July 6, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Good Morning!
Welcome back back to the weekly grind. Did everyone have ultra relaxing long weekends? Who did something fun?

Well we rolled back into town last night from a super chill weekend at the family cabin. We stayed up too late, made some killer cocktails, played games, floated around on a raft that looked like an island, slept in, and generally had way too good of a 4th!

Glad you're here, and so thankful that I've had time off to get re-inspired! Can't wait to share fun photos and more this week... stay tuned and thanks for being patient while I've been drowning a bit in my real work life! :)

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:

** Best movie you've seen recently? **


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June 29, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Thank goodness you are sticking with me this past month...
I have been working 60 hour work weeks, have had crazy on-call rotations, and by the time I get home I leave posts unfinished with no time/energy to do what I love.

Have you been there before?

Yup, it's exhausting and discouraging, but I am finally off my on-call rotation and have plenty of time to get back to what I love doing. Thanks for being there with me through the peaks and valleys... you guys are the best!

I hope you will follow me on the fly via Instagram (@life_of_meg)! Instagram is by far my favorite social media and I love, love, love connecting and sharing on there!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:

** What are your 4th of July plans? **


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June 22, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Good Morning!
Thanks for swinging on by to link-up even though I've been pretty MIA the last week. I guess that's what working 60+ hours and being on call does to a gal... I could barely do much more than work, make a sandwich, and crash. I even fell asleep at 8pm in my work slacks last week.

Real talk, folks.
Thank sweet little 8 pound baby Jesus, you're still sticking with me! Finally back in the groove this week and can't wait to blog it up! And catch up on YOUR blogs!

Hey, are you an insta fanatic too? Let's connect! Follow me on the fly via Instagram (@life_of_meg)!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What is the darnest thing you've ever heard a kid say? **

// Last week a little 4-year-old came up to me and said, "My dad has to drink tea so he can go poo in the toilet!" You should have seen the mom's face.... major TMI - haha! //




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June 15, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Good morning, lovelies!
Welcome back from the weekend. I am slowly in the process of getting properly caffeinated enough to handle a Monday, but thankful for a wonderful weekend road tripping to see my besties!

What were you guys up to this weekend? Any notable highlights?

I'm excited to catch up (I'm a wee bit behind on my blog reading... possibly by 7+ days - whoops!) and do a little networking myself, so thanks for swinging by. Don't forget that you can catch me on the fly via Instagram (@life_of_meg). Let's connect!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What is your go to way to ease into a Monday morning? **

// To ease into my week, I need mellow coffeehouse tunes, a huge cup of joe, and getting organized with my fave planner! It's the only thing that keeps me sane! //



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June 12, 2015

Currently Loving + Weekend Wishes

Lately I've been dreaming about wide open spaces, campfires and toasty smores, an adventurous road trip, and an epic change of pace this summer. I've been caught up in daydreaming about what our next adventure should be, which my heart has been craving, among many other things I can't get enough of.

Here's a little snapshot of what I'm currently loving...

summer in the mountains.

Currently...

listening//
To the latest Of Monsters and Men album released on Tuesday. Can't wait to catch them live in October? Any monster fans out there? This is my favorite song so far...

thinking//
Is it 5 o'clock yet? I am hitting the open road with my better half to go visit my lifelong besties. They all live where I grew up, so it's always fun to go 'home' and to spend way too much fun giggling with them. Bring on the coffee dates, laughing 'til our sides hurt, and finally being together!

buying//
These adorable handmade cards and items from blogger Nicole's amazing Etsy shop. She is the cutest thing ever and I love her whimsical well made creations. Check them out here and use promo code 'LIFEOFMEG' for 10% off your purchase!

eating// 
This delicious recipe for Blueberry Crumb Pie. Hands down, one of my favorite summertime recipes!

watching//  
The train wreck that is the Bachelorette. Every year I tell myself I won't watch, and every year I get pulled into the madness.

dreaming//
Of our next adventure. We are currently debating driving the Pac Coast Hwy from mid-California up to Seattle, or venturing out to Big Sky country to hike Grand Teton National Park and take in the gorgeousness at Yellowstone. More to come on that... 

wanting//
A delicious blackberry lavender snow cone from one of my favorite hidden gems.

wishing// 
I was sitting at a mellow hipster coffee shop, sipping a Spiced Latte in a cozy corner.

reading//
"I'm Having So Much Fun Here Without You" by Courtney Maum.
I picked up this book on our way back from Nashville and it's got me hooked. What are you reading? I love suggestions!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


What are you currently loving?
Happy weekend, y'all!

