Travel: Chicago Eats

We squeezed a lot in during our quick trip to Chicago – but there was definitely a lot more on the list of recommendations that we need to get back to try! We pretty much focused on brunch, dinner and dessert of course.

Chicago Style Pizza at Lou Malnati’s – This was B’s pick, since he’d seen the restaurant on Triple D – and it was also conveniently located near our hotel.  The vibe of the restaurant was low-key and because we were seated in the bar area – we had prime seating to watch a few of the March Madness games that were on.  We split a salad and a small classic Chicago deep dish pizza and it was more than enough for the two of us! From Lou’s we ventured over to Sprinkles, a cupcake place each picking out our own treat to enjoy as a night cap – which were absolutely delicious, btw.
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3 Art’s Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware – Through some tricky instagram research I found this spot which ended up also being right near our hotel, this place looked like a dream and with a brand like Restoration Hardware to back it up we knew this would be a top notch spot to enjoy brunch.  Luckily for us, we took advantage of being in town on a week day and beat weekend traffic and waits – and were seated right away next to the focal point fountain and chandelier. The brunch scramble with avocado and texas  toast and side of Canadian bacon did not disappoint, nor did the wedding cake fry cake doughnut or Bellini.  We could’ve stayed here all day… more to come on RH in my next recap!
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The Hampton Social – Another spot found through some tricky instagram research, this place looked trendy and seemed to have a menu to back it up with a decent variety of options to pick from.  Admittedly, B and I were both underwhelmed with not only the restaurant atmosphere/experience but with the food as well.  This would’ve maybe been a better spot for pre-dinner drinks and an appetizer, as everyone pretty much just wanted to get a photo with the ‘Rose all day’ neon sign, including the 12-year olds seated next to us and the food was good enough.
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Brunch, for brunch – This brunch spot had a huge menu to pick from with all your breakfast standards with some fun twists – making it a win-win for everyone.  B had the perfect scramble “Morning Wrecker” that was pretty much made for him, and I went against my better judgement and ordered on the more healthy train with a standard eggs/meat/toast combo instead of the doughnut french toast that I had my eye on.
Brunching Pro-tip: When you’re on vacay, just order the damn french toast – especially if it’s made from doughnuts!
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One reason we love to travel and something we always plan for when we do travel is finding good spots to eat – unfortunately with a short trip there are only so many meals to consume and only so much our stomachs can handle!  So, as I mentioned when we venture back to CHI next time we will definitely be returning to a few of these, while also exploring for some more yummy eats!

What’s your favorite CHI-town eats?
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3 Unique Wedding Gifts to Give

Guess what! Wedding season is all year round – so if the Save the Dates are starting to fill up your fridge, here are a few ideas to stash away, or better yet – order ahead of time to give as the perfect shower or wedding gift this season.  Trust me, I’m not one to promote veering away from the wedding registry but after receiving a few of these ourselves I was shocked and taken aback by the thoughtfulness!
Unique Wedding Gifts - the bee life
Okay – let’s get to the good stuff!

  1. Custom Family Cross Stitch – We got this as a wedding gift, and I nearly cried when I opened it and saw our little family stitched into a beautiful frame.  Yes, it even included MOZ! which I think is what made me the most happy – upon further viewing behind my tears I noticed that the outfits B and I wore were the same from our engagement pictures! It was seriously one of the most thoughtful gifts and we have it hanging it a prominent spot to swoon over it.  Here is a similar one on Etsy. This could also be done as a custom painting or portrait of the couples new/first home or engagement picture! Better yet, if you’re crafty enough you could make this yourself!
  2. Monthly Wine Club Subscription – This could even be a food box service for a few months (while they’re adjusting to married life) or some other beverage/cocktail service that the couple can enjoy and experience together.  Giving them a few months free is a great way for the couple to get excited about something new and make a new married tradition.  Check out Winc, Clubbubbly or Home Chef.
  3. Honeymoon Help – A lot of registries, like Zola allow couples to add a Honeymoon Fund to their registry.  This is something to keep an eye out on! Another way to help a couple on their honeymoon is with a gift certificate to a restaurant for a dinner date on their honeymoon!  We greatly appreciated this as it helped us plan a special night out and around the rest of our trip. Does this couple love traveling? This 50 States Photo Map on Etsy is also another great gift and keepsake to help traveling couples document their travels!

The important thing when giving a gift is knowing the couple! And if you’re just not sure, but want to give something a little different talk to a closer family member or friend to gut check or figure out where they’re honeymooning.  Cheers to wedding season!

