Fitness Friday 09.18

Can you believe it’s already September? Like the end of September?  Time is seriously flying! And with that we’re almost saying good bye to another year – another year of learning and adapting to work towards our fitness and health goals.  I’m sure not many of you have been reading along for as long as I’ve been writing on the bee life, but trust me it’s been a journey, especially my fitness journey!
Fitness Friday 09.18 - the bee life I look back at old fitness posts and I cringe a little, but I also smile because I’ve finally beat my old ways that were SOO annoying and full of excuses (even though I said they weren’t excuses) and I finally know what I have to do.

I get it – the mental battle is just as much as the physical battle – but it took me a long time to really accept that and finally making the financial investment, time commitment and leaving the excuses at the door.  If you’re like me (stubborn) the mental battle may be winning over your physical one… trust me you’ll reach your breaking point – you’ll reach your complete unhappiness, mine happen to come to being 15+ pounds heavier, not being able to fit into over half my pants and not feeling great about myself.  And even then, I started working out but it still took another switch to click with the food, and having those hard talks with myself to stop lying that I was eating ok enough.

So with all my rambling, what I’m trying to say is the physical challenges will be easy, you’ll be able to grow stronger and master the art of burpees and lifting – but that mental battle will always be something you can cheat yourself out of.  So take a hard look, question your excuses or reasons and overcome that mental battle!

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Catch-up on past Fitness Fridays: Food Accountability | Maintaining Balance | Reaching Your Goals

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Shiplap Wall Inspiration

Mini-spoiler, we’re working on our own shiplap/wooden plank wall for our Basement Makeover. Since it’s just for our basement and we’re going for the unfinished-finished look, we wanted to keep it simple and not spend too much money.  With that said, when I started looking into DIY’s on the different options of how we could accomplish our shiplap wall, I was overwhelmed at the options and price variations.
Shiplap Wall Inspiration - bee life blog
So if you’re like me and researching the many options of how to shiplap your space,  here are some things to consider while you plan your own DIY.  Take into consideration the overall look, how you’re finishing the rest of the space and how much effort you want to put into this project!

Straight vs. Alternating Boards. The way you decide to finish the space is something to think about! Whether you’re going for a straight across board look or mix and match sizes they’re two completely different looks, especially depending on how you finished them and how much you’re shiplapping.

Pre-finished Wood.  This seemed like the path of least resistance, although the price point and the amount of pre-finished wood we would need with this option added up quick. Although from a low maintenance perspective these options like this Home Depot’s Nantucket Gray Poplar Weathered boards or this kit from Lowe’s of White Barnwood Shiplap Plank Wall kit are great options.

Painted vs. Stained. Depending on how you’re placing your boards – straight or alternating, this may determine the way you want to finish the look!  Also thinking whether you want something painted or stained may affect the pattern you decide.  We decided to go the stain route, because it’s easier and we ended up painting way more than we expected with other projects.  Plus, I think the stain look with bring in a nice place with some of the other unfinished elements.

Type of Wood.  Determining the type of wood you want to use, can also affect your cost and overall look.  Whether it’s plywood, finished wood, actual barn wood, or the pre-finished wood mentioned above.  We ended up going the maple-wood plywood route loosely inspired by this DIY tutorial by Angela Marie Made.

I’m looking forward to sharing more details on our Shiplap Statement Wall DIY in the coming weeks – we are definitely excited to see how it turns out and think it’ll be the right amount of finish for our unfinished basement.  View more shiplap wall inspiration here!

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Image Sources: Half Stained Image | Straight plank with wreath | White plank bathroom 

 

Travel: Letchworth State Park

It’s amazing how many hidden treasurers are all around us.  I was reminded of one of those again when we went and visited Letchworth State Park in New York.  The park is 35-miles south of Rochester and is 17-miles long with just over 14,000 acres of trees, hiking trails and is known as the Grand Canyon of the East.  We packed up the SUV and headed with the fam for an afternoon of exploring this hidden gem.
Travel - Letchworth State Park - bee life blog
We spent the afternoon soaking in the views, taking mini hikes and even retreating to a quaint little inn for an afternoon pick me up. With a $10 park fee, entering the park is easily accessible with 5-different park entrances with drivable roads, ample pull offs with photo ops and hiking trails – but if you’re just making a pit stop for an afternoon and want to catch the best sites, here are the 5 spots you must visit!

