a new journey

Hello Everyone!

I apologize that it has been so long since I’ve posted on this blog. With my dad’s cancer battle and eventual passing in March of last year, I was feeling very uninspired and certainly didn’t want to change the upbeat tone of this site.

It has been nearly a year, and I vowed that 2014 would be better. Full of as much life and happiness as is possible during such a rough time.

So, when my passion for writing finally resurfaced a few months ago I decided to start a new website. I would love for you to join me on my journey for a positive 2014 at thedailymeg.com

train

a journey to a positive 2014

Fun Finds | Phone Apps

I have always been a proponent of keeping things “stock.”  Car stereos, my hair color, and until now: the apps on my phone.

In the last month or so, while perusing CNN – Tech, I’ve come across a few articles with suggestions about fun apps to try. Of course, being a total cheapskate, I ignored any apps that were paid (what if I don’t like it? or get bored with it? just money flushed!). In my general filtering process I’ve come across two that tickled my fancy: Sunrise and Mailbox.

Mailbox is an app that allows you to clean up your inbox (only offered with gmail). Now this sounds simple enough but it is kind of amazing how many emails can accumulate.

So here’s the deal, the goal of Mailbox is to get to “inbox zero daily,” which basically means that all your messages have a place. Whether they’ve been archived (different than deleted), or sorted into easy-to-understand categorizes to reference later, the ultimate success is being able to see the daily photo they post for people who’ve successfully cleared their inbox.

Fun Finds: Mailbox App | meganeilers.wordpress.com

Personally, I never really understood the purpose of “all mail” vs. “inbox” in Gmail. Now, it makes far more sense: the inbox is just for the stuff you are getting right now or may need right now. Everything else doesn’t need to sit there taking up screen/mental space, just put it into the archives for safe keeping…. DUH! (can you say: major lightbulb moment?!)

The only downside to Mailbox: it’s in Beta so…. just like the early days of gmail, you’ve gotta wait your turn. When you download the app and register for the service you get to see a lovely countdown of where you’re at in the lineup and how many poor unlucky souls are behind you.

Mailbox App Beta Test | meganeilers.wordpress.com(this was where I was at February 11th — I got it on March 1st)

So that’s Mailbox. All kinds of fun swiping and cleanliness for your email. Now, onto an app I just downloaded today…. Sunrise.

Sunrise is a calendar app, once again designed to work with Google calendars, Facebook calendars, and LinkedIn. So far what I like about it is the fact that you get benefit of multiple views of your calendar at one glance or with simple swiping motions. Plus, I really love the coloration.

I was successfully able to set up a true Gmail account calendar and a Google Apps-based calendar (in case you were concerned about not using the standard google interface).

Fun Finds: Sunrise App | meganeilers.wordpress.com

(this is what it Sunrise looks like)

I’m definitely going to try and get used to Sunrise (there are fun icons that appear, but I’m not sure what they all mean), but so far I’m digging the interface.

Let me know what kind of fun finds you’ve stumbled across lately in the comments section!

Lovely Lily

it’s been a rough few weeks around my house.

as some readers of my blog may know, my dad has been valiantly battling bladder cancer for the last year and things have simply gone down hill lately.

so I apologize for the lack of blogging, however family comes first.

in the mean time, we do receive flowers frequently and I had to share this beautiful lily that opened up. (excuse the photo quality, it’s from my phone.)

lily

A Little Taste of Nature

It’s been a busy January so I haven’t been able to put pen to paper (fingers to computer?) for my blog as often as I might have liked. Fortunately, I have been able to soak up some of California’s wonderful weather and take a few hikes outside with Buddy.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite Instagram photos from my time in the golden hills of California.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram: meganeilers

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Obsession of the Week | United State of Pop 2012 (Shine Brighter)

It’s that time again…. time for a new mashup from DJ Earworm! Last year I posted about the United State of Pop 2011 which was good, but this year’s is even better! You can check out the download on SoundCloud here.

As much as I do truly love the audio versions of all of DJ Earworm’s mashups, the most impressive thing he does is creating the videos to go along with the mixes. To time the videos of each song so accurately is truly a work of art. To check out his video for the United State of Pop 2012, click on the picture below or here. (you may notice that I’ve taken a screen shot of my favorite band in the video: Fun)

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 6.51.03 PMI love these mashups because they’re always so upbeat and just make you want to dance. It certainly helps that I absolutely love all the songs that he included this year. I mean I blogged about three of them in the last few months alone!

