Goodbye to this blog – hello to my new website! After an unintentional six-month long break from blogging, I’m back! But at a new location – kelseyhymel.com. I’m starting a new venture as an independent public relations consultant (ah!), and I also started an interior design program from home last Fall. I brought several posts from this blog with me, so I have a short history over there already. This blog will stay here (at least for a while), but I won’t be back to write. Please come see me at my new site!
This is it – the week of our move is finally here! It’s been a crazy past couple of weeks, as we were in Chapel Hill for one of my good friend’s weddings this past weekend, and we went to Niagara Falls for one night the weekend before. Thankfully we don’t have to pack ourselves – we have movers coming Thursday to pack everything up – literally everything, drawer-by-drawer, other than things we want to move ourselves. Jon and I will be driving one car down to Raleigh on Friday and having the other car shipped. Everyone says they absolutely hate moving, and I might too if we had to do everything ourselves, but when it’s mostly done for you like this, I actually kind-of like it. I like going through my things to purge and clean often, so I don’t mind that part of it!
Last night we dismantled our living room/dining room to start priming over the yellow color, so it looks like this right now:
My friend Jamie is so kindly going to help me prime more this afternoon! Other than that, we need to finish taking things off the walls, organize our things a little more, and pack up the things we want to move ourselves, plus what we need for a few days in Raleigh. Our things will be delivered early next week, but I still haven’t heard the exact day…
We’re so thankful to have lots of help moving in from both of our parents this time! We have plans to paint the master bedroom, build a headboard for our bed, and repaint some furniture. My mom is also going to help me make valances for our bedroom windows, a lumbar pillow for our bed, and possibly find a piece of furniture to repurpose. Jon and I will both have all of next week to move-in and work on these things before starting our jobs, which is awesome.
With all the change that’s about to take place, along with some other emotion-triggering circumstances recently, I’ve felt like a basket case of emotions. This morning I was needing some extra encouragement to start the day, and I just happened to be on the last chapter in Luke. This is the chapter on Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. I was struck by the disappointment and discouragement the apostles and those with them felt at the time of Jesus’ resurrection when they still did not fully understand all that had happened. Jesus appeared to two men who had been with the apostles and had heard that Jesus had risen. Their faces were “downcast” (Luke 24: 17). Jesus asked them what they were talking about, and part of their response was: “The chief priests and our rulers handed [Jesus] over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who he was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:20-21). In Spanish, this last phrase is “pero nosotros abrigábamos la esperanza de que era él quien redimiría a Israel.” Abrigar means “to cherish,” “to take shelter,” or “to wrap oneself up.” It literally says, “but we were taking shelter in the hope that he was the one who would redeem Israel.” I like how the Spanish version emphasizes how much they were hanging onto this hope. They were discouraged because they did not understand that what they were hoping for HAD come true. They were basically living in denial of the truth.
At the end of the chapter, after Jesus opens their minds to fully understand, they are overcome with joy. “They stayed continually at the temple, praising God” after Jesus was taken up to heaven (Luke 24:53). I love how Scripture so simply portrays truths like this: when you don’t know the truth of the gospel, or aren’t living in light of it, you will be downcast, confused, discouraged. When you know the truth of the gospel and live in that truth, you can have joy. The joy of the gospel is part of our inheritance as receivers of the gospel, and it can never be taken away. Even with the knowledge that this joy is ours, sometimes we need to specifically ask God to fill us with it. And in reference to asking for good gifts like this, Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).
It was an eventful year for me, full of memories I hope I’ll never forget! I’m grateful for the last two points on my list, and I pray those will stand out as I look back on every year to come.
What did YOU “become” this past year?
At the beginning of October Hanley and Michael came to visit! Our first overnight guests 🙂 They came in on the megabus Friday night! Saturday morning we went to the Strip District, which is a cultural market district near downtown. Because of the proximity of the rivers, it used to be where most of the produce and meat wholesalers were when the shipping industry was big here. Now there are still several produce stands, but it’s mostly specialty shops, other types of vendors with tents set up (especially Steelers apparel!) and restaurants.
Hanley and Michael exploring the outdoor garden area of an awesome eclectic shop in the Strip…
We ate lunch in the Strip and then rode the Duquesne Incline up Mount Washington! It was coooold waiting in line…
The view is SO good up there – best in the city. And it was such a pretty day!
That’s Heinz Field (Steelers Stadium) with the bright yellow bleachers.