Upper Falls. Entering the park from the Castile entrance will be your quickest way to access not only the Upper Falls, but Glenn Iris Inn and Middle Falls. Right from the parking lot you catch glimpses of the Upper Falls with the railroad tracks in the distance watching over these powerful waterworks. The trail was closed so we weren’t able to get as high up as we wanted, but the views were still beautiful.

Middle Falls.  You’ll catch a glimpse of these on your way to the Upper Falls, but it’s best to walk over from the Upper Falls to take in the Middle Falls, which might be even more spectacular than the Upper Falls!   You’re able to walk around these falls, taking in a double rainbow, catching some of the mist and just swooning over the beauty of these falls.

Glenn Iris Inn. A short walk away from the Middle Falls you’ll find the Glen Iris Inn.  Built in 1914 – this picture perfect inn overlooks  the middle falls with a beautiful lookout perch.  With outdoor seating and a restaurant the inn is also still serving to guests with it’s three stories and gorgeous interior architecture (the staircase was all wooden looking up all three floors!) A wedding was being set-up as we were there too and we even got to witness the first look, it was the perfect backdrop!

Inspiration Point. This came as a surprise, but needed stop.  With a higher view of the middle falls, upper falls and the railroad trellis – this was definitely the show stopping view.  There was also a trail that you could follow while soaking up the views of this spot the whole way!

Although the park will be closing soon in late fall, I can only imagine how beautiful these views are with the orange, red and yellows of the leaves changing with the season! We will definitely be going back to Letchworth State Park for some more hiking and taking in the beautiful works of this amazing planet!

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6 Budget Friendly Ways to Upgrade Your Home

We were fortunate enough to find a home that didn’t require a lot of major renovations or immediate upgrades – for us a lot of it was taking out the 40-years of style, giving it a little bit of love with easy cosmetic updates.  And because of that we were able to make a huge impact with these budget friendly upgrades, without breaking the bank which allowed us to splurge on grown-up furniture and help cover those surprise homeowner expenses!
Budget Friendly Upgrades for Your Home - the bee life
So I wanted to share the wealth! Here are a few tips and ways you can upgrade your home without spending a ton of money.

Paint. A gallon of paint can work WONDERS!  We literally painted our entire house, including the ceilings ,and just alone from a paint perspective the house looks like a completely different place.  Another pro tip is working from a similar color palette which can help save costs and create a cohesive flow throughout your home.  Painting with lighter colors or even the ceiling can help make a room look bigger and brighter with just 40-bucks and a little bit of elbow grease.

Light Fixtures & Ceiling Fans. This was a project we worked on updating throughout the house when we first moved it.  Updating old ceilings fans, to something a little more white and modern can help make the space look larger and blend more into the room vs. a bit eye soar.  One of my favorite updates was our dining room chandelier it always gets a ton of comments and looks almost original to the home.

Blinds & Curtains.  We had 1-inch blinds throughout the house when we first moved in and gradually updated all of the blinds to 2-inches.  They look that much more high-end and help with privacy and darkening the room.  Adding in some curtain shears overtop help to add dimension and also makes the room feel cozy and inviting.  You can also help make a statement with a fun patterned curtain in a room that might be more subtle and subdued – just be careful these can sneak up in price especially if you’re shopping for a new curtain rod.

Hardware.  Although this can add up quickly, it doesn’t compare to a whole new kitchen. Updating your hardware or plumbing fixtures can be easy and a more affordable way to make a statement in rooms that need a little extra love.  We updated our faucets in our kitchen and bathroom, and although we’re still waiting for the major reno for both these spaces – it helps!  Adding different knobs in our kitchen helped getting out the old and adding in some new.

Flooring.  Whether it’s ripping up some old dingy carpet to unveil beautiful hard wood floors or buying a nice statement rug for a room – these are other ways to pull the look and feel of your room together and add a more finished look. If you’re shopping right you can usually find a good deal or discount on a rug, too!

Pops of Color.  This can be accomplished with blankets, pillows, photos or a fun tabletop lamp.  Using pops of colors in accent pieces, decor or accent furniture can allow you to update a bit easier if you are ever in need to switch out seasonally or ready for an upgrade.  One of my favorite ways to do this is with H&M’s pillow covers.

It’s easy to want to go all out and make everything perfect when you first move into a new space/home – but it takes time and money!  Hopefully these tips can help you get your home into a better place as you continue to figure out and finish your space.

Questions? Comment below!

