AT-HOME COFFEE BAR

Like most people over quarantine, I developed a never-ending caffeine addiction. Along with my new found caffeine addiction, I became very fond of both Starbucks coffee and often caught myself parked in the drive-thru without realizing it. Who else has been there?! No shame!

With that being said, getting coffee out two or even three times a week can quickly add up and can drain your bank account in the blink of an eye. As my husband and I went into the month of March, we wanted to see it as a way to be disciplined and to save money with the intent of setting it aside for other expenses and savings.

However, this girl still needs her fuel. With all things else aside, I found that you can save major moolah with making your coffee at home. In this blog, I delve into what are some of why favorite coffee machines, mugs and accessories are.

MACHINES

There are many options in how you brew your coffee at home. Who knew?! With that being said, I personally use a Keurig that my parents recently gifted my husband and I. It is simple to use and you can make just about anything. You can buy pods by the bulk at your local Target, Walmart or supermarket store.

If you are feeling bold, however, try out some of the products I have linked below. The French Press, Pour Over and Cappuccino machines are all great ways to achieve the same end goal.

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ACCESSORIES

We all need some accessories to keep our lives a little more organized. With the Keurig, keeping pods together can also be quite a challenge. There are tabletop and more of a pantry-style option and //. I’ve also found out that you can buy Starbucks syrups and other sweeteners online. How cool?! There are also milk frothers and coffee bean grinders that make great additions to have in your arsenal.

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MUGS

Mugs are an important part of drinking coffee, am I right? hehe I’ve listed some of my favorite coffee mugs below! All are great options and all keep your coffee hot or cold, depending on your preference. Some are for more travel and on-the-go purposes with lids and others are for the leisurely enjoyment at home. Pick a mug, or three, that suits your style and get to sipping some of that homemade coffee.

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What are some of your favorite at-home coffee recipes, both hot and iced? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! Until next time!

Xo,

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10 LOW CALORIE STARBUCKS DRINKS

Who doesn’t love a good coffee (or two) in the morning to help get you energized? I know I do! With that being said, sweeteners and added syrups, etc. can quickly add up. Are you wanting to enjoy the same drinks, but don’t want all of the added calories? I’ve got you covered!

While we’ve canceled a lot of summer trips and plans because of the new coronavirus pandemic, there’s one summer staple we’re already enjoying: Starbucks’ summer menu. Most Starbucks locations are now open after closing for safety reasons, and we were first in the drive-thru line to get our iced drinks (following proper social distancing guidelines, of course).

Although there are plenty of indulgent concoctions available, especially on the secret menu, there are actually quite a few beverages that are lower in calories to help you enjoy a guilt-free treat.

There are several java drinks on this list, but for those who prefer other caffeinated beverages, there are a variety of low-calorie teas available, too. (And no, not just your basic English breakfast. Some of them are infused with delicious flavorings such as blackberry and lemonade). No matter your preference, these tasty beverages will give you a boost without weighing you down.

1. French Vanilla Cold Foam Brew – 60 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Cold Foam Cold Brew
1 pump Hazelnut Syrup
Three pumps Sugar-Free Vanilla
Light Cream
Sugar-free Vanilla Cold Foam

2. Chai Tea Latte – 60 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Organic Chai Tea
Two packets of stevia
Steamed Almond Milk
Top with Extra Cinnamon Powder

3. Caramel Iced Coffee – 60 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Unsweetened Iced Coffee
One pump of Carmel syrup
Three pumps Sugar Free Vanilla 
Light Cream

4. Low Carb Pink Drink- 35 Calories

Ask for:

Venti Passion Tango Iced Tea Unsweetened
Strawberry Infusion
Light Coconut Milk
1 Scoop of Strawberries
2 Stevia or Splenda

5. Blonde Vanilla Cappuccino – 100 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Blonde Cappuccino
Substitute Almond Milk
Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup
One Stevia
Light Carmel Drizzle

6. Doubleshot on Ice – 40 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Blonde Double Shot on Ice
No Classic Syrup
Three to four pumps Sugar-Free Vanilla
Almond Milk

7. Berry Hibiscus Refresher – 40 Calories

Ask for:

Venti Iced White Tea Unsweetened
Splash of Berry Hibiscus Refresher
Splash of Lemonade
Scoop of Berries
One Stevia (other zero cal sweetener)

8. Black and White Mocha – 110 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Americano with two shots
One pump White Mocha Sauce
One pump Skinny Mocha (or half pump normal mocha)
Two pumps Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup
Light Half and Half (cream)

