Local Love: Home for the Holidays Pop-Up Shop

Looking to shop local this holiday season? Look no further — the Home for the Holidays Pop-up Shop is back! Going into it’s fourth year open, it’s found various homes in the neighborhood over the years.  And this pop-up shop supports all things local, by sourcing gems from small business makers in one place!

The best part is you’re not only supporting one local business you’re supporting 40! Home for the Holidays has a variety of gift options for everyone on your list, from baby, to dog mom, to husband or dad, coworkers, and of course your bestie.  Gifts include home goods, local snacks, honey, skincare, christmas themed, barware, and local gear, Home for the Holidays is truly a one stop shop!

With sections throughout the store it’s easy to navigate based on whoever you may be shopping for.  I personally gravitated to the pet section where there was a mix of goodies for your favorite furry friend, like toys and treats and then treats for mom like dog-themed candles and dog mom wine glasses!  And if you’re a human mom, or have a few sweet babes in your life you’ll be trying to decide between some adorable nursery or baby decor from lovefrombrooklyn or handcrafted blankets from Unsalted.
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Moving on to the men in your life. With plenty of amazing hand crafted options like CLE themed beer steins or leather coasters, key chains and valet trays from William & James Leather Co. (William & James also has some pretty amazing earrings available at Home for the Holidays shop, too!) You can also snag a Great Lakes Brewery bottle opener made from actual beer taps.  There are local tees, sweatshirts and winter gear with all his favorite local teams that make for a home run gift.

Speaking of jewelry, beyond unique one of a kind pieces from William & James — there are also copper and ceramic Ohio state necklaces, inspirational bangles and bold earrings that will truly make a statement.  There are also customizable pieces for a more personalized gift and even better stocking stuffer!
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HomeHolidays-beelife(4)To kick off my holiday shopping I stopped in to grab a few items and get inspired for more gifts, the best part is they are continually restocking and adding in new pieces. I grabbed a few handmade ornaments from GGDorothy Art, one of a Cleveland sky line (for us!) and then an Indians ornament for my aunties (shhh! it’s not Christmas yet).  I also grabbed a fun NYE card for a dear friend, a tea towel from Tart Boutique and sweet baby bows from lovefrombrooklyn.  I can’t wait to head back in the coming week to grab a few more goodies and see what new items are in stock at the shop!
HomeHolidays-beelife(1)Home for the Holidays is open Thursday – Sunday until December 23rd, so make sure to plan your trip for any and all of your holiday shopping, last minute gifts and something truly unique for your favorite people.  So if you stop in be sure to say hey to Maureen, the awesome owner behind Home for the Holidays, she is so sweet and hospitable!

Stay up to date with the latest from Home for the Holidays on Instagram and Facebook.
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Happy Thanksgiving – 2019

Happy Thanksgiving to all my amazing bee readers! What’re you thankful for this year?  Every year, I’m always amazed and reminder at how lucky B and I are for our life and all of the amazing people we have surrounding us.

I’m also thankful for winning a fun little portrait mini-session earlier this month (see below) by the talented MML Photography, Michelle Loufman. B and I did a quick little session and the photos just captured so much of our love and personalities while being timeless photos for us to have for years to come.
Em and B Mini Session 2019
Photo by Michelle Loufman at MML Photography

I’ll have to admit that I’ve been a little jaded over this Thanksgiving holiday, especially this year — all the demands of family wanted me to shut it all off and just hide.  But all of my amazing friends listened to my stresses, frustrations and as much as they supported me, they also worked to share a different perspective for me to maybe change my mind… which ultimately ended up happening (yes, I know I’m being cryptic – what else is new?!)

So, I’m heading into this holiday with patiences and gratitude — Happy Thanksgiving! bee

Bee’s Holiday Party Check List

It’s no secret around the bee life that I love planning and hosting parties! We’ve slowly started a tradition of hosting a Christmas Party each year, that started in our old apartment hosting a Christmas Ale themed shin-dig and has turned into a larger party now that we have a home to entertain in.
HolidayCheckList-beelifeblog(2)With hosting a Christmas party nearly 4-years in a row (last year we substituted B’s 30th surprise party in place of it) — I have a lot of the fundamentals down that are my go-to party planning check-list.