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Granny’s Whiskey Sours – The Recipe

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with my fellow bee readers.  Before I share this with you all, I have to give you some of the history, why this recipe is so sacred and why it’s so fricken good. And also, I’m sharing this with you because it’s still summer despite what the rest of the social world seems to think!
Whiskey Sour Recipe - bee life blog
Urban legend has it, this is my great-grandma’s recipe – it’s unclear whether this was a family staple, or a staple that was also shared at the bar (Marty’s) they owned in St. Louis near Anheuser-Busch.  Helen was born September 11, 1911, she was the woman who told you to ear your crust otherwise you’ll have long saggy ear lobs, like she did (although, I’m pretty sure they were from the clip-on earrings she rocked) the woman that also smiled, was always dealing cards and laughing.  This recipe is so detailed and specific that you must follow the rules and directions to a tee, or you will mess up the whole thing!  The most important rule to remember is 1-to-1-to-1.

What You’ll Need:
– Ten High Whiskey
– Frozen Lemonade Mix
– Water
– Maraschino Cherries
– Ice

Step-by-Step:
1. Dump your frozen lemonade mix into the blender.  Measure out your whiskey by filling up the empty lemonade canister, pour into blender over top frozen mix.  Fill up empty lemonade canister with water and pour over top.
2. Blend up, until nicely mixed together.
3. Over rocks, in a scotch glass pour mixture – garnish with some cherry juice & cherries.

The recipe is so simple and so DELICIOUS, it’s one of the reasons I love it so much plus it was my Granny’s so that’s just the cherry on top (literally).  Another fun little story about my great grandparent’s bar near Anheuser, is a lot of the brewers and workers from the brewery would come for lunch or after work to the bar.  Which meant my mom and aunts as children had special visits to the Clydesdale barns and were even able to ride the horses!   This recipe is a staple at most gatherings and family events, whether it’s summer or we’re cooped up inside — we always cheers to ‘Granny’ after a batch is poured.

So go ahead and enjoy this delicious drink and don’t feel bad when you’re whipping up your second batch of sours.

Cheers!

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Weekend Recap – Labor Day Love

All weekend I kept seeing social posts saying, “good-bye summer” and all these sappy farewells to a season that most of us look forward too the other 7-months of the year.  I was a little shocked… a little confused, since when is summer over?  That is one of the good things about being an adult, summer only ends when the good weather runs out… and the good weather isn’t running out anytime soon!

This Labor Day weekend was a much needed extended weekend with perfect summer weather, endless sunshine and the right amount of fun and relaxation.  Almost every day consisted of coffee, sunshine, cooking out, patio drinks, a little bit of house work, a nap and some friends or family.

One of our highlights of the weekend included enjoying a part of our city that we don’t nearly take advantage of enough – a rooftop bar in the center of the city with great views, delicious drinks, and some tasty treats.  I planned a surprise date for B and I, he didn’t know where we were going until we were walking inside the building – it was a simple afternoon chatting, enjoying the scenery and then got a bonus of the airshow for the holiday weekend.

Like I mentioned, the three day weekend was just what the doctor ordered.  We were even able to celebrate my dad’s birthday with him, while my mom and dad passed through town on their travels!  It

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Bee’s Tips for a Vacation Ready Wardrobe

For our honeymoon, we were headed someplace warm during our cold months – but that also meant we were going to have a pool available to us 24/7 while we were away, so I became a bit swimsuit obsessed.  And since then, it’s expanded to having comfy day-outfits, and evening wear that is on trend for our vacay destinations, especially those warm spots!  The fun part of vacations is that you’re traveling and exploring someplace new – so it’s an opportunity to have a little more fun with your wardrobe and pull out all the stops!
Bee's Tips Vacay Ready - bee life blog
Here are some tips and tricks I use to help find not only the perfect pieces but also some great deals to help build my vacation ready wardrobe!

Pre & End of Season Sales.  These are great especially if you’re vacationing someplace warm in the traditional ‘off season’ – I love taking advantage of sales on swimwear and other summer dresses at places I wish I could shop at more regularly like Athleta, The Loft or Anthropology.

Amazon. Amazon is not the first place I go to when I’m shopping for clothes, but lately it’s been a spot I’ve been checking out especially for coverups, casual rompers, or dresses. I think what I love the most about shopping for clothes on Amazon is the ease of customer reviews, tips and photos that help guide sizing or my steer you away from a bad purchase – plus you can’t beat the affordable prices or two-day shipping!

