christmas 2018 reflections

Merry Christmas, friends!

It’s Christmas eve and I’m sitting in my favorite chair in front of my portable heater in our living room. The sunlight is streaming in the room, our tree is twinkling (the branches are also droopy because we got it the weekend after Thanksgiving, ha!) and my pup is perched on the ottoman snoozing away.

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I’m on my second cup of coffee and just savoring the fact that for the first time in I don’t-know-how-long, I don’t have much to do. I’m grateful that I got most of our Christmas shopping done at the beginning of December and have tried to be diligent with wrapping them and juggling other holiday commitments.

That said, I realize that I haven’t been super-present here on the blog recently, but I wanted to take some time to write out what I’ve felt, learned and experienced throughout this Advent and Christmas season to share with y’all and to look back on.

I mentioned briefly on Instagram that I was doing an Advent study on my own for the first time and I absolutely loved it. I used the All Good Things Collective Advent study, which featured a journal and a calendar illustrated by Morgan Harper Nichols. Each card had a prompt and the journal had a scripture for each day and space to write out the verses and reflect. In a time of year when it’s so easy to get caught up in the madness, rushing from commitment to commitment and checking off the to-do list, I really enjoyed centering myself each day prior to work or whatever the day would bring. I’m grateful that the study helped me savor the season and reflect upon the anticipation of the gift of Jesus this season.

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One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is sending and receiving Christmas cards. I love to pick the photo and card and send them to our loved ones, near and far. Ever since we have gotten married, I’ve made it a priority to send out cards to our friends and family. Our cards vary from year to year— sometimes we have a photo taken, sometimes we use an iPhone photo (which we did this year!), sometimes it’s a postcard, sometimes we include a little life update, etc… you get the gist. This year I chose a simple design from Minted with the word “REJOICE”. One of my favorite Christmas songs is “O, Holy Night” and this year in particular, these lines felt like the best way to share our hearts this Christmas season:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
’Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

This year has brought so many blessings, but anyone who is close to me knows there have also been a lot of personal struggles, as well. There’s been a lot of pining. And I definitely entered this Advent season feeling weary. I think a lot of us can end up feeling like this, in one way or another, throughout or at different times of the year… which is why I chose the word “rejoice” for our card this year.

We went to a Christmas service last night and sang this song and it almost brought tears to my eyes. One line that I hadn’t considered in all of this:

“‘Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”

Though I consider myself a believer and a follower of Jesus, as a people-pleaser and Type 2 (anyone else obsessed with the Enneagram!?) I find myself viewing my worth in the eyes of others far too often. And it makes me tired. And anxious.
BUT.
We celebrate that God is here— Emmanuel, God with us— and he humbled himself to come to our weary world as a baby to rescue us. And because of Him, I know my worth and my value as His daughter. And He loves me no matter what. I pray that I remember to rest in that all year long.

So, friends. I’ll leave you with this line:

“A thrill of hope! The weary world rejoices!”

It’s my hope and prayer that if you’re weary like I am, that you’ll find reason to rejoice this Christmas season, knowing that you have been given the ultimate gift— the gift of Jesus Christ and His unending love and grace. And though there are still hard things— grief, worry and pain— let us remember that He is faithful and that He will once again come and make all things new. I hope that you will rest in that promise this Christmas, sweet friends.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

xo,
Ryann

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my top 5 takeaways from the Business Boutique

Ya’ll have heard me talk about how much I love the Business Boutique podcast (blog post here!), and earlier last month I took the leap and decided to go to Christy Wright’s Business Boutique 3-day event in Nashville!

I had been debating whether or not to go, considering I couldn’t find a friend to go with me. I decided to, as Christy says, “Do it scared!” and register to attend the event solo! With a rockstar line up of personalities like Dave Ramsey, Annie F. Downs, Emily Ley, Dave Barnes, and of course, Christy herself, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, even if it terrified me to go alone.

Y’all, I had nothing to be scared of because I met my friend for the whole weekend, Marilie of Organized Neatly, as soon as we got off the bus for the first night! It was a total God thing that we found each other— we had so much in common and clicked instantly.

It was an incredible weekend sitting under the teaching of so many wise, encouraging entrepreneurs! Plus, it was a TON of fun! Here are my top 5 takeaways for life and business from the weekend:

  1. Fear wants to box you in to a small life, but that’s NOT what God calls you to.

-Christy Wright, creator of Business Boutique

Y’all. I put this as the #1 takeaway for the reason. I realized that I’m scared of a lot of things. I’m scared of failure. I’m scared of disappointing others. I’m scared of imperfection (see takeaway #4 below…). Christy made the point that both faith and fear require you to believe in something that hasn’t happened yet. If that’s the case, then instead of fearing the worst-case scenario, why not have faith in your vision or dream? God is going to ask you to do things that scare you— but you’re scared because it matters, and if you wait until you’re not scared, you’ll never do anything. So have faith.

