Spreading positivity one post at a time!

March Food Things

Soooo, I’m not liking this whole post my food stuff. What was I thinking!? Ha!

This was sort of an “eh” week.

I had lunch provided at work three times, which makes it difficult to keep things clean. Plus I was out of town one day for work and they fed us box lunches.  In addition to an unhealthy ham sandwich (meat removed), I also had a giant sugar cookie, pictured below.

I ate fish three times this week (!!) as you’ll see below. Will and I also went to The Cheesecake Factory, where I kept things healthyish with their skinny-licious fresh vegetable salad… Until I got a piece of their low carb cheesecake to go. smile

We ate out again later in the weekend, and this time I got the grilled shrimp at Long John’s.

It wasn’t my best week, but it wasn’t my worst either. You get the good, the bad, and the ugly. smile
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posted in Food Affairs bullet share the love bullet permalink bullet 3.31.2015

The Long One & a Look Ahead

Sams trip

New sneaks

The first step is admitting you have a problem

The new Aerogarden. We're growing peppers yall!

The new Aerogarden. We're growing peppers yall!

The new Aerogarden. We're growing peppers yall!

Weekend things

Swinging with me sweets

Office overhaul

Office overhaul
Holy Week

It was a busy weekend full of good things. Sam’s trips, new workout sneaks, a new AeroGarden so Will can grow his peppers, date night at The Cheesecake Factory, church, time with the family, a major overhaul of the office (we actually have a floor!) and chores.

The good news is that I’m off today! Will and I have to make a little road trip this afternoon and I hope the rest of the day will be relaxing and full of good talks. I’m also off for Good Friday, so it’s an extra short week!

Check in for
-Food Things
-WIOW
-Thursday Things
& more!

I off to enjoy my day with Will!

music sounds better with You.

I’ve loved music forever.

My dad has drummed for over 40 years, so I think perhaps I was born with a music gene.

I sang in the choir as a child and young adult, and I played the cello and the piano for eight years (and wish I’d never quit!).

Music has always been and still is a big part of my life.

Back in the day, when epic songs like Jesus Freak and Flood were few and far between, I’d occasionally dabble in secular music.

Just the other day, I remember telling Will when I was in early junior high I’d watch MTV in my bedroom and have the remote pointed directly at the screen so I could immediately change the channel incase my mom walked in.

Real life.

As I got into high school, I listened to both types of music. I went through a phase when I tossed out all my secular music after a convicting series of sermons about some of the trash (and it was definitely trash) I listened to.

Eventually, I struck a “balance” and listened to both.

Even still, I’d always the put the Christian radio station on anytime I shut off my car to be safe.

You know, incase someone ever rode with me.

Looking back, my intent was twofold-

1. I wanted to create the appearance that everything I listened to was pure and holy.

2. I was actually convicted of what I listened to, hence why I knew I should have had Christian music on in my car. Only, I never stopped to think about the act of why I was changing the channel, aside from number one above!

Balance.

The best of both worlds, if you will.

Or so I thought.

Oh- and before I go any further, it’s important for me to note this post is personal to me and me alone.

I would never ever say just because I feel this way, it’s the “only” way and the right way.

Please, please know my heart on this. Today’s post is not meant to condemn or judge but offer a look into a major struggle I faced and overcame though Jesus. It’s not about me telling you you’re “wrong” if you don’t only listen to Christian music.

Each of us needs to asses our own hearts and determine whether this is a topic we are convicted by.

This is not a post where I’m looking at all of us in general.

This is very personal.

I would simply encourage you to consider what I share and make your own decision regarding how the spirit moves you.

This is a completely safe and judge free zone, trust me.

Okay- hopefully what I wanted to convey clearly came across there!

Moving on-

Balance. That’s what we were talking about.

I thought I had balance. I thought I could handle and control what I listened to and how it affected me.

I was an adult, for crying out loud!

Adult or not, music influences even when we don’t realize it.

I mean, can you imagine your childhood without the ABC song?

Or the Preamble without School House Rocks?

To this day, I have to sing my multiplication tables because that’s how I learned them.

Real life.

Music is impressionable.

I can often catch myself singing words to a song hours after merely hearing in the background. I’ll suddenly stop and realize, “Hey! I didn’t even know I knew the words to that song!”

Same with the junk I listened to in the past.

The truth is, I couldn’t control what I did or didn’t absorb.

It began so insidiously.

Completely innocent, even.

Only, over the years, things began to erode. Slowly and continually.

Practically undetectable.

When we moved to Kuwait, I had no spiritual support group and things got worse.

My music began to evolve and get worse and worse.

