Monthly Archives: May 2014

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My Personal Branding Statement

personal branding statement
I was following Jill Celeste’s 21-Day Personal Branding Challenge and one of the tasks was to create a personal branding statement.  Imagine that, huh?  A personal branding challenge and a task on the list is to create your own personal branding statement.  I should have seen it coming, but alas I was not prepared.  There were over 21 tasks on the list, but I selected my 21 and then one-by-one started tackling the easy ones.  Towards the middle of April I realized that I had only the more time consuming or difficult ones left.

One being the personal branding statement.

After struggling for a while to come up with anything, I reached out to the challenge’s community.  Someone gave me the best advice with one simple question.  Why?  Why do I want to do what I do?

I sat back and just started asking why… why… Meredith, seriously why?

Then I wrote.  It didn’t make much sense and my brain was all over the place.  But that didn’t matter.

It’s important when writing a personal branding statement to free-think and just allow yourself to brainstorm all the possibilities.  From there you can tailor it down and become more eloquent in your writing.

Here is what I started with:

I want to have a creative outlet for myself.  I have many different areas that interest me and I know that I am not alone in having a craving to learn, share and do more.  I work hard to make the place we live a home with good food, fun projects, and spending time with family and friends.  I want to be a source of ideas for other women when it comes to decorating, personal finance, self-esteem and healthy living.  I want to be open with myself and others about my struggles of my self-image and help others overcome their fears in opening up.

Then I walked away and came back with fresh eyes.  I do believe it’s important to let everything marinate for a bit.  This is your brand, your business, and a simple statement that describes you to the world.  You want to make sure you like the final product and are not rushing it.  The days of rushing through class projects to get them turned in on time are over.  This is real life and real life needs to be better than something that will earn you a B.

Here is my final personal branding statement:

merelynne.com is a creative outlet for other women who have a variety of interests and who crave to learn, share and do more.  merelynne.com is a source to learn fun projects, a place to find good food and a celebration of spending time with others.  It is a go-to place for living an organized life, positive self-esteem tips and healthy living.    

It’s been a few weeks since I have written the statement and I have to say, I still love it.  It hits what I want to be right on the head and it pushes me to strive harder.

We’ve Moved

Yep, the U-Haul is gone and (most) boxes have been unpacked.  This house is starting shape up and look a little bit more like a home.  J and I have even started hanging a few pictures on the walls.  I have a few ideas/crafts for a few pieces and I can’t wait to get those started.
The pups seem to love their new home, maybe it’s because they have a fenced-in yard to run in finally.  Tiny has been on bird duty since we arrived.  No bird will be flying into her territory anytime soon.  Funny story – at one of the last places we lived there was a fenced in yard.  One day we were all outside, I was sitting at the table working on the computer and J was grilling dinner.  I looked up after hearing a funny noise and saw Tiny prancing around with two little wings flapping outside of her mouth.  I panicked and started yelling for her to leave it.  She looked at me confused and spit out a little bird.  The poor guy was so dazed and it kind of wobbled around for a bit then took off.  I swear for weeks afterwards the birds would all line up on the edge of the fence and dive bomb Tiny.
J and I are going to do some landscaping to the front and back yards soon.  I can’t wait!  I’ll show off our cute little home soon.  I want to get the rest of the boxes unpacked and start working on a few of my projects.

The Start of a New Adventure

That’s right, tomorrow is the start of a new adventure for J and I.  I have been hinting around here for a few weeks about a big announcement.  No, it’s not that kind of announcement.  We aren’t bring a mini J and me into the world.  Every time we tell people that we have big news that is where their thoughts first go.  Then I followup with saying NO.  Let me chug a beer to prove it to you.  I know, I know, I’m so ladylike.
new adventure Drum roll please…. We are moving!  Yep, that’s right J and I are moving (again) to a new town.  Well it’s new for J, not for me.  I’m going home to the place I graduated high school from, learned to drive, had my first job, made one of the best friendships that have stood the test of time, and now the start of a new career.