2. Where passion, purpose and skill collide, BLISS resides.

-Amy Jo Martin, social media guru

Amy Jo talked about how she used to have a “purpose problem”— one day, after going-going-going constantly (and being pretty darn “successful” but also extremely burnt out) she realized she didn’t know her “why.” She was exhausted, and her mental and physical health were struggling. She was doing work that she was good at, but that wasn’t enough. She didn’t necessarily need balance (what IS balance, anyway?!)… she need to discover her “why”. That sense of purpose, combined with the work she loved, changed her perspective and her life.

(Left): With my blogger friend Marilie of the  Organized Neatly . (Right): With my college friend, Grace or  WritefullyHis  &  Thrive Global Project !

(Left): With my blogger friend Marilie of the Organized Neatly. (Right): With my college friend, Grace or WritefullyHis & Thrive Global Project!

3. It’s not your work… it’s His.

-Sarah Jakes Roberts, speaker & pastor

Y’all… Sarah Jakes Roberts brought the house down! She spoke about living out your purpose and told us that when you decide to use the gifts that God has given you, THAT is when you will live out your purpose. If God calls you to it, he will bring you through it, because He is on your side. That said, don’t be afraid to die empty… put all He has given you out into the world and live your purpose out loud!

4. Perfectionism is a self-imposed prison and you hold the key.

-Christy Wright, creator of Business Boutique

Aaaaaand another gut punch. Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a total perfectionist. I’m extremely hard on myself and am SUCH a people-pleaser. But let’s be real… in life, work and relationships, perfection is impossible, so of course you’ll feel guilty if that is your standard of success. Things won’t go “right” 100% of the time, so a mindset that values perseverance over perfection will be so much healthier for you in the long run. Give yourself grace to make mistakes, then correct and overcome. As author Brene Brown says, “Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.”

Total fangirl moment getting to meet author Emily Ley!

Total fangirl moment getting to meet author Emily Ley!

5. Intentionality will allow you to keep margin in your life.

-Emily Ley, creator of the Simplified Planner

Emily Ley spoke about having the courage to make tough decisions, and what it comes down to is intentionality. Remember when I said I’m a people pleaser? Well, when you’re being intentional, you can’t always please everyone, but you can ensure that you’re being true to yourself and what is important in your life and business. Instead of trying to serve everyone, find your focus and do it well. Emily spoke a lot about how this concept applies to business (being intentional in your branding, your target market and more) but I really think that it applies to all facets of life. Practicing intentionality allows you to step into your strengths, serve others well, and most of all, be happy!

If you can’t tell, I had the best time at the Business Boutique event in Nashville and 100% recommend it to anyone that is interested. If you’re interested in learning more about the Business Boutique community, check out Christy Wright’s book or her podcast!

xo,
Ryann

the good stuff | october 2018

Well, we’re almost two weeks into November and I realized I dropped the ball on sharing “The Good Stuff” for last month. I love these posts because I get to share what I’m loving and what I’m up to, but I also want to be able to use my blog as a way to document this time in my life, so I’m going to go ahead and share this post, even though I’m a bit “behind schedule” :)

I know that I said that I wasn’t sure where September went, but I’m REALLY not sure where October went. It was a crazy month at work but there were so many fun things that happened, too. Here’s a little recap and some of the other good things from the month of October:

One of my best college friends, Sallie, got married in Charleston and it was the MOST wonderful weekend. The wedding was in Charleston, SC, and it was the sweetest time spent with my best friends. We took advantage of being dressed up (not to mention, all together in one place for the first time in forever!) and took plenty of photos over the weekend:

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I’ve told y’all about my love of Annie F. Downs (I talk about her podcast in this post) but I pre-ordered her newest book and devoured it in a matter of a few days. So often it’s hard to remember that God is kind when your circumstances might indicate otherwise. Annie so beautifully shares her heart and vocalizes the struggle to remember God in both the valleys and the mountaintops. I’m thinking of doing a whole post with a book review, but in the meantime, grab your own copy here.

I’ve recently started following comedian John Crist on Instagram and I can’t get enough. Please go watch this video when you need a laugh (and all his other ones, let’s be real) and you’ll thank me later.

Celebrations ensued in the McCall as my hubby got the news that he passed #4 of the 6 exams he needs to become a licensed architect! I’m super proud of all his hard work and will take any opportunity to brag on him :)

You may have seen this post on my Instagram, but as of October I was able to share about my side-gig as a team member of Pinckney Palm, a Charleston-based boutique social media firm! Be sure to read my intro post on the Pinckney Palm blog for some fun facts about me!

My friend sent me this cute, corgi-filled Buzzfeed article when I was having a long day, and needless to say, it made me smile.

Thanks for following along, friends!

xo,
Ryann

PS- Interested in reading more of my posts about “the good stuff”? Click here to read through the archives!