This area on the right below is “the point,” where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers come together on either side to form the Ohio River.
Here is where George Washington met with Seneca leader Guyasuta – the sculpture is called “Point of View.” I let their statues kiss me!
We went to Burgatory for the first time with Hanley and Michael Saturday night, where we waited an hour at the bar for take-out! It has been a hoppin’ place ever since it came here. On Sunday we took them to our church here, ate lunch at a brunch place nearby, and then showed them around the famous Giant Eagle Market District…which you’re probably sick of hearing about by now! 🙂
One last picture on our porch before we took them back to the megabus!
Hi blog followers! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, seeing as I got married and all – life’s been a little crazy! Jon and I got back from our honeymoon last Sunday evening, and I’m so glad for the sake of this post that I kept a little log of what we did each day!
Side note – I’ll definitely be posting about the wedding later on…there are so many different things I’d like to write about in detail for the sake of my memory and all the planning that went into it…it’s too overwhelming to start with that right now, so I’m starting with the honeymoon and going backward!
If you’re not familiar with the Turks & Caicos Islands, this map does a good job of showing how spread out they are:
We stayed on Providenciales, on the western side of the Caicos Islands. Grace Bay Beach is the 12-mile stretch on Providenciales where most tourists stay because there are tons of resorts there. My understanding is that North, Middle & East Caicos are much less populated, and mostly historical or nature preserves with the huge mansion (some celebrity’s homes!) here and there. Grand Turk, over in the Turks Islands, is the capital, so I’m sure there’s a lot more going on there. From what we saw, Providenciales is pretty much tourists and those working for the tourists, so not a whole lot of native island life going on there.
Fun facts about TCI:
- Natives of Turks & Caicos are called Belongers!
- Donna Karan has a house in Parrot Cay
- 83 degrees is the average annual temperature
- You drive on the left side of the road in TCI!
We arrived in Turks & Caicos around 2 or 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon. The water looked so clear and turquoise as soon as we could see it from the plane! There is only one small airport on Providenciales, so it was very crowded and slow-moving. Once we were finally through security, we were quickly directed to a van going to our resort, The Sands. While checking in we got our first taste of the slow service on the island, but they served us their specialty rum punch while we waited – yum!
We were excited to see how spacious our condo was when we got there! We had a full kitchen that was open to a large den, a big bedroom, one-and-a-half bathrooms and a big screened-in porch with chairs and chaise lounges. We went out to the beach for just a few minutes when we got there. There was a line of tiki huts along the beach behind the resort reserved for those staying at the Sands and lots of other moveable umbrellas and lounge chairs.
When we walked down the beach later that night we saw that it was the same way with every resort, which is so nice because no one has to worry about buying or bringing their own umbrella. There were always two guys working on the beach at our resort who would set up an umbrella for you if you wanted it somewhere else. The umbrellas, plus the fact that I made us wear 50+ SPF kept us from getting burnt that week!
Each resort on Grace Bay has at least one restaurant – always overlooking the beach – and pretty much all the nice restaurants on the island are at different resorts, so for dinner we usually went to other resorts’ restaurants. We had heard a lot of great things about our resort’s restaurant, Hemingway’s, so we knew we would eat dinner there at least once. We ended up going there Monday night because we didn’t know how far away everything else was yet. We weren’t blown away by Hemingway’s, but they did have one dish we both thought was really good – hot shrimp pasta (which wasn’t hot as in spicy at all – if it were I would’ve hated it!) Jon had the shrimp pasta on Monday night, and I got chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. The dinner prices everywhere were pretty outrageous, which we knew would be the case. But my sweet husband always told me to just not worry about it and get whatever I wanted because we’ll only have one honeymoon 🙂
After dinner on Monday we went on a long walk on the beach to explore what was to the left of the Sands and what might be within walking distance for the rest of the week.
Tuesday morning we went out to the beach, claimed a tiki hut and signed up to use the resort’s two SUPs (stand-up paddleboards). It was so great that the resort had equipment like that available for its residents to use at no charge. All you had to do was sign your name on a list, and when it was your turn, you got to use it for 45 minutes or so. Somehow we got far out in the water really quickly on the SUPs! I think we must have been paddling the same direction the wind was blowing. I didn’t feel like we were that far our, but when we started trying to paddle back in, it was so hard! We were going against the current and the wind, and I kept getting blown in the wrong direction I wanted to go. I couldn’t stay with Jon very well, and we were just thinking we had probably been using the boards for longer than 45 minutes when a guy that worked at the Sands came out on a hobie cat (kind-of like a mix between a sailboat and a wind surfboard) and asked us if we wanted a ride back in. My arms were so tired, so we gladly got on the hobie cat while he tied the boards to it. He took us down the beach away from the Sands at first, so we ended up getting a pretty long ride on the hobie cat without even asking!
