Tuesday, June 28, 2016

7 Layer Mexican Taco Dip


Need a crowd-pleasing appetizer? Look no further than this 7 Layer Mexican Taco Dip! I made this for Cinco de Mayo and turned out to be a huge hit so I'm making it again for the 4th of July! This dip could not have been easier to throw together and it feeds a village - win win!

ingredients
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 packets (1 oz. each) taco seasoning mix
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 (12 oz.) container sour cream
4 medium avocados, peeled & seeded
juice of half a lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (2.25 oz.) can black olives, drained & sliced

directions
{1}
In a large skillet, combine ground beef with 1 packet of taco seasoning. Stir well and heat on medium until thoroughly cooked. Drain. Combine cooked ground beef with refried beans and set aside.
{2}
In a bowl whisk together the sour cream and 1 packet of taco seasoning mix. Set aside.
{3}
In a separate bowl, mash the avocados. Add lime juice, chopped cilantro, chopped onion, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Set aside.
{4}
In a 9x13 serving dish, evenly spread the beef/bean mixture on the bottom. Continue layering in the following order: sour cream mixture, guacamole, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese and black olives. Wrap tightly and keep chilled. Serve with tortilla chips & enjoy!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Braided


There are few pieces of clothing I love more than a maxi dress. From colorful printed ones to sleek & simple black versions, I love the ability to easily dress them up or down. The olive green color of this maxi dress is what initially sold me, but the comfort factor keeps me reaching for it all the time.

Headbands are one of my favorite accessories - they instantly add a boho vibe and are perfect for styling second (and third!) day hair. I usually gravitate toward printed ones, but this neutral braided headband has become a staple since I can pair it with almost anything.

Funny story about these sandals...my cousin Alana and I were shopping at Target (and buying wayyy too much!) but I stumbled upon these shoes. I looked at the size, which read "3." I thought it was weird but tried them on anyway. To my surprise they fit perfectly! Turns out these sandals are little girl shoes {monkey covering eyes emoji} Oh well - they're so cute other than the cartoons on the sole ha!

{outfit details}
Olive Printed Maxi Dress - Target || Braided Headband - Zara (sold out - coral version) || Brown Leather Belt - Express || Cognac Lace-Up Sandals - Target || Satchel - Dooney & Bourke || Tortoise Sunglasses - Warby Parker || Lipstick - Maybelline "pink me up"






Tuesday, June 21, 2016

{How To} Half-Up Hairstyle 2 Ways


I got so many requests for a half-up topknot tutorial after this outfit post so today I'm sharing my 2 favorite ways to wear this trendy hairstyle. I've seen countless renditions of this look (messy bun in the back, tiny topknot at the crown, sleek ballerina bun, etc) - I suggest getting some ideas on Pinterest and test out a few styles to see what looks best on you. Below are my step-by-step instructions for the messy bun and twisted topknot. Which one is your fave?

Messy Half-Bun

{1}
I like both of these hairstyles more with textured waves so I curl my hair first (see my bed head waves here). Start with second-day hair since it will hold the style better. I use dry shampoo at the roots & add a loose curl to the bottom half of my hair.

{2}
Starting at my ears, I take a small section of the front of my hair and part it away from the bottom half. I comb my fingers through it to make sure it's not tangled.

{3}
At the crown of my head, I start to tie this top section of hair into a hair elastic. I tie it up as I would a ponytail, but don't pull the last bit through and make it into a bun. I have long hair so I make the bun small and let my layers stick out to create a messy effect.

{4}
I like to cover the hair elastic so I take a small piece from the section hanging out of the bun and wrap it around the base once. Use a bobby pin or two to secure it in the back underneath the bun. Voilá!





Half-Up Twisted Topknot

{Start with steps 1 and 2 above}

{3}
I twist my hair from the roots to ends and begin making the top knot a couple inches above than the crown of my head. Wrap the twisted section around itself tightly (I loosen it later.) Tie the bun using a hair elastic.

{4}
I loosen the bun by lightly tugging the sides out just enough to spread it out a bit more. Then, using a couple bobby pins, I secure it into place. I don't use hairspray for this look, since I prefer the undone look, but feel free to spritz some at the end if you fear the fly-aways.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dress vs. Top


Confession: this dress is actually a top! But since I'm 5'2 I can rock it sans pants - perks of being petite! I found this top/dress while digging through the racks at T.J. Maxx and fell in love with the fabric the second my hand grazed it. It has a vintage feel, with super soft cotton, a released hem and grey washed effect. The drop-ruffle lends a flirty vibe to an otherwise shapeless shift silhouette. Paired with my coral ankle-wrap sandals & tassel crossbody, it's the ideal outfit for a hot summer day.

{outfit details}
Grey Top/Dress - T.J. Maxx || Coral Wrap Sandals - Target || Blue Mirror Aviators - Ray-Ban || Cream Studded Crossbody - Forever 21 (last worn) || White Watch - Michael Kors || Lipstick - Revlon "siren" || Nail Polish - Essie "petal pushers"







Wednesday, June 15, 2016

MC-gram

Checking in for a quick Instagram round-up. I apologize for the slow posts this week - my cousin Alana is visiting from Vermont, and we haven't seen each other in almost 7 years! To say there's a lot to catch up on is quite the understatement, so I'm enjoying our wine nights to the fullest. I'll be back with a new outfit on Friday - stay tuned!
 
Follow MC Squared
Instagram @meghanconard
Snapchat @meghanconard

{OOTD - lunch date at Juice 'n Java}
 
{enjoying some fun in the sun with Alana}

{in love with these coral & leopard sandals from Target}
 
{pool days are the best days}

{Catching up with Melissa, my friend and co-worker from BCBG in LA. How cute is her pup Chloe?!}

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Basics


Fact: you can never go wrong with basics.
Basics get a bad rap sometimes, but basic doesn't have to equal boring - just throw on some fun accessories! Adding my DIY choker & leopard booties to this outfit gave it just the right amount of edge. I have to admit Victoria's Secret PINK makes a pretty perfect v-neck (super soft, slightly sheer, a little oversized). In all seriousness, I could live in these Levi cut-offs for the rest of my life - so comfortable and they go with everything! What are your go-to basics?

{outfit details}
Black V-Neck Tee - Victoria's Secret PINK || Cut-Off Shorts - Levi's || Aviator Sunglasses - Ray-Ban || Black Leather Bag - Coach || Choker - DIY || Leopard Booties - Sam Edelman || Gold Watch - Michael Kors (similar styles) || Lipstick - Maybelline Vivid Liquid Matte in "nude flush"


 



 
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Blueberry Banana Bread


Banana bread has always been a favorite of mine for brunch. It's the perfect way to use overripe bananas, and I love that there are countless versions of the recipe (think chocolate chips & muffins). This was my first time adding fresh blueberries to my banana bread and I must say the result was absolutely delicious. I also sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the top before baking, creating a sweet crust - highly recommended!

ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar, separated into two 1/4 cups
1/2 butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 overripe bananas, smashed
2 eggs
7 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, rinse with water and pat dry)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

directions
{1}
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3" loaf pan with butter and coat with sugar (add 2 tbsp. of granulated sugar to the bottom of the pan and shake side to side until evenly covered)
{2}
In a stand mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar on low speed. Add smashed bananas, eggs, milk and vanilla.
{3}
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the to the batter, and mix on low until just incorporated. Stir in blueberries. Pour into prepared pan.
{4}
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
{5}
Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Cool completely before removing from pan. Enjoy!