Holiday Sparkle: Gold Lamé and Leather

Dress: Kensie via Marshalls
Jacket: CiSono via Marshalls
Jewelry: Bauble Bar: Pearl Dahlia Strand 
Boots: Langford Market
Tights: Target

Hip Hip Hooray for Gold Lamé!! The moment I laid eyes on this dress I knew it was going to be my 2013 holiday dress! A few weeks ago I wore it to a friends wedding and tonight it is going to help me ring in 2014 with some major sparkle (jus the way I like it!). At the wedding I paired it with a pair of killer patten leather pumps (I do literally mean killer, my feet about fell off!), gold and crystal drop earrings and a beautiful side swept hair. Tonight I am mixing things up a bit with oversized studs, pearl and crystal necklace, leather jacket, booties and lace tights! I also went ahead and decided to keep my hair lose and down!

Wedding look!

Here's to 2014 friends!! CHEERS!

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Snack Obsession: Lesser Evil Super 4

Remember when I went on a fangirl style rant about how much I LOVED Lesser Evil Chia Crisps? My obsession got me on Lesser Evil's Nice list this Holiday season. The kind people at Lesser Evil sent me their newest snack to try-- Super 4! Super 4 as in four ingredients that are SUPER good for you and taste even better-- white beans, quinoa, lentil and chia.

Here are the PRO's of this tasty little snack:
- SUPER crunchy
- SUPER great flavors (cheese, roasted red pepper--my fav, kale and roasted garlic)
- SUPER healthy (All Natural,Gluten Free,Low Glycemic,Kosher ,Cholesterol Free,Good Source of Fiber,No MSG,Socially Responsible,Not Genetically Modified ,Empty Calorie Free ,No artificial preservatives,No Milk Hormones) 
- SUPER popular - I barely got the box open before Reese was all "OPEN THE BAG!"
- SUPER great package design -- What can I say? I am a sucker for a well designed package
- SUPER flavor on fingers to snack ratio-- a la Doritos (come on you know the best part about a snack like this is licking your fingers afterwards!)

-gone SUPER fast
( I realize that I should probably have more con's for this to be a "fair and balanced" review, but they're just not any more)

As you are making your snack runs for your family Holiday gatherings this week I would SERIOUSLY consider grabbing a few (or 20) bags of these delectables! They are the perfect guilty free snack to munch on while you are practicing family togetherness (or hiding from your family binge watching Netflix)

Find the whole line of Lesser Evil products at a store near you with their handy dandy location finder HERE.
You can also shop directly from Lesser Evil HERE or stalk the grocery manager at your local grocery store and ask him 4 billion times to please keep Lesser evil products on the shelves like I will be doing.

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Criticism and Grace

If you haven't noticed, I have been pretty quiet lately, and regrettably it is my own fault; this is due to my own deflated pride, my own self doubt, my own allowance of people's words to hurt.
It has come to my attention that having a blog opens one up for criticism, but then again, living life opens one up for a lot of criticism as well.
Criticism is hard.
Grace is even harder.

Before I attack the rest of this post there are two things you need to know...
1. I have, at times, been very critical of other people, both bloggers and non-bloggers.
2. I am not perfect.

I thought about just jumping back into blogging with out even addressing what has been going on in my life/heart, but the more I thought on it the more I realized that we will all go through a period of criticism, either in blogging or in real life, and addressing the hard stuff is what keeps this community real. So I am addressing it.

There are three instances of deep heart wrenching criticism that have presented themselves over the past two years of blogging-- A fellow blogger, an acquaintance and  most recently real life friends. The most hurtful obviously being the real life friends. At the climax of each instance I have been faced with the same dilemma--respond or don't.

In each of the three instances I have chosen not to respond to the critic. On one hand it was a calculated response. I have seen what responding out of anger can do (you forget, I work in a middle school-- it normally ends up with "I hate so and so" written in eyeliner on the bathroom stall). On the other hand I wouldn't know what to say in response that would have helped the situation at all. Any words I had would have hurt--deeply, deeply hurt either the critic or myself.

Instead I choose grace.
I choose grace, because grace was chosen for me.

Living a God honoring life is difficult. I want to respond from my flesh 100% of the time. I would have loved nothing more than to fire off a flesh fueled text or email that made the critic feel stupid and small. But isn't that doing right back to them what was done to me? I know how that feels, I know how much that hurts. I don't want anyone to feel that way. We are all entitled to our own opinions (unless your opinion is physically hurting people or anti-chocolate, and then you are NOT entitled to it :) ).  That is what makes this world/community so unique. Why would we want to end that?

