V: KRP

KRP. Kelsey Ryan Phillips. Ball of Energy. Sunshine personified.

I originally met Kelsey our freshman year during sorority recruitment, although that encounter is a bit fuzzy for me. Just ask Kelsey. 😂

After we both rushed Gamma Phi, our paths crossed many times during the fall semester and into the spring. Praise the Lord for His timing!

From then on, we ate almost every meal together at the sorority house. We took pictures together before every function and asked guys to be our dates in the most crazy ways possible. We went to Shag night every Thursday and ate our weight in Cookout trays. We traveled to Carolina away games and made the twelve hour road-trip to see Casey in Baton Rouge. On off weekends, we crashed Mama P’s house in Sea Pines and enjoyed the beautiful SC coast.

Often times, I would get asked where my “other half” was if Kelsey wasn’t somewhere nearby.

Our friendship quickly blossomed into one of my most valued treasures in life. Over the last nine years, Kelsey has been by my side through my highest moments and my darkest valleys. Like momma Phillips’ famous mantra, we have shared so many of life’s highs and lows together.

Kelsey was the Maid of Honor in my wedding. Kelsey is the blond to my brunette.

She pushes me to be spontaneous.
She shows me that all people are worthy of love. She inspires me to a better version of myself, even when it’s hard.
She has always been a listening ear and a steady shoulder to cry on. She is a firm believer in the Lord and is a testament of His grace in all things.

Thank you, Kelsey, for all you that you are. Your free spirit and unwavering positivity radiates joy and light into every room you step foot in. You have been such a gift to me since day one.

I can’t wait to

P.S. If you are also looking for any kind of art for a birthday, holiday or “just because,” check out Kelsey’s Instagram. She is one of the most insanely talented artists I’ve ever met. She can do acrylic, watercolor, handmade cards, photography and so, so much more. Check her out!

III: EDUCATION

Education has always played an important part in my life. From pre-K into my high school years, my parents instilled that knowledge is something that nobody can ever take away from you.

“When you educate one person you can change a life, when you educate many you can change the world.”

Shai Reshef

Partly because of work ethic and her drive to do everything to the highest degree, I always admired my mom’s pursuit of higher education. She has a B.S. in Psychology, two masters degrees, a PhD and was once National Boards certified. She also obtained her PhD while holding a full time job as an administrator of an elementary school, having a family and driving to classes 1.5 hours away. Wow!

I always knew my plan was to go to college after high school. I, too, loved school and that’s what I felt was the right path for me.

I applied to three in state schools because we all know college is expensive enough without adding out-of-state tuition. Anderson, University of South Carolina and Wofford made my top three for all varying reasons.

Anderson was the small Christian school not far from home. USC was the big SEC school in the state capital and has the big school feel. Wofford was the private liberal arts college planted in my hometown. They were all diverse and all had great options.

Believe me when I say that college isn’t for everyone. We need people in trade schools. School is not a be-all-end-all, for my youngest brother included. I wouldn’t have traded my experience for the world, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with not going to college. There is such a need for those trades, like welding, mechanics and even for full-time service men (and women). Often times, those people get twice as much an hour than most other jobs. Pave your own way and don’t allow anyone to dictate what is right for you.

College was a place for me to grow and to figure out what life was all about. A lot happened to that innocent seventeen year old freshman. Mentally, I grew. Emotionally, I grew. I learned how to be independent. I was able to make decisions for myself and figure out what direction I wanted to take in life at the time. By the time that twenty-one year old walked across that stage, she had experienced a lot of life.

If you are a high school junior or senior (or are looking to go back to school), consider UofSC! We’ve claimed the #1 International Business School and Honors School in the nation for the last decade.

The world is a grand place. Learning and education aren’t necessarily restricted to a classroom or in textbooks. Get outside and experience the world for yourself. Some of my fondest “teachable” moments have been sight-seeing in the Mediterranean Sea and in the streets of Paris. Take a road trip. Experience what life has to offer for yourself grab it by the horns.

✌🏼

I: YinYin

For my second day of “thanksgiving,” I chose to highlight my biggest confidant, my sorority little and my best friend, YinYin!

Anyone who has had the opportunity to meet YinYin knows has she a sass that is unmatched. They know grit, determination and someone who you can count on with your life. You can also expect a mean side-eye from across the room at any given moment.

I originally met YinYin my sophomore year (her freshman year) of college at the University of South Carolina. Go Cocks! YinYin had just joined the sorority that fall and we were both in the hunt for our respective big and little. Our big and little process was well underway and I wasn’t quite sure of any of the girls I had been matched with previously. In our next to last week of Crescent week, I was at Cookout with some of my friends one night when I saw YinYin with her Crescent. I immediately requested to be her Crescent for the final week and I am so glad I did. Call me creepy if you will. The Lord works in mysterious ways. 😂

Everybody has a home team: It’s the people that you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people, who near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water at you’re house without asking. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle of the night, no matter what people.

YinYin has been my “home team” since the day we met. We share the same love of naps, all things ice cream and Asian food. We throw up our peace signs as a sign of endearment and you can often find us day dreaming of our next trip abroad together. We can find all of the best Pho spots in town and will one day get our matching elephant tattoos that we’ve promised!

There’s nobody else I’d rather wander through downtown China Town during Chinese New Year 🧧 only to find confetti cannons to shoot off.

There’s no other person I’d rather sit in coffee shops eating our gelato in Québec City with or wander through shopping centers of Hilton Head to find macaroons before a friend’s wedding.

She went above and beyond to make sure my bachelorette weekend was more than I could have ever imagined and had the cutest bags made. She even flew into town a day early to sit in the floor and hand steam chair covers with me for my wedding.

Thank you for being you, YinYin. You allow me to say just about anything and to rant about whatever is on my mind without judging too hard. I could not be more grateful for you and I look forward to the day we’re roommates together in the nursing home. 💗✌🏼