Love & Vino: How We Met

Hey everyone, this is Ashleigh. We are only one day away from Thanksgiving! This is when we all start thinking hard about turkey brine recipes, pie plans, and how to stave off political debate at the dinner table. Well, I’d like to take a moment and tell you what I’m thankful for, and at the same time give you a glimpse into the love story behind Tansey Reviews. Here goes.


So. Some of you have figured out by now that Eric and I love beer and wine. It was one of the first things that we bonded over, way back in the day. Picture this: It’s December in Tallahassee, Florida. Five days before Christmas. Eric’s best friend is marrying my best friend. We meet here, in the company of mutual friends, during pre-wedding festivities. I am in the wedding, dressed in a lovely red satin dress with a black lace flower in my hair. Eric is wearing his army dress uniform, which eventually dwindles down to just the pants and a Ron Paul t-shirt, and now there is a tie wrapped around his head. The wine flows, the music keeps us dancing, there is a slight chill in the air (Florida, remember). By the way, here is some proof:


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Fast forward two days. I am back home at my parents’ house in Jacksonville. Eric and I have been texting. He is back in Jacksonville, too! At his parents’ house! That, it turns out, is off of the same road as my parents’ house. What?! We hang out together, go to the movies.


Now it’s Christmas day. My parents invited Eric over for dinner while we were all at the wedding, so he is heading over now. But wait, he cut open his arm while opening a present, he needs stitches! Who ya gonna call? A nurse who lives halfway between our two houses, Mrs. McKinney! He tells me this and I am floored. Do you mean Tammy McKinney? Mother to Josh, Molly, and Hannah? Hannah was my best friend in college! Josh was your best friend growing up?!




Many, many of our conversations went like this, in those early days. I was homeschooled, but all of my friends went to the same high school that Eric did. Some even knew him then, still know him now! We had just never happened to cross paths. A great friend of mine in high school, who I later dated for a short time, played Little League baseball with Eric when they were 10 years old. My first ever boyfriend, it turns out, worked on a local tv show with Eric right after they both finished high school. We both went to Murray Hill Theater for swing dancing night and various concerts. We even attended the local community college at the same time. I actually remember seeing fliers for school events that Eric posted in the cafeteria as student body president (no, I’m not kidding about that). Talk about fate 😉



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And now, to tie in the wine. The first night Eric and I hung out together (with tons of friends who were in town for pre-wedding festivities, shout out to the Wesolowskis!), we went on a beer run. We bought beer, sure, but I wanted wine, too. Eric grabbed a bottle of Cycles Gladiator, claiming it was his favorite wine under $10. We shared it by the campfire, back at the party house. Delicious.




Back in Jax, way before we were actually dating, we went to a few wine tastings around town. Drank a lot of wine with my parents. Drank a lot of wine with the McKinneys. It was a marvelous time.





A few months later, my family moved to Tampa. Eric and I were pretty sure we wanted to start dating, so he moved down there, too. (Insert mental image of very happy Ashleigh.) He was still in the Army, and took a job with the Honor Guard performing flag presentations at Sarasota National Cemetery not far from Tampa. He moved in with his best army buddy, Tony, and Tony’s son, Bailey. After a few weeks, he asked my dad if he could start dating me—Davidson house rules. We had so much fun in Tampa! Our friends were some of the best people on earth. (Shout out to Eileen, Jade, Britt, and so many more!)





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Then, I applied to grad school at NCSU, and got in. I was ready to leave Florida. Eric got out of the army, albeit at my very selfish and unreasonable request, which thankfully turned out alright. I love you, babe. He went from an 8-years-in-the-army salary to….minimum wage working at Total Wine plus waiting tables at a local grill. Talk about love, and devotion, and the most selfless nature ever. I had a full time course load, plus teaching, and a part time job at a French bistro. We were both working hard, but were very happy to be together.

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And here we are in May of 2011. I am almost finished with my first year in grad school. Eric wants to buy a house in Clayton, a small town 15 minutes from Raleigh. He finds the cutest little house on two acres, with a creek running through the side yard and ten fruit trees on the property. The night before the closing, I come home from work to find two boxer puppies sitting on my sofa…PURE HAPPINESS. We named them Sweet Josie and Ellie Brown—after two local beers, in case you were wondering 😉

That next day, the puppies came with us to close on the house. Then they followed us around the property, chasing bugs and rolling around in the blooming flowers. That was on a Friday.



Sunday morning, I worked brunch at the bistro. It was hectic, as usual, but I came back to the new house in a great mood. Eric has set up a picnic down by the creek. He has cheese, crackers, blackberries picked fresh from the backyard, and a chilled bottle of Gruner Veltliner. We watch the creek water flowing past, chat about the beautiful day. Then he casually mentions how great the weather would be for a motorcycle ride.

“Oh yes!” I exclaim. “We should go on a ride today!”

“We can’t”, he says slyly. “I sold my motorcycle.”image2-3

I laugh. “That’s a good one!”

He repeats, “I sold my motorcycle.”

I stare at him. “What? Why?”

He turns around, grabs something from under the picnic blanket. It is a tiny, red velvet box.

“I had to buy this.” He says.

He opens the box. Inside is a beautiful, sparkling diamond ring. It is perfect.

“Will you marry me?” He asks.

For the record, we got married at a vineyard.


I will never, ever, ever, be more thankful for anything in life than I am for this man. I am so lucky to call him my husband. He is mine forever, and I would be such a different person if I had never met him; he has made be better every day, since the day we met. We have a beautiful life together, two beautiful children, sincere and loving friends, and a wildly happy marriage. I couldn’t ask for more. Thanks, Eric.