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We had both been working at a commercial bank and it was Kristine’s second week on the job and when I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous woman walking toward me near the coffee machine. I swallowed my nerves and said hello! (Image: Alexandra Celia / Seattle Refined).
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Documenting Love: Kristine & Nick's Story

Note from Seattle Refined: We could not be more excited that photographer/blogger/genius Alexandra Celia has joined our team here at Seattle Refined. She has devoted her career to documenting love in its purest and most original form - which you'll see in her photos. Every now and then she will share her work with couples: their love story, their commitment, their passion....and of course, their photos. Think of her as our Love Guru. She loves love, and is here to share it with the rest of us. Next up, the story of Nick & Kristine - living and loving life as an engaged couple in Washington D.C.

Nick
Kristine and I met unexpectedly. We had both been working at a commercial bank and it was Kristine’s second week on the job and when I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous woman walking toward me near the coffee machine. I swallowed my nerves and said hello! We had an immediate banter going and I knew I had to get to know her better. She was witty, cute, candid and continued to make me smile even after she left the room. At the end of the week our respective teams joined forces for Friday afternoon beers and as we left Kristine and I shared a long look that said it all. That Sunday Kristine invited me for coffee which turned into me joining her for grocery shopping and moments after she drove off I knew I had to ask her on a proper date. We scheduled dinner for later that evening and have never looked back!

Kristine
We met during my first week at work, in the office kitchen. He was washing an apple and I was trying to wash my peach. I was really hungry and he was taking forever, but then he turned around and I think I might have instantly blushed. He was so tall and hot! I don’t recall what we talked about, I remember only how much he made me laugh, and how for the first time the stuffy corporate atmosphere seemed more bearable. I do remember asking him how old he was, however, and I maintain to this day that he totally lied about how young he was! Which is probably good because I never would have agreed to go out with him later on had I known the truth.

Nick
I am so proud of Kristine’s fearlessness to take on new challenges. These are things like career changes, wild recipes, distant travels into far off places and everything in between. Beyond that I am always amazed at how magnetic she is when she walks in a room. Kristine is famous for what I have deemed to be “medium talk” because small talk just bores her. It’s amazing to see the bond she can build with a stranger in such a short time.

Kristine
Nick commits himself 100% to everything in his life. To see how hard he works every day not only makes me really proud, but often gives me the energy to stick through things, like work, when it gets really tough.

Nick
There are so many moments that I can recall where I said to myself “wow, she is amazing!” They range from descending Old Rag, our first hike, to watching her sleepily drive across the Bay Bridge on our way home from the beach and the moment Queen came on she broke out wildly in song. There are moments where she cared for me while I was sick, bought me my first orchid and helped me move and didn’t leave after finding all 25 grey t-shirts. There was this one moment which oddly sticks out, but we were in New York for a friend’s wedding and Kristine and I started the day with a lovely breakfast in a French cafe, met up with some friends of mine and then we headed back to the AirBnB. We opened a bottle of champagne, sat on the fire escape and just enjoyed the moment in a way that led me to believe we could share moments like that for the rest of our life.

Kristine
I knew I never wanted to be without Nick when I stopped fantasizing about moving to Thailand to be a diving instructor and started thinking about what lawnmower I wanted to buy for a yard I didn’t even own yet. I was always so afraid to “put down roots” or get too comfortable with any one place or person for fear that it wouldn’t last. I think Nick had to tell me about 1,000 times that he wasn’t going anywhere (he always says “you’re stuck with me”), and one day I realized I believed him, and had for some time. The sense of security that he has brought to my life both makes anything seem possible while also making everything really simple.

The first time I told him I loved him was while we were fighting over a chicken sandwich that we picked up after walking back late at night from some club in Belgium (the sandwich had French fries in it and I’m still upset I didn’t get any). We were definitely not at our best, and I was mad at Nick for not letting me eat while walking in heels. But then I just stopped, looked at him, and realized that he was actually really worried about me hurting myself on the cobblestone streets! I started laughing and before I realized it I had blurted out “I LOVE YOU!”

Nick
My life with Kristine has resulted in me finding something I wasn’t entirely sure was out there for me. Kristine has taken the time to find out who I really am. She gets mad at me when I fake laugh and begs me to just be myself. It is so incredible to find someone who only wants you to be who you are.

