Tuesday, August 10, 2010

cupcake, camera bag, chicago - oh my! and i said "YES!"

i was running late.

i hate being late. i called ryan and told him to apologize. he laughed and said not to worry about it. i worried about it. i told you, i hate being late. linds and i were wrapping up some filming for sulu. film is so unpredictable so we pushed our time in the "studio" (aka in a dance-studio turned office) and i made it to the bf's apt. after 2:30pm. i had planned to meet up with ryan at 1pm.

i knocked on his door, which opened to ryan holding out my favorite brand of coconut juice. i stepped inside and he gave me a big hug and asked me how i was doing. i muttered something like, "really good time with lindsey, but so tired." i plopped onto the couch and zoned out, staring mindlessly at some golfer in an ugly orange polo.

"so you okay? did you guys have fun?" he asked. i nodded and said, "yeah it was good, just really tired." he was now sitting on the couch with me, watching his golf game. it was quiet for a little bit, and then it got quiter when ryan turned off the television.

"so you ready to go bike-riding?"

i was tired but i was ready to go bike-riding. i was in a rush to get over to his place to do that very thing, plus it was a gorgeous day out. i was about to stand-up when he said, "wait, want to play a game?"

i noticed that he had two envelopes in his hand. i looked at him. remember...i was tired and out of it, so i'm like, "right now?" he nodds like a little boy excited to open Christmas gifts.

i shurgged and i'm like, "sure, what's up?"

"okay if i give you these envelopes, you have to trust me and you cannot talk. you have to also leave all your other stuff, including your phone. you can take your purse with your wallet and camera and all that stuff. then you need to head downstairs and do whatever the clues tell you to do."

i'm of course intrigued, so i do as he says. as i walked out the door, he said "we're running behing schedule but i'll see you in a couple of hours."

of course, i'm not stupid. i'm in the elevator and the thought crossed my mind, "could i be getting engaged tonight?" then i shook my head and was like

when i stepped outside, i opened the first envelope.

so its our last weekend with no plans with anyone else, so i thought i would create a little adventure for you and i because we have less than a month in our favorite city! i know you have been stressed at work, so hopefully this will cheer you up a bit!
(this was kinda what also steered me away from thinking i was getting engaged. it was a last hurrah in chicago sort of date night.)

the letter continued by giving me directions of what to do. a gift card from Urban Outfitters was included, so i was instructed to go by myself a dress/outfit to wear that night. (nothing like a requirement to shop! love it.)

i found two dresses - and since i had enough money on the gift card and because i couldn't decide on which one, i bought both. i was also starting to get panicky on the time, so i rushed home in a cab to get ready.

the first clue had informed me that i wasn't allowed to open the second clue until i got home. as soon as i got home, i ripped open the second clue - it included a letter (reminding me not to be stressed...to relax and enjoy getting ready), a map to get to Aria (a restaurant neither of us had been to before), and money for a cab. i think i got ready in 10-15 min. i was so curious - and my emotions were on a rollercoaster, trying to figure out if we were getting engaged or not.

so i get to aria (which is so amazingly mod and clubbish with its delish new asian world cuisine - loved it) and he is there waiting for me (wearing my fave outfit on him - sportcoat, collared shirt, jeans, sneakers, and loosened tie - so cute!). we headed inside and enjoyed a very delish dinner...but i found myself start to sense that the conversation was so normal. too normal.

[the doorman was a terrible photographer. this was try no. 3. that is why it's so awful. i didn't feel like trying to give him a lesson on photography. so yeah this is our one picture of the night. oh, well.]

by this point, i became determined not to ruin my night by my disappointment of not being proposed to. i covered up my "quietness" with the fact that i was tired (which really wasn't a lie). he was super sweet and just smiled and said to relax and enjoy the night since life had been so crazy lately.

we enjoyed a slow walk back to his apartment. he told me that there was a red velvet sprinkles cupcake waiting for me - he had stood in a 45 min. line for it. (so sweet, right?!) we also took pictures of the city since we didn't know when we'd ever be on this side of the city ever again.

