Sunday, June 29, 2014

one year.

I can't believe that today marks one year of marriage to this handsome fella...

one year since I wore this gorgeous dress... 

...and one year since I danced the night away with my friends and family, and ran off to a week of bliss in St. Lucia with Mr. McCall!

But really, it's blowing my mind that today, June 29, I have been a wife for a whole year. Marriage has been everything I've thought it would be, and nothing I expected. We've been through a lot this year - and I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else. More "first year" reflections to come, I'm sure!

On that note, I realized that I TOTALLY dropped the ball last year on my blog wedding recaps... and I think I'm going to pick that ball right back up, even a whole 12 months later! SO excited to go through our photos and reminisce again :)

Happy Anniversary to my sweet husband! Cheers to many more years to come.


Monday, June 23, 2014

weekend antiquing at Cheshire Cat

This weekend was a wonderful one, full of spontaneity, randomness, and somehow within all that, productivity. After a long week for each of us and late nights on Thursday (Andrew up waiting on delayed flights to come back into town from a work trip, and me staying up to wait for him), we were ready to simply relax. We slept in way too late on Saturday to accommodate our initial plans to go on a donut date, so we opted for brunch at Cameron Bar and Grill instead -- just as fun! We started wandering around Cameron Village and decided to wander venture into The Cheshire Cat Gallery. 

If you're in the Raleigh area, or ever visit, you MUST visit The Cheshire Cat Gallery! As we made our way down the stairs, we were overwhelmed by stuff. I usually hate the word "stuff," but that's really the best way to describe everything in the gallery! From prints, to books, to furniture, to random junky trinkets, this place had it all. It was one of those places that you know is a gold mine... as long as you're willing to invest the time in finding the gold. Well, ladies and gents, I found my gold... bamboo mirror. 

I've been searching for the perfect piece to put over our mantle and as soon as I saw this one, I started obsessing. I made note of it, and continued wandering the store, keeping it in the back of my mind. We left and did some things around the house, but I kept going back to that gorgeous mirror, deathly afraid someone else would find my beloved bamboo treasure. After Andrew saw me literally pining for that mirror as I stared over our mantle, and having a conversation about how this piece would fit into our budget, we decided to go back for it. I was SO nervous that it wouldn't be there, but I was so relieved to find it was right where I left it. There was the slightest scratch at the top, so I was able to haggle the price down a bit, but I'm so bad at haggling. It makes me feel so awkward. Anyone else hate it? This is how the conversation went:

Me (to saleslady): "Hi, I'm interested in this mirror, but I noticed there's a blemish near the top. Is that the best price you can give us?"
Saleslady: "Yes, if you pay cash or check I can probably do better. $20 off?"
Me: "Okay!!!!!!!!!!!"

So, not sure if that's considering haggling. BUT, small steps friends. I need to let the bargain shopper in me do her thing once it comes time for us to invest in pieces for a bigger house of our own! What do y'all think of this mirror!? 


Amidst all that craziness, I did find another gem on our first trip to Cheshire Cat! This gorgeous straw bag jumped out at me and I was hooked... especially since I had my eyes on an updated Kate Spade straw bag that was on sale only a week earlier. It ended up selling out before I could make a decision, but I saved a TON of money going for this "vintage" one instead! With the exception of a little wear on the leather handles and discoloring of hardware, it was in perfect condition. And it was a decent enough size to fit my huge wallet, business card holder, and other handbag essentials, and for ONLY $20!

Isn't it so great? I'm definitely excited about our thrifty, stylish purchases, and will definitely head back to Cheshire Cat just for fun or to search for a great piece. There were so many things I wanted to get-- prints and precious brass giraffe figurines from Curio, old books to decorate with, elegant wood pieces... if only I was made of money and had more square footage! Have you ever had any really great antique-ing experiences? What do you think of these finds?


Friday, June 20, 2014

{five on friday}: advice for the engaged lady

This past weekend I had a lot of wedding excitement- between one of my very best friends getting engaged and helping host a wedding shower for my cousin, all the excitement of our season of engagement came rushing back to me. As I was talking to my cousin about honeymoon plans over punch and cookies at her shower, I had a pang of sadness, remembering how much fun Andrew and I had on our honeymoon, and wishing I could rewind a little bit back to that time.

