Monday, November 10, 2014

cheers to a Charlottesville weekend

hello friends! It's been a while, and it's been quiet on the blog, but trust me -- there's a lot that's going on in the McCall household! Exciting updates to come soon :)

This past weekend I hopped in my car and roadtripped up to Charlottesville to visit Lauren, my sweet friend and favorite bride-to-be. I'm going to be her Matron of Honor, and it was so fun to get to catch up and talk about wedding planning with her! The weather was amazing, and I was so glad to get out of Raleigh for a bit. I haven't visited the mountains in who knows how long, so this escape was just what the doctor ordered.

On Saturday after I arrived, we took a scenic drive through the mountainous countryside around Charlottesville and stopped for lunch before visiting the Bold Rock cidery. First of all, I had no idea that a cidery was a "thing," but I LOVED it! We had a cider tasting and were able to learn a bit about the cider-making process, which was really interesting. After exploring a bit, Lauren and I each got a pint and sat outside taking in the amazing view you see below. Needless to say,  I was in heaven.

After a little more mountain exploring, we went back to Lauren's place for dinner and a low-key night in. We got up in the morning and grabbed a coffee as we walked around UVA's campus. There's something I just love about college campuses during the fall -- I really makes me nostalgic for my undergraduate days. Not going to lie, though -- I'm glad I wasn't the one scurrying to the library on a Sunday!

After grabbing lunch at Bodo's Bagels on campus (I always request a meal there when I visit C-Ville!) we visited Jefferson Vineyards. We enjoyed a wine tasting and then, just as we did yesterday, sat outside taking in the gorgeous views and amazing weather. I wish we had time to visit more of the area wineries -- I know there are some great ones that I haven't made it to!

 I was sad to leave Virginia, but I'm so happy I was able to get away for a bit and have quality time with a dearly missed friend. Lauren is finishing up nursing school this year, so I'm hoping to squeeze in one more Charlottesville trip before she becomes a married lady -- any great spots I missed?

Have a great week, friends!


Sunday, October 12, 2014


I wish every single one of you reading this post could have met Martha, one of my very best friends.

Some of you DID have the joy of meeting Martha, and I'm sure you would agree with this statement -- you're a better person for knowing her.

You might remember I wrote this post last October, a few days after the finding out that I could no longer hug Martha, text with her each Tuesday night about Chicago Fire, and boo-hoo my eyes out while watching wedding videos with her.

Exactly one year ago, the Lord took Martha to Heaven to be with Him eternally. I have no doubt about that - if there's one comfort I have in the loss of a friend, it's that she has seen the full extent of the Lord's glory, mercy, power, healing and peace. I just know she is rejoicing in Heaven, singing Needtobreathe songs and teaching everyone her favorite Camp deSoto line dances - all while wearing Patagonia shorts and her spirit jersey, of course. Yup, pretty much sounds like Heaven to me, and I can't wait to meet Martha again there one day.

Sometimes I can't believe it's been a year. Sometimes it feels like it's been so, so much longer. It was a hard year. Between learning how to be a wife, moving to a new city, moving away from friends, losing a friend, finding a new job - it's been a constant roller coaster of emotions. I think I cried more tears this year than I have any other year since probablyyyyy about age 5. Some were sad tears, some were happy tears. I cried on the drive home from Spartanburg the day after she died. I was alone, it was noon, and I was listening to Needtobreathe. Because Martha loved Needtobreathe. I cried on the airplane to Nashville to go to her funeral. Once again, I was alone, but this time, listening to a Ben Rector song. A few weeks later at church, I tried to hide the tears as I took communion and listened to the band play "Come Thou Font" - one of her favorite hymns. Music reminds me of Martha for some reason, and I'll take any small reminder of her.

That Ben Rector song - please listen to it if you haven't - has been my song this year. I, too, feel like I've been on a sailboat. I've seen storms and choppy waters, and dark nights when I thought it would never get any better. I've seen beautiful rainbows and calm waters that give me peace. Some would run away from God in dark times, but if anything, I ran toward Him. And it pains me to think that there are others who have to go through hard things without confidence in Christ. Of course, there were days when I felt so alone, so helpless. But when I was alone, He was (and is) there. One of my very best friends texted me a few weeks after losing Martha and said -

"God is working... He never stops. He doesn't let us down or give up on us or forget about our struggles. He sees every tear and frustration and heartache, and he works through and in those things, too."

