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Thursday, December 10, 2015

5 Reasons to Workout During the Holidays

 Admittedly I was not on track like I should have been around Thanksgiving and then I had a dream...one that I had gained 140 lbs over the holidays. Needless to say my booty has been back in the gym almost everyday since then! With the Christmas holiday quickly approaching, schedules filling up and the temperatures dropping workouts can be the first to go for me. But, I'm encouraging myself and you to stick with (or start) exercising through this bustling season for these reasons:

1. Reduce Your Stress For some of us, the holidays can be a stressful time of year and working out definitely helps to alleviate the stress and tensions. Even if I don't feel like going to the gym, by the time I am finished, I feel so much better! I have never regretted a workout but I have regretted not working out. Working out helps clear my mind and improve my mood a ton! I know one helpful tip for myself is to never miss a Monday at the gym. Mondays set the tone for my week.

2. Working Out Helps You Eat Healthier This is true for me, but I wonder is it true for you too? When I'm working out consistently, I tend to eat a lot better. I recognize that I worked hard at the gym and I don't want to blow it by eating terrible. If I'm not working out I tend to eat badly which leads me to indulging in way too may desserts, snacks and drinks. And I mean drinks of all kinds from hot chocolate, wine to cocktails especially at all the Christmas parties and happy hours. 

3. Finish Strong For me, I've worked really fairly hard at getting in shape and I want to maintain what I've accomplished. I have a long ways to go but I don't want to have to start from the beginning. If you've done the same, don't spoil it by quitting now!

4. Be Ahead of the Game for the New Year When the New Year comes and everyone is resolving to "get in shape" you'll already be ahead of the game! I look forward to this feeling every year!

5. No Guilt for Small Indulgences I try to watch what I eat most of the time, but I admit to having a small addiction this time of year to hot chocolate especially and other yummy holiday snacks! I don't think a total withdraw is a good thing (or fun at all) and knowing I workout helps remind me that it's alright to indulge during the holiday without feeling guilty. Just not so much to were I gain 140 lbs! Ah!! 

Putting this all in a post helps motivate me to continue my efforts at getting and staying fit...as well as the dang Victoria Secret Fashion Show! Those beautiful Angels get me every year, instant motivation! I hope post this is motivating to others as well. What are some helpful tips you have for staying active and healthy through the holiday?
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

15 Bible Verses For When You Don't Understand God's Plan


You don't have to know the plan to trust God's purpose. If only I could put this on repeat every 86,400 seconds a day in my mind...then I might fully grasp it.

"God I don’t always understand You, but I want to always trust You. Will You increase my faith and trust in You? Jesus, thank You for sharing in my pain on the cross. Amen."

15 Bible Verses For When You Don't Understand God's Plan

"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You have little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31

"Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure." Psalm 147:5

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:3-4

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21 

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:18

"But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, oh you of little faith!" Luke 12:28

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations." Deuteronomy 7:9

"For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death." Psalm 48:14

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable." Isaiah 40:28

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!" Psalm 111:10 

Do you have a Bible verse you could share that helps you understand God’s plan when you can’t? Would love it if you’d leave it in the comments for me. 
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie

While in Trader Joes a couple months ago in Alabama I picked up a jar of their pumpkin butter and knew I needed to make something festive and delicious with it. I decided on making Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie as an appetizer for Thanksgiving and it did not disappoint!

 It was simple and low maintenance appetizer but with a big flavor! It took all of five minutes to put together and twenty-five minutes to bake. Make sure you add this one to your Christmas menu or for any holiday party!

Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 Tbs pumpkin butter (I highly recommend Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter)
1/4 Tsp ground cinnamon
1 (8 ounce) wheel brie cheese, rind trimmed
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
Place puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread pumpkin butter evenly over the top, leaving 1-inch border, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Set the cheese in the center of the sheet and top with pecans and cranberries.
Fold the puff pastry over the sides of the cheese, pleating the edges to fit snugly around the cheese. Pinch the dough together in the center to seal and brush evenly with the egg.
Place into oven and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes
Serve warm with crackers.

This is the easiest baked brie ever! I will also say that I picked up my brie from Aldi and it was wonderful and a lot cheaper than other local grocery stores. I personally loved this dish and I think my family enjoyed it very much as well. Since I am a pumpkin lover at heart I could eat this year-round easily! I will say it was not so great leftover so make sure you eat it all! Enjoy!