we get to his apartment - and i'm at this point really thinking that there was no way engagement was happening tonight. who proposes to someone in their apartment?

ryan takes off his sportscoat and his shoes and asked me if i was up for some tv, maybe a walk to the beach later. of course, i said yes and plopped onto the couch beside him. he was just about to turn on the tv when he said, "oh yeah i have a gift for you. it's behind the recliner." of course, i go back there and look - and sure enough, there is the most amazing camera bag i'd ever seen. "you never know when shia will be around again - and this time you'll have both lenses with you!" we played with the bag for a bit and then i thanked him for a great night. i told him that i really needed this night to de-stress. it felt like my birthday or something; i told him so.

as i sat back down on the couch, ryan then said, "i have one more gift for you - but you have to close your eyes."

"you're not going to scare me, are you?" (i hate it when people tell me to close my eyes.)

he laughed and said, "no! of course not!"

so i hold out my hands and close my eyes. i felt a book in my hands - and opened my eyes to
Chicago: Then and Now. "oh, ryan you got it!"

he smiled and said, "i told you i'd get it for you before we left the city."

at this point, i started to cry because it was almost like another reality of us leaving Chicago. for good. i flipped through the pages of beautiful pictures as my eyes started to brim with tears. "i can't belive we are really leaving," i whispered.

we are both quiet as we continue to look through the pictures.

then ryan said, "do you remember what else i told you...about the book?"

i looked up from the book and then just stared back at him, trying to wipe the tears off of my face. (gah, i'm so emotional.)

"remember i told you that i would get you that book
so that we could put it on our coffee table one day?"

and it was then that he started to pull out a ring-box out of his pocket and placed it on the coffee table in front of us.

i gasped. i. could. not. believe it.

he stood up from where he was sitting beside me and walked around the coffee table so that he could get on his one knee. he took the ring box from the table and held it in his hands as he said (and believe it or not, i remember every single word he said!):

"you are my best friend. i want to take care of you for the rest of your life. i want to be the leader in our relationship that you need me to be and the one that God wants me to be. i do not want to leave this city without you.

ilene, i love you.
will you marry me?"

and with no hesitation, i said "YES!"

at this point, we are both crying (and ryan is the opposite of emotional so this was huge for me to see) and laughing from sheer joy. ryan opened the ring-box and i started to boo-hoo some more (i told you i'm emotional) in complete shock at the most gorgeous ring i have ever seen in my life. (these pictures do not do it justice.) is it not so stunning? (btw, two of the stones are from his mom. makes the ring even more precious!)

oh also we have not said "i love you" to each other one time for the past 3 1/2 years that we had dated. neither of us believed that it was wrong - we just thought it'd be more special to wait to say it until we actually got engaged. and it was so worth it! it's so fun to say it 'cause we both really know we mean it with how much we've been through together.

the rest of the evening was spent calling family and close friends - and in between phone calls saying "i love you" to each other. only our dads new about the engagement, so it was hilarious to surprise our moms with the sweet news. everyone was so excited for us - it made the night even more special with so many people so happy for us!

i was (and am!) sooooo happy. i couldn't be more happier. i feel so blessed to have the most amazing, incredible man in the whole wide world to be my future husband - and to top it, he's my best friend! the entire night was perfect. the proposal, the ring, and the entire evening was more than i ever expectecd. it was definetly one of the best days of my life.

i cannot wait to be Mrs. Butler!
i love him so much.

thanks so much in sharing in our joy.
we are beyond thrilled.

p.s. thanks for letting me gush.
gah, i'm still on this cloud.


  1. ilene, i'm in tears b/c of this sweet story and b/c i'm sooo happy for you and ryan!!!! :) his "plan" was so perfect, the ring is GORGEOUS, and i know you are going to make beautiful babies together (ok sorry, i'm moving too fast here haha). but anyhow, what a perfect little last hurrah to your last few days in chicago and that's soo great you waited to say "i love you", too sweet!! congrats AGAIN and happy wedding planning!! good luck looking for that dress with pockets! :)

  2. gaaaah, i'm on the cloud with you! dang, that ring is gorgeous!!! I'm so excited to have ryan as my first and only brother!!!!!!! yay brother!

