September 2, 2014

Some Motherly Encouragement

I've got some big blog news that I'm announcing tomorrow. It's an extra-special treat for the mamas out there and as a little teaser I wanted to share some encouraging bible passages for moms. 



I have a beautiful little 18-month old little boy and like all moms, there are days when I just need a little inspiration. Some encouragement and motivation. Days when I'm not reflecting to the world the grace that has been bestowed upon me as a child of God. I decided to make a collection of verses to reference for those very moments when I need the extra help, a little more strength or patience or just want to feel nearer to the Lord. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of those special verses with you. 



"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward." 
Psalm 127:3

In the mist of chaos and dirty dishes, crying babies and work phone calls, life takes root and with it a forgetfulness that as mothers we have been blessed with the "fruit of the womb" straight from our Loving Father. It's by his blessing alone that we were able to bring these beautiful children to life and he reminds us that they are our heritage and our reward. 

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her."
Proverbs 31:28

The hard work you do as a mother is not in vain. It is with purpose and blessing that we had children and even though it's probably not expressed as often as we need to hear it, our children and husbands love us and appreciate our efforts but more importantly, the Lord looks upon it with favor. We are abundantly blessed because we are caring for his children. 

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." 
Proverbs 31:30

I'm guilty of getting caught up in the demands of this physical world. Comparing myself to other mothers and caretakers. Belittling myself. Convincing myself that I'm not good enough. But Our Lord died so that I could be set free from the chains of sin. He made me clean and therefore, I am, and always will be, good enough for his abundant grace. I just need to love him with all my heart and know that for him I am always enough.


"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." 
Romans 12:12

This one really resonates with me. It's so easy to lose sight of these virtues when you've been up all night trying to nurse a little one that isn't feeling well. When you've walked in from a long day at work and realized you don't have any milk in the refrigerator and your littles don't have any clean PJs. But it's most important to find time to settle your thoughts and be faithful in your prayer life, joyful in hope and ever-patient in affliction. 

"Yes, be bold and strong. Banish fear and doubt for remember the Lord, your God is with you wherever you may go." 
Joshua 1:9

I included this scripture because it's my personal favorite, for motherhood and beyond. I'm oftentimes scared about parenting. Worried that I'm not "qualified" enough, that I don't have enough experience. The Lord tells me to let go of those fears and anchor myself in him. He who will never leave my side. 

My prayer is for each and every one of you reading this, remember that you are a gift from God and as a mother, you have an awesome responsibility to raise your children as God-fearing individuals. Find strength in the Word of the Lord.

 Be Blessed,
Brittany
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August 29, 2014

Yoga

I've been really trying to step up my fitness game after I spilled the beans about my negative body image. I'm happy to report that while the pounds aren't flying off, I have been much more committed to my personal fitness, averaging 3 workouts per week. 

I've also shared that I had multiple surgeries to my knee and they've made it difficult for me to do high-impact workouts. After 20+ years of playing competitive soccer, I was desperate for a fitness option that I enjoyed and provided me the outlet for stress relief that I'd became accustomed. I turned to yoga and I've had a love affair with it ever since. 

I love yin and vinyasa and flow and hot and every type in between. When my husband and I moved into our home, I quickly discovered that there were no nearby yoga studios. I was (and still am) very disappointed by this realization. However, my luck is a-changin', a couple weeks ago I discovered that one of my favorite studios opened a new location near my office! 

Now all I need to do is gear up. I can't be the only one that uses fitness as an excuse to shop - who's with me?

I discovered yogaoutlet.com and I just had to share my adorable (and super comfy) yoga gear. 

  

Pure Karma Cool Down Top via YogaOutlet.com // Pure Karma Hemahema Capri via YogaOutlet.com c/o

So it gets even better you can get a one-time 15% discount at YogaOutlet.com by using the promo code "bridgepose" at check-out on their first purchase! 

For more great yoga gear make sure you check out 



 Be Blessed and have a great weekend,
Brittany
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August 27, 2014

Cupcake Corer

I have a little secret for you and I'm about to spill the beans. There is a lovely new blogger named Bex that you just have to check out. She blogs over at the Butcher's niche and she's talking about all life's most fabulous features food, fashion and everything in between. 

Today Bex is sharing one of her favorite baking secrets with you and since she's being so kind, I highly recommend you repay the favor and hop on over to her blog and say "hi!"