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Weekend Recap – Bday & Bubbles

This past weekend was a mix of fun and relaxation – which is just what I needed after being a bit under the weather all of last week and even still into the weekend.  But I’m finally feeling like this cold is winding down and about to hightail out of here!

Friday I was fortunate to take a half day from work and grab lunch with an old coworker – we kicked off our birthday weekend with some much needed catching up! I was able to get a decent nap in before our neighbors going away party that night which lasted right up until midnight to welcome my official birthday!  Our old neighbors were in town visiting for the party as well, so it was great catching up and having almost the whole crew together under one roof again.
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Birthday Saturday was a busy, yet relaxing day.  B and I kicked off the morning with an unofficial, official birthday workout – from there I got my birthday drink from Starbucks and made my way to the spa for a facial and mani/pedi appointment. It was a nice way to kickoff the day, self care at it’s finest.  While I was at the spa, B and his dad were making some good progress on the bathroom remodel and wrapped up just as I got home – it was perfect timing, plus a BIG item crossed off the to-do list.

The rest of the day was low key until we headed to one of our favorite spots for drinks and dinner. Bubbles for me, dirty martini for B, pear salad – with no cheese for me, meatball plate for B and then we both got personal pizza’s – mushroom and prosciutto pizza, with no cheese, for me and a classic pepperoni with banana peppers for B. We grabbed some bubbles and cake before heading home for the rest of the night!
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With a birthday the day before St. Patrick’s Day, partaking in festivities usually happens by default!  We popped up to our favorite little coffee shop for their festive Pot O’Gold latte and a quiet regroup before the day got started.  The shop was glowing in green for the holiday with clovers and all things lucky – which made it another perfect reason to pop in to kickoff the Irish holiday.

From there we headed to brunch with some family before they headed to the big parade downtown.  We got more coffee, caught up with some of our favorites and ate some more delicious food.  After two jam packed days and nights, B and I were down for a relaxing afternoon.  Weekend Recao - the bee life (3)
I think one of the best parts of the weekend was that the sun was shining ALL weekend. It was amazing – not to mention I woke up to birds chirping both days.  Saturday morning, I literally did a double take and checked my phone to make sure the birds were real and not my phone alarm! It was beautiful and also meant that Moz got a walk, which always makes for a great weekend.

Cheers!

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Fitness Friday 03.19

If you read my post about Life Lately & Bee or keep up with my Fitness Friday posts – you know my fitness routine and goals have been struggling a bit! But as I’m working to pull myself out of my winter slump – I’ve made an intentional change to my fitness routine within the last week. Woo! Fitness Friday 03.19 - the bee life
In the last week and a day, I’ve already worked out more than I did in the entire month of February! EEK! But it’s all positive now – I’m back on track, I’m making strides to fit ME TIME into my days and making my health a priority.  Not to mention with a birthday (tomorrow) – I want to continue to stay in my best health, and keep getting better after all the progress I made the last two years.

Looking forward and into the rest of the year – we have a 10-miler race (that we’ve run the last 4-years) at the end of April so I have to get my butt in gear so that I can have a successful run!  From there we need to sign up for another half or two, this year still and continue the running game while sticking to my cross-training.

Here’s to making more intentional changes, for good!

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Catch-up on other Fitness Friday’s: Eliminate Excuses | 2019 Fitness Goals

29 Birthday Reflections

For all my Bee readers, and even close friends that may be reading along – you know I hate getting older (sorry too all my friends who are older than me, ilu!) – but I’m working on that imperfection and fear of getting older each year by trying to embrace my birthday!  Ha! So in honor of the start of the last year in my twenties *starts sobbing* … here are 29 birthday reflections/hopes/dreams or just things about me.
29 Birthday Reflections - the bee life
Thinking of 29 things – was actually pretty hard, so here we go!

