Rearview Review

2013 In Review:


Friendship: This category was strong. I maintained a solid relationship with the ones who are important to me even though life has taken us in all different directions. Several have moved, several have been through heartbreaks, we’ve all been through the typical buffet line of emotions this year, and all managed to come out clean. It isn’t easy to maintain friendships, as we get older. Am I the only one who feels this way? You really have to work, which is when the phrase, “quality not quantity” really begins to make sense. When I get married, I will probably only have 4 bridesmaids, and that is ok. I have met some new people this year and while I haven’t made any friendships that I feel are solid, I think I will continue to hang out with them in the year to come. You never know where things will go.

Love: This year was not particularly hard for me in this category. I had some dates, “dated” a few guys, had a couple of wild flings—I so wish I could divulge more into those—and then this fall began to spend time with someone I’ve known, very casually, all year. I just spent Christmas with his awesome family and we’ve had some really good times. It is safe to say he has put a nice spin on this year, though I am still getting used to using the word “boyfriend” which has always urked me for some reason. I am in no hurry to escalate things and I don’t think he is either, but I do know if he were to disappear I would probably smile a lot less. That is all I will say about that for now. This new year I am going into this relationship with an open mind and heart. I am just going to enjoy and have fun.

Career: This was by far the most stagnant of categories this year for me. While it was not bad, nothing great happened either. Well, I take that back. I guess the fact that I was blessed with the ability to continue to work when so many others in my company got let go is enough. This upcoming year I hope to possibly advance in my career just a bit though.

Family: This is another category that was quite stagnant. Nothing spectacular happened to or with my family. Everyone is still healthy and kicking though, so once again it would seem “stagnant” is not a bad thing. We were blessed to not lose anyone we loved this year and everyone is going into 2014 with a clean bill of health, and for that I am thankful. In 2014 I would like to spend more time with my nieces. Being 10 and 8 they are at such an impressionable age. They need role models they can trust and look up to and I hope they see me as one.

Everything else is just extra. Finances, blogging, and what have you.

2014, I hope you’re ready. You’ve got a version of Megan coming at you that is happy and determined, and for the naysayers of the world, that is a dangerous version of myself.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A New Year Approaches

I hope y'all are ready for a week of soul-searching, explorative posts. I absolutely LOVE New Years. Not because it is a big party, because as you'll find out, I have never really had a spectacular NYE. I love it because it is a fresh start. You know how people wait until Monday to start a diet or workout? Well New Years Days is like a BIG FAT MONDAY (except it doesn't suck). It is a chance to just start over and try to remedy any mistakes you made last year. The past is left in the previous year.

What was I doing this time last year? Being incredibly unorganized and cramming too much stuff into a few bags so one of my best friends and I could head to Las Vegas to celebrate the New Year. I was also getting over bronchitis. No fun. This post is not about last years trip whatsoever, but I will sum up really quickly for y'all:

My poor friend had no fun on her first trip to Vegas because I was sick as a dog the whole time. No, not hungover, still fighting the bronchitis. What a huge waste of money on both of our parts. I do hope one day she will go to Vegas with me again and give me another shot! (Sorry Jen, if you ever read this.)

Back to the point, the New Year. Am I the only one who feels that we put too much pressure on ourselves to start the year off right? I mean, resolutions and all? It is a lot of stress. I do believe, however, in lists. I think they are easy to follow--though sometimes I have a hard time doing so. There is a checks and balances appeal to them. Sentences or words you've yet to cross of glaring up at you from your adorable little note pad. (Side note- no matter where you write your list, they're all equally hard to follow.)

