Cupcakes and Sunshine: 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

21 New Year's Goals for 2015


Good Sunday morning, friends!

I've been reminiscing on this past year and a few of my favorite moments in 2014...
We went to HAWAII!
Beach Trips
Dawg Games
We saw OPRAH!
Lots of Dawg Games

Stole some sweet baby kisses!


Friendsgiving!
Pumpkin Picking!
Dance Par-tays!
Kickboxing!

2014 was a great year and I can't wait to see what's in store for 2015! Here are a few goals that I've scribbled down in a few places that I plan on achieving this next year:


1. Have quiet time EVERY day: Quiet time is so important to me and I need to make it more of a priority each day. My day is so different and fulfilling if I start it with quiet time with the Lord. I received a few books this Christmas that I can't wait to start during my quiet time this year.

2. Blog at least twice a week: I know this is going to be a busy semester, but I definitely want to keep up with updates and recipes and adventures and travels here on Cupcakes and Sunshine. Stay tuned! :)

3. Make my bed every day: A couple of years ago, this was my only New Year's resolution. And I LOVED it. Before the resolution, making my bed was such a task. It is my least favorite chore, but I notice when I do it, it makes keeping the rest of my room clean. Making the tidying process SO. MUCH. EASIER.

4. Meal plan once a week: I am an impulse buyer when it comes to grocery purchasing. If it looks good in the store, then I think... HEY! I should make that this week! But I know if I planned things out more, my wallet would be happier, which leads me to...

5. Start a savings plan: I really need to jump back on the savings boat! For a while, I was sticking to an awesome plan. But I slowly let go of it and started spending more on things that I didn't need to. I'm going to get back to it!

6. Paint something...anything...often: I love painting and I really don't understand why I don't paint more. I love it every time I break out my brushes & paints, but I hardly ever take the time to do it. Changing that in 2015.

7. Send Snail Mail once a week: This is my FAVORITE thing to do. The workers at the post office officially know me. and they know my obsession with decorating packages with stripes and polkadots and colors and patterns. They all call me "honey" and say they give my packages extra special care ;)

8. Be more SPONTANEOUS: I stick to a schedule. All the time. And I think I drive myself crazy with it at times. I want to change this and say yes to SPONTANEITY!

9. Read the ENTIRE bible: I have never read the bible all the way through, and 2015 is the year! I didn't grow up reading the bible, and so I think reading straight through is tough! Sometimes I'll only get through a couple verses because I like to look up exactly what is going on and the background and the people and every.single.little.detail. But that makes it more fun! And I am going to be looking up a great plan for accomplishing this goal :)

10. Put some action behind my Pinterest boards: I have so so SO many ideas on Pinterest that I want to do!! I'm overwhelmed with so many great ideas I have seen on Pinterest. So I want to get crafty and start making some of those pins come to life!

11. Visit 4 New Cities: Maybe this will go along with my spontaneity goal? Random weekend roadtrip somewhere? Hmmmm...

12. Keep up with my Etsy Shop: I just started an Etsy shop, but there are only Christmas crafts and items in there right now. I would love to add more to the shop and get it going this year!

13. Fall more in Love with Jesus: God is SO big and I want Him to be a BIG part of my life. I don't think I'll ever fully fathom how big God is, but I want to grow closer to Him each and every day. This year I want to pray BIG and grow even closer to my Lord and Savior! 

14. Work Out 2x a Week: Okay, I know two times a week doesn't seem like that much. But I really want this goal to be super easy and attainable and that way it will become a habit in 2015.

15. Keep my car ORGANIZED and CLEAN: I can keep my room spotless and organized, my bathroom spotless and organized, my closet spotless and organized. But for some reason, my car tends to be more likely a hot mess. Pearl-my sweet Camery- will be receiving a deep cleaning this week and will hopefully REMAIN that way this year.

16. LOVE Selflessly: I've learned so much about loving others this year. My heart is so full and so touched by those who have loved and encouraged me every step of the way. This year I want to LOVE even more. "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

17. Read a Book for Fun Once a Month: I just received lots of new reads including Let's All Be Brave and The Nesting Place. These will be first on my list.

18. Learn How to Use My Camera: I really don't know much about taking pictures. I usually take 100 pictures with my camera and hope and pray that one of them will work out. I recently purchased this e-book online and it is INCREDIBLE. I just need to sit down, study it a bit, and practice!

19. Memorize a Verse a Week: I just learned about this awesome site that will help you memorize verses so that you will have them with you at all times. Can't wait to look more into this! I just got my new planner (which you will find out more about later this week) and I love writing verses in my planner each week to pray over and memorize!

20. Learn Calligraphy and Practice Lettering: I LOVE lettering. and pretty calligraphy. and maybe I will be able to write pretty notes to those who I'm snail-mailing (goal 7) SO excited about this goal.

21. LISTEN more. "Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding" Proverbs 2:2. I can be stubborn when it comes to this one. I'm workin' on it! :) 

Happy Sunday and Happy almost NEW YEAR, friends! What are your New Year's goals?






Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holly Jolly Celebrations!


Merry Christmas Eve! How is everybody doing? Ready for Santa?

While visiting at my Gramma's house this past week, Santa paid US a visit. Just a few minutes earlier I had mentioned to my cousin-- Sauve' (pronounced suh-vay)-- that we had not taken pictures with Santa this year.

And then he walked into the house after that.


(we were in our jammies!)
My mind was blown.
Christmas wishes really do come true!
 
Here are a few other holiday glimpses from my Christmas season thus far...



I've been traveling the south, visiting family, (whipping 360's in the middle of the city to snap pictures with gingerbread men...)


 (Oh deer! Christmas Costume Party 2014)


 ...making LOTS of Christmas cookies & baked goodies with my brother and nephew:

These are my favorite!

Banana Bread Muffins
 and a Gingerbread house...



gingerbread house fail^^

....FAIL. (at least it started off well!)

I've been watching LOTS of Christmas shows, trying delicious new foods...


(PHO noodles. It's now an obsession)

& getting treated to sparkly red GEL manicures with my future Sister-in-Law (thanks Connie!)...

(Y'all, once you go gel...you never go back. It's been a week and my nails still haven't chipped!) 


playing GIANT Jenga...


& lots and lots of Trivia Crack against eachother. (if you don't have this app you NEED it)...




and most importantly, spending time with loved ones as we worship and celebrate THE reason for the season!


I'm SO thankful for all the countless belly-laughs and blessings. I hope your Christmas season has been merry, bright, and full of smiles, friends! 





Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday FAVORITES!


Good Friday morning!

I'm currently traveling on the road, so I thought I'd bring you guys some of my Friday favorites (HOLIDAY EDITION) from around the web today.

1. Like these Thumbprint Snowman cookies...


I'm thinking Santa needs these in his life. (can you believe Christmas is in 6 days?) And I need them in my life too! How stinking cute are they!?

2. Lillie Henry stickers on Etsy! I check the front door each day to see if my new 2015 Erin Condren planner has arrived and I can't wait to cover my planner in these adorable everyday calendar stickers. The KitchenAid mixer stickers make me smile! Again...how stinking cute?!


3. Gilmore Girls the complete series collection is 80% off! Amazon must know I look at this often, because every time I log in, I'm alerted about this awesome deal:


4. Deals on KitchenAid Mixers:
Amazon is just rolling out the deals! You may have seen that I posted these cookies that I whipped up from Sally's Baking Addiction...


 on instagram this past week. Well I wouldn't be anywhere without a beloved KitchenAid!

5. Peanutbutter Buckeyes: these are a Christmas tradition! I just made a bunch of these with my Grandmother this past week for snacking and gifting. Her pretty packaging secret: use leftover holiday card boxes to fill with the treats & wrap with bow before gifting.



We used a recipe very similar to this one (but we added rice krispies and crunchy pb!)

6. The Santa Clause:



 I grew up with this movie and it is one of my favorites! I think I've seen it about 17 times this year. And I can watch it again and again.


If you are on the road, I hope you have safe travels and lots of Christmas cookies along the way!





Monday, December 15, 2014

Favorite Top Athens, Georgia Restaurants: Heirloom Cafe Review


Good Monday morning friends!

Can you believe it's a new start to the week? And we only have 10 days until Christmas? I'm present wrapping, Christmas-song singing, and car packing today for holiday travels ahead.

Oh...and I'm also reminiscing on this beautiful meal I had at Heirloom Cafe in Athens:


My good friend Carly and I were able to sit down with restaurant owner Jessica Rothacker to hear Heirloom's incredible story and the story behind the food.


Heirloom Cafe is a family business run by Jessica and her father off of Chase Street in Athens. The menu rotates seasonally to make sure ingredients are sourced from fresh, local growers in the area. 


 Jessica graduated from college with a degree in English, but then decided that her heart was yearning to go to culinary school at the Art Institute in Atlanta.

She had grown up surrounded by knowledge of her family's garden and knew she wanted to know the source of her food. Heirloom Cafe was started soon after and her passion for relationships with farmers and the community are so evident in every detail of the menu!


We started off with the Black Eyed Pea Hummus...which was so fresh and smooth...the toasted ciabatta was an incredible accompaniment to the first course.


Carly ordered the daily quiche- a  fresh zucchini and goat cheese special. And I ordered "The Polk"- Heirloom's housemade lentil and walnut burger (inspired by Jessica's vegetarian friend who stated the perfect bean burger would have cheddar, dijon, and hot sauce):


Of course...we HAD to have dessert...


and we ordered the housemade gelato Ice-Cream sandwiches:


 I mean how stinking cute are these!? We got one of each to share- butter pecan gelato on brown butter bourbon shortbread and chocolate gelato sandwiches with yellow cake and sprinkles. We decided the butter pecan gelato sandwich was our favorite because it was so unique, but we loved them both!

