January 30, 2012

Mingle Monday Blog Hop!

Oh my goodness...
I am still recovering from a great weekend! Adam's sweet little sister, Meredith was in town, and I just love her to pieces! We had a great time enjoying restaurant week on Friday night over dinner and drinks, went wedding dress shopping for her on Saturday (she looked AMAZING in literally everything), and savored an awesome gourmet 3-course dinner last night! I'll be counting the days until we see her next!


I hope you all had an amazing weekend full of fun and the people you love. Did anyone do anything newsworthy? Do tell!


_____________________________________



{ Let's Mingle! }

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


Pretty Pretty Please...

If you could find it in your big heart to pass the Mingle word along... I will love you forever and ever and ever... and ever.

In all seriousness, I truly appreciate each one of you who take an extra minute to go the extra mile for me. I cannot thank you and your sweet generosity enough!

{ Many thanks! }


Mingle 240



_________________________________________________



How To Mingle:



1) Must be a [Life of Meg] follower to participate.

2) Scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the link to enter your blog.

3) Go visit other blogs saying hello from Mingle Monday!

4) Come back to [Life of Meg] and leave an encouraging review of the blogs you visited!!

5) Answer the weekly question...

** What are your Super Bowl plans? **


_________________________________________________

** MINGLE FAIR -- all blog & runs (not commenting) will be removed. **




** Open until Friday at noon! Please spread the word! **
_________________________________________________



You're in for an exciting week of blogging my friends! Coming up this week: Super Bowl party ideas, Valentine's day date ideas, and more! Don't miss out!


Have a great Monday, dolls!





PS - Are you on Twitter? Follow me on the go!! :)

January 24, 2012

Pinterest Projects + Photo Proof

I have been excited to share fun photos and projects with all of you since I finished them last night! As we all know, Pinterest is a big jungle where we can easily get lost in the vibrant colors or general ideas of the pinned photos, and being the blonde that I am, it's easy to get lost when I see shiny pretty things! ;)

So I needed to figure out a system that could help me better organize my Pinterest boards and actually USE what I'm pinning. As I said on Twitter last night, I don't want to just pin to pin, I want to pin to improve/challenge myself.


_________________________


My system is fairly simple.

1) I make sure that I only pin things that I actually think I will use.

2) Clearly name/organize boards so that things are easy to find.

3) Create a board where you can move pinned items to, where your goal is to accomplish those things in a set time frame.

The name of my board? "This Week's Projects" ...clever.

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{ This Week's Projects }



+ Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

These were delicious and such a hit! My inspired recipe on my blog post here.





+ Kitchen Organization

I saw the title "Become More Organized in 2012" and was hooked. This website, Delightful Order, is unreal and so inspirational when it comes to organization.

I tackled the kitchen pantry portion in order to tame my baking supplies. Stopped by Target for some cheap ($2.99 - $3.99) storage containers, shelf organizers ($7.99), and love how good the before and after pictures make me feel! Less stress in the kitchen (my happy place) is so great! Case in point...

{Before}




{After}





+ Weight Loss Visual Motivation

Saw this idea, and knew it was for me. I know it's such a simple, straight forward idea, but I'm a visual learner. Al you need is 2 jars, marbles (each representing 1 pound), and stickers to label the jars however you'd like. Each time you lose a pound you move a marble over into the "Lbs Lost" jar. Love it.

Whenever I see these jars I am reminded of my gol. After losing 5 lbs. i often want to celebrate, but I can't slack because I can see that I still have 20 marbles to go. I loved how these jars turned out, and they have now moved from my living room to my kitchen counter. May the remind me of the healthier lifestyle I am working toward - Woo! :)





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


So there you have it! I'm hoping to move more projects over to my "This Week's Projects" board soon... being productive feels good!


What projects are you working on?



Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

Who out there is a sugar cookie addict like moi?
Well, you guys are in for a treat!! Like you, I absolutely buckle at the knees for a super soft, chewy-in-the-center sugar cookie topped with fluffy frosting. SO... when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I figured it would be fun to tinker with a little bit!

I read over the recipe getting the just of what it was all about. Due to my limited pan availability (who owns a 13x18 pan?), I decided to adapt this recipe to fit my space and high maintenance sugar-cookie-snob needs. I wanted to get it just right!