Those words carry me through to this day. Losing Martha gave me a more clear view of the Gospel. Of just HOW incredibly beautiful and wonderful the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ is. God works through all circumstances - even through hurt and tears. I think Martha would rejoice in the fact that this past year has drawn me closer to Him - just the way she always did. Martha and I had a very special friendship, and that deep, special friendship is because of Jesus. Martha pointed me towards Christ SO often, and for that I am grateful. She lived a life that was selfless, full of peace, and that brought joy to all around her. Truly, that girl had friends everywhere and showed Jesus to all of them. She loved God, and loved others. Isn't that what we're all supposed to do? She had done that so well, and though I miss her each day and wish the Lord hadn't taken her from me, I ultimately know that His plan is perfect and He is good. And that carries me through.

I wish I could remember the day I met Martha. Sadly, I don't. What I do remember so well, is my last day with Martha. Friday, October 11, I had finally reunited with my closest college friends after not seeing any of them since the sparkler exit of our reception back in June. I saw Martha in front of one of the Village apartments on campus, and literally ran toward her. I yelled "Marf!!" (a little excessive, but whatever!) and experienced the best hug she's ever given me. You see, Martha kind of disliked hugs, and always talked about her "bubble"... but that night, she let me burst it, just one more time. And I am eternally thankful.

Martha taught me many things on her time on Earth, and many things even when she left us. She taught me to loosen up a bit and not let grades define my life. She exposed me to some of the most beautiful wedding videos I've ever watched. She taught me that size large t-shirts are the way to go. She also taught me about perseverance, finding joy in suffering, loving others well, loving Jesus, and resting in His perfect peace.

If you're still reading this - I'm glad. I hope you've gained an understanding of how much this wonderful friend meant to me. And if you knew Martha, I hope you're nodding your head in agreement. I wish no one would ever have to lose a friend, but because this world is broken, we weep over our cherished ones. We long for the day without hurt, and it will come one day. Meanwhile, when we hurt, we pick ourselves up, and we turn towards the Lord. He's building us, molding our character and shaping our lives to reflect His glory, and reminding us of our HOPE in Jesus.

To those of you who have carried me through this year - I am eternally grateful for your love, encouragement and prayers. I am blessed with wonderful family and friends from all parts of my life who have loved me and motivated to continue and take each day as it comes. I have come to cling to community, both those in Greenville and Raleigh. It brings tears to my eyes to think of all who loved me so well during this extremely tough time. My core group of college girls has been my rock. My husband, my parents my other best friends - they've all been there for me this year and I am so grateful. This year also brought me a new church community in Raleigh, and there are no words to express how thankful I am for that. I've made friends who let me cry over coffee with them about things that hurt, and invite me over just to craft or run errands with them. I pray that I can show all of these people that I've named the same friendship and joy that Martha gave me, and demonstrate to them how knowing Martha and loving Jesus has made me a better person.

365 days later, I still miss you immensely, Marth. Life has changed a lot, and it breaks my heart that you're not here to see it first hand. Miss you, love you. Keep watching over us all, my sweet friend. Until we meet again.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

today I am...

// missing my alma mater and all those who made my 4 years there special. There's something about fall that makes me nostalgic for a beautiful college campus.

// savoring the Bath & Body Works "Leaves" candle and burning it like it's my job. After stumbling upon a major sale and snagging one, I might never turn back.

// enjoying the fact I have some fun fall road trips coming up. Greenville, Wilmington and Charlottesville. So ready.

// loving this incredible "monster" cookie recipe I made last night. I had to bring most of them to work today so I wouldn't eat all of them by myself!

// relaxing on the couch and catching up on all my favorite shows -- New Girl, Chicago Fire, Scandal and The Voice!

// painting burlaps like a mad lady. So thankful for all these new projects but it's definitely keeping me busy!

// debating whether or not I want to start running again. Now that the weather's cooler it miiiiiight be tolerable. Maybe.

// craving some of those pumpkin candy corn things. You know what I'm talking about? Too soon? Nahhhh.

How are you today?


Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall bucket list.

y'all. I LOVE fall. I love everything that comes with it. Snuggling up in sweatshirts, taking in the atmosphere of a college campus when the leaves are changing colors, finally making the switch from an iced coffee order to a warm coffee order... it's the little things. The temps in NC don't necessarily indicate it, but today is the official beginning of fall and I couldn't be MORE ready. Type-A that I am, this past weekend I sat down with Andrew and had him help me think of things we must check off the list before the season is out. Thus, we have:

the mccalls fall bucket list

go to a Clemson football game. 
carve a pumpkin. 
dream up a clever costume idea. 
bake a "fall" treat - apple pie? pumpkin muffins?
take a day trip to chapel hill.
go on a hike and take in the gorgeous fall colors.
find a great pair of riding boots. 
go camping.
take a weekend trip to Charlottesville.
try a new coffee shop.

