Weekend Roundup – May 2020

May has been tough, but it’s also had some glimpses of normal — well, what used to be normal. And it’s also had glimpses of “the new normal” as everyone seems to be calling it. May has been a month of slowly starting to see family again, some in normal ways, some in different more protected and distant ways. May has seen some lows and it’s seen some highs. May has also been the last month of the temporary hope of this thing all being over, because this new normal definitely isn’t going away anytime soon. May has even had a few WTF moments.
MayRecap(1)We started the month off with a little road trip to finally see my parents.  It was much needed on both sides. The best part was we were able to make it there in one trip, and hunkered in over the weekend with lots of eats, drinks, board games and laughs and still able to maintain social distance from the world. My mom even surprised me with a homemade birthday cake, so we finally got to celebrate a belated birthday since our big plans in March all got kiboshed. It was great to be together in person, instead of 4-hour virtual chats, and as I mentioned, a much needed visit.

Mother’s Day consisted of a masked and mostly socially distant family gathering with our in-laws and supporting local to shower our mom’s with some special gifts. We also attended not one but two of our first virtual college graduations for my younger cousins, and even a virtual wedding (technically the last day of April)! The virtual graduations definitely had their advantages, beyond just being a new concept — but it also gave us an opportunity to actually attend and participate in these moments when we might not have been able to travel to them before (pre or post corona).
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More May highlights included lots of walks with Moz and even a few car rides to the Starbucks drive thru for puppachinos. We’ve also been perfecting our breakfast sandwich making skills, including grilling bacon on the grill in a cast iron skillet along with grilling out local meats from MeatboxLocal to help mix-up our dinner menu. We’ve also finally gotten around to planning a few fun house projects while also reaching out to contractors for a few not so fun projects. We’ve been admiring all of our flowers budding and blooming and all the beautiful green with all the rain we’ve been getting. B and I also celebrated 9 years together with burritos and a brisk walk. We’ve also had fun counting down the days until when we can get our haircuts… which is now only one more week away! The weather also started to feel a lot like summer, so the weekends have been spent outside, like all day, every day — which has been really nice.
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The month of May was also a big month for the state of Ohio as they started the phased re-openings early on in the month of May. I was actually surprised at how much started to reopen so quickly. Dentists, veterinarians, retail, dine-in at restaurants, salons, hair dressers and gyms have all been able to reopen (among many other things) this month. And it’s been interesting to balance and start having conversations with family and friends to understand what everyone is comfortable with as things reopen.

As much as I’m craving for getting back to “normal” and back into a routine, there is still a major fear factor — although it’s not a fear of even getting it, it’s the feat of potentially spreading it and also other people’s perception along with trying to be responsible for our community and those who are close to us. It’s a very weird time, but luckily there were a few moments of normal — so I hope that continues to be the case as we jump into June. And hopefully, we can get a trip in still this year. What were your May highlights?

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Latest Obsessions 05.20

The weather is finally starting to break and it’s been so nice to spend weekends, evenings and even a few working afternoon outside in the sunshine and warmth. With quarantine and remote work continuing, I’m starting to get transition my mindset a bit more to try and embrace all of this a bit more. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and mental health strain which I’ll be sharing more about on my Fitness Friday this month. So, with trying to transition my mindset, I’m trying to stay busy by planning for a few projects and a few other things I love, while living in workout pants and sports bras.

Mini Office Makeover. Fun fact; our home office wasn’t ever intentionally set-up for designed to be an actual home office. I know typing that out makes it sounds really stupid – but it’s true! Up until recently, B and I only occasionally work from home and would just set-up shop in the dining room or living room. Our home office was designed to be a fun space that serves as another guest room and home to our sports memorabilia. So I’m brainstorming on some easy, cost-effective ways to make this a bit more inspirational, fun and creative for a more long term working space. I’m thinking pink, and I’ll leave it at that.
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Anything Bravo. I would just like to personally take a moment to thank Bravo (and bubbly), for giving me some sense of sanity and a mental escape throughout this super weird time that is quickly becoming the “new normal.” B and I have rewatched the entire series of Vanderpump Rules, even as this latest season wraps up. And my two favorite housewives series are now on, RHOBH and RHONY, along with Andy being back with his virtual WWHL which are still enjoyable.

Some Backyard Plans. Our back patio is pretty set and perfect, besides adding some seasonal plants around to spruce up the space a bit more. B and I have talked off and on about doing some additional privacy-scaping in the back area, but just haven’t gotten around to it. So I’m sketching up some plans to pitch to B, since he is jones-ing to get that project going. We’ve also chatted about adding a floating deck and hot tub… so we will see how that all fits in.

