Cupcakes and Sunshine: 2018

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.






Saturday, May 26, 2018

Rustic Red, White, and Blue Berry Galette


I had written out a "life lately" post and was going to make this Rustic Red, White, and Blue Berry Galette a small part of it, but then realized this recipe needed an entire post of its own. Also, I've been feeling a little anxious lately, and usually some quiet time with the Lord and some baking do a lot of help.


Nothing says summer like sweet berries! Some of my very favorite memories are of picking wild blackberries in Florida, fresh strawberries in Georgia, and ripe blueberries in South Carolina.

(1998)


So I thought I'd mix them all together, and kick off summer with a rustic galette right here in Dallas, Texas for Memorial Day weekend.

Rustic: constructed or made in a plain and simple fashion, in particular.

Rustic: how I've been trying to live life lately- slow mornings, lots of coffee, real phone calls instead of texts, an actual alarm clock instead of a phone, lots of books, deleted snapchat, watch-free weekends, long walks, limited social media. Life is a lot better rustic.

Simplicity.

Also, nothing has me reminiscing on the past more than summer holidays. A little reminiscing helps ease some anxiousness too.



Firstly, you will want to make your dough ahead of time. It will need to be refrigerated 2+ hours before baking. This will make your dough easier to roll out and will cut down on any shrinking that happens during the baking process. 


Be sure if you are using frozen berries, to pour off excess juice-- soggy galettes aren't as great. 

Mixing your berries with a little bit of cornstarch will allow your galette to better hold its shape once baked. If you have extra berries, sugar, and cornstarch, you can reserve and save for pancakes.  :) 

Some galette recipes do not call for it, but corn meal is very important and makes for an even more rustic pastry. 


And old fashioned vanilla bean ice-cream is a must! Must have vanilla specks. 

Thankful for those who have served and are serving our country. Happy Memorial weekend, friends! 

Rustic Red, White, and Blue Berry Galette
Dough Ingredients: 
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of corn meal 
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup ice cold water
7 Tbs. butter

Berry Filling: 
2 cups berries (I used both fresh and frozen) 
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. sugar

1. Mix first 4 dry ingredients. Add cold, cubed butter and mix with a fork until dough is crumbly. 
2. Add yogurt and water slowly. Press together until dough forms. 
3. Roll into a ball and refrigerate 2+ hours. 
4. While dough is chilling, mix berries, cornstarch, and sugar. Allow to sit at least 15 minutes to allow cornstarch to rest with the berries. 
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
6. Roll out chilled dough onto a large baking pan. Fill with berries and wrap edges around the berry filling. (this doesn't have to be perfect- the more rustic, the better!) 
7. You can brush edges of dough with egg wash if you desire, and place in oven for 35-40 minutes until dough is golden brown. 

Top with old fashioned vanilla bean ice-cream, and enjoy. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Much to Celebrate


I've been asking the Lord to open my eyes to see the goodness in each day. I so easily can forget that God withholds no good thing from those who believe in him, and knowing and trusting in this promise brings so much hope for the present and future. Some days are full of learning- some patience, humbling, and challenges. Sometimes even the hard way.

But God is so good and withholds no good thing.


This weekend was a celebratory one!


One of our best girls, Meg, is heading to Nigeria for the next few months to serve and love on some people in need. Meg is one of those friends who exudes compassion and love and wow, what a joy it is to know her. She is humble, kind, loving, and we're sure going to miss her!   

We also celebrated the end of a busy work week and made a trip to the theater... 


and a celebratory dinner because our girl Sarah is GRADUATING!


This week also may have consisted of lots of sun, windows-down old school country music up, and dancing.  Praising the Lord for his goodness and so much to celebrate this week. Happy Sunday, friends!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Life Lately- Things Making me Smile this Week!


I've been in somewhat of a funk lately, where I've been feeling a bit stuck and there have maybe been a couple of sour lemons here and there.

But the best part of sour lemons, is they make seeking and finding the little joys in the everyday actually a little bit easier! Really, seeking and finding joy is easy when you're looking in the right places. Or actually, just looking at all.

Here are some spoonfuls of sugar lately that have added some sweetness to the lemonade and put a smile on my face!

1. Everybody Always: This is one of my very favorite books. I read Love Does years ago, and I've had this book on pre-order for months! Bob Goff, what a guy I tell ya! Give this one a read. It will make your heart happy!



(also, the colorful fingerprints on the front cover are all fingerprints of witch doctors who have given their lives to Jesus!!)

2. These lemon jammies. I'm thanking Jesus that Target is somewhat inconvenient (in comparison to its close proximities during my Athens days), but this past week, I logged into my Target account for the first time in months and discovered I had a giftcard (?!). Definitely purchased these lemon jammies.





3. Maybe there's a citrus theme going on here, but my sweet grandmother sent me a box of oranges- some  "Florida sunshine"- she said. Happy, happy heart!



4. This mini fry pan has been a life changer!



I make breakfast a priority, and every morning I usually have a fried egg, chicken sausage, and fruit. I got a little bit tired of washing a whole pan for one small egg, and THIS pan has been the ultimate morning-time game changer. It's so dang cute too!

5. She Reads Truth Nehemiah Bible Study.


The She Reads Truth study books are not only beautiful, but they help you dig in to the Bible with an in-depth breakdown of chapters, commentaries, maps, application questions and scripture memory cards. Grab a buddy, grab some coffee, and grab one of these study books. Love these.

6. Coffee dates with this roomie! Whether we're in (lemon) pajamas, or hanging at Starbucks, these coffee dates will forever make me smile.



7. Long catch-up calls with friends from home are my favorite, and I've had a lot of them lately. Thankful, thankful.

8. THIS:


Fight the fight for joy. Love this so much!

My friend Sarah let me borrow a book by a DTS writer who has memorized books and books of the Bible and how she does it in every single minute of her spare time. I've been so encouraged and inspired to do the same. If I would just step off social media in the downtime, and begin memorizing scripture instead- I can't even imagine what an incredible impact that would make on my life. 

9. The DROP App. I really don't know how the app makes money for itself, but every time I shop at Trader Joe's, Target, Whole Foods, Starbucks, or Chipotle (which is where I do most all shopping!), it drops points in my account to earn giftcards to Amazon- without even thinking about it. 



Which is how I purchased the above egg pan, lots of new journaling pens (I go through G2's and Pentel Energels FAST. These make me smile too), and a few more things. Favorite app of the moment. 




10. Territory Foods


I love Territory Foods. I don't know how I could have gotten throughout this past year without them. Picking them up each week feels like Christmas. HURRY because they are giving away $50 of free meals <----if you use this code. (Yes, that's 6 meals for less than $10- no gimmicks, no subscriptions).

You can see my post about them: HERE.

11. Cotton Candy sunrises!



What are some things that have made you smile this week? Happy Sunday, friends! 




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