Cupcakes and Sunshine: 2018

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fun With Warby Parker - 5 Frame Try-On Review

It's 100 degrees in Texas, but I'm jumping on the pumpkin spice latte train (since they were released today!) and getting a head start on all things fall. This Dallas weather will cooperate eventually, right?!

With fall right around the corner, I've been looking at some new fall frames. I am so excited to show off some Warbys today.

If you don't know, Warby Parker is an incredible eye glasses brand, that will send you 5 frames to try on right at home. (Trying them out is completely free! Go ahead, and try it!) Did you know that August is National Eye Exam Month? With that being said, I really think of a better time to get new Warby Parker Glasses.

There are hundreds of styles to choose from online, and receiving your box of 5 try-on frames feels like Christmas!

You choose your five frames online, they ship them right to you (with a shipping label to send right back when you're finished!) Then, you get to customize your frames of choice online.

Warby's give-back program is one of my favorites. For every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need! They also empower adult men and women with training opportunities to administer basic eye exams and sell glasses for ultra-affordable prices. 

My favorites are the Oliver and Welty in "Whisky Tortoise," and I think I'll be ordering both.

I'll be staying in my pajamas as long as possible as well.  ;) Take the quiz to and let me know which frames are your favorite!

Happy Monday, friends!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Life Lately- August 2018

Happy Saturday morning, friends!

It's been a little while, so I'd thought we'd have a quick coffee date and catch up!

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you I've made a LOT of soup lately. Soups are so simple, and when I am craving fall (come on Dallas- at least drop below 95!!) this simple soup recipe does the trick.

It is THREE ingredients and I will never ever buy canned tomato soup again. This recipe is so easy, and there is not a long list of foreign-sounding ingredients when looking at the nutrition label.

  • 1 28-oz can of tomatoes. 
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. 
  • 4 Tbs of butter. 

Simmer for 30 minutes in a stock pot and then blend. I add a tablespoon of brown sugar or two sometimes as well to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. Serve with a grilled cheese (or pb&j if you ran out of cheese!), and you have the most perfect lunch.

If we were having coffee, I'd ask you if you've read anything good lately, and tell you I've been reading Bread and Wine:

Goodness, I love this book. It's packed full of wisdom and recipes. I've read it a few times through, and I think it will always be one of my favorites.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you I've been drinking lots of coffee.

And I mean lots of it. Working from home definitely has its perks, but 75% of the time, I am itching to get out of the house throughout the day. Starbucks has become one of my favorite spots. I am, in fact, counting down the days to Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I'm definitely one of those girls, and have no shame! (3 days in case you were wondering.)

As soon as Dallas drops below 85, you better believe pumpkin bread and lattes are in the making.

If were having coffee, I'd tell you I've been budgeting, budgeting. I love MINT to organize my finances, and I think it is so much fun to set goals and work within some helpful boundaries budget-wise.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you Jenna Kutcher's Goal Digger podcasts are wonderful! Helpful tips, encouraging, inspiring. A lot about business and achieving goals. I like to listen to them on morning walks.

If we were having coffee, I'd ask you what's on your menu this week and tell you that you NEED to add this Salsa Verde Casserole:

I was looking on Pinterest and came across this recipe. I made this salsa verde casserole this past week, and I think it may be one of the best meals I've ever had. It was delicious! Please, please add this to your menu this week. You won't regret it.

If we were having coffee, I'd ask you about your favorite wine, and to tell me all about it. Maybe your favorite chocolate too. This past year, I was challenged to become knowledgeable in a certain area, and I want to learn all about wine!

I've asked a lot of Trader Joe's workers a lot of questions, done a lot of research, and I'm not yet close to becoming a sommelier, but it would be the dream! What is good, what is bad? Please tell me all!

And lastly, if we were having coffee, I'd tell you board games with good friends are the best.

Any other Catan fans out there?

That pretty much concludes life lately! Books, coffee, eats, wine, games- the good stuff.

Any big plans for you guys this weekend? Hope it's a good one!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

8 Healthy Breakfast Drinks that Aren't Coffee (Copy Cat Starbucks Coconut Milk Matcha Latte)

Good Saturday morning, 
I hope your weekend has been off to a relaxing start. I have a couple money-saving (healthier) recipes for you today, but first I wanted to let you know something I tried out-- I quit coffee. For 8 whole weeks. 

