Happy Motivation Monday!

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xoxo,

Megan

Life Hacks

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

 

 

My Fall Bucket List

My favorite time of the year is upon us – Fall! I love all the decorations, sights, and smells season. In addition, I have my annual traditions I must do, including the ones below:

  1. Take a drive/walk to see the fall foliage: We live within driving distance of the Blue Ridge Parkway and can make an easy day trip to see the colors of the season. Another way to take in the views is simply driving around your hometown and surrounding areas. Or walk through downtown, parks, or Old Salem to experience the beautiful scenery.
  2. Attend a fall festival /fair: Once I go to the Dixie Classic Fair, I know fall has arrived. Other events include the Autumn Leaves Festival in Mount Airy, Harvest Day at Old Salem, and the Apple Festival at Historic Bethabara Park.
  3. Bake: Apple pie, pumpkin pie, homemade apple sauce, caramel apples, the list goes on and on for all the delicious fall foods. One of my favorite things is baking during the season. Don’t know what to bake? A simple google search or Pinterest will bring up hundreds of recipes. Just a hint: pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are delicious.
  4. Go to a pumpkin patch: There is nothing better than finding the perfect pumpkin to carve. Hawks Pumpkin Patch on Clemmonsville Road and The Farm at The Children’s Home are favorite local pumpkin patches.
  5. Carve a pumpkin: Do you like a friendly face or a scary face? It’s up to you, because after you get that perfect pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, you can take it home and carve it. Growing up, we always carved a pumpkin and also painted one. Let your kids have fun with creating their favorite book or cartoon character by using paint, markers, yarn, and other craft supplies on the pumpkin.
  6. Decorate for the holidays: Many stores throughout the area have been selling fall and holiday decorations since the middle of summer. Seeing these items always gets me into the decorating mood. Take one Saturday and turn your house into a fall oasis. Some of the decorations can even become DIY projects, such as this fun scarecrow. All you need is: one shirt, one pair of pants, a hat, old pillowcase for face, old newspapers, safety pins, narrow rope, small amounts of straw, raffia, or dried grass, and permanent markers or felt scraps for the facial features. Button and zip the shirt and pants and tie the ends of the arms and legs with the rope. Stuff full with newspaper and use safety pins to attach the two pieces of clothing at the waist. In the pillowcase, add stuffing and form into the size and shape of a face. Use the permanent marker or felt to create facial features. Tuck into the neck of the shirt and secure with safety pins. Add the hat. To finish, stuff some straw or raffia into the openings (such as arms and legs) and glue if necessary.
  1. Watch Halloween movies: Freeform’s (formerly ABC Family) 13 days of Halloween is the perfect place to start your Halloween movie marathon. To make the marathon complete, watch older fall movies, such as all-time favorite Hocus Pocus. You can’t get through the season without watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at least once.
  2. Watch football: No matter who your favorite team is, it’s the time to root for them. High school, college, pro – everyone has a favorite. Let’s just hope the Carolina Panthers have as good of a season as they did last year! Super Bowl LI material? I think so! In addition, spend some time outside with your family and friends playing your own game of football.
  3. Jump in a pile of leaves…and then rake them up: Fall is one of the seasons to be a kid again and with being a kid comes the chance to jump in a pile of leaves. However, the adult responsibility sets in when you have to rake them up afterwards.
  4. Go trick or treating: Who doesn’t love putting on a costume and being someone else for a while? Halloween gives you a chance to step outside of the box and do just that. Plus, if you go trick or treating, you’ll get candy. Another option would be dressing up and handing out goodies to children that stop by your house on All Hallow’s eve.
  5. Have a bonfire: What better way to celebrate fall than with a cup of apple cider and s’mores in front of a bonfire? Bundle up with your hats and scarves. Gather your family and friends as you toast to the new season.

xoxo,

Megan

DIY Travel Keepsake 

I absolutely LOVE this travel tip! Take it a step further and mail yourself the postcards home. That way, they will be waiting for you when you get back.

If you are looking for a budget friendly way, forget the mailing and just pack in your suitcase.

Years after the trip, you’ll be happy you kept all the postcards and the memories.