We had a late lunch at Hemingway’s because we planned to eat a late dinner so that we could take use the taxi service organized by the resort to go to the grocery store at 6:30. 6:30 ended up being more like 6:50, but since we were the only people who went, we were able to leave as soon as we were done shopping. All the “taxis” were 12-passenger vans that I always thought were sketchy and our drive to the grocery store was by far the sketchiest! The driver constantly mumbled things and laughed to himself, but didn’t say anything to us! At the store we got just enough food for breakfast for the rest of the week, three lunches, and a couple extras like a bottle of wine, and it was over $70!! The food prices were crazy.
When we got back from the store we walked on the beach to the Alexandra to have dinner at its restaurant, Mango Reef. There was a couple from Canada doing very interesting covers of songs like “Need You Now” by Sugarland, “The Girl from Ipanewa,” and “Why Georgia” by John Mayer that all seemed very out of place but was extremely entertaining.
Wednesday morning we found a spot on the beach again, and oh by the way – I was very deep into reading the Hunger Games at this point. Jon finished the first and half of the second book earlier this summer, but I hadn’t read any of them. We bought the set of three books right before we left because I had nothing to read on the trip. I told Jon he should bring the third one because he would probably finish the second and would then have nothing to do, but he ignored my advice and of course finished on the second day! At least he didn’t mind staring at the ocean doing nothing all the time while I read…
We ate our lunch of turkey wraps, fruit and chips in our room, and then went back to the beach for the afternoon. For dinner we took a taxi to the Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar in Turtle Cove. I was hoping that the Turtle Cove area, because I had read it was “the soul of Provo,” would have somewhat of a plaza-type area where you could walk around and see things, but I was sadly mistaken. When our cab driver dropped us off, he told us to go up some steps to the restaurant, but we were about 45 minutes early for our reservations because we planned to walk around. We went up to the restaurant and asked if we could get to a place to walk around, but they said there wasn’t a way through the restaurant down to the cove. They seemed very confused and said we could walk down the street if we wanted. I was determined to do that, but there was no clear way to go and as we were standing on the street, sketchy cars drove by saying things to us and two big dogs appeared! So, I quickly changed my mind and we nixed that idea.
We walked up to the Miramar Resort that Magnolia Restaurant is part of, but it was closed and looked like nothing more than a little hostel! It was so strange because the restaurant was pretty nice. We decided to sit down for dinner early, which wasn’t a problem because there were probably only two tables taken. We had a great view of Turtle Cove, which we could then see would have been very hard to get to, and there wasn’t anything going on anyway, but it was really pretty!
We later found out summer is the off-season for TCI, and September is the most-dead month of all. One person told us all the resorts were closing the week after we were there for maintenance! I don’t think that’s completely true that they all close at once because some were closed while we were there, but it definitely seemed like some things were gearing down to close. It was nice in a lot of ways – the beaches weren’t crowded, it was never a problem getting a table anywhere or eating when we wanted to, etc., but it did seem strange at times how slow things were.
Jon had bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes & vegetables, which he loved, and I had a combination of two appetizers – goat cheese strudel and a caesar salad!
I’m going to stop here for tonight so you don’t get honeymoon overload! Come back soon for the rest of the week!
That’s right. We officially have only one month to go! (Actually less – when I started writing this post, it was actually the one-month mark, but I got a little distracted!) I cannot believe it. June flew by, and now July is going even faster. After my last post, I took a trip to Pittsburgh to see Jon. The main thing we did that weekend was…paint our living room! Not exactly a restful Saturday, but I am really glad we did it. It immediately makes it much more homey. Friday night we bought three paint samples and tried them on the wall. We ended up choosing one called apricot butter, which I didn’t really understand until after staring at it for hours! Now I think it’s a perfect name for the color.
