January 30, 2014

Help Fight Cancer in 30 Seconds

Do you have a friend or family member who is battling cancer?
Perhaps your know a brave survivor or lost someone you love to this awful disease?

I have lost my brother's childhood friend, my uncle, my aunt, my co-worker, countless acquaintances. I have helped take care of both of my parents while they were going through their own battles. I work with cancer patients every single day, and I have even had my own personal scares.

But this is our turn to fight back in 30 seconds or less, and I know you can join me!




Chevorlet has generously partnered with the American Cancer Society in pledging to donate $1 to every single profile picture (both Facebook and Twitter) that is "purpled" through their website. It literally took me 15 - 30 seconds, it's that EASY!

So if you can spare 5 days of your profile photo being purple, we can celebrate World Cancer Day on February 4th and help raise millions to help people. The American Cancer Society is incredible and does so many things you may not even know about...

+ FREE wigs and hats are given to cancer patients in need
+ the Road to Recovery program offers FREE rides to treatment for those needing help
+ Hope Lodges across the nation offer FREE lodging to out of town patients/caregivers
+ they match patients up to a survivor mentor through Reach to Recovery
+ offer help with insurances and finances at no cost
+ they have patient navigators to help patients through the call in number 365 days a year
+ provide educational materials and support groups to the community
+ funds on-going cutting edge cancer researchers, many who have won the Nobel Peace Prize
+ and SO much more!


So will you join me to Purple Your Profile in honor or in memory of someone you love?
I mean what's a few days when you can help end this fight for good!





Please help me spread the word! :)


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January 22, 2014

Minneapolis - Recommendations Needed!

I'm off to lovely, tropical Minnesota this weekend where the projected high is a whopping 10 degrees. My cousin, Tracy, says I'm the only one brave enough to visit Minneapolis in the dead of January. 

Good thing crazy is my middle name.

Regardless of the chilly temps, I couldn't be more excited for long talks over coffee, snuggling 6-month-old Norah, baking cookies, and new adventures with my favorite documentary loving friend.

I also really want to check off snow shoeing on my bucket list, so we'll see if we can make that happen. 




So tell me, have you been to Minneapolis/St. Paul before? 
I'd love the scoop on the best of the best that the city has to offer.


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


Perhaps you know a cozy cafe that we have to try or some great local restaurants/shopping?


Side note...
Anyone who replies will automatically be entered to win a 2 week cruise to the Bahamas, a van full of puppies wearing pink berets, and Starbucks skinny mochas for life.

{or just a really nice thank you e-mail?}


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PS - I am FINALLY hip and with it (or so I like to pretend) and now Life of Meg is on Facebook! Jump on over there to keep up with me on the go!

January 21, 2014

Sometimes It's Okay to Be a Bad Blogger...

So, yesterday was Monday and many of you expected to stop by for the weekly Mingle Monday link-up. Except when you stopped by, you noticed no link-up was live...

...and there was a reason for it.

This weekend I was so focused on trying to be present that I simply let not posting roll for the first time in years. And at first, I felt a little guilty or that I had failed my lovely readers, but the truth was that I simply needed a little break.

As bloggers we spend a lot of time investing our creativity and time into our work. We dedicate hours to crafting genuine blog posts, taking photos, editing, and finally publishing. We answer our bloggers comments, encourage our fellow bloggers, and utilize social media.

It's a lot of hard work, and sometimes it feels a little exhausting.
Have you been there before?




Many of us all have full time jobs on top of blogging, so after we've been working all day, we choose to carve out even more time to dedicate to our favorite hobby. And more time means less time for other things. Important things. Things that sometimes need to be a priority.

But the truth of it all?
Sometimes I get so caught up in an obligation to blog that I forget to be present and soak in the little moments. I get lost in the pressure.

Do you know what I did on Sunday night instead of working on my blog post?
   - I spent quality time with my husband just talking a reading books curled up with each other.
   - I relaxed.
   - I played with our puppy.
   - I went to bed early.

It was heaven and absolutely needed.

