Hello, 2019.

Whoa… I feel like a broken record for saying this every year, but seriously, where has the time gone? I had so many ideas and good intentions for more blog posts, but I blinked and now it’s the New Year. This past year was a rollercoaster that never slowed down for Jake and me, so instead of New Year’s resolutions or 2019 goals, today I am going to post a little recap of 2018.

Many people will say 2018 was not a good year for them, but for me it was one of the best I have had in a long time.

It was full of lots of unforgettable memories.

In January we had the biggest snow in South Georgia since the 80s. It was fun to see our little house covered and be able to go outside and enjoy it.

I had some amazing opportunities with my job and traveled to Las Vegas and Dallas for our industry trade shows. Gambling wasn’t for me so I did some shopping, ate some delicious food (I’m seriously still dreaming about the lasagna from Trattoria Reggiano in the Venetian in Vegas), and made memories with some great people.


It was also full of many challenges and changes.

Jake spent most of this year recovering from his life-changing car accident. We had to learn how to adapt and rely more on each other. It definitely taught us a lot and brought us closer together. It is so awesome to see the progress he has made in just one year from not knowing if he would ever be able to live his life normally and spending every day in unimaginable pain. We are so blessed that the Lord brought us through that time and we are able to see the positive side of it.

In March we sold our first house, and in May I quit my job and we moved halfway across the U.S. to Kansas. Jake started graduate school and is already half a year in to becoming a nurse anesthetist. I started a new job in a field I never thought I would be in, but I am absolutely loving it and work with amazing people.

(Read more on our move or watch our vlog.)


We had some awesome experiences.

My mom and step-dad flew out for a visit, and we went to the UGA vs. Mizzou football game. Although I am not a Georgia fan in the slightest, I will always pull for my home state. I’m a huge football fan so it wasn’t hard to get into a good game!

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Jake and I were able to see Fleetwood Mac, one of our favorite bands, live in concert. It was an unbelievable experience and probably a once in a lifetime opportunity because they will not be touring for much longer. It was an amazing concert and 100% worth it!

(Picture of Stevie Nicks from Sprint Center)

For Thanksgiving we took advantage of living so close to Colorado and took a trip to Denver and Colorado Springs. This was a bittersweet holiday as the first without our family, but we saw some unbelievable sights and celebrated an early “dating” anniversary since this year marked TEN years of being together.

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We finished the year off by flying home for Christmas and meeting our new family additions; a beautiful little girl – Halle Brooke – born in October, and a handsome little boy – Gunner Hayes – born in November. It is definitely one of our greatest struggles to be so far from our family, but we know that it will all pay off. Each visit is so special and we do not take that time for granted.


A year feels like a long time, but at the same time it is just a blip in your life. A lot can change and although you may not be able to control some of the things that happen, you are 100% in control of how you react to those things.

This year I challenge you to take charge of your life and make the best of each little moment, because one day you will have blinked and it won’t be only a year of your life that has flown by, but 10 or 30 or even 50.

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Here’s to making 2019 one of the best years yet!

Xoxo,

Kelsey

 

 

6 Things I’d Change About my Wedding

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you all had a fabulous week. My hubby and I went to the Fleetwood Mac concert at the Sprint Center last night and WOWOWOW. Ohmygosh you guys HAVE to go see them if they come to a city near you. You will not be disappointed. But back to the point of this post… our wedding anniversary is on Monday and I can’t believe it has all ready been two whole years since we said I do! In my own humble opinion, our wedding was absolutely amazing and near perfection, but today I’ve decided to focus on the things I wish went a little differently. So without further ado, here are six things I would change about my wedding day.

  1. Fix the piece of my hair that was parted the wrong way.

This might not be very noticeable to you guys, but it drives me nuts every time I look at pictures! That one little piece of hair should have been on the opposite side. What I really want to know is why no one helped a sister out and pointed it out to me at the time?

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

  1. Remember to bring my pretty hanger for pictures of my dress.

When our photographer came to get some shots of my dress I realized that all I had was the ugly plastic hanger I brought it on. I had a pretty white one I was gifted at one of my showers that read “bride” in gold scroll lettering, but unfortunately I forgot to bring it. He tried to hide the hanger as best as he could but you can still see it peaking out in the pictures.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

  1. Book a separate bridal portrait session.

While my photographer got some great shots of me in my dress, we did not have a whole lot of time to focus only on that. Also, my dress came with a beautiful bolero that I did not end up wearing on the big day, but I would have liked to have gotten some pictures wearing it.