An opportunity like this one doesn’t come around every day.  J and I decided to take a big leap into a future that we never imagined.  I am beyond excited to get home, get settled and begin.  J is putting on a brave front.  I think the idea of being far away from his family and close friends is pretty unappealing at the moment.  I, however, strongly believe that J will feel right at home in no time.  Something about him being more social and friendly then me.  Or perhaps it’s the fact J is the furthest thing away from a homebody and will force himself out making new friends.

Now you may be asking yourself – when are these crazy kids moving?  In a month?  Two months?  Nope.  We are moving tomorrow.  Our house is full of boxes and packing tape.  The poor pups have no idea what’s going on.  Our movers are coming to help us load up the truck and then we hit the open road tomorrow morning, bright and early.  We have a pretty little house waiting for us to make it a home.  I love new beginnings.

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

Confession Time.  I have become obsessed with smoothies lately.  I blame it on the bullet I bought for a hella good deal at Bed Bath & Beyond.  I mean it’s the blenders fault for making it so gosh-darn easy to mix up some veggies, fruit and whatever I have laying around that sounds good.
apple cinnamon smoothieI create another one the other day.  I found a smoothie (this one) that used cinnamon and a light bulb went off.  I had to create my own version.  I just had to.

Here’s what you need:

1 small apple, peeled and diced
½ banana
¼ c. of pineapple
¼ c. unsweetened almond milk
3 oz. Greek yogurt
1 T. chia seeds
1 handful of spinach
¼ t. of cinnamon

Put all of the ingredients into your blender or bullet.  Mix until well combined.
If you want a cold smoothie that has a thicker texture just add 3-4 ice cubes and mix again until combined.  I like my smoothies cold so I always add 4 ice cubes once it’s all blended together and then mix again.
apple cinnamon smoothieFor full disclosure – the smoothie pictured above doesn’t have spinach in it.  It is my normal go-to ingredient, but I was out the day I took the pictures.  

Here’s the thought behind each ingredient:

apple – The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats, which helps lower cholesterol levels.  Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which can help boost your immune system

banana – they promote good digestion and help promote healthier blood pressure.  They are also full of vitamin B6 and magnesium.

pineapple – These are loaded with vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Pineapple contains manganese, which contributes to building bones and connective tissues.  Plus they have anti-inflammatory qualities.

almond milk – it contains calcium and Vitamin D, which helps improve immunity and cell function.  Almond milk has iron, which helps muscles absorb and use protein for energy.

Greek yogurt – excellent source of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12.  Plus it contains probiotic cultures and and has two times the protein than regular yogurts

chia seeds – these little guys are a great source of protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus they swell to 10-15 times their size, which is perfect for weight loss.

spinach – a great super food that helps boost your immune system and provides antioxidants.  Plus spinach is full of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate

cinnamon – it helps lower blood sugar, fights bacteria, and can reduce inflammation

That one time at the brewery

 

 

 

 

 

brewery
Don’t you just love the weekends?  I mean, they are the absolute best.  Especially when the weather is perfect and nothing has to get done.  J has been itching to take a tour at Anheuser-Busch Brewery.   …so that’s just what we did.  We went with J’s family and met up with some friends at their Biergarten after the tour.brewery breweryOnly at the brewery can you order a Budweiser Signature… to say it’s amazing would be an understatement!  It’s my favorite beer – Budweiser, but carbonated and cooled differently.  Yummy!

Then we grabbed the dogs and let’s just say Maggie had an absolute blast with her bestie Oliver!  She makes a great pillow for him and he shares his chew bones with her.  It’s a pretty even friendship.
maggie and oliver_edited maggie in the car_edited

 

And They’re Off {recap of J’s birthday}

birthday recap
It was a big birthday – this past weekend we celebrated J turning 28.

And it’s official – he is one year older than me (well at least for the next 2 months)!  It was a full weekend of celebrating him and to be honest, he deserved it.  But please, PLEASE do not tell him that.  I had a hard enough time convincing him he didn’t need the whole weekend to be all about him and his birthday, but was so unsuccessful at it.  I mean, it pretty much was the J Show, but it doesn’t need to go to his head.