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

So after thinking about the unrealistic expectations we as bloggers put on ourselves, I wanted to share a few truths that encourage me, and hopefully inspire you too...


1) Be present.
We spend a lot of time making sure we have photos to document our weekend, that we forget to enjoy the moment we are actually photographing. It' great to have beautifully visual blog posts that tell great stories, but what is a blog post compared to making memories. Isn't that the point, to document memories? There is definitely a fine balance, and I confess that it's tough to find, but is very necessary.


2) You don't have to keep up with the Joneses.
It's hard for me as a blogger to see perfectly crafted posts 5 days a week from my fellow blog friends, and not feel obligated or pressured to do the same. The truth of the matter? These bloggers are fantastic. They should be proud of their work and readership, but what I need to remember is that some of them do this for a living. This is their full time job, and they have been doing this a lot longer than I have.

I've also come to the realization that I can only do what I can do. After all, I am my own boss, right? I want to blog inspired. To share what I care about when I feel like blogging. I don't want to simply throw things together to say that I posted something that Thursday.

I want to focus on quality over quantity. To set my own goals and stop comparing myself to others. To strive toward posting not only great things and gorgeous photos I worked hard to capture, but to also strive to be transparent with the fact that I am not perfect. So set your own rules and goals and let that pressure go.


3) You are good enough.
The beautiful thing about blogging is that your blog is your baby. Your creative space. Your getaway. It's so easy to get lost in the hub bub of seeing bigger blogs with thousands and thousands of followers and feeling like an amateur in comparison. But you know what? It truly doesn't matter. This is my blog, and it's good enough for me. As long as I am creating, sharing, and growing, I have accomplished my goal. And if people choose to experience my adventures with me, well that is a very sweet and flattering bonus.

But remember, you are good enough. I mean, do you know that many people brave enough to bare their hearts and share about their life for all to see? It takes courage and dedication to do what you do. So take heart and be proud of the confidence you have to share. You keep doing you!


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


So there you have it... sometimes it's okay to be a "bad blogger".
I think we all could use a little reminder to keep living life and doing what you're doing.


Just be the best YOU that you can be.


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January 17, 2014

The Ultimate Cardio Playlist

Whether you made some healthy living resolutions for the new year, or just need a little boost to your current workout tunes, I have the best playlist to share with you!

I am definitely inspired by fun, girly, upbeat tunes that just make me want to dance.
As long as I'm having fun at the gym or out on a run, I can easily stay motivated by awesome, powerful songs.

Definitely a few (okay, a lot...) of guilty pleasures on here, but I hope you enjoy and share with your favorite workout buddies! I've also linked them to YouTube for your convenience, so you can listen before you add them to your current cardio mix!




Don't Wake Me Up - Chris Brown
It's Time - Imagine Dragons
Die Young - Ke$ha
Don't Stop the Party - Pitbull
I Like How it Feels - Enrique Iglesias
I'm All Yours - Jay Sean
I Cry - Flo Rida
We Found Love - Rihanna
Waka Waka - Shakira
Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson
C'Mon - Ke$ha
#thatPOWER - Will.i.am
The Other Side - Jason Derulo
I Love It - Icono Pop
Sweet Nothing - Calvin Harris
Here's to Never Growing Up - Avril Lavigne
Alive - Krewella
Tonight I'm Getting Over You - Carly Rae Jepsen
Still Into You - Paramore
Is This Love - Alex Gaudino
Raise Your Glass - Pink
Right Now - Rihanna
Back to Love - DJ Pauly D & Jay Sean
Domino - Jessie J
Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia
Where Them Girls At - David Guetta
Starships - Nicki Minaj
Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
We Run the Night - Havana Brown
Live It Up - JLo
My Life's A Dream - Atwater Men's Club
Chloe - Emblem3
It's Alright - Matt and Kim
Clarity - Zedd
Wake Me Up - Avicii
Closer - Tegan and Sara
Safe and Sound - Capital City
Roar - Katy Perry
Stay the Night - Zedd & Hayley Williams
Take Care - Drake
Wrecking Ball - Mylie Cyrus
I Choose U - Timeflies
Timber - Pitbull & Ke$ha
Burn - Ellie Goulding
The Monster - Eminem & Rihanna
Some Nights - Fun
Move, Shake, Drop - DJ Laz & Flo Rida
Love Somebody - Maroon 5
Best Song Ever - One Direction
Wavin' Flag (Coca Cola Remix) - K'NAAN
Brave - Sara Bareilles
I Like It - Enrique Iglesias
Marry Me - Jason Derulo
The Beat - Ben Rector
Titanium - David Guetta
Dance Again - JLo and Pitbull
Wild Ones - Flo Rida
Give Me Everything - Ne-yo & Pitbull
Run the World (Girls) - Beyonce
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Fergie
Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Work B**ch - Britney Spears
Pompeii - Bastille
Evacuate the Dance Floor - Cascada
We R Who We R - Ke$ha
Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry
Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga
Sweet Disposition  - The Temper Trap


