Love in the Arizona Desert
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Friday, March 03, 2017
By Carmichael Studios
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Love Stories…Illustrating real life, beauty & LOVE. {Kayleigh + Justin}

I am absolutely in love with this desert engagement session that took place in the Arizona desert, along the Salt River.  Kayleigh and Justin are relatively new to Arizona, so a desert session that started in the water and ended up with desert/mountain views became our adventure.  I am sure you will love this session, along with their love story, told by Kayleigh.

Justin joined the company that I was already working at about 2.5 years ago in Wilmington, DE.  I knew he had started but we didn't have much interaction at first.  By chance, we met formally at an offsite lunch.  He sat at my table and I thought he was really good looking and he loved my accent.  We only got to chat for about 30 - 45 minutes.  We went our separate ways and would occasionally see each other at the site that we worked.  We were cordial, but really nothing more than a Hi or Hello was exchanged between the two of us.  Then one day, I was asked to fill in on an interview panel.  I arrived before the candidate, and Justin looked pleasantly surprised to see me.  We again were cordial and exchanged small talk and soon after the candidate arrived and we started the formal interview.  I was so distracted, I asked the candidate the same question that Justin had just asked.  (Embarrassing....) About two weeks later, Justin announced that he was leaving the company and moving across the country to be closer to family.  I don't know why, but I was a little sad.  I sent him an email wishing him well and thought I'd never see him again.  Justin moved to Phoenix, AZ on December 8th, 2014 and I went on with my life.  On December 13th, 2014, after a cookie party that I attended in Center City, Philadelphia, I decided to go out in Manayunk.  By chance, Justin was there.  Since we were in a non-threatening environment we talked much more and I found that I really liked this guy.  We talked, danced, and drank until the bar closed and then walked home together and talked some more.  He invited me to attend a competition he needed to go to early the next morning.  Little did I know HOW early he actually meant.  At 5:45am (yes... AM) we drove to Downingtown to an Inline Speed Skating competition.  We hadn't even officially started dating and I met his StepMom, Sister, Dad (affectionately known as Jeffrey), and Brother... This was literally 8 hours after we had a real conversation.  My first conversation with my soon-to-be father-in-law was an absolute riot.  Justin was so embarrassed.   After the SkateMeet, Justin drove me back to my car that was still in the city, and asked if I was hungry and wanted to get lunch.  He was nervous to ask me but, I think I said yes before he finished his question.  We decided on a time and he met me back at my house.  We were both exhausted after talking most of the night, then getting up at the crack of dawn to go to the 'Skate Meet'.  Instead of going out, we ordered pizza and searched for a movie.  Little did he know, I am terrible at picking movies... Nor was I prepared to admit that yet.  We settled on a movie, the pizza arrived and we snuggled up on the couch.  I fell asleep almost immediately, and a few hours later I woke up to him watching football. He was leaving the next day to go back to Phoenix, and I was a bit gutted.  Before he left he made me promise I would come see him in Phoenix.  Within the next 48 hours I had booked not one, but two flights to Phoenix to visit him.


Over the next several months, I knew I had to look for opportunities to be closer, and eventually be in Phoenix.  I was attracted to Arizona State University and applied (very last minute) to the Masters of Business Administration Program.  I got accepted and was given a generous scholarship to attend.  On August 8th, 2015, I got on a plane, after previously moving all my stuff, on a one way trip to Phoenix.

October 9th, 2015 was Justin's birthday, and I had just finished my Q1 exams so I was excited to celebrate with him. His mum had come to visit for his birthday, and kept getting emotional and telling us how great we were together, so I knew something was going on. We headed out to dinner at Top Of The Rock and sat outside watching the sunset. It was beautiful. I noticed that the tables surrounding us were all reserved, but no one was at them to also enjoy the sunset (I later found out that Justin had reserved them all so that we had privacy). I had an inkling that he was going to propose, but after a wonderful dinner, we headed home. On the way home, I text my friend (and maid of honor to be) that it was a false alarm. We arrived at home and went in the front door instead of the garage like we usually do. As I opened the door, there were roses and candles and a bottle of wine with two glasses on the table, and rose petals from the door throughout the house (and our dog, Beau, looking extremely confused). Justin behind me says, "congratulations on finishing your exams", and I thought it was an elaborate celebration, but fell for it somehow. We chatted for a while over a glass of wine, and I asked him how his birthday had been. He answered that it had been okay, reached into the center of the roses and pulled out the center one, which had an engagement ring pinned into it, and said "but, it would be a lot better if you would agree to spend the rest of your life with me". I guess I was shocked, but I didn't know what to say so I asked him if he was sure and said "but, it's your birthday" before saying of course!!

We plan to get married on June 10th, 2017 (after I graduate) in Scotland, where most of my family are from. We just decided on a venue this evening - so we will be having a Scottish wedding in a castle...and, yes, Justin will be wearing a kilt. :)


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