  1. Simple but inclusive menu. For our parties, I really like to stick with the basics and easy snackable items. Like a nice charcuterie board, pizza, peanuts, popcorn, and chips and dippy items. Also work to be conscious of dietary restrictions, since I’m an offender of that and have a few friends who are meatless.
  2. Don’t forget the booze. We always like to have a variety of beverages for our guests available, as everyone is always good about BYOBing. So we always have plenty of options and variety for everyone!
  3. Something Sweet. It is important to ALWAYS have dessert – especially something chocolatey. I love having m&ms around in little dishes and then other yummy treats like brownies, cookies and even a few Christmas cookies if I really get my butt in gear.  Let’s be honest — I’m going to be drinking champagne and eating desserts.
  4. Party Games. With our holiday party, I like to bring in some of my family traditions and games to our friends.  As we’ve had these parties over the years, games have been requested and even demanded and it’s fun to see these new tradition started.  We even do a white elephant ornament exchange!

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I’ll be a busy bee elf next week getting ready for the party, especially with Thanksgiving falling so late in the year — our house is not yet Christmased. So it will be fun getting everything set come December 1st for our party! Do you have any party planning hacks that you swear by? Do you stick to the same general game plan when you host parties or switch it up each time? Leave me a comment below, telling me your hacks!

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DIY – Wooden Couch Sleeve

Ever have those pins that you saved at the beginning of Pinterest-time and have always wanted to make? I’ve wanted to make a wooden couch sleeve for a long time — it seems like an easy, practical solution without having side tables everywhere.  But our main living room furniture has rounded arms and these wooden couch sleeves definitely seem better suited for a squared off arm.
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I knew I would be able to make this fairly inexpensively as long as we had some scrap wood laying around — and luckily we did! I was able to utilize tools that we already had, so this project cost me $0.  And with our basement makeover, our furniture downstairs had squared off arms with a lower side table that only serves part of the seating, I thought this would be a perfect addition to our ‘finished-unfinished’ space especially with the natural rustic wood piece.

What You’ll Need:
– Scrap wood
– Table saw
– Sandpaper
– Satin/Gloss Clear Coat Spray Paint
– Nail gun
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Step-by-Step:
1. Determine the length of your main top piece based on your furniture. I decided on 13″ long and kept the original width of the board. You’ll want your sides to be the same length, width of sides can be all equal or shorter.

2. Using a tape measure and straight edge, draw a straight line for your top piece, then cut with table saw. For the sides because my scrap wood was older, I cut the same length and it pretty much split down the middle to make two smaller pieces.  I liked the more unfinished, raw edges as I wanted to keep the integrity of the older wood.

3. I then sanded the pieces on both sides and all of the edges.  Again, I liked the color of the wood – I just needed to work out a few rough spots and clean it up. After sanding, be sure to wipe down the pieces with a cloth to get rid of extra dust.
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4. I then did a top coat with Satin finished spray paint — that I happened to have at the house already.  Spray top coats are a little trickier to see full coverage until dry – so for that reason you may need to do a few coats depending on the finish and coverage you want (above picture before spray, bottom after spray).  I did two coats on the main top and sides, and one on the underneath part.

5. Once I was content with the top coat it was putting everything into place with the nail gun.  I opted NOT to use wood glue for two reasons (1) being lazy (2) we don’t have clamps, so we would’ve nailed in place shortly after gluing like we did for our floating shelf. This was a two person job to ensure the nails went in securely.  We put the sides in a bit so they would be snug against the couch, since I opted to keep the top the original width of the wood, avoiding too many cuts.

Pro-tip: I made sure all my cut edges were in the back of my piece, so the original rough edges would be facing out. I also determined my top early on when measuring and cutting pieces.
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This is the perfect addition to the space, and it’s sturdy for an afternoon cup of coffee, the remote or a glass of beer watching the game! Although we have a super cute trunk side table in this space, it’s much lower than the couch and chair so it isn’t exactly convenient for ongoing sipping. This couch sleeve is also portable, so it can move around depending on which spot you’re in or who needs it. I love how it turned out and it’s imperfections!  Plus — this could also be a sweet Christmas gift for just about anyone.

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Latest Obsessions 11.19

November has finally been a month that B and I have been able to breathe.  Looking back at the last three months, we were literally booked everything single weekend from August through October — yikes! So needless to say, November has been a breath of fresh air with a little extra time to do more things we love, sleeping in and distressing from October.
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By finally being able to take a minute, I’ve been able to check off a few things on my to-do list (finally), make special memories and prepping for the fast approaching holiday season! These have been my latest obsessions this month.

Bathroom Organization. I’ve been trying to get my bathroom drawer stocked and organized since the beginning of October — and that’s just about how things have been going over here lately. BUT! It’s finally finished, and it’s perfect and beautiful and has a high-end feel for a small price of only $12. I wanted to make sure this bathroom was stocked for us and guests since our other main bathroom is two floors up!