  1. Order less wedding favors.

Koozies are the perfect wedding favor. They are useful and cheap and are a cute way to remember your day. However, I have at least 50 leftover that are currently sitting in a box in the attic that I do not know what to do with. Maybe I can break them out for an anniversary party one day.

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  1. Take more pictures on my phone and have disposable cameras set out for guests.

Our professional photographs were AMAZING, but I wish I had given my phone to someone to capture more candid shots of our day. Another thing I wish we had done was provided guests with disposable cameras to see the day through their eyes once the film was developed. Also, I would have vlogged the entire day: the guys and girls getting ready, the ceremony, and reception. Our wedding video was amazing, but again, I would have liked to have more behind-the-scenes memories.

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  1. Remember the extra corsages and boutonnieres.

Out of all the above, this one annoys me the most. At the end of the night my mom went to clean up the cottage we got ready in and guess what she found still sitting in the refrigerator? The corsages for my mom, mother-in-law and grandmothers, and the boutonnieres for my dad and step-dad. I paid for them and they didn’t get used, but to be honest if they would not have been found, I would never have known they were forgotten.

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At the end of the day, these things were so minor and insignificant that if I could have chosen anything to go wrong it would have definitely been those. That day was filled with so much love and celebration and I am so thankful for everyone that made it one of the best days of my life.

Xoxo,

Kelsey

Summertime in KC

Fall is officially upon us in KC! For all my Georgia peeps – that’s the season between summer and winter. Yes, in fact, there is actually supposed to be a transition between those two. Who knew?? But while I am absolutely loving it, I have to admit I’ve all ready had to break out my space heater. I might be in a little trouble this upcoming winter so feel free to send me all the warm things! I am sure by then I’ll be wishing it were summer again, which has me reminiscing on an awesome one we had as our first summer here.

Before moving to Kansas I had some major misconceptions about the weather. I thought nothing could be hotter than a South Georgia summer, right? Wrong. Summer here felt just as brutal, but regardless of the blistering sun and sweat in all the wrong places, we tried to make the most of it and did some pretty fun things.

Our first stop was to the Kansas City Zoo. This was probably not the smartest outdoor activity to do in the middle of summer, but we had a good time. Although, I would advise you to go on a cooler day, as many animals were not out because of the heat. My favorite exhibits were the monkeys, penguins, and stingrays (which you could actually reach in and touch). Unfortunately we missed the giraffes and elephants, but that just means I’ll have to take a another trip!

(I know there is a stigma about animals in captivity, but zoos actually do a lot of good for the rehabilitation of endangered species and conservation efforts around the world. Feel free to read more at https://www.kansascityzoo.org/conservation/.)

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Fun fact — the people that took this picture for us just moved from Atlanta a few weeks prior.


When you live 13 miles from a major league baseball stadium it’s almost criminal to not go to at least one game. So with what felt like heavy guilt for cheating on my beloved Braves (now NL East Champs btw), I put on my newly purchased Royals shirt and headed out to Kauffman Stadium. I’m not gonna lie – I had higher hopes for this being more fun than it actually was. I didn’t know a single player; it was hot, not very exciting, and nothing like being in SunTrust Park. It also didn’t help that the Royals were one of the worst teams in the MLB this season, so I have to admit that Jake and I skipped out a little early. We did, however, try again with some friends from Jake’s class and that was a much more enjoyable experience; i.e. we had some chicken fingers and fries and stayed the whole game!

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An area we LOVED going to this summer was the Kansas City Power and Light District in downtown KC. There are tons of restaurants, bars, shopping, and entertainment, and all summer long they had free country concerts on Thursday nights. This is definitely an area you have to check out if you come to the city.

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If there is one thing Kansas City is NOT in shortage of, is wineries, which is where we wrapped up the summer at the Cider & Slush Fest at KC Wine Co. This is such a cute little vineyard that is constantly hosting events, and was a fun place to end Summer 2018 on a high note. Literally from this weekend to the next, the temperature dropped 30 degrees! I’m super excited for all of the cliche fall activities I’m going to drag Jake to in the next couple of months so stay tuned for upcoming posts!