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June 10, 2015

5 Hacks for Healthy Meals at Home

Yup.
I know the second you read that post title you thought, "Sweet heavens, YES! I love anything that makes the dreaded meal planning routine easier!".

I'm right there with ya, sister!
Let's face it, we are simply busy power women trying to save the world one completed work presentation or diaper change at a time, right? We barely have time to shave our legs, let alone spend hours on planning healthy meals.

And that my friends is why I have recruited my favorite health guru friend, Mariah from Elevate Mobile Fitness, to offer some quick meal hacks for us! 


{original photo}

So, say goodbye to frantically driving through Chick-fil-a last minute and hello to delicious, easy, healthy meals in a snap (and freshly shaven legs due to all the time we just acquired!). May without further delay, I will re-introduce my good friend, nutrition-lover, and trainer, Mariah!

Take it away, lady!


I just moved into a new home after looking at probably 30 houses over the last few months (Whew!). My realtor told us that the single biggest resale factor, when it comes to home improvement projects, is in the kitchen. As in, how many upgrades it has.


And while, yes, I do plan to refinish my cabinets one day, I think that’s kind of interesting that we Americans place such a high value on the appearance of our kitchens when research shows that we’re cooking less than ever.


According to the Washington Post, middle-class Americans now eat at home only 69% of the time as opposed to 92% of the time in the 1960’s. But what’s even more surprising is that out of those meals we do eat at home, only 60% of them are actually cooked at home!


(That’s a LOT of take-out, folks!) ;-)


While I get it that we’re busy, and that not everyone’s into cooking, there is a definite correlation between cooking and healthier eating. And the fact that two-thirds of us hit the drive-through at least once a week is a great example! (Source: http://time.com/3483888/the-truth-about-home-cooking/)


Lucky for you, though, cooking no longer has to take the amount of time that it did in our grandmother’s era (Plus we’re no longer expected to wear high-heels with our aprons!). Here are my Top 5 favorite hacks for preparing healthy meals more often and with less stress:


1) Plan Ahead

That dreaded question—“what’s for dinner?—typically fills us with angst precisely because we haven’t planned ahead. Trust me on this one—if you don’t plan out your meals several days at a time, you’ll be a LOT less likely to spend any time in the kitchen. There are tons of online planning tools to help you with this. (I’m going to give you some specific tools in my exclusive giveaway, which I mention below, so keep reading!) ;-) I love using a chalkboard to list out your weekly menu! Here’s a sample of my own menu board I made with an oversized frame and some chalkboard paint:




2) Keep It Simple
So you gotta plan ahead. But here’s the thing: you don’t need a library of 100 recipes at the ready. Weirdly enough, studies show that the people who stay in shape most consistently actually have relatively low variety in their diet. This surprised me a little when I learned it. But it does make sense on some level—the simpler your routine, the less you have to think about it. 

My suggestion is to decide how many weeks’ worth minimum of recipes you care to have before you can stand to repeat a meal. For me, I keep about 2 weeks’ worth of recipes on a constant rotation, and then change it all up again with the season. (This winter I tried repeating only a week’s worth of recipes for a few months…we did okay but then we admittedly needed a break from all those dishes for awhile!)


3) Get Organized
My favorite tool for saying organized is Trello. I use Trello boards for my business, to-do lists, and for meal-planning. What I REALLY love about using Trello for meal-planning, is that on each card (like a virtual sticky note), you can attach a checklist. So I’ll put a meal idea on a single card, list the URL to the recipe (or the page number of the cookbook) in the description, and then drop in a shopping list of the ingredients needed for that dish. You can even copy that shopping list into a master list for your weekly master shopping list!





