Guest Blogger| Passionista Brandi Thompson |Just Give Me Jesus

Hello Passionista-

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Brandi Thompson is a dear sweetheart I had the pleasure of meeting during my days attending The “Unsinkable” Albany State University. She has a joyful spirit that makes you smile every time you are in her presence even if you’re not in the mood for smiles and laughs. I had a change to watch her grow from a freshman to the AMAZING women is she today. I look forward to more of her greatness as she walks in her passion.

Now introducing my FIRST ever Guest Blogger and fellow Passionista, Brandi Thompson…. 

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Living in a world filled with famous sayings, its hard not to start a blog without one… For the longest, my favorite was: “not all who wander are lost”. Little did I know, I was living my “best life” on a lie.  For 22 years, I wandered. Truthfully, I was lost. Dangerously, I was so lost I didn’t even realize I needed to be found. Honestly, all who wander are lost.

 

 

How lost, is lost?

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From the age of 11, the taste of liquor satisfied my curiosity for the “good life” I would see on VH1 and MTV.  It was like the stock market – high risk, high reward – The higher the shelf, the better the taste. For 11 years, I struggled with blacked out drunken nights, near death intoxication, and a loose sense of moral direction.

From the age of 13, I chose to jump in and out of relationships with guys just to appease my insecurities. Being touched cured my need to be loved. A title soothed my longing for identity no matter where it came from. For 9 years, I indulged in a series of soul ties with many men (and 1 woman if I’m being honest) whose inner connection gave me “peace”.

From the age of 18, my wandering led me away from the nest of home to a new land to roam – ready to be conquered. With no sense of identity, purpose, and security, my aimless journey led me into the arms of an emotionally abusive man. I convinced myself that ‘leaving was easy’ and ‘my damage has to be worth something’. For 3 years, I endured an emotionally debilitating relationship built off a false perception of mental fortitude all to say I was “loved”.

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For 22 years, I wandered and filled my heart with the joys of the world, adding layers of darkness to my heart, building a life on sinking sand. My wandering grew dark, cold, depressing… the person I displayed was never an accurate depiction of the dying person I was on the inside. I was beginning to understand why suicide seemed to be the answer 9 years ago.  Being at war with my reality and convictions created a battle of inner conflict that I began to question my own purpose for being here.… After 22 years of wandering, all of the questions I had, the “good life” I was longing for, the “peace” is desperately needed, and the “love” I was searching for all could be found in one place…. The answer to it all was Jesus.

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“There is nothing I desire that can’t be found in you. You’re everything that I’ve ever needed… Just give me Jesus!”

 

 

 

The new passion I found to live the life God has called me to live has redefined my life. His plans have surpassed my expectations of the life I thought I was supposed to have. His will has created a new perspective of what really matters in the world.

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What good is my business if my family isn’t truly saved?

What good is owning a home & nice car if salvation hasn’t reached all four corners of the Earth?

What good is my life, or anyone else’s, without Jesus?

In Him, you will find your identity – the knowledge to recognize you’re a child of the most high.

In Him, you will find your purpose – the reason He created you to be here.

In Him, you will find your stability – the foundation to stand firm on your purpose.

Inwardly, there has always been a love to help people with a problem and to have a great time with amazing people. No wonder event planning and designing party décor became my career aspiration. As I continue to give my life’s plan to God, He continues to open my eyes of how HE wants me to solve problems by having a great time with HIS amazing people for the Kingdom.  There is so much peace in his plan! You may be thinking, “well what about my dreams?”

Be passionate about your business. Be dedicated to your education. Be invested in the present life you are walking in. Embrace the development taking place in each season you are in. Seek correction and direction from the wise ones who surround you. Develop your talent, master your craft, and perfect your gift. Do all of this while posturing your heart to desire the One. In Him, you, your plans, your goals, and your business will have identity, purpose, and stability!  

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What good are our passions without a true Passion for Christ?

All who wander are lost… but I pray you wander into arms of Jesus.  

 

 

 

Shirt can be found at www.dopeanalogy.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkIaJo7T3Bc

DIY Wall Art

Hello Passionista!

One of my favorite YouTuber’s Raven Elysee inspired this DIY project after watching her Decorating My House DIY projects + New Furniture vlog. I have been re- decorating my apartment with more things of my style. I want every room and every decoration to reflect who I am as a person. I consider myself to be very creative, I love creating things. So a lot of my home decor will be D.I.Y projects. For instances, the Hexagon Shaped Shelves … click here to see blog.