It was somewhat of an experiment to see how coffee was affecting me...

if I'd have more energy, if I'd feel better without it and, if I could live without it. I tried so many breakfast drinks and alternatives that were not coffee. And I have a few to share with you today. Here are 10 drinks that are NOT coffee for if you have quit coffee, if you need a coffee alternative, if you want to switch up your morning routine, if you want to take a coffee sabbatical, a coffee replacement, if coffee is not your thing, if you want to save money on coffee, etc. 

1. Matcha: Matcha is a drink similar to coffee because you can drink it warm and it has a lot of options for variety (latte, iced, mocha matcha). 

These past 8 weeks, I have LIVED off of Matcha. It is full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, has less caffeine than coffee, but still gives you a boost of energy without the coffee jitters. Here is a copy cat Starbucks Coconut Milk Matcha Latte (& price and nutrition break down) 

To make your own: 
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk 
  • 12 oz. of hot water
  • 1 tsp. Matcha Green tea powder
  • 1 Tbs. of collagen (adds protein + great for your skin!) 
  • 1 packet of stevia

1. Heat coconut milk and water
2. Add matcha green tea powder
3. Mix in one Tbs. of collagen (you can add another here if you'd like) 
4. Add Stevia and blend all in blender or use a latte frother
5. Pour into a cup and enjoy! Lots of savings!! 

2. Yogi Tea:

Yogi teas are some of my favorite for if you're trying to kick the coffee habit. 

3. Smoothies
Right now a banana, coconut milk, and cocoa powder smoothie is my first choice smoothie. 

But a mango, banana, mango juice, (& maybe some spinach) smoothie is a pretty close second. 

4. Chai Tea- Chai tea is one of my favorite fall drinks. I know you can drink it year round, but there's something special about it on a crisp fall day if you're not drinking a pumpkin spice latte. 

5. Hot Chocolate. Homemade hot chocolate is so easy, and cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants as well! Here is a recipe I use quite often

6. Easy Apple Cider: warm up a mug of apple juice and maybe add a dash or two of lemon juice. This drink is one of my favorites with a side of oatmeal. 

7. Kombucha: I drink this stuff like crazy! breakfast, lunch, dinner. Synergy's new Watermelon Wonder flavor at Trader Joe's is my absolute favorite. 

8. Turmeric lattes: I hear these are so good for you, and could be a great coffee alternative. Here is a recipe to try out! 

Getting rid of coffee for a little while was a fun and challenging experience, but I think I'm just going to stick with my grande coconut milk caramel macchiato with 1/2 pumps of vanilla, and maybe an extra shot... 🙈

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Back on track: July Goals 2018

Happy Tuesday!

If you've been following along these past few days, you know I've been working to create a schedule and get back on track!

(Also with a few treats here and there. the 4th calls for ice-cream and fireworks)

I used to set monthly goals and tackle them, and I've been wanting to hop back in to doing that! I've got a few goals in mind for July:

Monthly Goals:
  • Not to go over any category in my budget: I use Mint to track my finances and purchases, and sometimes just let myself go over in the categories I've set. I spent $4 over my fast food budget, it's fine. (CFA gets me everytime!) Budgets are for more than just awareness....oops! I want to make sure this month I am being extra intentional in how and where I am spending. I want to start saving for more travel trips, and know I could accomplish this goal if I was more intentional. 
  • Finish Fervent and start a new book. Since moving, I haven't sat down to read at all. I've been reading Fervent for weeks now, and need to finish it up. Up next? I've heard a lot about the Royal We. Anyone read this or have any good summer reading suggestions? 
  • Find an additional side hustle- whether that's nannying, or picking up an odd job here or there. I've been wanting to visit lots of new places, so I'm saving for travel! 
  • Get a library card: purchasing books through Amazon has become way too convenient. I have a library nearby, and would love to start checking out books instead of purchasing them! 
  • Streeeetch. I need to get back to stretching. 
Weekly Goals: 
  • 2-3 smoothies per week: It's summer and it's hot! Smoothies are so easy to make and really great for you. My goal is to make 2-3 smoothies each week 
  • START a tv show. I don't ever watch tv because I'm terrible at slowing down just to sit. What show should I start, y'all? 
Daily Goals: 
  • In the Word.
  • Time in Prayer. 

