps. I did NOT speak to him for the first month since his arrival to my unit. At that time we were married to our not-so-significant  other. You may ask"then why were you married to them?"  Honestly that is a story for some other time..... May 2010, we deployed to Arizona for training. This is when I Really noticed him. I thought man, this guy looks good!  I actually made the first move!  We became friends fairly quickly. By this time, our marriages had been going down by the wayside. My spouse moved to NY while I stayed in NC. His spouse lived in NY and never moved down to NC. Even though we were legally separated, we were still married and that was enough grounds to prohibit us as per military law from seeing each other.  We continued to see each other. I became pregnant and lost our first child together...I soon after started pre deployment training.  October 2010. David and I both deployed with our unit to Afghanistan. Even in Afghanistan, they prohibited us from seeing each other.  They went as far as ordering a Military Protection Order(MPO) against the both of us. An MPO is a military version of a restraining order. We were not allowed to communicate by any means. That includes email, letters or via third person. How cruel is that?!  David and i were deeply in love. I never experienced anyone keeping me away from the one I love, especially as a 24 yr old!  A week before heading back to the US. David and I sneaked at night to a phone booth to contact our parents. We were letting them know that we were coming home. That night, we were caught walking together heading back to our tents.  We were in deep trouble.....long story short, we arrived to the US, I spent my birthday with my parents in the worst possible way. I was restricted to my squadron, chow hall and barracks. I wasn't even allowed to workout at the gym. By mid summer, David and I were informed that we were being separated from the corps. I became pregnant again and gave birth in NY on February 2012. Many thought our relationship wouldn't last. We fell in love so quickly and experienced such a huge obstacle that made it that much harder to be together and in love. We think back and wonder what we would have done differently and honestly we still would gave been in the service, but chances are we wouldn't be together today. For those that thought our love was just a fling or lust, well they're wrong. Today David and I are still together in love and with a beautiful healthy daughter.  It was hard, but we made it out and still able to say we're successful. Oh and by the way, David proposed to me February 2011 in Afghanistan. We're still thinking of a destination wedding, but we haven't set a date yet. This is my love story and how love conquers All!

david and christie

It's 11:27PM and Christie is in the background shushing Leo to sleep. Once he goes down to bed I'll get to talk to my best friend and figure out where we're going next in life. Christie and I have been fortunate to have each other since high school. The first day I saw Christie I couldn't even make out her face, I was literally blinded by her. In the coming weeks I developed such a crush on her and it was evident to everyone, which made me feel so vulnerable and embarrassed. She made it known to me that she wasn't interested and I always held her dearly as a friend for being so gentle about it. Closer towards the end of high school Christie's friendship grew closer and we eventually became involved. We shared many innocent firsts together, stayed together while I went away to school. She was loyal and always and we visited each other often. When time came to enter the housing lottery at Pratt, I decided I didn't want to be a creative write anymore and decided to enroll at a community college. Many judged my move as infatuation with Christie, I'd like to think that Westchester was a financially driven move. We were lucky to travel together to Italy and I knew that I could become a part of her on that trip. I saw her curiosity and sense of wonder for the world. Fast forward to 2009…Christie felt called to being a nun and I felt like I was falling apart. I took Christie to my room and asked her to close her eyes as I measured her finger. That summer I left for Italy to complete an internship, Christie joined me and I proposed while on a carriage ride along the Lungarno in Florence. The following year, we spent countless hours planning our wedding and getting ready for the next the big day. Around May of that year Christie and I decided that we should move to Italy. Three days after our wedding, with no apartment or job prospects, we moved to Italy, mainly for school. Next to marrying Christie, it was the best decision I've ever made. Our life together has always been about learning, discovering and being grateful.  We've survived a horrible job market, we've supported each other through terrible jobs that sucked, we've encouraged each other to take the plunge and work in fields we love, we've raised two kids in a small attic apartment 41 steps above the street level (no elevator), we've not had a guaranteed salary in years. All of our experiences have taught us to live in modesty. I can't boast of having a beach bod, being a gym rat or supplementing quinoa for my rice and beans--- frankly all that stuff bores me but waking up at 7AM every morning next to Christie while hearing Victoria yelling "Daddy, morning! [Where is] brother Leo?" is a new start for me and it pushes me to be the best at everything. I owe it all to Christie. My wife, my friend and my better half. 


tiffany and dre


When I was a senior and was running late for school I would often see this tall handsome boy wearing an all black suit reading a GQ magazine on the Bx 55. I was such a shy girl, but I couldn't help but to look over his shoulder and peak at his magazine to see what he was reading. 