// Did I miss any of your favorites? // 
Let me know - I'd love to add some new tunes!


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

Get your workout on, girls!

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January 14, 2014

Disney World or Bust!

44 days, folks. Just 44 sweet, sweet days stand in my way. My tummy is full of butterflies and I feel like I'm a giddy little 8-year-old girl again.

Why you ask...
We're heading to Disney World.

Yes, in less than 6 weeks, I will be in sunny Florida with hubbers celebrating our first anniversary at Disney World. The two of us are absolutely kids at heart and we are so excited to go on a new adventure together.

We've already booked our resort, mapped out the parks, made an agenda, booked our reservations at the top rated restaurants, and now we're just counting the days. Somebody pinch me. Is this real life?



Adam and I have always talked about going to Walt Disney World someday before we have kids (and then we can go back again! haha), and the stars all lined up for us to go for our very first anniversary trip. We plan to spend 5 days or so inside the various parks, lazy afternoons by the pool when we need a break, and just quality time with each other.

Honestly, I can't think of a more magical, whimsical, fun place to adventure with my love!

We are going to be the total kids at heart that we are and explore every wonderful thing Disney has to offer. And have I mentioned that my hubs is an awesome planner? That man has done his research on what time of the year to go and what park to visit on which day. 

We've had a blast handpicking the best gourmet restaurants with atmospheres and menu that look to die for! I mean who wouldn't want to do an African wine flight as the lights imitate the sunset at the Animal Kingdom Lodge's acclaimed Jiko, or share exotic desserts while watching fish swim all around you at Epcot's Coral Reef




After reading several Disney food blogs, I have a few Disney treats on my list too (can anyone say Dole Whip?!)! And you know we're totally going to taste test our way through Epcot too. Good thing we'll be walking a lot! 



So tell me, have you been to Disney World lately? 
Do you have any tips or tricks for us? 
Maybe your favorite food or restaurant at each of the different parks?


We'd love to hear your recommendations! 


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PS - Don't forget to link-up and gain new readers ALL WEEK at my Mingle Monday Link-Up!



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January 13, 2014

Mingle Monday Link-Up!

Oh man, I am dragging today after a jam packed super fun weekend!
Don't you worry, I stopped to grab a skinny mocha on my way in to downtown this morning, so the caffeine is slowly kicking in - thank sweet 8 pound baby Jesus!

So this weekend we celebrated a belated Christmas with my mom's side of the family. They all live 3 hours away, so they had a blast coming up to see us in Kansas City. We has fun catching up, ate too much delicious food, enjoyed a White Elephant gift exchange, and discovered the world's best board game!

It was so much fun catching up with everyone, but Adam and I were both exhausted on Sunday. I had brunch with my girlfriends, did a little shopping with my Christmas gift cards, and then lounged with the hubs as we enjoyed the Golden Globes in our jammers.

Loved it.



So there it is in a nutshell - let's get mingling!


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

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


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What national land marks or famous places do you want to visit? **






____________________________________________________________________________________________


Lots of fun things coming at you this week (finally on top of things!!!)
It's going to be a great week. 


Have a spectacular, caffeine laden Monday!