So what am I saying?
When you are being criticized, respond with grace.
When you think of criticizing remember how it feels (I sure know I will).
When you find something you don't like find two things that you do.
There is enough hate in the world, we don't need any more.
You don't have to like everything, but you do need to find value in it.

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25x26: Goals for My Twenty Fifth Year

Today I am twenty five. 
I have an interesting relationship with my birthday-- frenemies if you will (is frenemies still a thing or is that "so 2012"?). Regardless our relationship is complicated to say the least. Due to timing (Hello Turkey Day, we meet again) and my personality I struggle with "celebrating" every year. This year is no exception, but this year is a landmark year-- 25, a quarter of a century, the age where I can finally rent a car (HA!), the age where I can legally dive my grandparents car unmarried (yes, that is a real clause in their ancient auto insurance policy... i'm convinced their policy is kept behind glass at some insurance hall of history). After much debate on whether I was even going to acknowledge my birthday here I have decided to do the popular 25x26 list of goals... some are lofty and some are simple, but all have something to do with my transition into being in my "late" 20's. So with out further adu (because I'm already getting birthday awkward talking this much about my birthday) I present to you my 25x26... 

1. Buy a sewing machine and actually use it: Fun fact, I took sewing lessons for 6 years of my life and did "fashion" classes in high school and then went to college and promptly stopped. 

2. Volunteer: In college I volunteered all the time and truly miss it. 

3. Buy something at Anthroplogie at full price: If you've been around here at all you know I love me a deal, but there is something about going into a store finding something I LOVE and buying it with out doing math in my head. 

4. Rebrand my photography business: Eventually Im gonna have to figure out what I am doing with my side business... I should probably do that this year. 

5. Order a Stichfix: It looks like so fun!

6. Participate in 25 Random Acts of Kindness: One a month for 1 year, 25 different places, 25 different people. 

7. Visit a new state: California? North Carolina?

8. Have a successful dinner party: Emphasis on "successful"... i've attempted before it wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't exactly successful either. 

9. Make a 4 corse meal from scratch: See goal above. 

10. Camp out in "my" living room: Fort and all.

11. Buy a real piece of furniture: No craigslist, no vintage store, no friend of a friend stuff... like a real piece of legit adult furniture. I have no idea where I am going to put said furniture, but ya know we'll figure it out. 

12. Find and shoot a woking Polaroid camera: I want the real thing not a photoshopped/instagramed version.

13. Get monogramed stationary: Um do I need to explain why I need this?

14. Run in a 5k: Ugh, I don't wanna talk about it. (I did make a goal once to run a 1/2 marathon, but then I came to my senses)

15. Take a calligraphy class: It just so prettttttyyyy!!! I already sorta know how, but it would be nice to learn correctly.

16. Wear my hair a different way everyday for 30 days: I did resist the urge to cut it. I probably should learn how to fix it.

17. Go to an A&M game: I have been a major 2%er since graduating. I need to step up my game. 

18. Join a Book Club: Cause I am a teacher and I should... I also hear they serve wine at those things.

19. Go to a photography workshop: After hearing about Ashley's experience at The Glow workshop I HAVE to get my camera hands all over one of those things.

21. Go to a rodeo: There are too many great performers and too much fair food not to make this a goal. 

22. Go to a real life Fashion Show: SO FANCY, yall. 

23. Learn how to fish tail braid: FINALLY my hair is long enough.

24. Get a picture published somewhere: There are lots of things I have accomplished in my photography "business" but I feel like getting something published will be a real sign of achievement.

25. Get engaged: I'm just not gonna make any commentary on that one. 

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Jeans and Genes

I pulled an article for my class to read the other day on the history/ culture of jeans--denim, not
genes as in why I dye my hair or have green eyes. Anyway, in the article there was a part that spoke about how out jeans tell the unique story of who we are almost as much (and possibly even more) as genes. I started thinking about the jeans I own. One specific pair jumped out, a pair of American Eagle circa 2005 jeans that I have had since high school.  I realized, as I read more an more of the article, that the jeans were more than just a pair of jeans I have had for 8 years (YIKES!). They were the jeans that cheered on a winning football team. They the jeans that were with me though break ups, and going to college, and that sat patiently in my closet during my unfortunate freshman 15 (uh more like 40 actually). They were (and still are) the jeans that were paired with  spirit shirts on Friday during my first year of teaching, and here they are the jeans that make light layers feel so cozy! These jeans are part of me. They have my story woven in between the fibers, they are both my jean and part of my genes.

Also, I would like to take a moment to discuss my favorite necklace on the planet. It is from Langford Market and I think it is the best necklace EVER. They don't have it online but Moorea Seal has one similar-ish. I feel like it should be law that everyone should have a stag necklace.