  1. Still love birthday cake.
  2. I was blonde when I was little
  3. I was named after a man, my great grandpa, Emil
  4. I hated having my picture taken from the ages 2-5 (& have pictures to prove it)
  5. Within the last 3-years I’ve had to figure out a lot of my dietary issues & have a random list of cannot eat items; like cauliflower to spicy foods to Chinese food
  6. I’m also lactose intolerant
  7. As much as I loved Barbie’s I also loved to play with Legos & Matchbox Cars as a kid
  8. Jasmine was my favorite Disney princess
  9. I love hosting parties and entertaining at our home
  10. I was a cat lady before I was a dog lady
  11. I love taking pictures and a lot of my friend’s favorite wedding pictures are candids I took ❤
  12. This will be my first birthday with my new last name
  13. I want to go on 5-trips before my next birthday
  14. I love being on a board as part of a local nonprofit that helps people who are fighting breast cancer in our community
  15. My goal is to read more books – I’ve already started!
  16. I want to take more time to talk and listen to my friends
  17. I love organizing and making things look pretty
  18. I want to run 3-half marathons before my next birthday
  19. I want to play more golf
  20. My high school year book prediction was that I’d be the Queen of England. lol #TheCrown
  21. Note to self: Take more walks… with Moz & B
  22. I love decorating and designing spaces, even if it’s just setting the dining room table
  23. I have yet to travel outside of the country!
  24. I’ll gladly admit I’m wrong… any day… but I rarely am *tongue face*
  25. My parents never had cable and still don’t have cable
  26. As much as I have expensive taste, I love a good bargain
  27. Cookie Dough is my favorite ice cream (if I could eat it)
  28. Remember to slow down and soak in the little things
  29. I want to continue to face my fears

Did I miss something? I’m sure I did – leave a comment below!

xo
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Spring Fever: Home Edition

It was Daylight Savings yesterday! Which means, the sun will stay up and our evenings will be longer… and spring and summer will start creeping in with blooming bulbs, chirping birds, and full of pastels.  I love floral pieces, and bringing in pops of color into our home especially when it comes to the dining room and entertaining.
6 Spring Pieces for Your Home - the bee life
I’ve shopped six pieces that will be the perfect transition for all the spring holidays and even work for summer and fall!

H&M Porcelain Motif Plate:  Not only does H&M had these beautiful plates with this gorgeous floral pattern, they also have a stunning table runner, cups and bowls and other plates with singular flowers for a nice balance of the two floral designs.

Hearth & Hand – Milk Glass Line:  The green just scream spring and I love the muted color heading into the fall season.  The Milk Glass style is just so classic and timeless that these cake stands, platters and even salt and pepper shakers are too cute and the perfect accent to add pops of spring.

Succulent Napkin Rings: Succulents are a trend that is here to stay and guess what? They are beautiful for 3 out of 4 seasons and can be the perfect pop of life to your indoor table scape, especially if you’re opting out from adding real flowers to your table decor. Oh! And these are on sale!

Paul Marrot Garden Carafe: This subtle pop of spring brought to you by Anthropologie –  is a nice accent plus water carafe’s are just must-have’s when it comes to entertaining. The subtle flower pattern is another way to have a touch of florals on your table top without spending too much!  The Carafe is perfectly paired with these Garden Juice Glasses.

Multicolor Tassel Placemat: With a neutral base, and again subtle pop of color these placemats will help ground the table while also being able to use this throughout the summer and into the fall, plus they’re just stinkin’ cute and fun!!

Garden Greeting Pot from Anthropologie (on sale!) – um how cute?! Plus they’re bold pops of what we love about spring – COLOR! These would be cute to plant succulents in and kept on a windowsill Spring Fever (2) - the bee life
When I’m shopping for pieces to incorporate into our home I make sure they can be used throughout the year for different events and moments – and I also make sure they’re classic and timeless and not too trendy – I like finding that balance of big statement pieces paired with neutral supporting elements that all work together!

Happy Daylight Savings!

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Create Your Own Bloody Mary Bar

One meal that is just as important and often shared with our loved ones is BRUNCH! We love brunch, and even more than going out to brunch, we love hosting brunch with friends and family.  From easy breakfast casseroles prepped the night before, to french toast and egg skillets – the only other thing you need is a yummy Bloody Mary to go alongside it! I have an easy way to make an awesome statement for your brunch-goer guests with an awesome Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar.
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What You’ll Need:
– Cube Cheese; Sharp Cheddar, Colby, Swiss – all your faves!
– Beef Sticks
– Celery & Carrot Sticks
– Pickles
– Thick Cut Bacon
– Stuffed Olives; 3x (garlic, blue cheese, feta)
– Horseradish Sauce/Hot Sauce – extra spice
– Bloody Mary Mix: Zing Zang
– Vodka!
– Extras: Sport peppers, whole banana peppers

For Serving:
– A round or square tray to hold all your toppings & keep you bar area contained
– Glass containers; I used 5-square votive holders (washed) and 4-taller sphere candle holders (washed) to hold the various toppings, you can find these at the dollar store!
– Write with a marker on the glassware to help distinguish cheeses, stuffed olives, etc.
– Fun Paper Straws, skewers & cocktail napkins!