Alex Clare

Lumineers

Adele

And in case you wanted to know, here is the full list of songs included:

Gotye and Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know
Fun. – Some Nights
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Maroon 5 – One More Night
Fun. and Janelle Monáe – We Are Young
Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa – Payphone
Ellie Goulding – Lights
Rihanna – Diamonds
Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven
Ke$Ha – Die Young
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Flo Rida – Good Feeling
Nicki Minaj – Starships
The Wanted – Glad You Came
Adele – Set Fire To The Rain
Lumineers – Ho Hey
One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
Flo Rida and Sia – Wild Ones
Phillip Phillips – Home
Bruno Mars – It Will Rain
Katy Perry – Wide Awake
Alex Clare – Too Close
PSY – Gangnam Style
Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Flo Rida – Whistle

Lemon Orzo Salad

Just a quickie post to recommend a dish I made last night. Thank you Pinterest!

 

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

I would say it was quite delicious, however could have used a bit more of a kick. Even just a teaspoon more pepper probably would have zested it up enough!

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(picture from original site where recipe can be found: http://www.abigmouthful.com/lemon-orzo-salad-with-asparagus-and-tomatoes/ )

 

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

12 oz. orzo
1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano*

Bring 2 large pots of water to boil.  Add a big pinch of salt in each.

To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.  Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green.

To the second pot, add the orzo.  Cook per package instructions.  When tender, drain and place in a large bowl.  Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves.

Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Stir into orzo and vegetables.  Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

This can be served warm, room temperature or cold.

*Note:  If you want to keep this salad vegan, leave out the Parmigiano Reggiano.

Movie Adventures

I love movies. Going to the theater, throwing a DVD in, streaming on the internet. Doesn’t matter to me, I just love to watch movies. Unfortunately, the last few months have been very chaotic in my personal and work lives (yes, I separate those!) and I haven’t had much time to enjoy movies in my favorite form: the big screen.

Aside from worrying about being stuck next to a sniffler, screaming tweens, or perhaps the universally-feared chatterbox, actually GOING to the movies is almost always a great experience. This week I was able to see not one, but two movies in the theater!

So, what did I see, you ask? The top two grossing movies out right now — duh! Sunday was a espionage afternoon with Skyfall and today was a matinee full of vampires and werewolves in Breaking Dawn Pt. 2.

Overall my movie-going experience both days was fantastic. I thought I’d share some brief thoughts on the films in case you too are debating taking the $20+ plunge of going to the theater.

First up, Bond. James Bond.

I am personally not a huge 007 fan. I know, I know… that’s a crime! Well if you can forgive me for that, I will say that I REALLY enjoyed Skyfall. As a stand alone movie (for someone who hasn’t seen all the James Bond movies) it was easy to follow and just as intriguing as say the Bourne series (one of my favorites). I thought they did a great job at keeping twists and turns in the movie without simultaneously losing my interest by confusing me.

The most impressive part about this film: Javier Bardem. He played the most creepy, freakishly smart, and crazy ex-agent ever: Silva. Oh the goosebumps! His bleach blonde hair, removable face implant, and über freaky laugh really made you believe he’d gone off the deep end.

Second best part: Daniel Craig. Enough said. :)

Overall, I give the movie an ‘A’ for being intriguing, suspenseful, and having a very handsome leading man who can kick butt all day long without breaking too much of a sweat (even for an “old” guy).

Next: the end of an era Saga

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve invested time in a TV show, multi-movie franchise, book series, etc. I tend to stick it out even past its expiration date, just because. Prime example: One Tree Hill. I watched that show like it was my job from the first to last season because after the first few seasons I felt committed enough that I couldn’t NOT find out how it ended… it was hardly the same show after 9 seasons.

Same story with Twilight. I couldn’t give up after the New Moon debacle (that movie was a challenge to sit through!). It really was too bad that the movies didn’t do the books justice because they had so much to work with. Fortunately, these last two (Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 & 2) were both really well done. Although the acting of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson didn’t necessarily get better, I think the directors were able to help them out a bit.

So, I’ve now officially seen all 5 movies (and yes, read the 4 books) and can honestly say this last one was the best of them. The cheese-factor was far less than the prior installments. Even the visual effects were impressive — those wolves almost look real. However Renesmee’s (Mackenzie Foy) digital face on various ages of children was a little creepy, but they did the best they could given the fictional nature of the character.

Anywhoo, it was definitely a great ending to a so-so movie saga. They stuck to the book well enough that I didn’t see any major reasons for complaints, the acting was improved, and the overall feel of completeness of the series (and the characters) was there — something I can say is often lacking in long-lived television shows. I’d give it an ‘A-’ and say it is definitely worth seeing if you have any remote interest in the story because it repents for the past films that were less than stellar.

There you have it folks, my take on the top two movies of Thanksgiving week. As for what else is coming out that I want to see, the list is quite lengthy after having seen about 10 trailers in the last few days. Costco movie tickets, here I come!

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