5 home decor Instagram accounts you should follow

Growing up, I was the girl that redecorated and rearranged my bedroom constantly (sorry mom and dad!). That love of interior design and decor has grown with me (fun fact: I’m getting a certificate in interior design!) and I’m always searching for sources of inspiration for our home. Lately, my favorite spot for inspo has been the Instagram feeds of my favorite designers, retailers and bloggers! Looking for some fresh, new ideas, too? Check out the list of my favorite accounts below, then be sure to give them a follow and save your favorite posts for your next house project!

Emily A. Clark | @emilyaclark

All images from @emilyaclark on Instagram.

Emily A. Clark’s decorating blog is one of my favorites, always a spot for encouraging interior inspiration, and her Instagram feed is the same. I’d call Emily’s design style a welcoming, attainable twist on traditional. While many accounts share photos of perfectly styled rooms, Emily shares beautiful scenes from her home that also give a glimpse of real life, with her kids running down the stairs and the occasional backpack slung across a dining room chair. She shares great tips and ideas for decorating a home that is both beautiful and livable for families (she has five kids!) and is a major encouragement for me as I think to the future and realize that I don’t have to sacrifice style to have a home that is family-friendly!

Amanda Louise Interiors | @amandalouiseinteriors

All images from @amandalouiseinteriors on Instagram.

Beautiful interiors, bright colors and precious pups… what more could you want from an Instagram account? Greenville, SC-based designer Amanda Louise Campbell of Amanda Louise Interiors is the queen of color and a master at pattern play, masterfully curating layers of art, textiles and accessories to create spaces that are equal parts welcoming and inspiring. Each square on her feed is full of eclectic combinations of pattern and color that I honestly would have never considered myself, but look so incredible together. Plus, her sweet pup Maisy (pictured above) often makes a cameo. Go give her account a follow!

Society Social | @societysocial

All images from @societysocial on Instagram.

Society Social is an family-owned retailer for furniture and decor founded by North Carolina native Roxy Te. Her Instagram feed is absolutely drool-worthy and full of stunning interiors inspiration with a twist. Society Social’s beautifully curated feed is full of bright colors, bold textiles and furniture with character— bamboo bar carts, lacquered chairs, grasscloth consoles and more! I’m constantly saving and pinning images from Society Social for future ideas about how to include color in classic, yet fresh, ways. I’m not sure I could convince my husband to furnish our entire home in Society Social goodies, but a girl can dream, right!?

GordonDunning Interior Design | @gordondunning

All images from @gordondunning on Instagram.

I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon Atlanta-based GordonDunning Interior Design’s Instagram feed, but I was instantly taken with their classic, yet often playful and always inviting, designs. I’m all about a good Instagram flat-lay and love seeing the “behind the scenes” schemes they often share with gorgeous textiles, wall coverings and hardware. In addition to sharing interior inspiration, designers Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning let their personalities shine through on their Instagram account with #girlboss inspiration, humor and real-life confessions, too!

Young House Love | @younghouselove

All images from @younghouselove on Instagram.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of John and Sherry Petersik, design and DIY bloggers, podcasters and authors at Young House Love. I’ve already mentioned them twice on this blog (here, where I talk about my favorite podcasts, and here, where I talk about my fangirl moment!) and I would be remiss not to share how much I love their Instagram account, too! John and Sherry have been working on a beach house and a duplex in Cape Charles, VA and share their progress (both the highs and the lows!) on their Instagram account. They also share images from their beautiful Richmond home, DIY projects and shots of their hilarious chihuahua named Burger, just to name a few! Honestly, I think I love following their Instagram stories the most— Sherry is the one behind their Instagram and often shares about her beauty routine, great finds at Target, funny DIY fails, tips for simplifying and more!

What are some of your favorite interior design and decor Instagram accounts to follow?

xo,
Ryann

the good stuff | september 2018

Y’all, I’m not really sure where September went.

October is going to be a pretty busy month for me work-wise so I’m taking some time to pause and be grateful for the past few weeks before going full speed ahead:

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Football season is finally back! We cheered on the Terriers to victory earlier in the month from the stands and also enjoyed watching our Clemson Tigers from the comfort of our couch with air conditioning the past few weekends!

I’m not on Facebook too often, but I created a page for Ryann Writes there and I’d love for you to follow along so you don’t miss a post!

I borrowed this book from the library and loved it so much that I have it in my Amazon cart right now to buy for myself. If you’re in a funk or need some motivation to be your most awesome self, give it a look!

If you haven’t already, go listen to Lauren Daigle’s new album. Girl can SING and her voice and lyrics are so powerful and uplifting!

I’ve started to color-code my planner and love using these pens. Anyone else a school supplies nerd?

