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(Image: Karen Kirsch Photography).

Documenting Love: Kayla & Justin's Story

Welcome to our Documenting Love series where we capture people's love stories through photos and the written word. This may be one of our favorite weekly series! Check out the gallery and read the couples love story below. Keep in mind that we ask the couples to answer the questions separately so we can draw parallels between their experiences and, you know, say a collective, "Ahhhhhhh!" If you or someone you know wants to be featured in this series, please get in touch with us, hello@seattlerefined.com.

Kayla
I remember seeing Justin for the first time at a bar in Oklahoma City. He was wearing this dorky graphic tee with a stoic yellow lab on the front. His hair was kind of slicked back. When I learned where he was from, I remember thinking, "Yeah, you look like you're from California."

Justin
I just joined Teach for America and as part of our orientation, we were invited to a group dinner with alumni in the region. Because we were both vegetarians, I was lucky enough to be going to dinner with her. On the way, she drove, and I acted as the navigator. That dinner marked the beginning of our friendship.

Kayla
July 2013 in Oklahoma City, we were both placed there in the same teaching program. We were both part of a close-knit friend group, and were just friends for almost the entire first year. On our flights home from Christmas break (mine to Seattle, his to LA), we shared the first leg of the flight together to Denver. We talked nonstop the whole time, and had a drink together on our layover. Something about our relationship changed on that flight, and I remember thinking I had a little crush on my friend. We didn't start dating until months later.

Kayla
I'm proud of how he seeks to learn and understand other perspectives. He pushes me in my thinking, and he pushes himself. I think that's important.

Justin
I'm proud of everything she's accomplished in such a short time. She has a growth mindset that's infectious and she pushes me to always do more. She never ceases to amaze me in what she can achieve.

Justin
I don't know if I can explain the exact moment, but I remember thinking on the plane home for Christmas that I could spend my life with her. I wouldn't have said it then, but I think that's what love is. After that flight I looked for excuses to spend time with her.

Kayla
When we left Oklahoma and re-located to my home state of Washington, Justin told me he was ready to get married, but I wasn't quite ready yet. He told me the ball was in my court, so I'd have to propose. I laughed and told him there's no way I would do that. A few months later, on our annual cabin trip, I surprised him with a proposal. I don't think he was expecting it.

Justin
I had known for a while that I wanted to marry her. But the timing never seemed right, because I was living in Portland getting my master's degree and she was in Tacoma, teaching. I promised myself that I would propose as soon as I finished my degree and moved up there. It was something we had talked about. I never expected that in December 2016, on our quiet cabin trip, that she would surprise me with a proposal. On our first night of the cabin trip, it was snowing outside, and we exchanged Christmas gifts, she brought out this handmade wood box and I knew that something special was inside. When I opened it, I found a large scrapbook with some of our best memories captured inside. It wasn't until I reached the last page and read her note asking to marry me, that I realized what was happening.

Kayla
He brings me perspective in simple and difficult moments. He balances my up-tight/over-the-top/planner side, and reminds me not to overthink life. He's my calm.

Justin
She makes everything special. From the smallest, most mundane things, to the most special and important moments of our life. Not a single minute in a day is wasted with her.

Kayla
He never strays from his values. He prioritizes quality time and experiences over material things, and never buys or wants anything for himself. He talks about his family every day, and treats mine like his own.

Justin
She's passionate about the work she does and the people she shares her life with.

Kayla
The sexiest thing about Justin is probably his dance moves.

Justin
Her brain is the sexiest thing about her.

Kayla
My favorite ritual of ours is cooking dinner. I think our best times are kitchen times. He's also a pretty incredible road trip partner.

Justin
My favorite ritual is cooking a nice meal together, and sipping wine on the patio.

Photos by Karen Kirsch Photography.

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