My 2021 Goals

Happy New Year! It’s that time again — that time to reset and refocus our energy, our priorities and look back at successes and even failures from the previous year, things we’ve learned about ourselves. And with that, it’s important to review your previous goals – and if you didn’t have any, you can only go up from here – so here is a quick update on how I did with my 2020 goals.

My 2020 Goals Successes: I paid off my credit card debt, before my 30th birthday — and even better, I’ve kept the credit card paid off. It’s so refreshing and freeing to have that under control. I also successfully completed one of my fitness goal of running 6-races, which proved more challenging because they all got delayed into Q4. We were also able to squeeze in one trip, which I will take for how 2020 went. And, I think that I fulfilled my goal of saying “No” which was also a bit easier, because you know, covid — and maybe one of the few things I’ll thank covid for.

Here are my goals for 2021:

Pay Off My Student Loans by December 2021. With the pandemic, student loans got a break with 0% interest among other things for most of the year — so I made sure to take advantage of that, while also paying more on my loans due to the money I’ve saved without having other expenses (car, gym, spa). With the help of my rain-man hubby, we’ve calculated for me to be on track and student debt free while I’m still 31! Being able to pay these off all by myself, while I’m still relatively young and 9-years post graduation is something I am truly proud of and fortunate to be able to do.

Monthly Volunteering. I unfortunately got out of dog walking volunteering, which I was doing almost weekly pre-covid. I then was trying to get a goal of at least monthly, which I was doing pretty well with, but the end of the year not so much. So my goal is to get back to that monthly volunteering for at least 2-hours, and then if things get better, I’ll start going more frequently. This will also help push me to do more “social” things without actually being social.

Good for the Soul. Focusing on things that are good for the soul and things I enjoy doing is going to continue to be a priority. Things like: Friends, travel, good food, bubbles, saying no, house projects, decorating, speaking my truth, reading, creating, dogs, sleeping in, and watching Bravo. Traveling is always a priority and on our to-do list (& oh so good for the soul), and we already have two trips outlined. This past year has also proven to enjoy the simpler things in life, like hanging out just B and I, playing games, listening to music and laughing the night away — hopefully we can just add a few more friends and family to that scenario.

Continue to Invest in Myself. This is both mentally and physically. Due to affect effects of covid, I’ve found that working out and staying healthy is going to be more of an effort, also sadly, because my former gym ended up closing last year due to financially hardships. So I’ve already started to purchase more at-home fitness equipment to help workouts become more attainable, without an excuse of not having equipment. Mentally, I’ve been needing to find someone to talk too since the spring. Again, I’ve made excuses not being able to find anyone that feels right — but I need to get it started. I spoke to someone in college and it helped immensely.

As you may have noticed, a lot of these goals, seem to be getting back to a normal life and piecing together the after effects from the pandemic (which BTW is still happening). And one of those biggies will be my fitness goals. I’ll be sharing those more specific goals on my upcoming Fitness Friday post — I think it’s important if you want your health and fitness to be a priority and is a personal goal, to make specific goals attainable and specific to fitness without just saying; “stay in shape” or “work out.” And I’ll be sharing my fitness goal failures too.

I also recently did one of those word scrambles, where you look at a bunch of letters and pull out the first four words you see. My four words were: Health, Family, Love and Strength. I think these are good mantra words to hold onto and focus for my new year — even if it’s a silly little internet thing.

What’re your goals? Share one or one of your focus words in the comments below!

Bee’s 2020 Recap

Woof, dare I?

Yes, I dare — and in an effort to being transparent and true, I’m going to focus more on the positive things of 2020, and only a little bit of the negative – because we all know there was a lot of negative. A lot of struggles, a lot of tears, a lot of everything. Before I write this year’s recap, I always like to look back at last year’s recap and I giggled when I read the end of my 2019 recap, it ended with:

“2020 is going to be a big year. We have a lot of big family milestones and a lot of trips brewing in the planning stages. So ready or not, here we come 2020!”

Bee’s 2019 Recap

LOL. It was a big year, a big year with a lot of milestones that sort of got celebrated, lots of changed and cancelled plans, and lots of learning how to deal with the “new normal.” And ironically, the world seemed to end on my 30th birthday, March 16th.

Our big rose of the year was definitely our Jackson Hole trip, which was not decided upon lightly, but also was so beyond needed for our mental health and sanity. It was such a light in this dark and changing year. B and I also celebrated three years married, and conquered a few fun and essential house projects in our extended time at home.