I came across this article on Facebook and am going to first share it with you via this link, and then I am going to just highlight a few of the points that really spoke to me. Don't get me wrong, I plan to work my ass off to completely revamp the way I live by attempting to bring all of these ideas into my days. No, this will not be something with fast results. In fact, I have a better shot of losing those 20 lbs I also plan to shed in less time. I do however expect, or at the very least hope that by the time 2015 is approaching I will not have to make a list that is this extensive. I will have figured it all out. Now wouldn't that just be lovely. I know life doesn't work that way, and while I am a hopeful human being I am thankfully also a realist. I never get my expectations up--wait is that a good quality? I digress…here we go:

"…Things to Stop Doing to Yourself"

4. "Stop putting yourself on the back burner": I have let many an opportunity pass me by because I was too busy following a "love" to another town or oppositely, staying in a current situation because of a "love" when there were great things hundreds of miles away. Thus far my endeavors, or lack thereof have worked out alright. But how long can I continue to put myself last and expect to keep going on being happy? Not forever, I am afraid. So this year, when an opportunity knocks, I am going to let it in, because let me tell you: there is not one person in my life currently who would put me before an opportunity for themselves. Enough said.

13. "Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons": This is just so so real. How many times have I been scared of ending up alone in life that I stay in a bad relationship? Too many. It is a terrifying thought as we get older. Yes, I know I am only 25, but then you do the inevitable math equations, i.e. "I'm 25 and a half now, I meet him around my 26th birthday, we date for 1-1.5 years, we become engaged, wedding about 1 year later, then kids about 2 years later.." We begin to put so much pressure on ourselves that we think, "F. it. I am just going to settle, because at least if we end up divorced in 10 years I'll have some kids." Yes, I am aware just how AWFUL and PATHETIC and downright NONSENSICAL that sounds. It is all of those things. While that may have been a bit of an extreme example, I know I am not alone in having some of these thoughts or fears. Still, there is no time like the present, so why waste one minute on someone or something you've discovered just isn't going to work for you?

I could probably write an exert about each of these points but this post would be entirely too long. I recommend giving it a read. Something in there may reach out and grab you the way those two above grabbed me. Are you still awake? Yeah, me neither.

I wish you all a Happy and more importantly, SAFE New Years.



Sweet Sunday- Melt-a-Way Cookies

I want to share a sweet recipe with y'all today. This is the perfect cookie recipe. Ok, I know the holidays are over, but who said cookies have to be a holiday specific treat. This recipe makes about 28-30 cookies and they are always a crowd pleaser. The best thing about them is with the icing recipe all you have to do is add different food coloring and you can make them for birthdays, Valentines, Easter, etc…






Let’s get started:

3 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1 1/4 cups Sugar
1 cup Shortening-I like to use the sticks of Crisco, but I remember watching my mom fight with the messiness of scooping it out of a can.
1tsp (I usually add just a tad more) Vanilla-if possible, make sure you buy vanilla from Mexico, it really does taste better. I usually pick it up at the Mexican grocery stores, then again, I am a Texan and I realize those aren’t as abundant everywhere.

Sift together your flour, baking powder, and salt. It is important to sift the ingredients.

Cream your sugar, eggs, vanilla, and shortening and once they’re mixed into a fluffy mixture, begin slowly adding in the sifted dry ingredients. I don’t dump the whole lot in at once, because it makes it entirely to hard to beat and I feel like it does not mix as well, even if you’re using a stand mixer.

Chill the dough for about 30 min in the fridge and get a glass of wine. If you use a hand mixer like me, you’ll be tired.

Spread some flour out on your surface, but not too much, I have found too much extra flour on the dough can make your cookies a little too “doughy”.

Roll it out to a thin to medium thickness (vague, right?) and cut your shapes. You can just do plain round ones with a small glass or use whatever shapes you prefer. I grease a light colored baking sheet with some BAKING cooking spray and put in a 325-degree oven for about 8 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the center. You want to take the cookies out BEFORE they are 100% done. They will continue to bake a little on the warm sheet, and this is what makes them melt in your mouth. Well, that, and the icing. Oooh, this icing.

2 cups Powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
Milk-enough to make it storable, use your judgement 
Food coloring

Mix all together. It should run off of the spoon with the speed of molasses. You don’t want it to be too thick, because it won’t spread. However, if it is too runny you will have a mess. I ice the cookies on wax paper when they are slightly warm so it spreads well. I always make a mess. I call these “ugly” cookies. Let the icing dry completely—I’m talking hours and hours before you stack them. If you don’t they will stick together. If you can avoid stacking them at all, even better.