Kristine
I think the thing that makes this relationship different from others is how intentional we are about wanting to be together. We learn and grow together every day and we are building this life together with purpose. Also, we just have a lot of fun! Even grocery shopping with Nick is fun!

Nick
As our relationship has gone on Kristine’s attractions have changed for me. At first I found her to be fun, intelligent, challenging and stunningly gorgeous. As time has worn on these all still remain, but new attractions have presented themselves. Things like the way she laughs, the smile she cracks first thing in the morning, her take no BS attitude, love of candles and British murder mysteries, her talents in the kitchen and her curious mind. It is amazing to know that what attracts me to her today will only continue to evolve and that we have this elasticity in our life and relationship which allows for us to change without losing attraction.

Kristine
I love watching Nick interact with other people, especially my friends and family. He’s so thoughtful, and gives his full attention to whomever he is speaking with. He engages with people in a way that puts everyone at ease and makes me proud to be by his side. I end up learning new things about people I’ve known my whole life.

Nick
As our relationship has grown we have learned so much about one another. About our pasts, our fears, our goals and the little things that make us tick. We work hard to recognize why the other is feeling or reacting a certain way. We often view our relationship as we view a muscle, something that needs to be worked out and conditioned. Good relationship habits build good relationships. We also both try to never just sweep some feeling away. Whether we address it immediately or down the road we always ensure that we satisfy the other in validating their feelings and finding closure.

Kristine
We get through difficult situations together because we know, no matter what, we’re going to be there for each other. That gives me the strength to get through anything. He’s the most comforting, sweet soul on earth but he’s also incredibly strong. I’m naturally kind of a pessimist and Nick is a total optimist, but when Nick says “it’s going to be okay” I really believe him.

Nick
When it comes to our daily life Kristine is the early riser. She is up, energetic and sets a happy tone each morning. We are sure to try and connect, even if only for the slightest moment, every day before work. It is things like this that Kristine reminds me of that makes life so special. She is constantly reminding me to take a moment and enjoy and be with myself rather than everything around me. She also does these amazing little things like act as if she is a bee around flowers that smell nice, mimic how a puppy walks in public places, and hugs me so tight at the end of the day. These things, all of these things, make my days and my life more enjoyable.

Kristine
Regardless of how much time Nick and I spend together (and we spend a lot of time together), we never ever take each other for granted. Every day he surprises me with some small gesture or thought. For example, even when he has a million things going on at work and he’s under a deadline, he’ll always take time to talk me through something or check off something that has to be done for the wedding. He’s the best partner. He’s also the goofiest dancer and no matter what kind of day I have had, dancing in the kitchen with him after work instantly makes me laugh!

Nick
We both care deeply about a few things; strong coffee, ample travel, quality food, and deep conversation. We sit at the table and eat dinner together almost every night, phones not allowed and the radio turned down so that NPR is just a faint noise in the background. We find so much shared meaning through being present with one another whether that involves running errands together, random drives, or just sitting in the kitchen reading the newspaper to Kristine while she bakes. We don’t so much force ourselves to do things where we find some mutual joy, rather we do most things with each other. When we first moved in together this meant living, commuting, working, and working out together. Many friends and colleagues thought we must be insane, but we really enjoyed it. As life has evolved we have less time together, but our focus has not changed. Be present in every moment we can spend together.

Kristine
I think we find a lot of shared meaning in our relationship by just listening to each other and trying really hard to understand what the other person is going through. I also think we both get easily stressed at work, but recognize that in each other and make a conscious effort to quiet the noise and stress of the rest of the world when we are together.

Nick
During the course of our relationship we have found so many little things we love to do together. Some have stuck, others are fleeting. We used to stop at a local café for coffee on Friday mornings before work and enjoy a leisurely entry into our Fridays. Now our Friday ritual is a bottle of wine and crudités in front of the fireplace. We share so many little rituals that are less deliberate and these are the beautiful ones in my mind. We currently live in a row house and share a tiny bathroom that we dance around one another every morning and every night with lots of affection. Many nights after we climb into bed, Kristine will cuddle up with me and we will do a crossword puzzle until one of us falls asleep. As we embark on a life together I have no fears and I know that Kristine and I will keep building a stronger relationship day by day. We will continue to find new things we love about one another and I take great comfort in knowing each morning I will wake up to that cheery sweet smile.

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