Oh girls, my face turns red with shame thinking about the complete and utter trash I listened to.

I get it.

Some of you think I’m crazy.

But let me tell you- trash in, trash out.

Before long, I wouldn’t omit the cuss words in the lyrics I’d sing. Before long, my attitude shifted. Before long, I began to justify other things and sins in my life.

And eventually, my heart grew harder and harder until the one single act of my music choice completely uprooted me from God and caused a spiral of awful decisions.

As strange as it may sound, music was a quiet gateway that made me vulnerable and distanced my heart from God.

If Satan told us his end game was to rip us from fellowship with Christ we’d never be okay with that!
That’s why he’s much more clever and sneaky and weaves his way into our life, often unnoticeably. 

Music is such an easy and innocent gateway.

When I began to draw near to Jesus again, I became bothered by the stuff I was listening to.

For awhile, I’d reserve my secular music for workouts only.

Except, I’m not ok with rape, murder, and drug use. So why is it ok for me to listen to it at the gym when it wasn’t ok anywhere else?

At some point I figured… Why bother getting caught up in the temporary pleasures, heartache, anger, and whatever else people sing about here on earth, when all I desire is to set my mind on things above, know and honor God, and look to eternity?

Verses

That put things in perspective for me.

These days, I pretty much completely listen to Christian music and am extremely selective with anything else.

I’ve found this is my greatest security from temptation.

I feel so much more positive and uplifted listening to positive and uplifting music. Imagine that. Ha!

Again, this is my personal conviction based on my own heart and past.

Reminders of my past are ever near, though, with dozens of purchased songs on my iPhone I’m unable to delete (I’ve tried and tried). I suppose it’s a good exercise in humility and where I’ve been?

Anyway, music is obviously very important to God. He talks about singing songs unto him hundreds of times.

Verses

The Bible commands us to sing unto the Lord more than anything else in the Bible- over 800 times! Not only that, but the biggest book the the Bible is devoted to it! God loves our songs of praise.

We also get a glimpse of Heaven and the songs being sung when we look at Revelation.

Verses

Our songs are important to God, so they’re important to me.

There’s no more room for the garbage I used to listen to. I’ve wasted enough time on meaninglessness and want to make the most of each day in Christ.

I felt compelled to share my heart on this topic today. If you’ve ever been there, you get it.

If you want to take the plunge and give some good quality Christian music a try (I promise it won’t stink!), I’d be happy to help. Shoot me a note or leave a comment and I will flood you with positive and uplifting music.

I realize today’s post may seem a little crazy, maybe even a little “extreme.”

What can I say, I guess you can label me a Jesus Freak.

Good thing that anthem rocks. smile

2015 March Ipsy

Let’s talk the Ipsy March floral fantasy bag.

As usual, another winner.

No duds, plus two full-sized products.

Here’s the springy bag.

Ipsy

Check out this pretty, shimmery Pixi Beauty Mesmerizing Mineral eyeshadow duo.

Ipsy

The color is nice and neutral, and I’m going to enjoy using it.

I also got this mini Coolway Glow Oil hair treatment.

Ipsy

It has s nice orange creamsicle smell, and definitely smooths.

It was s tiny sample, so I only got about four uses out of it, but I definitely noticed a difference.

Check out this NYX butter lipstick in Pops.

Ipsy

Ipsy
I really didn’t want to open this up and start using it.

But lip products are my kryptonite.

This is a beautiful neutral color with lots of moisture.

Guysssss, I’m absolutely in love with this pur-LISSE cleanser and makeup remover.

Ipsy

I wash my face every night, but sometimes it’s a battle.

Why does such a minor task feel so hard sometimes!?

I’m going absolutely crazy over this stuff because it’s the perfect answer on nights when I’ve waited too long to wash my face and I’m at a crossroads between going straight to bed and taking 30 seconds and washing my face.

This stuff is ridiculous in the best way possible. It gently washes away makeup and mascara with ease and leaves nothing behind.

This stuff is a huge winner.

And it’s almost gone.

Sad face.

Finally, I got this Mimi Boo Boo cover up concealer.

Ipsy

This is another major win.

It goes on so softly and is incredibly creamy. It emulsifies nicely and provides good coverage. Not only that, but it includes ingredients like chamomile and green tea to help promote healing.

Hello perfect concealer for blemishes!

Though I’ve loved so very many Ipsy products, I haven’t been a repeat buyer on much. This might be one of those products I end up purchasing.

That’s my bag! Such a total winner. All the samples are well used, and some are even empty. Definitely a good bag.

