Monday, September 30, 2013

Fresh Neutrals

I've realized recently that my wardrobe is full of neutrals. As much as I love color, I feel so much better in just simple colors (especially in the fall and winter), which is something I'm working on...but I'll still always love neutrals, especially when they're in this classic look.





This necklace was one I got in 7th grade in the markets in Charleston, South Carolina, on a school trip. I actually never wore it until sophomore year, but I'm obsessed with it now. It adds such a unique look!




These ballet flats are actually a steal...they're from Forever 21! They're also what got me through many days of business casual at LBW.

I love this outfit because I feel so polished in it. And who doesn't love a white oxford and tweed skirt? 
It's fall, y'all!

Shirt: Izod | Skirt: Gap | Shoes: Forever 21

What sort of neutrals do you love?

xoxo,
Meredith

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Humans of New York

Whenever I find something that I like, I share it. I don't care if it's something that no one knows a lot about or something that everyone else already knows about. I don't care what people think of me when I share it. I just like to share the things I like, because it's what makes us all humans.

So when a few people on my Facebook feed were sharing posts from this page called 'Humans of New York', I figured there was something to it. I finally clicked on it and honest to goodness spent two hours just on my phone, looking at every photo they'd posted on that page. This really cool, great guy, Brandon Stanton, wanted to take a photographic census of New York, so he started a photography blog with photos of thousands of people in New York and their little stories and quotes. It's incredible.

Here's an example of one. (Click on this link or on the photo to make it larger)



This prompted me to look at the real blog, where I read almost all of the 'Stories' on the site. Absolutely unbelievable.

I know that this guy's been doing this for three years and already has over 1.3 million Facebook likes. I know people already know about him, but gosh dang it, I just had to share it.

People like this are the reason we all still have to have a little faith in the world. Stanton is the kind of guy that listens and absorbs everything he hears, shares what he loves, and tries to leave the world a little better than he found it. Isn't that what we all should aspire to do?

CHECK IT OUT. I promise you won't regret it.

Happy Sunday,
Meredith

Friday, September 27, 2013

100th post?!

You know how in elementary school on the 100th day of school, everyone brought in 100 items of one thing? No? Okay, well we did, and it was a competition. So maybe that's why I've remembered it.. but anyway, that's why I'm super stoked to say that this post right here, is my 100th post on Blogger! 

Wait, what? This is Monogram Meredith's 100th post??



I'm absolutely amazed and excited for this. Who would've thought that I could keep this up and this little silly blog could turn into the biggest aspect of my life?

Yesterday when I wrote about life being great and having its ups and downs, this blog is one of those exciting things. And I'm so proud of that. I write because I'm in control of it and have free range of what to write about. The fact that I've taken that free range and gotten to 100 posts make my insides flutter a little bit. I'll probably be a little more sentimental a lot more sentimental and will ramble on for a long post on its first birthday (November 1st!), so this is just a precursor of what's to come (be prepared for lots of 'being excited!!!!!'). 

And speaking of birthdays, this is a mini shoutout to my good friend Gates, who's turning 17 today! 

Anyway, I hope y'all have a great weekend full of excitement and wonderful things.

xoxo,
Meredith

Thursday, September 26, 2013

That's real life, man

I thought junior year was hard. It was full of lots and lots of school work, but with the promising and illustrious 'senior year' ahead of me, I knew I could pull through. I knew that if I didn't do so hot on one test, it wasn't the end of the world. Obviously, I worked really hard and tried my best, and I was disappointed when my best didn't cut it, but I was always reassured

But this year, I was introduced to real life. 

I think I had always been in this bubble of 'work hard and get what you want' and 'the best things happen to people who try the hardest', because it's kind of what I had been surrounded by. Work hard and see the things you want. You want good friendships? Work hard to make sure you keep in touch. You want to make money? Get a job (...or start your own business). You want good grades? Study hard. 

