Why I Finally Decided To Change My Last Name

Confession time:  I wasn’t planning on changing my last name once B and I tied the knot – in fact I was pretty adamant about not changing it.  Everyone always asked me, “Well what does B think about it?” … and at first he didn’t love the idea, but as we talked about it over time he grew to understand my perspective and was accepting of the idea.  And no matter what people’s responses were to me saying I wasn’t going to change my name – because people definitely had opposing opinions – I knew that B and I were on the same page and that was all that mattered. In fact,  we actually joked more about B changing his last name instead of me changing mine.
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Now, it’s only fair of me to not share ALL my reasons of why I didn’t want to change my name – and those closest to me know. And if someone asked and REALLY wanted to know, sure I’d tell them, but I’m not going to just offer it up. *tongue out emoji*

But onto the good stuff about WHY I decided to change my name and HOW I shared the news with B. The reason why might sound really really stupid or even a little silly… but I wanted people to know that B and I were married.  Sure, most people knew, we both wear rings – but there were little moments in everyday life, that made me pause and have to explain, “No my husband’s last name is Wildebeest.”  I also felt that the whole point of being married is being one with each other as a union and in those little moments it didn’t seem that way at all.

So, as these little moments in life continued to happen over the course of our first year of marriage, I began throwing around the idea of changing my name – first to friends and then worked on convincing my stubborn self.  The first anniversary gift is paper, what better gift to give B than surprise him with my new social security card with my new name on it? … as the year went on, I continued to pitch myself on the change while those little moments continued to happen and build the case.  Plus, I knew B would be psyched, deep down happy, and not expecting it at all.
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Needless to say, I was a little nervous when I finally told B for our anniversary, because he’d gotten so OK with me NOT changing my name – that I wasn’t sure if he would really care anymore.  But he was so excited about it and not to mention completely shocked (and in a bit of disbelief)!

Final confession.  It’s still a bit of a struggle for me, I fought against conforming for so long and have a deep love for my maiden name that it hurts my heart a little – dramatic? Maybe, but I know that in time the change won’t even phase me, and that I’ll always be EB deep down.

To help with my name switch I enlisted HitchSwitch they provided detailed check-lists and pre-filled paper work to make the transitions easy while helping me feel not so lost navigating all the different updates! I still have a few updates to make, but all the major ones are checked off the list. ❤

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Beach Portrait Session Photo Credit: Marina Claire & Co.
Wedding & Engagement Photo Credit: Timothy Logan Photography

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Fitness Friday 01.19

It’s a new year, which mean it’s time to reset on your fitness goals, evaluate wins and losses from the past year and start focusing on the now and make things happen! Because Fitness has and will continue to be a priority for me, I wanted to really focus on specific goals for my health and wellness beyond my other goals for the new year and what better way to kickoff the first Fitness Friday than with clear goals of the year!
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Run More! Running has always been part of my fitness, some years more miles than others – with the goal of still running a handful of races, I want to incorporate running in my routine beyond the training for the races and making it more of constant.

Build My Core Strength. This should have been a priority for the past 13 years – due to  my chronic back pain – which has been flaring up more than lately, I’ve been thinking about ways to moderate this more as I get older.  And one thing that I’ve been told in my years is building my core strength, so by adding in a simple addition of regular planks I hope to build this up!

Less Carbs.  Plain and simple. I’ll begin buckling down on this a bit more, as I’ve been enjoying the finer things in life lately.

Remaining Consistent with Bootcamp. The last two years I’ve gotten into a good groove, seen progress and continued to get stronger.  I like the group fitness class and it’s an easy way to check off 2 or 3 days of workouts in the week!

Although I’m not working towards fitting into a wedding dress – this past year was a good year of maintaining my routine, sticking strong on my diet.  I worked so hard to establish that routine and make the big progress that I did – I don’t want to loose that routine or happiness I gained in myself.  So here’s to another year of becoming and loving your best self!

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Mood Board – Basement Bath

Remember when I mentioned we were working through a mini basement remodel for additional living space? Yeah, I know it’s been a minute – don’t worry the reveal is going to be shared in the coming weeks!  Well, part two of this project is working on expanding and updating a bathroom to continue making more of our house livable!