Tune in next month for another review, and tomorrow for another post!

posted in Prettiness! bullet share the love bullet permalink bullet 3.26.2015

WIOW: Workout Things

As I prepare for warmer weather, I begin making small changes to my workouts.

Yesterday was devoted to March food things in preparation for spring & summer weather, so it seemed like today would be a good day to devote to my March workout things.

Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been doing in the gym lately.

Preworkout food:

On days I workout at home, it depends.

Sometimes I’ll workout in a fasted state, but most days I’ll just take a bite or two of wheat bread, just to have a little something in my stomach.

On gym days, when I’m powering through a long and intense workout, I’ve been eating peanut butter toast. 

Workout Drinks

On days I workout at home, it’s water all the way.

The workouts are short and intense, but I’m not doing lots of lifting for long periods to necessitate the need for BCCAs. Plus, I never take any breaks during those workouts to get a drink most of the time anyway!
On heavy lifting & gym days, when I spend longer at the gym, I drink Scivation Xtend in green apple.

Really, while Xtend would be beneficial for both workout environments, it really comes down to me being cheap frugal. There I said it. ha!

Workout wears

We recently went over the whole workout pant debate, but hey, I’m still throwing it in today, too.

I have several different workout pants, but my favorite are a super comfy and broken in Champion capri.

I also don my beloved uniform on top- a variety of colorful bra tops with cut off t-shirts on top for a extra modesty.

Workout Tunes and Such

I’ve been listening to a variety of things during my workouts lately.

Spotify is my app of choice for workouts in the weight room.

I’ve got my favorite Christian rappers keeping me uplifted and focused, with a sprinkling of Christian rock, too.

Cardio is a different story. If I’m doing a long stint, I’ll do lots of different things.

If I’m doing steady state cardio, sometimes I’ll watch Kandee Johnson’s videos on YouTube to pass the time. Other times I’ll listen to a variety of sermons on podcasts.

If I’m looking to hit it hard, I’ll stick on Mr. Sam’s Opus and incorporate weights to the rhythm of the music during my elliptical workout.

Post-Workout Fuel

My post workout food is, and always will be, a green monster with protein powder.

These vary, but lately it’s been spinach, herbs from the Aerogarden, chia, coconut oil, protein powder, greens powder, 1/4 avocado, 1/3 frozen banana, almond milk, a little water, and ice.

There you have it. My recent workout things these days.

Thanks for stopping by, and check in tomorrow for Ipsy fun!

March Food Things

Last week’s post was nonexistent, so this one is a bit more comprehensive.

As in, it actually contains pictures. Haha

I eat a lot of the same stuff, so I didn’t take five pictures of the same lunch.

You get the drift.

Enough talking, let’s eat! smile

Food things

Food things

Chickfila market salad. The chicken goes to Will.
Food things

Weekly fish atop sautéed peppers, onions, and potatoes
Food things

Kashi cereal with Greek yogurt

Food things

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This onsie cookie was almost too adorable to eat. Almost.

Food lately

Veggie Qudoba gumbo 😍

Food lately

Food things

Food things
This past week’s fish with “fried” rice, egg, and veggies
Food things

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Last week’s lunch- veggies, eggs, and spicy hummus

Food things

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Scrambled eggs

Food things

Food things

posted in Food Affairs bullet share the love bullet permalink bullet 3.24.2015

March Madness & Look Ahead

Weekend things
Weekend things
Weekend things
Weekend things
Weekend things
March madness brownies (and subsequent carb coma)
March madness brownies (and subsequent carb coma)
March madness brownies (and subsequent carb coma)
Weekend things
Happy Boz
Happy Boz

Pink is bad, yellow is good. I'm very pink.

This weekend was all about March Madness. Indulgent brownies, basketball, brackets, a break for church and the movies, workouts, chats with my parents, house stuff, time with the pups, and rest.

Unfortunately, as anticipated, my bracket is dead.

I’m still having fun, though. smile

Check in this week for:

-March food things
-WIOW
-March Ipsy
and more!

This week is going to be nuts, but I’m ready to get to it because I have a four day weekend ahead! Here’s to making it through the week, and enjoying some March Madness along the way.

i’d like to introduce you to some friends

With our lives lived out online, it’s easy to feel like we know someone we’ve never met.

In fact, I feel that way about several of you!

Do you realize we’ve read each other’s blogs for nearly a decade now?

I feel like we’re far away friends.

Today I want to introduce you to some more far away friends of mine.

We’ve never met, and they don’t even know I exist.

However, through the course of time, and following their story online, I feel a connection with this family.

It’s like the connection I feel with you.

I’d like to introduce the Abedini family.

In some ways, they were probably a lot like you and me.

Just a couple in their 30s, enjoying life.