  3. oh my lanta. overdose of awesome.

  4. What a wonderful story, friend. Thanks for taking the time to write it all down. I feel like I was there, but sort of glad that I actually wasn't, because it probably wouldn't have been as romantic. :) I'm so excited for you both!!

  5. YAY!!! This is such an incredible story, I loved every minute of it. Your man is definitely a romantic. Congratulations again, so happy for you!

  6. This is such a cute story! Congratulations :)

  7. **squeal!!!**

    love it. so happy for you, friend :)

  8. gush away! this is fabulous news!

  9. this is such a great engagement story!! many, many congrats! :) what an incredible memory for you both before you leave the city!!

    hope you never come down from that cloud!

  10. oh girl i am totally crying and have goosebumps!!! i loved every single detail!!! soooo extremely thoughtful and sweet. so excited for you girl!!! t and i waited to say i love you till that moment too and it's SO amazing!!!! yeahhhhh!!!!!!! ilene butler! you and ryan are precious together. i love it, and i love you guys! congrats!!!!!!

  11. how beautiful and touching!! you found yourself a prince among men. this is quite possible one of the cutest things i have ever read, ((and i read a lot of books! :] )) and he is just so sweet. i love the adventure of following the notes and he got you the camera bag and the book!! awww, it's just too sweet. have a beautiful day, xo

  12. AWWWWW!

    This was so sweet to read. Sounds like your man did an excellent job with the proposal! And yes, your ring is absolutely gorgeous. :)

    {can't wait till I can tell my own engagement story...}


  13. Ilene - Congrats! I'm so happy for you, and that story was fabulous! I love the ring - you are one lucky girl!!

  14. Congratulations!!! I am so absolutely excited for you! You'll still be on cloud nine for at least a month!! Can't wait to hear about your plans!!!

  15. Thanks for posting the story! Love it! Can't wait to photo shoot in a few weeks!

  16. congratulations, what a sweet story :)

  17. Congrats Ilene and Ryan and thank you for sharing your amazing day online!! Can't wait to hear it all in person of course as well and see the ring in person! You are two beautiful people, and i am looking forward to all God will do with two hearts so ready to serve Him :)

  18. sweetheart, this is so beautiful.
    may you have a splendid life together.

    : )
    my first time here, and i am all teary.

  19. such a cute story! you both are very lucky! we don't really actually know each other, but i am very happy for you! congrats!

    p.s. your ring is gorgeous! :D

    <3, Mimi

  20. OH MY GOODNESS! How did i miss this post??? CONGRATULATIONS and that was the sweetest proposal ever. thanks for sharing and again the ring is beautiful! may God's blessings be upon you and ryan as you plan your lives together!

  21. Ilene! Somehow I missed this post but it's wonderful. Actually...I teared up. ha ha. Such a good story,I'm so glad you're engaged!

  22. Ilene I love your writing and you are such the photographer. I didn't know. I do know that God has a mighty plan for you and Ryan. You have a lifetime of adventure and love ahead of you. Enjoy each day. Even the ones you think are not good for it is a day that God has blessed you with. Rememeber that Love is the irresistable desire to be desired. My prayer for you is that you will always desire to serve the Lord and secondly desire one another. Congrats sweetheart and tell Ryan I said so also.

  23. Ilene! I'm so excited for you. Being married to a Ryan is the best. And my sister is married to a Ryan too. Weird coincidence or just a super popular name... And the ring! I couldn't even imagine something more gorgeous.

  24. oh wow, this is so lovely and amazing! Congratulations!! x

  25. ileneee! ohmygoodness. i am SO HAPPY FOR YOU. this was by far one of the best engagement stories i've heard, thank you so much for sharing everything with us! i am sooo excited for you too. he is soooo good. you guys are soo good. ahhh,!!!