Here are a couple pictures of the finished product:
Jon has had such a great experience in Pittsburgh so far. He has truly been blessed with more fellowship in his three/four weeks there than I asked for or imagined both of us having, possibly in all of our time there. We honestly didn’t know if we would make any good friends at all. Of course we hoped we would, but we didn’t know what the Lord had planned. Already Jon has a great group of friends! This all began with my friend Annie, who grew up in Pittsburgh and has amazingly kept up her connections with her friends and church there, even after many years of living in NC. We met her friend Jamie and Jamie’s husband (also Jon) on our first trip to Pittsburgh to find an apartment. Both of their families go to the church Annie grew up in (Providence PCA), so they have both been there a long time. There are three other young couples from Providence they are good friends with, and I got to meet them all when we went out to lunch after church on Sunday.
The Lord has been so faithful to provide opportunities for Jon to meet people and do social things, and Jon has been really great about doing all of those things! Let’s see….he started playing on the church softball team! They’ve had three games so far I think. He went to the church’s men’s fellowship night at a bar….he went to a music festival downtown his first weekend there….he went to a cookout on the 4th of July…and he started going to a guy’s Bible study that meets at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday mornings! 6:30!! I know, hard to believe….
I had a couple days at home when I got back from Pittsburgh before going to Virginia with my mom and younger sister for the 4th of July. It’s a family tradition that we go to our family’s friends’ grandmother’s house in Moneta, VA! We’ve had to skip years here and there, but we’ve gone most of the years since I was about 5! There is always a great fireworks display in Roanoke, which is my favorite part.
Any spare I time I had between these trips and since I’ve been home I’ve been working hard to cross things off the wedding checklist! On the car ride to Virginia we worked out the positions of the bridesmaids and groomsmen at the front of the church, as well as which groomsman will escort each person being seated.
I selected a DIY ceremony program design I found via Pinterest a couple weeks ago. I’ve picked out the paper to use as well, and my friend and bridesmaid Caitlin is helping me design the text – yay! (She is awesome with stuff like this – I’m so happy to have her help!) They are going to require a lot of hands-on work to assemble once we get them printed, but hopefully with enough hands it won’t take too long!
I’ve figured out most of the details for the ceremony, like the order of worship and the music. Our pastor even sent us a draft of his whole sermon so there will be no surprises. We’ve decided to sing “In Christ Alone” for the congregational hymn – probably my favorite hymn, if not both of our favorites. The words are so powerful. Jon and I also chose to have communion served to us near the end of the ceremony. We love the idea of this being our first act together as a married couple – being reminded of and experiencing Christ’s forgiveness. The one thing I haven’t decided on yet is which scripture passage to have read – there are so many I would love to include…
Moving onto reception details….I got my linen rentals nailed down, finally. I’m renting napkins from Party Reflections in a solid soft peach color for all the guests except the bridal party, who will all be sitting together at the head table. Instead of peach napkins at the head table, we’ll have peach tablecloths. I’m using Alexander Homestead’s ivory tablecloths on all the other tables, and ivory napkins on the head table.
We’ve made some progress on the outdoor lounge area that I’ve been imagining and hoping would come to fruition! For a while it didn’t look too promising, but now it’s coming together. A.H. has a wooden bench we realized we could use rather than buying or finding our own loveseat and hauling it over. Now I just need to find a couple throw pillows to dress it up. My mom’s friend offered up a low table to go in front, and my florist is planning a little arrangement on a tray to go on that table. We have one chair that will work well once I paint it, so now I just need to find one more chair. I bought two chair cushions today that I’ll tie on to make them more inviting. It helps that my mom and two of her friends are now in the “drab to fab” business of finding, re-doing and selling furniture, decor items, etc.! Check out Southern Marketplace where my mom’s booth is!
Along with this outdoor lounge area at the cocktail hour, we’re also going to set up an escort card station so people can find their cards with their table number on it while they’re mingling. I got the idea to hang the cards on the slats of shutters on Pinterest a while ago. We have a few shutters that will hopefully work so far, but we still need at least one more. We’re going to have to bring at least one table, probably two, to set these up on, because A.H. unfortunately doesn’t have any extra tables I can use. We’re probably going to bring a desk my mom bought to fix up and sell at her booth, along with at least one card table.
A couple weeks ago I painted a different type of shutter – a tall, exterior one – to use as a way to display the menu. I painted the top and bottom panels with chalkboard paint and painted ivory borders around them. I’ll write the dinner menu on the top panel and either continue it on the bottom, or use that space to write a thank-you to everyone for coming.