His actual birthday was Friday and we headed over to my in-laws for dinner.  We ended up staying pretty late thanks to an intense game of Logos.  Of course me and Grandma won because we were pretty much rockstars!  If you have never played Logos before, I suggest getting it.  It’s really fun and all different age levels can play.  Plus it’s a blast watching J get excited over an answer.  His finger pointing gets pretty out of control.

Saturday we woke up early thanks to our lovely dogs.  I swear they want to sleep in during the week when we have to get ready for work, but they can’t give us one extra hour during the weekend.  We had lunch with my family who was in town then headed to Fairmount Park to watch the horse races.
birthday recap
I had never been to a horse race before and it was interesting, fun, exciting, depressing, and a little sketch all at the same time.  You could tell the regulars from the non-regulars.  The real-time betters from the ones just looking to have fun for only $2.  The inside reeked of shame and depression, but I just avoided it as much as possible.  Outside was where the party was at.  We had great seats and my mother-in-law brought a birthday cookie cake (J’s favorite) and a giant pretzel from Gus’ in the shape of 28.

birthday recap birthday recap We partied hard until the last race was over.

Sunday we had brunch with my folks for Mother’s Day and then headed to J’s grandparents for Mother’s Day dinner with his family.
J and me
The weekend was fast-paced, never ending and a ton of fun.  I seriously could have used Monday to recoup and catch up on some sleep.

Look Up

The night I met J is all I kept thinking about while watching.  I couldn’t imagine not having that defining moment.

What are you missing?

Creamy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip Recipe

peanut butter yogurt fruit dipCreamy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip Recipe – it’s a mouthful to say, but man does it make your mouth happy!

Sometimes you just need something sweet to go with your apples. Am I right? I thought so. I whipped this creamy peanut butter yogurt dip up in less than 2 minutes and it is so tasty! Plus, this dip doesn’t defeat the purpose of eating an apple like some of the store bought fruit dips can do.

Creamy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip Recipe

5 ounces of Greek yogurt in vanilla (I used Chobani)
2 Tablespoons powdered peanut butter (I used PB2)
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
peanut butter yogurt fruit dipMix together and enjoy! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

A single serving is about 1 ounce. Calories: 43. Carbs: 7. Fat: 0. Protein: 4.

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

strawberry breakfast smoothieI start most mornings off with a healthy breakfast smoothie made in my new found love – the magic bullet.  Man can this puppy whip up a smoothie in no time!  Plus I play a game of how much good stuff I can cram into the cup.

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie

6 frozen strawberries
4 frozen raspberries
4 frozen blueberries
1/4 c. Pineapple
1/2 banana
1/4 c. almond milk
1/2 scoop protein powder
breakfast smoothieBlend until smooth and at a consistency you want.

 This smoothie is amazing and is perfect for a busy morning. The frozen berries are perfect to make your smoothie thicker, almost like a milkshake. You can also add a handful of spinach or kale for extra nutrients, the berries hide the spinach and most won’t even know it is in there. Also, another good addition is a tablespoon of chia seeds, which are a great source of fiber.
breakfast smoothieStarting the day off right is a great feeling and kind of sets the mood for your whole day.  So by starting off with a healthy breakfast smoothie then you are sure to not blow the whole day.  Smoothies are so easy to customize, so it’s easy to find fruits that you like and become a mad scientist each morning.

Happy Birthday, My Darling

groom photo

Happy birthday.  You are my best friend, my rock and the man I desire.  I love you more with every passing day.
engagement photo happy birthday
When I was younger I asked God and wondered how my future would look.  I was curious about the path I would take and the man I would call mine for all eternity.  I know He had a plan for me and that plan was you.  I am glad I didn’t have a crystal ball to tell me what life would be like because I would have been skeptical.  Some days I cannot fathom how I got this lucky.  I have the opportunity to spend the rest of my days with someone like you, it’s a blessing.  You are a blessing.
Here is to the next 365 days of your life and I hope they are filled with joy, love, and laughter.