  26. Ahhhhhh! I'm sooooooooo so happy! :) This is such a sweet story! It seems like he put a TON of thought into it, and it sounds like it was just the perfect proposal! So so sweet! And that ring is GORGEOUS! I'm so happy for the two of you!

  27. Oh, Miss Ilene! Congratulations! I just love your engagement story! I smiled all the way through and tears started gushing at "our coffee table one day"... :) and I still haven't stopped! I'm so happy for you and Ryan!

  28. great story- Congrats.

    I have been reading down your blog and am really enjoying it.

    Nice to 'meet' you!

  29. So happy for you! This made me get all teary eyed. So sweet!

  30. What a great engagement story! Congratulations.

    I was laughing at your frustration over the photograph of the two of you. When I got engaged my sweet husband was interrupted by somebody asking if we would take their photograph! He had just been on one knee, the ring wasn't even on my finger yet, and we were both crying! After taking their picture we asked them to take ours so we would have a photo of the moment. Not only is it a terrible photo but my husband looks so frustrated and I'm still in shock. Now after 6 years of marriage we look back at the photograph and laugh together over the sheer ridiculousness of that moment caught in time by a complete stranger. lol I'm even giggling now just thinking of it.

  31. ilene!
    what a beautiful story!
    such a perfect night :)

  32. that made me cry sooo much! what a sweet moment for both of you. i remember exactly what my hubby told me when we got engaged too. congratulations beautiful ilene! so happy for you!!!

  33. Sweetheart, I am SO SORRY that I missed this post, (this month has been tough for me) how JOYFUL and FABULOUS for you my dear girl! Couldn't have happened to anyone sweeter, and you two make such a precious couple, I know you will be happy and take care of each other for the rest of your lives! CONGRATULATIONS gorgeous girl, happy, happy happy for you!!!!!

  34. OMG how did I miss this!?!?! COngratualtions gorgeous! Incredibly sweet story, beautiful!!! xoxo

  35. I'm just now catching up on blogs... you're engaged!!
    So so so adorable! Congrats!! :)

  36. YES I cried reading this!!! Still crying in fact! Beautiful story--AMAZING ring--great guy---happy couple! Congrats!

  37. Beautiful engagement story! I love it! :o) Congratulations!!

  38. So I just read this today for the first time and I want to cry too! =) I am so happy for you. May God bless you richly for putting Him first in your lives and relationship!

  39. gaah i was getting teary reading this. the whole thing!! i love it. and he sounds so sweet. i am SO happy for you!

  40. Oh my goodness! :D
    I hope my engagement story will be this cute!

    Ahh.. one day.. (:

  41. I love the story and all the pictures. What a wonderful story to tell!


  42. Oh my goodness gracious! What a beautiful way to propose! You wrote everything so eloquently and your pictures were perfect. Congratulations!

  43. umm…i love your blog. and this engagement story A LOT. i'm doing a little love story series on my blog in february and would love if you shared yours! let me know if you are interested and we can talk details as it gets closer :)

    happy saturday!

  44. This is such a beautiful romance story! I don't know you in person but I'm so happy for you and your Mr. Butler :) Hope you guys have an amazing life together! All the best!

  45. I just stumbled upon your blog and am in tears after having read this story. What an amazing man you have and such a beautiful proposal story that you will be telling a million times over for years and years to come. Congratulations!

  46. what a sweet story! thanks for sharing. :-)

  47. What a super cute story! Your fiance definitely put lots of thought into it!



  48. aww Congrats! I just discovered your blog, and I have to say you are so cute!!! I saw that Ryan addressed the itinerary (impressed by the way haha) to his American filipina- I'm filipina too! Anyways...off to read more :) xoxo! Roxy

  49. I am in tears this is so sweet! Glad I found your blog!!

    -Anna (http://dearfriendblog.com)

  50. absolutely so beautiful Ilene! Casual blog reading while on my lunch break at work should NOT make me cry like this! So beautiful!

