Cupcakes and Sunshine: April 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Favorite Afternoon Snack with New Blue Diamond Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend

Hey, hey! How is everyone's Sunday going?

Hopefully it's sunny wherever you are. I'm just about tired of all this rain over here!

But one of my favorite snacks has brought me a lot of sunshine lately. And has been a favorite ever since I can remember. I grew up in a very small, country town in Florida where we would spend our summers picking wild blackberries in my uncle's backyard. Every year I looked forward to picking the juicy berries and enjoying them after a day in the hot, Florida sun.

Blackberry fields circa '98
I remember my Gramma Jo would whip up a delicious blackberry cobbler for us and we'd top it with vanilla ice-cream. A couple of summers ago my cousin, Anna-Marie, and I attempted to re-create the cobbler, but my Gramma's was definitely something special.

In addition to delicious homemade cobblers, I remember my Gramma would make us bowls of blackberries with milk and sugar as an afternoon snack. It was one of my FAVORITE things. A bit like cereal...without the cereal. The fresh berries and the cold milk compliment each other perfectly and the sugar added the perfect hint of sweetness.

I actually researched a bit about this treat because it's not often that you see people many enjoying it.

I learned that sweet cream and berries is actually a British tradition. At Wimbledon, almost 9,000 bowls of strawberries and cream are served each summer. King George actually started the tradition in the late 1800s and it has stayed ever since. It is actually very similar to the more decadent French Crème brûlée, which is an indulgent custard topped with fresh fruit and sugar.  I'll have to call my Gramma and see if our heritage has anything to do with her summer snack. I don't think we have an English or French background, but I would love to find out!

I wanted to create a light version of my Gramma's treat and was so excited when Blue Diamond sent me their new AlmondMilk CoconutMilk to try. I knew it would be PERFECT for this healthy and fresh snack.

Simply rinse your fresh berries, divide into two bowls, top with ice-cold Blue Diamond Almondmilk Coconutmilk, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this favorite snack as much as I do.
Let me know when you give it a try!

*this post is sponsored by Blue Diamond, but all views are my own! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What I'm looking Forward to Most this Summer

1. Planned Trips: NYC & mission trip to Haiti

2. Spontaneous adventures (these haven't been planned yet. they're spontaneous)

3. Reading what I want. when I want. These books are currently on my list-

4. I'm thinking a trip to Disney. I want to go. No, I think I need to go. It's happening. 

5. No classes. No Studying

6. Unlimited Sunshine

7. Organizing. I can't wait to have some free time to clean out my closet and all my junk drawers and the nooks and crannies where things have been placed throughout these past few weeks

8. Postcards from my roommates- they're headed to Italy, Ireland, LA, Tanzania. How cool are they?

9. Crossing some restaurants off my Athen's restaurant list. these include:

10. Local adventures- how fun does Leap Fly Trapeze look? So fun.

If the next few weeks want to speed themselves up a little quicker, I wouldn't be be too upset about it. Summer come quick!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Favorite and Best Workout Songs and Channels

I'm multitasking to the max today. And by that...I'm totally sitting in class right now attempting to pay attention to a lecture on internet trolls and online reputation management while typing this post.

But something very important has been on my mind lately, y'all. I have been feeling quite convicted because...I listen to terrible music when I workout. I do. If it's not hardcore rap, Drop it Low Pandora, or Lil Wayne radio, I usually don't even take a step into a gym. The problem-- these are NOT good messages coming through my headphones when I workout first thing in the morning.

I'm trying to be the best me, so I wake up and head to the gym to start off my day on a good start. But then those terrible songs stick with me throughout the day and I find myself avoiding singing inappropriate lyrics out loud in public. And I'm just thinking this isn't the best me I can be.

So I'm challenging myself to listen to more positive music in the next few weeks. Especially when I workout since this seems to be where my Pandora stations are autotuned to each morning.

I'm including a list of some fun Pandora channels and songs that I'm going to be listening to instead if you'd like to join me in a music detox:

1. 90s Music Channel- throwing it back to my childhood. It's time to say Bye, Bye, Bye to Lil John and hello again to all of my favorite boy bands.

2. Disney Radio- This station is FUN you guys. throwing it waaayy back to childhood and the times of excessive energy and lack of tiredness. How can you not run fast when you feel like a kid again?

3. Lecrae radio- I'm pretty sure Lecrae was in Athens last night actually. I had never even heard of him before starting college, but he is a top gospel rapper and has some pretty great upbeat music for working out. 

 4. All Sons and Daughters radio: This one is good for sunrise runs or stretching/yoga. Slow songs, but LOVE the lyrics. All Sons and Daughters is definitely one of my faves.

