Cupcakes and Sunshine: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sweet Travels: Downtown Greenville, SC Travel Guide- Things to Do in Greenville


Happy, happy Monday! These next few weeks are going to be a bit crazy as school is winding down (AMEN) and so I'm going to be putting together some travel guides for the places I've traveled and some of my very favorite places to visit to keep my mind off of all the endless school to-do's until then. (...in addition to countless cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix, lots of coffee, and chocolate. lots of chocolate)

Last week, we were in Dallas, Texas and this past week, I was in Greenville, SC. Greenville is one of my very favorite cities. It isn't very far from home, so I retreat there sometimes when I need some time to shop and eat and walk and explore.


I actually did a LOT of Black Friday shopping in Greenville this past week. And I still don't know if that was a good or bad idea. (my heart said yes...my wallet said no) HOWEVER, I now I have some cute new booties, scarves, and candles. Winter necessities, ya know?

Shopping: In downtown Greenville, there are so many fun places to shop. In addition to unique boutiques and art galleries, there's Anthropologie...


...which somehow I always end up wandering into and getting lost in. It's not unique to Greenville. But props to you if you can walk by Anthropologie without walking in. 

The Mast General Store has become a Greenville tradition. It has just about everything you can think of- coats, jackets, t-shirts, hiking/camping items, books, cooking mixes, shoes. And the best part? Head to the very back and you will find an old-time candy shop where you can buy any and all types of candy by the pound. (favorite part) We always end up with a few bags of sweets. Always. 

Food: 


WOW....I can't say enough about the great restaurants in Greenville. Tupelo Honey is one of my favorite restaurants. I think any place that brings out hot, homemade biscuits before you even order is automatically a winner.


Roost Restaurant, High Cotton and Smoke on the Water are other great restaurants on my list. 

You must, must visit Chocolate Moose downtown: 


They have THE best cupcakes that they bake fresh each day. 


I try a new cupcake every time. 

Coffee:

Lots of good coffee shops here too. Most of them play live music or have fun events each week.


Sometimes, I'll stop by downtown Greenville (or Whole Foods ten minutes away) and just work on homework and grab a latte. Studying is no fun, but if you gotta do it, you might as well do it in Greenville!

Fun: 


Throughout Main Street, bronze mice are hidden downtown for finding. If you stop by the Mast General Store, you can pick up the sweetest children's book with clues on where to find the mice. It's a fun tradition and we still get really excited when we spot a mouse or two. This is a great activity for kids!

Reedy River: 


The Reedy River passes through downtown, and after all that shopping (& eating), you can stroll along the river. It is actually a really fun place to go for a run downtown.

Greenville is a great city with many things to see and do! Have you visited Greenville, SC? If so, comment below with some of your favorite things to do! (Always down for suggestions!) Haven't visited before?
Pin this pin to save for later:


Sweet Travels and happy Monday Friends!




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sweet Travels: Dallas Travel Guide, Things to Do in Dallas



And we made it to Dallas! And I love this city so much.We flew into Dallas-Fort Worth airport for a weekend in Dallas and stayed at Hotel Indigo (great place to stay in the city if you are on a budget-see below!), right near the city-center. The weather has been LOVELY for most of our trip but was a bit chilly on our final day. 


***On a side note, why can't I major in traveling and minor in airport food navigation and expertise? 


In Dallas: 

Food You MUST Eat:


Twisted Root Burger Co: This is a very casual and fun place to dine and I think it was a great first-night meal. The burgers were awesome. and the employees were so funny. When you place your order, they give you a card with an actor/actresses name on it and then act it out when it's time to come and grab your burgers off of the counter. I ordered a guacamole turkey burger and it was the bomb.  



Mesomaya: This was BY FAR my FAVORITE restaurant we visited. 


Great service, great food, great atmosphere. I can't say enough about it. Put this one on your list!! We sat on their outside patio and it was beautiful out! 

When we arrived, we were asked if this was our first time dining. The chef brought out their handmade corn tortillas filled with guacamole and told us they bring them to all first time guests. Absolutely incredible. The fluffiest of corn tortillas. Now I'm spoiled and don't know if I can enjoy any other corn tortillas again. 


I ordered the "Lonche Special" which came with lime tortilla soup, a chicken taco, rice and beans. Y'all. So good. 

Stupid Good Coffee: This coffee shop was located in the offices right above our hotel and it was great! 

The coffee was good and the employees told us all the places we needed to visit and see in Dallas. 