Anyway, one Friday night my friend came to my house and told me I HAD to call a guy named Dre. I looked at her as if she was absolutely ridiculous. I never initiated a conversation with a boy and I was not willing to start that day. Besides, I didn't even know who "Dre" was. After much convincing, I finally called him. I remember when I introduced myself,  he said "Oh! Hey Kiddo." His voice was so comforting. We spoke on the phone for about 10 minutes before he said "why don't you come downstairs and put a face to the name?" When I went downstairs, little did I know I would be meeting the guy from the bus! After that day, when he would get home from work and I got home from school, we would go for the longest walks and talked about anything that came to mind. 

About a month later, things took a turn for the worst. He told me he loved me. In shock and disbelief, I looked him in his eyes and said "Take me home and never call me again." Of course, I now know that was the wrong thing to say, but when I was 17 years old I didn't know the right things to say. In fact, I thought he was going to take me home and call me when he got home. Not only did he not call me, but because I graduated I didn't see him on the bus anymore. However, I thought about him often. I would walk through parks we strolled through together, I looked up at his window to see if his curtains were the same, I wondered about what he was doing and if he still thought about me. It didn't matter who I dated, I thought about Dre and often wondered "what if..." 

Seven years later, I found myself thinking about him more than usual. I thought to myself, "I bet I'm going to run into this boy." A few days later I logged into my Facebook and to my surprise there was a friend request from Dre Reed! I felt like I was 17 again! After screaming and jumping up and down as if the ball dropped on New Year's Day, I accepted his request. I immediately checked to see if he was dating and what he has been up to for the past 7 years. He didn't have a girlfriend which was GREAT news! But, this time he wasn't as close as the 55 bus. He lived 3000 miles away in West Hollywood California. 

I screwed up so bad the last time he and I spoke. What could I possibly say to him after I told him to never call me again when he confessed his love?? On the other hand, was I suppose to just be a non speaking "Facebook friend?" I didn't know how to get his attention. After speaking to my close friends and receiving feedback on my "What do you do if you have a Facebook Crush" poll. I decided to inbox him. My message basically said, "I know we haven't spoken for awhile and I see you live in Cali. Here's my number, whenever you're in NYC call me, maybe we can catch up." Soon after, he replied "Hey Kiddo (just like he did our very first conversation) I'm on my way. I'll call you when I get there!" I almost died! At that moment I knew I wanted to be with him forever. The next day he came to New York and this time, I confessed my feelings for him. 

Four years later and 3000 miles closer, we've been together ever since. We currently live in New York, but often visit California where we created many memories as well. We are also expecting our first baby this June. I'm really excited to see where our journey will continue to take us. 