They had family outings and traditions. Funny family jokes, and favorite family restaurants.

To give you a little background, after converting to Christianity in Iran (total heresy), Saeed met his beautiful wife Naghmeh and they started a life as citizens in America

Although living in America, Saeed’s extended family continues to reside in Iran, a place obviously near to his heart.

He began plans to open a government approved orphanage back in Iran to create a safe place for children without parents.  Things progressed beautifully. He and his family travelled freely between countries as they moved forward.

However, in 2012, life completely changed for this young family.

While preparing to leave Iran and return home, Saeed was unallowed to leave and detained by the Iranian Revolutionary army.

Soon after he was thrown in prison, where he remains today.

I’ve watched this family’s story go up and down, up and down, over the years, often included amongst much bigger US-Iran discussions.

I’ve read the many incredibly beautiful and intimate letters between these families that are posted on numerous websites.

Most recently, it was this one that compelled me to write today’s post.

His son, Jacob, turned 7 this week. He sent his father a personal invitation to his birthday party, hoping he might me able to make it home from prison.

Can you imagine the anguish Saeed felt knowing he wouldn’t be there this week?

Not eating cake or assembling some over-complicated toy for his son.

Instead of being bitter, and instead of writing a letter full of frustration over the situation, this modern day Paul wrote a beautiful, empowering letter of encouragement to his son, and the world.

Please take two minutes and read the two letters I linked to. They are very intimate and precious, and are certainly worth the time.

I pray daily for his protection and release. However, while he is in prison, I also pray he is a light in such a dark place.

God is using his story in such a mighty way. When you read the letters you’ll see firsthand how spirit filled they are. They’re truly the words of a man trusting God in the blackest of nights.

May we all seek and trust Him in our own situations, being a light in whatever circumstance we face. I know it is God and God alone giving Saeed the strength to face each day and live as a testimony.

I don’t know why he hasn’t been released.

I don’t know why Jacob spent another birthday without his dad.

But I know, just like the Abedinis, I’m trusting God and his perfect will to be accomplished as we wait for their reunion.

I cannot adequately express the anguish I feel over this separated family.

I can’t begin to convey the hurt I feel for the beatings and mistreatment of Saeed as he sits in prison.

I just can’t.

There’s so much more to this story, and such visceral feelings involved. It’s because I feel like I know them, just like I know some of you.

Because it’s personal. They are my family in Christ.

I can’t sum it up in a pretty blog post.

Today, I ask you please take a moment to pray for the Abedini family.

Pray for Naghmeh as she wears so many hats right now, being mommy and also championing for her husband’s release. Pray she is a light and testimony, and pray for peace, rest, wisdom, and strength.

Pray for their precious children. For their protection. For softened hearts. That they seek the I AM, Saeed wrote about.

Pray for Saeed. Pray for his physical body and health. Pray he senses the peace of the Holy Spirit and is strengthened and encouraged. Pray for opportunities for him to be a light and show love, despite the circumstances- even in prison. Pray Jesus moves in the walls of this prison.

So yeah. Now you’ve met them. I’m forever encouraged and changed by their story. I can’t do it justice here, but perhaps you’ll dig into it and be forever changed too.

If you’re so inclined, you can sign the petition for his release here. 

Thanks for checking in today. I’m thankful for the weekend and the fact we have no real plans. I’m looking forward to it. What about you?

Thursday Things, 19 March 2015

Getting Fresh
I cannot even express to you how much I enjoy the Aerogarden.

Plant progress
As geeky as it sounds, I think I’m going to devote an entire post to it soon.

Oddly enough, Will likes it as much as I do.

He doesn’t enjoy the fresh herbs as much, but he really enjoys watching it grow and harvesting it.

My little herb farmer, adorable.

Anyway, we love it so much we bought a second one this weekend so Will can grow his own jalepenos.

Real life.

So basically we will never need to use lights in the kitchen or living room area ever again. Ha!

Bracketology

It’s that time again.

Did you do your bracket?

Mine is all done and ready for another thrashing.

I wish I could tell you I was the one killing it, but let’s be real here, I think we both know who’s actually killing it.

I have no idea why I keep coming back year after year, but I do.

Hopefully I chose wisely this year!

Another Anniversary

Tuesday marked my one year work anniversary.

In some ways it feels like yesterday, but in others it feels like and eternity.

I’m thankful to work for such a wonderful company. It is a fantastic place, and I’m blessed.

On to year two!

Pancaked

Guys, I’m craving cake batter pancakes like crazy!

Like Crazy!

Have you ever made them?

Please tell me you have.

If you haven’t, it means I will be obligated to make them and post them on my blog so you can share in this deliciousness.

