Head into the New Week with these Life Hacks

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I’m all for making life easier. So, when I find a tip I like to use, I feel obligated to pass it on. Here are my favorite top 7 life hacks (so far):

  1. If you mess up a voicemail for someone, press # to erase and start again.
  2. You can heal paper cuts immediately and stop the pain by rubbing chapstick over it.
  3. While on vacation, hide your emergency money in chapstick containers, lip balm containers, and other less noticeable places.
  4. Eat marshmallows to relieve toothaches, sore throats, and arthritis.
  5. If you ever break a glass, put a piece of bread on it. The bread will pick up all the small pieces of glass.
  6. Put candles in the freezer before using them. They will burn longer.
  7. In a public bathroom, the stall closest to the door is the cleanest. Studies show that this stall is the least used.

What are your favorite life hacks?

xoxo,

Megan

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Easy, Breezy Chocolate Truffles

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This past weekend, I was craving anything chocolate but didn’t want to put forth much effort into making a yummy treat. So, I made these easy, breezy chocolate truffles. And trust me, they are very easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 12 0z. bag milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbs. almond flavoring
  • Powdered sugar or cocoa

 

Directions:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips on medium for 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  2. Once done melting, stir until completely smooth.
  3. Mix in the sour cream and almond flavoring and blend well.
  4. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Roll into 3/4 inch. balls and then roll into powdered sugar or cocoa.

xoxo,

Megan

Life Hacks: Cheaper Ways to Shop Online

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One of my favorite things to do is online shopping. It’s easy and convenient. Is there anything better than having your purchases arrive on your doorstep, without having to deal with traffic and crowds to get them? With all of the advantages of online shopping, there is one disadvantage: saving money. It can be hard to shop without using a discount code or keeping track of how much you are spending. However, never fear, there are ways to add money to your wallet while shopping online.

  • As with any type of shopping, always look for coupons first. Websites like couponmom.com and retailmenot.com are places to search for discount and promotional codes to use. Also, see if there is an option for free shipping. Sometimes when you sign up for a free trial membership on a website, there is free shipping for a certain amount of time. Another tactic is googling the online store with the words “coupon code.” Try finding several codes and then decide which one will help you save the most.
  • Speaking of shipping, try to avoid the fees. If you spend a certain amount, the store will offer free shipping in return. Try to think of everything you might need and purchase at one time. If you can’t avoid the extra cost, add the shipping into your budget for the site. That way you won’t overspend.
  • See if a retailer is on social media and give them a “like” or “follow.” Many merchants will post special sales and promotions on the sites.
  • Sign up for a store’s email list for coupons and special offers. Some retailers will give you a discount just for signing up. Also, there are online-only coupons.
  • Some sites will allow you to “subscribe” for items you purchase often. In the future, you’ll save time with reordering and the site will give you a percentage off for being a frequent buyer.
  • Just because you favor one website over another, doesn’t mean that site will always have the best buys. Research the product’s name on the Internet before making your final purchase. This way you’ll know where you are getting the best buy and a possible discount code could pop up. Also, don’t get hung up on one certain brand, especially if it is popular. Similar products can be just as good or better and might be less expensive.
  • Plan out your shopping to where you shop a few days ahead of purchasing your items. For example, add the products to your shopping cart and then leave it alone for a few days. During that time, the retailer could let you know you haven’t completed your purchase. They might also provide you with a discount to persuade you to spend money on their site. Being patient can pay off.
  • If possible, buy used. With items such as toiletries, food, and others, this is not an option. But with books, games, clothing, etc. most of the time, buying used will be a lower price than brand new. One time in college, I bought a used book for two cents, compared to over a hundred dollars brand new.
  • If you do a lot of online shopping, create an alternative email address for that purpose only. Check the email often for deals and coupons. Also, this prevents junk mail from clogging up your main email address. Also, stores can give your address to other businesses to send you promotional material.
  • When it comes to booking trips and cruises, there is a chance for last-minute deals. Last-minute booking sites will offer prices at low rates, due to it being the off-season or based on cancellations received.
  • Lastly, if online shopping is your most common method of shopping, ask for gift cards during the holidays and for your birthday. It is like asking for a gift certificate to your favorite store, just online. Stack up your gift card with discount codes for extra savings on your favorite sites.

