November 30, 2014

How-to: Bright Red Lips

Wow, can you believe it's the end of November? Today, Katie and I are heading back to Birmingham after a few days off at home. We hope you all had just as restful and delicious Thanksgiving as we did! Our stomachs and hearts sure are full as we make the trip to Alabama.

I'm excited to share one of my favorite beauty looks during the holiday season - bright red lips! Red lipstick is a go-to if you want to look elegant and classic. Trick is, you need to do it right.

Here are some tips (click here to see the original article!) we found on Real Simple that I can't help but post here too. Real Simple, yes, and yes.

Albeit lipstick in Bordeux; via

Consider the lighting. "If you're going to be outdoors, pick a softer or sheerer shade," says Rachel Lockhart, owner of Rachel's Makeup Studio, in Boston. "For evening, go bolder, so your features stand out."

Avoid deep reds if you have thin lips. They tend to make lips look smaller.

Experiment with intense shades if you have strong coloring. "Natural contrast gives you more options," says Jill Morton, head of ColorCom, a consulation agency in Honolulu, says of those with exaggerated natural coloring (for example, paper-white skin, black hair and blue eyes.

Don't play up your eyes. "Pair red lipstick with the lightest possible eye makeup," says lipstick designer Poppy King. A little mascara and beige shadow will do.

Don't toss a red lipstick in a shade that doesn't work. "Top it with a gold gloss to warm and soften it, or add a pink gloss to take it to the bluer side," says makeup artist Maria Verel.

Coordinate your look. Dot a little smudge of the lipstick on the apples of your cheeks, then blend it with your fingers.

Be precise. That means whether you're using a brush or applying lipstick straight from the tube. "Red lipstick should never be applied in the back of a taxi," says Verel.

Don't use red lip liner. If it doesn't match your lipstick perfectly (and odds are it won't), you'll end up with a two-tone effect. If you like using liner, find a shade that's close to your natural lip color and use it to outline your lips.

Prevent "bleeding." Apply a little concealer around the border of your mouth.

Avoid getting lipstick on your teeth. After applying, put your finger in your mouth, purse your lips around it, then slowly pull it out to remove excess color.

Our favorite shades of red? 
Clinique's High Impact Lip Colour in Red-Y to Wear, Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red + Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Legendary

November 29, 2014

Weekend Links We Love, Christmas Edition

Today we have another round-up of some of our favorite links on the web this week! But today's version is a little different because it's all about gearing up for one of the best (if not the best!) months of the year. Sit back and enjoy this holiday weekend with nothing better to do then browse the Internet, snuggle up by the fireplace, watch football games and eat lots and lots of leftover turkey and pumpkin pie. (At least that's what we'll be doing!)

via Sequins & Stripes

1. Holiday Cocktail Recipe 

This cozy, cinnamon cherry recipe is one that we're swooning over. How delicious would that be to serve up at one of your upcoming holiday parties?

2. Mary Did You Know?

If you haven't already seen this music video from Pentatonix, sit a spell with us and watch it now. We squealed with Christmas excitement after watching this, trust us. Check out their version of Carol of the Bells too!

3. How To Decorate The Perfect Tree

Jillian Harris shares her tips and tricks for how she decorates her tree. Her colorful approach sure is gorgeous!

4. Weekend Holiday Getaways

From Atlanta to Seattle, Travel + Leisure's guides will help you plan the perfect weekend trip if you're looking to spend a couple days traveling next month!

5. A Sign & Stamp Social 

We love this slideshow of a Christmas card addressing party. (Also included: a Moscow Mule recipe!)

6. Chalkboard Packaging

Black craft paper + white paint market = perfection in the form of creative gift wrapping.

7. Festive Fairy Lights

Light up your hallway or windows with a soft glow - here are a few ways to create a warm welcome with a strand of lights or two.

November 27, 2014

Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! 

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday spending time with family and filling your bellies with turkey and pie galore. Every year that passes by we feel that we have even more to be thankful for. Before we head to the kitchen to help cook the big meal, we wanted to stop and reflect on a few things that are filling our hearts with gratitude today.