Travel Daydreaming. Flights are so cheap right now. It’s been really easy to daydream and want to plan and just book a flight. Airlines are also still offering no charge rebooking fees (at least Southwest still it!) so it’s eliminating some of the potential risk. It’s just so hard to plan right now, and it breaks my heart to think we might not travel on an airplane this year — but I’m still hoping.
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So you’ll be catching me this weekend making some plans, getting inspired and definitely watching some bravo while sipping some bubbles and daydreaming of the day that we feel safe to fly on an airplane again and explore the world. And I’m still obsessing over Target Drive-Up, it’s been well over two months since I’ve actually stepped foot in one.  What’ve you been obsessing over lately?

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A Day in the WFH Life

Today marks 60 days since I was last in my office working and 60 days straight of working from home. It’s taken a bit to get into a routine, from coffee to lunch to working out and 9 to 5 work — but I’m finally in somewhat of a rhythm? My routines have completely changed from when I was going into the office, for better or for worse.

Morning Routine. I’ve had a really tough time waking up early and getting in my morning workouts — so I’ve been sleeping in a bit later than normal and loving every moment of it. Usually B and I sit with our coffee and chat the morning away before I head upstairs to jump on my mornings calls and starting my work day. But let’s back up to the coffee, office life consisted of Starbucks almost every morning (yes, I’m saving so much money in quarantine) — so I switched to the VIA Instant Packets from Starbucks. B likes K-Cups, but they honestly don’t do anything from me, but the VIA Packets are a good enough fix! I’ve also enjoyed using all my coffee mugs — we usually don’t use many of them, so I’ve been digging deep and making sure the rotation is on point.
WFHlife(1)My Office & Assistant. This is truly the first time our home office is being utilized as an office! It has definitely helped having a dedicated space to go up to and I always make sure to kiss B, good-bye before I head up. I was able to bring my mouse, keyboard and monitor when we left the office back in March, and that has been a huge help with work productivity. My Moz girl has been an awesome office assistant, lap warmer and occasional Zoom bomber! She loves when I have lunch too, and has definitely picked up a few social media tricks.

WFH Wear. I’ve been absolutely loving wearing athleisure-wear and comfy clothes throughout the day. Big comfy sweaters, lots of headbands and yoga pants have been my go-to, also wearing my workout clothes throughout the day gives me no excuse to squeeze a workout in during lunch, the afternoon or right after the workday. Don’t worry, I’ve had a few days where I’ve put jeans on, a nice shirt and even some make-up — yes the jeans still fit, so that is at least something!
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Week Night Evenings. We’ve been having some good weather evenings with sunshine, so we’ve been making sure Moz has been getting her walks in — even when the weather isn’t looking so great. The sunny evenings have also been a new go-to favorite for getting my workouts in too, and much better than our basement. I also haven’t been a hurry, because we have all evening and just another day at home to wake-up too!

I’ve come to realize that it might make sense to invest in an Nespresso machine, because I really miss my expresso is my coffee every morning. Bravo has also been keeping me sane during quarantine — B and I have been rewatching Vanderpump Rules, RHOBH and RHONY just started and of course we’ve been loving the current season of Pump Rules. I also want to continue to focus on my diet — but more to come on that in my next Fitness Friday post!

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Dairy Free Cookie Dough Recipe

My hubby, B get’s full credit for this recipe and it’s just too good not to share — so consider this a guest blog from my one and only (he even took the pictures!) Since quarantine has started, we’ve definitely been enjoying a few more sweets than normal, so he was on the hunt for a healthier dessert recipe that would also be dairy-free for me! So, as I mention — B get’s full credit for finding this five-ingredient recipe and grabbing all the ingredients, and when he mentioned he was making cookie dough, I definitely did not complain *grins* !CookieDough(3)
Although this is a simple recipe and only utilized 2-cups of cashews, this definitely makes a larger portion that will last nights to help satisfy that sweet treat. B also decided to get 95% dark chocolate to help with that healthy portion of this tasty treat — but you can definitely decide to put in whatever chocolate, or other goodies you may want to add into this treat.

