Thursday, September 29, 2016

Creating A Self-Reliant Mentality

This post first appeared on the skirt! Charleston blog.  Head over to see guest posts from members of the Charleston Blog Society contributors each Tuesday!

As women, our lives are complicated: pay gaps, lingering gender stereotypes, unreasonable image expectations, and the constant juggle of home and work life balance.  Each and every one of us needs the confidence to create a self-reliant mentality to stay true to ourselves and our beliefs.  Becoming strong, independent women begins here:
Set goals - For tomorrow or five years from now, goals help us know where we're going and how to get there.  Start small, aiming to wake up every morning and do something productive, whether it's work out, eat a healthy breakfast, or just not hit the snooze button five times before work.  From there, each rung higher and higher up the ladder will appear easier to climb: applying for that promotion at work, traveling to a foreign country, or stepping out of your comfort zone to further your education.

Stay organized - This step will make the previous one so much easier.  Splurge a little and start by buying yourself that pretty planner or calendar.  I know that I'm personally far more likely to record my plans and to-do lists in something I enjoy taking out of my purse.  If you struggle with organization, try making a mental note (or writing down) the three most important things for that day.  Do that everyday, and you will be sure to stay on top of things without feeling overwhelmed.
Create time for yourself - On that to-do list, make sure that you are your own priority.  Take a bath, go for a run, listen to music, even watch a favorite show on Netflix; stop your mind from wandering about everything in your stressful life, if only for a few minutes.  If you can't find that snippet of time each day, think about your routines and reevaluate where you might be wasting time.  By appreciating yourself, your happiness will surely increase.

Be informed - What interests you?  Politics, business, religion, sports, health, technology?  Make a daily commitment to read up on and go deeper into what you enjoy.  The best traits of a self-reliant person are keeping a balanced perspective, knowing what's going on locally and across the world, and finding positive view points.
Surround yourself with positive people - Self reliance does not mean cutting yourself off from the rest of the world.  Creating healthy relationships takes time.  "People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person, or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.” ― Plato

Are you a self-reliant person?  Do you already live by any of these ideals in your life?
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.  Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Game Day Football Banner

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, MARS. All opinions are mine alone. #ScoreAtCVS #CollectiveBias

I know I talk a lot about football this time of year - #sorrynotsorry!  Since both Mike's college team and professional football teams are so far away (I've adopted our local pro team and could not love them more!!), we obviously can only watch them on tv.  I thought it'd be fun to add a little football-themed home decor to our living room to really get us in the spirit each weekend.
What you'll need: synthetic turf (I ordered the 12"x16" piece), copy paper, ruler, pen/pencil, tape, scissors, white paint, paint brush, hole punch, twine

Here's what to do:
1. Place the white paper over the synthetic grass and cut it so they are the same size.  With the pen and ruler, draw out the triangles how you'd like them on the white paper.  I can honestly say this is the first time I've used my high school math since, well, high school - pythagorean theorem FTW to determine my max number of triangles and dimensions - haha!
2. Tape the white paper to the back to the synthetic turf and use your scissors to cut them out.
3. Paint white lines down the middle of half of your triangles to represent the yard lines.
4. Punch holes in the top two corners of each triangle and string the twine through each triangle.
Now that the banner is made, it's time to sit back and watch our teams, but not before grabbing all of your favorite eats and drinks!  CVS is the best one-stop shop for everything GAME DAY.  In addition to the chips and popcorn to snack on, I also picked up SNICKERS® Crisper bars.  In select stores, you can also find special edition SNICKERS® bars with football packaging!  Click here to download a coupon to save $1.00 on any two SNICKERS® singles or king-sized bars!
My favorite way to enjoy SNICKERS® Crisper is snacking on pieces mixed in with some kettle corn - that sweet and salty combo gets me every time!
Check out even more game day recipes and DIYs by clicking here!   What's your favorite game day snack?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Homemade Calzones

During football season, I always look for easy recipes that I can put together ahead of time as well as those that make a lot so that I don't have to spend the entire game time in the kitchen.  Calzones are delicious and perfect for game days.  Truth be told, this is the second time I've shared these recipes, but holy moly, the original photos/posts are embarrassing - haha!  Right now, we are loving chicken parmesan calzones as well as pepperoni bread.  The only reason I give them different names is because the calzone has sauce in it, and the bread does not, but you can call them whatever you want!
Before I share the recipes, remember that the first and most important part of making these calzones is taking the dough out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you want to start the prep.  I purchase my dough at Publix, but if you're in the Northeast, my favorite pre-made dough is definitely from the Bertucci's restaurant chain.  Place each dough in a bowl with olive oil, cover it, and put it in a warm space.  After an hour, you will be ready to cook!
Ingredients for a chicken parmesan calzone:
- 1 refrigerated pizza dough
- 3 pre-cooked breaded chicken tenders (sliced thinly)
- 8 slices of provolone cheese
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- corn meal
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. After allowing the dough to rise, roll it out to a half inch thickness.
3. On top of the dough, layer provolone cheese, pizza sauce, chicken, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
4. Fold one third of the dough over the top and the opposite third on top of that.  Crimp the edges of the dough to keep all the contents inside.
5. Sprinkle corn meal on the folded side and place this side down on the cookie sheet.
6. Spread melted butter across the top of the calzone.
7. Bake for 45 minutes.
8. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes for slicing into pieces.
 Ingredients for a pepperoni bread:
- 1 refrigerated pizza dough
- 30-40 thin slices of pepperoni
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- corn meal
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. After allowing the dough to rise, roll it out to a half inch thickness.
3. On top of the dough, layer pepperoni then mozzarella cheese.
4. Fold one third of the dough over the top and the opposite third on top of that.  Crimp the edges of the dough to keep all the contents inside.
5. Sprinkle corn meal on the folded side and place this side down on the cookie sheet.
6. Spread melted butter across the top of the bread.
7. Bake for 45 minutes.
8. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes for slicing into pieces.
These are seriously my favorite!  Each of them makes at least 10 thick slices, and sometimes I even cut those slices in half.  Make two breads, and you have a solid afternoon of football food!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Anniversary Reflections: Year Two