Some of these are solo things for just me, but I'm looking forward to doing most of them with Andrew and enjoying all autumn has to offer here in NC. Annnnnd hopefully I'll report back and be able to share some of these autumn activities on the blog. Anything I need to add to my list? Any and all suggestions are welcome :)

Happy Fall, y'all!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

20 things.

Hey friends! If you can't tell, I'm suffering from a bit of a blogger's block lately. In an effort to get back in the groove, I've decided to share 20 random facts about myself. It's always a bit easier for me to do grab-bag blog topics like this to get my creative juices flowing.

I'm fairly open on this blog, so it's kind of hard for me to think of interesting things to share with y'all. I really love it when other bloggers do posts like this, so hopefully you'll enjoy a little glance into the everyday Ryann. Here goes nothing...

1. I hate tomatoes. But I love all things tomato related, including: marina sauce, tomato soup, ketchup and salsa. I've tried repeatedly to like plain tomatoes, but I just can't. do. it.

2. The part I hate most about my body is my armpits. I'm not talking like the underarm armpit area that you shave. I'm talking about that weird bulge that I have where my arm connects my torso. I know, that's kind of weird, but I'm SO self conscious about that area when I wear sleeveless tops or strapless dresses. Oh great, now everyone's going to be looking at that in my photos... ha!

3. While we're talking about weird body things... I brush my eyebrows every morning. Don't laugh. You know those browliner pencil things with the little brush at the end? Yup, use one every day. The nail salon ladies always say "You have such BOLD eyebrows" after asking me if I want them waxed. I think that's an insult, but I'm not sure.

4. Andrew and I don't have cable, and at first I thought it would be the hardest thing ever. However, thanks to Netflix (still mooching of the parentals' account... thanks, dad!) and our newest purchase of a ChromeCast (I CAN FINALLY WATCH HOUSE HUNTERS!!!!), we're never lacking for something to watch.

5. Speaking of Netflix, I've watched the following shows in their entirety (at least all of the episodes available on Netflix!): How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Rec, New Girl, House of Cards and Mad Men. Which one should I watch next?!

6. I'm obsessed with ice cream and fro-yo. Even after a huge meal, there's always room.

7. I used to be very musical. In my glory days (majorly joking) I played the viola and piano and sang in the chorus. Unfortunately, I would have a hard time doing any of those things today.

8. Speaking of extracurriculars, you name a sport... I tried it. And most likely stunk at it. Dance, gymnastics, t-ball, basketball, volleyball, golf... the list goes on.

9. My high school senior superlative was "Most Likely to Succeed." Very flattered and all, but I'm still trying to figure out what that exactly means... ha!

10. I was extremely involved in Zeta Tau Alpha during my time in college. And I'm "that girl" that really misses it post-grad.

11. My favorite color is turquoise. Just in case you don't believe me, I painted my kitchen table that color. So, yeah.

12. I used to really dislike cheeseburgers. Then I let my dad and Andrew drag me to Five Guys and my life was changed forever. Now I'm usually the one to suggest a trip there!

13. Andrew is my high school sweetheart. I think it's pretty awesome that we're married and all. :)

14. I was an English major in college. And I'd rather write a paper than take a test, hands down.

15. My eyes are TERRIBLE. I mean, absolutely horrible. I've worn glasses since second grade and contacts since 6th grade.

16. If I could meet any famous person still alive today, I would want to meet Ellen DeGeneres. LOVE HER.

17. I have puppy fever to the highest degree. Like, it's out of control. Unfortunately, as long as we're still renting I'll have to put my puppy obsession on hold.

18. Throughout my life, I have wanted to be the following things when I grew up: artist, marine biologist, veterinarian, college professor, wedding photographer. I think I'm still trying to figure it out.

19. I'm married to a Lord of the Rings fanatic. And somehow, after 4+ years of dating and more than a year of marriage, I've managed to avoid watching the series in its entirety. I'm just not as into it as Andrew is!

20. I'm randomly obsessed with pineapples. I realize this has become a trend lately, but I've always loved having this symbol of Southern hospitality all over my house in decor, prints, and burlaps, of course!