Naturally, I had to find an occasion to test these delectable treats out, so I was overjoyed when I knew I had our weekly friend gathering of what we call Monday Night Family Dinner.

To say they were a hit is a bit of an understatement judging by the overwhelming oohh's and aahh's as my closest friends dug into these scrumptious gems! I brought the leftovers to work today (to avoid eating 1/4 of the 13x9 inch pan myself), and I've already had 2 people come find me in the office to get the recipe... it's 9 a.m. This recipe is a keeper.

So good luck with trying these out... you may have to enter sugar cookie rehab afterward, so just know you've been warned. ;)


{ Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars }


{pic}


Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 - 3 tablespoons of milk (2 Tbl. if you want thick fluffy frosting)
food coloring (optional)
sprinkles (a must!)

__________________________________________


Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.

3) Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low, just until blended, after each addition.

4) Add vanilla until combined.

5) In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

6) Slowly add dry ingredients while mixer is on low speed.

7) Press the dough into a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake for 15 - 17 minutes.

** Bars should barely be browning on outer edges, but the middle should not look shiny. If shiny, bars are not done yet. **

8) Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, begin frosting/decorating!

__________________________________________


Frosting Directions:

1. Beat the butter until very fluffy and creamy.

2. Add the vanilla to the butter until combined.

3) Begin to add the powdered sugar to the mixture slowly.

4) Gradually add the 2-3 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired frosting constancy. I prefer frostings thick and fluffy, not runny, so I used roughly 2 Tbl. milk.

5) Beat frosting on medium high for 2 minutes or so, until frosting is fluffy and looks utterly irresistable.

6) Spread frosting on cooled bars and decorate with sprinkles

7) Chill in fridge for 30 minutes or so to make them easier to cut. A pizza wheel works wonders at cutting these!


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



Like I said, don't tell me I didn't warn you! ;)


Bon Appetit!



January 20, 2012

Giveaway Winner + 2 Birthday Celebrations!

Happy Friday, Lovelies!
I am sure am thankful that the weekend is finally here... I was about to go crazy! My parents will be in town tonight and tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to a weekend full of fun!

My mom and brother have the same birthday, so we're looking forward to celebrating tonight with a big dinner party. It will be fun to dine with mom/dad, brother/his GF, Adam's parents, and my lovely ginger man.

Did I mention we're going to my favorite restaurant in KC? Yummm....




In other news, I received an overwhelming surplas of e-mails wanting a full review on my healthy Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe that I mentioned yesterday, and I tried/tweaked last night. So here's my review...

So good I could eat them every single day.


{ Yes, recipe coming your way this weekend. Omg. }

____________________________





{ Bondi Band Giveaway Winner... }


MANDY @ Moments Like These!!

_______________

Congrats, Mandy!! Please e-mail me your mailing address so I can mail your new favorite headband! :)

megnificentlife [at] gmail [dot] com
_______________


Thanks to the almost 50 of you who participated in the Bondi Band giveaway this week! Unfortunately, everyone can't win one of these adorable workout headbands, but be sure to browse Bondi Band to order your own! :)


What do you have on your weekend fun agenda?



January 18, 2012

{Giveaway} Bondi Band!

Calling all workout ladies!
Boy have I got a treat for you today! The wonderful people at Bondi Band sent me two workout headbands - one for me to test out, and one for a lucky reader! These bands come in SO many adorable patterns, are elastic, and can be work wide across your forehead or skinny to keep hair back.

Not only are Bondi Band products awesome (I loved mine - see below!), but 10% of their sales profits is donated to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Great product and amazing cause? Yes, please!






These headbands are cute hair accessories when you hit the gym, but they really do work miracles in wicking away sweat and keeping your hair out of your face! Mine stayed in place through an hour long yoga sesh (no sweat in my eyes!) and the next day on my run! I'm a Bondi believer.
They even make customizable Bondi Bands and have some with cute sayings. My favorite? "I run for chocolate!" :)

The giveaway winner will receive the adorable polka dot "Ernie" style Bondi Band headband, so don't miss out!!