Hey new friends! I'm Bex and I blog over at Butcher's niche. I'm so excited to be here with Brittany today to share my new favorite cooking tool - a cupcake corer! just so you know no one asked me to write this post, it is most definitely not sponsored I just really love this cupcake corer and want to share my new trick with EVERYONE
I love it when I'm able to cook something that is SO delicious but is secretly SO easy - and filled cupcakes are one of the most delicious and easiest thanks to my gadget! I also love how this recipe can be tweaked to make it with your favorite flavors or whatever you have at home! 

Let's get to the details . . .
photo 1 (26)
Start with your favorite white or yellow cupcake recipe, Martha's is my personal favorite for homemade cupcakes because if you'd like a little extra flavor like white chocolate or key lime . . . just add a package of pudding. If you like to go the box route (which I do when I'm pressed for time or find them on sale) you can add the pudding there also.

For this recipe I added some white chocolate so my exact ingredients are:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 small package white chocolate jello pudding
Preheat your oven to 350 . . . then mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, pudding together . . . in a separate bowl mix the butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk together . . . then put the liquids on top of the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

Spray a cupcake pan down with pam, olive oil, butter . . . which ever you prefer . . . and fill each spot 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.

Let them cool for at least 10 minutes . . . I like to let them cool a little longer just to be sure they are not warm to the touch.

Now for the fun part . . . using the corer . . . just sit on top, in the middle, push the circle down, and gently pull it out . . .
photo 3 (22)
Fill each hole with whatever you want . . . I chose some raspberry jam this time, but I'm really exciting to make some with nutella or chocolate batter with whipped peanut butter!

photo (26)

Finally, ice them and decorate all pretty like with some vanilla icing . . . and yes I try to use Martha's recipe . . . icing and I have a love/hate relationship. It usually ends up too runny for me so sometimes (about 75% of the time) I get store bought . . . I will master icing one day.

photo 2 (24)

That's it! I served the cupcakes I made to show you at work for my boss's birthday and he said they were the best cupcakes he ever had . . . thanks Martha and thanks cupcake corer ;)

What's your favorite cupcake recipe?

See I told you she was amazing! I mean, just look at those cupcakes. They might appear on my game-day menu for college football kickoff next week! 


 Be Blessed,
Brittany
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August 26, 2014

The Value of Positivity

I can't claim these words, because they're not my own. In fact, they came from an Atlanta radio personality, Jeff Dauler. He posted this on his Facebook Page but I think the sentiment is so true that I really wanted to share it, in it's entirety. Last year I wrote about Operation Tucci, a pay-it-forward campaign started after the senseless killing of a very generous young man. I believe that the human spirit is equipped and eager to project kindness but oftentimes jaded by some of the world's harsh truths. These post explains the true value of positivity. 


_______________________________________________________________________________

I would like to address two groups of people:

1. People who think that the ice bucket challenge is stupid / wastes water / serves only the ego of the dumper / doesn't directly contribute to finding a cure / whatever.

2. People who don't 'get' the Starbucks campaigns where drive-thru customers pay it forward to others, sometimes for hours and hours.

If you fall into one of those categories, please keep reading. Otherwise, you are welcome to scroll on.

I'm not going to bore you with facts about how much awareness / money was raised for ALS in 2014 vs 2013 to attempt to explain why that campaign worked. I am also not going to quote economists to explain why your Starbucks kindness didn't really amount to anything, as Fast Company magazine did the other day.

Instead, I'd ask you to consider that there are other currencies ... more important currencies ... than money.

I truly have no issue with people who dumped ice but didn't donate. I don't care if their check was $1000, $100, $1, or there was no check. Because for one bucket and that one video, that person felt like they were doing good. They were helping. If they didn't write a check or even know what ALS was, they still spread some good. They felt, for a few seconds, like they were contributing. Maybe they can't afford to open their wallet. Maybe they support other causes. Maybe they don't care to learn about ALS. But maybe the person they tagged then tagged someone else who tagged someone else who tagged a woman who wrote a $5000 check. Or who just learned her husband has ALS. Or who simply laughed at the noise you made when the water ran down your back.

Or maybe none of those things happened. Maybe they just dumped a bucket of water on their head and felt good about it.