Celebrating Two Years. Our anniversary was this past Monday, so B and I did a bit of celebrating and created new memories this year since we were actually home and not in sunny, Palm Springs. We went out Saturday to one of our favorite spots for dinner and drinks, then popped a bottle of bubbly when we got home. Monday we exchanged gifts – B really knocked it out of the park by creating roses out of cotton rounds (picture above), something he thought of all on his own.  He also had the vows he wrote me, but never shared since we had a Catholic ceremony, on cotton paper! These were the first time I read them and they were funny, sweet and brought me back to two years ago. We also went out to brunch and had a nice dinner at home that night!

Holiday Ready. …Well almost! I am trying to get there.  I’ve gotten a little jump start on some shopping and just started buying stuff, as I’m normally a December shopper. These next few weeks will be busy with Thanksgiving and then immediately jumping into December and hosting our annual holiday party.  So I’m getting my lists ready with ALL the things — from making a dairy free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving to picking a day to get our Christmas tree! I’m excited for the holidays, but want them to go slow.

What’ve you been obsessing over lately? Are you stressing over the holidays or easing into them like me?

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$12 Custom Bathroom Drawer Storage from the Dollar Store

With our recent bathroom makeover and having the addition of a second bathroom – a few floors below our main bathroom – I wanted to make sure it’s stocked just like our upstairs bathroom with all the essentials. The vanity is extra wide but is the only true storage for this space so I have to be smart with it!
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One of the top drawers has an opening for the sink pipes so it’s an odd U-shaped drawer. But since it’s the first main drawer under the sink, this seemed like a good spot to stock up with all the bathroom must-haves. In order to accommodate this unique space, I created custom drawer storage with a high-end feel using 3-inch square glass votive holders… from the dollar store! I use these for various things throughout the year, entertaining with snacks – votives – seasonal decor, so I gave these a try in the space and they ended up working out perfectly.
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After the glasses were in place, I tested opening and closing the drawer and noticed they were a little clanky.  To help with this, I added felt furniture pads in between a few of the glasses to avoid the clinking noises. On top of having high-end custom drawer storage with these glass holders, they can double for vanity decor holding goodies like cotton rounds, q-tips or cotton balls, especially if you’re having company coming over! Then you can pop them back into the drawer and easy peasy – storage is still on point. So for $1 per glass, you can truly make a statement while staying organized!

Shop the Pieces:
– (12) 3″ Glass Votives from Dollar Store
– Optional: Felt Furniture Pads

And then stock up with essentials like band aids, cotton products, tampons, floss, nail care and toothpaste!
StorageUpdate(2)beelifeblogI’m not used to having so much space to fill up, especially in my bathroom! But I love how this came together and is nicely organized while also having options for guests while the essentials for us — another drawer is completely full of toilet paper, but I still have a few more drawers that have extra space for more towels and other bathroom essentials!

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Celebrating Two Years

It’s our two year anniversary! Part of me can’t believe it and part of me can — and part of me would love to relive that night all over again, in it’s pure magic, fun and perfectness. I loved our wedding, and I would plan another one (minus spending all that money again) in a heart beat.
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TBH. As much as the night was perfect there were a few moments that weren’t completely perfect, even though all the perfect moments out weighted those.  Like the fact that it was basically a tsunami from just before I left the house to head to the church to the end of the night when the party was shutting down. Which meant, our guests and ourselves were transporting two and from the church to the venue in a rush with strategic planning. But they say rain on your wedding day is good luck, right?

Another favorite memory of our wedding is the last two songs of the night.  It was big planning the last two songs with the DJ and he made an awesome choice of combining a song that B had recommended as a must play, Five More Hours by Chris Brown with Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling just afterwards (which you can see a snip of it below.) But I’ll never forget when Five More Hours came out and I rushed to find B so we could dance to this amazing song — that now brings tears to my eyes with happiness whenever it comes on.

These last two years with B have been about living our life and doing more of the things we love together, house projects, traveling, spending time with friends and family, working on our physical fitness and creating new memories together.  They’ve been about making plans, growing together, learning from one another, laughing and strengthening our team.  Now it’s time for some brunch, to celebrate!

