Blueberry-Oat Yogurt Muffins

Enjoy these moist, warm muffins with sweet, gooey blueberries sweetened oh so lightly & baked to a golden perfection with a melt in your mouth center and crisp top..



*insert SWOON here*


Good ole pinterest comes thru again for this recipe inspiration {from domesticatedacademic.wordpress.com}.



Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
{I used gluten-free baking flour)
1 cup oats–quick or regular oats
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Truvia Baking Blend
{OR 2/3 cup sugar.. I use truvia}
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 cups honey nonfat Greek yogurt
{I used plain chobani}
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

*if you're feeling spicy, try adding some lemon juice OR ground cinnamon*

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°.


Coat muffin tin with cooking spray or liners.

Combine flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Combine yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a second bowl.

Fold yogurt mixture into dry mixture; stir to combine completely.

Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon mixture into muffin tins {don't be afraid to fill them full}.

Be aware that this becomes more of a dough than bater.. see?


Bake until top is golden and springs back when you touch it,  about 25 minutes.. but keep timer and monitor after minute 22-ish.








Bon Appetit! 

xo, linz


Marriage: Happy or Holy ?

My Sunday morning life group is dedicated to the growth of married couples. It's been a place that I have been both humbled, inspired, challenged and grown.. both on a personal level as an individual & as a partner/wife in my marriage.

Joining the life group a few months ago, I caught myself thinking that I may not be challenged enough in an environment of nearly and newly-weds (because I have a *cough* whopping 4.5 years under my belt). I also caught myself thinking that maybe I shouldn't be going to a biblestudy for married couples when my husband was literally about to walk out the door for a seven month deployment... I mean, wasn't this for couples?

Let me answer this: no & no... definitely not.

I was quickly humbled as I was gently reminded that you never reach an ultimate destination in your marriage. You never reach a place of "happiness" where you are automatically graduated into a class of marriage experts. Our marriage is about a journey- INCLUDING the ups and downs. Our marriage is about HOLINESS. Happiness is a temporary state.. do we really want our marriages to be centered around a temporary state of emotion? I sure don't.. What a calling and challenge it is to view your marriage an opportunity to glorify the One who created you.. the One who brought the path of you and your spouse together. Now THAT is a purpose.

When we're at our best, our words, thoughts and actions should be glorifying the Lord. When we're at our worst, our words, thoughts and actions are a reflection of God's faithful love and forgiveness. Even during the difficult times, God is glorified when we seek Him through the process of being reconciled to one another. He can be glorified at all times.. the good, the bad and the ugly.

We strive for holiness not happiness when we begin to fulfill our God given roles in marriage. As we individually begin to act in obedient response to our biblical calling as a spouse, God is glorified and will bless your marriage beyond measure. Be the spouse you are commanded to be, not out of the expectation that your spouse will "fall in line," but rather that God will find favor on you as you honor Him with a holy heart. Even if you are a PERFECT partner in your marriage, but are doing it so that your spouse will feel obligated to do his or her own part, you STILL have some work to do on your heart, my friend.

A couple of weeks ago, my life group was studying our biblical responsibilities through the text of Ephesians 5:22-27.

"22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."
 Boy do people freak out when they read the words "submit" and "head of" in Ephesians; I can admit that I myself have harbored negative feelings towards this text in the past.

I realized though through the study of these verses that the challenging call here is to husbands.. Submission may seem like quite the daunting task, but God ordained leadership is a HEAVY responsibility. Let me share with you some of the notes I took from my class that day that really spoke to my spirit.

Let's first define these two concepts by their synonyms given by merriam-webster:
submission: yielding, surrender, resignation, defeat, subjection, compliance
gosh.. no wonder it seems terrible!.. we'll come back to this.
leadership: control, management, supervision, supremacy, power

Okay, so reading these and making application to the verses above is ROUGH. If that's what Godly marriage is all about, who would want it? Fortunately, merriam webster doesn't define our marital roles.. God does. And when we think about how He compares the dynamic between a husband and wife to Christ and the church, it is clear that there is another definition of our roles.

Let's re-define these two concepts by their synonyms given by God through-out scripture:
Godly submission: humility, meekness, obedience, trust, acceptance, yielding
Godly leadership: guidance, teaching, gentle instruction, responsibility, initiative, accountability, SERVICE.