  51. how beautiful :) i love his desire to lead you, what a very Godly man!

  52. ok, this is so darn cute. you got a good one! congrats :)

  53. this is adorable! congrats! sorry if you already answered this, but when are you getting married? or did you already get married?

    congrats again!

  54. this is so beautiful!!! congratulations!!!♥

  55. crying again!!! great job ryan!

    (i'm really enjoying your old posts, btw!)

  56. This is so strange because this is the second post I've ever read from you... but I'm in tears after reading your story.

    I love that he made you go to Urban Outfitters! That is such a personal touch!

  57. Awww, wow!! What a beautiful proposal! I just found your blog and this was the first thing I clicked on. ;) Officially love it here; thanks for sharing your story!

  58. amazing storyyyyy!!! ahhh


  59. I have been following and never read this! I can't believe I missed this!

    This is by far one of the most beautiful stories ever. It is so obvious that you are best friends with each other and that you have such a real and humble relationship!

    When is the wedding? For some reason, I think I thought you were married. Well, I am a newlywed and planning my wedding was the best event ever! I hope your wedding goes as planned and it is everything you have dreamed of. You can check my wedding/romance site out for some fun tips too!

    Thanks for sharing your story! :)


  60. Precious Ilene, I FINALLY read your engagement story and I am so glad I did. God is such an incredible gift-giver in the man he chose for you. Love you, dearie, and I am SUPER jazzed for you...

  61. Oh my goodness. That was making me tear up at the end. What a sweet hubby you are going to have!!! God bless you both in your new adventure together!! =)


  62. This is just totally sweet! He must love a tonne!! Glad for both of you, God has soo much in store for you two!!

    Big Loves, Maree xx


  63. Beautiful! I was actually tearing up at my desk! Thanks for sharing1 I love your blog by the way!

  64. Oh my goodness. I could read this again and again. How sweet!

  65. OMG...you Live in Chicago??? So do I! When I saw the photo of the Urban Outfitters I squealed! And then the Wrigley Building...that's where I work :) So glad to discover your blog :)

  66. Oh my freaking gosh! This was so freaking adorable! What a special special proposal! I couldn't stop reading till the end!

    You guys are beautiful together!

    CONGRATULATIONS! He sounds so sweet and he seems to love you so much!

    More HAPPINESS to both of you!

    By the way, I’m having an international Pura Vida bracelets giveaway so come check it out! :]

    xoxo, Bree


  67. Can't believe I've never read this. What a fantastic beautiful fun and amazing proposal!!! I also had to laugh that you wondered if you were getting engaged. Girls always just know somehow don't they?

  68. Yayyyyy! Congrats! God is so good when you trust and love Him. You guys are gonna LOVE being hubby and wife! So full of surprises, laughter and all the amazing things God intended marriage to be. Blessed, girl!

  69. I'm just reading this and I'm freaking crying!!! OMG how sweet!! So happy for you :)))

  70. OMG I seriously have tears in my eyes! That is so romantic, I am so so so happy for you! This is the best proposal story I have ever heard, I wish it never ended! Love you!


  71. This is the sweetest story! It brought tears to my eyes. I can't wait to have a special moment like this.

  72. Oh. MY. Goodness. You got me sobbing over here, like a complete cry baby. This has got to be the most sweetest engagement ever. What a keeper :)

    I recently just wrote about mine, as we just celebrated our 1 year anniversary. Check it out if ya feel like it.


  73. This is such a beautiful engagement story!! It gave me goosebumps! What a guy! God bless you and your husband-to-be!

  74. So I just found your blog & decided to click on this engagement link, glad I did. I loved it! It was like reading a book! So romantic! You can tell he really went out of his way & was planning this for a while! Wow. Can't wait to check out the rest of your blog posts! Would love it if we followed each other. I love meeting new fashion lovers out in the blogosphere & especially super sweet ones like you! Hope to see you around my blog sometime soon. Until then, I will be making some coffee and snuggling up to read your posts :)


  75. OMGOODNESS! Most romantic proposal ever :) You guys are so lucky to have one another! Sounds like a fairytale relationship :) Wishing you both the most amazing wedding and life!