Nailing down the style for this space was key and I did this with a mix of online shopping, Pinterest browsing while working through the function and flow of the room.  I landed on vintage and classic while the plan of resting on classic pieces like penny or octagon patterned tiles as the foundation with the floor, walls and shower.  From there it’ll be reinforcing this style through the color pallet, light fixtures and a classic yet modern vanity.
basement bath mood board - the bee life Shop My Mood Board: Vintage Gold Bath Light | Aberdeen 36″ Vanity in Dove Grey  | Montaigne Weathered Oak Vanity | Retro Octagon Mosaic Porcelain Tile | White Glossy Porcelain Penny Tile | Amberes Azul Ceramic Floor Tile 

Honestly – the vanity has been the toughest part to find, as we’re trying to stick within a reasonable budget yet not something that is completely generic or stock.  But I can’t seem to find a good happy medium, although Home Depot is the leader in variety of style for decent price.

White tile will be a must.  Although I’m tempted to figure out a fun, yet stylish way to incorporate a bold statement tile into the space either a backsplash or statement wall – but I think that is still TBD. I’m also tempted to work in some natural wood with shelving and/or the vanity – since it would be nice to pull in natural finishes like we did with our statement shiplap wall in the living space of our basement.
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Image Sources:  Left image | Right image

How do you plan your home projects?  I like to map out a direction, do my research and usually end up sticking to something pretty classic! We’re excited for this next project and will share the latest DIY’s and How-To’s along the way, all leading up to the grand reveal!

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Trend Spotlight – Opalhouse Spring 2019

Opalhouse joined the Target home decor collections last spring – which I was a tad obsessed with, as they introduced bold colors with fun patterns and a unique offering of styles for everyone to love.  Low and behold, I was happy to see Opalhouse stay through the holiday season with it’s own offering of stunning pieces like this gold leaf & berry (which can still be purchased for a steal of $6.49!) or simplistic red polka pillow with it’s accompanying fa la la pieces — so I had a feeling some more beautiful things were on the horizon!

Thus, the Opalhouse Spring collection (as I’m calling it) is starting to creep it’s way onto shelves and into the cyber shopping charts – with vintage floral patterns, stunning gold terrariums, natural woven baskets with a hint of fringe and woven pillows with bright colors – I’m swooning again!  The floral patterns give me a tingle of a reminder back to some of my grandma’s old dishes/home decor – especially the Apple Woven blanket below! I’ve also noticed they have a ton of new outdoor/patio decor available for shopping too… oh patio season, where are you?
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Shop the pieces:  36″ x 10″ Brass & Glass Parasol Terrarium | 10″ x 6.4″ Brass & Glass Parasol TerrariumLumbar Chunky Woven Outdoor Pillow | Floral Doormat Natural Green | Blush Table Runner by Opalhouse | Apple Woven Throw Blanket Gold |Water Hyacinth Fringe Oval Basket Natural |Multi Floral Print Reverse to Velvet Oversize Square Throw Pillow 

So with this small tease, I can’t wait to see what other pieces drop into the Opalhouse collection.  I’m wanting more outdoor dining pieces, like new patterned plates and some new peel and stick wallpaper options, too!  You’ll be seeing plenty more of the Opalhouse collection on the bee life this year.

Happy Shopping!

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My 2019 Goals

New year, new goals – am I right? I am sure the interwebs and your social feeds have been bombarded with everyone’s resolutions, positive mindsets and consistent workout routines and clean diets for the last 8-days.  Well for me – I’ve been really thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, especially coming off of a super normal 2018.
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So as I’ve been thinking and thinking… and then looking back at past goals there were a few that came to mind immediately – traveling and my health routine.  More to come on the health routine – I’ll be kicking off my monthly Fitness Friday posts with my 2019 fitness goals, because those my friends will be a lengthly list as well.  *smiles*  Ok, ok, back to my 2019 goals.

More trips! This is pretty much a goal every year – and last year’s travel goal was a bit lofty, thus our travel game in 2018 was a bit weak compared to years previous.  So this year, I’m going to keep it simple and focus on longer weekend trips that B and I can take together whether it’s a car trip or a cheap flight. The other sub-goal of more trips is trying to fit a few new cities in – we’re repeat vacationers, so I want to make sure we keep exploring new places!

More time for friends.  We have friends that live next door, we have friends that live 1-hour away and we have friends that live hours away — so it’s important to continue to make time with all of the friends no matter how far away they are.  And the key to this is planning ahead!

Spend breaks. I have yet to be successful with this goal – and I know this will be a hard one, but we’ve had friends that have been successful with this and say it really helps! So we need to plan for our spend break(s) and make it happen.

No scrolling before bed.  I’m so guilty of this, and habits die hard – but this is one I really want to work on.  In fact, making it more of a rule, like no social media for an hour before bed as my work-week rule of thumb.

Keeping fitness a priority. As I mentioned, more to come on this – so stay tuned!

