Q: When did you first meet and how?
A: Lily - We are both Marines and we met when I came back from Overseas. I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for 2 years and received orders for Twentynine Palms, CA. He had already been stationed in Twentynine Palms for 3 years when I arrived, before that also Okinawa. I had reservations about coming to this base because it is notoriously known for the desert heat and was the least pleasurable base to be stationed at because of its surroundings (or lack thereof!), especially when comparing to Marines who are stationed in San Diego.
I would have never thought I was going to meet the love of my life here. Our friendship sparked because of food! We are both Asian Americans, both Cambodian, both Marines, both sets of parents surviving the Khmer Rouge. We just had so much in common upon meeting, it was hard to stop talking to each other. We loved conversing about our culture and how we each dearly missed our mother's cooking. At first, it felt like we had absolutely everything in common but it was a different dynamic because I'm from the Bay Area whereas he is born and raised from Colorado.
It keeps our relationship interesting because even though our upbringing was similar, the places we grew up were very different! During the blooming of our relationship, we were still serving in the Military and still taking care of the responsibilities we had. It was amazing to have a support system and hard times weren't so hard because we had each other to lean on. It was so easy to fall in love with someone who started out as an amazing friend and I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with my other half.
Danny - We met at work.
Q: What about it made you choose this ring design to be the one?
A: Lily - I knew I wanted to be involved in the selection of my ring. My own mom absolutely hated her engagement ring and ended up changing it herself a year after she was married. She is a directional woman and assertive with what she wanted. I definitely get that from her and it played a part when I was browsing for my ring. I hated thinking that only the richest of the rich and the most famous can have that "huge rock" look. When I found the Grandeur with the cushion diamond basket, I knew as soon as my eyes laid on it. Whatever free time I had, I would be browsing through each catalog on F&B. I would have a gazillion tabs open, narrowing it down one by one in each category.
When I saw the Grandeur, I absolutely halted my search and instantly knew that is what I wanted. I'm not too creative, so I appreciate the vast catalog F&B has. It was fun too! I believe looking at all the different rings helped me gather what qualities I wanted. The Grandeur just wrapped everything I wanted into a nice package. I expressed to Danny that's what I wanted and he pushed back with a "You can't pick your own ring! I'll use this for inspiration through." My heart sank at the time, but he was playing the long game and set me up for an amazing proposal. I went with the max advertised 10mm cushion, I loved the FAB Cupid Moissanite because of the visible hearts & arrows, I told him I wanted max everything not knowing he was actually paying attention.
Danny - She knew what she wanted, picked it out on her own, but she didn't see it coming.
Q: What were the days leading up to the proposal like? (Feel free to be as detailed as possible about the event!)
A: Lily - I have been longing to get married to this man for 2.5 of the 3 years we knew each other. I know he wanted the same, but the circumstances and timing weren't right. We had priorities and frankly didn't have the money saved for rings and a wedding. We were focused on our Military Careers and I just felt a longing and anticipation for a long time. Finally, we both finished our enlistments with the Marine Corps.
We had been in 3 different homes, we have 3 children, and we had been living, breathing, cohabiting just like a married couple. We would just let it roll over if someone called us husband and wife because frankly, that's how we felt! I would mention to him how exciting it will be for us to finally be married and he would tell me he couldn't wait until I was his wife. He would tell me that it just wasn't the right time or we had to focus on other things and I agreed. Up until the very moment he proposed, he was still saying how we needed to be patient! This whole time he had been playing the slow, steady, and long game.
The proposal was amazing. I was in total shock. I knew he put in so much effort because I live to ruin my own surprises. The week earlier he tried to surprise me with a spa day but I got it out of him three days prior. I came home from work and there were rose petals on the floor. My first initial thought was that "Darn it, Leo (our 2-year-old son) must've made a mess! I have to clean this up." But I noticed the petals were smartly placed and they were trying to lead me on a path. I was annoyed because he was supposed to be ready with our son for us to go to a Sushi restaurant right after my workday.
I was calling out for Danny and Leo, Leo usually runs to me and hugs my legs yelling, "Mommy! Mommy!" The home was eerily quiet. I followed the rose petals into my room to find Leo sitting on the floor holding orange lilies and roses that led to my bed in the shape of a heart. Then my eyes laid on Danny, on one knee holding my ring in his hand, "Will you marry me?". I immediately starting crying and bawling. I didn't even answer his question, I just fell to my knees and hugged him. I was in total shock, he had been making excuses to drive to FedEx in North Palm Springs to pick up a package for himself. I never guessed it was actually my engagement ring.
Danny - Terrifying. I was hoping she wouldn't look at my phone and a Fire & Brilliance email popped up or I was scared she would see the email if I had accidentally left it open.
Q: How did you first hear about us? How was your overall experience with Fire & Brilliance?
A: Lily - I was feeling discouraged because I was looking for rings with that "fat/huge rock" look but I wasn't happy about the prices. I didn't love the idea of spending the amount for a house on a ring. I come from an Asian family background that says "Diamonds are everything, anything else is worthless." These are people that will take out loans for diamonds. I understand they are entitled to their own opinion and beliefs. But I didn't agree and I wanted to be financially sound and responsible.
Good ol' Google and comparing and contrasting different retailers, F&B was definitely the top listed in my opinion. I just appreciate how all the rings have amplifying information. They have high-quality videos and photos. You can really research the ring. The bulk of the surprise was actually seeing the ring I had envisioned for so long in real life, having it in person is what really shook me. I don't love the feeling I get when I walk into a jeweler. I just feel like a huge money sign to most of them.
F&B has a robust return/exchange policy, warranty policy, excellent customer service and provide many resources. Their YouTube channel is more educating than advertising and their Instagram is constantly posting and interacting with its audience. Their founder is a GIA graduate and certified jewelry designer. F&B has an amazing staff that is responsive and knowledgeable. I'm grateful to have them as a part of my journey.
Danny - She told me about F&B. Rachel was amazing in helping me the entire way.
5. If your partner was an animal of the wild, what would they be and why?
Lily: He would be a German Shepherd. Loyal to family, protective and will sacrifice themselves for others. Courageous and brave! Oops... that is not a wild animal but that is what I would say!
Danny - A panda. She's tired all the time, she's cute all the time, and she always wants to snack.