Did I just use service as a synonym of leadership? I sure did. God commands those in leadership to serve others rather than reign over them.
Mark 10:42-45
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This is a beautiful picture when both husband and wife are acting according to God's will in marriage.

You might be thinking to yourself: well, I am a believer, but my spouse is not.. am I still supposed to submit to his leadership? Yes. Although it will not be easy, live our your calling as a Godly spouse and let God take care of the rest. It is not our job to change the heart of others. It is our job to display the love of Christ through our actions. Trust in God's sovereignty and place the heart of your spouse to the Lord.

Here are my thoughts on this text:

Christ manifested His love for us by sacrificing Himself. He led by example and through service. He was a humbled teacher and rebuked those who were wrong gently. Christ made Himself accountable for our sins as a way to reconcile us to God. Christ lead in a way that others submitted to Him willingly and not out of obligation or coercion. Husbands are ultimately responsible to "cleanse her with the knowledge of the Word."  As a godly husband and follower of Christ, if your wife is not submitting to your leadership, you are not loving her properly. Start with loving service and you will earn a leadership role in her heart.

The church submits to the Lord out of love and affection. We, the church, submit though trust, service, and respect.  Submission is hard under improper leadership, but it is our calling. Ask God to give you a heart of submission. Godly wives: trust your husband, support him and treat him with respect.

Regularly evaluate if you marriage is "measuring up" to the model of Christ and the church.

Righteousness > Being Right

Don't submit for leadership..
Don't lead for submission..

Act in obedience and glorify the Lord. Living this way provides a life of purpose.
Seek holiness in your marriage. You'll be amazed to see that happiness will follow you in your journey.

Blessings, Lindsey

Stitch Fix #1

The Christmas morning sensation closely compares the feeling of elation I experienced when my Stitch Fix box arrived today. The thrill of wondering if the stylist would magically get a sense of my taste the first month combined with the anxiety of whether or not any of the pieces would fit were the causes of my immediate opening!


First of all, I was in LOVE the the aesthetics of the packaging. The tiffany blue lined box, styling cards and individually wrapped items in tissue paper made my heart start beating faster.. don't judge :)

My to do list yesterday was a nearly impossible feat so I bargained with myself that I would look at the items now and not stress about trying them on until tomorrow.

(insert giant laugh here)

Okay, time for a piece by piece run down!

#1. B_Envied: Laney Draped Open Cardigan
[[this is a size small & the fit was perfection]]



As SOON as I pulled this cardi out of the box, I KNEW it was a keeper. Worn night 1. Ha. Paired with black denim pants, black long sleeved shirt, black riding boots, black marc jacobs watch and gold monogrammed pendant. #classic



#2. Kensie Jeans: Johnny Skinny Jeans
[[size 0//25" waist denim, fits TRUE to size.. length was also spot on!]]


 

I am terribly cheap when it comes to purchasing denim. These pants were $88, but I could TOTALLY see & FEEL why when I put them on... these are staying in my closet. And I bet you they will out last the other less expensive pairs that I have bought in the past. Quality wins here!

#3. Mystree: Abigail Colorblock Lace Trim Top
[[size small fit like a tunic, but not in a baggy sort of way. Bottom hem sits below waist]]






So this shirt is beautiful, but I wasn't a fan of the sleeve cut on me. I have decided that unless my gut reaction is LOVE IT, I am sending it back. Side note, this top would be precious with a cardigan and skinny jeans or tucked into a pencil skirt!

#4. Fate: Kirk Sheer Shoulder Sweater
[[size small fit short because of my 32D chest.. beware big chested ladies that it will ride up above waist]]










While I liked the idea of the 3/4 dolman style sweater with multiple mediums in the fabrics, the fit was wrong for my body. Although I have a short torso, I have large lady lumps.. which means that I have to watch out for any tops that are cropped above the waist. This is definitely a piece that could be for day or evening wear, but my gut says no. Try try again! :)

#5. Bay to Baubles: Icarus Wavy Pave Circle Studs
[[this stud is about the size of a nickel with a brushed gold finish]]



 







I wear studs on a daily basis, so I am ALWAYS on the hunt for a new pair. I can't say that I would normally pick these out, but I'm on the fence about whether or not they should stay in my closet. I don't know how much I'd wear them with my casual clothes, but they do seem perfect with a couple of my skirts and jumpsuits.. Gotta simmer on these!