9. Salted Caramel Mocha – 100 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Cafe Misto
Add 1 pump Toffee Nut
Add 1 pump Mocha
Substitute with Almond Milk
Add 1-2 0 cal sweeteners

10. Caramel Brûlée Iced Latte (Cold Brew) – 80 Calories

Ask for:

Grande Cold Brew
One pump Caramel Brûlée Sauce
Three pumps Sugar Free Vanilla
Splash of Cream

If you guys have any favorite healthier Starbucks drink orders of your own, leave a comment! I would love nothing more than to hear what your go-to drinks are.

xo,

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EVERYTHING IS CANCELED

Love is not canceled.

Sunshine is not canceled.

Relationships are not canceled.

Reading is not canceled.

Naps are not canceled.

Hope is not canceled.

Coffee is not canceled and thank the Lord for that.

Kindness is not canceled.

Imagination is not canceled.

Going for a walk is not canceled.

Laughter is not canceled.

Family is not canceled.

Above all else, salvation is not canceled.

A lot of things in 2020 have been canceled and we all can feel the weight of life, especially this year. Remember that joy and hope can’t be taken away, no matter the circumstance. Life is too short to worry about things out of our control. Do your best and give every day all you have. Be kind to yourself and your neighbor.

Let’s not aim to be perfect in 2021, but to be available. Be intentional. Really aim to actively hear what those around you are saying rather than being a passive listener. This world can be a dark place, but be the light.

Life will only get better, I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving week, folks!

BEST FALL INSPIRED COFFEE

Let me preface this blog with saying that I didn’t drink coffee at the beginning of 2020. When I moved to Asheville in January for my husband’s job, a coworker of mine worked her magic and changed my life in the best way, or so I like to think. Now, I am obsessed with coffee. I have lots of ground to make up in terms of knowing all of the “ins and outs” of coffee, but here we are. This time of year is when the hundreds of seasonal drinks grace our stores across the nation. I walked into Starbucks at their holiday “premiere” two weeks ago and it was heavenly, to say the least. Christmas music was blasting, employees were decked out in festive gear from head to toe, garland was strung from the countertop and I got a free Christmas travel coffee cup with my purchase. His mercies are new every morning! 😂

I know better than anybody that coffee adds up quickly. We are in the day and age where it feels like 90% of millennials have mobile apps that you can order food ahead of time. You can reload “funds” in the blink of an eye and not think twice about it. In turn, DoorDash and UberEats exist because of this generation. Alas, I regress.

If you’re trying to save a little money, however, you can start by making your own coffee at home that taste [almost] the same but are much easier on your wallet.

If you are treating yourself to a coffee out, check out my personal favorites!

Dunkin’ Donuts

Like I said earlier, I never touched coffee until about February. My dad has always been a frequent flyer of Dunkin’ since I can remember, because #truenother. With that being said, Dunkin’ is now my go-to “pick-me-up” coffee of choice. Their Pumpkin Iced Macchiato and Gingerbread Iced Lattes are heavenly.

Farewell (AVL, NC)

Farewell is a local coffee shop here in Asheville. When I stumbled on this shop last winter, I instantly fell in love. Their new french toast flavoring doesn’t seem like a “traditional” seasonal flavor, but // to me.

Krispy Kreme

For those of you who have been blessed enough to see a Krispy Kreme “Hot Now” sign at some point in your life, you know how delightful their donuts are. The pumpkin cake donut and the maple glazed donut are both so good. I’ll admit that Krispy Kreme isn’t necessarily my top coffee choice, but they still have some decent iced and hot options available to go with those “melt in your mouth” fat pills. Their caramel mocha latté is //.

Starbucks

For you basic white girls out there, Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL) and Peppermint Mochas are always a highly sought out drink at Starbucks this time of year. Nine times out of ten, I request my Peppermint Mocha or PSLs iced. There is something about an iced coffee that hits differently. However, a hot Creme Brûlée Latte on a rainy day is a nice change of pace.

Starbucks also has a long line of other drinks that are worthy of trying this holiday season.

If you are looking to spice up your coffee scene at home, International Delights has a handful of creamers, like Frosted Sugar Cookie, Caramel Waffle Cookie, and Pumpkin Pie Spice that are like Christmas in a cup. Keurig also has a handful of options that are easy to plug in your coffee maker for a grab-and-go kind of morning.

What is your favorite fall time coffee? I’d love to hear about your cup-o-joe “go-to’s” (store bought or homemade).