Close, meaningful friendships despite distance. Graduating and moving away was by no means easy, but having friends who encouraged me along the way has been such a blessing. Watching my friends pursue their goals is also something I'm thankful for - their persistence and hard work keeps me going every day.

Working toward a healthy lifestyle. The little lifestyle changes I've made this year to make time for myself, eat healthier and exercise diligently throughout the week has made such a difference. I'm thankful for my brother, who continues to teach me how to live healthier, cook with natural ingredients and really think about what I'm putting into my body.

A workplace that inspires me daily. I'm thankful for the people who surround me at work, and their diligence to publish what's at the heart of our mission. Work has become a home away from home for me in many ways, and I love the friendly and welcoming nature of the brand I work for.

My dad. His strength and determination the past year has been an incredible example for me to follow. I admire his passion for pursuing his dreams and working toward his business and personal goals at this point in his life. His drive continues to blow me away.


My grandmother, "Mema." She is home recovering from open heart surgery last week. While these unfortunate circumstances brought us all back to NC this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for her team of talented and hard-working doctors and nurses. I am also blessed to be able to have our family home together to enjoy the holidays and surround her with love during her recovery.

A job I love. I got lucky, really lucky, to find such an incredible and fun group of people to work with in such an exciting field. It is difficult to find a job you truly love and work for people that you truly enjoy spending everyday with. I am so thankful to have found Knight Eady Sports Group so early in my professional career and to love going in to work every day.

The opportunity to attend and graduate from the University of North Carolina. Maybe I'm a little too proud of my university, and I can think of others who would use this time to throw in a quick jab about our recent scandal, but I am truly blessed to have received an education from the first public institution. UNC-Chapel Hill taught me more than just what was included in my course curriculum. I discovered my passions, found life-long friends and met many inspiring, hard-working people who are and will continue to change the world for the better. It's a privilege to be a Tar Heel.

Good health. I don't think I thank God enough for keeping me healthy and safe. There are still so many in our world who don't have access to proper healthcare, who live in war-zones, or don't have somewhere to sleep at night. I am SO blessed to live the life I live.

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Entertaining Style

Tomorrow marks the day we will finally be sitting down with our families to celebrate Thanksgiving! Both of us are traveling back to North Carolina, and we couldn't be happier to have a time of rest with those we love. Katie and I have been thinking about how we would imagine setting our own Thanksgiving table, and we came up with two options. We pulled items from all over some of our favorite home stores, and there are even a couple things from Target that we adore. All the gold would absolutely liven up your holiday place setting, however the blue and brown tones of the more rustic style is right up our alley.

We would love to hear - which style do you like better? Comment and let us know!

Gold + Glam

thanksgiving 1

Charming + Rustic 

Untitled #8

To find out where you can buy the items, click on the small photos!

For Thanksgiving table manners, read this modern guide to Turkey Day etiquette. It's a pretty cohesive list of everything you may need to know tomorrow, so get reading!

November 25, 2014

Travel Tuesday - Blue Heaven

We had an incredible weekend back in Chapel Hill for homecoming. Even though we've already shared a Travel Tuesday on our favorite places in this little town on the hill, we wanted to use today to travel back in time to our weekend with friends. We had a blast reuniting with old college buds and cheering on the Tar Heels in both football and basketball. It was even a Carolina Victory for both that weekend.

Over the course of today and tomorrow, we will both be making our way back to NC to spend time with our families for the Thanksgiving holiday. However, we made sure we would be in Chapel Hill again on Saturday to cheer on our Heels against N.C. State in Kenan Stadium!

Without further ado, travel with us this Tuesday to our homecoming on the Hill.

November 24, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Monday Blues? Have A Cookie!

As UNC grads, Julie and I only had a few short months to experience the coveted Insomnia Cookies last year when they made their debut on Franklin Street. They were the perfect late-night delivery for those nights we stayed up studying and needed a little something sweet to give us the boost we needed.