Continue being creative. One way that I’m able to express my creativity is through decorating our house and doing DIY projects or up-cycling furniture – and then sharing my projects and creations with all of you! So I want to continue to be inspired, take risks and be creative!

There are of course a million other things I want to work on for myself and do in this next year, but these were the few that stood out to me as priorities for the new year – that are just good for the soul.

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2018 Recap

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Happy all of the things! I took a bit of an unintentional hiatus for the end of the year, which seemed to be needed, thus back on track and a bit delayed here is my 2018 Recap, which I’ve been very reflective on this past week leading up to the New Year… and with mixed feelings, might I add… Year End Recap 2018 - the bee lifeCompared to 2016 and 2017… the only word I could think of to describe this past year was normal.  2016 was an epic year, it was the year we got engaged, the year the Cavs won the NBA Finals, the year I transition into a new job, plus we had some awesome trips mixed into all of that.  2017 was of course #ourweddingyear including more vacations and just all around amazing-ness.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with normal – it was just figuring out what’s next after two amazing years of it all.

So as I tried to not to overlook our “normal” 2018, I started thinking back about everything we did.  From two great trips, including one new city, to countless days/nights with friends, pool days & birthday parties with our nieces, lots of weekends back home, and many dinners and day dates in between – our 2018 was anything but normal mainly because of all the wonderful people we spent our days with – which I think is evident with the pictures above.

I also had some personal accomplishments coming off a year of ups and downs, and finally getting my butt in gear physically and professionally.  It felt great to run two long races without stopping from our 10-Miler in April to our half-marathon in August — it makes me want to continue our running streak and find new races to run, while sticking to our favorite ones.  A few other accomplishments I was proud of was joining the board of a nonprofit and my one-year anniversary at my company!

So here’s to 2018 and loving the new normal in 2019!

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Last Minute Holiday Fashion Guide

Last year I fell in love with furs – mainly because of my winter wedding and then pulling those fur wedding vibes into my holiday looks. Fur is still my go-to piece for all my holiday looks this season!  Here is some inspiration for last minute holiday looks from my closet – plus I sourced some current pieces in case you want to shop any of the pieces (and a few of them are on sale!!)
Holiday Fashion Fur - bee life (1)Formal Christmas Party.  Burgundy is a great warm and sultry color to introduce into your wardrobe especially around the holidays.  Now pair burgundy with some floral prints and a classic capelet fur and you’re holiday ready! I love this look as it’s a bit more formal for a party without feeling overly Christmasy – not to mention it’s a little sexy too!

Classic & Comfy Plaid with Fur. Okay, total disclaimer this might be my favorite outfit – it’s so stinkin’ cute plus it screams Christmas! My plaid tights were any early season purchase from Old Navy, I can no longer find them on their website, but I found some for $13 at Walmart (linked below!) My awesome shoes (which are basically a shoe version of an ugly sweater) are from Katy Perry and appear to no longer be available – but she has new festive ones for this season to shop!Holiday Fashion Fur - bee life (2)
Fur Meet Metallic.  For a happy medium between dressing up and casual – I love mixing this classic blush scoop tee with a fun metallic skirt, throw that fur capelet on and you have a wintery look ready for a holiday party or evening mass.  This look is the right amount of festive without going over the top!

The Ultimate NYE look. When I think NYE, I think gold, glitter, sequins and sparkle… so what better look that a sequin dress and a fun fur vest!  When I was looking for a similar piece (my gold sequin dress is from Target last year) I found this adorable black large sequin dress from H&M that is on sale <linked below> and I might like it better than my gold dress! Anyways, this outfit is party and champagne ready.  Holiday Fashion Fur - bee life (3)

Shop the pieces: Faux Fur Capelet – Nordstrom $83 [on sale!] | Lace Shift Dress – Nordstrom $59 | Burgundy Floral Sheath Dress – Old Navy $26 [on sale!] | Red Plaid Leggings – Walmart $13.95 | Faux Fur Vest – Target $39.99 | Sequin Sleeve Shirt – Target $16.99 | Metallic Animal Print Wrap Skirt – Express $29.95 [on sale!] Black Sequin Dress – H&M $34.99

One of my favorite fashion times of the year is the holidays – it’s an excuse to dress up and be as sparkly as you want!  I’ll definitely be rocking a few of these looks in the next couple weeks for coming office parties, family festivities, Christmas Eve mass and of course NYE!  What’re some pieces you’ll be incorporating into your holiday looks this year?