And then we just walked right back to our hotel room and enjoyed it there. (only problem- it's not open on Saturdays!) 


Oddfellows: In all honesty, Oddfellows in the Bishop Arts District was a bit ehhhh. It was alright, but very busy and the food was so-so. I ordered the Huevos Rancheros. However, the Bishop Arts District is a place you NEED to visit. See down below :)  


AHHH I WANTED TO SPEND ALL MY MONEY HERE^^^ AND BUY THE ENTIRE STORE. Really I did. Gourmet chocolates, chocolate sauces, chocolate spreads, chocolate bark. Couldn't get over it. I wanted it all.  

Sites You MUST See- We stayed in the city and there were many little parks and fun things to do there and in surrounding areas:

Bishop Arts District: 


Loved this area of Dallas! Probably one of my favorites stops. 


This area is full of fun shops, boutiques and good eats. It's an art district, so there are many eclectic finds and things to do. Make sure to check out this area if you are visiting! 


Dallas Museum of Art:


Many museums in Dallas are free of charge! The Dallas Museum of Art is one of them, so we walked around a bit and viewed many pieces and sculptures. 


Dallas Farmer's Market: 


We walked to the Dallas Farmer's Market (which is open every day!) from our hotel. We were a little disappointed because there were many booths and sellers, but no people or visitors. Maybe it was because it was a chilly day? We still made it out with a few things to take home. 

NorthPark Mall/Shopping: This mall is HUGE. We uber-ed there and shopped around and had dinner there one evening. Great shopping, great time!


Christmas/Holiday Specials: We visited a bit too early in the year for any big holiday happenings, but there are many coming up through December! 


Things I still need to cross off my Dallas list: 

Since we were there for a short time, we weren't able to do it all. So guess this means I'll have to visit again real soon!!! :) and cross the following off the list...


  • Dallas BBQ- we had a lot of good food, but didn't get Texas barbecue!!! Next time for sure.
  • Reunion Tower: would love to do this and have dessert in their revolving restaurant! 
  • Dallas Aquarium 
  • Dallas Zoo 
  • Dallas Botanical Gardens
  • Sixth Floor Museum
  • State Fair of Texas (this happens only a couple weeks of the year. We missed it this time by just a few days)

Dallas on a Budget: 
Hotel Indigo:  

 

When looking for a place to stay, I wanted to make sure I was close enough to the city to be able to walk to most of the places we'd want to visit. The more you walk, the less you pay for travel! Not only was most everything in a walk-able distance, but our hotel offered a shuttle that traveled anywhere in a 3-mile radius. 



Take advantage of these deals, fellow traveling friends on a budget! It made for easy transport around the city.  
Uber
Proud to say we are now professional Uber-ers. Uber is awesome. When we wanted to go further than the few miles our hotel shuttle allotted us, Uber was our go-to. We also learned a lot about the city from our Uber drivers (and they entertained us with stories of previous Uber passengers) during the time we were riding. Most of our drivers were Dallas locals and they suggested many places to visit, stay and eat.  
TexMex
Tacos are a good deal wherever you are. And they just so happen to be incredible in Texas. If you order a plate of tacos, try saving one or two as leftovers to have the next day for a small lunch or snack. A meal saved is money saved. :) 
Use Giftcards: 
When on a budget, take advantage of all gift cards you may have in your possession. (thanks family and friends for these. I save them for important times) Throughout the trip, we were able to have dinner at Seasons 52, coffee at Starbucks and also do some shopping at the mall with gift cards I had. 

Save and pin this Dallas travel guide for later: 



HEY! if you live/have been to Dallas and have some places to suggest, please leave comments below! Would love even more suggestions for the next time we're in the city! 



Sweet Travels, friends!













Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Back to Haiti: Sweet Travels Cookie Orders


I've been blessed with the opportunity to travel back to Haiti this spring break with our Global X College team and I couldn't be more excited!!! This past summer, I visited Haiti for the first time and it was the most incredible experience of my life and there hasn't been a day I haven't thought about the loving people there! I AM SO EXCITED!



Not only were we able to create relationships with Haitians in the village of Oban, but we were able to host Bible school and share the gospel with children in the village, meet with the leadership council, and pray with those who were sick or in need. Our trip this spring will be a very relational trip as we establish more relationships with those in communities again.