Lucky for us, Insomnia Cookies thought Birmingham would be a nice place to call home too! They just opened their first Alabama store right in Five Points, and we could not be happier. We stopped in last week for a sampler and the delicious aromas were just as wonderful as we remembered. It was a little taste of home when we took that first gooey, warm bite (but we must admit - it was nice to enjoy them while watching college football and not over our textbooks).

We are so excited to have Insomnia Cookies here in Birmingham, that we are giving on lucky A Cup of Carolina fan a $15 gift card to enjoy some cookies of their own (at any location)! Check out our Instagram (@ACupofCarolina) to enter!

In the meantime, here is a look at the favorites of A Cup of Carolina:

Katie's Favorites:
  1. Double Chocolate Chunk: chocolate + chocolate = delicious!
  2. Sugar: classic and sweet, always a great treat
  3. White Chocolate Macadamia: sweet white chocolate chips and the tasty crunch of macadamia nuts
  4. S'mores: An extra large treat - one of their jumbo cookies that tastes just like it came from the campfire!
Julie's Favorites:
  1. Peanut Butter: creamy and delicious
  2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: Reese's lovers, rejoice! Another jumbo-sized cookie full of Reese's chunks
  3. Sugar: We love the classics
  4. More Peanut Butter + Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: The PB love is strong

The Complete Menu:

November 23, 2014

Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Bread

There's nothing better than the smell of warm bread baking in the oven. Banana bread will always remind me of home, and I couldn't resist this recipe for whole wheat blueberry banana bread. Combining whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, blueberries, a banana and honey, this is a recipe that will be on repeat during these chilly months. It's a healthy pick-me-up for those long afternoons or early mornings, and a great homemade treat that you can bake to bring to work or give as a gift. I love enjoying mine with coffee (yes, even at 6 am it makes me happy), or as part of my lunch during the workday. The two best things? Most of these ingredients we already had in our kitchen, and it's 100% non-guilty!

Bon appetit, y'all!


Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Bread

1 ¼ c whole wheat flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil or butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ c + 2 tbsp mashed banana (about 1 extra long 9” banana)
2 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1/3 c frozen (or fresh) wild blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 and coat an 8x4" loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Set aside 1 tablespoon of flour in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil (or butter), egg and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana, yogurt and honey. Add in the flour mixture, and stir until incorporated. Toss the frozen blueberries with the reserved tablespoon of flour, and gently fold into the batter.

3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Make sure your banana is extra ripe - if not, add in a touch more honey!

November 22, 2014

College Football Playoff - What to Know

Enter: The College Football Playoff era.

It is the first season with the College Football Playoffs, where four teams will compete in two semifinal games to head to the national championship game. This new era brings about a lot of changes as to to how it is decided who will play in the National Championship game in January. Lets take a look at what the next few weeks look like as we approach the playoffs and which teams the analysts say will most likely claim the top 4 coveted spots.
Who Picks? A 13-person selection committee ranks their top 25 teams and will ultimately seed the four-team playoffs in a few weeks. The committee serves staggered three-year terms. Backgrounds of the members include past coaches, student-athletes, media and current athletic directors.

Where: This year the semifinals are hosted by the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Date to know: December 7, 2014 at 12:45 p.m. (EST) on ESPN – SELECTION SUNDAY. This is the day we find out for sure who is in and who is out and the matchups for the semifinals.

National Championship:
Monday, January 12, 2015 in Dallas, Texas

The current Top-10:

  1. 1. Alabama (9-1)
  2. 2. Oregon (9-1)
  3. 3. Florida State (10-0)
  4. 4. Mississippi State (9-1)
  5. 5. TCU (9-1)
  6. 6. Ohio State (9-1)
  7. 7. Baylor (8-1)
  8. 8. Mississippi (8-2)
  9. 9. UCLA (8-2)
  10. 10. Georgia (8-2)

Teams that could shake things up:
These teams don’t have a shot at the playoffs, but an upset by them could really mess things up for some potential top teams.

