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(Image: Alexandra Celia / Seattle Refined)
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Documenting Love: Randi & Josh'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 Randi and Josh - living and loving life as an engaged couple in Seattle.

Josh
I remember seeing Randi for the first time. It was a Memorial Day weekend party on Lake Chelan. She caught my eye instantly, but she was dating my little brothers friend at the time and I didn’t want to be the creepy older guy hitting on the hot college girl. So I knew I would have to wait.

Years would pass before we’d meet again. I was living in Spokane and visiting my brother and some friends in Seattle. We went to the usual bar, Shelter, for some drinks and to shamelessly hit on girls. The night went on as most bar nights do. Until the conversation I was straining to hear over the music with my buddy at the bar drew my attention to this beautiful girl leaning against the wall at the other end of the bar. I was struck with how beautiful she was. She was fidgeting with her purse strap that ran across her chest and as I stared at her forgetting the current conversation completely my friend turned around and asked “do you know her?” I replied, “ I know her name is Randi, and I am going to go talk to her."

Having not really known her I didn’t know what to say, but an hour into our conversation I found that I couldn’t stop smiling, and that talking to her was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. There was instant attraction there and I,for the first time in a while, actually enjoyed talking to someone at a bar. Foolishly I didn’t ask for her number, maybe it was the fact that I didn’t live in town or she was so beautiful that I was thrown off, or perhaps I didn’t have enough liquid courage to ask her. Either way I was able to use the only means I had to contact her, the ever so smooth 3 a.m. Facebook message, Hail Mary. Something to the regard of, “Like I said - you’re beautiful." I never got a response to that one but I had some hope. I had invited her to a party on the beach the next day. I honestly didn’t think she’d come but to my surprise on a raining Seattle summer day she came walking across the beach solo with a cornhole board in hand. I tried to play it cool and not be too eager. I foolishly didn’t approach her until hours later when I turned around from playing a volleyball game and noticed that she was leaving.

I ran over to her and we starting talking. I was trying to be smooth and told her a real gentleman would help her carry her stuff to her car and then I turned to walk away. Thankfully she was like “Hey! Aren’t you going to be a gentleman?” Thanks to her patience I came to my senses and carried her things to her car. I felt nervous but also very much at ease around her. Everything about her was calming and even though my heart was racing and my mind was searching for the right thing to say i felt so comfortable talking to her. I recall doing a fist pump when I finally got her number not long after and that’s where it all started for me and the love of my life.

Randi
Josh and I had originally met about seven years ago through his brother, but we never had much of a conversation due to him being a cute older boy and me being in a relationship. Then, a few years back in July, my girlfriends and I went out to good ol’ Shelter in Ballard, the land for singles. Josh was in town visiting from Spokane. The evening was a little blurry after some tequila shots but I’m pretty sure we talked for over an hour standing at the end of the bar. I remember saying goodnight to him and thinking to myself how nice our conversation was; that I hadn’t truly enjoyed speaking with someone like that in quite some time.

So, when Josh Facebook messaged me at 3 a.m. saying “Like I said, you’re beautiful” and he “hoped to see me at his brother’s beach party at Golden Gardens the next day” I didn’t respond.

Still, the next day when all my girlfriends were too tired to go to the beach, I made the decision to go alone because I wanted the chance to talk with him more. Heavy corn hole set in tow, I made my way to the party. Without knowing too many people, I hoped Josh would come over and talk with me after pausing his “major skills” at the volleyball net. But, to my frustration, Josh didn’t even acknowledge me until I was leaving! He ran over in the sand and said a “real gentleman” would help me carry my corn hole set back to the car. We started laughing about some other things and talked about our plans for that night. Then Josh said goodbye and started to walk away. I had to yell at him “EXCUSE ME. Aren’t you going to be a gentleman and carry this to my car??”

From that moment on, Josh and I talked long distance until he moved to Seattle a few months later. The rest is history.

Josh
I am proud of Randi everyday. I am proud of the woman she has become. I am proud of her positivity and her ability to take on new and scary things in life. I am proud of her for taking on the most intense and heart wrenching thing that a person can experience (the loss of her father) and still find happiness, love, and positive things in it all. She is the strongest and most inspiring person I’ve ever met.