We cherished the nights, days and time we got to spend with friends and family — especially when we could be outside in the sunshine and warmth. We attended a couple virtual weddings, one backyard wedding, two virtual graduations, took a mini road trip in an RV, hosted our first virtual Christmas party (it was so fun!), fell in love with drive-up at Target, and used a ton of hand sanitizer.

Now for some tougher real talk. I’ve always dealt with some extent of anxiety and social anxiety — but this year with COVID, the anxiety has reached a new level. In addition to anxiety of being around people, going out in public and doing things we never thought twice about a year ago, but 90% of the days since March 16th, have started and filled with me thinking I’m sick. A sneeze, a little tickle, a cough, getting warm or feeling cold… constant worry and fear that I’m sick (it’s still happening). On top of that, navigating what everyone is ok with, or not ok with has been another layer of that stress — another thing to explain, cope with, or fight through — which just adds to the anxiety, the chest pains, the overwhelming feeling to just cry.

We’ve been fortunate to *knocks on wood* stay healthy, find joys in the little things, play lots of Yahtzee, and still be able to work remotely through all of this. And now in all honesty, I’m just glad to see the end of 2020 and am cautiously optimistic about the New Year.

Merry Christmas – 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year? This holiday season was a glimmer of hope all of us were looking forward too, even more so than previous years. We were watching Christmas movies before Halloween, and we were gearing up for the year to end on a happy, light and familiar note.

The optimism this year has been strong while also fading fast — and I was hoping the optimism during this holiday season would come back strong, but I can’t say that it is. The pressures of family, the expectations, the let downs from family and the overall crave for a little bit of normal from all of us — is different depending on who you ask. This whole year we have all scarified a lot, whether it’s been emotionally, physically, financially, mentally — but that some how gets forgotten with those expectations and pressures. No one can win this year, and no one has.

With all of that, the picture above of B and I was from one of those strong moments of optimism, of hope, of happiness and a tiny bit of forgetting. We were trying to snap a selfie, surrounded in the snow in Jackson Hole, Wyoming — and it was so bright! Neither of us had sunglasses, and we laughed as we struggled to keep our eyes open, and just embraced the moment, which became a series of shots, that we used for our Christmas cards this year. That is a feeling, I’m going to try and hold on to as we get through the rest of this year and these next few days.

So without being too much of a downer, I hope for a few moments, hours or even a few days — we can hold on to a moment we’ve had this year of happiness, hope, and pure optimism. And that we can embrace whatever kind of things we’re faced with this holiday season, even if we don’t like it 😬 (& yes, that may or may not be specifically for me).

Merry Christmas from B, Moz & I!

Happy Thanksgiving – 2020

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving, and I know this year looks different for many of us… no family gatherings, no road trips to visit extended family, no house hopping from one turkey dinner to the next. And it’s especially easy in the solitude, to be reminded of the things we should be doing — the things we aren’t doing. But I’m here to say, we can’t focus on that!

Instead we need to hug the people we can. And count our blessings, big or small this year — be thankful for our health, and the health of our friends and family. A super easy way to do this, is take out a piece of paper and write (or type) them down.

photo by: Michelle Loufman Photography

Here are a few things B and I are thankful for this year:

  1. Time we’ve been able to spend with family, specifically pool days & July 4th
  2. Having jobs and ones that we are able to work from home
  3. Good music and Yahtzee
  4. Another year with our Moz
  5. The time we’ve been able to see friends this year
  6. Curbside pick-up
  7. Our Jackson Hole trip
  8. Rain on Me – Lady Gaga
  9. Getting to know our neighbors more this year
  10. A husband who likes to grocery shop!

Ok, your turn! Even just taking a moment before dinner, and sharing a few things you’re especially thankful for, or telling someone via the phone or text this year — share a little extra gratitude and soak in the good that we’ve been able to find this year ♥️.





Still prepping for the big day? See how we’re getting ready for a quiet Thanksgiving Dinner for Two!

Small Business Saturday Shopping Guide

Supporting our local small businesses, whether they be adorable boutiques, a coffee spot or favorite bakery, has never been more critical than it has been this year. Many of these businesses were forced to shut down, adapt and maneuver through new restrictions, cleaning requirements and much more. So, I’ve been trying to support my favorite spots as much as possible, whether it’s an extra $20 into the tip jar, or opting to spend a little more money at a boutique vs. going to a bigger box store. Luckily for you, I’ve put together a shopping guide to help support local Cleveland businesses this Small Business Saturday (November 28th) and throughout the holiday season!

