Cara and Alex
How We Met
The story begins with two counselors at Henry S. Jacobs camp during the Summer of 2011. Though I had been spending summers at camp since age seven, I showed up late to the party after a trip to Israel, but “new boy” Alex Shindler stole my heart just one day after my arrival. A cabin porch birthday kiss on the eve of his 21st birthday led to a sweet summer romance; and during the final hours of camp, Alex boldly invited me to his hometown of Little Rock to meet the entire family, grandmothers included. I accepted, and our adventures have continued ever since.
Despite the distance between Austin and Arkansas, we visited frequently and reconnected at camp the following summer – this time as the marketing coordinator and sports department head. Our romance and car mileage grew as we coordinated time together, eating their way through Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, Arkansas, Napa, Mexico, New York, and beyond.
When we finally landed in stable spots within 100 miles of each other, we couldn’t resist the pull any longer. Alex took my parents to dinner for permission to marry their daughter while I was obliviously off networking at SXSW in Austin. After a stunning surprise April proposal on the riverfront in Downtown Memphis, we look forward to beginning our life together in the city dear to us both.
How He Asked
I staged and styled my own proposal. Thus was the vision of my now fiancé Alex, whose clever and sweet disposition prompted the most epic engagement I could have ever imagined. My mother, whose Shindigs by Sheril event planning portfolio can now appropriately expand from weddings and events to perfected proposals, instrumented details from the dress and decor to the luncheon following.
As the founder of Caramelized food and lifestyle blog, my esteemed recipe partnership with Whole Foods entered a new chapter in preparation for Memorial Day. I was asked to style a picnic shoot and work with Donny Granger of Creation Studios for final imagery. Little did I know that a) Alex and my mother were blind copied in the emails with Whole Foods’ Marketing Manager, and b) The lens would quickly turn its focus from the hamburgers and apple pie to a stunning ring and family.
I had an extremely busy work week leading up to Friday, April 15, therefore allowing plenty of excuses to turn down manicure dates or errands for the picnic shoot itself. I kept assuring my mother that this shoot was not a big deal–I could be in a t-shirt on my front lawn, if needed, as long as we got the right shot.
The morning beforehand, Creation Studios’ Donny Granger gave me a call, offering an additional perspective for the photo shoot — Why not take advantage of the partnership opportunity and pull off a behind-the-scenes video of how a Caramelized shoot is executed?
“Just wear a cute dress — like what you’d wear to a picnic — and we’ll shoot it during your lunch break.”
Naturally, I called my mother in panic mode — I didn’t have a cute dress nor the time to go browse for one. She, unsurprisingly, offered to stop by Anthropology and Madewell and bring ten dress options to my house to try. I procrastinated until late Thursday evening, sending mirror selfies from my bedroom to my mom, who was hosting my three best friends from college at my parents’ home. Again, clueless. She pushed me to pick the white dress; and since mother knows best, I obliged.
I left work Friday mid-morning to prep the food and primp myself. I slipped on the white dress and touched up my hair, hoping that the rainy forecast would push back. I texted Donny asking if it’d be better to push the shoot to the following week; he replied that his schedule was booked full. Rain or shine, it was happening.