  76. SOOOO sweet! He seemed so calm and amazing the whole time!

  77. So Sweet :) Thanks for sharing your story!

  78. very late on the congrats, but alas, congrats! this is so sweet!

    love, little.

  79. just reading this for the first time! what a great story, great guy, fabulous ring and wonderful memory!!! thanks for sharing with us, gorgeous!! :) <3

  80. I'm new to your blog (I found you through the Delightful Dozen) and I love it! This was seriously the sweetest engagement story I have EVER heard. I teared up a little.

  81. This was seriously the best engagement story I have EVER heard! It was so sweet! I teared up a little.

  82. I love that y'all waited to say "i love you"... so special and sweet.


  83. What a cute little love story Illy! :)

  84. I found you through Ashley @ Run With Me and I had to read your love story! I can't believe I am just finding you and your blog, but that is basically the sweetest story ever! You've definitely got yourself a keeper! I am looking forward to following!

  85. What an original story. It looks like you are really ment ofor each other. I`m your newest follower. Looking forward to your new posts..

    Feel free to check my blog, when you have time. OFC, it`s not obligatory :)

    All the best from Serbia,


  86. For whatever reason I just came to read it NOW! Such a beautiful story. I love the clues and the night he had planned out for you two!

    All the best to you! xo

  87. WOW I just wrote this humongous thing and it got deleted! RAWRRRRR!!!!

    Anyways I just want to say I was EXTREMELY moved by your writing, which you are very talented by the way (sorry I had literlly written half a book to you and I cannot believe it was deleted...super tired now)

    I just happened to come across your blog and I am so glad I did, I always feel the need to read the "abouts" with anyone I avidly follow that blogs so I clicked on the 'She & Him' part....you got me weeping girl! What a beautiful story! I'm assuming you are married by now seeing as how that was in 2010. I am so happy I read this, I have been with my boyfriend for a little over a year. He is an amazing man, and I came into our relationship with a lot (and I mean a freakin' TON) of emotional baggage and trust issues from my past. All of which we fought through together, lately life has seemed surreal. I feel the kind of happy I did at 14, and I am not happy because HE makes me happy, he does, but he also brings out a side of me I haven't seen or known in years. I love this story. I've bookmarked it so I can reread it on hard days or when I'm feeling down to remember how SWEET life is and how precious and heart wrenching true love can be. Sometimes I analyze myself too much and I love how you put you immediately said "YES!" that's how it should be and I am happy it was (and is) that way for you! Even though I don't know you, your story has inspired me to be happy, not to analyze and to enjoy life and love as it comes. I feel so very very blessed to have a man who has stayed for the hard times, Craig and I have talked about marriage and you have helped me realize that when I feel rather than think I would say yes instantly as well....that feeling is so surreal. To go through life and horrible situations, that end up making you stronger, leading you to better people, better places and to finally be the person I need to be and keep becoming and learning more!!!

    Thank you for your writing, you truly are extremely talented and I feel blessed to have been able to share part of your story with you. I wish you both a lifetime of happy moments such as this one you wrote about and am so very grateful for the ability to see I can be happy and sit back and enjoy it as well....for the first time in years!

    All the best, sincerely- Megan Marie

  88. I just found your blog, and when reading your story, I was laughing and crying in the same time.. You two seem to be very sweet couple. God bless you, guys!!

    I blog at nami scribbles. Please come over www.namiscribbles.blogspot.com and say Hi! :)

  89. I don't even know you, but your story made me cry! My husband and I live near Chicago and were engaged at the top of the ferris wheel on Navy Pier. We are hoping to actually move TO Chicago this summer. We love that city, so it was fun reading all about your adventure. God Bless you guys!

  90. I know it's a little late to comment, but this literally sent chills down my spine. You are so blessed to have found such an amazing guy and I am sure that together you will raise an amazing family. :) so sweet!


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