I would love your support through prayer as we are in Haiti this spring. In addition to prayer, I am also in need of financial support and it would mean so much if you would consider giving towards my trip. This year, it is my goal to raise EVEN MORE than my goal so I can help other college students fund their trips as well!!! I'm really looking forward to this trip and can't wait to see how the Lord is going to work through our team!!



To raise money, I am going to be selling and sending cookies to you and your loved ones mailboxes!! (I do make some pretty good cookies). Don't know what to get your brother-in-law for Christmas? No problem! Send a box of homemade, chocolate chip cookies his way. Wanting to send some Holiday cheer to an old friend? or hey! Want a sweet treat for yourself? Two steps! It's easy! You can...

1. First make a donation here: https://app.managedmissions.com/MyTrip/haleysouthey

and then...

2. Send me a message or email me your address and the address you want me to send the cookies to!
and BOOM! Holiday cheer and delicious cookies right at the front door! :)

Want to read more about our trip to Haiti?
Have more questions about Haiti or Sweet Travels Cookies? Feel free to comment below or send a message my way! :) 
 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reese's Cup Smoothie





It's NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER MONTH! And yes, I am celebrating all month long. This is one of the recipes I make all the time- breakfast, lunch, snack, dessert. It fits all the categories. It's protein-packed and healthy! And the peanut butter and chocolate together are just like a Reese's cup in the form of a smoothie. It's wonderful. Not to mention it's only five ingredients:
  • Peanut butter
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Tofu
  • Frozen Banana

(that's all.)

Blend all in a blender. Grab a glass. add a straw. and enjoy!

Looking for more delicious peanut butter recipes?
Try my peanutbutter cookie cake:


peanutbutter pumpkin french toast:


and my rise and shine zucchini muffins topped with pb.



All winners.
Looking for more ways to win?


 Share your peanut butter joy on Instagram to win some great pb prizes! Happy Monday, friends!

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Mental Health Break: For the burned out friend




Friends, something has been on my heart lately that I've been wanting to share! A couple of weeks ago, I met up with an old friend for the first time in a long time and the first thing she said was..."HEY! Tell me about your awesome, wonderful life!! It looks incredible." And I thought to myself... well goodness! it sure doesn't feel that way! I mean yes, I have so much to be thankful for and each day is such a blessing!! I have wonderful friends, I have a part-time job that I love, and work with the most incredible people. But friends, I am tired. Burned out. Exhausted. And I have just been pushing through these past couple of months. With endless school work and a list of to-do's, I just have not been feeling myself. 


I feel often times, social media only shows the highlight reel of our lives and a form of unattainable perfect happiness. I have chosen social media to be a happy place. And I post what makes me happy and little positive "wins" of my days. But what I don't post is the not-so-cheery, overwhelmed, rush-here-rush-there, sometimes ugly-crying on the living room carpet floor (ya feel me?), I'm-not-perfect posts. 



Busyness, school, work, relationships, homework, sleep, family, bills, projects, studying, laundry, friends, email, texts, life... we have a lot to keep up with and play a lot of roles! And friends, moms, sisters, if you are in a place of burn out- I'm praying for you and your heart! 



I've made a little list of tips for those days when you are feeling tired, stuck in a monotonous schedule, or are just looking for a little break. 



1. Take a ten: 

My roommates actually forced this one upon me and I'm so thankful for it. I came home one day on the verge of tears and they made me set an alarm for ten minutes. and just sit. no phone, no music, no technology, no homework. Just sit. Pray. Listen. Be Still.


2. Start a life-giving basket: 



^^This has been my favorite new addition to my room. Fill a basket with simple things that make you happy and give you life. Keep it simple. Your life is probably not so simple if you have reached this point and you don't want to have a complicated life-giving basket. That would defeat its purpose. I've filled mine with my bible, the current book I'm reading (For the Love by Jen Hatmaker...so good. so life-giving.), some thank you notes and a coloring book. (coloring is life-giving and makes me happy.) I keep my life-giving basket by my bed so it is the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I see before going to bed. (not my phone) Do something life-giving so you can be life-giving!


3. Create something: we were made to create! 



"We create because we were made to create, having been made in the image of God, whose first role was Creator. He was and is a million different things, but in the beginning, He was a creator. That means something for us, I think. We were made to be the things that He is: forgivers, redeemers, second-chance givers, truth-tellers, hope-bringers. And we were certainly, absolutely, made to be creators." ~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet



^^fave quote. fave author too. 



Create something. bake some brownies. send a card. design a new system of organization. write a thank you note. construct a pinterest project you've been eyeing. make a package. send it to someone who needs a smile. create smiles. create!