I was going to set up my stitch fix for every other month, but since I will only be keeping a couple of items this month, I'm setting the next one up for 4 weeks from now! I set up a pinterest inspiration board and linked it to my account to give my stylist a better idea of what I'm looking for in the future.. I can't WAIT to see what next month's fix will bring!

Feed back on the studs anyone???

Click here if YOU want to give stitch fix a try.

XO, linz

{holy} stitch fix, batman !

Over the past few months, I've heard bits about this website called::

"Stitch Fix"



When I first saw posts about it on Facebook, I assumed it would be WAY too expensive.
Nate and I had looked into signing him up for "Trunk Club" in the past, until we discovered that the average trunk could cost $1000+. Woah, right? I kept on scrolling and didn't think about it anymore.

Recently, I actually saw some photos of the pieces that were sent to a gal on Facebook and figured I should at least investigate the situation. I realized that you could actually "choose your budget" for each clothing category and decided to give it a shot.

Let me walk you through how it works!

1) Take a Personal Style Quiz
~creating a profile will help your stylist get to know you~

2) Receive 5 Personalized Pieces at your Doorstep
~try on all of the goodies hand-picked according to your style and budget~

3) Keep What You Love & Send Back the Rest
~yep, only pay for what you keep!~



FYI the process of setting up your profile is SO fun..
You can get SUPER specific with your measurements, how you like your clothing to fit, pieces you need to add to your wardrobe and budget for each category (layering pieces, pants, accessories, etc). You can even link your pinterest to your account so they can SEE what you like!!


I am waiting EAGERLY for my first stitch fix to arrive {on Monday!}.. so I will be SURE to keep everyone posted.

I figure month one will be more of testing the waters:: did I list my sizing correctly, have they gotten a grasp of my style, do I want them to focus on certain pieces in the future..

Feel free to give it a shot for a month, you get to choose how often you would like your "fix" :)

Give it a Whirl && let me know what you think!

XO,
lindsey grace

Broken Bread and Poured Out Wine: a life of sacrifice and stewardship

During my quite time of devotion and biblestudy, I have felt the Lord speaking to me overwhelmingly on my life being a reflection of "broken bread and poured out wine."

It seems that no matter what the subject of my study is lately, it all comes back to this concept. So what does broken bread and poured out wine even mean? ...

One of the most celebrated observances in the history of Christian faith is called "Passover." During the Passover, Christians were to partake a meal, not simply out of ceremonial obligation or religious recognition, but out of a desire to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior.

In Matthew 26 or Mark 14, you can read that Jesus actually partook in this meal with His disciples the night of His betrayal, leading ultimately to His death on the cross as documented in scripture. During New Testament times, the Passover commemorated the death of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice and atonement for our sins. The meal consisted of broken bread and poured out wine; these two elements represented Jesus' broken body and His life blood offering as a new covenant.

During Old Testament times, before the coming of Jesus, Christians had to regularly make living sacrifices with their finest live stock as an atonement for their sins [Exodus 12, along with other references]. These sacrificial animals, seen as something being without blemish, were put to death as a offering to the Lord because of sin-filled lives.

When God decided to send Jesus, he sent Him into the world as a perfect lamb.. a blemish-free sacrifice that would take on ALL of the disgusting, shameful sins of men- past, present and future. By Jesus being broken and poured out before the father, He essentially paid the ultimate price that would cleanse us from our sins so we could be reconciled into relationship with our perfect heavenly Father.  A free relationship providing an eternal life of forgiveness and love for ALL who chose to accept it. That was it.. His one-time sacrifice became a new covenant.

Wow, right?

His Body like broken bread for us.
His blood like poured out wine.

Out of no selfish motive. With no cost of repayment. With no strings attached. With no risk of loss. 

Eternal life. That simple. Because Jesus, sent to earth as a man and yet still fully God, was sacrificed on our behalf.. willingly.