What a conflict.

Anyway, this craving has lingered for months, but I haven’t scratched the itch.

Scratched the itch.

Let’s not say that again.

Especially in reference to food.

For some silly reason, if I’m going to do a big fat “cheat meal,” cake batter pancakes doesnt seem awful enough.

Trust me, I realize that’s ridiculous, but for some reason pizza, nachos, or multiple donut holes seem more indulgent.

I make no sense.

Anyway, I’m afraid I’m going to have to scratch that itch (sorry) very soon.

City Color Lip Stain

I got this glossy stain in last month’s Ipsy and am kind of going crazy over it.

It goes on like a creamy gloss and eventually dries into a nice, matte stain. The color is beautiful and lasts
for hours.

For my Bible History/End Times Buffs

Prepare to have your mind blown. 
It’s an hour long, but an easy listen during your commute or on a walk.

(Oh- and you don’t have to watch it as a video. You can press play, put your phone in “sleep mode” and turn it on and it will play like a podcast)

You may not agree with everything, and he’s certainly not dogmatic about his position (merely offering deep food for thought based on his studies), but I found it very interesting.

The RV Show

As Will’s parents inch closer to retirement, they’re interested in buying an RV and exploring the good old U S of A!

They’ve been looking for awhile now, and came up to visit and go to the OKC show last weekend.

Some of those things can be very impressive and cost as much as a house!

RV-ing

Will and I had lots of fun looking and exploring all the different options.

Maybe one day when Will and I are older, we’ll explore the nation like that too! 👴👵

I think a part of Will died yesterday.

My sweet Will.

I’ve told you a million times but I’ll tell you again- he’s kountry through and through. 
So when texted yesterday morning and told him Lecrae is coming to town this spring, he never responded back.

I think he’s politely saying no, but we both know I’ll be dragging him along with me unless I can find someone else who will graciously step in. smile

That’s all for today! Check in tomorrow. 

WIOW: Life with the Fitbit

Fitbit

The Fitbit.

Let’s discuss.

It’s mildly depressing, ya’ll!

The good news is that it has also given me the ability to turn my frown upside down.

I’ll explain.

I sit behind a desk all day.

I didn’t need a device on my arm to tell me I don’t walk much during the work week.

I already know.

However-

The Fitbit has been a great tool to show me exactly how little I walk during the work week.

Thinking I know how little I walk and actually being able to see it on an app are two different things.

Thinking I don’t walk much doesn’t really put me to action.

Knowing I don’t walk much does.

The first day I kept waiting and waiting to meet my goal, knowing it was more than lofty on a non workout day.

Nothing.

I was able to see what I do on a typical day and assess what I could do to change.

Thankfully, having the app helps me see how close or far I am from my goal.

I am most competitive against myself, so there was no way I would miss hitting my goal.

That means intentionality.

Isn’t that how we should be living life anyway?

Here’s my plan to conquer my daily step goal, currently out of reach without one (a plan, that is!).

1. Park farther away.

No brainer here. I already do this, but now I’m going farther.

2. Take long ways

If I have to print, I print to the printer farthest away.

If I need some tea, I take an extra couple hallways to get to the break room.

If I have a meeting, I take a longer route if I’m able.

I’m not wracking up huge steps here, but I’m definitely doing more than usual.

3. Take the stairs.

Another no brainer. I now take my bathroom breaks upstairs. I’m pretty sure they think I’m the new girl. Ha!

4. Go the extra mile.

Or at least the extra 100 yards.

A group we sometimes work with sits elsewhere. So whenever I need to drop something off, I got extra steps.

Lately I’ve been volunteering to make runs to pick stuff up to get some extra walking logged.

5. Take a break for Pete’s sake!

Sometimes I get so bogged down with work I forget it’s healthy to take a couple minutes throughout the day to take a breather.

I’m bad about walking away from work, even for a couple minutes, but I need to realize- it’s okay.

Taking a few minutes to myself to do a quick lap and clear my mind would do some good!

6. If all else fails, walk in place.

Real life.

Sometimes I’m busy and I just don’t meet my goal during the work day.

That means, I have to get creative.

Lately it’s been nice enough to do a couple laps around the neighborhood. However, once last week and once this week I had to get creative to meet my goal, ya’ll.

That meant a little walking in place action.

I’m sure Will thought I was a complete weirdo.

Hey, I made my goal, even if I had to do a little Jane Fonda walk it out at home action.

So yeah, life with the Fitbit. It’s definitely helping me move more!

Check in tomorrow!

posted in bullet permalink bullet 3.18.2015

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics, veganism (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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