Randi
Josh can put his mind to any project and he won’t rest until it is accomplished. I am proud of who he is as a person, how thoughtful and kind he is to his family and friends, and of who he is in his professional life. He is in sales and chooses to be honorable and honest to his customers. He wins people over with his big heart. Josh will never let you down, professionally or personally. I am most proud of who he has been as my boyfriend, and now my fiancĂ©. I’m sure my friends get tired of hearing the praises I give of Josh and the things he does for our relationship.

Josh
Looking back on our relationship it is easy to see when I started falling for Randi, although at the time it wasn’t so clear to this long time bachelor set in his single ways. I knew I was attracted to her and liked her right away. After all she’s gorgeous and amazing. But it wasn’t until a a trip with my family to the Christmas lighting festival in Leavenworth that the feelings of love really came. It was a romantic weekend getaway mixed with family fun. I just loved the way she interacted with my family. They are a loud and fun group and she rolled with them all weekend. It became very evident all the things we had in common, and that we laughed and had fun doing everything together. Looking back now I know that I began to truly fall for her then. The girl of my dreams that I had imagined for so long was starting to come into focus, and she was Randi.

Randi
I knew I wanted to be with Josh from the moment I returned from that beach party. I got home, Taco Time in hand, and my girlfriends asked how it went. Other than Josh ignoring me most the day, I told them that I was totally twitterpated. One of my girlfriends made a joke about walking down the aisle with Josh’s younger brother, because they had been known to butt heads. It’s funny reflecting on that day, and how I barely even knew Josh but still saw that I wanted to spend all my time with him. Now, each moment I’m around him, I love him more than the last.

Josh
There are lots of components that set our relationship apart. The depth of our friendship, our passion, our communication, our love. The way we approach life and what we want out of our future. I never knew that two hearts and souls could be so in sync with each other. She is my best friend and the love of my life and the only relationship that will ever trump our relationship today is our relationship tomorrow.

Randi
I think until they find their “person” everyone can say they had difficult past relationships. Some issues may have been with the other person, and some issues from ourselves. With Josh, I was in constant fear of him getting mad at me for little things. Constantly waiting to be reamed for staying out late with my girlfriends or cancelling plans. But when that never happened, I felt this guard around me slowly drop.

I realized a relationship didn’t need to be dramatic in order for you to feel passionate about someone. We’ve had our ups and downs in the beginning of the relationship while we figured out if this was going to last but the moment Josh said, “I love you”, our relationship has always come first.

Josh
I could go into pages of details about every part of her body, her personality and her little quirks. She’s sexy, surprising, and intelligent. Even her crying sad face is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. She’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a woman but what attracts me to her the most is the goodness within her heart. She exudes such a love and positivity that it’s impossible to not be attracted to her. Also she has the most beautiful eyes, hair, lips, cheeks, smile, body, personality, quirks, a sexy butt and curves that’d stop traffic. So ya, pretty much everything.

Randi
I am attracted to his smile, gorgeous blue eyes (or green depending what he’s wearing), his build, and how safe I feel being in his arms. His wild hair from the moment we wake up, to his snuggly face the moment we go to sleep. I love him in his scrubs from work, when he dresses up for a night out, or a casual afternoon. But I find myself most attracted to Josh when he has his cowboy boots and work gear on because I know this means he is relaxed and doing what he loves most; helping on the farm and horseback riding. The first time I saw Josh run up a hill on a horse, as I sat at the bottom scared for my life, my heart almost leapt from my chest.

He is passionate about everything he does in life, and I don’t know how someone can’t be attracted to that. Even the excitement he got installing our TV in our new home. I can’t help but get butterflies around him.

Josh
We communicate, we stay patient with each other and really work to see every situation from each other’s point of view. Above all we always support each other and have each other's back, no matter what.

Randi
Josh and I have handled many kinds of difficult situations together but the biggest was him helping me get through sudden the loss of my father. This was a monumental moment in our relationship. I knew that if Josh could soothe me in the loss of my father, we could get through anything together.

