Rachel Awtrey


Lifestyle | Travel | Faith | Marriage

Posts tagged Yonder
The Grand Canyon

I expected the Grand Canyon to make me feel so small, so insignificant, so microscopic compared to this Canyon, itself. In reality, I felt strong, valuable and significant when this thought overwhelmed me: even after all of this was created, God didn't see the Earth "complete" or "beautiful enough" without me + you.

My God isn't the kind that would create something to make me feel small and insignificant. He made it to give us strength, to be empowered and to remind us we weren't made to climb mountains but to move them.

I made this video as a reflection and reminder for y'all (and myself) that I was created to be far bigger and more loved than these incredible mountains were.


O U T  O F  H I D I N G //  (the Father's song)

Steffany Gretzinger

Come out of hiding
You're safe here with Me
There's no need to cover
What I already see

You've got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You've been on lockdown
And I hold the key

'Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

Now rid of the shackles, My victory's yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There's no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You're not far from home

I'll be your lighthouse
When you're lost at sea
And I will illuminate

No need to be frightened
By intimacy
No, just throw off your fear
And come running to Me

'Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory's yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There's no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You're not far from home
Keep on coming

And oh as you run
What hindered love
Will only become
Part of the story

Baby, you're almost home now
Please don't quit now
You're almost home to Me


Listen to the entire song here

Waco, TX + Magnolia Market

We went to Waco, TX because it was on the way to our destination out West: California. We took little detour off of our route but we were oh so thankful. 

You may have heard about Magnolia Market, the bakery and Silos because of the HGTV show, "Fixer Upper" with Chip and Joanna Gaines but I fan-girl'ed and begged Thomas to take me. He loves me so much so we ended up starting our road trip at the greatest store on the planet, if you ask me.

If you're planning on going, I suggest going in the morning time or heading over on a weekday (we went on a Saturday). Because we got there so early, we were able to find a parallel parking spot right on the side of the road. If you get there later, there are tons of spots in local churches parking lots for $10 a spot. The great part of being there so early is that we were able to get in line for the store and head right on in. Usually, you wait in line for a while until a few people exit and then they let a few people in. I was not about that so we were there at opening. 

The store was much more than I had imagined! There was a section for everything: kitchen, home decor, bedding, candles and scents, greenery, Chip's corner with all the manly stuff, kids decor and then rugs + wall decor. Although there was some kind of organization to it, it was still overwhelming - in a good way. They have fake flowers that look real as every so you can put together a bouquet and take it home to remember your trip forever. The staff is so nice, excellent and polite so you'll never feel un-welcomed. If you're traveling, like us, they have an option to ship your item but we were suggested to try and stuff them in our car (so we did). Otherwise, we would have had to pay a large shipping and boxing fee - at that point you might as well just shop online.

As soon as you check out, there's a turf lawn outside with outdoor games and seating to rest your feet or grab a meal from the food trucks that surround the lawn. Dogs are welcome! Hallelujah because Remi had to stretch his legs just as badly as we did! He loved the smell of the food trucks, especially their kettle corn. There's plenty to chose from, the bakery truck, BBQ truck, hot dog truck, pop corn stand, plenty of local Waco business to propel and support.

There's a greenhouse with a beautiful garden right outside to walk through and you can hit up the "Seed and Supply" right after if you want to stock up on your gardening supplies. Make sure to take a look at the Silos and the bakery. The bakery will also have a long line, so anticipate that but apparently it's worth it. With the timeline we were on for our road trip we didn't have time to stand in the line but we smelt it walking by! They hand out cards with the different cupcakes and cookies they have that day so that you can chose which one you'd like best before you get in the bakery - it makes the line move quickly. You can get your goodies to-go or you can eat it outside in the beautiful patio they set up for customers.

Every detail is excellent and I think that's exactly how Chip and Jo wanted it. We so so enjoyed our trip and think everyone should make an effort to experience the Magnolia Market. Who's down for a road trip?

Road Trip Out West

You may have seen it on Instagram and Facebook but we completed a road trip from Birmingham, Alabama to Etna, California and y'all, it was a blast! I highly recommend taking a few days to travel across the country and see our America - it's remarkable!


Birmingham, AL to Waco, TX

Our drive from Birmingham to Waco included us going through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana to finally Texas. We stayed right outside of Waco that night and got up the next morning to head to Magnolia Market (the famous store of Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV's "Fixer Upper"). The entire trip we stayed in hotels that we found along our way that were dog friendly because we brought Remi the whole way. 