4) Outsource Groceries 
This may be the one that makes you go, “Whoa! I’m not that fancy.” But promise you’ll hear me out, okay? Just like studies show that those who eat at home automatically eat healthier (even if they’re not trying), research also shows some pretty startling numbers around the steep hike we pay per meal for either take-out or dine-in restaurants. 

So I say if you’re spending money for take-out at least once a week, you have the cash to hire a high-school or college student to pick up your (healthy) groceries for you once a week. I guarantee you’ll save more than the $20 you pay them—not only from fewer trips to your local Chinese place, but also from all the silly extra’s you would get distracted by if you went to the grocery yourself. (I swear, every time I go to Whole Foods for “just” a salad, I walk away having spent at least $60.)


Like the outsourcing idea but still aren’t sold on having someone do your grocery runs? Subscribe to a local organic produce delivery service, or try a service like Plated or Hello Fresh to order just the pre-measured ingredients you need for your upcoming meals…and let them help with the recipe planning while you’re at it!


{Photos: Hello Fresh and Plated}


5) Make It a Ritual, Not a Chore
Instead of viewing dinner prep as just one more thing on your list, make it an enjoyable time you look forward to. I like to listen to a “Spanish Guitar” channel on Pandora while I cook, enjoying the company of my dogs who are underfoot hoping I’ll drop something good. For me, it signals shutting down my workday (or at least taking a well-deserved break), chatting with my husband, and taking care of our bodies with healthy fuel. Light some candles. Pour a small glass of wine. And fall in love with cooking again after all!


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Okay, folks, those are my Top 5. Sorry this is a little long, but there’s so much I want to share I couldn’t even fit it all in here! But I want to leave you with something extra-special. I launched a limited-time Custom Nutrition Inventory service this summer, which takes enrollees through 8 weeks of personalized tweaks to their existing nutrition habits. It’s so fun! As a part of that program, my clients receive special bonuses like the Elevate Guide to Happy Hour, and the Elevate Guide to Meal-Planning Shortcuts.


Well, guess what! Just for Life of Meg readers, I’m giving you exclusive free access to the Elevate Guide to Meal-Planning Shortcuts, which is a list of resources and planning tools I recommend to get the ball rolling with healthy cooking when you’re in a hurry. I hope you love it! Oh, and shh…you may or may not be able to find the Elevate Guide to Happy Hour somewhere on my website. Just sayin’!  


So grab your Guide to Meal-Planning Shortcuts below! and a huge thank-you for reading this, to Meg for inviting me into her digital space, and to Nicole at Cedar & Rush for the special photo touches!

I want easier meal prep! 


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June 9, 2015

In Case You're Feeling Sassy Today...



// You're welcome. //

Have a sassy day, y'all!
May you break out YOUR inner Aretha! :)

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June 8, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Hey y'all! Welcome back to the weekly grind!
I'm already missing my relaxing weekend - packed full of girl time and hanging with my sister - but this morning isn't too bad as long as I have coffee and tunes. And I am beyond pumped that today is the first game of team USA in the women's World Cup. Any fellow soccer fans out there? 

How was your weekend? Did you have anything noteworthy going on?

Thanks for stopping by to do a little networking! There are so many great blog friends to meet and posts to read - I can't wait! Also, don't forget to follow Life of Meg on Instagram (@life_of_meg) for the latest scoop and daily adventures. I'd love to connect with y-o-u!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What sporting event is on your bucket list? **






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June 4, 2015

Flour Bakery's Famous Banana Bread

I was daydreaming just the other day about the trip we took to the east coast right after we got married. We frolicked around Cape Cod, stayed in a little cottage a few rows from the beach, explored Boston, and of course... hit up Boston's best bakery. Twice.

My sister-in-law, who at the time was a Boston resident, had raved and raved about this bakery, and rightly so. The Flour Bakery cookbook had been on my wishlist for quite some time, but I thought that was nothing in compare to actually going and sampling gourmet made-from-scratch treats.

Although I could've sampled everything in the whole bakery in one sitting (hello stretchy pants!), I kept gravitating toward their hearty, dense, flavorful banana bread. So you can imagine my giddiness when the recipe was nestled right in that very cookbook I had been eyeing. Well, I finally got around to making it and holy guacamole... it's SO good!