sabatha and miguel

The Story of Us   

I met her by chance four years ago when she was only a name. It was a humid summer night on a college campus in Long Island when her name came up in conversation. My questions to learn more about her were answered with, “… she’s taken”. I unknowingly waited almost four years until I found her again. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg.    She had visited her cousin in Southern California and I used that as an opportunity to see if she was worth it, far too often I invested my time and energy in women that I simply was better off leaving out of my life rather than keeping in. With her, it started off as a curiosity and it became an infatuation. What began as terse ten minute conversations when she had time, became adrenaline driven, sleep deprived nights of intimate confessions and childhood stories in which we both looked forward to. She stubbornly committed herself to the stereotypical “independent female” façade; the “i-don’t-need-anyone-i-just-want-to-be-friends” treatment. It was the trademark of self-respecting, self-reliant women everywhere. Despite her best efforts to dissuade me, her poor attempt to emotional separation was met by my relentless pursuit to reveal who she really was rather than who she was pretending to be. I saw right through it all. She told me she was only interested in conversation. In the beginning, our conversations would only go for a few minutes at a time but then minutes would grow into hours, hours turned into days, days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months became a lifelong commitment to one another.    It was reminiscent of a Nicholas Sparks book: the love between a Marine and a beautiful, young woman, separated by hundreds of miles, living on two different coasts, only to find each other after several years of never speaking. The unknown, the overwhelming uncertainty was feared but delightful. We both took turns visiting each other; I flew to New York City or she would fly to California. The first time I ever laid my eyes on her, was the day I landed in LaGuardia, on my first trip to see her. She was waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator by the baggage claim; her hair beautifully straight down, her clothes neatly pressed, her eyes alit with both anxiety and excitement. What would have seemed as an apprehensive first impression was in fact graceful and enchanting, as if we knew each other forever. When we would see each other, it was as if we had never left to begin with.    That first night I visited her, it seemed as if we walked to every possible destination the city had to offer: Times Square, Five Points, Astoria, Harlem, the West Side and East Side of Manhattan. We explored the city, while exploring the qualities of each other. One evening in particular we found an empty table in Herald Square. The square was eerily void of people, it was only her and I and a box of Cupcakes by Melissa. As we went back and forth sharing stories and which flavors were the best, the words “I Love You” slipped out of my mouth. Those words were as genuine as the night itself; they were not crowded, they were not rushed, they were simply the perfect words to highlight a perfect evening. Time stood still at that very moment and my heart took a picture of a memory that will last forever.    Our love for each other grew, with all of its imperfections and with every passing day; until the day that I almost lost her.    Nine o’clock in the morning in New York City is six o’clock in the morning in California. That morning, her mother’s phone call awoke me and her words of trepidation destroyed me. As her mother went into detail, I was driven closer to emotional collapse: the woman that I loved was stabbed and I was helpless. The moment she needed me the most I was not there. When her mother finally hung up, I basically fell to the floor; my knees raised towards me, sitting with my back against the wall and I wept. I cried out of anger, I also cried out of fear; fear that I would lose her, anger in the fact that someone tried to take her away. As a Marine it is engrained into you that emotion is a show of weakness however I am also a man. As a man, on that day my soul was taken from me. However, I would stop at nothing to get it back. Within the hour I was on the first plane from San Diego to New York City.    The flights to New York City were always filled with excitement and the flights never seemed long enough. On that day that I raced across the country to get to her, that flight was the most challenging moment of my life because for six long arduous hours I had no idea what had become of her. When I landed in LaGuardia, a FDNY paramedic truck was standing by to take me to her hospital. As the streetlights flashed across my face as we sped through the city, I prayed in silence asking God to save her. The truck stopped in the hospital entrance, I raced up the stairs to her floor. Still in uniform, with combat boots tightly laced, I was met by the comforting embrace of her parents, followed with the words “… She’s okay”. I opened the door to her room and there she laid, her body in pain but her spirit stronger than mine could ever hope to be. I walked to her bedside and put my arms around her, my head nestled against her neck, kissing her cheek, whispering, “… Ilove you”. I told her, “I thought I almost lost you” and she replied, “I know. I thought I almost lost you too”. It was at that very moment that I knew I was meant to spend the rest of my life with her. I was convinced that it was God, not chance, that saved her for me. I promised myself that I would never leave her side again.    