5. Justin Timberlake Radio: Y'all. I love him. I really think I do. He's been my celebrity crush since the 90s and I don't think that will ever change. Most of the songs on this station are appropriate, but if not, just press the "next" button. And then get back to Justin. Because he's great.

So there. I did it. I deleted all my explicit channels and I'm starting over with these. It was hard. real hard y'all. But I know this is for the best and I know I will be a better me because of it! 

What are your favorite workout tunes? I need some more ideas! let me know and happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Very Favorite Breakfast Recipe

As summer is approaching, I thought it would be a great idea to hop on the let's-eat-healthier-and-be-more-active train. I just really want to feel better and have more energy 1. because my body is a temple and 2. because when you feel better you DO better. And doing better makes the world a better place.

The good news is...I love a fresh fruit bowl or veggies and hummus just about as much as I love cupcakes. And that makes eating healthy somewhat of a hobby! Sometimes (aka NOW as finals are approaching)  I tend to forget that eating better really makes me feel like a better person. In times of stress, I'm quick to grab a giant bowl of sugary treats (hello Crispy M&Ms.... yes we all know you are back) or something covered in sprinkles. lots and lots of sprinkles.

But luckily today, I'm bringing you a breakfast recipe that will make you FEEL good and DO good. There is no added sugar, lots of healthy fats, and it tastes GREAT.

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal: 

1/3 cup of oats
2/3 cup of almond milk
1/2 banana
1 tsp. coconut oil
generous sprinkling of ground cinnamon

Top with:
1/2 sliced banana
more ground cinnamon

1. Add oats, almond milk, 1/2 sliced banana, and coconut oil to a small pot. Bring to a boil at medium heat until desired consistency. Stir in ground cinnamon.

2. Once cooked, pour into your favorite bowl and top with 1/2 sliced banana, blueberries, walnuts, and more cinnamon.

Happy healthy humpday, friends!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Secret Surprise Engagement Party Details

Last weekend was absolutely incredible! One of my very best friends got engaged and we had such a fun time celebrating the couple's love and surprising them with a top secret engagement party Sunday evening.

Kelsie and James first met on a CRU retreat and were sharing s'mores around a bonfire when they had their first conversation. We thought it would be really fun to re-live their first s'mores "date" by having a s'more bar engagement party theme.

There were lots of options so each person could customize their s'more to their liking...

every flavor of marshmallow you could imagine...

chocolate galore...

We decorated the house with pictures of the couple and had a few banners and balloons as well.

The future Mr. and Mrs. James and Kelsie Tyson: 

One of James' favorite cakes is carrot of course we had to have one of those too!

I LOVE this chalkboard that featured their special dates and memories:

The party guests began arriving right before Kelsie and James did so that we could surprise them as soon as they walked into the door:

Waiting on the couple to walk in...


James and Kels then shared their engagement story...

and showed off that ring because they are ENGAGED!

Then it was s'more time.

:) ^^^love this.

All the party go-ers received ring pop favors to take home:

So of course there had to be a few more ring pictures!

Kels and the boys:

It was such a fun weekend and I can't wait to celebrate the couple even more these next few months! Congratulations future Mr. and Mrs. Tyson!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Secret Engagement Day!

Oh boy! I'm so excited about this post. I've been keeping it a secret for a while now, and I'M SO EXCITED THE SECRET IS FINALLY OUT!!! One of my very best friends was engaged last weekend and I could not be more excited for Kelsie and James! (aka future Mr. and Mrs. Tyson)

It was one of the sweetest and one of my most favorite weekends ever!

As they were walking on North campus in Athens, a photographer walked up to James and Kelsie and told them that her couple had canceled their practice photoshoot. She then asked James and Kelsie if she could practice taking photos of them in the chapel practice her lighting and different photo shots. But James was in on it the whole time! And after saying a few sweet words to Kelsie as they were "practicing" taking pictures for the photographer's photoshoot, he dropped down on one knee and asked her to marry him!

Of course, Kels said YES!

Afterwards, a video played with pictures of them in the chapel. James and Kelsie's parents came down from the back of the chapel from where they were hiding and gave them both big hugs.

absolutely LOVE this^^
& then everyone went outside to ring the chapel bell! (it's an Athens tradition to celebrate special days and moments)

look at that ring!^^ James, you did good :) 

It was SUCH a special day and a special weekend! Love this sweet couple and so happy to celebrate with them! I am blessed to call them friends and can't wait to see the awesome plans the Lord has in store for them this year.

Stay tuned for a recap of our SURPRISE ENGAGEMENT PARTY for the future Mr. And Mrs. Tyson tomorrow :)


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