4. Mix things up:

I'm a BIG fan of change and sometimes the mundane and monotonous can wear me out. Out of laundry detergent? Get a new kind. Put your toothbrush on the opposite side of your sink. Take an alternate route to work. Place your pillows differently. Switch up your room. Eat something new for breakfast. Work those parts of your mind to keep your brain guessing and excited about what's new to come. 

5. Make yourself, or purchase yourself, a warm drink:

To me, there is nothing more comforting than coffee or cocoa. All that coffee you see on my instagram feed? all thanks to birthday and surprise giftcards. (Thank YOU friends and family) Yes, that may look like the perfect cup of coffee in a red cup (!! It's Christmas!) from Starbucks, but I'm chugging it down because life is not perfect and I'm stressed and need a warm hug in the form of a latte. 



5. Exercise: 

A good friend and I have been doing Kayla Itsine's workouts and we are almost done with week 4!! They are 28-minute workouts and have changed me in the best of ways. My room may be a mess, and homework might not be done- but I checked off a 28-minute workout and now I can do anything. (or that's how you feel when I’m done. and sweaty. I feel sweaty.) Walk it out. Do some squats. Take a yoga class. Make time for yourself and check it off!  



6. Burn a candle: Burn off the burned out feelings. I looove candles. My roommate Kelsie and I can keep you updated with current Bath and Body Works candle sales. They make you feel comfy and cozy and relaxed. All the feels.



7. Sleep! 

I love the leadership roles I’m in but if I am tired, snappy, angry... I can not pour into others. Others don't want to be lead by leaders who don't lead themselves. Lead your self to your bed. Turn off your phone. Grab something in your life-giving basket to read for a few minutes. Then shut off the lights and sleep! 

8. And finally...take a mental health break! (even if it means a day off to do nothing!!) This is hard. And it may mean skipping classes or putting in a sick day. But sometimes you need a mental health break because you are brain sick. It's called burn-out. And there's grace and rest. :) 

Praying for you, friend! and for rest and energy and joy in the days to come. Happy weekend!



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Peanut Butter Lover's Month: Healthy Cookie Cake Recipe


It's no secret I love peanut butter. When your friends start to buy you personalized peanut butter spoons...



& even peanut butter for your birthday....you know you may just have a problem. But hey! It's a good problem to have if you ask me. And thankfully, November is National Peanut Butter Lover's month, so we can celebrate all things pb together.


Now, if you know me well, I am not one to make a recipe over and over again. I just want to try all new recipes and all new things and what if I miss out on a wonderful new recipe, ya know?


Well sometimes there are exceptions to my usual cooking habits and this cookie cake is a recipe I have made over and over. It's really, really incredible.  And the cool part- it's secretly healthy. And it blows my mind because you guys...it is way too good. 



Who would believe that there are actually two cans of beans and a cup of oatmeal in this cake? No one. Hand a slice off to someone you didn't blurt out all the ingredients to (out of excitement and joy for health's sake) and they'd want you to make this cookie cake over and over again too.


Peanut butter and banana is one of my favorite combos. and when you combine them in a delicious cookie cake and add chocolate chips- absolutely heaven. You should make this now to brighten these rainy days we've been having.

First off, you'll blend all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly mixed. This may take a little while because you want it to be smooooth.


While you are doing this, I thought I'd let you know about this wonderful giveaway where you can win FREE peanut butter and other goodies in celebration of National Peanut Butter Lover's month:


Share your favorite joy-filled peanut butter pictures on instagram, tag @peanut.butter.lovers, and use #MyPBjoy to win some great prizes. I'll be sharing lots of new pb recipes this month in celebration, so be sure to stay tuned!

Now back to the cookie cake: once you've blended all ingredients until smooth, stir in your one cup of chocolate chips and pour into a prepared 10-inch cheesecake pan. Bake for about 35 minutes at 350 and BOOM. You have the best cookie cake ever.


Recipe: Health Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cake
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie:

Ingredients:
2 cans of navy beans
1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar 
1 cup of quick oats
1 banana
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup PB2 (or powdered peanutbutter)
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips (you can even add peanut butter chips here...yum!!)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Blend all ingredients except for chocolate chips in food processor until smooth
3. Pour into prepared 10-inch springform, or cheesecake, pan and bake 35-40 minutes until baked through
4. Wait 15 minutes to cool, slice, and enjoy!!


Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Southern Peanut Growers . All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!



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