As more and more engagement announcements are popping up on social media, I couldn't help but think of my time as an engaged lady, and a few words of advice for all the engaged-and-going-on-married ladies out there who are preparing for their wedding, and even more importantly, their marriage! Today's "Five on Friday" link-up is a little different than my normal randomness, but I'm so excited to share...

{one} enjoy this time. 
I had lots of people tell me this when I was engaged, and I mostly just laughed it off. Of course, I loved the wedding planning process, but balancing that while finishing senior year and beginning a job search was stressful. Looking back, though, it was such a sweet time. It was a time of anticipation, preparation and excitement. Some days I wanted to pull my hair out in frustration, but looking back, I truly cherish that time. 

{two} invest in your future marriage.
For Andrew and I, marriage counseling was a given. My RUF minister from Wofford did our ceremony, and part of this process was doing counseling sessions with he and his wife once a month for a few months. It was so wonderful to not only learn the Biblical basis of marriage and how the Lord uses it to draw us closer to Him, but to learn it from wonderful role models of a Christian marriage. During our engagement, Andrew and I also read through Timothy Keller's "The Meaning of Marriage," and would talk through each chapter whenever we visited each other on the weekends senior year. It's a great read for all -- ladies who are single, engaged and married. 

{three} be intentional in your friendships. 
As a new wife, it's easy to get comfortable in your new daily routine with your husband and live in la-la-newlywed-land, just the two of you. But -- it's still essential to be intentional in spending time with your girlfriends. If I'm being completely honest, I still struggle with this. I've never been the one who wants to "go out" on the weekends -- I'd much rather cozy up and just stick to my normal routine of evening Netflix, reading, or crafting and hanging out with Andrew. Yes, your relationship with your husband is the most important one in your life, but carving out "girl time" is SO essential. Whether that's initiating a coffee date, organizing a double date (that counts!) or regularly catching up with friends over the phone -- just do it. Its therapeutic, it's fulfilling, and so necessary.

{four} speak. and listen.
Give yourself grace, and give your future husband grace, too. Just like you're not sure how this wife thing works exactly, chances are your guy isn't too sure how it works just yet, either. Talk about things. Don't expect your husband to intuitively know when you're frustrated, or stressed, or sad, or whatever. Share with him. Share with him your goals, your needs, and what you're feeling. And remember, this goes the other way around, too. At times Andrew can be a man of few words, but I can't stress how much taking turns speaking and listening is absolutely essential for a fulfilling marriage and a happy home.

{five} pray for your fiancee. then your husband. then your family.
Growing up, I had this idealized image of marriage -- I thought I would get married, travel a bit, have babies, then be happy as all my friends went through the same process, and that by some miracle we would all end up together in one place and our kids would be BFFs, too. Didn't we all want that? (Still sounds pretty peachy to me, to be honest!) Throughout our season of engagement, however, I learned that marriage is so much more -- a partnership in the Gospel, and a lifelong commitment that requires prayerful preparation. I try each day to pray for Andrew in some way, even if it's as small as praying he has a good day at work. Sometimes I pray for his happiness and purpose in life after grad school, sometimes I pray for our family, and sometimes I pray for our future home. I would encourage you to pray over your relationship, continually, and through all stages of life.

We're coming up on ONE YEAR of marriage next week (crazy!),  and I by no means claim to be a marriage expert, but I feel like I could add a gazillion more things to this list. Wives out there -- do you agree? What would you add?

For you engaged ladies that actually made it to the end of this post... you're the best. Like I mentioned, enjoy this time. It's so sweet, so exciting. Stare at your sparkly ring, pin like it's your job, and relish in the newness and excitement in creating this new life together. But, in all of this, remember you're preparing for not just a wedding, but also a marriage. And it will be so very wonderful. 

Thank you Darci, April, Christina and Natasha for a wonderful opportunity to link up! 


Friday, June 13, 2014

Five on Friday

I'm excited to once again be linking up with Darci, April, Christina and Natasha today -- TGIF, friends!