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January 7, 2014

Easy Skillet Apple Pie

Looking for a super simple dessert that you can whip together on a whim and impress the masses?
This Easy Skillet Apple Pie is definitely the one for you, trust me!

The apples are perfectly plump and juicy, sugars all caramelize to form the most delicious flavor, and the flaky sugared crust tops this off for a culinary home run. A definite must try. In fact, my husband said it's the best thing I've baked in the last 6 months... and I bake a lot of things!

I was home all curled up on a chilly day last week, and I thought I would be score some wife points by making a warm baked treat for my hubs. I knew I had some apples that were going to go bad in the next few days, and a package of pie crust leftover from a quiche recipe I never attempted. Voila, my inspiration.

So I set out to find something easy, that had amazing reviews, and that I could tinker with slightly... and here's what I came up with! It's a must make, so be sure to save this one for a party crowd pleaser or just a rainy day.




{ Easy Skillet Apple Pie }
Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients:


  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples
  • 5-6 Honeycrisp (or other sweet varieties) apples
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning or nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • A pinch or two of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • package of refrigerated piecrusts
  • egg white 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Caramel ice cream
Directions:

  1. 1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  2. 2) Peel apples, and cut into thin slices of 1/2 inch pieces. Mix sugar, cinnamon, spice, and pinch or two of salt together in a small bowl. Toss apples with mixture until well coated.

  3. 3) Heat cast iron skillet (10 inch works well!) over medium heat and melt butter. Once butter is melted, immediately add brown sugar to the skillet while stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Sugar will dissolved and the mixture will begin to thicken. 

  4. 4) Remove the skillet from heat and lay 1 piecrust in the skillet over the brown sugar mixture. 

  5. 5) Spoon apple mixture into skillet on top of piecrust and then top the apples with the remaining piecrust. 

  6. 6) Whisk egg white until it becomes foamy and light. Using a pastry brush, paint on egg white on top of piecrust and then lightly sprinkle the tablespoons of sugar on top. Cut 6 slits in the top piecrust for steam to escape during baking

  7. 7) Place skillet in the oven for 1 hour and then carefully place a loose sheet of aluminum foil on top of the piecrust to shield from over browning, and let cook for 8-10 more minutes. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before serving. Serve the apple pie warm from the skillet with a scoop of caramel ice cream on top (our fave!).

Bon Appetit!


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PS - Don't forget to link-up and gain new readers (OPEN ALL WEEK) at my Mingle Monday Link-Up!



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January 6, 2014

Mingle Monday Link-up!

Why hello, happy Monday to you! Better late than never, right?
My alarm may have gone off hours ago, but I just can't wake up today. I blame the chilly weather... I mean -25 degree windchill? Brrrr.

Anyway, I had a fantastic weekend once I got past feeling crummy for a day or so. Friday I stayed in bed and snuggled with the Beast while sipping warm drinks. When I started to feel better, I made a delicious skillet apple pie (recipe coming tomorrow) that was seriously to die for!

On Saturday we slept in and I started learning my fancy new sewing machine! Later in the day we had our friends over to watch the Chiefs (sad game...) and hang out. Sunday morning we braved the massive amount of overnight snow to hit up some church and do some brunching.

We figured while we were out we'd catch Saving Mr. Banks (amazing movie - go see it!), and came home to shovel the driveway and make snow angels. Sunday evening was mellow, and relaxing - I indulged in some Downton Abbey, while underneath a massive pile of blankets.





There you have it! Let's mingle, folks!


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

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


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What are your favorite ways to stay warm and enjoy the chilly temps? **






____________________________________________________________________________________________


Like I said before, I have lots of good things coming at you this week, including...

+ easy skillet apple pie recipe
+ our anniversary vacation plans
+ new workout playlist
+ cozy couture headwrap giveaway!

It's going to be a great week.


Make it a good one!


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January 3, 2014

Thankful + Weekend Wishes



Today I am thankful for hot green tea, gifted snowflake cuppies, Beast snuggles, and sweet texts from hubbers checking on me all day. Here's to hoping I can kick this yucky bug and enjoy a restful weekend. 