For this project you’ll need:

  • Acrylic Paint – 3 colors (Midnight Blue, Pink, Nude)
  • Canvasimg_0182
  • Metal Flakes
  • Paper Towels

 

 

 

 

I purchased an 8 pack of the 10 x 10 canvas, I had a vision of doing tiled art on one large wall in my living room space. My new color scheme for my living room space is Blue + Pink, so I used those colors. And it add a third color I used a fresh tone nude.

I started by laying out my canvas on a table.

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Staring with the darkest color first, I dropped dots of paint randomly all over  t

he canvas.

With a paper towel, I swiped the paint from left to right. Making streaks, sort of.

 

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Before starting a new color, I used my hair dryer to dry the paint.

First I applied blue, then pink, then the nude paint .

 

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Lastly, I took the metal flakes and just tore off a few small pieces and placed them on top of the wet paint at random.

 

 

Here is the Finished Product

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My living has double doors that lead out to the balcony. I decided to tile 4 of the canvas paints on each side of the double doors. As you walk into the front door the back wall and double doors are what you see. I think my abstract art looking good in this spot, even though I visioned something different. I want to add some greenery or plants to this view. Maybe a tall faux plant in each corner under the paintings.

 

Pinch Me Box | Use and Review

Hello Passionistas

Pinch me is an online service that allows you, as a consumer, to take surveys and recieve FREE samples to try and review. It’s totally free. All you have to do is complete surveys throughout the month. Every 2nd Tuesday of the month new sample boxes are sent.

This month’s box includes: 

RX Nut Butter- Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter

$50 off Hello Fresh

1850 Folgert Medium Dark Roast Coffee

Clairol Color Touch Up

First off, I already have a Hello Fresh subscription, so I can’t use this $50 off card. It is for first time users. I am going to pass it along to my parents though. They are newly empty nesters so I think they could benefit from Hello Fresh.

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Honestly, I have not need for Clairol Color root touch ups. I don’t have any color in my hair. So I’m going to give this same away.

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I am not a big fan of peanut butter, but I tried the RX nut butter on flat bread bagels as a afternoon snack. It was tasty. But I must admit, I probably won’t purchase.

I’m more of a tea drinker than coffee, but I have my fair share of Starbucks ice coffees. I tried the folders coffee and LOVED it. I have a reusable K-cup, so I can just put the coffee in the reusable cup and use my Keurig to make my coffee.

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Visit Pinchme.com to sign up and receive your own box of free samples.

My 1st Hello Fresh Box

Hello Passionista!

I am excited to share my first Hello Fresh Box with you.

So, a friend on my mine recently started using Hello Fresh and shared her coupon code with me- for $40 off my 1st box. I downloaded the app and registered for my first box on a Friday and my box arrived on Monday.

There are different plans you can choose from, there are also feature that allow you to  select foods you wish not to receive. I selected the Classic Meal Plan, which includes 3 meals for 2 people. The app shows you the meals that you will be getting immediately. Here are my 3 (egg + nut free) meals :

  • Chicken Sausage Flatbread Pizza with Broiled Zucchini and Fresh Oregano
  • Beef Chiles Rellenos with Poblano Peppers and Chipotle Sauce
  • Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Cucumber Tomato Salad

The box comes complete with recipe cards for each meal and the app also stores all recipes in the “my cookbook” feature.

The ingredients for each meal comes in separate recyclable paper bags. Here’s the ingredients for my 3 classic meals:

Everything you need is included, expect the pots, pans and stove of course.

I’ve already cooked my first meal and it was delicious. I mean, I can cook but I’m bad at finding good recipes. So having the ingredients sent to me and a detailed recipe card helps a lot.

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Chicken Sausage Flatbread Pizza with Broiled Zucchini and Fresh Oregano

Hello Fresh is so simple and easy to register, select a plan, cook, and enjoy. You too can get $40.00 off your first box by using my promo code: KZNURI. Once you sign up you will be given your own unique code to share with family and friends. You will receive $30 off for every person you get to sign up.

 

Scream’n Nuts

Hello Passionistas!!!!

A friend of mine recently introduced me to this amazing donuts place in Alpharetta, GA

Scream’ N Nuts is owned by a local couple from Australia. They have the best donuts and ice cream I’ve ever had. The place is cute and clean, the staff is down to earth and friendly. I went it too pick some donuts up for my Dad’s birthday dinner and everyone was so friendly and helpful.

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Inside Scream’n Nuts

The Donuts


Deal of the Week:

April 4-Sept 30- Get 10% Off on your First Purchase on loose leaf teas at Teabox.com. Use coupon code: WELCOME10

20% OFF Summer Flush Teas Use code: SUMMER2018 Valid on first purchase and once per customer. Valid on second flush teas only till 31st May, 2018, in US, UK, EU, IN stores only.