Let's get after it, y'all! What are your July goals?

If you're looking to bake up some patriotic recipes, I suggest these:

Happy 4th!!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Banana Bread Oatmeal Snack Cake

"Blessed be the Lord, for he has shown us his lovingkindness to me" Psalm 31:21

Life lately has been so full of conversations, friends, walks-and-talks, sweet memories, and laughs.
I'm in awe of the Lord's lovingkindness and feeling very content in all the new.

I originally didn't have any intentions to share this recipe, but threw together some ingredients and ended up with one of my favorite healthy breakfasts of all times-- Banana Bread Oatmeal Snack Cake. So I had to share!

I was going for banana muffins, but with the move, have not yet been able to find the muffin tins. But this banana oatmeal recipe took the cake!  :)

It's sweet, moist, gluten-free, and has a protein-punch from added Greek yogurt. I am going to be making this all. the. time. Expect some fun variations to come in the near future as well.

Enjoy with a side of sunflowers....

...and with a friend:

and with this Playlist:

Lay It All Down- Will Reagan
Till I Found You- Phil Wickham
Feeling Low- Will Reagan
New Wine- Hillsong
It is Well- Kristene Demarco
Time- John Lucas
Mt. Zion- Cageless Birds
Cathedrals- John Lucas
East and West- Cageless Birds
Love is Kind- John Lucas
Waterfall- Jonathan Ogden
Beautiful- Cageless Birds
With You- Johnathan Ogden
You're the Only One- Chris Renzema
Psalm 27- Johnathan Ogden
Ghost of a King- The Gray Havens
Divine/Sailing/Time/Hymn- Phil Wickham

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Snack Cake: 
1 1/2 cups of oat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup of sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
2 large mashed bananas
1 egg
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spread coconut oil in a cake pan to prevent sticking
2. Mix together first five dry ingredients.
3. Mix together wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until incorporated.
5. Pour into cake pan
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until brown
7. Slice and enjoy with coffee/tea!

Hey! Are you hopping in with us for the work day squat challenge? Check it out here!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Getting Back on Track - Workout Playlist 2018

Hey, hey!

How's it going? You may be seeing me a bit more around here, because I'm back to the blogging world and plan on sticking around for a little while.

And hopefully the fitness world as well.

These past couple weeks have been a lot of new- new job, new house, new pace of life. And I could not figure out why I had been feeling so sluggish, until it hit me that I needed to create a new schedule as well.

Previously, my days were structured for me and there was little wiggle room. Now, I work full time from home- and I love it. BUT quickly realized I needed structure and I needed it fast. I also needed to get moving since I now do a lot more sitting.

I'm back to the grind with a few tips and tricks to get moving and stay moving this summer.

This habit tracker I posted a while back is one of my favorites. ^^^ You color in a circle for each day you complete a certain task for three months, and it helps you to stay on top of your goals and create healthy habits.

I plan on working out at least 3x per week before sitting down at my laptop. (and then tracking it with my habit tracker)

Another goal is to do 12 squats every hour on the hour. Which means ~100 squats per day at the end of the work day. I think that's do-able. 500 squats/week? Anyone want to do this challenge with me?!

Loooots of water. I am a terrible water drinker. So I'm cutting up fruit slices, and keeping a large cup of fresh water with me all day long. (tip- use frozen fruit as ice cubes! I used frozen mango and pineapple^)

15 min- brain breaks outside. Sometimes I need a brain break every now and then, so I'll call a friend and go on a 15-minute walk outside. Some company and a little sunshine help me to focus too!

Standing desk: I don't have a standing desk, but my kitchen counters are the perfect height for me, so I can stand and check email.

THIS summertime workout playlist: Of course, I'm blasting this playlist from my Ultimate Ears Bluetooth Speaker (love this speaker!!)

