Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Changes!

Hi guys! If you haven't noticed, I've tweaked my blog a bit! I'm trying to clean it up and make it a little more sophisticated... I just love this new layout!

I'm still trying to catch up on my blogs I missed reading while gone, but I saw Ashley at Loving Life and Lilly got a new template and layout for a great price ($10!) at Designerblogs.com, and I couldn't resist. I'm still in the process of making sure everything looks good together, changing colors and whatnot, but I'm excited to get a fresh, new look!

Also, in the past I have called my blog { joy, joy, unspeakable joy }, but I have decided to shorten it a bit to simply { unspeakable joy } to simplify some design aspects and make sure my blog name isn't a mouthful! Once again, simplifying and making life a bit easier!

PS- I have a question for you all, and this may be "unprofessional", but I'm having a problem and maybe you all can help me out! On my home page, I see all my links as purple and underlined... no matter what! It is extremely frustrating because I just think it looks so bad, but I don't know if my followers are seeing the same thing! Do you all see this? Anyone ever have this problem? Better yet- know how to fix it?! Thanks friends!

xoxo, ryann

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Australia/NZ Adventures... Part I!

 I'M BACK!

First of all, I want to thank all my amazing blog friends who helped me out and served as guest bloggers! I really appreciate ya'll taking care of my blog while I was gone! Everyone else- thanks for sticking with me! And a big welcome to all my new followers!

I want to recap my adventures with lots of words and pictures, but I have so much to say that I'm going to have to break it up into two posts!

Wofford has this awesome thing called Interim that happens during the month of January! You get four credit hours while taking advantage of the opportunity to take a class that interests you, travel, or get an internship! I was on campus freshman year, traveled to Peru last year, and this year I was fortunate to go to Australia and New Zealand with two of my closest friends! We were gone for about three weeks, and always on the go! I took TONS of pictures and want to share a few from each place we went!

Sydney, Australia
We flew from Charlotte to Dallas to Sydney... the final flight being 16 hours, AHHH! But we survived! Exhausted, jet lagged, and dirty, we arrived in Sydney where we stayed for a few days before moving on to New Zealand. Two of my best friends, Jennings and Martha, came on the trip and we stayed together 24/7. We had a wonderful time walking around Sydney and exploring the big city! We visited Darling Harbour and of course, the famous Sydney Harbour! We had a fabulous time just relaxing and checking out the view of the famous bridge, touring the famous Sydney Opera House, and even seeing a show called "The Illusionists" at the opera house! One day during our stay we visited the Featherdale Wildlife Park where we got some one-on-one time with cuddly koalas and krazy kangaroos!!

Jennings and Martha at Darling Harbour
Whoo hoo! We made it to Sydney Harbour- is this real life?!
I have so many stinkin' pictures of this bridge and that opera house!
So beautiful at night!
How cute is that koala?!
No big deal, just relaxing with the 'roos!
So cultured- going to a show at the Sydney Opera House!

Queenstown, NZ
After a brief plane ride, we made it to the land of the Kiwis! We arrived at my favorite place in New Zealand... Queenstown! Keep in mind that even though it is winter here in America, it is summer down under! Queenstown is a year round destination, with skiing in the winter and lots of thrilling outdoor adventure activities in the summer! Some of the kids in our group went bungy jumping... NO THANKS! We explored the town center after checking into our hotel with an amazing view of the town amidst the backdrop of snowcapped mountains and a dazzling blue lake. The town had fun shops and restaurants, and the style kind of reminded me of what towns out in Colorado look like- rustic, but still modern. One night we had a wonderful buffet dinner after watching a cultural show of the Maori, the indigineous people of New Zealand. We took an amazing jet boat ride on the Shotover River Canyon- literally one of the coolest/scariest/most fun things I have ever done! I wish I had pictures, but just watch the video!

Jennings and I in the gondola that took us to the Maori show and dinner!
ZTAs throwin' the crown over Queenstown!
This was the view from our hotel... how perfect is that?!

Te Anu, NZ
We only stayed here one night, but during the day we headed to Milford Sound for a delicious lunch cruise and to take in the sights of Fjordland. We also stopped at Mirror lakes and an area called the Chasm!