Then take and brag to all your friends that you make the best cookies ever.


This recipe is my Mother’s and it is a dear family recipe. I hope you enjoy it they way my family has for years and years!!

Quick Hello

I just wanted to do a quick hello post from my phone (I hate blogging this way). I just ordered a blog makeover. I'm really excited about it and can't wait to see it. You may notice some changes as they happen. Let me know what you think! 

I'll be back Monday with some major personal news...I haven't decided if it will be an over share or TMI moment but I can't think of a better place to talk about it. Also, I've got some news regarding my weekly link up, which if you follow you'll notice has been MIA for the last two Thursdays. 

I also want to fill y'all in on my New Years resolutions so maybe someone will hold me accountable. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I'm off to enjoy my last two days of vacation before it's back to work Monday--which I am secretly looking forward too. Call me crazy but I love routine and I don't mind my job so much. 

See y'all Monday. 

Merry Christmas




Hello all! I wanted to drop a quick note to say I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging. I should be back around next Thursday. I obviously have been on a break this week already as you can see from a lack of posts.




Over the next week, in my spare time I believe I am going to update my blog a bit. Give it a new, possibly more mature look. Stay tuned, at the very least don't unfollow me. I will be back!






Taste of Tuesday- Peanut Butter Balls



Linking with Blissfully Miller and Let's Get Bananas!


This week I am cheating a bit…and sharing a recipe that I have not made yet, but am making to take to Christmas Eve dinner. I saw these on one of my favorite Food Network cooking shows-Trisha's Southern Kitchen. I love her and Garth and their music as well. This recipe is one of Garth's favorites.

Miss Mickey's Peanut Butter Balls:




Ingredients
1 cup sugar1/2 cup dark corn syrup1/2 white corn syrup2 cups crunchy peanut butter4 cups rice cereal


DirectionsIn a large saucepan, stir the sugar and the syrups together over medium heat. Remove from the heat and quickly add the peanut butter, continuing to stir until the mixture is fully combined. Add the rice cereal and mix well. Shape the mixture into palm-size balls with your hands. Transfer to waxed paper. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.



Taken from Food Network's Website, here.


I picked up all of the ingredients yesterday and am super excited to try them!! If these turn out well I may try to find some ways to alter them with chocolate or something to that effect.

I adore cooking shows. Pioneer Woman and Trisha, and Giada, and Paula Deen, and Rachel Ray are my idols.

Hope y'all are having an awesome week!


Just A Whole Lotta Nothin

This post is pretty much going to read like a diary entry. Not a lot of point to it.

My Dad's surprise party went GREAT Saturday. We had it at a BBQ restaurant and his family and friends were hiding when we walked in. He kept saying he couldn't figure out why out of all of the restaurants in town, that was the one I wanted to go to. (They had a free party room, and their food is always good.)

We all ate, sang happy birthday, had cake, and he got some good presents. Mostly money and gift cards. My sister gave him a very nice bottle of bourbon and his friends gave him a Duck Dynasty hat because he loves it. I am buying him a new mattress as a Christmas/Birthday gift.

Pausing to talk about etiquette for a moment:

What do y'all feel is right when it comes to someone throwing a party…

My Aunt suggested we do this, so I put it all together since I am familiar with the town. I paid for the food ($215). My other Aunt picked up the cake ($30), and I offered to pay her back. She never made a fuss about it so I left it alone.

However, only one person offered and gave me any cash for the money I spent. Now, I realize I invited them and I do not expect anyone to pay me, but the person who suggested we throw the party in the first place?! I was kind of expecting her to help out with the cost there too…

Oh well. My Dad was really happy and that is all I really wanted!

On the agenda for today is to go to the grocery store and stock up on goodies because I am making my own version of Starbucks' "Bistro Boxes".

Hopefully I can post about that tomorrow for Taste of Tuesday!

Happy Monday! (<--HA!)

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I hope y'all have some good plans for the weekend. I am making the 7+ hour drive down to College Station to visit my Dad for his 70TH BIRTHDAY. I can't believe he is that old. (He was 45 when I was born, FYI--I'm not 40 or anything, in case you didn't know.)