The food is locally sourced, fresh, and delicious...I felt so at home. I can't wait to come back again and again! Heirloom Cafe is definitely a top Athens, Georgia restaurant you need to add to your list!

Happy Monday friends!


*disclaimer: I was provided a meal by Heirloom Cafe, but all views are 100% my own! I would not share if I didn't love it!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Final Countdown & Bagels Galore


Good morning, friends! How's Saturday been treating you?

I would say my Saturday has been pretty great. I woke up, made breakfast, sipped some hot tea, had some quiet time. It's definitely been a big change from the rest of this crazy week! AKA Finals week. AKA I've-ordered-a-grilled-cheese-sandwich-or-cheese-pizza-almost-everyday week. AKA my-house-&-room-and-car-are-hot-mess-right-now week.

But hey!

This peaceful, Saturday morning has been totally worth the crazy.


In addition to my pizza and grilled cheese diet (calories don't count during Finals week. Or December!), yesterday my good friend Carly and I stopped by Ideal Bagel in Athens for lunch. And it was incredible!

Feast your eyes on these bagels:


We ordered the "Dottie" with pastrami, a fried egg, and swiss. And also the Smoked Salmon bagel with capers, tomato, and cream cheese.


We split half-sies so we could try both and agreed the Smoked Salmon bagel was our favorite. I wanted to lick my plate clean! Bagels have my heart.

If in the Athens area, you MUST visit Ideal Bagel. It's quite ideal for breakfast or lunch. Now I want to try all of their bagels and spread and sandwiches. You will want to, too. 

Happy Saturday friends! I hope your day has been restful! (& maybe carb-loaded) Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Snickerdoodle BREAKFAST Blondies


Goodmorning, friends!

When I'm creating a new recipe, I usually am crossing my fingers and praying that it works out the first time. Occasionally that happens! Sometimes it takes many times to get it right. Sometimes it's trial and error.



Sometimes it's...ohmanIshouldNOThavewastedallofthoseingredientsontheseHORRIBLEthings. Those are the recipes I don't post. I only post recipes that I LOVE and I want you to love and share with others!



These Snickerdoodle Breakfast Blondies took a few tries because I wanted them to be perfect! And I wanted them to be healthy. And delicious. And a recipe to go back to again and again. The first time, they were a bit crumbly. The taste was great, but they fell apart in your hands. And that just wasn't going to cut it.



So I worked with the ingredients a bit more... and then these magical snickerdoodle breakfast blondies were born! They are 100% whole grain and made with whole wheat flour and oats. They are packed with protein because of the added Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek yogurt. I love the sweet cinnamon swirls in every bite! & they go great with a mug of warm coffee on chilly winter mornings.

I actually whipped up a quick buttercream to spread on top of them to bring as a dessert for my small group on Sunday. And they made for a healthier, delicious alternative to high-fat, sugar-loaded bars.

I live in a house of seven college girls. And they have been approved. So I guarantee you will love these too.  Let me know if you give them a try!

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup of oats
1 cup of whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 egg
1 5.3 oz. container of Chobani Apple Cinnamon
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup apple sauce
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
 (+sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar to dust on top) 
1.     Preheat Oven to 350 and prepare 9x13 pan.
2.     Blend first four ingredients in a food processor until well blended and a fine powder.
3.     Add the rest of the ingredients into the processor and blend until smooth.
4.     Batter will be thick. Spread onto the 9x13 pan and bake for 15-28 minutes until baked through.
Enjoy with a warm mug of coffee!


Friday, December 5, 2014

A Trip to Tupelo Honey in Greenville, South Carolina


It's FRIDAY, friends! (Hallelujah!) If you follow me on Instagram (<----Click here to follow!) then you may have already seen my most recent post:

Friday deserves lots of hugs today. Let me tell ya! It's been a crazy week, but the weekend is almost here!


I wanted to tell you a bit about one of my favorite southern staples that we had the chance to visit a few days ago. Remember my post about when we visited Greenville, South Carolina?


And I teased you with this picture of these perfectly buttered biscuits/fluffy bites of heavenly wonderfulness...


Well if you are in the area, Tupelo Honey Cafe in downtown Greenville is a MUST.

My southern heart was pitterpattering with joy when they brought out the biscuits (of course)...



but our lunch was incredible as well!



Carly ordered the Super Southern Breakfast Bowl with "salsa verde black eyed peas and goat cheese grits layered with farm-fresh eggs and maple peppered bacon, cheddar, and cucumber salsa." (Incredible, right?)

and I ordered the Charleston Chicken Sandwich with grilled chicken, havarti cheese, and cranberry mayo on organic sourdough with a side of cheesy smashed cauliflower:


 


Tupelo Honey is one of my favorites! Absolutely charming and delicious in every way. Bless your heart if you haven't given it a try. ;) I definitely recommend it if you are in the Greenville, SC area!

Happy, happy weekend!


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