Her family left the hospital and in her room I remained. I washed her hair with a small cup of water and towel, I changed the heat packs that ran cold so that she would not be in pain, I woke up at any hour of the night to call the nurse to tend to her; love is not just simply words, but it is defined by action. That moment in our lives, despite the emotional anguish it caused, taught me what the meaning of love is. Love is almost losing the one you care for the most, to see them be given a second chance and to be blessed with a lifetime spent with the one you can never live without. Outside her hospital room, I asked her mother and father for their blessing, for their daughter’s hand in marriage. They replied, “We could never imagine her with anyone else”.    She finally regained her strength back, was discharged from the hospital and I was scheduled to leave back to California. However, before I left New York that day, I had already planned what was going to happen when I eventually would return: I would ask her to marry me.    Several months passed and it was Thanksgiving weekend. After visiting our families in upstate New York and Connecticut, we returned to her apartment in Queens and I acted as if were just another trip to visit her. With scrabble pieces in hand; I had only several hours to place two letters, in seven different locations, all before having to take the uptown train to Manhattan to walk her home from work. When I met up with her, the words “scavenger hunt” made her suspicious but she was up to the task, then I made it more interesting: she had only three hours to find all of the pieces. The letters were in small sealed white envelopes, each with a corresponding number written on it indicating the sequence of the spelling: 14 letters in “Will You Marry Me”, seven envelopes, two letters in each envelope.    Our first stop was Herald Square; it was where I first said “I love you”. The MoMa was our second stop, it was our first trip together to the one place we both always wanted to go to but never had the chance to visit; we took pictures in its fountain garden and visited all the galleries. The MoMa is a memory that was both serene and captivating, not so much based on the exhibits as it was on how we looked at each other. We then raced to Washington Square Park, where on one summer night, having just finished leaving a jazz club in Greenwich Village, we walked through the Washington Square Arch and promised to always love and respect one another. The trains were running late forcing a change of plans, (our feet did not mind), therefore we had to skip the last three locations and get to Central Park.For those that are curious, the fourth location was the Love Street Café in Astoria, where we both fell in love with their vanilla chai lattes and nutella/banana slice sandwiches that had become synonymous with her morning commute when I would walk her to the train station. The café was less “café” than it was a sanctuary from the world, where we could sit for hours and simply get lost in conversation. The fifth location, “Five Points”, is where she surprised me on my first visit to see her; she knew my adoration for street art and it was symbolic of not only her thoughtfulness but her intuitive willingness to make lasting memories. The sixth location was Cornell Presbyterian Hospital, in which its significance is more profound than just her stay there. It was significant for the walks that I took with her to regain her strength, the adventure I took her on (without her mother knowing) to the basement cafeteria so that she could try food that was not of the “hospital” variety and sneaking her into the courtyard that secluded her from the news cameras and allowed her to see the outside world again.    We finally made it to the Conservatory Garden of Central Park, where I walked her to an empty fountain’s edge, all seven envelopes in hand. She opened each envelope in numerical order, placing the wooden letters across the granite edge, stopping at the word “you”. She looked at me and I teased her to keep going. At “marry” she placed her left hand across her mouth. At “me” she began to cry. I then dropped to one knee. Even though I practiced this moment endlessly, I struggled to find the words to say as I fought back the sudden rush of emotion. Finally, I found the words to say, “Sabatha, never in my life have I ever been so in love with someone as I am with you. I cannot see myself without you, will you marry me?” to which she replied with a tearful, “Yes”. I opened the red jewelry box and in it was her custom designed ring. A white gold band with diamonds along the band, a brilliantly cut, vibrant blue Sapphire centered on top, flanked by two round cut diamond solitaires. She always spoke of her idea of what the “perfect” ring would be; little did she know I was taking note of every detail.    I made a promise to myself that I was not leaving to California without her; three days later we were married in City Hall, in a private ceremony.  That night we had a farewell dinner with our families, at our favorite restaurant in Queens. My father made toasts over glasses of sangria and plates of pernil and mofongo; he blessed our marriage and shed tears of happiness, my mother followed suit. It was a moment that will remain with me for the rest of my life; the moment that my parents loved me for the man that I had become, due to the woman that made me a better man.    The next morning we packed her things and said farewell to our family, friends and a city that helped us fall in love with each other. I had spent an entire lifetime never knowing what it meant to truly love someone, yet here I was holding her hand. We met in the most unconventional of designs, we experienced unthinkable hardships and incredible bliss yet through it all we remained true to ourselves and to each other.