My photographer sent my bridal portraits to me last week, so I spent a lot of time looking over those to select just one to have printed and framed at the reception. I think I’ve narrowed it down to two now, so it might be time for a family vote…I also have to decide how large to print it and how to frame/display it…
Let’s see, what else….I figured out my bridesmaid gifts a couple weeks ago and I’m really excited about them! One half of the gift is an order from etsy that should be here within the week, and the other half is a little DIY project that I started working on this week.
The groomsmen’s gifts are their ties and suspenders, but I recently put a little extra personal touch on the ties as a surprise for them!
I ordered our plastic beer cups and wine glasses…we had to either rent them separately from the venue or bring them on our own since the venue doesn’t serve its own alcohol.
Lastly, I finally chose a rehearsal dinner dress, helped my mom find one as well, and bought my going-away dress!
I’m so excited about my portraits that were taken last Thursday on campus at UNC! It was really hot, but not too sunny or cloudy, and there wasn’t even a chance of rain. My mom was able to come help me with everything, and Elisa and Tres, our photographers (inContrast Images) were so helpful with keeping my dress from getting dirty and thinking of great places for pictures!
Earlier that day I went to Lewisville for my hair and makeup trial run, which conveniently served as my hair and makeup for the portraits as well! I showed Jennifer my first idea for hair as I mentioned in my last post – a hairstyle that she had actually done on a model for a photo shoot with Southern Weddings. She was confident it would work well on me, and because I was on a tight schedule with my portraits later that day, we ended up not trying the other style. She did my makeup right afterward, similar to the model in the photos as well, and I couldn’t believe two hours had passed so quickly when she was done! I brought my own hair flower, which is kind-of special because I got it while studying abroad in Spain two summers ago. I loved the overall look when she was done.
My mom met me at Jennifer’s house, so we both drove to Chapel Hill afterward. After a late lunch at Foster’s, we went to my house to start getting ready. I had a couple options for bouquets to decide about – all were actually fake flowers I had gotten at Michael’s that morning! Since my florist is in Charlotte, getting a bouquet from her wouldn’t have worked, and I didn’t want to deal with getting real flowers in Chapel Hill and trying to keep them fresh on my own. I ended up using three large peonies, two pink and one ivory, because peonies will be in my real bouquet as well.
If you remember my earring dilemma from my last post, I chose to wear my sister’s round sparkly studs, but I’m going to keep searching for something bigger for the wedding day. After 15 minutes of trying to figure out how to tie my sash in a pretty bow (the ladies at the dress store had always done it for me) my mom and I finally got it looking right!
We met Elisa and Tres at the Old Well, and began our tour around north campus for pictures. If you don’t know Chapel Hill’s campus, this won’t mean much to you (and in that case you should probably make a trip to see the pretty place!) We started in the Upper Quad behind the Old Well, and then went into the arboretum. We found some spots on a bench, in front of a big oak tree, on a little path, and then – my favorite – in front of an iron gate that opens up to Raleigh Street.
Since we were so close to Kenan (the dorm I lived in freshman and sophomore year), I asked if we could take some pictures on Kenan’s porch, and I’m so glad I did! We did some in a rocking chair and then on the big steps leading up to Kenan. Next we stopped in the arboretum again on our way back, but this time in the covered walkway on Cameron. There was an opening into a little patio area I had never noticed before! Each time we stopped to take pictures it was a big ordeal, spreading out a sheet for me to stand or sit on, and then tucking it in everywhere so it couldn’t be seen in the pictures.
On our way back to the Old Well, we stopped at the car so I could put on my veil. Maintenance men were fixing the well when we got there, so we went over to South Building while they finished. We did some on the stairs of South Building, and then on the path leading up to it with the Lower Quad behind me. My mom and I were having déjà vu from a few weekends before when my housemates and I did graduation pictures in the exact same places!
While taking a bunch in front of the Old Well, a man driving an old VW van stopped, rolled down his window and said, “It’s not every day you see a beautiful bride in front of the Old Well…and you have your iPhone with you!” Then he proceeded to take pictures of me for at least a full minute! That was pretty bold of him with four people just staring, waiting for him to stop and drive away…super awkward. Elisa actually started taking pictures of him doing it, which I thought was hilarious. The Old Well was our last stop, and by the time we were done it was past 8 p.m., meaning we took pictures for two hours straight!
I should have the photos in 2-4 weeks, but of course I’m not going to post any before the wedding 🙂 Thanks Mom for coming and helping with everything!