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February 13, 2015

Beauty and the Beard | {Shelbie}

February 13, 2015

In light of Valentine's Day this Saturday, I thought it would be appropriate to share the love story of Tad and I. We met in Stat 101 class in January 2014, while attending Iowa State University. Out of the 12 tables in the classroom, Tad and I just happened to sit right next to each other (in the back row of course). A month went by and I'll admit, I started to develop a little school-girl crush on this carefree, smooth-talker. Of course I had to gush about the "mysterious, hazel-eyed hunk" to all of my friends. Not knowing how to pursue him, I let one of my friends handle it for me. On a girl's night out, my friend Emily stole my phone and hit that dreaded friend request button on Facebook. About a week later, I received a Facebook message from you-know-who. We exchanged numbers and started seeing each other outside of class, just as friends.

The end of the semester was near and Tad was graduating in May. We had become pretty good friends, but with him leaving Ames, there was doubt in my mind that anything would ever evolve. We kept in touch here and there, but it wasn't until mid-June when Tad really reached out to me. We started talking more and more and eventually he asked me out on a first date. We met in downtown Des Moines, got a quick bite to eat at Mullets and enjoyed a beautiful sunset watching Manny Ramirez bring in the W for the Iowa Cubs with a home run hit! Although we were previously just friends, this felt like a true butterflies-in-the-stomach type of first date.

Things only got better after that! For the 4th of July, Tad invited me to go camping with him and some of his family and their friends at Red Rock Lake. We pitched a tent, roasted some hot dogs and cruised the lake, all while getting a good tan—what could be better!? Another highlight of July was on the 17th. It was already a great night with my friends at the Firefly Festival in downtown Ames, watching Frankie Ballard rock out—and then Tad surprised me. I received a text saying, "If I were a blonde girl at the Frankie Ballard concert, where would I be?" I didn't even have to smile; the happiness I was feeling was palpable. That night Tad asked me to be his girlfriend.

July came around and, of course, Tad and I planned on attending the summer country concert of the year in Iowa, River Ruckus. It just so happened that the very same weekend my parents were staying at a house on Lake Panorama (only 10 miles from the concert venue). We packed our boots and suits, and on Saturday the 26th we headed out west for a fun-filled weekend. This was the first time Tad was going to meet my family, and let's just say I was a bit nervous. Saturday morning/early afternoon was spent lounging in the sun until it was time to get fixed up to go ruckus around to some good, live country music. The weekend exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Not only did I get to spend a whole weekend with Tad, but my family got to meet him—and absolutely loved him!

August honestly came too fast, but it might have been our best month yet. For Tad, August equals the Iowa State Fair. He used to work at the fair every summer and his whole family attends almost every day of it. So, I had quite the fair experience with Mr. Allen. We attended a few free concerts together, regrettably digested 100 calories per cheese-ball and made so many great memories together. My favorite night of the week-long extravaganza was when Tad took me to see the Eli Young Band and Jake Owen! This is when I knew he was a keeper. As if August wasn't crazy enough, don't forget, Kali also got hitched! Tad attended as my oh-so-dapper date. I'm obviously biased, but I think he was the cutest guy in attendance (sorry, Zac!). This is the weekend Tad made a new best friend, Zeke (Megan's husband). They obviously got paired up to hang while the wedding party did wedding party things. Overall, it was a fantastic weekend. Tad was now officially loved by all of my extended family too!

photos by: Nikki Moore Photography

I'm sure some people might have thought it was just a summer fling, but it was—it is—the real deal. The end of August approached and I was not looking forward to going back to school. I wasn't quite ready to give up being able to see Tad whenever I wanted, but we made it work. Throughout the school year, we have both made the effort to drive and see one another. A 40-minute drive is all that stands between us, so we've got it pretty good. Currently, Tad and I are as happy as ever! I'll admit, I definitely chased after him in the beginning, but I guess it worked out in my favor, didn't it?

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