Follow Me:

Twitter: @ passionlocked

Instagram: thepassionista__

 

New Look for Teavana

Hello Passionistas,

If you have been on the blogging journey with me from the beginning, you know that I love Teavana tea. I’ve done a few teavana tea hauls before. In the last haul, I shared some information that I found out about the Teavana brand. Teavana recently closed all of their store fronts and shut down the online store- so no more loose leaf teas from teavanna. But Teavana is far from being forgotten about. The brand is now a packaged beverage sold in Starbucks and other grocery stores.

This weekend I was in Wal-Mart and I came across a display panel od Teavana teas. I got all flavors they had in the store. There were priced at $1.98 (in Walmart) each and these were the only flavors (listed below) that the store I was in had. I hope there are more flavors than just these 4. There are only about 3 Starbucks stores I visit regularly and I have not seen these beverages in any other those stores. So, I’m not sure when and if I’ll be able to buy these in Starbucks (or at least the ones I go to) but I’ll glad I know where I can find them.

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Mango Black Tea w/ notes of Tropical Citrus

Meyer Lemon Black Tea w/ Lime Peel & Lemon grass – UNSWEETENED

Pineapple Berry Blue Herbal Tea w/ Hibiscus & Green Rooibos

Passion Tango Herbal Tea w/ Hibiscus & Cinnamon

 

I love the packaging- the shape of the bottle, the label colors and cleanliness of the product design. Often times Nutrition facts on food/drink products are small and hard to read, but for these beverages I feel like I know exactly what I’m drinking. I appreciate that.

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Each of the flavors are ones that I am familiar with. The only one I have not had before is the Meyer Lemon Black Tea w/ Lime Peel & Lemon grass. The other three (Mango, Pineapple Berry, and Passion Tango) I have purchased in Teavana before as a loose leaf tea. One advantage about the packaged beverages is the levels of sweetness. When I brew my tea myself I can sometimes over sweeten them. So with the bottle package and pre made tea it is made to perfection.

P.S. If you see these in store or see any other flavors send me pictures, plzzzzzz!


Deal of the Week: JK Tea Shop

Tea

6% off all Green Tea

Free Shipping on any order 

Amazing Tour of “The Old City”

Hello Passionistas!

 

During my trip to Israel, I was privileged with the opportunity to tour “The Old City” of Jerusalem. There are no words to describe this experience. There was so much history, pride and culture in the atmosphere. I was amazed to see how multiple groups of people lived (and still live) together in PEACE.

The day started with meeting tour guide at the hotel and traveling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is like an hour drive.

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We started the tour at the “Tower of David” which is the highest point for The Old City. From the top of the tower you can lookout to the entire city. Being at the top of this tower was so quiet and peaceful. We spent almost an hour at the top enjoying the sunlight, as the tour guide told several of the most interesting stories that took place in this tower over the years.

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The tour was very interactive and the guide allowed us to make decisions of how we wanted to spend the day. So after the Tower of David, we walked the walls of the Old City from one side to the other. Our next stop was to visit King David’s tomb and the Room of the Last Supper.

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The tomb of King David sits in a room that is divided, women enter on one side and men enter on the other due to religious reasons. This is a main attraction in The Old City, people come to pray at the tomb of David.

 

The Room of the Last Supper is was not what I expected. I expected it to be fully furnished with the a long table and painting on the walls, with dark dem lighting. But it was actually a bright empty room, only decorated with the details in the walls and the first trend of stained glass art.

Our next stop was to the main street of the city, which is historically known as the market. Here, we were able to see a masonic version of the map of The Old City. Over the years, artist have sought out to preserve the history od the old city with creating other masonic pieces to showcase how things changed year after year.

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Finally, after almost 5 hours of walking we stopped for lunch. The lunch was amazingly flavorful. Herb and Lemon seasoned Salmon with Rice and cucumber and tomato salad on the side with pita bread and of course I had to have a coke.img_0927

After lunch, we traveled to the Western Wall. There is an amazing story behind the Western Wall and why its such a main attraction. The Western Wall is a support wall of Mount Moriah. People go to the Western Wall to pray and reflect. There is a tradition that  you write a prayer on a little slip of paper and put it in the cracks of the wall. When the wall is full, the notes are pulled from the wall (but never read) and buried.

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We decided that our last stop of the day would be the Via Dolorosa, known to be the place Jesus was crucified. This stop must have been the most emotional moment of the whole day. The feeling was so powerful and inside I felt all types of emotions.

