My lunch 2.0 @ Tagged photo is up on Wired News' Epicenter blog

My photo from Lunch 2.0 today…


is up on one of Wired’s blogs. Sweet πŸ™‚


happy birthday snaily!

if you didn’t know already, it’s marky mark’s 25th birthday today…and if you haven’t already, wish my new fiancee a happy happy birthday!

woohoo! πŸ™‚

happy bday snaily πŸ˜‰

the story – from Mark's point of view

Sooooo only a few weeks after the fact, but still good right?

Where to start? There’s so much to tell! Let’s start at the most interesting part:

P1100626.JPGAnd she said “yes” yay!

The history

But how did it come to pass? Let’s rewind to almost exactly 4 years ago: Halloween 2003. Rose and I had both recently started working at Microsoft – our first jobs out of college – and we were at my office-mate Nate’s house for a party. My friend from college, Lee, introduced me to Christine (Rose’s high school friend, turned Seattle roommate), who introduced me to Rose. We were both in ridiculous costumes; I was a “fireman” (although all I had was a thin plastic fireman’s hat that I had found on the floor) and Rose was “tank top girl” – which I think meant she was wearing all of her tank tops at the same time. I’m not ashamed to admit that I liked Rose from the second we met (not sure if the feeling was mutual though :O )

Two days later, we bumped into each other at church. God’s plan no doubt!

And then…

We started dating a few months later, and it’s definitely been a non-stop adventure πŸ™‚ Just check out all the photos:

Banff.9.2.2005 082Sonoma and Napa 9.24.2005 071P1050445P1080243Banff.9.2.2005 101P1030991.jpgHiking, sight seeing, traveling, snowboarding, and more! When I found out Rose was as adventurous and spontaneous as me, I knew I had found someone special. (Especially since we don’t always fully plan our adventures hehehe but that’s another story!)


Two and a half years ago, I moved to San Francisco. Problem was, Rose was still in Seattle. 😦

I guess they say “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” but man, easier said than done! Over the year and a half Rose and I were long distance, it was tough. Most of the time we spent together was over the phone and every couple of weeks one of us would fly to meet the other for the weekend. But during this time, I came to realize that Rose wasn’t just adventurous and fun-loving, but also extremely dedicated and faithful.

Then about a year ago, I tricked Rose into moving to San Francisco too. πŸ™‚

See, we had decided that it was time to end the long distance thing and live in the same city again. So we made a deal, the first person to find a job in the other person’s city would move there. I sent my resume out to many companies in Seattle and Rose forwarded me her resume to send around to companies in Silicon Valley. Of course it was a bit unfair since I used my network to get her an interview a few days later and she had a job offer within a few weeks, but now we were in sunny California! πŸ˜€

The realization…

About 6 months ago, I was doing some thinking (a rare occurence I know) and I started to put all the pieces together. The “random” meeting at the Halloween party and then at church 2 days later. The way we both loved to go on adventures, travel, and try new things. The realization that the last three years with Rose had been the best years of my life. And so it clicked. I knew God had brought us together and that I wanted to be with Rose for the rest of my life.

I guess God just knew exactly what I needed. Best… gift… evar!

So then began the engagement planning…

Planning to pop the question

First the ring. This required quite a bit of reconnaissance. Along with being adventurous, spontaneous, fun-loving, devoted, and faithful, Rose is also slightly contrarian. We both love to be a little different, a tad unique πŸ™‚

We had casually gone ring shopping a long time ago and also in other conversation Rose had mentioned that she liked tension set rings. I had to be sure, so I enlisted the help of Erin, one of Rose’s college friends. During a little vacation Rose and some of her friends took in San Diego, Erin steered them to a ring store, narrowed down the field, and reported the results back to me.

Excellent!… except that wasn’t enough info. So I dragged Rose to a few stores to look at different rings and to make sure I knew what she wanted. When we had finally narrowed it down, I was pleasantly surprised: the specific tension setting she wanted would only accommodates a 0.50 carat diamond max. (for all the guys reading out there, join me in a collective “nice!” & *high-five* )

Then I was unpleasantly surprised. Not only are there only a few manufacturers of tension set rings in the world, but the specific style Rose wanted was especially difficult to make and pretty expensive. So I started my journey of finding the best diamond, picking a jeweler to have it sent to the manufacturer, and waiting for the ring to come in.

In the meantime, plenty to do!

I had to get permission from her parents of course so I gave them a call well in advance to get their blessing. Check!

I also had to talk with my parents. My dad and grandpa made it easy, when we visited them in Shanghai, my grandpa was very direct: “when are you guys getting married?” I assumed that was a affirmative. Later my mom visited me in San Francisco and we chatted too. Check!

Finally, to plan the actual engagement event.