I am SO ready for fall weather. I found this long cardigan from Old Navy and can’t wait to style it as the weather gets cooler!

xo,
Ryann

PS- Want to read past monthly blog posts about “The Good Stuff”? Click here!

what to do when you've had a long day at work

We’ve all been there. No matter how much you love your job, you’re going to have those days that make you want to throw in the towel, to come home and flop down on the couch or eat your emotions (wait, or is that just me?! 😂)

Here are a few of my best tips for bouncing back from a tough day at the office:

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Turn off work email notifications.

I rarely check my work email after 5 p.m. or on the weekends, because most anyone that really needs to get in touch with me for any work “emergency” has my cell phone number. If you’ve had a long day, turn off email notifications from your work account, or better yet, leave your phone in a different room so you’re not tempted to check. I know not everyone has the luxury of doing this, but when possible, I think it’s super important to set these kind of boundaries between work and home life.

Do something that fills you up.

My first piece of advice? Spend time with people you love, who will build you up. If you know you’re going to have a crazy week, make plans to grab dinner with a friend so you have something to look forward to. I love to decompress by walking the dog with my husband. If you have to talk about work, try not to talk the other person’s ear off— instead, allow them to offer encouragement and advice. And accept it. Or, maybe you enjoy running, reading a good book, painting, etc. No matter what it is, do what brings you joy.

Practice gratitude.

For each crappy thing you’re dealing with, you probably have at least a handful of things to be grateful for. Take a moment to look around you and name the good things. Write it out, pray it out, make a mental note— whatever works best for you.

Remember: you are NOT defined by what you do.

Your identity does not lie in your job. You do enough. You are enough. And you’re loved and important and all the good things. And tomorrow is a new day. :)

What are some of your tricks & tips for getting back in the swing of things after a long day? Let me know!

xo,
Ryann

my favorite books of the summer

At the beginning of this year, I set a goal for myself to make more time for reading and to have less screen time. I finally got a library card (not sure what took me so long!) and have loved adding to my wish list of books to read and waiting for books I’ve put on hold to come available. I just finished book #30 of 2018, and I don’t intend on slowing down anytime soon!

Here are a few of the books I read and enjoyed this summer:

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | You might recognize this title, since it was part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club. I found it in Costco and randomly decided to pick it up to read on our anniversary trip to Mexico. At first I wasn’t sure about her, but I soon became enamored the quirky heroine, Eleanor. She has a mysterious past and a lonely existence, and I found it easy to become a cheerleader along her journey to discover herself and open up to the world. Equal parts funny, heartbreaking and endearing, this book is one that I didn’t want to put down!

Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs | Y’all know that I love Annie Downs— I listen to her podcast weekly (read more about my favorite podcasts here!) I really enjoy her writing voice and the comfortable, conversational style of this memoir was no exception. In Looking for Lovely, Annie shares her stories of struggle, weaved in with scripture and biblical truths. She encourages the reader that though life is full of darkness and hardship, we can look for lovely in the everyday, ordinary moments and appreciate the lessons and gifts that God has provided for us along the journey. This is one of those books that you can read over and over again, and I already feel like I need to re-read it soon!

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis | This book is an easy read, and I devoured it on the plane to Mexico this summer. Girl, Wash Your Face is structured around lies that women tell themselves, and Rachel Hollis is honest and vulnerable about the ways that each of these lies have played a role in her life. I really appreciated the honest advice, tough love and quotable encouragement she includes as she shares her story. I now have my favorite quote from the book on a post-it note at my desk: “You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” I definitely recommend this book if you’re in a place where you need encouragement or motivation!

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir | I mentioned this book in passing in my “The Good Stuff | July 2018” blog post and I had to include it here. This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time— one of those page-turners that hooks you from the start. Essie, the teenage daughter of an evangelical preacher whose family is the center of a reality TV show, finds out she is pregnant. I found myself on the edge of my seat, ready to cheer Essie on throughout her journey as she struggled to with the truth about her past, the courage required to bring justice, and the sacrifices that had to be made to find her freedom. This book takes on some timely, tough topics in a suspenseful, beautifully-written narrative, and I highly recommend it!

Everybody, Always by Bob Goff | I loved Bob Goff’s first book, Love Does, and knew I had to read Everybody, Always when it came out. Bob Goff is an incredible author because he has such an enthusiasm and zeal for life and calls the reader to have the same. He’s over the top, but so authentic and genuine at the same time. He has such a gift for storytelling, simultaneously weaving in humor, humanity and heartbreak in each chapter. You’ll finish this book uplifted and filled with hope, inspired to embrace life and love others well.

All We’ve Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin | If you’ve ever read any of Emily Giffin’s rom com-type books, this one might be a little different than what you’re expecting. This novel is less “chick lit” and more of a drama, addressing the complexity of family relationships, the challenges of parenting in the age of social media, racial and class biases, and other heavy topics. It is told from three different perspectives— a mother, a father and a daughter— which I enjoyed, because it allowed me to put myself in each of the character’s shoes and caused me to think to myself, “What would I do in that situation?” I’ll admit, the book wrapped up a little more quickly then I liked and left some unanswered questions, but overall I enjoyed this quick, but still thought-provoking, read.