Online shopping can be fun, time-saving, and stress-free. Just don’t let your final total get away from you. The tips above will help prevent that and give you more chances to save.

xoxo,

Megan

12 Thoughts from a Southerner

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Growing up in North Carolina can be described as summers spent outside, fall days at the county fair, and a winter snowfall once or twice a year. In my opinion, it was a privilege to grow up in the Tarheel state and the South. This area of the United States is special for multiple reasons. It is more than history, food, and traditions. Growing up Southern means you learn to always treasure those around you, even if you don’t know them, to live justly, and value life’s little lessons, such as the ones below.

1: Respect for elders is one of the most important things.

2: Also, respect for your momma and daddy is crucial.

3: Almost every sentence should include a “ma’am” or “sir.”

4: It is better to overdress for any occasion. (Football games, church, you name it-overdress.)

5: Handwritten letters don’t go out of style.

6: Your family will always support you and will always be the most important thing in your life.

7: In the summer, curfews are dictated by lightning bugs.

8: Southern food is the best. You will learn how to cook your grandma’s recipes by the time you are 20.

9: There is no need to be in a rush for everything.

10: Southern hospitality is a way of life that you will master by the time you are also 20.

11: School is canceled with the first flakes of snow.

12: You wouldn’t want to grow up anywhere else but in the South.

xoxo,

Megan

A Summer Must: Key Lime Strawberry Cheesecake

If you haven’t already noticed, I have a big sweet tooth. The Key Lime Strawberry Cheesecake recipe is perfect for fulfilling my sugar cravings and is a refreshing summer dessert. After all, it is a refreshing dessert for the whole year!

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 – 8oz. packages of cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 – 8oz. container sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind (lime zest)
  • 1/2 cup Key Lime Juice (recommend Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe juice; order online only)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir together first three ingredients and firmly press on the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 8 minutes; cool completely. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add 1 1/4 cups of sugar, beating till blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream, rind, and juice. Pour batter into cooled crust.
  5. Place in 325 degrees oven and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes; turn the oven off. Partially open the oven door; let stand in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edge of the pan, releasing the sides.
  6. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack; cover and chill 8 hours. Garnish with strawberry slices, blueberries, and lime rind.

 

Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime rind
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (or more to taste)

Directions:

  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.
  2. *Sauce should be a bit tangy, but not overwhelmingly so.
  3. Drizzle over the top slices of the cheesecake when serving.

 

Raspberry Sauce (alternate)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 jar seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, halved
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions: 

  1. Cook all ingredients over medium heat, stirring constantly so the sauce cooks but doesn’t stick. Once the jam turns into a liquid, remove from heat and cool, then refrigerate. Drizzle over slices of cheesecake when served.

xoxo,

Megan

Creative Activities to Commemorate the End of Summer

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For many families, the days of summer and no school are winding down. Soon, days will be filled with school, extracurricular activities, and early sunsets. Cherish the remaining longer days with your loved ones and enjoy time together with these three summer activities.

Ice Cream in a Bag

Ingredients (The amount is per person; multiply the ingredients by how many people you are making the ice cream for): 

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup rock salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ice
  • Sandwich-size resealable plastic bag
  • Gallon-size resealable plastic bag
  • Toppings

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, stir together the cream, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Pour the mixture into a sandwich-size bag and close.
  3. Add the ice and rock salt into the gallon-size bag. Then, place the filled sandwich-size bag inside the gallon-size bag and seal.
  4. Shake the bags for about 5 minutes until the ice cream is frozen.
  5. Remove the gallon-size bag with the rock salt and throw away.
  6. Cut a corner off the sandwich-size bag and squeeze out the ice cream into a bowl. Add toppings, if you desire.

Enjoy!

Glow in the Dark Sidewalk Chalk 

Materials (per chalk color): 

  • 1 cup Plaster of Paris
  • 1 tablespoon glow in the dark or fluorescent paint
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • Ice cube trays

Directions (per chalk color): 

  1. Mix together the paint and water in a bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup of the Plater of Paris to the mixture.
  3. Pour the ingredients into the ice cube tray. Pack tightly for the chalk to hold its shape.
  4. Let dry for about 12 hours. Remove the chalk from the trays and have fun!
  5. Repeat steps for every paint color you would like to make.

Balloon Tennis

Materials: 

  • Balloons
  • Fly swatters

Directions: 

  1. Take turns hitting the balloon back and forth between players. Keep score of who can hit the balloon the most before it falls to the ground.

Happy Summer!