In case you missed it this week...

+ mingle monday weekly link-up
+ 2013 in review
+ cheers to new adventures


Wishing you a weekend full of lazy mornings and hot flaky pastries.

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PS - Brand spanking new Facebook page has finally launched. Keep up with Life of Meg via Facebook HERE!



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January 2, 2014

Cheers to New Adventures

Well, my friends, 2013 was a heck of a year!
I lived vicariously through the year's beautiful memories in this post on New Year's Eve, and it was so fun looking back.

Now, that we've let the champagne freely flow (and trust me, I mean freely. flow.) and rang in the new year surrounded by people we love, it's time for a fresh start. And I welcome it with open arms.

I know there are so many people who view New Year's resolutions as cliche and empty. But you know what? I secretly love them. I thrive off of the grace that a clean slate has to offer. For me, the new year is a time to refocus, let things go, and move on to new adventures.

The hubs and I were discussing ambitions for the next year while we laid in bed last night - and wow - love that man. It's so easy to share my heart with him, as he is the world's best listener. Thankful for the support and inspiration he offers my crazy ideas and dreams.

So I come to you today refreshed, motivated, and with a pocket full of plans for new adventures.
Here's what 2014 brings...



My Word for 2014:  Adventurous


My adventures:

+ learn to sew
I was graciously gifted the most amazing sewing machine by my parents and hubbers for Christmas. Just staring at it has me both excited and completely terrified, but I am set out to learn how to sew and tackle one project a month, and boy is my list growing!

+ baking/cooking goal
After reading one of my absolute favorite blogs, I just loved this idea. To create something new each month. I want to tackle recipes that intimidate the heck out of me. Things that seem daunting or that I quite simply never made time to try. Stay tuned...

+ slim down 
I was doing very well staying healthy last year as our impending wedding helped keep me accountable with eating clean and working out. After the wedding, I easily packed on 5 lbs. alone in honeymoon pina coladas (worth it), and then allowed myself to easily add another 15-20 pounds over the year by making indulgent dinners for my new hubby, and letting his man portions influence what I put on my plate. I simply want to feel like my healthier self again.

+ organize/simplify
More is less, and what the Evans household absolutely needs is more less. Looking forward to a mess free home with less stuff and more heart.

+ blog better
I absolutely love this little diary of mine with all of my might. There are times when I feel like my creativity is too big to be contained, and other times where I feel defeated and burn out. This year, I want to become a better blogger. A passionate blogger. A blogger who is true to herself through and through. To blog from my heart and record life's precious blessings and moments, but not out of obligation. I want to grow as a blogger, and have this blog be an honest reflection of my life.


Our adventures:

+ be active 
We have come up with a plan where both of us can enjoy being active and working out together. The two of us have come up with a great plan to repurpose the dead space in our loft for our own home gym. Our little sitting room with a treadmill wedges into it isn't quite cutting it. Looking forward to having multiple ways to workout from home when the gym is packed and we're feeling lazy. Accountability and team effort is key.

+ explore local
Our dear friends from Colorado started this amazing idea years ago. Each year they pick a category (ie: restaurants, attractions, etc.) and try something new within their city monthly. Adam and I are absolutely in love with Kansas City, but there are so many nooks and crannies left to be discovered. This weekend we have devised a plan to make our list, and I know we'll get to do some great adventuring together.

+ save
Our wedding, unexpected home repairs, holiday, etc. have taken a toll on our savings, and we're ready to get back on budget and simplify. With the dream of a future new home in mind, Adam and I are motivated.

+ community & service
Over the next year, the goal of continuing to foster community and friendships is at the forefront of our mind. We love welcoming friends to our home once a week when we do Monday Family Dinner, and want to continue loving on people and making new friends. We both have a passion for service, so whether we are giving our time and love to our friends, family, church, or volunteering, it's so lovely to grow and pursue this together.


.:: What goals are you looking forward to tackling this new year? ::.


Looking forward to many adventures in 2014!


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PS - Brand spanking new Facebook page has finally launched. Keep up with Life of Meg via Facebook HERE!



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