Here’s what I have next on my list to read:

What have you read recently? Let me know- I’d love to add more titles to my list of books to read in 2018!

xo,
Ryann

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the good stuff | august 2018

If I'm being honest, August is my least favorite month. It's hot, usually all the fun summer trips are over, and we're just waiting to gear up for fall and cooler weather. However, we actually had lots of fun things planned this month, so it flew by!

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Here are a few good things about August:

We visited Cape Charles, Virginia, with some of our best friends earlier in the month. It was the best getaway (despite the sunburn) and I even got to see the Young House Love Pink House (above) in person! Check out my post about my favorite podcasts to learn more about why this was a big deal to me!

Speaking of podcasts, I've listened to this podcast about perfectionism multiple times this month. For anyone else that struggles with this and needs a reminder of where their worth TRULY lies, give it a listen. 

I've started using spiral hair ties (they're all the rage these days apparently?) and really love them! They look a little better than your standard elastic hair ties and hold up much better, too!

I know I'm really late to the game, but I have been playing The Greatest Showman soundtrack on repeat. Anyone else?!

I got some really fun, exciting news this month that I can't wait to share. I can't tell you about it just yet, but I promise I will as soon as I can! (Am I the worst for being vague about this??? Sorry! :) ) 

You know you're old and lame when you're talking about your favorite sheets on your blog, but here I am, telling y'all that I just purchased the SOFTEST SHEETS IN THE WORLD earlier this month. They're called PeachSkin Sheets and I'm never buying another brand again!

Old Navy is having a major Labor Day sale (it ends tonight!) and you have to check out. I recently bought this t-shirt dress (in multiple colors), this tunic and this chambray dress. Go grab 'em while they're on sale!

Happy September, friends!

xo,
Ryann

 

my monthly meal planning routine

I will be the first to admit to you that I am NOT a cook. And honestly, I'm okay with it. 

At our house, Andrew kind of takes the lead on cooking, because he actually likes to do it (lol). I am happy to be his sous chef, helping with the prep, setting the table, and then loading the dishwasher and washing pots and pans after our meal. It works out well for us.

Another part of my role is doing the meal planning each month and pulling together our grocery list for the week. Yes, I said monthly meal planning. I started sitting down at the beginning of each month to plan our meals and it has really simplified our grocery routine. I've had a few people ask me about it, so I figured it might be useful to share a bit about my process here!

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I love monthly meal planning for a few reasons:

  1. Honestly, meal planning isn't my favorite. But, when you do it monthly, you only have to do it once every few weeks!
  2. When I create my grocery list each week, I have an easy menu to refer to and don't have to spend brain power EVERY week (see #1) deciding what we're going to eat for the week AND what we need to buy.
  3. I'm a very visual person, and it helps me to see the month as a whole and plan our meals out so we don't get tired of a particular dish by repeating a few weeks in a row, or something like that. 

Curious to try out monthly meal planning? Here's my process:

Step 1: Print out a monthly calendar & fill in what you have going on that would affect dinner.

Oftentimes I just go to Pinterest or Google and type in "monthly *insert name of the upcoming month here* calendar" and print off the first one I see. Next, I pull out my agenda and write down anything we have planned for the month that might affect dinner plans. For example, as you can see below, we have plans to watch a few football games (insert praise hands that college football is back!) and I have a few things during the week which will affect whether we need to cook at home. 

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Step 2: Explore new recipes and refer to old favorites.

Flip through your favorite cookbooks, scroll Pinterest, refer to your recipe binder, or wherever you prefer to look for recipes. I personally love to scroll Pinterest and have two boards I pull from-- one with "tried and true" recipes we've tried and like, and another board with pins of recipes that I put into our rotation to try.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes that you'll see on our calendar monthly:

Step 3: Fill out your calendar based on your favorite recipes and your schedule for the month. 

For evenings that we have plans, I'll decide if that either entails us having dinner out or just cooking something quick and simple, and put that down on the calendar first. We usually eat dinner out on the weekends, so I put that on the calendar. Then, I fill in the rest of the days of the week with the recipes I chose in step 2, varying the protein from night to night. You'll notice I repeat recipes, too- there's nothing wrong with that!

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The key here is to give yourself a whole lotta grace here, my friends. More often than not, we have to shift days around because I forgot to take meat out of the freezer or we've just had a long day and "need" to go out for tacos. (Ya feel?!) And it's totally okay. Remember, a meal plan is a tool to help you, not something that should stress you out. Flexibility is key!