They're all logical, smart things to think about. Easy solutions to sometimes difficult problems. Very black and white. But this year, I was introduced to real life, a more grey area. You see, I always thought that if I gave something my all, I could get it. There have been disappointments and sad times in my life, but I always thought they were fixable. This year, I've been stressed with several things and thought if I had only worked a little bit harder, I could achieve my goals. However, when I try my hardest and am still stressed, I only have more anxiety put on me. It angered me that I was working hard and trying my best, but there were still things in my life that weren't working out the best for me. And then I realized: this is real life stuff.

For me, anxiety comes from the uncontrollable aspects of life. The things that you put a lot of work into, yet you can't control the results. This drives me crazy to no end, because I'm one of those annoying, meticulous control freaks. Responsibilities exist, and they're real ones. You can't screw up a real life responsibility, because real life consequences follow, sometimes consequences that are unpreventable.

And I'm not exactly sure how to go about these things that aren't going my way... other than to accept them. We have to accept who we are as a person (yes, I have to accept that I'm a control freak) and be willing to try our best and our hardest at whatever we do, with great goals in sight. Set goals, and don't accept failures as the ideal situation, but learn from them. I can't control all the failures in my life, sad and nerve-wrecking as it might be. It's hard to accept that my life in Area X isn't where I want it to be, but I have to. 

Because it's life. 

I know I'm only 17 years old and that I've barely experienced any of the world or even grown-up things. I know that there will be plenty more failures, much, much worse failures, heartbreaks, and tragedies. I know that. And I am a little scared for it, but it's okay, because I'm just trying to enjoy things right now.

Life is great, it really is. You know how excited I get about my life and the things that will come forward in it. But there's a reason that someone started saying "that's life, man" after someone complains about his/her problems. Life is full of surprises and changes and failures and happiness and congratulations and sadness. We say "that's life" because there's no way to describe what each individual in this massive world is going through, other than "life". Life's tough sometimes, and I've come to meet that, especially this year. But life's also great, and you, my friends, are going places. It can be tough right now and you have no way to describe your situation, but if you keep at it and have a little faith, something will work out. Maybe not everything you ever wanted, but enough to keep you loving life as much as I do.

And I don't mean to be cheesy or 'basic', but one of my favorite books of all time is Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I found these.




And one of my all time favorites, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.



So try to take this to heart. Keep working hard, because a hard work ethic can get you pretty far. It's one of my strong values in life. But if you fail or can't fix the unfixable, accept it. Maybe you can't skip a day of school like Ferris Bueller, but remember that life does move pretty fast. Life's tough, but life's pretty freaking great, too.

xoxo,
Meredith


Philippians 4:6-  
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mocha Cupcakes

There are always those recipes that you remember as the ones that your family's obsessed with, and it usually goes back to your mother or grandmother making them for you when you were growing up. Those kinds of recipes are my favorite because everyone's so sentimentally attached to whatever it is and it's more than just the food itself.

A couple of my favorite recipes like that? Most definitely the chocolate chip bundt cake or the buttercream icing. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either, but topping the list for favorite family food is moca icing...though we all just call it 'coffee icing'. And this stuff is the best. I'm not kidding, we eat it by the spoonful (more on that later), and absolutely die when my mom or grandmother ices it on cakes. 



So that being said, this is a little bit of a late post, because I made these cupcakes on Labor Day. Yeah, I know, that seemed so long ago! It was at the same house and with the same people I went to the Memorial Day cookout at and made strawberry cake cookies for the first time... it was so great to close the summer with the same people that I started it with!




I was so excited to post it, but it was in the middle of Avocado Week, and I couldn't disrupt that! When the friend who was hosting the cookout found out I was bringing cupcakes, she was very concerned that they would have avocados in them...but no worries, there aren't any.





Yes, we even make fudge out of the icing. 