Research Your Destination. Do some research on your destination and look at historical temperature data so you can somewhat plan appropriately, like if it cools down in the evenings it might be wise to pack a jacket or jeans!  Also it’s good to research some spots you might want to visit whether it’s a day outing, evening dinner, or brunch spot – so you can plan outfits accordingly and have versatility for your destination.

Build on Current Pieces.  Especially when it comes to bathing suits – sometimes it’s more affordable to just buy a fun new bikini top or more conventional bottoms that work with other pieces!  This goes the same with cover ups or finding pieces that can easily go from pool to dinner with a change of shoes and a little extra mascara.

Living in the midwest, the warm clothes see a blimp of daylight and often have a a couple years of live under them – that’s why I like shopping for some new pieces for our upcoming trips, it makes them feel ever more special than they already are!

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Basement Makeover – The Gameplan

Earlier in the month, my August Obsessions post, mentioned that since we organized and cleaned up our basement – the vision of turning this into a more usable and livable space has slowly started turning more into fruition.  So here are a few “before” pictures to walk through the vision of where we want to take the space.  WARNING: Prepare for some not so glam or blog worth photos – but it’s the reality we’re dealing with (and will make the reveal that much better!).
Basement Before (1) - the bee life
Creating a Dedicated Space.  The goal is to help close in the ‘living’ space by using pipe and a drop cloth to make a large curtain ‘wall’ to help close off the electrical box, furnace and shelving in that back corner from the other area.

Painting & Waterproofing. One of the biggest steps that will help improve this space significantly (in multiple ways) will be painting the walls with waterproof paint to help with any dampness that might try and sneak in, while also transforming the space and brightening it up! I cannot wait to see the end result – we’ll also paint the large meter sticking out of the wall to help this blend into the space better.

Functional Furniture.  Because the space will remain largely ‘unfinished’ – i.e. sticking with the brick walls and an open concept ceiling (removing insulation to help with this) I want pieces that are indoor/outdoor or can be easily cleaned and not too costly.  My thought is using a larger outdoor rug as the base to cover the floor and then layering another fluffier rug on top to make it a bit more cozy.

Lighting.  Currently there are terrible florescent lights down there, and although we may not be taking them down just yet (not ready to do dig too deep into the electrical game) – adding some fun string lights from the ceiling will help brighten the space and again make it feel homey.
Basement Before (2) - the bee life
Beyond dressing up this area we also have plans to expand our lonely basement toilet into a full bathroom complete with a shower, sink and walls!  That will probably be happening at some point this winter, as we are already starting to plan and window shop for vanities, fixtures and finishes.

With the right mix of livable space and storage the basement will really become a more functional space for our everyday lives, especially once the bathroom is complete — check back for reveal pictures!

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Dairy Free Queso – The Recipe

A little while back I shared a few recipes for my fellow dairy-free eaters that want to enjoy taco night!  Coming to terms with my dietary restrictions and not being able to enjoy some of the staples of taco night (sour cream… queso…) has been an ongoing process, but within the last year and a half, I’ve finally mastered saying no and working to find healthier alternatives that work with my diet! Enter; dairy free queso.
Dairy Free Queso - The Recipe - bee life blog
What You’ll Need:
– Cashews (2-cups)
– Nutritional Yeast (1/3 cup)
– Almond Milk (1/2 cup)
– Corse Sea Salt (2 teaspoons)
– Lime Juice (1 tablespoon)
– Chili Powder (1/2 teaspoon)
– Fresh Cilantro, chopped (1/4 cup)
– Rotel Tomatoes w/ chile peppers  (10oz can)

Step-by-Step:
1. Soak your cashews over night in water (5-hours minimum)
2. Drain cashews and mix with all ingredients except the Rotel Tomatoes.  Using a food processor blend ingredients on high until smooth.  I opted to try and use our Vitamix for this portion, I wish I would’ve pulled out the food processor – the consistency wasn’t as smooth as it should’ve been.
3.  Once the ingredients are blended, put mixture into skillet on stove top and mix in Rotel Tomatoes.  On medium/low heat stir as needed to warm and mix everything together.
4. Garnish and serve with chips and salsa!

This recipe was surprisingly easy to make and not time intensive – which is nice for a change when it comes to a dairy-free recipe!  I will definitely be giving this recipe a go with round two, this time using the food processor and probably a little more nutritional yeast to help with that cheesy flavor.  The recipe above was adapted from The Cookie Rookie – but will probably try a few others and adapt together. Do you have a dairy free queso recipe? Tips? Leave a comment, below!

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