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Dear Anonymous

Over my little blogging vacation there was a strange little phenonmon going on over here on the blog-- Anonymous commenters. I realize now that there is a nifty little button on blogger that makes these little guys go away, but honestly I rather enjoy reading them. Anyway, I thought that in the spirit of attempting to be a little more interactive on the blog I would respond to these "anonymous" people. I know it will warm their little computer-robot-scamming hearts.

 Dear Anonymous,
   I am slightly concerned that motor cycle jackets are close to your heart. Have you heard of Jesus? He is better than motorcycle jackets AND bows. You take care too! And no, you may not have my contact information. K, thanks!

    Meg "I can't even pronounce your 'blog' " Cady

Dear Anonymous, 
        I am so glad you are here by mistake, but I think you have bigger issues if you are using Bing. I also love my theme and design--you can never have too much glitter! I was thinking of doing a little sprucing up during Thanksgiving break, what do you think? I am sure you will see it, ya know cause you booked marked my blog and all. You keep up your superb work too. 

     Meg "Google, always Google" Cady 

Dear Anonymous, 
       Well, well aren't you forward you cheeky little devil you. Good thing there are 40 other posts just like the one you would "like to look extra" posts like this. 

     Meg "Still blushing" Cady 

Dear Anonymous, 
        Go home, you're drunk.
     Meg "but really,get you're life together" Cady 

Dear Anonymous, 
       Sounds like you should keep your iPad in a better spot. Also, I am pretty sure dropping an iPad isn't going make you a YouTube sensation. I would suggest a cute baby video or something with a cat-- those always seem to be winners. Although I think you are insane and you want to give me all sorts of computer virus with your "Champagne based cocktails" I am so glad you decided to share. 

      Meg "I love a good cat video" Cady

Dear Anonymous, 
        Ohhhhh thanks for clearing up online gambling for me. I didn't know it was as easy as booking a movie ticket or booking a place for marriage--makes sense. I mean usually casinos are the epitome of mortality, but thanks for the heads up. I'll remember it the next time I feel like being super sketchy. Also, hate the break it to you, there is no way that online gambling experience can be as close to an experience in a real casino cause the internet can't get me a free drink when ever I want.

     Meg "I'll take a vodka tonic with a twist of lime" Cady

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Moto Jackets and Bows

Tunic: Target
Quilted Moto Jacket: Marshall's (similar here)

My favorite part about a piece of clothing is when I think "I could never wear that" or "that's not my style" and then out of pure curiosity I try it on and all of a sudden my fair god mother shows up in the dressing room and is all like "bippity boppity boo... you now look fabulous". My fabulous faux leather moto jacket is my newest bippity boppity boo piece. I picked up this jacket at Marshall's while doing a little blogger damage with Kaitlyn and Ashley a few weeks ago. It was the perfect addition to my fall wardrobe... plus they are so in fashion right now (just type in "moto jacket" to Pinterest). Although I could, and do, wear this jacket with just about anything I love show casing the jacket with a simple white tunic and tights gives the jacket the justice it deserves. I threw a bow in my hair to play off the soft flowy feel of the tunic and the contrast of the hard lines of the leather jacket... and really who doesn't love the addition of a bow to an outfit (cough, cough Kaitlyn

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How to Shop at Forever 21

... when you are,well, NOT 21.

I will be the first to admit to you that I feel like I need to shop at Forever 21 in disguise... mostly because I am convinced I am going to either see a student or grab something that a student of mine could (and probably will be) wearing. I will however also admit to you that I am ALL about a deal, ALL ABOUT IT. So I may be wearing a baseball cap and large sunglasses, but I am going to shop at Forever 21 as long as possible.  Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when shopping at Forever 21 when your weekend plans don't involve going to Chili's and then a Movie (anyone else, or was that just me? #stillcanteatChilis)

1.  TRY IT ON.

When you are dealing with a store like Forever 21 that has SO MANY clothes you can just throw size consistency out the window. The fact is you are going to have to brave the fitting room. With so many sizes and cuts the over 21 crowd (cough, cough us) have to try stuff on. And yes, you are going to have to wait in line. Use your time in line to count how many times the teenage girls around you say "like" or talk about Miley Cyrus it will make the time go by faster... it's kinda like counting sheep. Even if you don't end up finding anything you love you'll leave with a nice story about the disintegration of today's youth.