melissa and jason

The Story…..

Go back in time, to ya know the 90’s and back to (my) high school days. Sitting in a class taught by a substitute teacher whom nobody was paying attention to and I spotted Jason and proceeded to kick my version of game. He didn’t ask me out but instead asked me when I was going to take HIM to the movies. I fell for it and we dated for a few months and then Jae went to college and I moved on. No high school sweethearts no infamous prom pics, nada. Fast forward maybe a year or so and I receive a letter from Jae asking how I was and can we catch up? So we did and that was all. He became a friend, someone to entertain me and hang with. We didn’t move past the friendship except for a few pecks here and there. Somewhere along the way, maybe 2003 we discovered that are friendship was pretty awesome, he was my dude and I loved what we had. We would talk endlessly and we rediscovered each other in a way we couldn’t at the age of 18. I was “unavailable” at the time but that didn’t stop me from telling Jae everything and anything and talking to him a few times a day…before texting became the way of communication! By March 2004 I was smitten but of course couldn’t admit that being that I was “unavailable”. On my birthday May 2004 Jae told me he was “addicted” his way of telling me he was in love with me. I still couldn’t admit what I felt but a week later I told him I felt the same. Fast forward again I made myself become available and we started dating again. It was a hard first year because even though we were friends it was now something more, with a title and new “rules”. We argued, we broke up, we had the movie star moment where he kicks me out and I leave but then go back at the same time he’s walking out to find me. We figured we waited this long to find each other why give up so easy? I was anti marriage and he wasn’t in a rush so we were basically perfect for each other, plus I knew all his deep dark secrets so blackmail was always another option! We went to Vegas in 2007 I think and I caught the marriage bug and I proposed, now this is where the story twists because if Jae wrote this, he would say this is a LIE, but give me a lie detector test and I will pass! So while in Vegas, I say lets get married, he says only if you propose, so I get on bended knee, say some words and he looks down on me and says “are you serious” and at that moment I almost got myself 25 years to life for murder! I got up and said forget it and we did until 2008 when my mother was getting married. Me and Jae said why don’t we just get married, no ring lets just have a party, so we tried to plan and in one day realized neither of us wanted that. I didn’t want to be the psycho bride and he didn’t want to be the asshole fiancée. We discussed it and told everyone we decided to wait another year, all the while planning to just do city hall. April 2009 on Good Friday we did just that. Went to City Hall and tied the knot. It was the best day of my life, we did it our way, no family and peace and quiet, and we married for love not for anyone’s approval. We are now approaching our five year wedding anniversary and when I look back, I honestly couldn’t see my life without him. Even though he makes me crazy, makes me think about murder, makes me cry, makes me laugh and most importantly makes me wanna cook. He makes me wanna be a better woman, not just for him but for myself. He’s made my dreams come true and he still remains above everything else my best friend. He is my true love.

amber and jimmy

Our messy love story....We meet working at the arbors of Bedford nursing home. Jimmy worked in the kitchen and ha a bad reputation for sleeping with all the new young girls and a 2 pump
Chump. I was a newly single. We found each other absolutely gross. I thought he was to cocky, skinny, pale, freckles, total ginger whom couldn't hold himself due to rumors. He found me gross ugly no ass not his type and wierd personality. We both enjoyed karaoke and started
to talk about meeting up as friends for karaoke and party we both were young him 21 me 20. After few fail attempts to meet up we finally did. We ended up all night into next day talking and more (Jimmy says he was looking for a one night stand) and than we started talking and hanging out almost daily and been together since. He did propose to me within the first 2 months of hangining out (it was about week into officially dating). We've had ups and downs, the bumps in the road of our relationship have just brought us closer together. We really tell each other every thing from our past to day to day occurrences. We admit the meeting of us was not so clean but we are close and honest with each other and couldn't imagine life married to any one else. Surprisingly he is the one who wanted marriage, we discussed it on and off with no rush. Then, we decided we wanted a family and it meant a lot to him if we were married first, he said his grandmother loved every one and accepted every one but she was traditional and he wanted to please her even though she had passed on. So we agreed we'd start trying while planning a wedding, we ended up married first due to complications with my body. Me and Jimmy have an honest open relationship; I don't mean we sleep around oh hell no! But we are open about the fact we look at other people and find other people attractive we aren't dead lol. We also are big on sharing responsibilities, he isn't just a working dad he is very active in raising and playing with his daughter. Well there is our messy love story! 

jack and jacq

Chance encounters are rare.  I was oblivious to my chance encounter with Jacqueline.  In fact I ignored her when she was trying to get my attention.  Fortunately for me she was persistent and I eventually got the hint.  I met her a year ago and the changes she has imparted on my life have been a blessing.  She has changed my outlook on life and challenges me to be the best me I can be.  I love her and encourage everyone to open their eyes to this kind of love or at very least not ignore it and let it get away.