Happy Travels!

xoxo,

Megan

From the Mountains to the Coast of NC

  
My love for North Carolina goes deep. We have the mountains on the West and the coast on the East, with abundance in between. What more could anyone want? Nicknamed the Tar Heel State, NC’s history dates back to the original 13 colonies. It became a state in November 1789 and today, 227 years later, North Carolina is still thriving and has something for everyone.

The Mountains

NC is surrounded by numerous mountains, including the Appalachian and Smokey Mountain ranges. This area can be divided up into three different parts: the Foothills, the High Country, and the Smokey Mountains and Cherokee. Within the Foothills, the city of Asheville is a favorite among many. Visitors can tour the famous Biltmore House and Estates. End the day in the city’s lively downtown with eclectic food and shopping. Looking at the Foothills, other hot spots travelers love are the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest.

The High Country includes the towns Boone and Blowing Rock. Go back in time to the Wild West at Tweetsie Railroad or take a walk on the mile high bridge at Grandfather Mountain. During the winter, Beech and Appalachian Mountains are popular among skiers and fans of winter sports.

As for the Smokey Mountains, Cherokee Indians often referred to them as “the land of the blue mist.” Some areas of interest here are the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and Bryson City.

The Piedmont

Heading inward, the next part of the state is the Piedmont region, home to Charlotte, the Piedmont Triad, and the Triangle.

Located near the border between North and South Carolina, Charlotte lives up to its advertising motto “Charlotte’s Got A Lot.” Visitors can enjoy the thrill rides at the theme park, Carowinds , discover news things at The Discovery Place, or fill their need for speed at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition, Concord Mills and the American Girl store are ideal places to shop in the city.

Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point create the Piedmont Triad. Animal lovers will dig the Greensboro Science Center and the North Carolina Zoo in nearby Asheboro. In Winston-Salem, see where the Moravian town of Salem started by touring Old Salem, the historical replica of the town. The neighboring city of High Point is known as the furniture capital of the world, full of shops and museums. While there, be sure to take a picture with the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. Not too far away from the area is the Yadkin Valley, where many wineries are located.

The Triangle consists of our state’s capital Raleigh, as well as, the main cities of Durham and Cary. Visitors can explore Raleigh’s Museum of Art and Museum of History, while sports fan can catch a game of the Carolina Hurricanes or the Durham Bulls in their stadiums.

The Coast

Over 300 miles of beaches, tons of lighthouses, and a chance to see wild horses on the beach make up the perfect place to relax on the coast. In addition, history lovers can visit Revolutionary and Civil War sites. Two favorite spots for travelers: the Outer Banks and Wilmington.

The Outer Banks and Currituck offer new adventures. See where the Wright brothers first took flight and learn about their journey at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse, finding the wild horses in Corolla, or catching a show at the Lost Colony outdoor theater in Manteo are foolproof ways to spend the day.

Lastly, Wilmington, nicknamed Hollywood East, attracts people near and far. Fans can tour various filming locations of movies and TV shows, including Iron Man 3 and One Tree Hill. Aside from the film scene, Wilmington’s Historic District shouldn’t be missed, along with the NC Aquarium and Fort Fisher. A unique experience for all ages is stepping aboard the USS North Carolina Battleship, where you learn about the battleship’s history and more.

Whether you are new to the area or lived here your whole life, the Tar Heel state offers plenty of adventures, fun times, and great memories.

xoxo,

Megan

Article first published in Forsyth Family magazine: http://www.forsythfamilymagazine.com/from-the-mountains-to-the-coast-a-look-at-north-carolinas-favorite-spots/

My Patriotic Extravaganza

The 4th of July is tomorrow! As one of my favorite holidays, I thought I would share with y’all a little bit on how I’m celebrating, with decorations, food, and a game.

Decorations: Red, White, and Blue Banner

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Supplies:

  • Red, White, and Blue Bandannas
  • Twine
  • Hot Glue

Directions:

1. Cut the bandannas into triangles or rectangles (whatever shape you desire).

2. Hot glue the tops of the shapes onto the twine and hang inside or outside.

Food: Red, White, and Blue Parfaits

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Ingredients:

Red layer:

  • 1 (3 oz) package of strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

White layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream, liquefied

Blue layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • 6 Mason Jars
  • Whipped Cream

Directions:

Strawberry layer: Stir 1 cup of boiling water into the strawberry gelatin until gelatin is fully dissolved. Add in ½ cup of cold water and the chopped strawberries.

