milk & honey

1430 milk and honey chattanooga01Over Memorial Day weekend Lance and I drove to Chattanooga.  I heard a lot of great things about it, so I was anxious to check it out.  We drove about two hours north through Georgia and reached Chattanooga just after 1am.  

I knew we'd walk the pedestrian bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge, so I googled places to eat around it and found Milk & Honey.  We sorted out the top things each of us wanted to do, and visiting Milk & Honey was one of mine.  It was a great little treat after walking across the bridge from downtown.  It's only a couple blocks away from the bridge in a little strip mall.

Milk & Honey is beautifully styled and a sweet little spot for dessert, coffee or food.  It has an outdoor seating area and a back room for extra seating.  We sat at the counter on those adorable yellow stools.  We ordered a strawberry tangerine paleta, pistachio gelato and a homemade cream soda.  Everything we ordered was delicious, but the pistachio gelato really hit the spot.  If we head out to Chattanooga again, I'd love to try out their brunch.

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Milk & Honey, 135 N Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37405. May 25, 2015 | Fuji x100s & iPhone 6

becoming a hand

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1429 santa cruz wedding

Marrying Lance was the the best thing that ever happened to me.  Being married to him has been wonderful. I'm so happy spending so much time with him and creating this life together.  I always knew I'd change my last name to Hand, but the process was an interesting experience.

pronunciation. Here I was thinking people would finally know how to pronounce and spell my last name.  Hand is a noun. And a verb! It's a common word in the English language.  But I was wrong.  No one ever pronounces Tsang correctly. I always have to explain it's pronounced "sang" like tsunami (silent "t") or like "Megan sang a song".  And I'd always have to spell out my name like... "It's spelled T-sang."  So I was really excited to have an easy last name when I got married.  But when it comes to Hand it's not too different.  People seem to think my last name is Han or something random.  I went to the library and a sweet librarian was trying to help me.  He asked me what my last name was and I said "Hand", then he responded... is this you? And showed me a girl's name who's last name was Huang.  To which I responded by lifting my right hand, palm open, and pointing with my left, "Hand".  Then he caught on.  But this is pretty common.

identity. For thirty years I had my name. Megan Tsang. Then out of no where it's not, and people start to wonder, "Who is this Megan Hand person?"  Don't worry, me, too! I'm always confused what my last name is now. I get stuck whenever someone asks what my last name is.  Erm... Hand? Tsang? HandTsang? Tsang?  And I have to confess I really don't always know the answer.  It's like I'm this new person and don't know what to do with myself.  It's also very interesting to have moved when I got married because no one knows me as a Tsang here.  To everyone here I'm Meg Hand.

logistics. Changing my name has been a pain.  It's a lot of work. I never realized how many legal documents and accounts I have.  Can someone just do it for me?

business. For the past 7 years I've been running a business under my maiden name and building it up as a brand.  I am "Meg Tsang" which people often call me by.  I've made it so much of a brand people sometimes forget my name was actually "Megan" not Meg.  I haven't quite figured out what I'm doing with my business name. For now, everything is staying under my maiden name.  But it's just so interesting that you build up a name for yourself, then it an instant, it's not your name anymore.

connection. But really, I love being a Hand.  I love that it connects me to Lance and reminds me of our deep bond to each other. It shows that he's mine and I'm his. We've made this lasting commitment and becoming a Hand, in a way, seals all that for me.  I'm so proud and happy to take his name. I love being his Hand.

Our wedding picture by our fabulous photographer!

Brunchin'

1400 precita park cafe1 This is the cute little brunch, coffee shop spot Lance took me to the day he proposed. I just love it so much.  It's bright and cheery and has lots of personality.  The food was really tasty.  Lance and I both got breakfast sandwiches and pear juice.

I'm so happy to have these pictures.  I remember how I felt so happy to be with Lance not knowing the ring was in his pocket or that later that day he'd be proposing.  He'd been so thoughtful in choosing a brunch place that he knew I'd love.  He really knows me so well.  I love him for that.  He remembers what I like and takes note of it for future gifts and surprises.  He's just so sweet like that.

 

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Precita Park Cafe 500 Precita Ave San Francisco, CA 94110

 

San Francisco. August 30, 2014 | Fuji x100s

Engaged.