Mirror Lakes!
Only one of the many beautiful waterfalls at Milford!
cruising the beautiful Milford Sound!

awesome rocks at the Chasm

Stewart Island, NZ
HA. This was the worst part of the trip. A long and choppy ferryboat ride to an island with less than 300 residents and only 4 restaurants is NOT my idea of fun! Of course, I don't mind "roughing it", but unfortuantely during our visit, where our activities were largely outdoor, the weather was cold, windy, and gross. We wandered around the tiny town (that didn't take very long) and one day took a nature hike around the closeby uninhabited Ulva Island and then around Stewart Island. The funny thing about Stewart Island is that our nature guide told us about this awesome lighthouse at the top of a trail we just HAD to go see. We were exhausted, but agreed to head up the mountain. That was before a MONSOON hit. Gale force winds and sideways rain drenched us as we hiked literally on the side of a cliff... only to find the lighthouse was less than impressive. Needless to say, after two nights we were glad to be moving on!

I love border collies!

exploring Boulder Beach on Ulva Island!
And I will leave you with this gem for now..... 
Lighthouse equals #letdown.
Look for the second part of my adventures in another post coming very soon!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Guest Post- { A Little Bit of This, and a Little Bit of That }

I'm so excited to introduce you to my dear friend from high school, Sasha! She is relatively new to blogging but doing an amazing job! I hope that you will hop on over to visit her at "A Little Bit of This, and a Little Bit of That"! 
Hi to all of Ryann's readers! My name is Sasha and i'm the newcomer behind the blog, "A Little Bit of This, and a Little Bit of That", which is undoubtedly a very random compilations of thoughts and personal refelctions! I am absolutely honored to be guest blogging for such a sweet and witty writer, and I figured through this I could perhaps gain a few blogger friends/ find other blogs to follow.  I've absolutely LOVED blogging thus far, and although at times I get a little slack, I'm starting to some-what catch the hang of it!  

When Ryann asked me to guest blog I was a little nervous because I had no idea what to talk about, so of course Ryann being Ryann gave some simple but excellent advice, write about something you care about.  If you know me at all then you know that I love clothes, fashion, jewelry... and SHOES.  So, I figured i'd do a little fashion forward post on my most current obsession, which are chunky heels.  Being that I'm 5'7" I probably shouldn't wear heels too often, but I just love them so much (Good thing my boyfriend Alex has some height on me).  Chunky heels are my favorite because I can actually walk in them, which... is always a good thing, obvi.  Luckily for me, I have a pinterest account that I am obsessed with, and I can  oh and ah over shoes all-day-long.  So, here a few that I would probably die for:



And, I probably made the worst mistake ever, and signed up on Shoe Dazzle, so I can be persuaded to spend even MORE money on shoes, but they're so well priced I just can't help it! Here are a few favorites from there:


So, needless to say I have an unhealthy obsession with shoes, and that obsession is based around pumps right now, thick pumps at that!  Now all I need is a few occasions to wear these to.  Thanks for having me Ryann, and thanks to you for reading!  Stay fashion forward!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Post- { Carolina on My Mind }


I'm excited to share with you my blogger friend Addison at Carolina On My Mind! She is busy juggling senior year, life in general and planning her upcoming wedding! She does find time to do some great blogging and always has something fun and interesting to read about!

Easy Egg Salad
Hello! I’m Addison from Carolina On My Mind.  I’ve been reading Ryann’s blog from the very beginning, and was thrilled when I received an email asking if I would guest blog while she is away.  Of course, I said yes without any hesitation! Thank you Ryann for the opportunity to guest blog on one of my favorite blogs! Hope you’re having a blast!
During the winter months I find myself eating chili, soups, and anything that is warm and filling to get me through the next few cold months.  One of my favorite easy recipes to make during the winter months is egg salad.  It is a southern staple, and I love to have it year around, as it is sometimes seen by others as a summer meal.  It is so easy to make, it is healthy, and filling.  I tend to make egg salad for lunch and will eat it on a sandwich, but there are a lot of other alternative ways to eat egg salad if you do not prefer it on a sandwich…eat it on crackers, toasted pita, as a salad topping, on a bed of lettuce, etc! There are so many ways to eat egg salad, and the beauty of this recipe is that you can add anything you want to it.  I like it plain Jane, so I do not add anything to mine, but some suggestions to spice up your egg salad would be celery, onions, pickles, cucumbers, and some people I know even add small tomatoes to theirs.
Google Image
Here is my favorite egg salad recipe and don’t be afraid to add to it…
Ingredients [this yields 4 sandwiches]:
-        6 hardboiled eggs
-        1/3 cup of mayonnaise *I really don’t like mayo that much, so I do not personally use this much.
-        1 teaspoon of yellow mustard *I prefer mustard so I use a lot more mustard to compensate for the mayo.  I usually just eyeball it; I don’t have a set amount.
-        ½ teaspoon of paprika
-        1/8 teaspoon of salt
-        1/8 teaspoon of pepper

