Juliana and TJ

how we met

Just over three years ago, I walked into the fitness center where he worked.  I noticed him as he was teaching one of his classes. During my one hour workout, I must have peeked through the punching bags more than I landed a punch to “discretely” get a glimpse of him. I watched him as he walked across the floor, while he trained his clients, no matter what he did, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

After weeks of taking classes, we bumped into each other at a concert. We danced (well, he tried…), we laughed, we flirted, and the rest is history.

how he asked

The day started out like any other Sunday. I woke up, changed into my gym clothes, and headed to the High School, where TJ teaches his “Bootcamp” class every Sunday morning at 9:00am.  After an intense work out, I went back home to freshen up.

The day before, our mutual friend Lauren had invited me, and our dog Ollie, to go over her house on Sunday for brunch and a doggie play date. Our plan was to then bring both of our dogs to the park, where TJ was going to meet us after he was done working (or so I thought).

When we got to the dog park, TJ was nowhere in sight but I did notice his brother was sitting on one of the benches (weird!). Confused as to why he was there, I walked over to him. He then handed me a rose and small envelope and said “TJ has been planning a late birthday present for you”.  Confused (because my birthday was 2 months ago), yet excited and giddy, I opened up the envelope to find a very sparkly card (very me) that read “Hi babe, hope you’re having fun today so far. Today will be dedicated to following my directions exactly. P.S. Lauren will be one of your guides for the day. Don’t ask questions, just sit back and enjoy. Love, TJ”. Although most would find this random and would think this was more than just a “birthday” scavenger hunt, no alarms were set off. Our first year dating, I did a fun scavenger hunt for TJ just because. So of course, I didn’t think this one was any different! (I soon would find out it was).

Clue #1:  “Drop Ollie off at home but first give Lauren your phone”.  So I did just that! Unexpectedly, his sister Deanna walks down the stairs and hands me the next clue.

Clue #2:  “Now that you’re cast free, go get a manicure or massage on me” (I had broken my left hand 6 weeks before). Lauren, his sister, and I then made our way to the nail salon. When we walked through the doors, my sister-in law, best friend, and my two cousins were waiting for me with “Happy Birthday” balloons, cake, and champagne. I was so overwhelmed with joy to have them all there with me. After our nails and massages were done, I was handed my next clue.

Clue #3: “Time to go home and get dressed to impress. When you see me tonight you’ll want to look your best”. When I got home, I noticed that there were two outfits laid out on my bed (someone did this!). I put on my favorite one, freshened up my hair and makeup and walked downstairs where Lauren, Deanna, and my mom were waiting with the next clue.

Clue #4: “On our first date I got our favorite ice cream. Now it’s time to pick up Half Baked and Americone Dream”.  On our first date, TJ surprised me on the beach with our favorite ice cream. So off to the supermarket we go! The cashier then hands me my next clue.

Clue #5: “I’ll be waiting for you down by the sand”.  Filled with suspense and excitement, I couldn’t wait to see what he had planned at the beach!

Lauren, my guide, then parked her car and handed me my last and final clue.

Clue #6: “Take a few minutes to watch this slide show. For three years it’s been you and me. I put this together so you can see what I see.” Lauren gave me her phone and a video of our “three years in the making” started to play.

I knew how amazing the last three years had been but it was at that moment, when I saw all our memories compiled together that I realized how special our relationship is. It wasn’t until the final slide “There’s only one thing left to do…” popped up that I knew what was about to happen. A million thoughts and emotions ran through my mind but all I knew was, I NEED TO GET ON THAT BEACH NOW! What felt like the longest walk of my life, ended when I saw him standing, (in a suit), in the exact spot where we had our first date. To say I couldn’t get on that beach fast enough is an understatement. He must of said hundreds of words but I was too happy and excited to hear any of it other than “Will you marry me?” In that moment, I was the happiest girl in the entire world. My best friend and soul mate asked me to spend forever with him.
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With the sound of cheering and clapping in the background, I looked up on the boardwalk to find both of our families. It was an amazing feeling seeing them there to witness the happiest moment thus far for the both of us.

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After the congratulatory hugs and kisses, we all jumped in the car and headed to “The Biergarten” in Asbury Park (restaurant & bar on the water) for one last surprise. I walked upstairs to the rooftop, opened up the door, and found all of our family and friends waiting for us!

I wish I could relive that day every day but I cannot wait for this new phase with my new fiancé

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