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So hey. I'm engaged.  It's kind of crazy to say. But yet. I'm engaged. woot. so crazy.

Here's just a little (long) story about our engagement and what lead up to it…..

He was the one. 

Lance is just so good for me.  We have so much in common, and we really balance out each other's strengths and weaknesses.  Early on in our relationship I knew Lance was the one.  When I realized I loved him I just knew that it'd either be him or no one at all. So much so that the first time he flew out here he met my family… all fourteen of them. Yikes. Poor guy.  But he did really well, and that just kind of sealed it for me.

Leading up to the engagement.  

We knew we were getting married, but we just had to work out one minor detail.  We'd been dating for almost a year, with the entirety of it long distance. So for us to get engaged, we had to be in the same place.  In July I had visited Lance right before he moved to Alabama to start his new job.  We were hoping to get married in December so that didn't leave us a lot of time.  To top it off, it wasn't in the cards for me to visit Lance in August since I had just gone in July for almost two weeks.  For my work, I had to be in California in August.  September and October would be crazy busy with weddings, editing and travel.  On top of that, early fall is crazy busy for Lance.  So even though August was "light" for me, it was hectic for Lance.  So it was decided Lance would visit Labor Day weekend.  And at that point I was hoping/expecting him to propose that weekend.  In fact I had my heart set on it.

I was very persistent in my questioning.  Are you going to propose? Do you have the ring? Are we getting married? What's going to happen? What's your plan?  My questions were endless. I'm horrible, I know.  But Lance, of course, was great.  He doesn't lie, so from the get-go he was very consistent in not answering my questions. He'd field my questions with "don't ask me's" or "let's talk about something else's" and other clever responses.  So that left me not knowing whether or not he'd propose…. basically really confused.

Labor Day Weekend is here!

Lance was going to fly in on Friday, August 29 in the evening.  I'd become even more persistent in my questioning, and Lance continued to be a fortress of secrets.  I really wasn't sure Lance would propose, but it seemed like a very logical assumption.  After all, we didn't see each other all the time.  But, still, I wanted to be prepared.  Friday afternoon I got a manicure. Of course.

With fresh polish I headed to SFO and met Lance at the airport.  Because we're long distance, meeting each other at the airport is always very special to me.  There's no feeling that compares to see him emerge from behind security.  It's just great.  I was sooo excited just to see him!

We were at baggage claim when I asked Lance which company he was picking his car up from. He pulled up his email on his phone to look for the reservation, and I glanced over. Immediately I saw the names Johnny & Terrysue, my brother-in-law and sister, in his inbox. For a moment I recalled my memory wondering if I had sent my family and Lance an email.  I quickly realized I hadn't, and you can't mistake the name Terrysue.  Then I had an asthma attack.  He was going to propose. I knew it!!

But then, Lance, being the leveled headed guy he was (and wanting me to enjoy the surprise) said, "Meg, you don't know what that email was. I don't want you to be disappointed.  Don't have high expectations. You don't even know if I've asked your Dad for his blessing yet."

Ug.

So that was it. I was duped.  At that point I told myself I didn't need a proposal that weekend.  I remembered that I was just happy to be with Lance.  I knew I'd knew it was going to be a great weekend with or without a proposal.

Unbeknownst to me...

Lance already had the ring and my dad's blessing. That morning I had actually gone to bed at 9am and talked to Lance before I went to bed.  At that point Lance knew it'd be long before I'd wake up, so he took that opportunity to call my dad.  They talked for an hour.  Lance asked for my dad's blessing.  My dad asked him lots of questions and ultimately gave his blessing.

And he had been scheming with my sister-in-law, Alison.  AND he had organized a dinner with all my family to celebrate the engagement.  So everyone knew but me!

Back to the story...