Prep-Time:
3-4 hours

Shopping List:
– 2-cups of Whole Cashews
– 95% Dark Chocolate Bar
– 3 tbsp. Agave
– 2 tbsp. Coconut oil
– 1/4 cup of Almond Flour
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Step-by-Step Instructions:
1. First, boil 3-4 cups of water. Once the water comes to a boil, pour over your cashews in a glass bowl. Let your cashews soak in the water for 3-4 hours.
2. Once the cashew’s have soaked, drain the water from the cashews. Add your cashews, almond flour, coconut oil and agave into a food processor and blend well.
3. The blended mixture should appear creamy and well blended.
4. On a cutting board, break up your chocolate bar into smaller chunks
5. Scrape your cashew base into a bowl and then add your chocolate bar chunks and mix together, then refrigerate before serving!
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This was such a yummy treat and definitely felt guilt-free when enjoying. After having it this first round, it would be fun to play around with adding in some other types of chocolate or goodies like sprinkles or m&ms for a little extra color and crunch! I am not a huge lover of super dark chocolate, but mixed in with this, it was definitely a good balance of tart and sweet with the cookie dough.

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Easter 2020 Recap

All of us around the world and U.S. altered our Easter traditions this year — stayed away from family, didn’t attend church and opted for workout clothes instead of our Sunday best. This year is already making to be one for the books and I know this Easter will also be one of those moments that is talked about years from now. We definitely missed spending time with our families this year but tried to make the most of our this untraditional holiday, which I hope is one of the few holidays affected by this pandemic.
Easter2020(1)I woke up pretty early, for no good reason — so I took the opportunity to take Moz for a car ride to the Starbucks drive thru for some hot coffee and a puppachino for Moz! She got her Easter treat and loved every minute of it. We had a pretty low-key morning, sipping coffee and catching up on Little Fires Everywhere before cooking our yummy brunch. We had plans to make my parent’s waffle recipe, had bacon queued up and even mimosas ready to go 🥂! Waffle’s is my families go-to holiday brunch breakfast and always paired with bacon and hash browns — we opted for some eggs instead of hash browns. While we ate our brunch, we watched Easter mass
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Once brunch was done, I snuck a nap in with Moz. And woke up to the weather shaping up and the sun peaking out — making for a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I made myself get out for a 5-mile run, which felt pretty good and was much needed after over indulging in our delicious brunch. I even got to see my aunts by chance on my run and from a 6-foot distance for a quick hi! When I got back, B and I took Moz for a nice long walk — enjoying all the blooming trees, flowers, fresh air and sunshine while Moz was just loving life, smiling with her tongue out the whole time.  Luckily we were able to maintain good social distance during our walk, and even while I was on my run — as I’ve opted to just run in the road to avoid the sidewalk traffic, especially on the weekends. As you can see, my Easter outfit consisted of PJ’s and activeware with zero make up and some pretty great hat hair.
Easter2020(3) We spent the rest of our day FaceTiming with our parents and a few other family members catching up, sipped on a Manhattan and had a super fancy Easter dinner with a DiGiorno pizza and salad and finished the night watching the latest episode of KUWTK.  We made it a pretty great day (minus breaking a dining room chair and champagne flute 🙃), enjoying the incredible sunshine and weather, had the perfect mix of active and relaxing while eating some pretty great food — while  documenting the day to family/friends via pictures and texts.  How did you send your Easter?

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Baking during quarantine? Check out this easy bundt cake recipe!

Easy Bundt Cake Recipe

With my new found love of bundt cakes, I wanted to try making my own to see if I was able to make anything as good as the Whole Foods ones! The other factor I was dealing with was finding a recipe that didn’t call for heavy cream or lots of ingredients, especially since we’re trying to limit our grocery trips!
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Since I only had mini-bundt cake pan, I altered the bake time to accommodate for the smaller pans, but also included the bake time if you have a full-sized pan. I also modified this recipe to incorporate almond milk.

Bundt Cake Ingredients:
– Cooking Spray / Crisco
– 1.5 cups of stick butter (3-stick)
– 2 cups of sugar
– 4 large eggs
– 1 TBSP. vanilla extract
– 3 cups of flour
– 6 TBSP. cornstarch
– 1.5 TSP. kosher salt
– 1/2 cup of almond milk

Glaze Ingredients:
– 1.5 cups of powdered sugar
– 4-5 TBSP. almond milk
– 1/2 TSP. vanilla extract
– 1/8 TSP. kosher salt