Shoutout to my dear fwiend (yup, you read that right) Cameron for this blog post inspiration, thanks to the text I received from her earlier this week.  Not pictured is the list of 5+ very detailed blog post topics that I will definitely be using... you can always count on friends to be there when the creative juices run dry!

Can anyone relate to any of my random facts? I'd love to see a post of yours! Thanks for reading, friends! Hope y'all have a great start to the week. 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

life lately!

Hello dear blog friends. I realize it's been a bit quiet (again) around here lately, but I wanted to check in and fill y'all in on what I've been up to!

This summer has been a crazy one for the McCalls. Not that we've really had anything big going on, but it feels like most weekends we were on the road or just occupied in some other way. This summer was a weird one for me- I'm still getting used to the fact that summers as I know them are basically over. I mean, I always had a job or an internship during the summer while in school, but this first "real world" summer was definitely an adjustment!

So, since we're in town for the weekend (finally!) I'm soaking it all in, sitting here on our couch, watching Netflix all afternoon. It's pretty excellent... especially since I'm watching The Parent Trap. I'm feeling all nostalgic for pre-trainwreck Lindsay Lohan and really craving some peanut butter and Oreos right now, but that's beside the point. Here's what's up in the McCall household these days:

it's back to school time!
Andrew started classes this week - I can't believe it's already that time. I have a feeling this year is going to fly by - the first year sure did! Andrew had a great summer interning at an incredible firm, and he's going to keep working a few days a week while also taking a full class load and serving as a TA. So proud of that guy!

i'm SO over summer.
I know, that sounds so horrible. But I am SO ready for fall. I'm craving riding boots, vests, cool weather, warm coffee and football. Who's with me? We're going to try to make it down to a Clemson game this season, and we definitely want to make sure we squeeze in a chance to root on the NC State Wolfpack while Andrew's still a student!

but... i'm so ready for wedding season!
Despite being totally over summer, I'm extremely ready for NEXT summer... my sweet Little who got engaged earlier this summer has officially asked me to be her Matron of Honor! I'm so extremely excited to help her prepare and celebrate this fun thing called MARRIAGE! What's more... Andrew's going to be a groomsman, too! 

i'm officially that old married lady obsessed with furniture.
On a whim, Andrew and I decided to stop in a furniture consignment store down the street a week or so ago.. we fell in love with the beautiful piece you see below. We're not ones to be compulsive buyers, but this beautiful china cabinet/buffet/whatever you want to call it was calling our name. We got it for such a great deal, and it fits perfectly in this spot in our little eating nook. After a little elbow grease and some styling, it was good to go and looked amazing in our house. It's so fun to collect pieces like this we can enjoy for years to come, no matter where we call home!

i've decided I want to be a professional doodler. 
I realize that might sound like the dumbest thing ever. But, after taking a brush lettering class at Gather in Cary (oops, never did a blog post like I intended to on that...) I've become slightly obsessed with brush lettering and lettering in general. I've bought some brush-tip markers and sharpies and have been doodling away. My next goal? Learn calligraphy. If you know of any classes/teachers in the Triangle area, let me know!

So, there's your daily dose of randomness. Thanks for sticking with me, friends! :)


Thursday, July 31, 2014

travel in style

I never have claimed to be, and I probably never will be, a fashion blogger. But that doesn't mean I can't have a little fun with it when I find an outfit I love, right?!

If you've been following along for a while, you may remember my maiden voyage into fashion blogger territory-- I may have liked it a bit, so I'm back at it, this time with one of my favorite travel outfits. This past weekend, the hubs and I hit the road to Charleston to celebrate yet another cousin's wedding (tis the season for wedding festivities, amiright?!) and some quality time with my parents and friends who live in town. Charleston is right under four and a half hours from Raleighwood, so for this travel outfit, comfort was key. 

top {on sale now!} / shorts {similar} / monogram necklace / hat {similar} / bracelets / watch / sandals {not available online}

Comfy tee (the fact it has a precious pineapple print is a plus!), chino shorts and comfy sandals are my go-to travel outfit, whether I'm tearing up I-85 to visit the family in Greenville or elsewhere. J Crew chinos are usually my shorts of choice, but I found these at Old Navy a few summers ago and couldn't resist snagging some pairs on sale! 

And of course, whether I'm typing away at the computer in the office or riding shotgun down the highway, a cup of coffee is always necessary in the morning. An iced coffee in my favorite insulted mason jar is enough to get me out of the bed, any day of the week! Who's with me!? 

What's your go-to travel outfit? Are you a casual-and-comfy kinda gal like me?