Over 300 people paid it forward in a Starbucks line last week. Some of those people spent more than they would have if they simply bought their own coffee, some spent less. In the end, financially, the only true, big 'winner' was the last person in line. The one who decided NOT to pay it forward. But before that happened, over 300 people went to their office / school / home / wherever and told their friends that they were a part of something kind. Something big. Something spontaneous and fun and positive. Who knows how many random acts of pay it forward were inspired by that? Maybe someone in that line was coming home from a tough doctors appointment or headed to a vital job interview. And for a minute, in that line, they forgot about the stress and anxiety and instead felt good and positive and happy. How many phone calls or text messages occurred right after someone got, then gave, coffee in that line? Messages of positivity, versus a traffic sucks / Starbucks was busy / I hate my outfit contact.

More positive ions out into the world.

Doesn't laughter and kindness and support have worth as well? It's not all about the checkbook.

Positive energy is so valuable, so easy to find and share, but sometimes hard to see. Don't shut it down when it's right in front of you. And do what you can to put it out there as often as possible. And when you encounter it, if your first instinct is to combat it, think again.

Cause in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. Or something like that.

_______________________________________________________________________________

What are your thoughts? How can you pay-it-forward and make a positive impact on the world today? 

 Be Blessed,
Brittany
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August 25, 2014

Spinach & Cranberry Salad

I hope you all had a beautiful weekend. One more work week until the long weekend. Score!

It's been awhile since I've shared a recipe with you so I thought a healthy (and delicious) take on a spinach salad might be just the power food to help you get through to the weekend. Which I hope, for your sake, is full of grilled deliciousness and game food, because it's COLLEGE FOOTBALL KICKOFF WEEKEND! Duh! Which is basically heaven on earth, but I digress. 

Now onto the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of spinach or baby spinach, whichever you prefer 
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 radish 
  • 3 Tablespoons of dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons of slice almonds
  • Dressing of your choice 

Preparation Instructions:
Place the spinach is a medium-sized bowl. Wash and shred the carrot and radish. This can be done with a simple cheese grater. 


Combine the spinach with the shredded vegetables and mix. Top with the cranberries and sliced almonds. 

If you're making this ahead of time in mason jars, layer the spinach, carrot and radish mixture on the bottom, until it's about 3/4. Sprinkle the cranberries and almonds on top. This is a great idea if you want to prepare them for lunches or a unique way to serve salad to your dinner guests. 

Add your favorite dressing, if desired, only wheb you're ready to serve.

Enjoy!



 Be Blessed,
Brittany
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August 22, 2014

The Truth about Keratin

By now, you've probably heard about the hair-straightening treatment known as KERATIN. The expensive, chemical treatment alters your hair follicles and the outside layer of each hair strand to reduce frizz.

I recently had a keratin treatment and I'm here to debunk some common misconceptions:


Your hair will not be super straight. Boom. I said it, and this was a shocker to me. I thought keratin was the key to glorious hair days. The end of buns and up-dos, but I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. My hair is less frizzy but not perfectly straight. In fact when I do wear my hair down I still run a straighter over it. However, a great benefit to the treatment is that when I do leave my hair up the creases that hair ties leave are far less noticeable.

You'll need to use special shampoo. Before you take the plunge, stock up on sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, to help extend the life of your treatment. Even if you aren't considering a keratin treatment, maybe you should consider switching to a sulfate-free shampoo. An article by the Huffington Post explains why it's in your best interest.

You can't get your hair wet for 48-72 hours after the treatment. That's right smelly. No showers for you. Make sure you get in a good workout prior to a keratin treatment because water will damage the effects of the chemical treatment. Just be aware of this little caveat and make plans accordingly.

Straight hair for days. By that I mean, post-treatment you have to leave your hair down and straight for 3 days! No buns, no ponytails, no braids. You'll be rocking straight, unwashed locks for days.

It might burn. You're dealing with some pretty aggressive chemicals so don't be surprised if you're eyes water and your scalp burns a bit when the treatment is being applied. It's normal.

Dandruff. I haven't personally experienced this one but a common complaint with keratin is that it can dry out your scalp and give you killer dandruff. Split ends are also an issue for some people

Hello shiny hair. My hair is super shiny and I LOVE IT. I used to use Moroccan Oil Gold Glimmer Shine Spray and now it's just collecting dust in the back of my cabinet because my hair has a perpetual shine.

I just want to run my fingers though it. ALL. THE. TIME. One of the best features is how soft my hair feels. When it's down and straight, it feels glorious.

BEFORE

AFTER

Have you ever had a keratin treatment, or considered getting one?

 Be Blessed,
Brittany
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