Some people are hesitant of this icing because it has coffee in it and they're not real big on the taste of coffee, but I promise, it's really good. The incredulous amount of sugar and chocolate in the icing takes away from the bitterness that some might find in coffee. It's good. And the beauty of it is that if it's too coffee-y for you, just add more sugar!

Mocha Cupcakes
yields 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup & 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup & 1 tsp butter, softened
  • 2 & 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cup milk
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin pan with liners, set aside. 
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in between adding each egg. Stir in the vanilla. Add in the flour alternately with the mix and beat well until creamy. 
  • Fill each muffin liner a little bit more than 3/4 of the way full.
  • Bake for 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  • While cooling, make the icing.
For the icing
Ingredients

  • 2 lb bag of confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coffee (depending on preferred consistency)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
Directions
  • Cream butter and sugar together, then mix in cocoa powder. Finally, add the coffee. 
  • While cupcakes are still warm, drop a tablespoon of icing onto each cupcake. The warmth will allow for the icing to spread, but use a knife to cover the entire top of the cupcake. The icing will harden, so use it right away.
  • Have extra icing?  Put it in spoonfuls onto wax paper and stick it in the refrigerator for about an hour! Enjoy!
xoxo,
Meredith

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy First Day of Fall!

Happy first day of fall, guys! I know I'd been a little hesitant of all the fall hype, but my weekend's been spent on Pinterest perusing new season looks, and I think I'm ready for it! I think part of it is that I look a little blah in these months, so I'm working on making my closet more exciting this fall and winter. But for now, it's still warm to wear a dress with ballet flats!








I'm trying to work on wearing more bracelets and my watch more!


Dress: Old Navy | Shoes: Marshall's | Bag: Steve Madden

What styles are you looking at for fall?

xoxo,
Meredith

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Patience

This week has been one that truly tested my patience. I don't know if it was stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, or just a general annoyance, but I found myself looking negatively at everything that came my way. I found no patience in things without instant gratification. It's easy to say that you're not 'going to put up with any of that', whether it be people or situations that don't fit your personal needs. 

But we have to be reminded that our graceful God is forever being patient with us. Is that not the craziest thing?! God created each and every one of us, has to put up with every single thing we do that doesn't praise Him, but still has this patience. What a merciful Lord, I must say.


So, this week, I had to take a second and think of incorporating patience and compassion into every day. 


And James 1:19-20 is one of those verses that if you really look at each word, it can mean a lot.

I have lots of trouble with this being 'quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry'.

But if I lack this patience, I'm not bringing about the righteous life that God desires.

Just a thought for today about trying to remember patience and compassion.

xoxo,
Meredith

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Monogrammed School Supplies

The summer before 4th grade, I spent a good portion of my time making beaded key chains for my backpack for that school year. I think about it now, and all of those key chains were intense. I think you could see more of those beads than you could see actual backpack, but boy, I thought I was legit. 

I say that because I've always been obsessed with school supplies. I know we all say now that we love getting new, crisp notebooks, but I've seriously had this really weird obsession since about 1st grade. Not only have I always been in love with buying new ones, but making them look really pretty.

Yes, I know that I started school over a month ago. And getting my school supplies together and making them all pretty was one of my first priorities (but shouldn't it be?), but I never actually posted about them! And y'all know how excited I was to post about my Lilly planner. 

But like most girls all over Pinterest, I decorated mine, as well as my sister's, with plenty of monograms!


Seriously, the whole shebang.



I made binder inserts, but also stickers (simply printed onto labels!) that I was really excited about. 




Do you like the Lilly Pulitzer sprinkled throughout? This is the Let's Cha Cha print, which is the same as my planner, and my sister has this one in a binder as well. 

Shelby also used the Hearts a Flutter print (the chevron one), and I used Get Nauti (easily my fave) on a notebook.



And I added my own little promo at the bottom of all of the binders and notebooks, but hey, that's business.

These are all actually pretty simple to do, you can design your monogram on many things online, save it as a picture, then paste it on top of another picture, all on Word. It's really great, I love it for everything!

