5 on Friday | December Edition – Week 2 – Gift Edition

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Happy Friday!  Only one more Friday until Christmas!  I can’t even believe how quickly this holiday season has gone! This week I wanted to highlight a few gifts that I love this year!  Here’s hoping they inspire you for some last-minute shopping!

One.
Color Me Monthly!  

CMM 2

If you or someone in your life loves nail polish, than this one is for you! Color Me Monthly is a box subscription for nail polish.  For $7 a month, a new color is delivered directly to your door step!  The colors are incredible and the nail polish is non-toxic and carcinogen free!  Plus, the polish itself holds up just as long…if not longer…then brand name polishes!  I absolutely love this and the surprise that each month brings when the box arrives!

Each month, a simple box will arrive.  Color Me Monthly believes in no-fuss packaging to keep their cost low.  Once you open your box, you’ll receive you nail polish and a Haiku to accompany your new perfect color!  What’s not to love!  You can sign up for monthly subscriptions or give 6 or 12 month gifts.  It’s a perfect gift for those teenagers and women alike!

CMM 3

Two.
Alex and Ani

alex and ani
Love, love love Alex and Ani.  I know that these have been around for some time now, but I absolutely love their bangle bracelets.  Each bangle comes with a charm.  You choose what represents you!  Currently, my bracelets consist of May’s birthstone, the letter ‘M’ for Mom and/or Megan, the path of life charm, and the key to my heart charm.  Each has a special meaning to me and each reminds me throughout the day of who I am and why I do what I do.

alex

Most of my charms are the Russian Silver finish, but I plan on adding some color in the near future!  I love these because they are a great reminder and piece of jewelry for me to wear each day without being over the top.  It goes great with my work clothes, as well as casual weekend wear – plus McKenzie loves playing with them!  Great distraction technique!  Plus, I get so many compliments on them!


Three.
Sloane Ranger

sloan ranger

Looking for the perfect crossbody bag, tote or weekender, then look no further.  Sloane Ranger has it all.  With a variety of patterns to choose from, these preppy bags are perfect for those with the need for style, yet functionality.  Printed on durable canvas, these adorable totes are as functional as they are stylish and fun!

Four.
May Books

may books
For those of you who love carrying a notebook with you (because inevitably you’ll always need to write something down!), then May books by May Designs are for you!  Completely customizable, these 5 x 8 canvas coated paper covered planner are amazing!  

You can choose to design your book online in real-time. You pick out your color, then choose your monogram, font and color!  Amazing!  You easily could spend hours on this site designing multiple books.

After you are done designing, you choose the kind of pages that are right for you.   There are 15 options that include planners, lined pages, blank pages, exercise journal, wedding and bump diaries and more!

Check them out today and have fun creating!  I’ve created one for McKenzie.  I was going to keep a written journal of each month’s milestone’s, but then have been doing so on the blog.  It’s new use will be to jot down all of the hilarious things that she says as she starts to talk more and more!  I can’t wait to fill the book as a journal to look back on as she grows!


Five.
Personalized Otterbox Cases
iphone cases

As Mom’s, we know that our phones no longer are our own.  Despite our best efforts, little hands grab our phones.  The same little hands also drop and throw our phones.  I’ve learned how important it is to have a tough case that can withstand all of the drops.  I love Otterbox’s but hate that they were so generic.  Well…problem solved!  Lipstick Shades offers customizable Otterbox cases!  You choose the color, the background, the monogram and more!  Amazing!  If you’re looking for a tough case with a feminine look, than this is the case for you!

Happy shopping and happy weekend!

Advertisements

5 on Friday | December Edition – Week 1

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

So excited to be back in the swing of things and doing 5 on Friday’s!    This week, my 5 are a few of my favorite things – holiday edition! In the coming weeks, 5 on Friday will continue with the holiday theme, including gift ideas for adults and children!

One – Cookies
Each year, my family gathers together to bake.  We make more cookies than we can possible eat.   We spend hours in the kitchen – talking, sampling, and baking even more.

The cookies are the bi-product.  It’s about spending the time together. It’s about enjoying the time we spend together. 

Our little cookie baker last year!


Two – Lights
Each year, we spend time riding around and looking at lights.  It’s one of those things that I know we will love more and more ask Kenzie gets older.  Last year, she was a tiny little baby, who slept most of the time.  This year, I can’t wait to hear her point and talk about the lights.

One of our favorite places to go and drive through is the Herr’s Potato Chip Factory.  They set up the beautiful light display below and you can drive through and walk through their grounds.  Each year, I am so amazed at the amount of timing and lights it must take the person that wraps the trees.  Incredible!