Remi did well! We saved him a little spot in the back seat with his bed and some of his toys. We stopped for frequent water breaks and he occasionally found his way up to the front seat over the console. There's was lots of snuggling on this trip but I didn't mind :)


Waco, TX to Albuquerque, NM

We got up the next morning and headed over to Magnolia Market and gosh, this was a sight to see! If you're planning on going, I suggest going in the morning time or heading over on a weekday (we went on a Saturday). Because we got there so early, we were able to find a parallel parking spot right on the side of the road. If you get there later in the day, there are tons of spots in local church's parking lots for $10 a spot. The great part of being there so early is that we were able to get in line for the store and head right on in. Usually, you wait in line for a while until a few people exit and then they let a few people in. I was not about that so we were there at opening time!

Read about our Magnolia trip here!

After Magnolia we headed West to Albuquerque, NM where we were met along the way by sweet Texan towns and lonely roads. We loved it though, the windmills, the lack of road signs, the two lane highway and Ranch signs on the left and right. 

We stopped for a Mexican lunch in Hico, TX in a small town that had a market going on as well. We window shopped and went inside a sweet home decor boutique called, "Hill Country Dwelling" where I couldn't walk out without a coffee table book and other fun knick knacks for our new cottage-home in California. 

We got to Albuquerque later than we had expected so we headed to bed to prepare for our long day at the Grand Canyon.


Albuquerque, NM to The Grandy Canyon (AZ)

The drive from Albuquerque to the Grand Canyon was stellar! The difference between the desert view to the mountainous view was incredible. We drove up the windy road to the entrance to the National Park and headed right in. We parked at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where you can find the most spectacular view! There's even a short passage way where you can skip around the fence and see the Grand Canyon from a "less tourist-y" view by standing on a rock that overlooks the Canyon. Dangerous but worth it. After we saw the Grand Canyon and a lot of what it had to offer, we came down the mountain and grabbed a bite to eat at a local pizza shop. After diner we kept driving to Kingman, AZ and spent the night there.


Kingman, AZ to Los Angeles CA

What a drive! It took forever because we didn't exactly account for the LA traffic. Yikes! So we stopped in the famous Coachella Valley, CA for a short pit stop, to pretend like we actually went to "Coachella" and to play fetch with Remi.

Once we finally got into LA, we stopped at the sweetest place for donuts and most of their selection was gluten free/vegan so our tummies thanked us after all the to-go food we had been eating. We walked down the street, a little outside of Beverly Hills, and took Remi into Vanderpump Dogs and got to see their store! They had a great grooming section, retail section and other dog treats available for Remi. We hopped back in the car and drove down Sunset Blvd, onto Rodeo Drive. We got out, walked around, saw all the stores and went back in the car to chase down the Hollywood Sign at sunset.

After seeing everything that we could fit in the few short hours we had in LA, we grabbed sushi at this awesome sushi bar called Blue C Sushi. There was a conveyer belt that went around the entire restaurant that had different types of sushis and appetizers. The plates were labeled with different colors and each colors indicated a price. You'd grab a plate off the belt and share it and then stack your plates. Your bill was based on the colors and amounts of plates on the table after you were finished. It was the perfect, unique LA dinner experience we were aiming for! Must go to Blue C Sushi, right outside of Beverly Hills in Hollywood. 

Day 5

LA to Yosemite to Etna, California

That day we drove to Yosemite National Park which is a sight to see! It's not like the Grand Canyon where you drive up, park and walk up to the view. At Yosemite, there's plenty to see, different views and different things to do besides walk around. We stopped at two different views along our drive through. Our favorite viewing spot in the pictures below was at Tunnel View on the South Entrance of Yosemite. We got out, took a few pictures, climbed some rocks and then headed out of the park to make good timing to JH Ranch.

We stopped and visited a friend in Chico, CA before finding out Remi had eaten a pack of gum and destroyed a water bottle in our car. We called the vet, everything was fine! Praise! But, we hurried to the Ranch and finally were able to lay our head on the pillow in the place we'll call "home" until September. 