I'm Greenville bound today! After work we're heading to the promised land (a.k.a Greenville, SC) most specifically so I can help host a bridal shower for my cousin, but also just to catch up with family and friends and celebrate Father's Day with the padres in my life. It's been a few months since we've been back so I'm super excited. The only bad thing? In order to leave early after work, I'm coming in early... eeeek. Must. Have. Coffee.


I'm on the prowl for some new throw pillows for our bed. Anyone have any suggestions as to where to find some quality, yet inexpensive pillows? I've seen some pretty ones on Etsy, but I always get nervous ordering stuff like that online when I can't see them in-person. I'd love to find a navy pillow to go with the coral pillows I have on our white quilt. Something like this maybe? 

I am unhealthily obsessed with corgis. Thankfully, I'm not alone.  For some reason, Andrew and I have started looking up YouTube videos of corgis ("Corgi Flop" anyone? Check it out -- it's a gem.) and pictures... Since we're renting, we can't have a dog, but if we could... at this point, it'd be a corgi. 

Married ladies... I need your help. Our one year anniversary is quickly approaching (WHAT!? Crazy.) and I am still at a loss of what to get my husband. Paper is the traditional first anniversary gift... anyone given a great, thoughtful "paper" gift to their husband? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Heard of Ashley Brooke Designs? I'm obsessed... especially with this tank. I'm thinking that if I got it, I might juuuuuust be able to get back on that gym grind. Cute workout clothes are always great motivation, right? 


Have a great weekend, friends! 


Sunday, June 8, 2014

{must read}: Cold Tangerines


If you haven't read Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist yet, RUN, don't walk, to your closest bookstore. Or buy it on Amazon here. You'll thank me later. Well, actually, let me first give you a little glimpse of why you should read it. THEN lace up your kicks, my friends.

You know those books where you just sit there and read, and you just want to exclaim to yourself, "YES!" Or, basically turn your pages pink (or yellow or red or whatever color marker you're using) from highlighting or underlining meaningful passages or revelations that just hit you like a ton of bricks? Well, Cold Tangerines was one of those books for me.

Shauna Niequist has become a popular name in the blogosphere, most notably for her book Bread and Wine, which I have not yet picked up, but I plan to soon enough. Not that I dare equate Cold Tangerines to any other book, because it is so beautifully and exquisitely and wonderfully written, but my friends who were enthralled by Love Does by Bob Goff will also fall in love with Cold Tangerines.

To quote Shauna Niequist's website, a short synopsis of Cold Tangerines:

"Cold Tangerines is a collection of stories that celebrate the extraordinary moments hidden in our everyday lives. It is about God, and about life, and about the thousands of daily ways in which an awareness of God changes and infuses everything. It is about spiritual life, and about all the things that we have called nonspiritual life that might be spiritual after all. It is the snapshots of a young woman making peace with herself and her life, and trying to craft a life that captures the energy and exuberance we long for in the midst of the fear and regret and envy we all carry with us. It is both a voice of challenge and song of comfort, calling us upward to the best possible life, and giving us room to breathe, to rest, to break down and break through. Cold Tangerines offers bright and varied glimpses of hope and redemption, in and among the heartbreak and boredom and broken glass."

Honestly, I'm not going to be able to add much more than that. These few sentences do a wonderful job in gathering the essence of Shauna's writing. It's one of those books that you could just read over and over, and most likely have zillion new takeaways each time. Her stories are honest, open, and raw. There are hilarious stories where you feel like you really want to be Shauna's best friend. There are heart-breaking stories that make you ache for her, or even, in my case, make you feel relieved, knowing that you're not the only one who has experienced such heartbreak, and make you thankful that Shauna has put her experience so elegantly and poignantly into words.

Since getting an iPad for my birthday, I've been hungrily reading whenever I have a free moment using the Kindle app- on my lunch break, before bed, while sipping on my smoothie in the morning before work... you get the picture. As I mentioned, I would find myself highlighting so many of Shauna's beautiful statements and I love the fact that with the Kindle app I'm able to go back into my "notebook" and look at them all in one place. I just had to share some of this lovely woman's wisdom with y'all:

Friends, this day is a beautiful, wonderful gift. If you know me or you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that this past year I was met with heartbreak from losing a very best friend -- and that heartbreak continually reminds me of the fact that each day is incredibly precious.