Brewella’s is a neighborhood favorite for us because it’s so close to home and delivers delicious treats, like crepes, and always have incredible seasonal menus — I’m anxiously awaiting their Christmas menu to drop! Brewella’s is also home to an incredible vibe with lots of fun and unique collectibles available for purchase. When in doubt, a gift-card is always a great stocking stuffer and easy way to support local.

Two Cafe & Boutique is truly a treat, for more than one reason! First, it employs individuals with exceptionalities to help bridge them into local workforce. Two, its cafe is farm-to-fork, serving breakfast and lunch with seasonal menus and the freshest ingredients. Three, the boutique sources lines that are for a cause while supporting other businesses in the US. The boutique is also the perfect spot for that hard to get person, a show stopper gift and stocking stuffers.

Meatboxlocal brings local, Ohio farmed meats to your front door. This is a great gift that you can ship to friends and family you might not be seeing this season. With a variety of beef and chicken options, this is the perfect way to stay stocked on those meats – while ordering from the comfort of your own home. Plus, the meat is hormone free, grass-fed with free deliveries made weekly within a 50-mile radius from CLE.

Home for the Holidays. This pop-up shop always makes a splash each year — and this year you can even shop online and do curbside pick-up! Home for the Holidays curates local vendors and goodies into one place, making it a shop small, shop on steroids. And they’re stocked with gifts for everyone including your furry friends. My personal fave is finding hand painted Cleveland-themed ornaments!

I’ve been shopping at Lovely Paperie & Gifts and sister store Babycakes Children’s Boutique this entire pandemic — even more than previous years. Why? When I’ve popped in-store to shop, it’s never crowded like big box stores, making this a place I feel safe shopping at! Both of these stores offer special keepsakes, thoughtful gifts and the perfect card for any milestone, holiday or just because. Plus nationwide shipping, in-store or curbside pick-up are available!

Besides finding the perfect gift at any of these spots, grabbing a gift card is another super easy way to instantly support your favorite small biz, and gifting your favorite spot to your favorite people! I’m planning on grabbing smaller amount gift cards from a few other favorite local spots to gift to friends/family and stuff stockings like Nature’s Oasis, Milo & Me, and Mitchell’s Ice Cream. I’m also hoping to shop a few new local spots this year that I’ve been following on Instagram!

And if you’re shopping in person this season, don’t forget your mask, hand sanitizer and a little extra space to those shopping around you!

Celebrating Three Years Married.

B and I are celebrating three years married today! We’ve spent 242 of the last 365 days together in our house, making year three together one to remember. And as much as I always love looking back at our special day becoming Mr. & Mrs. and closing my eyes bringing back those feelings of pure joy and happiness — I also like reflecting on the new year as husband and wife that we have under our belts.

This year has brought on new challenges, for all of us. B has stepped up in a lot of ways, and I’ve been so grateful for that. He’s also learned a bit more about the ebbs and flows of my anxiety, especially my pandemic anxiety. This year has also showed how resilient we both have been to change and adjusting well together over time with the challenges of the pandemic. And a big part of that has been, due to the fact that we’re on the same page, we talk, we ask each other when we need help, take breaks to catch up in the day, look out for each other and still surprise each other with little every day moments.

In this third year together, we’ve become unofficial co-workers, deeply invested in Bravo reruns, have played a lot of Yahtzee, taken more walks with Moz, have stopped setting our alarms on the weekend, we played a lot of golf, took a much-needed risk and jumped on an airplane together, rocked out to Lady Gaga’s Chromatica album more than either one of us may want to admit, and cook at home more than ever.

And as much as I hate the pandemic, and a lot of things about this year — I wouldn’t ever change my partner who I’m so lucky to have next to me day in and day out to talk about all this crazy with, forget about the crazy with, dance and laugh through this life together.

Latest Obsessions – Old Navy Fall Haul

Earlier in quarantine, I purchased some nicer sweats and athleisure-ware from Old Navy. Now that fall is here, and winter is quickly approaching and WFH-ing and quarantine is still a thing, I figured it was time to stock up on a few additional pieces to get through the winter! So I wanted to share my favorites from my recent Old Navy hauls, and a few pieces I was a little bummed out about. Oh! And I also splurged on a few normal clothes, so I’m sharing those favorites too.