2. Double up on Sizes 

Unfortunately were not dealing with a store that has the nice sales lady that will go out and get you another size (Sidebar... isn't that the best feeling in the world having to ask for a smaller size!). Unless you come armed with a friend who also doubles as a cross country runner (because you know what you need is ALWAYS on the exact opposite side of the store) if you find something you think you'll end up loving grab it in two sizes. I tend to grab a size up because I know their "European" (ha!) sizing tends to run a little small (also see the concept mentioned in the aforementioned sidebar).

3. Know your Age.

There are some hella cute trends going on out there, BUT not all of them are appropriate for all of us 21+ crowd... like tights as pants (although that may be a trend we could all stand to leave at the store). In a store over flowing with trends like Forever 21 in the words of Kenny Rogers "you gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em". By all means try it on, but use a level head or a friend (picture messaging is a gift from the shopping gods!) when deciding if a trend looks a little young on you. Not that I know this from personal experience or anything, but another very good resource are the teenagers you were standing in line with. Likely they are letting their opinions and mouths (why are they always so loud?) run wild anyway so open up the door and ask their opinion... again not like I have ever done that or anything.

4. Search out Higher Quality

Believe it or not there are actually some of the pieces at F21 can have some high quality aspects to them. This may or may not be like finding a low calorie option in the food court, but it is possible in both places. There are two aspects of Forever 21 where you are going to find the "quality" are in the stitching and in the fabric. You can tell fabric quality by just feeling the weight and for the stitching quality look at the stitching on the inside or at the hem for a quality check! You'll be surprised at what you find (both bad and good). I have had some F21 pieces last me a long time!  

So while Forever 21 shouldn't be where staple pieces of an adult's wardrobe come from, well in at least my opinion... if you can rock it more power to ya! It can really hold its own when it comes to the trendier pieces that grace your closet for a season... or two. 

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A Skeptical Girl's Guide to Quinoa

So quinioa? How do we feel about it? Honestly, it kinda freaked me out. I have a texture issue (jello! don't get me started) and wasn't too sure about how I would feel about the texture of a tiny grain. For months I saw Pinterest and blogs rave about Quinoa and how wonderful it is, I wasn't convinced (pass the pasta, please).

See look... I told you I was a wee bit skeptical 
Comment on Kaitlyn's Quinoa Pizza Bites 

Comment on Whitney's Crispy Quinoa Burgers

Finally, I bit the bullet (or the I guess more technically the quinoa) and tried a few recipes.... and now basically I am obsessed. I ended up buying it from the bulk section of my grocery store, so it didn't come with cooking directions. Off to google I went. After extensive research I have come up with three tips to bring anything you make with quinoa to the next level

1. Rinse: The most effective way of removing any of the bitter coating on the grain is to rise REALLY well in a mesh strainer. Like really, please do this... the second time I made quinoa I was all like "pshhh I don't have to rinse it". FALSE, you should.

2.  Toast: After drying thoroughly toss the quinoa with a tiny bit for olive oil and toast in a sauce pan for 2 minutes until all of the excess water is evaporated. I would love to tell you why this is an important step, but all I know is that the internet told me to do it .... so, yeah I do you should too. 

3. Stock: After figuring out the correct ratio of liquid to grain (which I am really bad at, ugh math) the aforementioned liquid should be a mix of water and chicken or vegetable stock. Much like rice quinoa soaks up the liquid in which it is cooked in. In essence the more flavor the cooking liquid has the more flavor the quinoa will have. Who could be against flavor, everybody loves flavor!

** My research largely consisted of tips from this site!

And because you are all now well versed in cooking Quinoa here are a few of the recipes I love!

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On Wasting Time

Reese's BEAUTIFUL childhood church in Shreveport  

Am I wasting time?

Currently in my life I have approximately 1,857,576 questions that do not have answers. For a type A planner like myself it is a wonder my brain hasn't exploded from the pressure (although I am 99% sure if it were to explode all that would come out is glitter and coffee... which if you think about it is quite festive). All 5 W's and an H are covered in the aforementioned 1,857,576 questions(who, what, where, when, why and how-- for those of you how have been out of the classroom for a while) which is quite overwhelming.

I feel like I lost October. Swimming somewhere in my memory October and all it's shenanigans will be a distant memory as we press on toward November. I really struggled with the idea of possibly "wasting time". Wasting time is one of my biggest pet peeves. The more I thought about October the more I realized that yes, I did let a lot of things go by the wayside (the blog, the gym, etc) but there is a reason the Lord has really been teaching me some crucial lessons, preparing me for whatever the next steps are in life and on some level really humbling me to his plan. I've always joked that I would give up my sharpie when planning but Jesus couldn't take away my pencil. So no, I haven't been "wasting time", but yes, I am excited to be back in my groove.

AND just because I think he is the cutest....

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