This is definitely a must try. Perfect to have around on a lazy Saturday morning, to gift to neighbors, or make for visiting house guests - you can't go wrong!


Flour Bakery's Famous Banana Bread
Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I used approx. 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup & 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 ripened mashed bananas
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream (I used plain greek yogurt!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts chopped & lightly toasted

Directions:

1) Set oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan


2) Whisk together flour, baking, soda, and salt, and set dry mixture aside

3) Beat sugar and eggs for 10 minutes with whisk stand mixer attachment until fluffy. 

4) Mix in oil, bananas, creme fraiche (ie: greek yogurt), and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in dry mixture and nuts. 

5) Pour banana bread batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Bon Appetit!

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June 1, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Morning y'all!
How was your weekend? Did anyone do anything wild or exciting? I spent lots of time with friends and family between game night, zumba with the girls, shopping with my sister, and a summer cookout with the fam. It was bliss, and I'm not quite ready to give up my weekend yet. 

Can anyone tell me why they didn't build in a day between Saturday and Sunday?

Thanks for swinging by to link up, meet some new bloggers, and of course answer my weekly question. I can't wait to hear what you're going to say... maybe I will glean some ideas from you guys and build summer mega list? Yup.

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What is on your summer bucket list? **





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May 27, 2015

Viva Nashvegas

Last weekend's trip to Nashville was the Bomb.com
Some highlights included...

Getting lost looking for antique stores in Franklin
Sipping grapefruit shandy in our favorite beer garden
Hands down the best burger + sweet potato fries we've ever had
Randomly stumbling across Musicians Corner outdoor music festival in Centennial Park
Long walks through the dreamy 12 South neighborhood looking for MIA T.Swift
Sweet tater pancakes at The Pancake Pantry
Checking out the famous Honky Tonks on Broadway
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams grand re-opening {holy Brown Butter Almond Brittle!}
Pretending to be Elvis at RCA Studio B
Scoping out Belle Meade for our dream southern mansion
Drowning ourselves in whiskey caramel lattes and hipster vibes at Barista Parlor
Taking in the hiking views at Lake Radnor State Park
Playing cards while waiting for our turn to fried chicken it up at Loveless Cafe 
Driving through Percy Warner Park forests, windows down, taking in smells of oak and hickory

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Nashville, we see you! They don't call you Nashvegas just for the heck of it, and you sure didn't disappoint. Thanks for the memories - The Evanses will be back {with boots on} soon! 

A very special shout out to the following awesome bloggers who tookt he time to e-mail me awesome suggestions. You will each be receiving a puppy and a lifetime supply of Jeni's! 

Megan @ Chasing Davies
Candace Zarcore
Julie @ Wally & Jules
Rachel @ The Easley Family


What fun trips are YOU excited about taking this summer?

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May 26, 2015

Top 15 Workout Songs That Keep Me Moving

Good morning ya'll! 
I don't know about you gals, but today I'm feeling a little sluggish. As much as I don't feel like getting back into that healthy groove, I think today is a good day for a fresh start... especially post-vacay pallooza.

After being cooped up all winter, I was more than ready to be outside again the first day the sunshine returned. I reached the point where I was tired of justifying that eating a vat of macaroni and cheese (hello comfort food!) and watching 6 episodes of Girls in one night is a necessity.

Do you ever reach that point where being lazy is not fun anymore? 
When that scoop (or three...) of Ben & Jerry's no longer tastes as sweet as you thought, and you're terrified that you're going to break the elastic on your favorite yoga pants that have miraculously survived 7 years post-college?

Yup. I hit that point the first week in April, and feeling it again after a long weekend of vacation indulgences (vacation recap coming tomorrow!). Today I'm very thankful for great weather, renewed motivation, exercise buddies, and this new playlist that keeps me going!




Past Favorite Playlists...


HEREHEREHEREHERE, & HERE (The Ultimate Cardio Playlist)



What tunes keep you moving this month?

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May 22, 2015

Nashville or Bust


"We started to believe our dreams, and we just kept driving right past the exit.
Throwing our cellphones out of the window, yelling at the city goodbye we won't miss you." 

- Avalanche City // "Drive On"

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Time to get lost for a bit.
Happy { l o n g } weekend, adventurers!

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