Let’s talk sweatpants. Before quarantine, my sweatpants have consisted of big bulky and very high school sized sweats — ones you don’t go out in public in. I realized that investing in a few nicer pairs, for our evening walks with Moz, target run or doctor’s appointment were needed. For reference, I’m wearing a size Large in the joggers featured, and I’m about 5’6″ and 150lbs.

MUST HAVE – Mid-Rise Breathe On Joggers: These are my absolute favorite! I grabbed these earlier in the year in a rose pink color, and recently snatched up another pair in light grey. They’re silky, have pockets and I like pulling them up around my ankles for a sportier look, plus they’re about belly button height so work well with a comfy crop.

Mid-Rise Sweater Knit Joggers: Compared to the breathe joggers, these are definitely a bit cozier given the sweater knit nature. They are also a bit thinner, but overall the same sort of style and fit as the breathe joggers — and also feature pockets! I have these in the Jet Stream green color, and I love the mix-up as I’m typically a go-to black person when it comes to my athleisure bottoms.

RETURN NOTICE: I loved these MC-Hammer-esq high-waisted elevate powersoft joggers but they just didn’t do it for me once I put them on. I think an XL would’ve given me the look I wanted, but the Large gave me a bit of camel toe, when I pulled it up to where it needed to be — and I just wasn’t feelin’ it.

Now that we have the bottoms figured out, I love a few of Old Navy’s essential and classic tops.

Vintage Crew Neck Sweatshirt: This is also an essential that I love. I am waiting for the ‘More Love’ Heather Gray sweatshirt to arrive, as I plan on returning the Navy Stripe with heart, because I don’t love how it lines up at the bottom. I have a few other colors from earlier this year as well, and I ordere a size small for a more fitted look that can be dressed down or up with a pair of jeans.

Oversized Slub-Knit Weekend Tee: This loose, crop tee is another fave of mine. It’s definitely a little more oversized – so a size small is roomy and has a nice look especially when paired with high-rise workout pants, like these charcoal snake skin prints. I have the mauve over blush color and just ordered the sea haze.

Loose-Fit Short Sleeve Crop Tee: Since I’m completely obsessed with crop tees, I was excited to find these basic ones in addition to the weekend tee above. This tee doesn’t fit quite as loosely (see above) as the weekend tee does — I got a small, but I would’ve ordered a medium, if I would’ve known — as I definitely like a looser crop fit. Still, a classic and comfy tee to add to the rotation of your athleisure.

Ok! Now for a few REAL clothes and fun looks, that I do break out every now and again especially to enjoy the fall weather and feel a little human.

Cozy Leopard Print V-Neck Cardigan: I ordered this in the grey print and a size medium. It’s a little bigger than maybe I would’ve liked if shopping in person, but it’s still super comfy and a relaxed look. This sweater is so soft, and I love the options it allows buttoning up the front or keeping open. This sweater is also offered as a crew-neck sweater if you don’t want the button up.

Black Mid-Rise Raw-Edge Rockstar Ankle Jeans: These have been a summer and fall favorite, especially with the ripped edge and holes throughout — even though B makes fun of me a bit. They just pair so well with everything, and can easily be dressed up or dressed down, especially with the cozy leopard cardigan — I wear a size 10 in these!

Shop my faves: Crewneck Sweatshirt | Knit Joggers | Breathe On Joggers | Oversized Weekend Tee | Black Jeans | Leopard Cardigan

I may stock up on a few more pieces, but I feel a little more ready for the rest of quarantine and the winter season ahead – especially looking a little more put together, while still being comfortable! Have you picked up any Old Navy favorites lately? If so, leave in the comments below!

Third Wedding Anniversary Etsy Gift Guide

My yearly wedding anniversary Etsy gift guide is here! This year we’re tackling the traditional three year gift of leather! B and I always try to stick to the traditional theme of each wedding anniversary so luckily, finding something custom, unique and special made from leather wasn’t as tough as cotton, which was last year. We always like to make our anniversaries special and B always does an incredible job – last year he was so thoughtful with his cotton gifts, I realized I need to step-up my game. So B, if you have stumbled upon this before our anniversary – stop reading here, spoilers below!

Leather represents shelter and security for the third year, much like what a marriage and the home you build with each other symbolizes.