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Bee Holiday Hacks – My Go-To Gift

I’m going to fill you in on another little secret of mine, it’s the gift I give every year… and sometimes even to the same people! But trust me, it’s anything from lazy, unoriginal or impersonal.  My go-to gift is ornaments! Growing up, every year we would get an ornament before the holiday – my brother collected the Puppy Love series from Hallmark, and I was usually a mix-match but usually went for the Barbie series from Hallmark.  Regardless, every year unboxing the ornaments and carefully finding a place for them on the tree is one of my favorite parts of the holidays, so I like giving that gift to others as well.
Holiday Hack - Ornaments - bee life blogOrnaments hold special memories, can mark significant moments or important dates, places traveled or a moment in time.  From an engagement, wedding, anniversary, to a lost pet or a new house our lives are captured into sweet little keepsakes to trim our Christmas tree year after year.

How I Make My Ornaments: I like to switch up my base for my ornaments whether it’s a large clear glass globe, wooden circular ornament (I used real wood we cut), shaped wooden ornament, or a round plaster ornament.  From there I like to search my nearest and dearest friends social accounts and find a few perfect pictures from the year that could easily be translated onto an ornament and make copies at a print-in-seconds Kodak machine.  Mod Podge is my best friend when it comes to putting these photos onto the wooden ornaments or ceramic.   I’ll add gold glitter around the edges so you can’t see where the picture doesn’t overlap – most important part is adding the year!   With my wooden ornaments I drill a whole so the ribbon can string through to be hung.  For glass globes, I’ll fill with glitter or sequins, or even ribbon or string and write on the outside – from fun hashtags, to new homes addresses, these are classic ornaments that are so simple and fun and make a big statement.
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Creating special ornaments of friends kids or dogs, special events, or anniversaries – I use stickers, gold markers and fun ribbon to add the finishing touches to these unique ornaments year after year, and my favorite part of all of it all is seeing these ornaments on our friends trees each year.   On top of making ornaments I do love shopping Hallmark’s ornaments each year and finding fun keepsakes for my family or even for B and I to hang on our tree.

What’s your favorite ornament?

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My Hubby’s Surprise Party & Tips for Planning One

For the last 6-months or so I’ve been planning a surprise party for my hubby, B — this quickly turned into a bit feat as we got closer to the actual surprise date!  You see, I get really excited about presents I pick out, gifts, or surprises – I like to bait people and often can’t wait, just wanting to spill the beans.  Planning this party was definitely a test of that (that I passed!) but was also a bit stressful, yet very exciting!
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So here are a few tips and areas to focus on when planning a surprise party!

Plan a Date.  Since B’s birthday is a few days after Christmas, it often gets looped in with the holiday and overlooked – so I wanted to make sure we avoided the holiday but also wanted it to be close.  Since December tends to be a busy month for everyone I planned over the summer and sent out my digital Save the Dates.  I also picked a Friday night, thinking it’d be easier for me to sneak away on a work day than a regular Saturday.

Location.  This one can be tricky! I initially had the perfect place picked out with an ideal party room – then they closed over the summer.  The options got smaller and I got picker, so the fall back was our house, that way I could control the food, decorations, alcohol, etc.  I just needed to keep the hubby away long enough to get the house decorated and sneak 30-people inside.

Plan the Diversion.  I wracked my brain on this for months, until I finally reached out to MW to help with the diversion – he was all over it and a HUGE help to this all working out!  This started getting planned just a few weeks before, and then initiated with B the week of the party – drinks after work, and then getting back to the house in time for the surprise!

Pick a Theme & Decorate.  To keep a somewhat complex event, simple – I wanted to stick with a classic color scheme of gold, black and white! I kept decorations easy too,  with lots of balloons, big gold number balloons, fun themed thirty banners, some ‘Vintage 1988’ plastic cups, pictures of the birthday boy and a photo booth with polaroids.  Pro-tip: Buy a mini-helium tank, it’s easier and cheaper! 

Food & Drink Favorites.  Since I was hosting, I could pretty much pick whatever for the food and I wanted to make sure to incorporate some of B’s favorite things. To do this, I ordered chips and salsa from his favorite spot picked up dark chocolate pretzels, another favorite!  From a beverage perspective, I made sure there was plenty of B’s favorite Christmas beer – and our friends/families brought plenty of beer options for him too!
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My goal was to plan a surprise party for B to celebrate his upcoming 30th, while keeping it simple and intimate – which isn’t easy to do with big families and lots of friends, but somehow I think I pulled it off! B was DEFINITELY surprised and had no idea, I kept the charade up all day – even though I took a half day and had planning for months.  Another plus of planning so early is I slowly ordered decorations and party supplies throughout the months so I really only needed to worry about the food the week of!

It was fun, but I don’t think I’ll be planning another surprise party anytime soon!

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