New York City

We went on our first date on April 29, 2011 in downtown Waxhaw at Maxwell's.  10 years later, we returned to that same restaurant, same booth and ordered the same meal to celebrate.

Richie called me 2 weeks after that first date in 2011 to invite me to an annual trip to New York City.  I had never been to the city before and jumped at the opportunity.  He told me later how much joy it brought him to experience NYC through my eyes for the first time.

2012 was a huge year of change.  We made a huge commitment to each other and bought a house.  Richie sold his house.  I kept mine but went on to lease it to tenants for the next 9 years.  He always laughed that I held onto it to have a contingency plan.

Josh Groban in concert
It will come as no surprise we love to travel and we love experiences.  For my birthday in 2013, Richie planned a trip to Atlanta for a long weekend with the highlight of Josh Groban in concert.  Little did we know, music from this very concert would find its way to our engagement 9 years later.

Our birthdays are just 11 days apart so many years we have planned trips between the dates to celebrate.  In 2014, we flew to Seattle and took a cruise to Alaska.  The cool air and beauty was breathtaking.  If you haven't been, put Alaska on your bucket list.

Richie & Toby

Back in 2011, Richie stopped by my house after the second date to meet this little guy.  What Richie didn't know was the meeting was actually a test.  If Toby liked Richie, then I knew things would progress forward.  Toby fell in love with Richie the minute he met him and the rest is history.

We actually clean up pretty good!  We took this pic back in 2015 just weeks after my hip repair surgery and 3 months before my surprise back surgery.  It was a tough first half of the year but Richie and Toby got me through it.

San Francisco
We booked a trip to Napa back in 2015 with the plan to spend a few days in San Francisco before driving into the wine country.  Little did we know, this would be the first of several trips over the years we would take and ironically find ourselves in a city while Pride was happening.  Richie picked up sunscreen on the way to the parade not realizing what Bullfrog lotion was.
World Trade Center
Did we mention we love to visit New York City?  LOL.  I love high rises and Richie loves to shop.  This usually meant Richie was seeking retail therapy while I stood on the sidewalk capturing pics of the buildings from every angle.  If you ever need restaurant suggestions, just let us know!

Did I also mention Richie loves to shop?  LOL.  Richie loves clothes.  It is a well established fact that he will seek out Zara in any city we visit.

Austin TX

And did I mentioned Richie loves clothes?  This pic will live forever from our trip to Austin in 2016.  Nobody can suffer like Richie can suffer... in a men's fur coat!  It's all about the attitude.

Cabo San Lucas

2017 began in Cabo San Lucas with a small group of friends and would be the first of many trips we took together.  There was a point in our travels, we would return home and look at the pictures only to realize they were all scenic and few if any of us.  We tried to do better during and after this trip.

New York City

Another great trip to NYC!  The best way to see the city is to walk it.  We ventured out to a local bar once and stayed until 2am.  On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a food truck for a hot dog.  There is nothing better than a street dog at 2am!  I asked the vendor why the dogs were so good.  His response... They are boiled in the Hudson River water!  LOL.


In the summer of 2018, we took a Viking ocean cruise out of Copenhagen to the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway as well as The Netherlands and Germany.  Best cruise line yet!  And once again, we found ourselves visiting a port that was hosting a Pride parade the very day we were there.  Oslo Pride was amazing and when we returned to the ship, everyone asked us if we attended the parade.  I think the word was out on the boat about us.  LOL.


Camden, Maine has a special place in our hearts and is another trip we took between our birthdays.  This time, we rented a house on the harbor and kicked back for the week.  Everyone enjoyed an endless supply of fresh lobster rolls except me (#shellfishallergy).  But I can report the BBQ sandwiches were equally amazing!

French Polynesia

In February 2019, we traveled halfway around the world to the southern hemisphere for a cruise in French Polynesia.  The pace there was so much easier.  I think time actually moved differently.  We met a lady from France on one of the islands who moved there for this very reason.  She opened a small ice cream shop and told us she closes mid afternoon, meets friends to catch fish for dinner, then cook and drink beer while watching sunset.


While visiting one of our favorite restaurants in Asheville NC, we learned about a tour of Portugal they were hosting. Curate Trips was born and in September 2019 we found ourselves touring this beautiful country.  Everyday was a new experience from food & wine tastings to lunch in the vineyard on the cliffs of the Douro River to a private tasting prepared by Portugal's Top Chef.

North Carolina Mountains

Sometimes you just have to go to the North Carolina mountains for the weekend and be silly.

This is what happens when it's Carolina Panthers season and Halloween.
Key West

Back in January 2020, we were in Hawaii for Richie's work conference.  While Richie and his colleagues attended sessions, I enjoyed the resort and watched a little TV.  I told them there was a strange virus in China and wondered if it could find its way to the US.  Little did we know!  Fast forward to February 2021, we had been cooped up for months and (right or wrong) booked a flight to Key West.  No one knew we went... until now!  LOL.

Lake Norman

We also managed to still enjoy time with friends on the lake.  COVID complicated everyone's life but simple moments like this together have been the best.

Santorini, Greece
Our heart will always be in Santorini, Greece.  We spent 2 weeks there in September 2022 enjoying the views and watching sunsets.
The Engagement

And then this happened on October 29, 2022... exactly 11 1/2 years after our first date.  Richie asked me to marry him and of course, I said Yes!  NOTE:  This is going to be a little longer so you will need to click "read more".

We were supposed to go to dinner to celebrate Beth's birthday.  We arrived at her house and Richie said Beth had new landscape lighting.  She wanted us to enter the backyard from the side to see it.  The trees were literally dripping with lights from 25 feet in the air, a violinist and cellist were playing, and a photographer was capturing our every move.  I was taken aback but quickly realized the night would unfold very differently.

As we made our way to the back of the yard, flower petals covered the ground in the shape of a heart.  He asked me to step into his heart and he asked the question.  We shared champagne and then he said... Let's stop and enjoy this moment as long as you like.  When you are ready, let me know.   Then we will move to the next surprise.

A few minutes later I said I'm ready.  We made our way to the house and were greeted by friends and family for a small surprise cocktail reception.

I still get choked up thinking about how special this night was and how much love was in the air.  We both do.  This is the kind of love everyone deserves.  We are so blessed to have found each other and share a life with love, grace, and respect.

Morocco was truly a trip of a lifetime.  We traversed the country in February 2023 from Fez to Marrakesh, from oasis to desert, from country to urban city.  Morocco's treasures are not only the landscape and culture but the people.  We were forever changed by Morocco.

And this bundle of energy entered our lives by pure chance on March 31, 2023.  As we plan our wedding and married life, we are so happy to share it with our girl Ellie.


Fast forward to October 2023. We spent 3 days in Venice Italy, 9 days on board a yacht cruise down the coast of Croatia, a few days around Dubrovnik, then an overnight in Dublin Ireland on the way home. What an amazing whirlwind!

Thanksgiving 2023

Thankful for each other, Ellie, our friends, and family.

Engagement Photo Session

We had a fun day in uptown Charlotte with the photographer. We were definitely out of our element in front of the camera.