Woo, what a whirlwind but I wouldn't trade it for the world. We have the fondest memories from this time together and yes, we still like each other. :)

Valentine's Day in Nashville

To be honest, the real reason we swung by Nashville in the first place was to pick up a washer/dryer set that we bought #adulting. But thanks to that, we were able to spend the day walking up and down the streets of The Gulch and 12 South in Nashville, TN. If you've never been, you're missing out -- incredibly. If you have, you'll probably read this and the whole time be nodding your head and saying "yes!" 

Here's a look at our itinerary and the places we found along the way. 

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On our way into the 12 South neighborhood, we stopped in the Gulch to grab some Biscuit Love coffee to-go. I'm convinced they have the best brew.  I grabbed a chai and Thomas got his regular order, iced coffee.

We ended up parking at the very end of the 12 South strip so we could walk all the way from Jeni's ice cream all the way down to the White Mercantile and we didn't miss a thing.


Places to Shop:

Amelia's Flower Shop

The sweetest flower truck that parks in different corners around Nashville carries the greatest selection of flowers to create the bouquet of your dreams. It was just my luck and I was able to put together a Vday bouquet with the help of Thomas. Lots of carnations, eucalyptus and other beautiful flowers. Praise!


A super cute and funky place to just walk around and enjoy all the beautiful knick-knacky things. They have beautiful bar cart stocking items, coffee table books, things for your office that are rather odd and lovely. Not to mention, the music you're shopping to is always on point and the manager could easily become one of my best friends. 


White Mercantile

If you love antiques, the farmhouse look or anything that has to do with rustic contemporary, be sure to stop by. The White Mercantile has antiques and odd-ends in one room and the other has everything from women and mens clothing to toys to really great socks and journals and thing to make your pet super happy. 

Draper James

This store, owned by Reese Witherspoon, is a great fun shop if you love being identified as a "southern belle." Almost every clothing piece has the word "y'all" incorporated, they offered Thomas some sweet tea and they have the cutest nooks full of classic southern decor. 

Places to eat:


I can't rave about this place enough. If you want authentic Mexican food with a great atmosphere, personal servers and want to sip on a margarita while you're at it, Bartaco is your place. They make their tequila in house so you can imagine how magical their margaritas are. Their menu is sushi-style meaning that you order at your own convince and fill out a paper with how many of what tacos you want and they come by, pick it up and your tacos come out in no time. We, however, ordered the large tray with 9 tacos and 3 sides and 2 tamales. It was the perfect amount for the two of us since we've been walking around all day until then. Greatest news - if you eat outside, they're dog friendly. So, Remi got to join us and eat his dinner right next to us. 

Five Daughters Bakery

The pink neon lights, the white subway tile, the lines and lines and options of donuts, it's truly magical. I love Five Daughters because of their tiramisu and maple bacon donuts. They're filled with a buttery cream (I normally don't like cream filled donuts) so the donuts are well worth the four dollars. Must go. If you don't have time to go in, no problem! You can order them and pick them up to-go!

Destination: Roanoke, Virginia

This past weekend, Thomas and I got to spend time with my great uncle, Jim. A sweet soul that has now returned to where he was raised, Roanoke, Virginia, and now he wants to share it with us. 

I've grown up visiting Jim in Roanoke but we've gotten to a point where we've found our favorites and we always return to them any weekend we visit. However, this trip was special.

We drove up to Famous Anthony's on Saturday morning to start our races. A local breakfast place serving the best omelets and waffles is the ideal way to start a day full of shopping and fresh markets. We slurped down the last of our coffee and crammed the rest of the omelet into our stomach and hopped back into the car to drive to the heart of Roanoke. 

Crossing the historic train tracks and passing what use to be an old elementary school I can tell we're close. Then we pass wooden produce trucks plastered with farm logos and I can tell we're closer.

We park and walk onto Market Street for the fresh Saturday morning market. The thousands of shades of green and red and yellow tomatoes tell the stories of the sweat and labor the farmers, behind their tables selling produce, have to tell. The taste of samples of fresh peaches and cake slices match the fragrance of the large wildflower bouquets wrapped in kraft paper passing me on my left. 

The sound of rustic acoustic music coming from the corner of the street accompanies the chit chat of exchange between farmers and locals.

The other, chic side of the street compliments the eclectic feel of the side we stand on. So we cross the road. It's lovely, the chocolate shops, the antique shops and the boutiques could provide me with entertainment for the entire day. I compromise, remembering I'm accompanied by two men. 