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When you first walk inside, there is a rock. This is the rock where Jesus body was laid after he was brung down from the cross. People come here to kneel and pray. Also it is popular for tourist to place items of value on the rock for good blessings things like wedding rings, prayer cloths, wallets, pictures or any other items of special value.

Inside the Via Dolorosa is the tomb Jesus was placed in for 3 days. I don’t want to get too biblical, but the bible states that Jesus was buried outside of the Old City. So, how can the tomb now be inside the Via Dolorosa, which is inside The Old City. After the burial and rising of Jesus, The Old City continued to grow. It grew to the point of the Via Dolorosa was build and the tomb was preserved inside. Many people (of all religions) enter this church to pray, fellowship and worship everyday.

If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend that everyone visit The Old City at least once in your lifetime. This is a place where all people, no matter your religion or nationality, are welcomed in peace and exist TOGETHER in peace.

Stay tuned for my next blog of my day in PARIS !!!!!!

Be Passionate! TTYL !

Merry Christmas, Passionistas!

It’s Christmas Day!!!!

I must admit blogmas is a struggle. I started off strong but this season had been so busy for me that I miss and day of two.

Last year my family started the tradition of making gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve.

I purchased my Hershey’s kit from CVS for $7.99

I am a master at this …. look 👀

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Merrry Christmas !!!!!!

Christal’s Cakes N Bakes for the Hoildays (Blogmas Day 17)

Christmas time is here and it is one of my favorite holidays.  It’s not just a time when you get gifts, but it is also a time to enjoy family, friends, and FOOD!  Who doesn’t enjoy or yearn for all those things?

This Christmas one of my closest friends gave me the special gift of posting a guest blog here on PassionLocked.  Let me say first that I want to thank you for this opportunity to share my Christmas joy as well as my business on your blog (:

My name is Christal and I am a self-taught home baker located in Atlanta, Ga.  You can follow me on Instagram @christalscakesnbakes or contact me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/christalscakesnbakes.

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I absolutely enjoy baking.  What I love most about it is that I teach myself everything from measuring to modeling as well as sculpting to decorating.  Today I came to share with you all an easy Sugar Cookie Recipe that will leave you looking like the baddest pastry chef (: So let’s just jump right into it!!

Christmas Sugar Cookies

1 (16.5 oz) Pillsbury Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough

¼ to ½ cup of All Purpose Flour (*see note)

*flour amount depends on how you want your texture

Icing:

4 Cups Powdered Sugar

2 Tbsp Meringue Powder

1 Tsp Vanilla

½ cup hot water

Gel icing colors

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and thaw cookie dough until room temperature.

Step 2: In a large bowl combine the cookie dough and flour until you reach the proper consistency needed to be able to roll with a rolling pin or canned good.

Step 3:  Roll out sugar cookie dough about ¼ of an inch (cookies will spread when baking) and with a cookie cutter cut out your cookies.

Step 4: Place cookies on cookie sheet and cookie for about 8-9 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Step 5: Combine all icing ingredients until fully combined and smooth.  Separate icing into however many bowls for however many colors you are making. (extra hot water may be needed to fine proper icing consistency)

Step 6: With a icing piping bag or a fine tip squeeze bottle carefully icing the cookies designing them in any way you like.  Allow to cool after icing for about 30 minutes

DONE!

I hope that you all enjoyed this simple sugar cookie recipe.  I hope that I was able to help you all out in the kitchen with those holiday desserts.

I absolutely enjoyed being a guest blogger here on PassionLocked and I hope that I will be able to share more post with you all in the future.

If you are in the Atlanta area and in need of a beautiful, reasonably priced and delicious cake, cupcakes or anything sweet please don’t hesitate to hit me up @christalscakesnbakes or www.facebook.com/christalscakesnbakes or email me at christalcakesnbakes@gmail.com

PEACE LOVE AND DESSERT!

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Christmas Dinner Chargers (Blogmas Day 15)

Today, I am back with another cricut project.

I honest can’t believe I never thoguht about this before…. Decorating dinner charger with vinyl to display a personal greeting, quote or image. The closer we get to christmas the more events I have to attend or decorate for. So I have been on pinteret heavy for the last couple of months, looking for ideas.

To make these dinner chargers, I used  a few from my collection. But you can purchase them at Hobby Lobby for like $1.99 (rember to use your 40% off couple). Dollar Tree also sells dinner chargers but it’s hard to find them in store, so you may have to purchase online by the case. I also use the Cricut Design space and transfer vinyl – I had left over from other projects.

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Cookies for Santa Dinner Charger is a great ideas for kids to use Christmas eve night to leave out cookies and milk for santa.

 

 

 

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“Joy to the World” Dinner Charger is a great idea for table setting and dining decor