What do you think about monthly meal planning? Also... do you have any go-to recipes I need to add to next month's plan? I'd love to hear! 

xo, 
Ryann 

my favorite faith resources

I’ve never really been an early bird, but last summer I started getting up earlier in the morning to do my Bible study and enjoy my coffee. Starting the morning slow and with intention has been the BEST change I’ve made for myself. I actually look forward to getting up early, thanks to my morning coffee and these two resources- my SheReadsTruth Bible and my Cultivate What Matters Write the Word journal.

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Write the Word Journals || I used to get discouraged digging into scripture, not sure what book of Bible to read, feeling guilty if I missed a day in a dated devotional... you know the feeling. But Write the Word journals from Cultivate What Matters are different. Their grace-filled pages encourage you to explore the Bible, dig into a particular topic, and focus on God's word. These journals provide verse selections for you to write out (which is especially fun when you use colorful pens, like I do!) and space that I use to write commentary, my prayer for the day, and whatever else is on my heart. I love that the pages are undated, meaning that I don't have to feel guilty if I happen to miss a day. Some mornings I spend 10 minutes in my WTW journal, other days it's 45. These journals make scripture so much more attainable and approachable, and I can truly say that my day-to-day life has been changed by taking the time to dig in to my Write the Word journals over my morning cup of coffee!

No matter what season of life you're in, there's a WTW journal to guide you through it, such as Cultivate Hope, Cultivate Joy, Cultivate Gratitude, and more. Click here to peek inside the Write the Word journal and order one for yourself!

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She Reads Truth Bible || Andrew gave me this Bible as a gift last year and I am in love. You may be familiar with the community of She Reads Truth through their online Bible reading plans, but they also have an online shop full of valuable resources, including their Bible!

The SRT Bible is truly a work of art, a beautiful resource for better knowing God's Word and seeing its relevance in our lives and our world today. I have the She Reads Truth Bible with a linen cover in the beautiful, bright poppy color, which I keep out all the time as a reminder to dig in daily, but also because it's so dang pretty!

I've come to value the SRT Bible for the way it highlights the goodness, truth, beauty and relevance of scripture through devotional excerpts, helpful maps and timelines, verse art, reading plans and more. Each time I open up my SRT Bible, I'm excited to learn more and make connections with the text, using the space on each page to journal, underline, and truly engage with the gift of scripture and the truth it provides. Click here to take a look inside the SRT Bible!

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Each of these products are made with such love and intention, and I hope that sharing a little more about the role that they play in my daily life will encourage you to take a look if you've been searching for resources like I was.

What are some of your favorite books, studies, tools and resources for digging into God's Word? I'd love to hear about them!

xo, Ryann

the good stuff | july 2018

One of my favorite design bloggers is Emily A. Clark, and I always look forward to her "Good Things" blog posts at the end of each month. (Read hers for July here!)

I'm taking inspiration from Emily's "Good Things" monthly list and going to make one of my own to share. I'm calling mine "The Good Stuff," and in each of these posts I'll share good things that happened in the month, things I learned, products I discovered, books I've read, and more. 

                                                            Our anniversary trip to Mexico was definitely a highlight of the month!

                                                            Our anniversary trip to Mexico was definitely a highlight of the month!

So, here it goes for July...

I've had the new Ben Rector album, Magic, on repeat in the car, at home and at work. Give it a listen!

I borrowed this book from the library to read on our anniversary trip, and it's the best one I've read in a long time. I was hooked from the start and could not put it down. 5/5 stars from me! 

I'm helping my friend redecorate her living area and we recently found this rug online. I'm obsessed and wish that I had a room in my house for it! I love that it's a traditional look in fun, updated colors!

These packing cubes have been a life saver this summer. Plus, how can you go wrong with navy and white stripes?

I'll admit, I'm majorly obsessed with Christy Wright. She was recently on the Going Scared Podcast with Jessica Honegger (founder of Noonday Collection) and her episode spoke straight to my heart. Write yourself your own permission slip and give her episode a listen, my friend.

Have you heard of Yasso frozen Greek yogurt?! It's my new favorite not-super-unhealthy treat. The chocolate chip cookie dough bars and "Party Animal" pints are SO GOOD!

xo, Ryann

my favorite podcasts

For a long time, I never understood all the hype around listening to podcasts. I listened to the occasional podcast here and there (who didn't listen to Serial when it first came out?!) but originally I reserved podcasts for long road trips to pass the time. 

That all changed at the beginning of this year. I am now a self-declared podcast junkie. I listen to them while I'm cleaning, on the way to work, while getting ready in the morning... basically, all the time. I've realized that podcasts are a way for me to learn, "meet" new people, hear their stories, learn skills that I can apply to my work and life, and just generally get inspired. 

I wanted to take some time to share some of my favorite podcasts with you-- let me know if you listen to any of these, too, and if you have any I should add to my list!