Three – Trees
Choosing, Cutting Down and Decorating our Tree!  Brian and I started the tradition a few years after we were married.  It’s gotten a little harder to do now with McKenzie, but I think it’s still worth it.  I want her to have special memories of the holidays.  I want her to have traditions…even if it means more work for us and less ornaments on the trees than normal!

Christmas Tree Farm 030


Four – Christmas Countdown
I was so excited when I unpacked the Christmas decorations this year.  This Christmas Countdown was one that I used as I was growing up.  I would look forward to moving the little Christmas mouse to each day.  I knew that the closer we got to the end of the calendar, the closer we were to Christmas!  Growing up, we also had an Advent wreath and a little prayer-book that my sister and I would fight over to read.  It’s on my list of things to buy for next year!  We also always had an Advent countdown that had Hershey kisses attached to it.

081


Five – Christmas Music


I may have started listening to Christmas music right before Thanksgiving.  Don’t judge!  I love the classic versions of the Christmas songs that I grew up with, but I also love newer and updated versions as well.  See above.  Pentatonix is amazing.  I’ve loved them since they were on the show, The Sing Off, and I love them even more now.  If you’re looking for updated Christmas music, check out this acapella group! They have an entire Christmas album!  Amazing!

Happy Holidays!  Have a great weekend!

 

The Thankful Project: Day 11 – Something You Were Taught

I’ve been taught a lot throughout my life.  I’ve learned things from school. I’ve learned things from family and friends.  I’ve learned from my own failures and experiences.  Above all else, the most important thing I’ve learned was a lesson that was taught to me by my parents.  I learned this lesson through their behaviors and actions, and not the path they chose.

I had a happy childhood, but not necessarily an easy one.  My parents divorced when I was five years old.  Throughout the years, I watched them fight.  Even when they were separated and divorced, I listened to them fight.  I listened to what they said about one another.  I listened to the messages that they asked me to relay.

Then something funny happened.  As I grew older, I began to realize truths.  I learned when Mom was wrong and when Dad was wrong.  I learned to decipher the messages I was hearing with the truth that I was seeing.  I also developed my own voice.  A voice that often spoke up and said, “You can relay that. I’m not being the middle man or the messenger”.  I developed a voice that learned to answer, “I don’t know” – even if I did.  I just knew the answer would upset the other parent.

Besides developing my voice and learning the true meanings behind actions, I learned a much more important lesson.  It’s a profound message.  Here it is:

Marriage takes work.

When you start dating and get engaged, you feel still believe that life is a fairy tale and once you are married that there won’t be hard times.   Let me tell you…there are going to be changes, hard times, failures, and hiccups.  You grow together and you grow as individuals. Life happens. Love evolves. You face challenges and obstacles.  Priorities shift. Your love changes.  You change.  Your marriage suffers.   Something that you should be putting time and effort in to daily can sometimes go by the wayside.  It happens.

The good news – with a little work and refocusing, you can get it back on track.  You are reminded that you get from a marriage what you put in to it.  You reap the rewards of this.  Your marriage becomes stronger.  You remember how important this relationship is to you and you vow to stop taking one another for granted.

kiss 2

Chances are, life will get in the way again.  It will happen.  Guaranteed.  You remember what’s important. You shift priorities and you refocus again.

It’s a constant push and pull.  A dance.  A search for balance.

The true lesson in this is that no matter how hard the push or how hard the pull, I refuse to give up on my marriage.  I refuse to walk away.  I refuse to become the statistic that says that 50% of all children from a divorced family will end up divorced themselves.

Maybe it’s because of the lesson I learned, but I fight harder.  What I’ve got is too good. It’s just that simple.

kiss

Marriage takes work and I refuse to give up.  Ever.

Thanks for the lesson Mom and Dad.   

thankful project title

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

The Thankful Project: Day 8 – Words

In the fast-paced, technology driven, hustle and bustle of our lives, it’s rare to receive a handwritten letter in the mail.  When you get the occasional thank you note for a birthday present or for something you’ve done, you almost always rush to open it, because the anticipation of what is said in that little card is almost too much to bear.

Technology has changed our society.  It now thrives on the immediacy of text message and emails.  It’s almost as if the art of actually handwriting a letter has gone away.   Of course, Brian messages me throughout the day with sweet messages that I love, but there’s just something different about a handwritten message.