When Lance visits I usually have a lot of ideas and suggestions and let him choose.  He'd been working a lot so before he arrived he had asked that I leave our plans open.  So that Friday night I asked what he wanted to do on Saturday.  He said he had a plan and insisted we started the date early.  I thought that was really weird that he was so specific about leaving at 9am.  When I got home I called him up to ask what we were doing so I'd know what to wear.  If we were going hiking or doing something active I wanted to make sure I was wearing appropriate clothing.  He didn't want to tell me what we were doing, but he did tell me what he was wearing.  And let me tell you this, his outfit was what I call his "fancy" outfit.   Granted, he usually dresses pretty well, this outfit in particular is his outfit he wears when he wants to wear something nicer.  So I thought…oh I'd better wear a dress.

Meanwhile… I'm still incredibly confused.  It seems like he's going to propose, but I didn't want to get my hopes up because it also seemed like he wasn't.  And I was actually leaning more towards that he wasn't.

The big day comes!

Lance calls me up early Saturday morning to ask me to bring my camera so I can take head shots of him for his Linkedin Profile. Then he tells me he wants them at Bernal Heights Park.  First I think, that's not a good place to take head shots.  Then I think, "Hey, that's we he told me he loved me." When I asked if he remembered he said, "Oh yeah."

Ug.

Anyway he picks me up and we embark on our trip to Bernal Heights Park in San Francisco. (Which, by the way I thought it was strange he wanted to go to San Francisco.  He'd told me he was tired and wanted to take it easy on this trip and driving in San Francisco is not relaxing at all, especially for someone who doesn't live here.)

I had just had a photo shoot at Treasure Island, so since it was on the way I suggested we check it out.  We park and take in the views of San Francisco.  There's a vendor setting up his food cart, so Lance decides he wants a churro.  The churro guy actually takes forever, and I'm actually getting annoyed with how long he's taking when I see the cooked churro sitting right there.  Finally the guy gives Lance his churro.  At that point I'm thinking we should hit the road.  I'm the kind of person that once someone tells me a plan, I want to make it happen.  But Lance wanted to continue soaking in the view and eat his churro.

(He was actually stalling because Alison, who was going to take pictures of the proposal, couldn't get to the park until the afternoon.)

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Finally we get back on the road.  My navigation is giving us directions to the park, and we're a couple blocks away when Lance suggests we have brunch first.  I'm growing impatient because I want to get to the park already.  I have no idea that Lance has a plan, bless his heart.  He's in a real good mood and just kind of going with the flow of everything.

We get to the brunch place and it's simply adorable.  Totally the kind of place I like.  It's actually a spot I'd been wanting to try.  He just melts my heart.  He found such a cute little brunch, coffee shop. Yay.

(p.s. turns out I was hangry.  Once I got some food in my belly I was a lot less crazy.)

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While we're eating our yummy food he suggests we head to the De Young Museum.  We tried to go one time, but it was closed.  So I thought I thought a museum visit was a splendid idea.  The only thing was, he wanted to be at the park by 2pm and at that point it was already around noon.  I didn't think it'd be enough time because the museum was 20-30 minutes from where we were, which was only a few minutes from the park.  But he insisted that he wanted time to wander around the park.  We were heading to church in San Jose at 5pm, so he wanted enough time to see the park, make a boba stop and get to church on time.  Three hours was a lot of cushion time so I thought that was weird.  But I went with it.

Even though it took forever finding parking, we're making good time as we wander around the museum.  I love museums.  While we were checking out the exhibits, Alison texted asking what we were up to.  I told her we were at the De Young and put out feelers, "We're leaving soon.  What are you up to?"  To which, she responded, "Oh it's about time to put the kids down for their nap."  Nuts. Alison doesn't lie.  I thought maybe she and my family would be at Bernal Heights Park waiting for us.  I thought, "Oh well for that." Anyway at the De Young there's a courtyard that has this really beautiful underground cave thing that I wanted to show Lance before we left.  As we're walking to the cave we hear music.  We come to find out there's an a cappella quartet singing love songs. I'm thinking, "Woah. This is great. How beautiful."  He's thinking, "How sweet is this that they're singing love songs, and I'm proposing to Meg today!"

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Bernal Heights Park. 

We're driving to the park and Lance is texting or something on his phone.  He was doing a lot of that at brunch and the museum.  I thought this was weird.  I didn't connect any dots really but I did think it was odd.  When I asked, he told me he'd been texting his brother and looking up the score for the Georgia football game.  Which I thought was strange, because even though he loves the Georgia dogs, he's not the biggest sports fan.  Oh well.  (He was coordinating with Alison who was already at the park.)