Directions
(1)   Boil the eggs- I’ve tried many different ways to boil the eggs and I’ve found that this way works for me.  Cover eggs with about 1 inch of water above them.  Bring them to a rapid boil.  Remove from burner and let me them stand, covered for 10 minutes.  I then put them back on the burner, covered on low heat for 10 minutes.   I know this is odd, but it has worked for me time after time so I live by it.
(2)   Peel and chop the boiled eggs up and add to mixing bowl. You can chop it rough, where you see chunks of the egg, or you can chop it very fine where it looks like little pebbles, either way is just fine.
(3)   This is the step where you add any extra ingredients you would like.  Dump them to the mixing bowl.
(4)   Add the mayo, yellow mustard, paprika, salt and pepper to the mixing bowl.
(5)   Mix until well combined and chill. Should serve egg salad chilled, not warm.
I love that this recipe is filling and reminds me of summer.
Don’t be afraid to eat it all year around, it is just as delicious in the winter as the summer!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Post- { The Sweet Life }


I'm excited to welcome Steph to my little blog! She is a West coast girl who is a lovely bride to be! Hop on over to her blog at The Sweet Life and let her know you stopped  by- you'll be glad you did!

The Benefits of Blogging
Hi there, readers of Ryann’s beautiful blog! This is Steph from The Sweet Life and I am so excited to be guest posting for Ryann while she is on her amazing trip. Having the opportunity to blog about anything made me think about everything, but all my thoughts came back to blogging.


Why do we blog? Why do we devote so much of our precious time to a personal web page that has to be maintained, tailored, and updated on a daily basis? Lord knows we don’t have a ton of free time in our busy lives, but we choose to spend at least a portion of it on our virtual babies, our blogs.

This is why I blog…

A blog is a virtual journal. My blog allows me to archive pictures and stories from all the places I go, the people I meet, the lessons I learn. It is neatly organized by date so that at any time, my memories are only a click away. It also lets me share these experiences with my family, friends, and coworkers who are all avid followers of my blog.


The main reason I started my blog was to document my decisions, opinions, and experiences while I plan my summer wedding. So many milestones are happening this year for my fiancé and I, and I want to remember every detail!

Blogs bring people together. Since I started my blog just a few months ago, I have met some of the most wonderful ladies from across the country, some of which I consider my friends. The concept sounds strange and is something only us bloggers will ever understand. We are connected by the common bond of blogging, and are able to provide support, feed back, and encouragement to our fellow blog friends. I’ve come to find that a lot of girls are going through many of the same things that I am going through, so it is nice to know you aren’t alone in most of the problems you face. It’s also awesome to learn how different life is in different parts of the country. My good friend Dayna from A Bama Belle and a Bucket List has taught me a lot about the South, and I try and teach her about how we roll out here in California.


Blogs are a source of information and inspiration. I cannot tell you how many times I have learned new tricks, recipes, and decorating tips from another blog. It’s made me want to try new things, cook more often, and think outside my own box. Conversely, when I have an idea, a tip, or an opinion, I am able to share that with others. It really is a valuable tool for inspiration about anything from decorating your home, to managing your money, to the newest trends in fashion (which I admit is something I need a lot of help with!).


Blogging is a more personal form of social media. Unlike Facebook, blogs provide a forum for story telling, a place where you can share your adventures in great detail including pictures, links, and explanations along the way. And unlike twitter, you aren’t limited to 142 characters or less (thank goodness!). I’ll admit now that I’m not on Facebook, but I find that blogs are more of a community of similar women that are all striving towards a common goal, and that is to make our lives the best they can be. And I may be biased, but I think we bloggers do a darn good job at that!


At this time, I’d like to take a second to point out that blogging isn’t all roses. To put together a post requires a lot of thought, creativity, and time, which in my busy life are sometimes hard to come by. And if you want your blog to be read and supported by others, then you have to put in the time to read and support other blogs. I seem to come up with some of my best blog topics either while I’m driving or when I’m in the shower…maybe because at those times my mind is more relaxed. I usually blog in the morning (since I work nights) when my brain is fresh and ready to tackle the day, and I read other blogs at night when things are slow at work or I’m home on the couch. I have to be careful to not let it take up too much of my free time, especially when me fiancĂ© is home. We work opposite hours, so I have to enjoy the time I do have with him!


Basically, the moral of this lengthy guest blog is that I love blogging. I love the forum it provides me to speak my mind and share my adventures, I love the people I’ve met from across the country, I love the support system I’ve gained, and I love writing. It makes me feel good when I check my gmail and have positive comments from my latest post. It makes it all worth the work!