Step-by-Step:
– Cook your bacon; this might be the item you’ll want to prep most ahead of time in order to make sure you account for that bake time appropriately in the oven, the goal here is for the bacon to be nice & stiff.
– If you don’t buy your cheese pre-cubed, you’ll want to cut up your various cheeses and separate into glassware and label accordingly – Next prep, wash, and cut your celery and carrots. For your celery it’s OK to keep the leaves on, it’s a fun garnish for your bloody! I also bought pre-cut beef sticks, so it was easier for platting.
– When your ready to create your Bloody masterpiece fill your pilsner glass with ice; add your shot of vodka, or more, fill the rest of your glass with your Bloody Mary mix! This is when you can add any additional hot sauces or horseradish to mix in.
– Garnish your bloody to your liking & last, but not least – cheers with your crew!
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I was inspired by one of our favorite brunch spots who has an impressive Bloody Mary Bar – the options are seriously endless of what you could have for garnishes for your bar, but the most important factor is knowing what your guests like and having enough of a variety!  This is a fun way for guests to create something they love with all their favorite toppings, in addition to a delicious brunch!

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Life Lately & Bee

I’ll admit it, the beginning of the year has been a little tough! I hate to use the cop out of the winter blues, but wow – they are seriously setting in. Anyone else out there feeling a bit of the blues during the start of 2019?

I’ve been reflecting a lot on why the winter blues are hitting me so much – and I’ve started figuring it out.  A few things I don’t mind sharing with my bee-readers is (1) I haven’t been as physically active as my workout routine is virtually nonexistent (no endorphins!) (2) My confidence has been low & I’ve let it creep into different aspects of my world (3) Things are changing – the news of some close friends leaving has hit me a bit harder than I anticipated (4) As a result, my anxiety just flairs up!
Life Lately - the bee life
But the beginning of the year hasn’t been all bad, we’ve been making good progress on our bathroom remodel, I had a girls night sleepover, celebrated a sweet friend’s baby shower, and have had lots of pup snuggles – oh and our house is cleaner than ever with all the weekends I’ve stayed in. My parents came to visit for some early birthday celebrations and we’ve had a few breaks in the weather which has helped getting out and about and the pups on walks. Plus we are planning trips for the near future, and even booked some. Yay!

Since I’ve nailed down a few of the winter blues triggers – I’ve already started to combat them by working to stay inspired through creative outlets, reading new books for motivation, planning and making the gym happen, and also getting in as much time with my people as possible so that I’m not stuck in my own head. xox. 

How do you combat your blues?

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5 Must-Have Jackets for Spring

It’s March! That means spring is on the way – and there are SO many cute jackets out in stores that will be the perfect accessory and welcome to warmer weather while combating those spring showers.  Here are a few of the pieces I’m shopping for spring!Adorable Jackets for Spring - the bee lifeShop the Jackets: Perfect Rain Jacket from J.Crew $85-60 | Hooded Wind Breaker from Old Navy $49.99 | Drapey Open Trench Coat from Nordstrom Rack $29.97Polka Dot Denim Jacket form Loft $89.50 

The perfect rain jacket from J.Crew comes in an array of colors that just scream spring you’ll have a hard time deciding which color to pick! I love the blush pink, but also think bright yellow would be a welcome way to combat the grey skies.  Oh, and these are on sale at J.Crew – right now!

The hooded wind breaker from Old Navy makes me want to go for a run! This sporty jacket is perfect for running errands on the weekends, heading to the gym or taking your pup for a walk.  Again, the color options for these is hard to pick just one, although the navy is classic the Oceanside green color makes a fun statement.

Okay – bargain alert! The trench from Nordstrom Rack is a must order – it’s a sexy coat that will dress up any look and will be especially perfect for date night!  The soft colors it comes in are also the perfect compliment to spring pastels.

Last but not least, I love a good denim jacket and this adorable piece from Loft is the perfect twist on a classic look with the subtle polka dot accents that make you do a double take. This jacket will also transition perfect into summer and fall, since denim jackets never get old.
Adorable Jackets for Spring (2) - the bee life
As if you weren’t looking forward to spring already, don’t these jackets just make you want it now?! Make sure you use a few promo codes to get these adorable looks on sale (so you can get more than one!)

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