_______________________________________________

{ How To Enter }
_______________________________________________


For one entry each, please leave separate comments if you do the following:


+ Tweet about this giveaway
(include the link to your tweet in the comments)

+ Follow Life of Meg on Twitter

+ Follow Bondi Band on Twitter

+ Like Bondi Band on Facebook

+ Include a blurb about this giveaway (including giveaway URL link) in a post
(please leave the URL to your blog post)


** Must be a [Life of Meg] follower to win! **
_______________________________________________



Who's excited? Just talking me about Bondi Band makes me want to go shop for more cute patterned headbands! Not to mention they lots of great deals for buying mutliple headbands. Shop here!

Winner will be announced this Friday!


Good Luck Dolls!





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PS - In case you missed the Mingle Monday/Tuesday blog hop yesterday, go check it out (open until Friday)! Get your blog some exposure and find some other great blogs!
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January 17, 2012

Mingle {Tuesday?} Blog Hop

Welcome back to Mingle... err... Tuesday?!
I apologize for the abscence of Mingle Monday yesterday and appreciate all the many e-mail and comments I got wondering if I was okay. I'm glad to know so many of you are enjoying this blog hop, and that it's helping your individual blogs! Makes my heart so happy! :)

The reason I was MIA yesterday? I had MLK off for a holiday, so I had zero computer access! Don't worry, we'll make up for it today!

After my car basically went ka-pooie this weekend, I spent all weekend SUV shopping. Let me just tell you, I've enjoyed having no car payment for ther last few years, so this whole surprise situation and process has been a wee bit stressful! Don't worry, my new speed demon is out there somewhere... I just know it! ;)


_____________________________________



{ Enough with me... Let's Mingle! }

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


Pretty Pretty Please...

If you could find it in your big heart to pass the Mingle word along... I will love you forever and ever and ever... and ever.

In all seriousness, I truly appreciate each one of you who take an extra minute to go the extra mile for me. I cannot thank you and your sweet generosity enough!

{ Many thanks! }


Mingle 240



_________________________________________________



How To Mingle:



1) Must be a [Life of Meg] follower to participate.

2) Scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the link to enter your blog.

3) Go visit other blogs saying hello from Mingle Monday!

4) Come back to [Life of Meg] and leave an encouraging review of the blogs you visited!!

5) Answer the weekly question...

** What is YOUR dream car? **


_________________________________________________

** MINGLE FAIR -- all blog & runs (not commenting) will be removed. **







** Open until Friday at noon! Please spread the word! **
_________________________________________________



ALSO... stay tuned for tomorrow's big giveaway! Those of you who love working out/yoga/running/you-name-it, this one's for you!!!


Happy Tuesday! Enjoy hoppin' around!





PS - Are you on Twitter? Follow me on the go!! :)

January 13, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Congratulations... we've made it to Friday!!
Let me just tell you, not only am I looking forward to a wonderful weekend, butI'm loving that I have Monday off to relax/bake/watch movies/workout/craft. It sounds oh-so-good! ...not to mention my Saturday spa day plans - woop woop!

Well in case you are needing an extra tasty recipe to try over the weekend... this is a delicious one just for you!

I made these tasty little morsels last weekend when I noticed on overflow of over-ripe bananas. I am such a picky banana eater (bright yellow, and more on the green side for me!), so as soon as there are hints of brown spots, they get thrown into my freezer stash for later banana baking projects!

As always, BF was so excited that I made these when he came over before church last Sunday. I am pretty positive he popped 3-4 of these suckers before we could get a move on!


{ Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins }





Ingredients

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil (sub no sugar applesauce for lower cal/fat)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek yogurt)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup ripe bananas (mashed)
1 1/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips


Directions


1) In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside

2) In stand mixing bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla.

3) Stir in the dry ingredients just until moistened. Do not over mix! This produces tough bread-like muffins.

4) Fold in bananas and chocolate chips by hand.

5) Grease muffin tin or use mini muffin liners. Fill muffin cups to 2/3 full.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow muffins to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.


Yields: Approx. 36 mini muffins

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



Happy baking, friends! I am pretty excited to keep using my banana stash and try this yummy Lime Glazed Banana Coconut Bread (Adam will love me to the moon and back!) that I found saved on my Pinterest boards!