We go into my favorite boutique in the area, 310 Rosemont. They carry Cupcakes and Cashmere, and Z Supply. Thomas and Jim sat on the leather couch waiting for me to try on my selections while they ate skittles from the coffee table. 

The next few stores over holds a "Shabby Chic" antique shop with reclaimed wood, antique tennis racquets and board games and chalk painted cabinetry. Right next door is a chocolate shop, Chocolate Paper selling truffles and chocolate bars and paper (cards, calendars, notebooks, etc.) A great combination for people like me that love to write while eating chocolate. And next to Chocolate Paper, a store with kitchen supplies, Ladles & Linens

Yes, it is a dream, downtown Roanoke. 

That evening we attended a Salem Red Sox baseball game. Just hot enough for the boys to enjoy a beer but with a breeze frequent enough to cool down the onion rings from the snack stand. It was a double header so with a ticket for one game, we go to see the last few innings of the other. We finished the late night out at Mac and Bobs with peach flavored beer and sandwiches. 

Sunday morning we ate a light breakfast to save room for the large lunch that was ahead at The Home Place, a quaint restored house in the farmland covered mountains in Catawba, Virginia. An item on the "Hokie Bucket List" for Virginia Tech students. We were served by our favorite server, Jeanie, who lives right up the road. She's been at The Home Place and has been serving my family ever since I was a tot.

I left with a family-styled meal of ham and fried chicken, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits with apple butter, coleslaw and pinto beans filling my stomach. We took a few laps around the white house with a red roof to gaze at the white rocking chairs and hanging plants, gazebos full of families waiting to be sat and a brown wooden fence lining the property to look over the cattle and streams that hang out next door. It was all so beautiful and timeless. 

We finished off our visit with some wine and cheese back at Jim's cottage and updated him on our upcoming life of traveling and moving. With tight hugs, rolled down windows with tears filling my eyes, we left Roanoke and returned back to Clemson, South Carolina. 

The new "go-to" in Greenville, SC

Today Thomas and I had our first Saturday at home but we didn't want it to stay that way. We woke up lazy and late, made waffles, drank coffee and got ready to head out to a favorite destination back south, Greenville.

We love the proximity of all of our preferred stores, coffee stops and friendly, walkable streets. Sometimes we even bring our bikes to pedal around town. But, today was a quick trip. A "let's get out of the house and actually do something" trip. 

Our first stop was a new addition to Greenville and after our visit today, we're so grateful. Caviar and Bananas combines all of our favorites: a bakery, coffee stop, wine, salad and sandwiches, local coffee, jams, etc. We grazed around and settled on grabbing two drinks out of the refrigerated section: cream soda (Thomas) and a rose lemonade for me. C + B is light and airy, inviting and brand new. Next time I go back, I'll be sure to go in the evening because they have bistro lights strung and hung high for nights outside. Sounds dreamy to me. It's the perfect place to put together the yummiest Charcuterie or cheese board for a girl's wine night or supper club. Got an event coming up? Grab a wine from their selection to surprise you're guests or host. Can't say enough about this new, darling market. Thomas loved it because it's adjacent to Orvis.

After we bopped around the Orvis shop we slipped into Dark Corner Whiskey Distillery where you can taste their whiskeys in their Whiskey Girl collection. Butterscotch, Apple and Maple, and Peach are just a few of the flavors you'll find there. These could be great addition to my crock pot apple crumble!


 Next stop, to scurry over to the rainbow umbrella for a popsicle from a popsicle stand, King of Pops. They have the tastiest and most creative flavors that are super fresh especially on a hot day like today. I got a blueberry + watermelon creation and Thomas got a peaches + cream flavor. 

We snuck into a sweet little bookstore inside a refurbished building in the "main square" of Greenville with our melting, dripping popsicles. We didn't stay long because Thomas got the idea to visit a dog shelter while we were in Greenville and I was too excited to think about books at that point. So we grabbed a quick lunch across the street. We were a little too ambitious and excited and ordered 18 wings thinking we'd eat them all, oops. The Human Society idea didn't last long, I wish we could've stayed longer but I'm allergic to basically anything with four legs with hair so we left when I could no longer breath but that didn't stop me from holding Bella and Rio, two two-month old retrievers. 

So, if there's two things to do while in Greenville it's 1. find King of Pops and buy a dang good popsicle and 2. go romp around Caviar and Bananas and get a Mimosa or Peach Bellini and try their mediterranean chicken salad. 

Until next time, Greenville.