I decide to play the "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" soundtrack because we both loved the music and movie.  I play the first song, "Step Out" by Jose Gonzalez, and Lance asks to put it on repeat.  It's a really great, epic song.  Lance is thinking, "This song is getting me amped to propose!"  I just liked the song. haha.

All day I was analyzing Lance's pockets for a ring box with no avail.  So when we were getting out of the car I watched him to see if he'd get something out of his backpack.  He didn't.  So I thought, "Oh he's really not going to propose.  Oh man. It's been a really great day. I just have to focus on enjoying my time with Lance."

We walk up the hill to the main part of the park where you overlook the city.  There's a bench where Lance told me he loved me that Lance wanted us to sit on, but two girls were sitting there.  He seemed a little annoyed that we couldn't sit there. I suggested sitting on a flat rock, but he insisted on sitting on a metal fence thing.  When we sat down he continued doing something on his phone and looking around.  So I looked around to, kind of hoping to see someone I'd know, but I didn't so took pictures of stuff with my camera.

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At some point Lance throws his phone on the ground and asks me if I want some gum.  Strange.  I take the gum and see a little cloth in the gum pack.  I recognize the cloth, it's similar to the cloths I use to clean my lenses.  My heart starts racing, and I start to wonder if that's where he kept the ring.  He takes my hand and tells me he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.

Then I black out.

I don't remember anything he says at that point.  I hear a camera shutter and turn around and it's Alison.  Lance tells me I kept saying, "What's going on? What are you doing?"  He's so sweet. He got down on one knee and proposed! (But I didn't even remember saying yes.)

He definitely surprised me.  All day I thought he was acting strange, but I never really connected the dots.  He did a great job planning out this proposal. It was so beautiful how it all happened.  And I'm just so blessed to have such a thoughtful and caring future husband!

Woot!

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And here's a fun video from Alison right after Lance proposed.


 

Bernal Heights Park. August 30, 2014 | iPhone, Fuji x100s & my sister-in-law's camera

long distance

1386 wicklow There's always something that triggers my erratic sleep schedule.  I struggle with maintaining normal sleep hours.  I tried to set time aside last week to "fix" what resulted from traveling every other week for two months.  I went to bed at reasonable hours at the beginning of the week, but then I just went back to sleeping during the day.  You see, there was a day that I stayed up all night editing and reading…. so late that I thought, "Oh… if I just stay up a couple more hours I can talk to Lance [who lives on the east coast] before he heads to work."   And that's when it all fell apart.  Pretty much since then I've stayed up until 5am working or reading or just being up to say good night/morning to him.  Then I proceeded to sleep until early afternoon.  Woops.  I suppose it's a small price to pay to talk to one's long-distance boyfriend.

Whenever anyone finds out that Lance lives in Virginia they ask how it is being in a long distance relationship.  Honestly it's hard at times, but I don't mind it much.  With all the traveling I do it feels like I'd be in a long distance relationship with anyone no matter where they lived.  And, thankfully, between our trips, I see more of Lance than some of my friends see their significant other.  (They see each other once every couple weeks because of their full time jobs, obligations and distances within the Bay Area.)  I think if anything our relationship is stronger due to the shear volume of how much we talk.  I get a lot of practice explaining my dry/deadpan humor and communicating my feelings (scary, I know).  All our emails and texts and phone calls and facetimes give us the opportunity to really get to know each other on a deep level.  So all things considered, I still feel pretty blessed to be in a relationship with this guy.

In fact just the other day he unclogged my shower drain from about 2500 miles away.  My shower was draining really slowly so I used Drano, which seemed to clog it further.  Then according to the directions on the back of the bottle, I poured more down the drain.  That, of course, made it completely clogged. It didn't drain at all.  When I called the Drano company (which has a satisfaction guarantee) they told me to call a plumber.  Great.  Instead, I called Lance, and with little thought he suggested I use a plunger.  Aha! Like that, the drain was completely unplugged.  Win.  He's across the country but still doing boyfriend-y things for me. Hurray!

Happy Monday! (I love Mondays.  Mondays are Saturdays.)