1. Arrange the jars at an angle in a muffin tin.

2. Put flour or uncooked rice in the wells to hold the jars in place. Gently spoon equal amounts of the strawberry gelatin mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes.

White layer: Once the strawberry gelatin is firm, begin making the white ice cream layer. In a medium bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water (allow the gelatin to absorb the water for 2 minutes). Then, stir in ½ cup of boiling water until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Mix in ½ cup of sugar, then stir in 1 cup of the melted ice cream until smooth

1. With the jars still at an angle in the muffin tin, spoon equal amounts of the ice cream mixture into each of the jars.

2. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Blueberry layer: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water in a bowl. Wait 2 minutes to allow the gelatin to absorb the water. Add in ½ cup of boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved and then mix in ½ cup of sugar. Lastly, add the 1 ½ cup of blueberries.

1. Refrigerate the blueberry mixture in the bowl until it thickens to the consistency of a gel .

2. Take the jars out of the muffin tin and set them upright.

3. Spoon equal amounts of the blueberry mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm.

4. Garnish with whipped cream and serve.

Enjoy!

Source: http://www.ehow.com/info_12340443_red-white-blue-patriotic-parfaits.html

Game: Test Your Patriotic Knowledge! 

Quiz your friends on their Patriotic Knowledge. Person to get the most right wins. (Answers below.) 

1. What is the capital of Colorado?

2. The Mardi Gras celebration is held in the French Quarter of where?

3. Which state became the 50th state, admitted on August 21, 1959?

4. Name the six states that make up New England.

5. Coca-Cola was founded in which capital city?

6. Which state capital name means “protected bay?”

7. Which state is famous for earthquakes?

8. What state is known for having crocodiles?

9. Also known as Mary Hayes McCauley, what woman carried water to men in the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary War in 1778?

10. Who was the leader of the Underground Railroad, which brought many slaves to freedom?

Answers: 1. Denver 2. New Orleans 3. Hawaii 4. Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island 5. Atlanta, Georgia 6. Honolulu, Hawaii 7. California 8. Florida 9. Molly Pitcher 10. Harriet Tubman 

xoxo,

Megan

Traveling on a Budget

I recently wrote this article for Forsyth Woman, a local magazine in Winston-Salem. And, trust me, you’ll want to continue reading if you love traveling. After all, going a trip doesn’t have to break your bank. 

Use these tips to help you take an adventure, go on vacation, or make this summer the time of your life.

xoxo,

Megan

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Traveling on a Budget 

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, many people get an itch for travel. But, did you know summer is one of the most expensive times to take a trip? When it comes to taking a vacation, there is a price, with the hotel fees, flight tickets, and expenses that seem to pop up. No matter what your budget is, there are ways to go on a new adventure and make memories.

  • Before spending any money on anything trip related, it’s a good idea to research and shop around for the best prices. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, and Trivago help compare prices for flights and hotels.
  • Booking flights can get confusing and expensive. However, here’s an insider’s tip: book flights on Tuesdays and if possible, near 3 pm. Flights will be the cheapest at the time.
  • Avoid traveling during the holidays and summer. Disney World is a magical vacation but isn’t so magical when there are sky high prices and crowds during Christmas or summer. Take a trip during the fall or a three day weekend. Better yet, go during the week. Prices are usually lower Monday through Friday. Another plus is less crowds at the hotels and attractions.
  • Discounts are available for students, military members, and senior citizens when traveling. If you aren’t in any of those groups, research discounts on the Internet, using keywords “promo,” “coupon,” or “voucher code.”
  • Another way to cut back on costs is to travel with friends. Make it a couples’ get away or a girls’ weekend.
  • Before you go, plan out the main events for each day. Decide when you are going to a certain attraction or visiting a certain area of the city so you can go ahead and purchase tickets in advance if needed.
  • Speaking of purchasing tickets in advance, always do it. Prices are lower for hotels, tourist attractions, and shows if bought ahead of your visit. For example, the Biltmore House in Asheville offers a special, lower price, if you buy tickets ten days in advance.
  • Prioritize your spending. Think about what you want to spend your money on the most and where you will splurge. Maybe use pictures as souvenirs, instead of buying things.
  • Food is another place where money can either be saved or splurged. When booking a hotel, make sure they have a free complimentary breakfast. Then, have something small for lunch or pack snacks to carry with you throughout the day. Make dinner a fanfare event by picking somewhere nice and indulging in a great meal.
  • If you are interested in an attraction or museum, research to see if they have a free admissions day(s) or if admission is lower on certain days.
  • Use public transportation. Public parking can be a pain, especially with meter and parking deck fees. Save yourself the hassle and tour the city by using buses, trains, or by walking.
  • Hotels are always more expensive in bigger, tourist cities. Try to stay outside of the area, where costs are lower. For example, if you are visiting New York City, don’t stay in the city. Look for hotels in New Jersey or surrounding locations. This also gives you a chance to travel and explore places besides the main attraction.
  • It is important to be smart with your money while traveling. To avoid losing your credit cards or overspending, carry only cash so you’ll always know exactly how much you have to spend. Be sure to separate your cash between wallets, purses, and bags to prevent losing all of it if something is stolen.
  • There is nothing wrong with having a stay-cation in your own city. Be a tourist for a day and explore new places, nearby towns, and places you didn’t even know existed right in your backyard.
  • Lastly, start a travel fund with your spare change. The change will add up and can be put towards a fun trip away from home.