Two years; two wonderful years since my favorite day ever.  It's been a year of fun, new adventures, and love.  Mike consistently does everything he can to make my life better and easier, and loves me with everything he has.  We celebrated our anniversary on Sunday night with cotton-themed gifts (two NFL tee shirts for him and a Sir Purr stuffed animal, Charleston tea towel, and sneaky KS necklace "that comes in a cotton bag!!" for me) and a night out at High Cotton - he's too clever.
This year, he didn't get mad when I chose the Panthers (even after all of his Eagles brainwashing) as my football team.  However, he did create a Star Wars fanatic!  We also lost a combined 60 pounds and ran our first 10k together.
I went through two eye surgeries this year, and he could not have been more supportive.
We agreed on literally everything when it came to our house and made it through the home building process, closing this summer.  I can't wait to share more of the DIYs we've been doing together over the past few weeks!
When my uncle passed away this summer, he didn't think twice and drove us the 6 hours to Tampa to be with my family.
We even had the chance to walk down the aisle together... again (!!!)... at his sister's wedding during one of our trips back to see our families in New England: fall, winter, spring, and summer.

We love the idea of keeping our anniversary photos going, so my wonderful friend, Amanda, took these shots when she came to visit earlier this month.  I can't wait to look back years from now and see how we've changed.  Since last year, my hair has grown a bit, and like I mentioned, we've lost a little weight!
This year is going to be one filled with adventure for us.  Last year, we visited a few new cities: Denver, Savannah, and Myrtle Beach, but this year we will have a full year of our Southwest Companion Pass (Every time Mike flies somewhere, I fly for free - no joke!  Let me know if you'd like more info!), so I know we will be traveling a lot in 2017 before starting to think more about our future plans.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Birthday Wish List

The last weekend of summer - please say it isn't so!  Luckily, it will still feel like summer for at least a few more weeks here in Charleston.  I feel like this year is flying by, and soon it will be October (aka my birthday month)!  I still think I say I'm 26 when people ask my age.  28, Meg, you're a couple weeks away from being 28.  I am terrified to say that this will mean that I'm officially in my late 20s. OY.  

I always like creating little wish lists, usually with items that are just that, WISHES... aka completely out of my budget.  Honestly, I feel like my list hasn't changed a whole lot from last year... my collage-making skills just might have gotten a little better ;)
First and foremost, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm looking for things for our home. When we yell at the tv watch football, the whole first floor echoes - haha!  We haven't hung anything on the walls yet, and I would really love to get some local photography for our living room.  I first found that amazing three-panel Angel Oak by Mike Nocher Photography at the City Market, and I thought we had made our decision...until we went to the Farmer's Market last weekend and discovered a vendor whose work we had never seen before: Jason Baxley.  He does those 360 degree panoramas, and I have never seen anything like them before.  How cool would it be to hang four: sunrise, mid-day, sunset, and night from different places around the city on one wall?

I also want to make the living room even more cozy as fall approaches.  I've always been intrigued by blanket ladders, and I love that navy tassel throw to put on it!  Add a couple more throw pillows, preferably a pineapple and one from Kate Spade, and I'm ready to watch ALL THE FOOTBALL.

Style-wise, I'd love a Lilly dress to transition to fall, and I think it's pretty obvious that I'm loving everything navy right about now.  That rose gold Kendra Scott necklace would look great with it, and a pretty camera strap (so I'm more likely to bring my camera on adventures) would be so fun!  Even though those striped flats might not exactly match, at least they're still navy!

Last but not least, the old standbys: Starbucks gift cards and Essie.  I think I might be one of the last blogger holdouts on the Essie "gel," but especially with darker colors like Twill Seeker and Wrap Party 420, I'd love to give it a try.  Why is it that dark, bold colors always seem to chip sooner and look awful after two days?! Haha!

What are you lusting over right now?  Any fall items on your wish list?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Summer New England Winery Wedding

It's been about a month and a half since my beautiful sister-in-law got married.  You can take a look back on the posts about her bachelorette here and bridal shower here.  She was the Maid of Honor in my wedding, and I was so honored that she asked me to be a bridesmaid in hers this July, even though I now live a thousand miles away.  She sent me the link to her photos about a week ago, and I am so excited to share a few of my favorites of the day with y'all today.  She was married at Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, Massachusetts on July 30th.  She and her husband met during our senior year in college, and they are so beautiful together!

A full list of her wedding vendors can be found at the bottom of this post.  
Our hair and makeup was done at the hotel before we got dressed and headed over to the venue. 
Laura put on her dress in the upstairs bridal suite at Nashoba.
Both sides of the family (above) and my absolute favorite photo from the day (below): Laura and her godson/junior groomsman.  His sister is our goddaughter and flower girl!
The wedding pavilion has the most beautiful vaulted ceilings and wood floors!
Venue: Nashoba Valley Winery
Photography: Alvah Reida Photography
Hair & Makeup: Christy & Co.
Flowers: La Jolie Fleur
Bridal Gown: Mikaella Style #2016
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff in Navy
Flower Girl Dress: David's Bridal Satin A-line
Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse
Cake: The Bean Counter
Favors: homemade
Band: Clockwork
Hotel: The Beechwood

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday with Macy and Nikki!

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