If you are reading this, chances are you are already a blogger and have had many of the same experiences with your blogs as I have. It is definitely something I am glad I started and is certainly something I plan to continue for the long haul.

Thanks for reading my guest post…and thank you, Ryann, for letting me babysit your blog while you are away! I’ll leave you all, my fellow bloggers, with one piece of advice…





Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest Post- { Just Peachy }

I'm excited to share with you the thoughts of my blogger friend and fellow ZTA sister Rachel at Just Peachy Blog! She is super cute and stylish and you should go check out her fun blog!

"I Never Buy Full Price!"
Hey guys! It's Rachel from Just Peachy Blog!

I'm so excited to do this guest post today. Shopping is definitely one of my passions/thing I spend most of my life doing/just a really great way to waste time. If I could turn it into a professional career at which I was making at least a 6 figure salary, believe me, I would.

But at the same time, I never buy anything full price. You heard me.
(Disclaimer: I do buy full price things such as food, and certain items as long as they are under $10.)
Not only does this help me save money, but it's also a really fun game I like to play with myself.

"Let's see how much money I can ask for back!"
"Oh! I spent less than I saved!" 
(LOVE when stores put how much you saved on the receipt. Another great thing about J.Crew)
"It's not on sale today, so I'm not meant to buy it."
"It's on sale now! It's meant to be!"

Image via
So you may be asking yourself, "how does this crazy lady find ways to never purchase anything full price? Why is she so crazy?" Well my friends.. I will share with you my secrets.

1. Keep a list of things you want to buy.
This helps consolidate your wishlist into an easy reference page for when you go shopping, or even when someone wants to buy you a present. I always have a list on my phone of things I need to buy whether it's groceries, things for the home, or clothes/accessories.

2. As soon as you add an item to your wishlist, Google it.
More often than not, you can find your item online for a cheaper price, but be sure to include shipping prices, taxes, and other online fees. Remember the price and website where you found the cheapest price. I have found that online prices are usually lower than the store prices.

3. Google coupon codes.
This goes for online shopping as well as in-store shopping. ALWAYS print out coupons from your e-mail for stores you frequent and save coupons you get in the mail. Usually, before I go to the mall, I will google all of the stores I usually shop at to find a printable coupon. If you can't find an in-store coupon, chances are there will probably be an online code. Here are the most useful websites I have found:

4. Ask for discounts.
I've always been told to ask, because the worst that could happen is a no! As a sales associate, I know first hand how rewarding it feels to help someone out with a "secret" discount! Don't be afraid to ask; stores usually give discounts if your item is damaged and if your item had a different price tag speak up! Always say Thank You when the sales associate does something special for you!

5. Know when to shop.
We all know and love the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual sale. I NEVER buy anything at Victoria's Secret without paying at least half the price and I only own their bras. These sales are always around the same times: beginning of the year (January) and middle of the year (June). Same with Bath and Body Works. Also, it's good to know when stores do markdowns. J.Crew does markdowns on Wednesday nights, and Anthropologie puts Fresh Cuts on their website on Tuesdays.

I hope you all found this post informative! I love talking about shopping and all of the deals I find. I also love helping other people get deals too! Hop on over to my blog for more shopping tips!

Thank you SO much for this opportunity Ryann! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Guest Post- { Loving Life and Lilly }


Welcome to Ashley from Loving Life and Lilly! She is a Hokie-lovin' post grad with one of the best jobs ever... she works in a Lilly P store! I'm so glad to have her, especially since she was one of the first blogs I started following! Go check her out!

Hello to all of Ryann’s readers! I am Ashley, behind Loving Life and Lilly and I have been loving Ryann’s blog for a while now! I was thrilled to be asked to guest blog while she is traveling, and I figured that I should write about what I know and love: Lilly Pulitzer!

We all know that winter wardrobes can be plagued with boring shades of black, brown, and grey, so what better way to spice things up than with a bright pop of color! I know many of you are probably thinking “What, Lilly Pulitzer is for summer! Sundresses and sandals have no place in the winter!” but in reality, this season especially, Lilly is offering some great ways to put a little color in your life!

One of my favorite tops to dress up or down (and may have made an appearance on New Year’s Eve) is the Elsa Top! It can be tucked into a pencil skirt for work, or worn with jeans for a night out! So perfect for a little taste of summer colors!


It is no secret that I am a sucker for anything cashmere. And anything Lilly. And anything Chi Omega. This scarf takes my love for all of these things and keeps me cozy warm and happy during the bleak winter months in the northeast! With tons of sorority prints (and non-greek prints) this is the perfect winter accessory! I mean, who wouldn’t want to look down and see this over their black winter coat?