1. Lemon- Drake Remix
2. All the Stars- Kendrick Lamar
3. Finesse- Bruno Mars, Cardi B
4. End Game- T. Swift
5. IDGAF- Dua Lipa
6. My! My! My!- Troye Sivan
7. Ric Flair Drip- Offset
8. This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things- T. Swift
9. Filthy- Justin Timberlake
10. Bodak Yellow- Cardi B
11. Anywhere- Rita Ora
12. Wolves- Selena Gomez
13. God Save Our Young Blood- BORNS, Lana Del Rey
14. Delicate- T. Swift
15. The Middle- Zedd
16. One Kiss- Calvin Harris
17. Raining Glitter- Kylie Minogue
18. Good Girls Bad Boys- Alison Wonderland
19. Nervous- Shawn Mendes
20. Young Blood- Pro Bills
21. Friends- Marshmello

Let me know if you want to get back on track and join me! Happy Friday!

like what you see? pin it here^^

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My 9 Favorite Purchases on Amazon of All Time

Happy Wednesday y'all!

So many new things going on over here, it's been a bit wild. New house, new job, new schedule, new pace of life, and so much more new. I'm thankful and I'm loving every bit of it.

A few weeks ago, we watched a documentary on minimalism, and while I am in no way calling myself a minimalist, I definitely appreciate the art of keeping the most important things, and getting rid of the rest! It's something I want to work on. With all the unpacking, I've come to realize some of my very favorite purchases of all time, specifically through Amazon. (now just working on that whole getting rid of the rest part)

I think I'm a natural researcher. I love Google, product reviews, and asking questions. Finding top products on Amazon is one of my favorite hobbies.

The following are some products that I have researched, absolutely loved, and would recommend 100% to all.

1. Egyptian Sheets: These sheets are the best. They have over 41,000 reviews on Amazon and for a good reason! They are super soft, a great price, and I have slept so much better because of them and my comforter/duvet. (See below) The best sheet set ever. Go get them!

2. Ultimate Ears Bluetooth Speaker: I am obsessed with this speaker. It may actually be my best purchase of all time. I just started working full-time from home, and knew I wanted a great speaker so that good tunes could keep me company throughout the day and all throughout my house.

This speaker is light, portable, and loud. Amazon's description says it has "freakishly amazing 360-degree sound with deep bass." I agree. 

(Shoutout to the bf for this speaker purchase recommendation. the best)

 If you're wondering what I'm listening to recently, This Wild Life, Ben Rector, and Will Reagan's albums are some good work-from-home listens.

3. Comforter/Duvet: See the first photo above, but I have absolutely loved my comforter/duvet set. I knew when I moved that I was going for more quality home purchases with an emphasis on COMFORT. I ordered THIS down goose comforter, and it has been wonderful. It is very hot in Texas right now, but I know come winter months, I may not leave my bed.

4. Dead Sea Mud Mask:

This mud mask is so much fun and works GREAT. Have a girl's night, invite everyone over, maybe drink a little wine, and have a facial party. This charcoal mask has tons of reviews on Amazon and my skin is always so soft and smooth after use.

5. Mini Skillet:

I've talked about this mini skillet before, but I just love it. It is so convenient, easy to wash, and best for if you just want to make an egg or two for yourself. I use it weekly!

6. Mini Steamer:

I despise ironing, but thanks to this mini steamer that I got my freshman year of college, I have never had to. I love this thing, and I think everyone needs one. It is easy to travel with if you need to take it with you on trips, and works wonders! No more ironing!

7. Collagen:

I know I talk about collagen a lot too, but it is one of my very favorite products. It makes your skin super smooth and soft, and can be put in smoothies or coffee.

8. Pentel Energel Pens: I go through a pack of pens probably once a month. These have been my favorite.

9. Smoothie Cups: I love these smoothie cups with dome lids. In the summer, I make smoothies a few times a week, and these cups just make it so easy. Purchasing these does probably make you the opposite of a minimalist, but hey! They make breakfast and snack time a lot more fun. And then of course if you get smoothie cups, you need....

Smoothie straws : These are so cute, and definitely not a need, but they make me happy and drinking fruits and vegetables a lot of fun too.

What have been some of your favorite purchases of all time? Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 28, 2018

13 Things I'm Thankful For This Week

I took some intentional rest time the past couple of weeks, and goodness I needed it. You know when you take a few days off and then all the tiredness hardcore hits you? My days have looked a little bit like that- restful and more still than usual. But also  full of friends, community, leaning in, and learning. Here are 13 things I'm thankful for lately:

1. This rustic Red, White, and Blue berry galette

If you are looking for a Memorial Day treat, this is it!

2. Encouraging friends. 

When I first moved to Texas, Community was my word of the year because simply put, I had very few friends.  I had previously come from a college town rich with community and many of my friends (who were more like family and walked with me through some tough tough times) now lived in different states. I was starting all over.