1. Florida Gators: The 2014 season has been in the sewer down in The Swamp. However, the Gators still play Florida State. We don’t need to make any assumptions given that Florida upset Georgia earlier this month and ruined any playoff hopes. With nothing to lose, the Gators could bring an upset. Especially since FSU likes to live life on the edge with some bad first half play.

2. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: There are a lot of ifs with this one. First lets look at regular season. With UNC beating Duke on Thursday, Georgia Tech is set to meet FSU in Charlotte at the ACC championship. Just like Florida, the Yellow Jackets have a great opportunity to shake things for to FSU and their playoff possibility. Second, Georgia Tech faces the Georgia Dawgs in Athens, and this game could mean a lot for the SEC West. If Missouri takes a loss at Tennessee today, Georgia goes to the SEC championship in Atlanta. But if Tech handles the Dawgs next weekend, the SEC West champion faces a tough shot at making the playoff if it loses to UGA in Atlanta. Again, lots of ifs.

3. Texas Longhorns:
The Longhorns handed things to West Virginia a couple of weeks ago and ran over Oklahoma State last weekend. With a week off, the face TCU over Thanksgiving weekend, which could easily shake things up a bit. A loss by TCU and a loss by Baylor could end playoff dreams.

November 21, 2014

Bundle Up With Cozy Favorites

This past week has been a cold one! We've been bundled up traveling to and from work in coats, tights, sweaters and scarves - who knew Birmingham would be this chilly in November? For inspiration to stay warm while still looking chic, we've rounded up some of our favorite photos this season. From oversized sweaters, to chunky knits, to blanket scarves, to earthy-colored ponchos, we can't get enough of the effortless way to look both comfortable and fashion forward.

Plans to go home over Thanksgiving break? Make sure to squeeze some of these cozy staples into your suitcase! This weekend, we're hoping to catch up on sleep and snuggle up in some of our coziest clothing. It's been a busy last few weeks, so we're ready for some good old-fashioned R+R.


Photos via:,,,,

November 20, 2014

10 Tips: Holiday Gift Card Etiquette

As Thanksgiving is next week (can you believe it?!), we've been thinking ahead to holiday cards and the snail mail rush that is this season. We've combined some of the things that are important to us when thinking about sending Christmas cards. We hope these 10 tips will come in handy as your prepare for the post office!

1. Mail your cards out as early as possible, but wait until after Thanksgiving Day.

Although you might already have your Christmas tree up, you shouldn't have already mailed out your Christmas cards. Thanksgiving deserves its own special time to celebrate. It's best to receive cards mid-December, but also be sure yours are shipped in time so they don't arrive after Christmas day!

2. Think about the recipient. 

Personalize your card when possible - add a little note on the back with their name. No need to include a long newsletter this day in age, but little details go a long way!

3. Don't include business cards. 

Sending Christmas cards shouldn't have a business purpose - they should be sent to show care and good wishes for your friends and family. It's not the time or place to push your career goals - you'll make a better impression if you send one just for thoughtfulness! However, if you are sending cards to colleagues (which we do encourage!), make sure you keep them professional.

4. Add a photo. 

Although we do love some cards that you can go out and buy in a store, it's always nice to include a photo. I know we love seeing faces more than a generic stock photo that anyone can buy! Our top picks for photo cards: Minted + tinyprints+ Shutterfly + Paperless Post + Etsy!

5. Use coupon codes.

If you order your cards online, make sure to search coupon codes or wait for weekend promotions. Cyber Monday may be worth the wait to score a high percentage off your order. Also, check Groupon and Living Social early - often they have deals on photo cards that will save you a good deal!

6. Find a design that fits your personality.

Holiday cards don't have to be chore, they can be fun. Some of our favorite cards this year are the ones with pretty calligraphy font and gold foil designs. Here are a few (non-photo!) cards we adore:



7. Test out your design abilities. 

To really impress, try using Photoshop or Indesign to create a custom invitation. You can easily upload your design on a card website like Shutterfly - which can print your design on nice cardstock and mail you matching envelopes.