III: EDUCATION

Education has always played an important part in my life. From pre-K into my high school years, my parents instilled that knowledge is something that nobody can ever take away from you.

“When you educate one person you can change a life, when you educate many you can change the world.”

Shai Reshef

Partly because of work ethic and her drive to do everything to the highest degree, I always admired my mom’s pursuit of higher education. She has a B.S. in Psychology, two masters degrees, a PhD and was once National Boards certified. She also obtained her PhD while holding a full time job as an administrator of an elementary school, having a family and driving to classes 1.5 hours away. Wow!

I always knew my plan was to go to college after high school. I, too, loved school and that’s what I felt was the right path for me.

I applied to three in state schools because we all know college is expensive enough without adding out-of-state tuition. Anderson, University of South Carolina and Wofford made my top three for all varying reasons.

Anderson was the small Christian school not far from home. USC was the big SEC school in the state capital and has the big school feel. Wofford was the private liberal arts college planted in my hometown. They were all diverse and all had great options.

Believe me when I say that college isn’t for everyone. We need people in trade schools. School is not a be-all-end-all, for my youngest brother included. I wouldn’t have traded my experience for the world, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with not going to college. There is such a need for those trades, like welding, mechanics and even for full-time service men (and women). Often times, those people get twice as much an hour than most other jobs. Pave your own way and don’t allow anyone to dictate what is right for you.

College was a place for me to grow and to figure out what life was all about. A lot happened to that innocent seventeen year old freshman. Mentally, I grew. Emotionally, I grew. I learned how to be independent. I was able to make decisions for myself and figure out what direction I wanted to take in life at the time. By the time that twenty-one year old walked across that stage, she had experienced a lot of life.

If you are a high school junior or senior (or are looking to go back to school), consider UofSC! We’ve claimed the #1 International Business School and Honors School in the nation for the last decade.

The world is a grand place. Learning and education aren’t necessarily restricted to a classroom or in textbooks. Get outside and experience the world for yourself. Some of my fondest “teachable” moments have been sight-seeing in the Mediterranean Sea and in the streets of Paris. Take a road trip. Experience what life has to offer for yourself grab it by the horns.

✌🏼

OUR PAPER ANNIVERSARY

One year ago (plus a few days), I got married to my best friend.

It has been one year as loving you as my husband. I love this life we have created together far and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes us. Here’s to a lifetime of loving you and choosing you always.

I will always cherish every little aspect of our wedding day one year ago. From vowing our love and commitment before God, friends and family to that AMAZING soul train line at our reception, it will always be one of my most cherished days and one I find myself thinking about often.

I can’t imagine doing this thing called life without you. Some days, it feels like it’s been decades, and other times, it feels like our wedding day was just yesterday. Chandler, thank you for living, laughing and growing with me this year. Being your wife has been one the greatest joys of my life.

In our bathroom, we have a sign that I use as a daily reminder in how to love my husband. It comes from the (very popular & very convicting) 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It reminds me that love is patient, even when we can be short-tempered. Love is kind and looks to uplift others when we are weak. It does not envy, it does not boast and is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. What a great reminder that although we will will struggle with certain things, our God and our spouse will be always be on our side.

Marriage has taught me that love is a daily sacrifice. Love is a daily decision, not just a feeling. it is sacrificial, unrelenting and transformational.

Life isn’t always easy and the waves can come crashing from time to time, but together, we will always find a way to find the calm, stillness & sunshine. 

Love inspires you to be patient and permission to be human. It teaches you to meet in the middle. Love focuses on the positive and chooses to believe in the best. It forgives, appreciates and celebrates. 

Chan is the perfect balance of spontaneity to my constant preparation and having things always in order. He has taught me that the most fun moments in life are not always (and most likely not) planned. 

His warmth, kindness and composure impress me the most. He makes me feel heard, even when I am babbling on about things he’s heard me talk about 1,000x before or being completely irrational. His

One year ago, I promised to love this man under all circumstances: happy or sad, easy or difficult. I still mean every word. you’re my favorite, forever and always.

Over the last year, we have…
☆ attented two friends’ weddings
☆ visited Miami, Key West, the Bahamas, HHI and Louisville
☆ been to countless concerts
☆ moved to Asheville, NC
☆ bought a new car
☆ lived through a pandemic
☆ adopted our kitten, Belmont


August 3, 2019 will be one of my favorite days in the history of forever!
Happy paper anniversary, my love. ♡

XO,

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