A new city, new job, new everything. But I prayed hard for community, and I'm still seeing the fruit of those prayers today. Another new everything season is approaching, but I'm thankful for these friends who are going to be nearby. Life is tough- you need your people.

3. These roommates.
 These are our last few weeks living together, so we've been soaking them in.

I can't imagine these past couple years without these encouraging ladies!

4. 4 and 5-way chats:

Our girl Meg is in Africa, and our community group has looked a little different. Even across the country and world, these girls pray for me, hold me accountable, encourage me, and love me so well. We laugh and we cry and we laugh until we cry. I've said it once and I'll say it again: life is tough- you need your people. These ladies point me to truth and Jesus. Thankful.

5. Love that Lasts
I thought this book was going to be a bit on the cheesy side based on its cover, but no, this book is a must read. I think anyone and everyone should skip right over the Amazon "add it to your cart" button and just press "buy now."

You know when the Lord sends you the exact right message that you need to hear at the exact right time? I needed this book. I'd let you borrow my copy, but I've written in all of the margins. It's an easy read, and I really think it could change your life. Up next on my list is Fervent.

6. Signature Sins

I've been walking through this book, and I finally finished it after a couple weeks. It is definitely more scholastic in writing style, and not what you'd consider an easy read due to content, but wow is it eye opening. It is required for a few seminary classes, but was not assigned to my class. A few friends suggested it, so I borrowed a copy and I've loved it. It's not your surface level book, it digs deep into "taming your wayward heart" and overcoming signature sins. I definitely suggest it.

7. I'm thankful for the best gluten-free cupcake I've ever had at Sprinkles.

Not only is it the best, but it has a "G" on it for gluten-free that looks very similar to a Georgia G. Go dawgs.

8. Emily Freeman The Next Right Thing Podcasts

The description line for these podcasts is, "If you're in a season of transition, waiting, general fogginess or if you've ever searched "how to make a decision" on the internet, listen in as best-selling author and host Emily P. Freeman helps create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love." 

^Um, yes. These podcasts are encouraging and bring a lot of new perspective. 

9. Baby snuggles- lots of them.

Love this boy! 

10. Hand written notes: 
My sweet roommate Abby has written me encouraging notes all year long, and this one made me laugh....

 Chicken sausage, fab beat drops, and beauty trends. That just about sums things up- ha! (also #biotin is really great!)

11. On the "fab beat drops" note, here are some songs that I can't stop playing this summer: 

Say Hi by Codeko 

I Like Me Better by Lauv

In Too Deep by Loren North

Legend by The Score (is it too early to jump ahead to fall and football?)

Burn the House Down by AJR

Starting Fires by Disco Fries

Sticks and Stones by Cass

Feel Like by Andrey Azizov

Claustrophobia by 3Oh!3

Where the Love Goes by Anjulie

Would You Ever by Skrillex

Love you Like That by Dagny

Can't Get Enough by Cass

If you're wondering what else I'm listening to this summer, it's my Life Lately 2018 playlist. (& Sam Hunt's acoustic album)

12. and on the "beauty trends" note, Castor Oil is my new favorite thing. 

It has so many uses and is a great price. I have a lot of friends who spend hundreds on eyelash growth serums- castor oil is ~$10 and is the same thing. Rub a little on your eyelashes before going to sleep or rub it on your cuticles for soft skin and nails.

And well, as far as the chicken sausage goes- I suggest Trader Joe's and Applegate- ha!

13. Intentional Fringe Time: 
A few days ago at a work retreat, I was talking to my friend Emily about how years ago when I was a gymnast, our coach would tell us to make use of all of our "fringe" time- the little moments throughout the day that were just full of empty space.

In those fringe moments, our coach told us to do toe-raises, squats, push-ups, situps, etc. Those little moments where we'd replace our empty space with intentional small workouts would add up and make us stronger.

I've recently gotten rid of a lot of social media because I've realized I've been filling my empty space with Snapchat, Instagram, and other unintentional time consumers. I've been more intentional in filling my time with quiet time, encouraging podcasts, and creative outlets, and it's changed my heart in a lot of ways.

Happy Memorial Day, friends. Enjoy time with your people, rest, and soak it in! hug big, pray bigger.


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