Goodbye summer (you were definitely good to us) & HELLO FALL!

~ Kelsey

It’s a girl!

Hi friends! So we are back in KC from a fun little trip to Georgia during Jake’s break between summer and fall semesters (one down, only 8 more to go…). We had the best time seeing family, going to the beach, and exploring Savannah like tourists. I also had the privilege of hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law Brandalyn and brother-in-law Matt and our soon-to-be niece Halle Brooke, which is what this post is all about!

This is the first shower I have ever hosted and I have never realized how much work goes into them. Brandalyn has thrown me many celebrations including my bridal shower, so I was more than happy to return the favor and celebrate her. It was a little tricky planning it from states away but I am so happy with how everything turned out.

The decorations were pretty simple: pink, pink, and more pink. This is going to be one girly little baby if her mama has anything to do with it! Surprisingly, the diaper cake and balloon garland were fairly simple to make (Pinterest definitely comes in handy). For the balloon garland buy this and all you have to do is blow up different color balloons at various sizes and attach. You can find the “baby” balloon all over, but here is the link to the one I got. I knew I really liked the look of the giant paper flowers, but all the ones I found were so expensive. I luckily found some fairly inexpensive foam ones at Hobby Lobby and they are still in store in various colors.

The cake was made by the same lady who made one of my wedding shower cakes and also Jake’s groom’s cake. And as pretty as it was, I am not exaggerating when I say that this was hands down the best cake I have ever tasted. It was a vanilla cake with buttercream icing and the top layer was covered in fondant.

The shower favors where iced cookies by Two Smart Cookies. I wish I would have gotten more pictures of them before I packaged them because they were too cute. They were made into shapes of a onesie, bottle, rattle, bootie, and my favorite, a moon.

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We are all super excited and cannot wait to welcome Halle home in October!!

xoxo,

(Soon-to-be Aunt x2) Kelsey

Twenty-Four

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Another year older, and yes I’d definitely say another year wiser. I’ve been reflecting on the past year and WOW has it been a crazy one. I wholeheartedly agree with the words of Luke Bryan that “the days go slow and the years go fast.” But that’s the thing about getting older; you don’t realize how fast time is flying by until you stop and all of a sudden you’re closer to your 10-year high school reunion than actually being in high school. *nervous laugh*

This time a year ago I was relaxing in the pool with my family for my Michael Jordan birthday. I was a couple of weeks into my new job at Daniel Defense trying to get the swing of things and Jake was still on night shift at St. Joe’s. This birthday was a lot less eventful, but actually sort of welcome after the whirlwind of my life recently. It was just my babe and I but I still received lots of love from family and friends with texts, cards, and a package from my mom.

As I think about the past year the main thing that obviously stands out is Jake’s car accident, which I believe aged me by at least 10 years. I had to learn pretty quickly how to become a full-time nurse, and let me just say, I applaud all of those in the medical field and am thankful to turn that line of work back over to Jake. Since then, the past couple of months passed in such a blur that I don’t think I have even had a chance to process it all yet. We sold our house and moved in with my parents for six weeks, quit our jobs, and moved across the country.

Life is truly unpredictable and I am interested to see what this next year will bring. I’m thankful to make it to another year and am grateful to all those that made 23 memorable.

Here’s to 24!

xoxo,

Kelsey

A New Adventure

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, but I have some major news…

We’ve moved!!

This South Georgia couple will be living in the Midwest for at least the next three years, as we are now proud residents of the Sunflower State – Kansas, USA.

This was a HUGE move for us, (especially for Jake who has never lived outside of the Coastal Empire) and we could not have done it without my mom, grandma, and Jake’s mom’s help. It took a little over two days traveling through 6 states – Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and finally Kansas – but we made it and are settling into our new home.


A little bit of background: Rewind to last summer, Jake decided to look into going back to school for nurse anesthesia since it had been on his radar from the time he got into nursing school, and his 2-year requirement of working in the ICU was approaching. He applied to two of the top schools in the nation, and the first school he received an interview with was The University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. In October we spent a weekend here for the interview and explored this awesome city, then less than a week later we found out that he had been accepted and was one of the youngest SRNA in the program.

We thought we might have to put a pause on our plans when Jake was in his car accident on Thanksgiving but through some hard work and determination and a whole lot of Jesus, we made it and Jake begins classes next week.