Anyways, I may not get a chance to blog tomorrow because I will be busy keeping him occupied prior to his surprise party. We have a lot of Christmas shopping to do for my nieces and lots of my favorite College Station restaurants to hit, then on to a BBQ place with a party room where I am having some food catered along with a cake. It is mostly just family from his side and a few from my Mom's family. My sisters will be there too, I can't wait to see them.

Sunday I'll be busy making the 7+ hour drive back. YAAAAY <---not.

Now to the post:


I am sharing some of my favorite products today for the Five on Friday linkup.





Yes, there are 6 items, and yes I can count.


1. Urban Decay Naked3  2. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle  3. Lorac Eyelash Curler  4. Psssst! Dry Shampoo  5. Neutrogena Hydrating Makeup Removing Wipes  6. Colgate Optic White Toothpaste

All can be found at Ulta, besides the toothpaste.


Y'all know by now I am obsessed with the Naked palettes and this one is no exception.

Mademoiselle is one of my all time favorite scents. It is pricey, but lasts a long time because you don't need a lot to get the smell. Classic. If I had a signature scent this would be it, or Miss Dior…but I digress.

This eyelash curler came in a gift set and I absolutely adore it. I do not curl my lashes that often but I think it just looks pretty with my makeup. It is more of a decoration.

This dry shampoo has been my favorite for years, despite the stupid name. It smells wonderful…kind of like a coconut lime, plus it hides my roots. Be careful though it does come out white so hold it far from your head. 

Makeup removing wipes always dry out my combination skin. These are awesome and help fight that.

This toothpaste is by far my favorite. I won't buy any other kind. It keeps my coffee, tea, and diet coke drinkin self with a shiny white smile.  Can't beat that. I totally recommend it if you're looking for a good whitening paste. All of the flavors are awesome and not too overwhelming as well. I hate toothpaste that burns your mouth! Not pleasant…


Well that is all y'all, probably until Sunday night, or most likely Monday. Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe weekend.



The Good Life Blog

Christmas Tunes

In keeping with my Thursday Tunes theme I am linking up with Aleshea at Glitz N Grits about my favorite Christmas tunes.

"If you ain't drunk off Holiday music then there must be something' wrong."

Robert Earl Keen- Merry Christmas From the Family





My real favorite is Feliz Navidad. Maybe it is my South Texas roots but this song just inspires me to sing along.




Tell me you aren't super happy now?!




Thursday Tunes: Memory Lane

Barefoot&BlueJean




Couldn't be simpler, use our button and link to Kristen and I in your post. That is it. Oh, and write about music, duh. 

Last week I was on a music as a memory trigger kick and well I am still there. 

This week I want to share with you a few songs that my BFF and I LOOOVE. They remind us of our silly road trips, where too few showers and too many bad decisions are involved. Any time one of these songs comes on when we aren't together you better believe there is a photo of the radio or a screen shot of our phone being sent to one another!! It is a girl thing I guess. 

Up first and the song which most recently inspired a squeal session from JB and I is:

David Guetta ft. Usher- Without You--We love R&B and Rap for this category--you will come to see that shortly. 




Chris Brown- All Back--Yeah, we like Breezy. Whatever.






Diddy ft. Chris Brown- Yesterday--See I told you…




Ludacris ft. Gucci Mane-Shake and Fries--THIS song is just so ridiculous but we laugh so hard singing it. It does become catchy--oh and we like to talk to each other in Luda voice--ya know, like everything is very exaggerated.





DMX- Who We Be--I don't know what to say about this one…it just is.






Ok that's, enough for today…but wow just playing these right now has me reminiscing on awesome times!!

Please link up if you have some music you want to share or a story about music that makes you feel---anything!




Dear Santa...

Dear Santa-

I think I have been relatively good this year. I know I have been a tad bit extravagant, what with starting the year in a suite in Vegas, spending a ton on dog training, countless shopping trips, a new MacBook Air, iPhone 5S, trip to New Orleans….ok you already know all this. I have also done 2 5K's, thrown my dad a surprise birthday party (Saturday), paid off some credit cards, made a few donations to charity…are you aware of that?