I stopped in my tracks a few weeks ago when I was cleaning out a book-case and came across an accordion file folder, filled with hand written love letters from Brian.

letters

The dates on the cards and letters ranged from a few weeks after we started dating to my time spent away at college.   I took the time to re-read each letter.  It was like I was unlocking a time capsule of memories.  Those letters reminded me of events that occurred, memories that were made, and the new love that we had for each other.  It gave me butterflies all over again.  It reminded me of why he’s perfect for me and of all the reasons that I love him.  It confirmed that although those letters are almost 11 years old, I still feel the same.  He still makes my heart skip a beat, I still love the time I spend with him, I still adore him and yes…I still want to spend the rest of my life with him.

Isn’t it amazing how strongly words can impact us?  Although handwritten letters may be a thing of the past, let this thankful be a reminder of two things: The power of our words – whether written on spoken and the power of a handwritten letter – sent to someone who may not even be expecting it.

Consider writing someone a handwritten note for no reason at all!  Imagine what it would do for their day!

thankful project title

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

The Thankful Project: Day 1 – A Person

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for The Thankful Project.  For the next 28 days, each posting will be a response to a gratitude prompt that Kenzie provides.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, so what better way to remember how incredibly blessed I am, than by deliberately writing and focusing on all that I have to be thankful for.

thankful project title

Ironically enough, I’ve been wanting to do a post about the person I am most thankful for, for quite some time.  I keep trying to find the right words or even the right time.  What better time than now!? Although many people in my life could hold this title, Brian, my husband, is who I am thankful for – day in and day out.

I could write a novel about what I am thankful for him, but I’ll start with a few:

I’m thankful because…

He loves me for me.  Through all of my faults, failures, imperfections, and moods.  He pushes me when necessary, yet gives me the space I need.  He reminds me that I’m not always right and helps me to see different perspectives.  He loves me for me, even though I’m not always easy to love.

He helped us become a family.  He gave me the gift of not only being an incredible partner, best friend and husband, but also that of being an amazing father to McKenzie.  He loves with all of his heart, even when his little girl (like her Mom), is not always the easiest to love.

He works so incredibly hard.  He doesn’t have an easy job.  He often sees the worst of the worst. Even when his normal shifts and ever-changing schedule would be too much for most people, he works more.  He works overtime, not because we need it to survive, but because he wants to be able to provide for us.  He wants us to be able to live a life.  A life that is debt free and financially secure.  A life that allows us to do things that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.  A life that he works so hard for.

He is our security.  He is our safety.  Any situation seems bearable  with him by our side.  That regardless of how it turns out, we’re going to be okay.  He’s going to keep us safe.  He is going to make sure that we are protected.

He’s shared his life with me.  We’ve been together 11 years in January.  It hasn’t always been perfect, but it’s always been good.  Eleven years isn’t an eternity, but it’s enough time – to know his past. To remember the stories. To be a part of his life. To gain another family.  A family that accepted me in as if I were one of their own.  A family that I love deeply and am thankful for everything they do for us.   A family that he’s chosen to share with me.

He is witty and funny.  At all times.  Even the times that I’m frustrated with his humor – when I need him to be serious.   He can make people laugh like none other.  He can lighten the mood of any situation. He is our rock, yet also our clown!

He chose me.  That I’m the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.  That I’m the one he chose to start a family with. That I’m the one that will be by his side as we watch our children grow.  That I’m that one that will grow old next to him. That I’m the one that was lucky enough to call him mine.

He is our rock and I am thankful beyond words for every day that I get to spend with him.

A Letter to my 16 Year-Old Self | 52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose

Dear Sixteen Year Old Megan,

Where do I begin? There are so many things that are going to happen to you in the coming years. There will be a fair share of great moments and a fair share of horrible moments. You will survive all of them and you will be a better person because of it.

Before we get to the future, let’s start with where you are:

You’ve just gotten your license and a new sense of freedom…along with your first car.  A car that no one has ever heard of….oh Eagle Summit!  Although not the dream car you had hoped for, stop being a brat.  You have a car.  You didn’t have to buy it.  Don’t worry though!  With your excellent driving skills, that car meets its demise quickly and you end up with a different car.

Enjoy the rest of your high school experience. Take it all in. The rest of your time is going to go so quickly. Before you know it, you will be graduating and moving on to college. Stay involved in clubs, committees, honor society’s and general high school fun. You will make great friends, have invaluable experiences and set yourself up to get into college.

That Outward Bound trip that you are so nervous to go on. Do it. Push yourself. It will change your life. Yes, 5 days in the great outdoors seems like a lot, but I promise, it will be worth it. You will start out very unsure of yourself, your abilities, and the whole trip in general. By the end of the 5 days, you will be setting up a campsite, cooking on your own and navigating the Potomac to get your group back. You will have time throughout the trip to think about what you are experiencing, to journal, to grow. You will come home a changed person. You will have a new sense of confidence and respect. This will be a huge turning point for you as a person, as well as with some of your relationships. You and your Mom’s relationship will get so much better after this trip. She becomes your best friend.