Last year I made stickers as well and stuck them on everything!


What do you guys think?!

with lots of monogram love,
Meredith

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New shirts!

I'd like to say that Monogram Meredith is all about new ideas. I mean, it's something in my life that really emulates what I'd like the rest of my life to be like, so that's why I try to encapsulate these new ideas, passions, and innovations on my blog and through my business.

That's just a little blurb about trying to come out with new things to sell via Monogram Meredith. These are for two of my closest friends, Adam and Victoria.


Adam's is a navy blue t-shirt with a red/white striped frocket and his initials in blue. 

Victoria's is a hot pink t-shirt with a navy circle, an adorable whale, and her initials in white. 


And this is the shirt I made for myself...sorry about the odd lighting! 

What do you think? I'm super excited to be able to 
a) do curly letters
b) make pockets
c) put whales and other items on it!

Of course, what I'm most excited about is my new Etsy shop. Yup, lots of people have been telling me to do it for a long time, so I finally did! I only have one listing so far, but trust me, there'll be more!


xoxo,
Meredith
(or Monogram Meredith :) )

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the name of scalloped dresses

Along with monograms, Lilly P, or a bow, anything scalloped is absolutely adorable, which is why I'm in love with this scalloped dress from J. Crew! 




I love how the model's paired it with animal print shoes, reminds me of my favorite pair of cheetah print flats!

It also comes in bright poppy and black... can I have all three?



One of my closest friends, Kirby, has the one in black and I'm seriously obsessed.


Don't scallops make everything more fun?
This dress is perfect and simple, but so chic. I love it!

What do you think of this dress? What do you love with scallops?

xoxo,
Meredith

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tips for Vegetarians at Restaurants

I've been a vegetarian for over two and a half years and I know how difficult it can be to start going without meat. It's a commitment, but one that I believe pays off pretty well.

One of the most difficult things about eating meat-free is eating out. Similar to dieting, eating out with people who aren't vegetarians can be a little bit stressful and nerve wrecking. I've had plenty of experiences of eating with people who didn't necessarily appreciate my eating decision and would either give me crap for it or try to convince me otherwise (can't a girl just eat in peace?!). Usually, these things were brought upon by making a big deal out of being a vegetarian. It's a social thing, but totally avoidable. Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't let people know of your choices (obviously I'm sharing my choices with the whole world), but if you're ever wary of it, I've written out some of my tips for eating vegetarian at restaurants! ...watch for a post about the best vegetarian things to order at specific restaurants!


1. Always keep a protein bar, granola bar, or snack in your bag. Sometimes you'll end up getting just a salad and without meat on it, you may get a little hungry afterwards. I can't tell you how many times I've cleaned out a purse and found about three Luna bars in it. (Plus, this is much cheaper!)

2. Look at the sides. I tend to order salads a lot, but I also order sides. Salads are cheaper and if you're looking for a little bit something extra, look for sides that'll fill you up. Sometimes these are macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, soups, pasta salad, vegetable plates, french fries/onion rings, etc. See if they'll let you order two sides instead of an entree!

3. The same thing goes for appetizers: who says they can't be your main meal? My favorites are quesadillas, but it varies from restaurant to restaurant. Just don't forget about the appetizers, even if it's an unconventional entree!

4. Look for good pasta dishes. Pasta is my favorite (no matter what kind of restaurant) and comes with good filling-up calories. A lot of the times they come with meat, but if you politely ask, they'll be happy to take it off for you, and they'll occasionally take down the price a dollar or two. One time they even added more bell peppers onto my pasta because I wasn't ordering it with chicken. The same thing goes for salads.

5. If you're ordering something special, just ask for 'no meat'. Sometimes, menu items have more than one type of meat (bacon is often hidden in things) or are made with meat-derived products. So if you ask for something without meat, they'll understand what you mean and if the meat can't be taken out, they'll most likely let you know. You can read the menu in detail, but unless you ask, you won't know. 