It’s not going to be without it’s struggles and is going to be super hard being so far away from our families and support system, especially when there will be two new additions to the Youmans clan by Christmas (NOT US), but we know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we could not have passed up.

And as much as it pains me to cheer for another team besides my beloved Eagles – Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

(Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers!)

XOXO,

Kelsey

Watch the vlog of our journey here: Our New Adventure!

All About Our Wedding: The Dress

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today’s post is all about my wedding dress. I decided to do a separate post on the bridesmaid’s dresses and the guy’s suits so be on the lookout!

Believe it or not, I only went to one place to try on wedding dresses, J’Adore Bridal in Brooklet, Georgia. I had absolutely no idea what kind of dress or style I wanted so I went into the appointment thinking I would just figure out which would best suit my 5’ frame.

I’m a little okay, a lot, addicted to Say Yes to the Dress, so of course in my mind I needed that moment where you turn around and everyone cries and you immediately know it’s the one. It doesn’t technically always happen that way, but I did know “the one” almost immediately when I tried it on. Never did I think I would have found my dress at the first place I visited and my first time trying any on, but five hours later I had crossed a BIG to-do off my list.

Mindy, the owner, and her team were so helpful and friendly and her store is absolutely stunning. It’s a place that makes you feel girly and like a bride immediately when you walk in. I love that it is locally owned and she truly cares about each of her customers.

The Details

Dress– Justin Alexander 8689 (Ivory)

**The bolero was included with dress although I did not wear it on our wedding day. I am thinking about getting some bridal portraits for our anniversary and will get some with it then (just for you, Mema).**

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

Belt– Justin Alexander A066

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

Veil– I am not sure what the brand is, but we chose one that matched the lace details on my dress. In case you’re curious, the style number at J’Adore is V7034.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

Garters– My beautiful and talented friend Katherine made them for me! I almost forgot about them completely and was looking on Etsy, but they would not have shipped in time. Some comparable ones are here. (I also included a picture with my Mema’s garter; my something borrowed and blue!)

 

Now that it’s over I’m trying to think of ways to get my money’s worth out of it. Wear it around the house? Go out as a bride next halloween? It’s a shame to have such a beautiful gown just sit in my closet. I’ve seen articles on people who “trash their dress,” but I could never bring myself to that. I’m much too sentimental. What did you guys do with yours?

xoxo,

Kelsey

P.S. I chose not to get it sealed after I had it dry cleaned. (Side note: we had a confetti exit and although fun, it was a mess. Let’s just say I was finding confetti in places I shouldn’t three weeks later.) The dry cleaner actually suggested not to, that way I can look at it or try it on anytime I want. They also say that it is the plastic it’s stored in that turns wedding gowns yellow.

 

All About Our Wedding: Florist

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Mindy and I met in summer of 2015 in our entrepreneurship class. She had recently started her own business, Luella, and I chose to be in her group for our semester long project. From there we had classes together the next two semesters and became fast friends. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her grow Luella from the ground up and am absolutely blown away by her talent and hard work. When it came to our wedding day, It was a natural choice to have her as our florist. No one else would have put as much time, heart, and soul into making sure that we had the most beautiful arrangements on the big day and she surly did not disappoint. I was absolutely blown away with how beautiful everything turned out!

I’m not super knowledgeable when it comes to flowers so I left it up to Mindy to choose what she thought was best. I knew the style I was going for was elegant and classic and I wanted them to go with our color scheme of blush and neutrals. When she sent me a picture of a blush dahlia, I immediately I fell in love and knew we had to use them. The best part is that they were grown locally on WilMor Farms in Metter Georgia.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

Since I didn’t use many decorations, the flowers were a main focal point of the day. For the ceremony, she decorated two vintage wine barrels with elegant and simple bouquets and dressed up our cross with a one of a kind arrangement.

Our guest tables at the reception were decorated with cute little bouquets placed in the center along with rose gold candle votives, and a whimsical garland ran along our lover’s table.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

Additionally, a gorgeous pink bouquet was placed on our sign in table, and a few flowers completed our simple white four-tiered cake.

I could not recommend her more highly, and any bride that chooses Luella has one less thing to stress about on such an important day. Be sure to like Luella on Facebook and follow her on instagram (@luellafloral). If you are ever in Dublin, Georgia, a visit her brand new shop downtown is a must.