– The Knot

Leather Monogram Valet Tray. This next gift is from a formally local small business, William and James, (they just relocated to North Carolina) that I was introduced too via the Home for the Holidays pop-up shop! Luckily, they also have an Etsy shop, so ordering was super easy and effortless — plus the owners Billie and Jimmy were super responsive to confirm the customization was correct, which was reassuring as a buyer. I ended up ordering the monogram leather valet tray, which I thought would be nice for B in his dressing room, to hold his ear buds, wallet and other goodies. I was also beyond impressed with the way it arrived, in a beautiful branded box, all wrapped in tissue and just perfect for gifting in! They also have leather coasters, earrings and other fun accessories – I was happy to support a formally local small biz too.

Custom Leather Travel Tags from Etsy. Funny story, we were gifted these as wedding gifts, unfortunately the wrong info was added so we’ve never been able to use! Last Christmas was gifted my mom and dad some tags from Etsy to go with their new luggage, and it was the perfect gift — so I knew just where to go, as I’d already seen the finished product. I ordered from TAleatherworks on Etsy – these are affordable, customizable and arrived quickly! I wish we would’ve had them before our recent trip, but they’ll be fun to have in the future.

Valet Tray by IronandGrainUSA | ToriLoLeather Card | Orange Bridge Supply keychain | ToriLoLeather leather clutch

Don’t worry guys/gals, if you’ve stumbled upon this – I have a few more other honorable mentions I found on Etsy that are a little more well suited for your wifey. This luggage tag from Bramble and Beene, is a bit more anniversary specific and fun. Or this leather valet tray from Iron and Grain USA is also customizable and a bit more 3rd anniversary specific listing off the days, hours and minutes making up 3 years. I love this leather clutch from SanTanLeather – it’s compact and versatile – and offered in a variety of colors.

This leather keychain from Orange Bridge Supply is a cute and customizable option too, I actually gifted this to B for our wedding present with our wedding date and our little saying “Yeah, Me Too” onto it — it has definitely been worn with love these last few years. I also love this leather card and handmade leather purse from ToriLo Leather – she is located in the UK, so I would be careful to make sure you have enough time if you’re ordering internationally!

Not celebrating 3 years? Check out my Two Year Gift Guide and how I celebrated Year One.

Besides leather, the modern gift for three years is crystal or glass, the color is white or jade and the gemstone is pearls! I’ll definitely be making B a homemade card, and find a few more things to help make this anniversary special.

Weekend Roundup – July 2020

July was another rollercoaster month — but it had some lovely moments of normal. I think those are the moments I need to remind myself more of, those moments of normal.

The month started out with a travel first for B and I — although we were only heading to see my parents, we traveled in a different way than we ever have before. A 73-feet RV! Luckily we didn’t have to worry about driving, so we had a stress free and relaxing ride hanging out with the family. It was massive, and was even bigger once it was parked and stretched out. Once we arrived to our parents, this allowed the fam we traveled with to stay in the RV while we stayed in my parents house — it worked out perfectly!
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Luckily we were with family that we’ve seen off and on throughout the last few months — keeping our bubble consistent, but we headed in for my aunt’s beautiful backyard wedding. I know this is the exact scenario everyone has been reading about to avoid for the last three months – I wouldn’t lie if I didn’t say I was anxious about it, but I was also excited to see everyone. We all shared concerns, but we all have been safe, have limited our foot print and continue to take proper safety precautions. The first night together we spent playing corn hole, listening to music, playing games and eating delicious summer cookout food. It was a lot of fun and great being together.
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The next day was pretty low key before the wedding. Luckily, the wedding was hosted in my cousins very large backyard. My aunt looked absolutely stunning in her BHLDN wedding dress too and their ceremony was so perfect and shared a lot of special moments between L&A. The wedding guests were pretty much everyone we had been with the night before, so not a lot of new people interacting or mingling and those that were new kept their distance and masked up. We also kept up our intense corn hole tournaments going once the wedding festivities were complete — as it got pretty competitive before we all called it a night and just sat around the fire. Other wedding highlights included fun with the pop-up Polaroid photo booth, eating delicious Nancy cake, Chromatic, Midnight Train to George and getting a surprise firework display since the wedding was on the Fourth of July!
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The rest of July was filled with knocking out a few backyard projects, that I can’t wait to share with you in the coming weeks. We’ve also had a hot July summer days, so it’s been some sweaty afternoons and evenings – while taking advantage of early morning tee times, I think we golfed almost every week in July! We’ve been soaking up patio dinners and front porch nights while enjoying refreshing beverages.

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