Article posted on: http://www.forsythwoman.com/traveling-on-a-budget/

To Inspire and Motivate- Prince Harry

  

“Conversations with my mother, father, my grandparents, as I’ve grown up have obviously driven me towards wanting to try and make a difference as much as possible.” -Prince Harry 

There is another member of the royal family that inspires and motivates me- the favorite red-headed prince. Prince Harry follows in his mother’s, Princess Diana, footsteps in giving back to others.

The young prince is known for working with numerous charities, making people smile, and helping military veterans throughout the world. After attending the Warrior Games in the USA in 2013, the Prince of Wales saw the impact sports could help wounded warriors, who sacrificed for their countries. Shortly after, he founded the Invictus Games for wounded, ill, and injured active duty and military veterans, both men and women throughout the world. In 2014, London hosted the inaugural games. The next Invictus Games will be next week, May 8-12, in Orlando, Florida.

Prince Harry is an inspiration of mine, because I believe all military members, active duty or veterans, are important and should be respected, honored, and commemorated for the sacrifices they made. The motto of the Invictus Games is “I Am.” To everyone, this catchphrase means different things. I Am. I Am. I Am. For me, it means: I am able to do anything, no matter what challenges come my way. My definition was inspired what the Invictus Games stand for and the values Prince Harry believes in.

I am motivated by Prince Harry to continue supporting and doing everything I can for the military throughout the world. It takes a brave person to put their life on the line for their country. Taking a look back at my previous post, Operation: Remembering Veterans, remembering veterans and active duty soldiers is more than writing down their stories, it’s giving them the respect, honor, and support they deserve, each and every day.

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

Just 20 Seconds

Jan 11

One of my favorite quotes is pictured above. For many things in life, all we need is just 20 seconds of insane courage. Whether that be the courage to speak up, correct a wrong, apply for a job, or go on an adventure, 20 seconds can go far.

Try taking time everyday to do something new and something brave. You never know what will come of it.

xoxo,

Megan

Peace on Earth

“Lets hope it won’t be too long before one of the most important sounds peace on earth, is heard throughout the world.” -Bing Crosby

Today we close out another year. If you are like me, you are probably asking “where did 2015 go?”. Every year at this time, I reflect on the past and look forward to the future. I make my list of resolutions, half of which I stick with, half I don’t. Ending 2015 is a little different than others. A lot has happened, both good and bad. I worked on some really great projects, had personal success, and filled my life with joy. But, here is where the bad comes in, I also had moments (or days) of doubt, despair, and not knowing where my life was taking me.

I share this, because I know some of you have been there. We all have good and bad times. However, there is a hope for the new year, a hope for peace in the world and in our own lives. January 1st isn’t the only day for you to plan anew, plan for new adventures, hopes, and chances. Everyday is a new day to take a risk. After all, we do have 365 chances to make a change.

Along with those risks, let’s challenge ourselves to be a little kinder to others, a little nicer, and a little more helpful. This world needs more love and kindness and that starts with each and every one of us. Through love, we can accomplish peace on earth.

Auld lang syne, my friends.

xoxo,

Megan