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On Love and the Internet

When I moved to Chicago three and a half years ago, the only person I knew was Greg, and we'd only known each other for a few months. I was well aware that moving to a big city where the only person I knew was a guy I was involved with, was a recipe for disaster, or at least for an unhealthy and codependent relationship.

I immediately came up with a plan to combat this problem, and it turned out to be one of my better ones. The idea was to email everyone I know and ask them if they have any friends in Chicago. I got a really fantastic response and was thrilled to find that my friends generally have good friends (seems obvious, right?).

So right away, that first month of living here, I started going on a series of what I called "blind-friend dates," where I met friends of friends in coffee shops or bars or for brunch. It was incredibly fun and I met some people that fall who I still see on a regular basis.

One of those people was a girl named Kate, and she actually wasn't the friend of a friend at all. Rather, the sister of a blog reader named Julie, whom I had never even met. Julie writes the fantastic and heartfelt blog The Eyes of My Eyes Are Open chronicling the adoption of her two children from Ethiopia, and she emailed me to say that I should meet her sister.

Why not? I was open to just about anything.

In an email Julie said, "Her name is Kate. She just got her MA in Choreography/Dance. I don't usually do this sort of thing, but I just have a feeling that you guys might become good friends."

Well, it's a really good thing that Julie suggested we meet, and it's a really good thing we did, because this weekend Kate got engaged to Greg's best friend, Tarek. That's right. The sister of a blog reader is going to marry my husband's childhood best friend. Pretty neat, huh?


(I took a whole set of photos the night they got engaged and am really proud of how they turned out.)

Kate and I hung out a lot that first fall. She didn't know a lot of people in Chicago either and we were both broke, so we spent at least one night a week drinking cheap red wine and watching bad reality television together. A few times Greg and Tarek joined us, and we all had dinner or went to a party together. It wasn't long before Kate and Tarek were going to dinner on their own.

And this past weekend he surprised her with a really creative proposal and a beautiful ring, and she said yes. Greg and I couldn't be happier for them. Seeing them on Saturday right after they got engaged made me so nostalgic for that time in my life that I had to look up my blog post about getting engaged. It's kind of sweet, yet embarrassing.

In a funny twist of events my cousin Ron also got engaged last weekend. He's a food and fashion photographer in Los Angeles and I am so thrilled to be living in the same city with him and his fiancee again soon.

I also can't wait to meet Kate's sister Julie once I'm back in California. I really owe that girl a toast to her match-making skills.

Ah, love. And the powers of the Internet.


  1. So exciting! (Expect a similar post with a photo pilfered from you on my blog). :) Can’t wait to meet you guys! Who needs when you have a blog?

    Comment by Julie on March 2, 2011 at 9:54 am

  2. This is a great story!! I’m in an area where I don’t know many people since neither of us are from here. I should try that “blind friend date” idea! I’m still waiting for a social networking site geared toward women trying to make friends with other women (and you can choose new mothers, etc. as an option, etc.) Wouldn’t that be cool? I’ll have to email Mr. Facebook about it.

    Comment by Megan on March 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

  3. So wonderful! You are just a powerful force of love that brings people together! The internet is just one of the tools in. your arsenal.

    Comment by on March 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

  4. I love hearing how people met and that is a great story!! Congratulations to the happy couple!! On a side note…you and your husband have beautiful eyes! Couldn’t help but notice when I was looking at your pictures!

    Comment by Chris on March 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

  5. Aw, thanks! When we first met, people used to comment on our eyes and always say — you should have kids together! Well, we did and she really does have beautiful eyes.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

  6. Aw, thanks Ashley! I really do like connecting people.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

  7. You should totally set up some blind friend dates! Where are you living? And yes, love your idea for a womens site like that. Also, have you ever tried They have some great stuff — especially mom groups.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

  8. Loved your post! Maybe you should start a matchmaking website!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm

  9. Awesome story – always good hearing when the power of the internet is used for good rather than evil!

    Comment by Richard @ Unifor on March 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

  10. So sweet! Funny to think how different many people’s lives might have been had you not decided to move to Chicago in the first place :)

    Comment by Sophie on March 4, 2011 at 1:49 am

  11. Right?! Yay!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 4, 2011 at 6:40 am

  12. Thats true! Hadnt thought of it that way.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 4, 2011 at 7:38 am

  13. I’m just west of Boston in MA. I’m actually pretty close to Nashua, NH. I’ll have to check into I’m always looking for Moms who are willing to meetup for a cocktail or the like somewhere in the evening while my husband stays with the kiddo. Haven’t found many takers yet! :)

    Comment by Megan on March 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

  14. Definitely check meetup! Good luck!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 6, 2011 at 7:45 am

  15. [...] where we attended two weddings and caught up with a lot of friends and family. The trip began with Kate & Tarek’s cosmopolitan Madison wedding and ended with the Anthropologie-inspired nuptials of Ashley & [...]

    Pingback by Claire Bidwell Smith » On Returning Home to LA on August 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

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