6. This is a shot in the dark sometimes, but ask about veggie patties to substitute on burgers. Some restaurants have them, but they're not on their menu. Also, if a restaurant advertises a 'veggie burger' but you want it in the style of a special burger specific to their menu (ie, a Mexican burger), they'll usually be more than happy to dress your veggie one with whatever you'd like.

7. Pizza and flatbread sandwiches are the best. The very best, I may add. Simply order these without meat, but still get the cheese, veggies, and bread.

8. Look at the menu before you go. I can't stress this enough. No one wants to get into a situation where they're spending time at the restaurant freaking out over the menu, not knowing what to get because they're a vegetarian. Plus, if you know what you want when you get there, there's not going to be any concerns from who you're eating with. (Note: Not that you're trying to hide it, of course, there's just no need to make a big deal out of it if you don't want to).

This should be a given no matter who you are or what you order, but be courteous to the people serving you. They have lots of customers and people to serve, so if your meal comes and it has chicken on top of the salad, don't chew out your waiter or waitress. It's not necessarily their fault and they're trying to do the best they can. Just pick it off and try not to make a big deal out of it. 

I hope this helps when you're going to restaurants, whether it be fast-food or sit-down, because even though it may seem overwhelming to go meat-free in public, I promise it isn't!

Have any questions, suggestions, or concerns? Let me know!

xoxo,
Meredith

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Georgia On My Mind

This weekend was a fun, little one with my dad in Georgia, and I had so much fun!

Friday when I posted, I was in Chattanooga, waiting on my dad to get out of a meeting. It was cool to see where he travels to work there. Afterwards, we drove to Athens and got there later that afternoon to see the University of Georgia. It was beautiful there and I loved it!




I swear, anywhere you visit on college trips seems like 'the prettiest college ever'! 

After that tour, we left for Atlanta. I'd been there before two years ago when we watched our Cats in the NCAA basketball tournament in the Elite 8 (and later went on to win the national championship!), and I just think it's one of the most amazing cities.

We ate dinner at this amazing place, Maggiano's. Italian, of course...I'm obsessed with any sort of Italian food. Carbs may not love my figure, but oh, how I love some good pasta. My dad even insisted on me taking a picture of my meal because it looked so pretty. 


It was SO GOOD: cheese-filled ravioli with pesto alfredo sauce. Seriously, here I am again to tell you that eating vegetarian doesn't make you miss out on anything. 

We spent the night in Atlanta and woke up to visit Emory University. Sadly, I didn't get any photos because we were busy the whole day!! But of course, this campus is absolutely gorgeous as well!

After a long day there, I was thankful to be back in my old Kentucky home.


Today is a day of lazying around, catching up on work, trying to get over a silly sinus infection, and enjoying sweet treats from my brother's adorable girlfriend (she works in a bakery, how cool?! She's a keeper).


Hoping for a great week ahead!

xoxo,
Meredith

Friday, September 13, 2013

City Hoppin

A lot of people say that their life isn't interesting enough to blog or write about (which I completely disagree with, everyone has something they can write about, but that rant will come at a later day). But that thought is kind of interesting, because blogging is a lot of work and a real time commitment. Anyways, not that my life is real fascinating by any means (I'm honestly just a high schooler. Haha.), but I haven't been able to post some of the more exciting stuff I've wanted to! I mean, cupcakes are exciting, right?!

But right now, I'm all over the place! As I write this, I'm in a hotel in Chattanooga, but will be in Athens and Atlanta within 24 hours. And I was in Louisville last night. All this traveling makes me feel like I'm back at LBW, going from place to place. It's all just senior year stuff, but it makes me happy!

Lots of big stuff happened this week (especially in terms of Monogram Meredith), but the one of the biggest things is my mentoring project with Awesome Inc., a place in Lexington created to help startups and make everything awesome. I'll have to share more about it later (and how awesome it is), but the other day I went through core value training and officially became a member of Team Alpha. Check out @awesome_inc's tweet!