This blows my mind. Do we sacrifice anything in our life without an expectation of return? Without strings attached or any selfish/ulterior motives? No. Because we are not perfect. We might be good people, but our hearts are flawed and tainted by sin.

Even though I have requested and accepted God's forgiveness of my short comings and have entered into the development of a personal relationship with my heavenly father, I do NOT always live in reflection of this on a daily basis.

Not our of choice, but imperfect human nature. If I lived a perfect life, what would my need for Jesus be? But boy do I need Jesus. Because of my relationship with Him, I know that my soul will spend eternity in the glorious presence of the Lord.

My job as a Christian though is the concept of "paying it forward" on earth. Using my life as a living sacrifice that bring honor to the one who saved me. To use my daily breath and actions as broken bread and poured out wine to serve God's purpose..

The life I am living is no longer my own.. Although it truly never was mine, it is now surrendered willingly to Him. God allows me to be a steward of the life He has given me to live.. a GOOD steward. Stewardship is the concept of caring for the property of another. Caring for my body, my mind, my spirit.

If God truly is the master and creator of all, then He "owns" so much more than our bodies and has ultimately given us ALL of our blessings. You may work hard for your successes, but you would have never been placed in your current circumstances (body, marriage, etc) if God didn't allow it. Therefore, delight in what He has given you stewardship over, but remember to honor Him through all aspects of your life.

Life your life as broken bread and poured out wine. Make a regular effort to reflect selflessness and submission. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His love for you will endure FOREVER.

More to come later, but let this simmer..

In love and humility,
Linz

[[for more on the passover symbols of bread and wine, check out this link. great read!]]

February Faves: Product Junkie, Healthy Munchie & Pooch Accessory

I love trying new things, but it doesn't happen all that often because when I find a favorite I STICK with it! This month, I've tried a few new things, I guess I'm feeling frisky, and want to share all of them with you!


1. Product junkie:




Growing up in the southern states, you will hear often "the higher the hair, the closer to Jesus."

I have been a hair spray and teasing brush ADDICT for years. I have used numerous types of root boosters when blow drying. Have no fear, I will pump up my locks, but is it all necessary? Lord knows, I'm sure it's not all healthy!

During my recent color experience with Ash Fortis of G Patton (read here), I was introduced to this dry texturizing spray. Not only can you spray this bad boy through sections of your hair at the root then massage your scalp for a no-tease VOLUMINOUS look, you can also use it as a finishing spray

Little bit here, little bit there.. and voila

This is SUCH an awesome product to have on hand.. you might not use it every day, but you'll wish you had.


FLAT HEAD::

Oribe Dry Texture Spray-Head:

..'nough said. 



2. [healthy] munch:




Oh man, these are a game changer, y'all!

The problem with any old joe-shmoe protein bar is the SUGAR content.. and we all know, sugar is crack. SO you're basically paying a few bucks to fuel your cravings for junk. Counter-productive, right?

You can't go wrong with these bars though.

First of all, there are a ZILLION yummy flavors, ranging from oreo --> apple pie --> s'mores --> cinnamon rolls --> cookie dough --> PB&J. The list goes on.. Seriously.

Then, there's the whole nutritional facts:

Gluten Free
20+ Grams of Protein
High in Fiber
Under 200 calories
ONE Gram of Sugar






I love these bars for a mid morning snack, a post workout protein punch or a late night craving smasher. Nom Nom Nom














If you can't pick just one flavor, try the variety pack to figure out which concoctions are you favorites! If you can't find the assortment you like directly through quest, Amazon is SURE to have it..








3. [pooch] accessory:



Buyer Beware: Your dog may choose this bed over you. With a micro-suede exterior in YOUR color of choice and a sherpa interior, you might consider curling up in this warm cloud of coziness yourself!

I originally bought this bed because I had seen that it was a HUGE hit for dog breeds that were cuddlers, cold easily or like sleeping under the covers. For any GSP owner, you just said check.check.check.

I was SO excited to see what Tannyn's reaction would be when this came in the mail!





She hasn't fully come to appreciate what this has to offer, being that she currently wants to roll around and sniff EVERY inch of it, but her sister Moose sure has.




There may be a second cave in our future...