Man, I love baking, which means I get to hit the gym after work! ;)

May your weekend bring you much relaxation, fun, and joy! Catch you back here for the Mingle Monday Blog Hop!


Bon Appetit!



January 12, 2012

S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D

I have been a little MIA this week while on a(n)[overwhelming] business trip... but I'm back... and a little stressed. Just being out of the office for a few days means an overload of demanding e-mails and voicemails. Needless to say, i need to clear my head over my lunch break... hello blog!

I couldn't have picked a better time to have booked my spa day this Saturday! Thanks to the generosity of BF's parents, I will be spending the day getting pampered - massage, facial, steam showers - so ready!! Not to mention the upcoming 3-day weekend! Yes, please.


{ Take me here now! }



.:: Time to Simmer Down ::.



1) FB Purge

Thanks to my blog friend's post, I have the confidence to go through and weed out some of those crazy FB "friends" - aka: crazies, drama lovers, constantly picture posting moms, college classmates that friended me after we did one project together, etc. Oh man, it feels good. Gotta surround yourself with positive loving people, right?


2) Down Time

It's pretty snowy and super cold here in KC, so all I want to do is snuggle up + watch movies. Looking forward to a super mellow date night with my favorite man friend at my house tonight. Crockpot full of turkey chili and a redbox movie is sounding pretty delightful at the current moment... come on 5 p.m.


3) Organization

Do you ever have those days where you can't focus until you have everything cleaned and in it's spot. Pretty sure my office will be a huge afternoon project!


4) A Little Me Time

Hello, Zumba! My gym bag is already packed and I'm hitting up my favorite class after work! Nothing like some awesome jams and some good booty shaking to relieve my work day stress.


5) Remember to Giggle


This blog post CRACKED me up. Things Ariel Taught Me...


Feeling stressed out today too? What's on your mind, friends?



January 9, 2012

Mingle Monday Blog Hop ...is BACK!

Welcome back to Mingle Mondays!
Who missed this little blog hop over the last few weeks?! I know I missed it! Well, it's back to stay and will be back to regular weekly hopping!

So, did everyone have a good weekend? I sure did, but don't they just seem to fly right by? Adam was in our good friends' wedding this weekend, so we were busy!

We had the rehearsal dinner on Friday, the Cotton Bowl watch party late Friday night (unfortunately K-state couldn't pull it out, but congrats Arkansas on a great win!), and an all day wedding pallooza on Saturday.

So Sunday felt nice to relax! I slept in, deep cleaned my house from top-to-bottom, put away Christmas, and baked up a storm (Banana Choc Chip Mini Muffins recipe coming this week!

Adam and I went to the evening service at our church last night and I'm loving the "Love, Sex, Marriage" series that we're doing! After that, we went back to my place where I could make BF his favorites... Chicken Pesto Pasta (recipe coming soon!) and Megnificent Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

...and yes, major GF points were earned! The way to his heart is right through his tummy!


_____________________________________



{ Alrighty... Let's Mingle! }

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


Pretty Pretty Please...

If you could find it in your big heart to pass the Mingle word along... I will love you forever and ever and ever.

In all seriousness, I truly appreciate each one of you who take an extra minute to go the extra mile for me. I cannot thank you and your sweet generosity enough!

{ Many thanks! }




Mingle 240





_________________________________________________



How To Mingle:



1) Must be a [Life of Meg] follower to participate.

2) Scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the link to enter your blog.

3) Go visit other blogs saying hello from Mingle Monday!

4) Come back to [Life of Meg] and leave an encouraging review of the blogs you visited!!

5) Answer the weekly question...


** What are you looking forward to this week? **


_________________________________________________

** MINGLE FAIR -- all blog & runs (not commenting) will be removed. **







** Open until Friday at noon! Please spread the word! **
_________________________________________________



Happy Monday, you wild party animals!





PS - Are you on Twitter? Follow me on the go!! :)

January 5, 2012

Love What You Do

I just received word that an article I had been chosen to be interviewed for was published in a major Kansas City magazine, and my heart couldn't be happier. Not only does that make me beam from a personal and professional angle, but more importantly I saw how my work effects people in need.