It's a little bit difficult to blog on the go, so follow me on Twitter or on Instagram!

Who's excited for a good weekend?!

xoxo,
Meredith

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Light Shines in the Darkness

As we reflect on this day and the horrible tragedies that happened 12 years ago, let's remember our own light that we can share.


John 1:5 reads "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

There's not much we can do to change what happened during those horrific events. There's not much we can do to stop evils like this from existing. But what we can do is show a light to those who need it. It's 12 years later, but there are people still hurting and suffering. If there's anything we, as Christians, can do, it's share a light and a love from deep within.

For more of an insight about Appreciation and 9/11, read my post from the 4th of July in Boston.

Never Forget 9/11/2001,
Meredith

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Lexicomaniac's Thoughts on Lex

When I was at LBW this summer and people asked where I was from and I told them Lexington, Kentucky, most times they just disregarded the Lexington part, remembering only Kentucky. I have lots of Kentucky pride, but I also have so much Lexington pride.

I forget the number of super cool things that happen in Lexington that can't and don't happen anywhere else in the country. Lexington is the sum of everything I love about Kentucky and the South, and yet, is still a big city to house so many things. Rarely do you see a city and college town surrounded by horse farms! Anyways, this weekend was a super fun weekend with so many things happening that only occur in Lexington.

Henry Clay Homecoming

I love high school football games. I really do. My school has an amazing student section at almost every sporting event, but especially at football games, and even more when that this was our homecoming game! (We also had a pep rally that afternoon, where I was an MC...long story). Anyways, we won 50-0, which was exciting!

World's Largest Water Balloon Fight

This is truly a Lexington special. For a couple years (this was my third year), the CSF organization at UK has this huge water balloon fight, breaking the world record. From what I've heard, there were 280,000 water balloons and 12,00 people there. It's seriously the most fun thing because there's such a buildup and everyone goes (but really, everyone's there, including your aunt's brother's daughter's boyfriend and on and on), and it's at midnight. Yup, fun stuff to get to go because you can have plans before and still be there. And then, the throwing of water balloons only goes on for about five minutes, which is probably a good thing (I got hit with a lot of balloons), but it's so much fun.

 
Do you see all those little things on the other side? Those are people. And this picture doesn't do it justice, all of the intramural fields at UK here are full of people. And those are the water balloons laid out!
 
 
So many people. Absolutely insane.
 
 
Me and some of my friends all went together (in neon!) and had soo much fun! Plus, you see everyone that you didn't go with anyways!
 
 
Yeah...you do get soaked.



Getting home at 1:30 and not going to bed until 2:30 is fun...until you have to get up the next morning.

University of Kentucky Football Games

No, but really, UK was playing Miami of Ohio at Commonwealth at 12, so I went with some friends tailgating! None of us had tickets, but seriously, we had so much fun!

 
 
 
 
I wish I had an up close picture of Kirby's (above) belt, it was adooorable: needlepoint with little football players all over it.
 
 
And then I saw Coach Joe B. Hall, former national championship-winning UK basketball coach! He's an absolutely incredible coach!
 
 
 
Then, we had some fun shopping in downtown Lexington. It was weird/cool being with two girls from outside of Lexington because there are so many things I take for granted in Lex!
 
After that, I was exhausted. I guess football and shopping does that for you, right?!
 
Lexington is such a fun city. And I have so much love for it and appreciation for living here! If you thought I got excited for it now...just wait until Keeneland opens!
 
xoxo,
Meredith
 
PS- The title: Somehow, I had seen the word 'lexicomaniac' and looked it up because I love words and was genuinely curious. Well, it means "one who loves words and reading". Okay, okay, this is so me. I was writing a lot of words about the city I love, so it only seemed appropriate! This is your dictionary word of the day from me, by the way. Use it on all your friends to try and impress them. Haha.