I knew I couldn’t just do the cliche (take her out to dinner, have them hide the ring in the desert, and have the string quartet pop out of the background right as I drop to one knee). All our friends had done things that were so much more elaborate.

I had originally thought I could do it in San Francisco, but it took so long to get the ring (almost 3 months for the entire process!) that summer was coming to a close before I got all my stuff together. Then came the perfect opportunity: Rose’s friends from college, Gene and Sharon, were getting married in Houston and all of her friends would be there.

I again enlisted the help of Erin and we devised a “texas reunion after wedding brunch” which would be the cover for my proposal. Tip for guys: enlist Erin to help you – she’s awesome! Erin helped scope out locations, put together the guest list, and ran interference all without breaking a sweat.

We picked a place at Erin’s sister’s suggestion (La Strada restaurant in Houston) and had everything set. During the planning, we had to let a few people in on it but almost no one knew and no one spilled the beans either πŸ™‚

So we had a great time at Gene and Sharon’s wedding the night before and the day was upon me.

Obstacle number one: getting Rose to get up and get ready to go to the brunch without being suspiciously nervous. This proved difficult, but we did get there eventually (an hour late).

Obstacle number two: bringing the ring (which came in a HUGE box) without letting Rose see it. This was accomplished by my extremely baggy cargo shorts. Although it required a bit of elbow grease to get the box in and out of my pocket.

Obstacle number three: setting everything up with the restaurant staff. Right after we got to the restaurant, I said I had to go to the bathroom. I took the chance to talk with the manager and other staff to get things set.

Another interesting side note we found out later: La Strada (the restaurant we were at) is well known in Houston for being the place you go after getting totally drunk the night before to have brunch and then proceed to get hammered again. Thus, the restaurant had a DJ playing music and two full service bars. :O

So everything was set! Here we go!

The main event!

Here’s the play by play:

  • A little early, the waiter came out with a huge platter of champagne. Everyone at the table (aside from Erin and I) was like: “what the?” Erin grabbed her camcorder and I was like: “it’s showtime!”
  • Halfway through passing out the champagne, the waiter dropped the remaining half of the champagne glasses and it was everywhere. :O No worries, the show must go on!
  • I had prepped Vincent (one of Rose’s photographer friends) the night before and told him to bring his Canon 10D. I now gave him the signal
  • I signaled the DJ to turn down the music
  • Rose had been mingling at the other end of the table, so I asked her to come over next to me
  • I delivered a speech which I had practiced in the car. As I started, everyone realized what was going on. Rose and some of her friends started crying
  • I struggled for a little bit to get the massive ring box out of my pocket.
  • I got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes.
  • I actually didn’t know what to do next until someone told me to put the ring on her finger.
  • Champagne and pictures followed.
  • The DJ came over and we took a round of kamikaze shots with him
  • Case closed!

After the brunch, Vincent took some engagement photos of us in the surrounding area. They turned out really well:

Thanks Vincent!

And that was it. We were now engaged.

Longest… blog post… evar!


i forgot to wear the engagement ring today andΒ a number of people called me out on it.Β  oops!Β  (i actually realized too on the way to the train this morning but would have missed the train if i turned around..and then was secretly hoping no one would notice)

oh well, be more mindful tomorrow morning…hehe.Β  sorry mark! πŸ™‚

Trying out Journler

I’m trying out this tool I found out about on Lifehacker, Journler. Not quite sure what it’s all about yet, but it seems to have blog integration. Let’s see if this works…

Wow, people are finding our blog :)

Of course, I guess I should’ve expected that since I switched my FeedBurner feed to point here and I’m also importing it to my Facebook Notes…

Saw a headline on fishbowlLA about our new blog: Mark Jen Getting Hitched, Rather Than Separated, Which is Nice, Considering His History. It’s pretty funny since when we got engaged Facebook actually listed us as “no longer in a relationship” due to an interesting bug.

The day we got engaged, I got online and changed Rose and I’s status to “engaged”. However, she had to accept that before it became official of course. However, as soon as I set that status, it seemed to have removed our “in a relationship” status. That change got propagated through Facebook’s news feed feature and soon everyone was sending their condolences and asking us how we broke up. Humorously ironic considering that we had actually just gotten engaged!

A few hours later, when Rose got to her computer she accepted the “engaged” status request and all was fixed. Although it seemed that the “engaged” status change wasn’t as interesting as the “no longer in a relationship” news feed item since it seemed like a lot more people saw that one :O

Any FB employees out there want to fix this funny bug? πŸ˜€

yay a new blog!

after years of wondering why mark bought this domain, he finally set up a joint blog for us. i actually thought that he was going to use this blog to propose to me, so i used to check this domain regularly…just in case πŸ˜›

we are still planning on blogging about our engagement and posting the corresponding pictures. stay tuned and come visit this new blog for upcoming details for our wedding! πŸ™‚