8. Choose a meaningful quote or saying. 

Include your favorite Christmas saying or verse to get you in the spirit - you'll want to hang it up on your refrigerator right?

9. Don't send e-cards to substitute for real ones.

We are firm believers in the power of receiving a card in the mail, and you just don't get the same feeling from opening a card in your inbox. Real cards really do evoke that winter cheer!

10. Remember: return address!

Be sure to include a return address on your envelope. Especially if you have changed addresses (or states, like us!), it is important to have a return address. If your friends or family haven't sent cards already or want to send mail to you in the future, this will make it easier for them to record the right address for you.

November 17, 2014

Monday Musing

I recently came across this photo on Pinterest and it immediately caught my eye. The truth behind the statement was exactly what I needed this month! Any of y'all feel the same way?

As we near the end of this year, I've started to think about what I want 2015 to mean. When I reflect on 2014, four things come to mind: it was a year of commencement, lifestyle change, uncertainty and hope. All of those things wrapped in one big year-long bundle. 

Although the past few months have brought their changes, lately I've felt more of being stuck in a routine - doing the same thing, day-in and day-out. As I get more accustomed to life in Birmingham, living far away from my parents, and my job, it's been easy to get back into a rut. I've learned I have to remind myself daily to take on new challenges and not be afraid of risks. Those risks help make you who you are. 2014 was full of risks for me, and I stand by those decisions I made - whether they felt good or "comfortable" at the time.

It's true, old ways won't open new doors. You have to seek them. You can't reach your goals by doing the status quo. You have to take on new challenges, new responsibilities and pursue those dreams you've always wanted to see come to fruition. 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." - 2 Corinthians 5:17

November 16, 2014

Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer Recipe

If you're wondering what to serve at your next football tailgate, we've got the recipe you need today! Thanks to a friend, here's the concoction for the Crimson Tide's legendary Yellowhammer. It's fruity, smooth and pretty much amazing. Sweet, yet tangy, this cocktail is sure to please a big crowd with its pineapple punch-like flavor.

To get the real Yellowhammer experience, you'll have to visit Gallettes down in Tuscaloosa, but this recipe (served cold and in a tall glass) will come at a close second. Note that this recipe may not be the real deal, but it's our best guess since Gallettes closely keeps their recipe a secret.

1 part dark rum
1 part vodka
1/2 part amaretto
2 parts pineapple juice
2 parts orange juice
Splash of grenadine

Mix and serve chilled over ice!

For a background story on this famous drink, click here to read an article. 

November 15, 2014

Weekend Links We Love

Image via
Happy Saturday, y'all! Julie and I are spending the day cheering on our Tar Heels (and then the Crimson Tide!!) with college friends in Chapel Hill. While we are out and about this weekend, we do have a few weekend links you'll want to check out. Here are a few of our favorites from this past week:

This feature story on the founders of Every Girl by Camille Styles. The story of the founders is inspiring and reminds us of ourselves in some regards. A great read!

Waffles for the win? That is the case for Auburn and Georgia fans. The respective area Waffle Houses agreed to give away free waffles, hash-browns and coffee to fans of whichever team wins today!

Channel your inner Olivia Pope with Mashable's post on the 10 most interesting members of Congress. There are several great anecdotes about some of the Congressmen and women you may not be so familiar with!

This modern taste of Christmas from Daystar Worship. Their version of "Go Tell It On The Mountain" is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. You can also pre-order their holiday album.

These products from 17 beauty editors. We always wondered if they actually used the products they wrote about, well here ya go!

Have a stress free Thanksgiving. Cooking for a big crowd? Not sure how to get a hold on all that you have to do? This timeline from Williams-Sonoma is everything you need and more!

Having a more relaxed weekend, or looking for something to do? Check out these 12 weekend habits of highly successful people. Maybe some of their good fortune will come your way!