Amy & Jeff are an awesome couple that are full of life, love, and plenty jokes. I kinda wanted to say hashtag goals (#goals) after our session. But they almost didn't happen:
Erin: How did y'all meet?
Amy: Technically, a mutual friend introduced us Jeff and me in late 2010. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and planning my move to NOLA. While in LA, I was working in the corporate sector and wanted to get back into nonprofit and community development work. Katie, our mutual friend, thought Jeff would be a good person for me to connect with because of our common career interests. I replied to the email within hours and Jeff...never replied! I didn't think anything of it! Fast forward about three or four months: I had just moved to NOLA and attended a social innovation/community development event and sitting at my table was Jeff. He saw my name tag and enthusiastically and apologetically engaged me in conversation by letting me know that the email I had sent him in December was still open on his desktop (in March)! Jeff's warmth and his smile instantly captivated me. In all honesty, I fell for him right then and there! We became friends from there. Conveniently, I was working for a small community development nonprofit that shared an office with Jeff's and he and I ended up sitting across from one another a really large coworking table for the next three or so months. Increasingly, we started hanging out outside of the office and by July, he called me to ask me to go out with him sometime (I replied, "Yes! How about tonight?!)"! That was July 5, 2011. Since then, we have bought and extensively renovated a home, been on a reality TV show, and enjoyed the adventure together.
Erin: Where did you go on your first date?
Amy & Jeff: Bouligny Tavern
Erin: How is your relationship unique?
A & J: Jeff's smile, widespread arms, and giddiness when we greet each other after a long day of work is the most special and genuine thing, and I like to think that I match it with my own pure joy to see him. We share a zest for adventure, and, most importantly, value community, friends, kindness, respect, and empathy. When together, mundane things like cooking, taking walks through our neighborhood, and our "exerdates" (we are both really active people, so we treasure exercise dates, ha! When we first started dating, we used to do these little circuit workouts in his backyard and we used to make up jumprope routines, ha! so funny to reminisce about that) are special. We also share a value of "abundance--" we're really inclusive people and have a "more the merrier" attitude about most things, but also have learned to balance that with a "quality over quantity" mentality when it comes to the importance of close relationships with friends, family, and each other.
Erin: What are your favorite things to do together?
A & J: Much of this is above, but I'll keep going! We love to exercise, eat really good food, drink and make tiki drinks (!), cook, spend time with Jeff's family, who lives locally, renovate our home (Jeff is a really talented self-taught designer and carpenter and is currently building a really incredible side porch, back screened-in porch, and backyard studio--he's done everything from design it to obtain the permits to build the foundation to build the structure and finished product. I'm so proud of him!). We love to travel--we have backpacked through Southeast Africa together (mostly traveling by train and bus, which was QUITE the adventure... Jeff's famous line throughout the trip was: "next time, we're going to Europe!"), and traveled to Japan, Israel, Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and several other places around the country. We also love to explore our own city by foot and bike. And we treasure our friendships, so we spend a lot of time making dinner and hanging with our friends. We also play in an over 30 coed soccer league each week, which we love! And we really enjoy a good night out dancing (Heatwave at 12 Mile Limit is an all-time fave!).
Erin: Do you have anything in common, or do you have things that you cannot agree on?
A & J: We have tons in common and we also disagree! Jeff is the least punctual person I have ever met (his friends and family say he's on "Jeff time" and it's so accurate. Needless to say, I really value punctuality and his tardiness STILL baffles me and drives me nuts! Along these lines, I'm much more of a planner and Jeff is more of a dreamer. But it all works out! In terms of things in common, we agree on the things we hold most important, our values of respect for all beings, equity, justice, kindness, community, family, and love.
Erin: What do you love most about him/her?
Amy: The first time I met Jeff, he had a magnetic force that drew me towards him. I still feel and see that over 6 years later. I love Jeff's warmth, his acceptance, his green eyes that light up a room, his kindness and friendliness to strangers. I love how he assumes good faith and believes in the goodness of others' intentions. I love what a problem solver he is. I love how creative he is. I love how active he is. I love his muscles! I love his curly brown hair. I love how much energy he has. I love how grumpy he is in the morning (he's the friendliest person always, EXCEPT for in the mornings!). I love how much he loves his family.
Jeff: beauty, humor, loyalty, sense of adventure, sense of right and wrong/moral compass, brown eyes, legs, healthy eating habits, "punniness," laugh.
Erin: How did he propose?
Amy: Jeff proposed in the spot where we had our first kiss--at the edge of Audubon Park. His brother was hiding in the bushes nearby stealthily taking pictures of us. Further backstory: I told Jeff that if he didn't propose by my 31st birthday, he could expect to see me down on one knee proposing to him (we had been dating for 5 years at this point and I was ready!). He proposed to me on my 31st birthday (Nothing like a deadline to spur action!), and I was so delighted! Jeff picked out the ring all by himself and did a beautiful job. He also planned a "birthday" party for me for that evening, so we were able to share and celebrate our news in person with our closest friends and family then! They were all gathered at the party spot (rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel) before we arrived and there is a priceless video of my closest girlfriends placing bets and at the edges of their chairs about whether or not Jeff had proposed! It was so fun to arrive and tell them all once there!
During our session, we explored the French Quarter while we talked about how they met, the plans for their honeymoon, and the house they're renovating. We also happened upon a gate to take photos in front of, when all of the sudden it opened, and we were welcomed into the owner's garden. She was so sweet to have us on her property, which was absolutely lovely. Her kindness reminded me of how hospitable New Orleans can be, especially when love is involved. I would like to thank my friend, Andrew Powell, for assisting me, and to the lovely home owners who allowed us to use their property for our session.