As many of you know I am proud to be a staff member of the nation's largest cancer organization, where every single day I get, yes get, to work with the bravest cancer patients, the most amazing healthcare systems, and the most giving volunteers.




The article featured my cancer patient ride assistance program that I direct here in the Kansas City area, and we are aiming to boost our volunteer drivers. I have received several phone calls already this morning from people genuinely excited to help people by volunteering.

But more importantly, I was reminded in the article that the work I've put into this program helped offer more than 800+ rides to cancer patients in need to an from their life-saving treatments this last year.


Now THAT is what I call pure sunshine.


I love that quote from Steve Jobs above, because it's so true. Everything we do makes a huge difference, so find what you're passionate about, be brave, and just go for it.

So very thankful to love what I am doing each and every day, very blessed to have been a caregiver for two cancer surviving parents, and very happy to be able to help provide the same love and support to other families who have been in my shoes.


Today rocks!



January 3, 2012

Let's Get Real

Welcome to 2012, friends!
I hope you all are recovering nicely from such a wonderful whirlwind holiday season! It was absolutely wonderful, lots of great memories man, and fun had, but I am very happy and excited to welcome the new year!

This weekend was an absolute blast that went a little something like this...

.:: NYE ::.


homemade pizza + music videos + dancing + wine pong + midnight kiss
sleeping in + yummy cinnamon rolls + BRGR + settlers of catan
BF's parents house + oklahoma state victory!





...pretty epic weekend. I love getting to spend so much time with Adam. That boy makes me smile!

So naturally, now that the holidays have passed and the new year is here, it's resolution time for this girl. I need a swift kick to the pants, that's for sure!


.:: My 2012 Goals ::.


1) Be Prepared

I tend to be what one would call a "snoozer". I love that snooze button of mine. I once gave it up for lent and thought I was going to die. To die. True story. Needless to say, I can snooze in the morning as long as I have everything ready to go. No more morning chaos... it doesn't make for a happy Meg.


+ Lunches packed the night before
+ Healthy/fresh snacks prepared
+ Do laundry start to finish
(I'm really good at starting... not so good at finishing)
+ Pick out my outfit the night before
+ Have my work bag ready



2) Be Punctual

Work. Friend functions. Dates. Zumba class. Despite my terrible morning road rage, I can't seem to plow through cars to get to downtown. Perhaps I should follow goal #1 to be successful with goal #2? Brilliant. I vow to leave extra early and take pride in being calm and punctual.


3) Be Healthy

I'm telling you, MyFitnessPal is rapidly changing my life with free calorie tracking, health/diet assessment, and accountability. Join me! I've already weight, and I'm inspired daily by my healthy lifestyle living friends!

Now that the holidays are out of the way, I can really hunker down and focus! Try it out and be amazed too! You can friend me: LifeofMeg


4) Be Brave

Expressing how I feel. Trying something new. Letting selfish friends go. Do things that scare me. This year I am going to be brave and step outside of my comfort zone. I want to do things this year with passion, honesty, and courage.

One of my biggest Be Brave goals? I will run a half marathon in 2012.
No matter how hard training is, or how lazy I want to be, I will do it. I've set the date - October 20, 2012 - and I have the world's best running buddy... Adam. We can accomplish anything as long as we do it together.


5) Be Organized

Whether it's my office or my kitchen pantry, I know that messy craziness just stresses me out to the max. I know that I always sleep better when everything is in it's spot, things are well labeled, easy to find, and I have a plan. A few ideas that I'm excited to get started with...


+ closet re-do
+ lots of hooks to hang coats/scarves
+ weekly meal planning
+ storage and cabinet organization
+ work game plans and strategies



6) Be Love

Life is not about me. Life is not about me. I need to repeat that to myself in the mirror every morning. I need to open my eyes and see all of the broken people in this world. I have been so blessed, and there is no reason why I can't give more back. Be love and light to people in need.

Even the people around me everyday that could use just a hug or a smile. So often I get caught up in me and my day, that I fail to see how I can make the day a little brighter for others...

+ more handwritten notes
+ host get togethers
+ phone calls to long distance friends
+ random acts of kindness
+ baking treats for co-workers
+ listening when others need to talk
+ less road rage
+ selflessly love BF better
+ visit home more


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



What are your 2012 goals, my friends?!



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