Your senior year, you will be dating a guy – a guy that you think is great, but is wrapped up in the wrong crowd and in things that you don’t believe in. You stand your ground. You break up with him, which means you end up not having a date for your Senior Year Homecoming. Although it seems like the end of the world, it’s really not. You go with friends and end up having an even better time. This is a pivotal moment, as well. Your best friend tells you that she knows a guy who would be perfect for you! She’s going to set you up. That guy is Brian, your future husband. Everything happens for a reason!

Also, that body that you are working so hard to change…stop! It’s perfect! Twelve years from now, you will be working hard to get back to your 16-year-old weight! Stop being so hard on yourself and obsessed with image. You will never have 6-pack abs – it’s not in your genetic make-up. Be happy with who you are. You are perfect.

In the future, you will lose loved ones and you will lose friends. Know that everything happens for a reason and you are exactly where you should be and doing exactly everything the way you should. Everything is a learning experience. You will make mistakes, but you will learn from them and grow.

You will break-up with Brian throughout your time in college.  Distance makes the heart grow fonder.  You never totally lose touch and always remain friends.  Around your Junior year of college, you return home to visit family and decide to have dinner with Brian.  That date at La Tolteca…a turning point in your relationship.  You start dating again and move in together when you graduate.  You live in that house for a few years, and then buy a new house together.  This is the house that you move in to 2 weeks before you get married.  The craziness!  This is the house that you bring your daughter home.  This is the house that you become a family in.  It will hold great memories.

I’m not sure where life will take you in the future, but know that it’s going to be an amazing ride!  Continue to hold true to yourself. Continue to follow your dreams. One day, twelve years from now, you will look around and love the life that you have.

You will learn to live by the motto…everything is okay in the end…if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. It’s true every time.  Remember that.

Love,
                                                                                          …the one 12 years later

A Tribute to Grandparents

Grandparent’s Day was this past weekend.  We didn’t celebrate it.  It’s a Hallmark holiday.  Instead, we celebrate each grandparent on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  Better yet, we celebrate them every day.

Kenzie is lucky!  She has all of her 4 grandparent’s, plus one!  My Dad remarried, so she has an additional grandmother, as well!  Lucky her!  Even more people to love her and spoil her!

I’m not sure you fully understand the value of a grandparent until you are much older.  As a young child, you see grandparents as an endless source of fun!  They let you do the things that Mom and Dad don’t.  They are the fun ones.  They take you places.  They buy you things you don’t need.  They fill you up with sugar and candy.  They allow you to break the rules.  They come to your rescue.

You grow up.  In middle school, you view your grandparents as a homework assignment.  We all remember having to interview a grandparent about what life was like when they were young.  I can remember the stories that my grandparent’s told me – the walking 5 miles, up-hill, in the snow to get to school type stories.  The stories of how simple life was. The way life should be.

Then you grow up more.  You are a busy teenager, with a new sense of freedom.  Your friends and social outings are your priorities.  You still love your grandparents, but you fail to make enough time for them.  Even the time you do make, is never enough.   They chide you for not calling or stopping by more often.  They want to know what’s going on in your life.  You continue to grow. You are another year older, and so are they.

You are now a young adult.  You have your own life.  There aren’t enough hours in the day.  You are working full-time, purchasing cars and your first home.  You are planning a wedding.  You are busier than ever.  You love you grandparents, but there just isn’t time.  You don’t see them as often as you should.   You call.  You stop by when you can.  They still want to know about your life.  They tell you how proud they are of you and the person that you have become.   You are growing up and they are growing older.

Then you grow some more.  You have a husband, a new house and child of your own.  Then there’s this moment – a moment that stops you in your tracks.  A moment where you step back, look at your life and think, Wow….I love where I am right now.  Then you hear the words of your grandparent’s echoing in your mind – how proud they are of you and the person that you have become. Tears stream down your face.  You wish they were still here.  To see the life you are living, to meet McKenzie, to spend time with her as great-grandparents, to enjoy this little girl.

I know it’s one of those lessons that we all need to learn on our own, but I want McKenzie to know how special her grandparents are.  I want her to cherish the time that she has with them, because there will come a day that she will stop, look around at her life, and wish that they were here.

Happy Grandparent’s Day to the greatest parents – turned Grandparents!

We love you!