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Wedding photo: Timothy-Logan Photography

Fitness Friday 11.19

Hi Bees! I have to take a moment and celebrate. I’m in the middle of month three of finally getting back into a workout routine after my back flair up over the summer, and you know what? It feels SOOO good to be back.
FitnessFriday11.19-beelifeblogI knew getting back into a routine after being off for four months wasn’t going to be easy, but sticking with it and fighting through the moments of wanting to skip, have only helped to stay focused and motivated!  And now whenever I put on a pair of jeans I take little moments to celebrate how good I am looking and how good I feel! 

I’m happy to be back into a routine, especially with the holidays creeping in.  But at the same time, the holidays can easily kill all that amazing progress we’ve been making all year.  That’s why I like to revisit my tips for maintaining and not gaining over the holidays. And as important as our workouts are, our food choices go hand in hand with that routine — especially as the parties, alcohol and multiple family dinners begin!

So if you’ve been celebrating and kicking butt at your fitness routine — keep it up! Keep on celebrating and don’t let the holiday celebrating get in the way of those goals.

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House Tour: Our 5 Favorite Projects to Celebrate 5-Years in our Home

This week marks our 5-year house anniversary! It’s sort of funny and crazy to think we’ve lived in our house for 5-years, because when we were looking our realtor and even friends buying houses at the time were saying “this could be your 5-year house.” Well… when B and I were searching for homes, we were considering something that could live with us for awhile. So to have a little fun with this post, I sat down with B and we chatted through our favorite house projects!

His #1: Attic Renovation – This was a space that when we first moved in we weren’t using so when we finished it, it opened up so much space on our second floor. Not to mention we use this room everyday since it’s our master suite! This project was our first big project and took longer than we wanted but we did 90% of it so it was really cool.

Hers #1: Basement Living & Bathroom – This is my number one because it was a space that I never had any plans or expectations for, especially within the first 5-years. I basically wrote this space off as basement storage. But once the vision, planning and work started and we starting seeing the potential of this space it was a really incredible feeling. Especially creating two new function spaces on top of maintaing storage and laundry, this makeover just pushed everything over the top!

His #2: Back Patio (he thinks) … haha B said it’s fun to entertain and have a space outside especially in the spring/summer months. It’s the perfect spot for weekend afternoons, late nights with friends or family or even just the two of us.

Hers #2: Our Dining Room – this was the first room that really came together and we actually had furniture for.  Once we figured out paint and had the chandelier put in, it was like one of those moments like ‘Wow we have a dining room.’ We also designed and finished our dining room table, so it’s a custom piece for us. I wanted this room to be a space where everyone could gather around this huge table and when those moments come true I just want to pinch myself.

His #3: Basement Bathroom –  B said it was tough to nail down why but said he thinks it’s because it’s functional for when we have overnight and weekend guests are over. B said he also likes how I really took over with the design and vision of the space that we actually made happen.  This was also a project that we did 90% on our own, and the satisfaction after finishing one of those is indescribable.

Hers #3: Attic Renovation – This project will always be special to me, because it also holds a lot of memories around when B and I got engaged!  We had actually spent all afternoon working late to get a lot of it wrapped up before he proposed. This space was always planned to be our master and it definitely came out way better than I think both of us imagined and like B said it was our first big project that he really tackled and he really did like 90% of all of it – I was totally impressed!

His & Hers #4: Front Landscape – This project just gave our house a complete transformation and added so much curb appeal.  Our front was always pretty much a blank canvas that we always had plans for, but just never had the time or full commitment to figure out the design, plants and getting the job done.  It was also a project that was on our house project to-do list every year since we moved in and we finally finished it up last summer.  Once we finished we were both blown away, and our plants all came back year 2, wooo!

His #5: Floating Shelves in the Office – We were trying to remember, but this was definitely one of the first DIY projects we tackled together (without having any of the right tools or experience). So B said; “this was the start of everything and we’ve learned so much but also knew of all the bigger and better projects that were to come after this.”

Hers #5: Back Patio – This was a project that I didn’t have prioritized to get done when we did it, as it was definitely something B wanted done more than me.  So after some discussion, compromise and design considerations, we pulled the trigger.  It’s a massive space and it’s really like having another living and dining room outside during the warm months – we truly live back here in the summer! We also splurge on furniture that is modern, functional and classic that really makes the space.

We are lucky that we both enjoy working on house projects to transform and continually make this century home ours, while still enhancing all of it’s beautiful charm.  We still have a few other big projects that we want to do at the house, with the big one being our kitchen — although we talk about it every year, so we will see when we can actually turn it into fruition!

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Want to see more from our house? Check out these links: Office Tour | Our Living Room | Basement Bathroom | Basement Living Room | Our Sunroom | Guest Room Makeover