So, if you think I've been a good enough girl, here is my wish list this Christmas--feel free to use your discretion:

1. Cuisinart Griddler


Yes, I want steak with my eggs. 


2. Breadman Breadmaker


needed the smell of bread filling my house.


3.  Burberry Brogue House Check Continental Wallet


Yep. 


4.  Louis Vuitton Evora GM


Speaking of extravagant.



5.  Corral Wingtip Boots



Rugged/beautiful.


6. Cookbooks


My idol.




500 recipes!! OH YES!. 


7. Polar Watch


Workout motivation?


8. Kindle Paperwhite


Pleeease!




So, like I said, Santa, I am asking for a lot, but I will be eternally grateful!!

Love,




PS: If you could scratch off what you buy and pass the rest on to my friends and family, that would be AWESOME!!











Taste of Tuesday: Tortellini Soup



Linking with Blissfully Miller and Let's Get Bananas.

So, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite link ups! I love reading everyones new recipes and have found some great new (to me) blogs through it as well. There is always great feedback as well. Now on to the recipe for this week.

The weather was gross as I am sure anyone who follows a Texas Blogger's blog is well aware of by now. So last night I tried out a crockpot recipe that I pinned a while back! Enter "tortellini soup":

First of all let me say, I love tortellini, ravioli, manicotti---any stuffed pasta. So this was quickly pinned just because of the photo. Once I read the actual recipe I knew I would be making it. It is so simple--my kind of meal.


It isn't very "pretty" but the taste more than makes up for that!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 medium zucchini, in 1-inch cubes, about 1 cup
3 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) canned great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 tablespoons dried leaf basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces fresh or dry cheese-filled tortellini, cooked


Method:

Oh ya know, just combine everything--except the tortellini-- in your crockpot, stir it up good, and turn her on low. Let it cooke for AT LEAST 6 hours. When you're about 10-15 minutes away from serve time throw the tortellini in and turn her on high. That is it. Literally the easiest recipe ever.


Megan's Alterations:

I really didn't alter this much. I used chicken broth but I will say after eating it I believe next time I will use vegetable. While it was excellent with chicken broth I feel the tone of this soup is better mixed with a vegetable stock. I used some garlic powder, as well as garlic salt--but the original blog post pretty much alluded to that as well. I also used Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini.


Top with parmesan cheese and it is good to go. This recipe makes more than enough for two people so you could possibly cut it in half, but personally I am just set for lunch for the rest of the week!

Enjoy! 





LET'S GET NAKED.

I only have one thing to say today and I look out at the snow: URBAN DECAY NAKED 3 is here!!!





It is a ray of rose gold sun on this gloomy Friday!  

GO FORTH AND BUY IT 

Thursday Tunes: Artist Highlight- Rihanna


Barefoot&BlueJean

We skipped last week due to the link up falling on Thanksgiving, but we are back at it this week!


Rule run down:

Couldn't be simpler, use our button and link to Kristen and I in your post. That is it. Oh, and write about music, duh.


So, this week I am shaking things up a bit. Recently, while on a road trip, I rediscovered an  album that CHANGED MY LIFE. Dramatic? Maybe just a touch, but anyone who does not agree that good music can save your soul should click that little "X" up top PRONTO!

For the record--when I say "good music" I am referring to anything that speaks to your soul. Everyone else's taste is irrelevant here.

Anyways, back on topic…a few years back, Rih Rih put out an album that just touched me. I was fresh off a gnarly, heart wrenching breakup, as was my girl--you may have heard of this little fiasco with a certain Chris Brown--and Rihanna put out "Rated R". You can tell by the tone of this album the girl was going through some stuff, as was I.

It is funny how someone who I have NOTHING, aside from maybe gender and age, in common with can speak to me. But when you think about it, no matter how famous or infamous one may be, we all have feelings. I found lyrics to relate to in so many songs off this album that it is hard for me to truly pinpoint a few to share with you, but I am going to do my best. I can literally close my eyes while listening to these songs and be transported right back to those moments in my car. Sobering.