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That Sounds Fun with Annie Downs

Y'all. I just want to be best buddies with Annie Downs-- her podcast, That Sounds Fun, is one of my all-time favorites. If you're not familiar, Annie Downs is the author of hilarious, beautiful and inspiring memoirs like "Let's All Be Brave" and "Looking for Lovely". I read her books before listening to her podcast, but since have gone back and re-read each of them, now that I really have a "feel" for Annie's voice, humor and style. Each podcast is a conversation with one of Annie's friends-- including some super-cool people you've probably heard of, like musicians Dave Barnes and Ellie Holcomb, author Bob Goff, and so much more. I've also really enjoyed "discovering" new authors, musicians, and artists through the podcast. Some episodes I find myself laughing by myself in the car, some make me reflect, and some inspire me. Sounds pretty fun, right?

Behind the Bliss

Behind the Bliss is a relatively new podcast, but I'm already such a huge fan. Besties and hosts Rachel and Mary Scott describe this podcast as a place for women to "encourage and inspire, storytell and share." I love this podcast because you find true encouragement and authenticity weaved into each episode. Rachel and Mary Scott recognize the power of vulnerability and the importance of sharing our stories-- both the beautiful and messy parts of friendship, marriage, waiting, grief and so much more. If you're looking for a safe space to say "me too, friend," then this podcast is for you. 

Young House Love Has a Podcast

You may have heard of John & Sherry Petersik, design and DIY bloggers at Young House Love. Well, guess what? Young House Love Has a Podcast... and it's awesome. John and Sherry share practical tips about organization, decorating and life at home through interviews with experts, stories about their own renovation adventures and mishaps (they're currently renovating a duplex in Cape Charles, VA!) and tips and tricks they've learned all the way. Y'all know I love design and decor, and John & Sherry make it super fun!

Christy Wright's Business Boutique

Ever since I was little, I've had quite a few "businesses"-- I've created and sold jewelry, art, door hangers, and more. I've always been interested in entrepreneurism and I still dream of owning my own business one day. Christy Wright's mission is to inspire women to make money doing what they love, and the author, business coach and Dave Ramsey personality inspires and equips women to do just that through her Business Boutique podcast. Through sharing her own experiences and interviewing successful businesswomen, Christy teaches her listeners about practical business concepts such as building your brand, utilizing digital marketing and setting goals, as well as general topics such as practicing gratitude, stepping into your gifts, knowing your worth and more. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and so inspiring. Be sure to follow her on Instagram, too-- her Instastories are so entertaining!

The Business Life & Joy Podcast

I can't remember how I first found Shunta Grant, host of The Business Life & Joy Podcast, but I was immediately hooked by her story. Not only does she live in Greenville, SC (where I  grew up), but only a few years ago she took the leap from the corporate world as a lawyer and went full-time with her first online business, Because of Zoe Designs, where she sells unique, hand crafted hair bows for girls. She also serves as a business educator, teaching women how to maximize their time in order to move beyond busy and build an impactful business and a joyful life. In a world that glorifies busy, Shunta is a breath of fresh air and the wisdom she shares (fo' free!) on her podcast weekly offers a unique perspective and practical tips-- no matter if you're a business owner or not! 

What podcasts do you love to listen to? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

xo, Ryann

a weekend in highlands, nc

One of my favorite places in the whole dang world is Highlands, NC. Andrew and I first visited on a whim when we needed a long weekend to get away and get some fresh air a couple years ago. Ever since then, we fell in love with this gem of a mountain town and have made it a tradition to visit in the late summer or fall each year.

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Situated close to the intersection of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, Highlands is just about a 2.5 hour drive from Spartanburg. It's the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, a girl's weekend, a couple's trip, or just anytime you need a little break from reality. Whenever work is stressful or things aren't going great, Andrew and I joke, "Want to just move to Highlands?" #kiddingbutnotreally.

Great mountain views, delicious food, shopping, and great places to stay... this place has it all. Allow me to tell you more about my tips for the best weekend in Highlands, NC!

where to stay in highlands, nc

When we visit Highlands, we usually stay for two nights. I'm not going to lie-- some of the nicer hotels are a little pricey, but we've found a fun travel hack to save a little bit of moolah-- if you can swing a day or two off work, a Saturday night/Sunday night stay or Sunday night/Monday night stay is usually a little cheaper than spending two weekend nights! 

Old Edwards Inn

Chances are, you've probably heard of the Old Edwards Inn. It's a rustic, yet refined, resort nestled in the heart of downtown Highlands. The rooms are elegant and cozy, and if you come during the fall or winter months there are fireplaces to enjoy all over the place. It's conveniently located near lots of great dining and shops. I've never had the pleasure of enjoying the spa on the premises, but I've heard it's incredible!

A Christmas getaway to the Old Edwards!

A Christmas getaway to the Old Edwards!