Cake Step-by-Step:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 and grease your bundt pan.
2. In a large bowl, with a hand mixer beat softened butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
3. Add your eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added – with your last egg, add your vanilla extract in and mix well.
4. Next in another bowl whisk you dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
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5. Now take half of your dry ingredients and mix with your first bowl of wet ingredients – beating well until combined. Pour in 3-tablespoons of your almond milk and milk until fully incorporated, then add remaining dry ingredients and rest of the milk depending on consistency.
6. One your batter is ready, it’s time to bake! Pour your batter into greased pans – do not fill your batter up to the top and about half way up, smoothing the top with a spatula. I knew better, but still filled up my first batch to the top – see my #fail below, although it did make for a yummy scraps!
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7. For mini bundt pans, cook for 20-minutes and make sure your toothpick comes out clean – I was able to get 10-mini cakes, if I hadn’t over filled we probably would’ve had a dozen mini cakes. If you’re baking in a full-size pan, back for 55-minutes.
8. Let cakes cool in pan and invert cake pan onto a plate or cooling rack.

Glaze Step-by-Step:
1. Whisk together your powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Since I used almond milk, I gradually added the milk to make sure the consistency was good.
2. Pour of cake and serve!

The cake batter reminds me a lot like my mom’s Christmas cookie dough! It’s sooo yummy, and I definitely licked the bowl and batters clean. Once I filled the tins in about half way, they cooked perfectly at 20-minutes and came out relatively easy with the cooling guides. I love the little personal-sized bundt cakes for a post-dinner or breakfast snack — just add some sprinkles on top and you’ve got a sweet little treat!

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Recipe inspired by Maria’s Kitchen

Weekend Roundup – March

Well, when I was planning out my March content this post was going to be a fun one to write and jammed packed! Here is everything that we had planned and promptly was cancelled week after week, after week, thanks to the pandemic. Obviously, I am not the only one that has had a lot of cancelled plans/trips/life moments — but I was trying to overcome my turning 30 anxiety by doing as much fun stuff as possible. But in all honesty the perspective of this pandemic as I mentioned in my birthday reflections (it’s a good read) quickly changed the 30 anxiety into a much different perspective and reality — I mean it doesn’t even feel like I actually turned 30 😝.
MarchRoundUp(3)-beelifeblogOur Cancelled Plans:

  • Trip to Philadelphia for the actual birthday
  • Spa Day + Dinner with Friends
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Broadway Play
  • Parents Coming into Town for Birthday Celebrations
  • A hair cut
  • Cancelled Birthday Cake

So yes, there was a lot of fun and celebrating that was going to be had, between my birthday and then my Dad’s retirement we were going to have a lot of fun especially this last weekend! BUT, even though we had a few more quieter weekends than anticipated, we still had a lot of fun and made the most out of everything — especially my birthday weekend.

My Birthday Weekend. With our Philly trip cancelled, I decided to partake in all of my favorite things I love doing at home. This included getting a final workout in at the gym, sipping on some coffee and getting spoiled with fun surprise deliveries throughout the weekend which included champagne 🍾, flowers 💐, and a coffee ☕ gift card from one of our favorite spots Brewellas. Saturday night for dinner we headed to our favorite dinner spot – Georgetown, mainly because they have all night happy hour on Saturday and a tasty menu paired with delicious drinks. We overindulged and then headed home for more drinks, card games and music.
MarchRoundUp(2)-beelifeblogSunday we woke up and headed to volunteer and walk dogs at the local dog shelter we volunteer at. We then made sure Moz got out for her walk too before relaxing and heading over to an incredible impromptu birthday dinner at my aunts. They prepared Lobster tail, scallops, filet and a sweet potato dish — oh my gosh. The food was incredible. We finished the evening with my very own ‘Corona Pie’ which was pretty tasty and garnished with my favorite cake candies.

My actual birthday was on a Monday, so I took that off work and just enjoyed my day. We started my first day in my 30’s with a grocery trip, because the apocalypse was coming and March 16th is basically the day the world stopped – at least in Ohio. The first day of no school, remote working, gyms closed, masses cancelled, restaurants and bars closed… it was like a screeching halt. Luckily, I was still able to grab my free Starbucks coffee, to-go of course, before heading home and hanging out. I got a workout in and even took Moz to the park to soak in some of my favorite city views.
MarchRoundUp(1)-beelifeblogOther March Highlights. We’ve been cranking on house projects, one of which was our fireplace hearth makeover and another which I’ll be sharing here soon as we just wrapped it up this past weekend and did all the finishing touches. Moz has also gotten more walks this past month then she has in a long time, it’s been nice to get her fresh air and out catching all those smells. I did get to see my girlfriends at the beginning of the month — which was good to get that in, since they have littles and it might be awhile before we’re all together again.