Not all of us work in a Lilly store, and can wear ridiculous prints and patterns in public year round. These belts, however, let everyone else have a colorful accessory where cropped pants with pink flamingoes on them are socially unacceptable in the workplace. I hope I never reach this point, but if I do, at least I can pair a bright pink belt with my neutral work clothes!


I am a huge fan of cardigans. I probably own over 30 of them, no joke. This Bellina print is my favorite of Lilly’s resort collection, and this cardigan is a super fun way to keep warm and happy at the same time!

I hope that you can find inspiration to brighten up this winter with some of these fun, bright, simple accessories! Thanks for reading, and feel free to stop by Loving Life and Lilly for more ideas like this!

xx,
aWm

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guest Post- { Everyday AEM }

 I have yet another fun blogger friend who is a fabulous bride to be! Ashely at Everyday AEM is busy not only wedding planning, but student teaching and being a great blogger! She always has something fun to blog about, so sure to stop by and say hello!

Hello to all of Ryann's wonderful readers! I'm Ashley from Everyday AEM and I'm so excited to be guest blogging for sweet Ryann! With New Year's resolutions on our minds, I decided I would share one of mine for 2012.
Always make time for date nights

During the school year (as most of you know) life just gets plain busy and it is hard to always make sure your priorities are in line. I am an extremely type-a perfectionist and I always let my school/job consume me. I know this is not healthy, nor is it good for the other areas of my life. Sometimes I come home from class/teaching and am so exhausted that I just want to sit and drink hot cocoa for the remainder of the night. Or I come home and I'm in such a bad mood that I might as well where a warning sign letting everyone know not to speak to me.In addition to this little thing called life, the Winter blues also tend to leave people feeling down. Don't let the cooler weather and lack of sunshine get the best of you!

Despite my flaw of letting life get the best of me, Clayton and I have always found ways to keep our relationship exciting and fun! I wanted to share of few date night ideas with Ryann's readers in case you find yourself in the rut of what to do with your beau! And no fear: many of these can be done on little to no budget!



Dinner and a Movie
Okay, so this may  not be a surprise to you. Everyone loves dinner and a movie. But if you go out to eat and are a frequent at the cinemas, why not stay in for a change and rent a movie from redbox and try out that new Pinterest recipe you've been drooling over? On the other hand, if you and your beau haven't been out to dinner in ages.. it's time the two of you get dressed up for a night on the town! If you are feeling really adventures, mix it up for a picnic in the park or even in your own backyard. Pop open a bottle of champagne or your favorite wine and call it a date! If you are anything like Clayton and I, you will love to try out new foods by visiting the local Thai place you've passed a billion times or picking something new off of the Greek restaurant's menu!

Ideas that I love..
a drive-in movie date
 

dinner and a movie in bed

maybe this is more for the summer, but it was too cute not to share!

Clayton and I had a picnic on the back porch, but
this could easily be done as an indoor picnic for a Winter date night!

If you're not much a movie watcher, try out these other date night ideas for after dinner..
No matter where you live, there has to be a theater or arts center of some sort where you can venture out on those weekend nights. While Clayton and I lived in our college town, we were frequents to our school's musical performances. We went to everything from seeing the President's Marine Marching Band, our school's percussion ensemble, to seeing the Russian Ballet Perform. Where we live now, we have found plenty of things to do. We have gone to the symphony on multiple occasions and have been to see small musicals put on by the theatre in town. I would love to visit some of the art galleries and other attractions in the near future! No matter what you're tastes or interests, there is something for everyone! You might just have to do your research! Oh and don't forget to save your ticket stubs to add to your memory book! (If you don't have one yet, start one now!)

Go ice skating!

Enjoy a homemade fondue together for dessert
This blog has great ideas for fondue for two!


Do what your beau loves most..
Although Clayton is essentially as romantic as they get, I have found that most any guy will go for a cheesy date night, if you will spend some time with him doing what he loves most. I mean what could be better having both the love of your life AND your favorite pastime all wrapped up in one?! Whether he loves to play a round of golf, likes to hunt or fish, enjoys a day at the gym, or (gasp) likes to shop.. you can join him on his adventures and call it a date! There's nothing better than seeing the love of your life do what he loves.. you can really learn a lot about your beau this way too!

Clayton loves when I go fishing with him


Great ways to plan for your date nights..
If you are spontaneous..
Keep a can of date nights to randomly draw from

If you are a planner..
Plan for a year of dates

If you want to save up for something extra special..
Save up your spare change for a date! You will be surprised how much $$ you can collect.
Clayton and I do this and I can't wait to see what we decide on whenever our jar is full!