The Inn at Half Mile Farm

My favorite place to stay in Highlands is The Inn at Half Mile Farm, which is an Old Edwards property right outside of town. It's a charming country-style inn situated on rolling hills next to the most picturesque pond. We loved exploring the property, enjoying the beautifully decorated common areas, and devouring the chef-made breakfast each morning. 

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Other places to stay include 200 Main (an Old Edwards property that's nice, but definitely more affordable!) and The Park on Main (a dog-themed boutique hotel). 

where to eat in highlands, nc

Mountain Fresh Grocery

My favorite part about Mountain Fresh Grocery is that you can get a delicious, hot breakfast in the morning, a yummy, freshly-made pizza for lunch, and a latte and pastry for an afternoon pick-me-up all in the same place! In my opinion, this place is kind of like a local Whole Foods-- lots of goodies to be had!

Bistro on Main

Bistro on Main is one of my favorite lunch spots, located at the Main Street Inn. I highly recommend the crab grilled cheese with lobster bisque... sound amazing, right?!

Ristorante Paoletti

Andrew studied abroad in Italy during college, meaning the boy has pretty high standards for Italian food. I can promise you that we've never had anything bad at Ristorante Paoletti! I can never decide between the pesto pasta or the seafood risotto....

On the Verandah

This upscale restaurant is known for its views, but every time we've been it's been too dark to see the (apparently) stunning lake around it! We come to On the Verandah for the ambiance, the amazing steak and seafood, and the service. Definitely a great spot for a celebration dinner!

what to do in highlands, nc

In addition to simply relaxing and enjoying the amenities of your hotel of choice and eating your way through town, hiking and shopping are two of my favorite things to do in Highlands!

shopping in highlands, nc

Highlands has tons of cute shops-- everything from a dog boutique to high-end clothing stores, antique and gift shops and more! Here are a few of my favorite spots:

  • Dutchman Designs- Two levels of fun, eclectic home decor and gifts! I try to come home with a little something from this store each year we visit Highlands!
  • Highland Hiker- Andrew loves to pop in here and look at all their camping gear and outdoor clothing and accessories!
  • The Southern Way- A men's and women's clothing boutique carrying quality brands like Southern Tide, Vineyard Vines, Tracy Negoshian and more!
  • CK Swan- A must-see for any interiors enthusiast or decor lover! This home decor shop has tons of beautiful furniture, accessories, coffee table books and more. The staff are always so friendly!

hiking in highlands, nc

Outdoors enthusiasts of all degrees will find that Highlands has incredible options for hiking and enjoying the great outdoors. Here are a few of our favorite hikes/waterfalls/lookouts:

  • Dry Falls- Enjoy a short descent down some stairs and then continue along for a really cool view behind the falls!
  • Bridal Veil Falls- These falls are a bit different-- you can drive your car right under them!
  • Whiteside Mountain- If you have to pick one outdoors-y thing to do, pick THIS hike! You'll end with the most amazing views. I'd say it's a moderately intense hike, and it's only about 2.5 miles round-trip. 
Views from Whiteside Mountain!

Views from Whiteside Mountain!

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Other popular Highlands, NC activities include golfing, spa-going at the Old Edwards and visiting The Bascom, a visual arts center on the way into town!

Andrew has already asked about our next trip to Highlands, NC! It's definitely time to start planning. Have you ever been to Highlands? Tell me about your favorite spots!

xo, Ryann

why I started blogging again

Welcome, friends. Some of you may be new faces around here, and some of you may have been around since my “early” blogging days. Either way, I’m so glad you’re here!

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I started blogging in college, but I think blogging is probably too formal of a word for what it was- I was mostly sharing what I was up to, what was on my mind, what I was reading, etc. My blog evolved over four years and I ended up sharing about my wedding planning process and our life in Raleigh after getting married.

I really enjoyed blogging, but started slowing down and eventually quit about four years ago. Instead of being something that was life-giving, writing my blog became a burden, an obligation.

However, earlier this year, I realized the need for “recreation” in my life. While digging into my Powersheets, I realized that I was lacking room in my life for hobbies that fill me up and fire me up. Writing has always been that for me, and I realized that I was ready to start blogging again.

Blogging has changed a lot since I started my first blog, Unspeakable Joy, which I later renamed Meet the McCalls. Today's blog world is full of sponsored posts, styled shoots, perfectly curated bookshelves and the like.

You won't find that here at Ryann Writes. Here, in my little corner of the internet, is where I'll share bits of real life. I'll share tips and tricks that have made my life easier, how I'm decorating my home, my travels, books and products I'm loving, what's weighing on my heart, what inspires me, and more.

 I want this space to be one that's both encouraging and transparent, welcoming and vulnerable. 

I'm so happy you're here. I hope you'll grab a cup of coffee from your favorite mug and stay a while. 

xo, Ryann 

PS- Click here to learn a bit more about the gal behind Ryann Writes!