*Fun fact: I saw her in concert after this album was released and oh my god she was breathtaking, and those of you who follow me know, I am more of a country girl, but this chick will always be on my radar.

Back on topic again, I can not necessarily credit Rih Rih with the healing of my heart but she certainly gets credit for lifting my spirits, reminding me I am not alone, and also reminding me-it could be a lot worse. Self pity is a recipe for disaster where healing is concerned. So I said, "Buck up, Megan" and put this bad boy in the 6 disc of my purple Altima coupe and let her blare with the sunroof open while driving myself around Austin, Texas after my closing shift at the tanning salon. Funny how time has healed and changed so much 5 years later.

I'd love to know if there are certain songs or artists that speak to you! This really is my soft spot.

Now, without further ado, some of my favorite tunes from that album--they still jam.

"Photographs"



Irony--this particular video was uploaded on my birthday the year I was going through all of this! Skip the ad.

"Fire Bomb"



This song…one of my all time favorites.

"Stupid In Love"



The title is pretty self explanatory.

"The Last Song"




A fitting end.


Do I seem like a Rihanna stalker freak a little bit?! My bad, but again, it is just this album. Tell me I am not alone in having a musical connection like this!

PLEASE LINK UP! You'll make our day! :)


What I Find Pintersting Lately

I've been pinning a few amazing things lately. Chalk it up to a lot of time in the airport and car but I've been going a little pin crazy. Especially with recipes…most of which I will never cook.

Click pictures for links to my Pinterest and the respective board.


I wonder if these really work?! Pinned to my Lifesaver board. 



I truly adore this whole set up. The bedding is so my style…


I am the ball cap queen--currently wearing one now, in fact. WHY did it never occur to me to dress it up? Dirty hair doesn't have to equal sloppy outfit.


This outfit surfaces time and time again in my pins around the New Years Eve holiday. If I could find this exact dress I would spend $500 on it. I adore black tights. Buy a new pair or two each winter. 


By the time I finally get this made, it will be the appropriate time to have it out. 



EXCUUUSE ME?!! Pinned straight from Urban Decay's Pinterest. I can not contain my excitement. 


Taking this to my hair appointment Saturday! Love the color. It is similar to mine minus some of the brassy tones that sneak their way in…blame the ginger in me trying to escape. 


This is my dog…and the garbage can…she just can't grasp the concept that it is not her food bowl.



This is a turkey and wild rice soup, but I will sub the turkey for chicken…not a turkey fan!


What did we do without Pinterest y'all?! Oh that's right…had a bookmark list a mile long…woof.








Taste of Tuesday: Left Overs




Linking with Ashley and Jessica.



I know there rare plenty of "holiday leftover" recipes out there. I do not claim to have the best one and certainly do not claim to have the most creative and/or difficult. What I have is downright good comfort food.

My recipe is for using left over ham. Personally, I do not care for turkey, so if I have any left over it is for sandwiches. 


Ingredients:
4 good sized new potatoes
1/2 cup of white onion
left over ham (cubed)
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of green onion
1 tbsp butter

*salt and pepper to taste*

Cube some leftover ham, how ever much you prefer. 
Cut potatoes into round slices and chop both onions.
The amount you use of all ingredients is really your call, and also depends on how many you're feeding. The above recipe feeds 2 with a little left over (I know, irony left overs on left overs, but it is good in a tortilla for breakfast!)

Cook potatoes in a skillet with about 1 tbsp of butter, salt and pepper, and about 1/4 cup of water for steaming. I let them steam until nearly tender and water is evaporated and then add my white onion and let it get soft. When the potatoes and onion are cooked well and are soft I throw in the ham to warm it up and the shredded cheese to melt it and get it gooey. I also at this time kind of crush up the potato rounds into fourths. 

Plate it up and cover with a little more cheese and green onion. At this point I also like to add more salt and pepper and ranch dressing!! So yum and could not be easier!! 

Enjoy! :) 

Ps: I make this even when I don't have left over ham using a ham steak!


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