She’s got the 6 carat Harry Winston

Subtract a few carats and the Harry Winston part…but yes, there’s a ring on my finger! (Well, two now – but this is about the engagement rock)


I met my now-husband Ben in college, at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s a four-year military institution where students are called “cadets,” wear uniforms, are tested on fitness and military knowledge, and graduate as Air Force officers. Because of the school’s tough military nature, each cadet is assigned a sponsor family. The sponsors are nice, local families who take in cadets to do laundry, cook, and let them sleep (aka, REAL LIFE ANGELS). Ben and I had the same sponsor family and were collegiate athletes, so we met through those avenues.

We started dating in November of his senior year and began our long distance relationship in May 2015. Ben was assigned to contracting at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. I planned to graduate in 2016, move to Tucson, and go from there, but I was assigned a career field that didn’t have a place in AZ. Long story short…our “one-year” LDR turned into a 3-and-a-half-year roller coaster.


The weirdest part was – we got married somewhere in the middle of all the long distance. WHA? “Are you guys crazy??” Well…yes and no. Due to our (very different) jobs, Ben and I had to work HARD to get the same base – and frankly, the Air Force doesn’t care if you and your ‘Significant Other’ are stationed together. But turn that S.O. into a spouse, and they’re on your side! So six months after my graduation (a year and a half into long distance) Ben and I started talking Court Wedding. 

We had to be married on paper to be stationed together, and agreed not to have a “fun wedding” until we lived in the same place. But still – step 1 of ANY wedding, courthouse or otherwise, is an engagement.


Cue the google searches of “how big is 1 carat,” “engagement ring 3-month salary rule” (which is BS, btw), “what are the four Cs,” “gold vs rose gold,” “ring shapes,” etc. After looking at a million different styles, I was fairly set on the following:

  • Solitaire diamond
  • Round
  • Thin band
  • Yellow gold

You’re like, wow Riley, so decisive and so simple! I’m impressed! Just wait…are you ready for the most millennial thing of all time? During my 85th straight hour of scrolling through Pinterest, I found a ring that I absolutely loved. Three hours later, I figured out where it was from…and guess. where. that. was.


Specifically, Scottsdale, Arizona.

More specifically, ONE HOUR FROM BEN’S HOUSE! Is that fate OR IS THAT FATE (because fate revolves around fat engagement diamonds… obviously)


In September 2017, I visited Ben and we took a nice shopping trip to Schubach Jeweler’s. It took exactly 45 minutes to pick out The Ring – which wasn’t the exact version I picked on pinterest, or even yellow gold (surprise!) Once I saw it on my hand AND with a wedding band, I went with white-gold simplicity. We also chose to purchase a pure-grown, lab diamond instead of its mined counterpart, which relieved cost AND my conscience (50% because I had heard about blood diamonds, 50% because if I lost it, I’d survive). If you’re interested, you can find out more about the lab-grown here!

Ben was just relieved the day ended quickly and we didn’t break the bank. Score.


Once the ring shipped to him, Ben WOULD NOT STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!!!! It is so typical – there’s no such thing as surprises with him, he’s the mosy practical person in the world. We planned to see each other for New Year’s in California…so I knew the question was coming.

And I also KNEW it would happen at our super fancy dinner reservation, at a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the coast, in the cutest little outfit I had ready. No WAY it would happen on the morning hike, in my sweats and ratty hair…