I feel like I’m a broken record but it’s really important that we continue to focus on the positive — if you’re upset about the seven things that just got cancelled, find seven positives out of those negatives. Write them down, even. Remember to keep your routine, stay active, get outside, eat well and stay in touch with all your peoples. This will be temporary in the grand scheme of life and there is plenty to be thankful for 💛.

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Latest Obsessions 03.20 – Quarantine Ed.

I think it’s time for a little fun, anyone else feel the same way? As I’ve mentioned in a few of my last posts — things have changed pretty quickly these last few weeks especially in the state of Ohio, but I’ll share a bit more of all that in a upcoming recap post about March.

Anyways — since social distancing, self-quarantining and virtual happy hours are quickly becoming the new norm, there hasn’t been a whole lot to do, or a whole lot that we’ve wanted to do as this pandemic continues to creep and sweep into communities and the nation. It’s so important that we continue to remain as positive on all the changes, so that is why I’m sharing with you my latest quarantine obsessions.
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Getting Outside. Sadly, we live in Ohio which means March/April weather is always hit or miss and I’ve gotten a little jelly of the quarantine folks on the West Coast or down South who are out riding bikes or just sitting in the sun!  But, stay positive! We’ve still been making it a point to either bundle up and get Moz out for a walk, or even pop down to nearby parks for some new scenery that helps break up the day and is 100% fresh air intake.

Workout From Home (WFH). Much to my dismay, I’ve embraced working out from home but also to my coaches credit has become somewhat easy since he’s been sharing free workouts online that are mostly body weight and easy to do at home! The best part, is if you’re looking for some more WFH routines, you can access all of them on my coaches YouTube channel. A few of my favorites so far have been the Cardio Fat Incinerator, Body Weight Workout, and the Post St. Patty’s Day Blitz (good if you’re a bit hungover!) Need a little added Fitness inspo? Read my latest Fitness Friday post to get motivated.

Game Night. This should be no surprise, but board games are making a come back! And I even like to throw in a few card games, because we have a few go-to card games that we love to play (Kings in the Corner + Blitz) when we’re just sipping on some beverages, listening to music and hanging out. On the docket for this weekend is playing LIFE! B and I have never played this game together, so it’s fun this will be a first for us.

Not Planning for the Future. I am definitely a planner — and what makes me even more scared is everything that just gotten cancelled in March and now quickly becoming April being queued up and squeezed into 8 short months. *smiles* Yes, we still have a few trips we need to reschedule and figure out, but for now I’m just letting things be and hoping we can start planning again soon, but for now eliminating that stress and just not planning anything (it’s sort of refreshing – at least for now!).

A few other things we’ve been trying to do to stay close to home is ordering in-store pick-ups as much as possible, ordering UberEats from a few of our favorite local spots to give them as much love as possible.  We also stocked up on a few supplies so that we could tackle a few house projects, which I’m so excited about!

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30 Birthday Reflections

Well… reality happens and life doesn’t always go as planned and that is just simply life — no matter what else is going on, whether you’re fighting your way through your 30th birthday, planning trips or just simple dinner dates. Life can hit us quick for a fast reality check. And this last week has definitely been a slap in the face to just that.

I shared all of my grandiose plans that would be a month long celebration to help offset my anxiety of the start of this new decade, but with the recent pandemic happening around the world — things have definitely been put in perspective and shifted the anxiety away from 30 and more to the day to day. I know I am not the only one who can relate to this anxiety or even for some, fear.
IMG_5821So, trying to focus on more of the positive, I reflected on this past decade a bit — that of which was my 20’s. And I, 100% would not change how I’ve grown, what I’ve learned, and everything that has been accomplished in those last 10 years. I still grimace at some not so great points during my 20’s, but luckily those are few and far between. I also am so grateful for the places I’ve been able to travel, the love I’ve learned and life I’ve been able to build. And I know that with each year, I learn more, grow a little wiser and always have a lot more fun! So I will definitely work to get past the number and focus more on all of the other good things that come with getting older.

Which… is what we should all do in life right now, focus on the positive, do what we can on a day to day basis and make sure we’re staying healthy both mentally and physically and understand that most if not all things in life are fairly temporarily, especially the crazy moments. And understand and accept that a lot of life is not in our control, as much as we plan, want it to be, sometimes we just have to live and let be and trust in a higher power 💛.

So, here we go 30 you’re starting a bit crazy but I know you’re going to be good!

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