Josh and I have made a point to always communicate our feelings, no matter how crazy they sound and then we talk through it. He also says we are a “pro-crying” family, so tears are never held back. We are both level headed so when one of us gets caught up in life stresses, the other is pretty good at bringing them back down to earth. And then the role reverses and we start all over again.

Josh
Randi kisses me goodnight and good morning everyday and tells me she loves me. This makes any day, no matter how stressful, filled with that much more joy. She’s amazing at reminding me about this thing or that thing and keeping my mind organized, which I desperately need. She fills out social calendar with fun and exciting things that don’t always include sitting on the couch watching tv (my go to). She takes the stress out of my day/life by being near me. Her presence is calming and a 5 minute nap or snuggle in her arms makes all the other seemingly important and stressful things fade away. With her I can handle anything. She’s my strength and my reason for getting up each day.

Randi
Josh comes from a family of long and strong relationships. His parents have been married 36 years, and his older brother and his wife have been together for 18 years. Josh has always said that their relationships have been successful by living to make the other person happy. This only works when there is full trust in the relationship. If I live my days to make Josh’s better, and he lives his days to make my life better, then we end up making each other the happiest we’ve ever been. It’s the little things, like bringing a glass of water over for the other person when you sit down. Or rubbing their feet when they’ve had a tough day. Knowing they would do it for you in return. This reflects bigger life decisions too.

Josh
If I could name three ways we find meaning in our relationship it would be food, naps (snuggles), and our people. We connect over many things including travel and music, but primarily all of our fun is spending time with our people, tasting or making delicious food which we get very excited about and when it’s just us we connect over a good snuggle/sleep-in/nap. We love life together and we connect on so many things but if we could hang out with our friends eat delicious food and take a nap in between. We’d be happy to the core.

Randi
Josh and I come from different upbringings, he grew up hunting and riding horses, and I grew up in the city. We have found so much enjoyment in sharing our interests with each other. Josh has opened an entirely new world to me. We also make sure to feed energy into common interests we already had. While enjoying these activities together, conversations are sparked about what deeper things we want out of life. Family, and the type of legacy we leave behind.

Our relationship could not have grown if it wasn’t for a strong moral base and same outlook on the world. We understand the importance of success, I don’t think anyone can say that they don’t want a big house to raise a family in. With Josh, I don’t have to be ashamed of wanting nice things. We can accomplish anything if we work together. But at the end of the day, how we treat each other, and our experiences define us.

Josh
We enjoy finding tasty new drinks, appetizers or food, finding new and fun bars, comfy or cool new items for our home. Or binge watching our guilty pleasure shows. These are daily and weekly things that we love to do but my favorite ritual is kissing each other goodnight every night and every morning.

Randi
Never stop dating!! It has been one of the best things Josh and I have established. We love trying new restaurants or planning new adventures. Even if it’s a night in, you must make time for each other. That is how you stay someone’s romantic interest, and not their roommate.

Make sure you give your undivided attention to hear about the other persons day. Take time to decompress together. We also try go to bed at the same time almost every night. I don’t let Josh fall asleep until we say, “I love you” and he kisses me goodnight.

Even when we are apart, Josh and I make a point to tell the other person we miss and love them. I could spend every minute with Josh and never get tired of being around him. I guess that’s pretty important in the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with. Most of all, I know he'll be the best father to our future children, and the type of person I want our kids to grow up to be. I wish there was more of Josh Schmidt to go around, but thankfully I get to call him mine.

Josh
Randi and I grew up 1/2 mile away from each other every summer of our youth. She at her vacation lake house and me on the mountain just above her at my family’s ranch. We’ve been within a few 100 miles of each other our entire lives our paths overlapping here and there until finally they crossed at the right moment.

Randi is my best friend, my love, my everything. I still think I dreamt her up in every day dream and romantic thought I’ve ever had. She is the manifestation of the woman meant for me. She completes me in every way I can think of and all the ways I didn’t know existed. I waited 31 years to find her and I can’t wait to spend the next 71 years by her side.

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