Alrighty, well I'm no Oprah, but that's the February Edition of "Lindsey's Favorite Things"

..shoot I forgot instaprint. Just check back next month!

xoxo,
Linz

my hair's soulmate:: ash fortis

I had one of the greatest experiences on Sunday getting my hair done! But before I GUSH on the details, let's travel back in time to October 2014.

October was a time that my hair, for the most part, was a blank canvas. I had been seeing the same sassy stylist in the Hilltop area of Virginia Beach for about 3 years, mostly for cuts and only in the past 8 months for color. My first experience with color was "okay".. not bad, but not great. I left feeling like I paid a lot for a little. The next time I went in, I was armed- with photos and more descriptive phrases like: I'd love a warm balayage look with fun, warm blondish tones placed throughout.. but with some face framing pieces.. THIS time, I left feeling like a HOT mess. After two corrective appointments, no apologies and paying nearly $180 twice in three weeks for results I was less than impressed with, I decided to part ways and find a new stylist.. can you see why?
 BEFORE:::  
 (I'm the gal on the left with the natural, brunette hair)   






AFTER:::
(I am now the girl with the insanely chucky pieces of I'm not sure what color)



**BTW:: this was after the second appointment, during which I asked him to tone down my PLATINUM chunks with straight lines throughout my hair.. appointment #3.. sad, right? **



After this fiasco, I was short $300+, while left feeling embarrassed, upset and disappointed.

Over the same weekend, a co-worker of mine visited a locally-renown colorist that she had been following for quite sometime on Facebook and instagram.. her name is Ash Fortis. When I saw my friend's hair after her appointment, I IMMEDIATELY began following Ash. For a couple of months, I silently admired her work.. wishing all the while I had seen her to begin with. Then, I started making comments and liking her posts.

One day, Ash advertised a course she would be offering to local stylists that admired her balayage technique-- the style of color that I had originally requested before my fiasco.. I mean "October transformation."

I, half jokingly & half serious, commented on the post that I was meaning to see her anyways and said something along the lines of "will you need a model for this? :) " Surprisingly, she sent me a private message stating I could send her photos of my hair, because she did in fact need someone for this course.

A few selfies later, she said that I was a good candidate and we put it on the books.. then I waited patiently with excitement for about 5 weeks to see her. Besides her sending me a few inspiration photos via FB, all of the color combos were different but displayed a general vision, I had no idea what I would be getting that day-- besides a balayage inspired look.

I didn't care, I trusted her. I had seen her work. This girl has talent.

I went in Sunday morning to a GORGEOUS salon located in Norfolk, VA: G Patton.

There was great music playing, mimosas waiting to be sipped and EVERYONE was friendly. The environment was bright and fresh- right up my alley!




This was the set up for her course. As I began to walk around, I got butterflies.
Good, excited butterflies!



Not only did I get a wonderful new "do" this weekend, but I actually felt a little more educated about my hair! I felt CONFIDENT that Ash was doing what would be most flattering for my skin, appropriate for the season and healthy for the condition of my hair itself. I was blown away by her technical skills, creativity, vision and ability to articulate each of these things to her attendees.

I'm still in shock from my results..

Within a matter of a couple of hours, my hair had been transformed!


I told you she was amazing, right!?



I encourage you to make a trip to see this gal! She would be worth the drive and investment, hands down.

To check out her other amazing work, find her on Facebook "Ash Fortis" or follow her on instagram @xostylistxo .

Thank you for a WONDERFUL experience, Ash!

xo, Linz

DOUBLE Chocolate Cookies (Grain Free, Biscuit!)

There is this cookie recipe that just changed my life last night. So maybe that's a little dramatic.. but these cookies are the BOMB.COM! I gotta hand it to detoxinista.com for this gem!

Okay, so if there is no grain & less than one cup of chocolate chips, does that makes these healthy?

who am I kidding..I don't even care.

Make sure you try these out.. and don't worry, the prep/bake time is SO super fast!



INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

** my Lindsey spin to this recipe was to sprinkle shredded coconut on top before baking**
**ALSO, I plan to try these next time with my chocolate shakeology.. #boombaby *

Love & Chocolate,
Linz-erilla