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Outfit: Featuring Kushyfoot

This weekend my mother-in-law invited me and my sister-in-laws to join her at their church's Women's Gala on Sunday evening. I was excited to accept the offer to get to wear a fun dress and have a great time with family. I picked up this gold and cream cocktail dress from Target during their Black Friday sale for only seventeen dollars! You can still get it half off with their bogo half off sale on clothes and accessories. It was pretty chilly last night so I wore a pair of the new Kushyfoot shaping tights, which were awesome because they have a massaging sole on them and this classic black Express blazer.

 Downtown Jenks is always such a beautiful area of town but I really adore it during Christmas time. The streets are lined with wreaths, each storefront window is lit up with beautiful lights and with fresh tree trimmings and Christmas lights draped over bustling Main Street. My sister-in-law Randi and I picked up Starbucks and enjoyed the festive scenery before heading to the Gala. 

By the end of the night was really thankful for the massaging soles on my Kushyfoot tights. I also loved that the tights aren't as thick as leggings but also aren't as thin as pantyhose so I wasn't afraid all night that they might snag. 
We had a wonderful time at the Gala. We enjoyed a great dinner, festive Christmas entertainment, wonderful company and lots of laughs. I'm thankful for each of these ladies!

My little sister also kindly informed me that this cocktail dress makes me look pregnant, thanks sis! So, I also received a pair of the Kushyfoot Fleece-lined tights that I will be pairing with a more slimming outfit, a long knit sweater and booties. I truly love these Kushyfoot products, I promise you wont regret checking them out!
I hope everyone had a great weekend!

These products were sent to me by Kushyfoot in exchange for my honest feedback, all opinions are my own. 

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pecan Pie Cheesecake, A MUST Bake Holiday Dessert!

Y'all, I baked a pecan pie cheesecake for Thanksgiving last week and dare to say it might be the best thing I have ever baked! It is at least in the running for the number one spot, hands down!

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts and I have to tell you, this pecan pie cheesecake is one of the best I've ever tasted. {Pat on the back} It's like a cheesecake and pecan pie in on dessert. How could anything be better?! Well besides adding pumpkin of course! This cake has a vanilla wafers crust, pecan pie filling, creamy cheesecake layer and buttery, caramel pecan topping. It's not insanely sweet like regular pie because the cheesecake layer perfectly cuts down the sweetness of pecan filling, and still you will get a rich amazing treat!

 Image via Lilluna...because I failed to take a picture of mine cut.

Pecan Pie Cheesecake


For the Crust:
13/4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter-melted

For the Pecan Filling:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup unsalted butter-melted
2 large eggs-lightly beaten
11/2 cups pecans-chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cheesecake Filling:
24 ounces cream cheese-softened
11/4 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:
31/2 tablespoons unsalted butter-melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup toasted pecans-chopped 


To make the Crust:
1. Line the bottom of 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Combine vanilla wafer crumbs and brown sugar, stir in melted butter, then press the mixture evenly into bottom and halfway up the side of 9 inch springform pan. Set in the fridge to firm the crust while making the filling.

To make the Pecan Filling:
1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, eggs, pecans and vanilla and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer stirring constantly until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Pour into prepared crust and set aside.

To make the Cheesecake Filling:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Beat the cream cheese until creamy, then add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Do not over beat it! Stir in heavy cream and vanilla, then pour cheesecake mixture over pecan filling.
4. Place springform pan on a cookie sheet, put it in the oven and reduce heat to 325 F. Bake the caek for 60-70 minutes (until toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean). Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in with oven door closed for one hour.
5. Run a knife around the edges of cheesecake but do not take it out of the pan until completely cooled. (I let mine cool overnight in the fridge).

To make the Topping:
1. In a small saucepan combine butter and brown sugar. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until very bubbly, then stir in cinnamon, heavy whipping cream and chopped pecans. Cool to room temperature.
2. Release the sides of springform pan and spoon the topping over cooled cheesecake.
3. Store the cake in the fridge.

Recipe also found here

I'll be completely honest and say it was a lot of work most because the number of steps but it was worth it. When I got done I said I am never making this again. THEN I took it to lunch at my sister's and everyone loved it! I took one bite and said it wasn't that hard to make...a few more bites, I am definitely making this again! Every last crumb was eaten, huge hit! If you have a cheesecake lovers in your family, I highly recommend trying this pecan pie cheesecake, it's now one of my for sure fall favorites. I will for sure be making this again!
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