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

 

5 Secrets to Mastering the Art of Organization

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Lately, I have been Marie Kondo-ing it up and getting my house organized before going back to school. Cleaning isn’t my favorite thing to do, yet being organized is a must. I’m a mix of messy and Monica from Friends…you could probably call me a type-A messy person.

While completing my cleaning haul, I discovered a few new tricks for better organization and I must say, I am THRILLED at how good these tips worked. These pieces of advice are effortless and most importantly, ones you can easily maintain. After all, isn’t everyone looking for simpler approaches to life’s “tough” tasks?

  1. Roll items, instead of folding them. In my dresser, I normally folded my leggings, tank-tops, etc. and laid them flat in the drawer. This technique took up a bunch of space. Instead, this time around, I rolled each item and stacked them vertically, side by side. The tinier rolls of clothing took up ten times less room and looked neater.
  2. Look for wasted space. I have been known to clutter rooms and store everything in a place where it can be seen. My mindset changed after realizing I was sick of seeing things all over the floor. Instead, I placed the pieces under my bed. Areas of wasted space are lifesavers. Get creative with your storage, by thinking about the places that are often overlooked in your house, such as under the bed, over the door, the top shelf of the closet.
  3. Visibility, accessibility, and flexibility. Recently, I read that the rules of organization are visibility, accessibility, and flexibility. As I moved from room to room, I kept those three words in mind. If an item isn’t used on a daily basis or is needed only twice a year, that item is stored in a less accessible and visible area. Don’t forget to label storage containers when needed, especially for the items that are not used as much. Another thing I discovered was to be flexible with organizing. I spent about two days in my bedroom and can’t tell you how many times I rearranged my closet and shelves until they were just right.
  4. Storage can be creative. Use decorative baskets, galvanized buckets, and hat boxes as storage containers. Cardboard and plastic boxes are a thing of the past when visible in your home. My office is full of fabric drawers and glass jars, holding items. Just be careful to not overdo the storage containers. You don’t want your home to look cluttered.
  5. Speaking of clutter, less is best. My love for tchotchkes and knit-knats is strong. I can fill up a tabletop with pictures, candles, and memorabilia from the 90s. Yet, I had no space to work, eat, etc. Decluttering is key to any room. As I went through the different spaces, I created boxes and separate these types of items into things I want to set out, things I want to keep in storage, and things I want to give away. The knit-knats that were sentimental and had the most value to me were used as decoration, while the others were moved into one of the two other boxes. As hard as it was to remove all the tchotchkes, I am loving the newfound space on my desk.

Honestly, it takes a great deal to get me organized and stay organized. However, with my anxiety, I need to have a place for everything and have some type of order to live by. Usually once or twice a year, I complete this big organizational purge and I am always glad that I did.

Happy Organizing!

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

 

 

Recipe Wednesday: Mini Banana Cream Pies

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I’m crazy about bananas! They are one of my favorite fruits, so this easy and quick mini banana cream pies recipe is one of my favorites!

Ingredients:

1  roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies
1  box banana cream pudding, prepared according to package directions and chilled
1 banana
Whipped cream for topping

Directions:

1: Roll the sugar cookie dough into little balls. Using a mini-cupcake pan, place one ball in each spot (there should be 24 balls total).

2: Bake according to the directions on the dough package.

3: Once cool, fill up each cup with banana cream pudding and top with whipped cream and a slice of banana, if desired.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Megan

Rules for…Well, Me

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Last week on Facebook, I noticed mothers giving their daughters a set of rules. This list included 36 pieces of advice for the daughters to use in life. As I skimmed through the tips, I thought about the importance of these encouragements and how everyone needs to hear them. Below are a few words of advice that now serve as rules for…well, me.

1. Make your bed every day; even if it’s right before you get in it.
2. Don’t wear holey underwear in case you’re in an accident and they cut your clothes off.
3. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
4. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
5. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
6. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast-food cheeseburger.
7. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
8. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
9. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
10. Never lie to yourself.
11. Your body, your rules.
12. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
13. Practice your passions.
14. Ask for what you want. The worse thing they can say is no.
15. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work to make them happen.
16. Don’t skimp on good sheets.
17. Fall hard and forever in love with nothing but yourself.
18. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
19. Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are.
20. Naps are for grown-ups, too.
21. Question everything except your own intuition.
22. You have enough. You are enough.
23. You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does….walk away. You deserve better.
24. No matter where you are, you can always go home.
25. Be happy, say your prayers and remember your roots.
26. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

xoxo,

Megan