No matter what phase of life you're in, it seems that there's always the feeling that there's something more, something better out there. If you're anything like me, you're continually looking into the future, hoping that you'll find satisfaction and happiness there. That's one thing I majorly struggle with... contentment in where I am right now, in this very day. Cold Tangerines challenges you to find the small celebrations in each day, to realize grace, and to discover God in places you may least expect Him... in coffee shop conversations and soup and world-shattering tragedies and babies and writing in pencil, and so much more.

Find this book, and read it over and over and over again. 
Then let me know how much you loved it. 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

23rd Birthday Weekend Recap!

Though I think they're awesome, I've never really been one to make a huge deal about birthdays -- well, my birthday that is. However, my 23rd birthday took the (birthday) cake for awesome celebrations. And strangely enough, it was my first birthday away from my closest friends and family (Andrew excluded) -- but it was still one of the best. Let's get started with a birthday recap, shall we?

Since my friend Natalie was going to be in town for my actual birthday dinner, Andrew and I decided to go ahead and do "our" birthday celebration the evening before. I knew immediately where I wanted to go -- Hayes Barton Cafe. It's a neighborhood favorite, tucked in the Five Points area of Raleigh and just a 10 minute walk from our little house.

Ever since we moved to Raleigh, I'd heard great things about HBC's food, and especially their cake -- explanation later. Anyway, after work we freshened up and headed to dinner shortly thereafter. HBC is relatively small, and seating is at a premium. Oftentimes you'll see people lined up out the door as early as 6:30! It's definitely a special place. As soon as you enter, you're transported into the 1940's. World War II-era pictures and memorabilia are all over the wall. You get this warm, cozy feeling as you sit down to a candlelit table and just take in the awesome atmosphere. Luckily we were seated immediately and after enjoying caesar salad, we devoured the evening's special, pictured below:

 This is exactly what it looks like... literally, filet on top of mac n cheese. YUM. As I mentioned, HBC is "famous" for their cake -- the selection and the size. After a run-through at the cake case with our waiter, Andrew and I each settled on a flavor: chocolate chip cookie dough cake for me, and chocolate peanut butter for the hubby. As you can see below, the slices are ginormous. I've eaten the cake already in 2 different sittings, and it will probably take me 2 more sittings to eat it. BUT IT'S DELICIOUS.

{saturday - the day of! }

The morning of my 23rd birthday, we woke up at a decent time because I wanted a proper birthday breakfast -- a Chic-Fil-A chicken biscuit, of course! 

After lounging a bit and enjoying morning coffee, we got ready and made our way to go pick up our "couple friends" from church we were going to have a late lunch picnic with. We stopped by Neomonde, an awesome Mediterranean restaurant not too far from my office. We get a smorgasbord of items and had a potluck-type lunch outside on the grounds of the NC Museum of Art. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time enjoying the wonderful weather and great company. 

Saturday evening, my BFF Natalie happened to be in town with another friend and was able to join me for my birthday dinner. We enjoyed some yummy Mexican, but we couldn't leave for dinner without a photoshoot, amiright?

{and beyond...}

On Sunday, we went to church and immediately after enjoyed a church-wide picnic at a local park down the street. It was really great spending time with our community group and meeting new people in the congregation we haven't had a chance to get to know yet. Our church has blessed us so much in the past year!

In other news, between all this eating (but seriously, I feel like that's all we did!) we went on a crazy goose chase with the Postal Service to track down my gift from my parents. At the time, I had no idea what the present was. Long story short, the USPS promised my mom next-day delivery on an insured package, and it didn't happen. Maybe because that "next day" was a Saturday... and our neighborhood post office is closed on a Saturday. WOMP WOMP. After many trips and calls, we finally tracked down the gift, and I am excited to FINALLY be an iPad mini owner! Whee!!!! And Andrew gave me the most gorgeous Kate Spade case to go with it! Definitely worth the wait. 

As I was getting it all set up last night, I noticed that my parents had this engraved on the back... so sweet! I have already loved reading with the Kindle app and using all my social media outlets on it-- I'm one happy blogger!

Thank y'all so much for the "happy birthdays" on my previous post and on Instagram! I definitely felt the love this weekend and cannot wait to see what year 23 has in store for me!