With love,

Kelsey

All About Our Wedding: Venue

We finally got our wedding pictures back and WOOOW!! I’ll go ahead and apologize now to those who follow me on social media, but I am obsessed. Of course I am in love with them because they are my own, but I hope you guys enjoy too. So without further ado I can begin my wedding series. First up, the venue!

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

Our ceremony and reception was held at the Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro. (You can read about us choosing our venue here.) Having an outdoor wedding we could not have picked a better location, and were super blessed with perfect weather, which is a miracle with Georgia’s unpredictability on top of Hurricane Matthew blasting through two weeks prior.

The grounds consist of over eleven acres of flowers, woodland trails, an old school house, a horse barn, a children’s garden, and the original cottage belonging to the first owners of the property. We had access to the entire grounds for twelve hours and were able to choose wherever we wanted for the ceremony and reception. It was convenient that our guest were able to roam the property while they were waiting for us to finish pictures after the ceremony.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

The cottage was the perfect place for our wedding party to get ready and relax before the long day began. It was the house of the Bland’s, the original owners of the property, and has been beautifully refinished with rich hardwood floors and picturesque windows. There was plenty of space with separate rooms for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, along with a large kitchen area.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

We chose the grassy area in the grove outside of the cottage for our ceremony. Since our surroundings were so beautiful, we kept it simple when it came to decorations. The wedding party entered through vintage wine barrels that my florist added whimsical bouquets on top of. My stepdad and I made white benches to frame the isle leading to the 7’ cross we stood under. The cross was hands down one of my favorite components of the entire wedding and I am so thankful for his hard work and craftsmanship. It could not have turned out any better.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

Our reception was held under the huge covered pavilion. There was room for over twenty tables, our buffet, bar, DJ, and dance floor. There was easy access to restrooms and the attached kitchen was very useful for my caterer and others who were helping out.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2016-2017

If you live near the area or are visiting, I highly recommend visiting the gardens. They are absolutely beautiful and make for an awesome day of exploring.

Coming next… all about our florist.

xoxo,

Kelsey

Young & Married

To some, being married at 22 is an absolute horror. They couldn’t imagine having their “freedom” taken away at such a young age. They haven’t had enough life experiences or met enough people. No, I admit, it’s not for everyone. Many still have a lot of growing up to do and simply have not met the right person to spend the rest of their lives with. Obviously marriage is a big deal, and it should be treated as such. God designed it for a specific purpose. He made Adam a companion so he did not have to spend his days alone, and that they both, together, could glorify the Him.

I don’t believe I’m missing out on anything in life. I don’t go out to bars with friends on weekends and hook up with random strangers here and there. To me, having meaningless drunken nights that I’ll never remember does not even sound like a good time. I am perfectly content if that is what I am “missing out” on. We still hang out with friends, even though our circles are much smaller now, and that’s okay. We go out to eat, and have movie nights, and cook supper together. I always have someone to talk to and vent to and is there for me no matter what.

I am lucky to have met Jake at such a young age. He has been my best friend for over eight years and I know everything about him. We’ve grown up together and continue to do so. I have known for years that I have wanted to marry him. Ever since I made a Pinterest I’ve had a wedding board, but what girl doesn’t? Honestly, it’s something we think about from a very young age… finding our prince charming and living happily ever after. I’ll be honest; I didn’t always think we would get married so soon. I was pretty adamant about not getting engaged until we had both graduated college. I thought that was more acceptable, and “looked better.” That’s one of the reasons I was so surprised when he actually did propose. When I truly thought about it, I realized I’m not living my life for anyone else. I do not need others approval. The only opinion that matters is Jesus’.

With all that being said, please don’t think for one second that marriage is perfect or even easy. Our life DEFINITELY isn’t all sunshine and roses. We have our problems and arguments and fights, but with any great relationship, it’s worth fighting for. There is no leaving or walking away. You stay and work things out. It will be messy and hard, but at the end of the day, you love your spouse. You chose to be with them forever, and you have the comfort that they chose you too. Marriage truly is a beautiful thing, and I thank God every day for my husband.

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On a side note: I often get questions about our wedding, so I have decided to do a series all about our venue and vendors. This is probably a little selfish of me too, since I love reliving this day over and over. Although the actual day went by way too fast, our photographer and videographer perfectly captured our entire day.

Stay tuned!

Kelsey