31 Birthday Reflections

A year ago today, we were all just starting to process the initial impact of the coronavirus… we had hope that it would be a blimp in the year, and not actually consume an entire year or completely turn our world’s upside down. We had optimism and hope, even as schools, gyms, churches and restaurants closed down. One good thing that came of the coronavirus, literally hitting on my birthday, was that turning 30 didn’t hold the weight it did leading up to the day – the pressures changed (but I am sure they’ll be back soon enough!) And here we are, welcoming 31.

This past year my anxiety reached new levels, a new kinda of anxiety, which has made me finally make my mental health a priority, even if it took 8-months. I’ve learned to go with the ups and downs, and when I need to take a break and when I needed to push out of my comfort zones to better my mental health. I’ve learned when I need to communicate the pain, the struggle and where I am at in the moment, so that other’s know how I feel and why decisions are made. While, not a whole lot of this past year made sense, what was right, what was wrong — with so many different opinions and thoughts, it came down to doing what made sense for me, what made sense for B and I. And not all of those decisions probably made sense to others, and I know future decisions won’t make sense to everyone either — but we are still trying to navigate into some semblance of normal, and that is still going to be disjointed for awhile.

I hope 31 brings back more moments of normal. I hope that I can continue to grow personally, continue to grow more in love with B, create new memories, focus on friendships, look for the positive, share love, learn new things, start making new plans, celebrate the precious moments, while cutting out the negativity in any shape or form it may be. So here’s to 31, another year of possibilities and hope!

5 Ways to Give Back on Your Birthday

As I continue to get older (😭), one thing I enjoy doing on my birthday is trying to give back – whether that’s through monetary donations, time volunteering, or donating goods. So if you’re looking to give back, but not sure where to start – I’ve put together a few ideas on how you can pay it forward!

Here are five ways to give back on your birthday:
  1. Donate Goods. This could be a variety of things; whether it’s canned goods or other needed pieces (many local food banks list their most needed items on their website), or going through your closet and donating old clothes to a local church, there are so many ways to give back. Even donating old furniture to a local Habitat for Humanity is another great option, some places even pick-up clothes and furniture!

  2. Volunteer Your Time. This may be a little harder now during Covid-times, but I’m so glad to have the opportunity to volunteer my time at a local dog shelter. For this type of volunteering, I had to do a series of training in order to be able to volunteer, walk and handle the dogs on my own. If you run into a situation like this, and don’t have the training – look to see if there are other ways to give goods. The dog shelter I volunteer at has an Amazon Wish List and can always use dog treats, poop bags, and a variety of other necessities for the pups at the shelter. You can even order from Amazon and send directly to the shelter!

  3. Host A Facebook Fundraiser. As much as I hate Facebook, this is a great and easy feature to have friends and family raise money and donate to a cause near and dear to your heart! Plus, Facebook covers all of the fees, so there isn’t any built in charges when you or your friends donate. If you don’t have Facebook, create your own fundraiser by sharing a web link to family and friends in lieu of presents for your special day!

  4. Random Acts of Kindness. Whether it’s in the Starbucks drive thru by picking up the tab for the car behind you, or leaving a twenty at a local coffee shop to grab the next round of drinks — buying coffee for a stranger is an easy and simple way to bring a little sunshine to someone’s day! Another way to do this, is dropping off flowers to someone who might be having hard time, cooking a meal for someone in need, or maybe wheeling back your neighbors garbage cans!

  5. Donate Blood. This one is definitely not for everyone – but as a first time blood donor this past week, the fear of donating has officially been faced and I finally took the jump. Now I’m in the system and can more easily know what to expect and give a couple times a year! Trust me, I nearly passed out, but it wasn’t that bad or time consuming in the grand scheme of things. The Red Cross always has a plethora of drives, and other opportunities to give back.

A few other ideas to sprinkle a little good into the world; pick up trash at a local park or along your street (safely of course), sending a card to a friend, draw a positive message with chalk along your sidewalk, or bringing your neighbors garbage cans up on trash day. I’ve found myself giving more monetary this year or through goods, since I’ve cut back on in-person volunteer hours. But, I have found in my time volunteering, especially with the dogs, I am able to do something I truly love, and through spending a few hours over a weekend giving the dogs a break from their kennels (or whatever your volunteering is) — it’s just good for the mind and soul.

Valentine’s Day – 2021

Spoiler: We prefer to stay home on Valentine’s Day, even before this pandemic hit – it’s funny, because last year we were gearing up for a fun night in, which before March of 2020 was a welcomed infrequent occurrence. I’m learning to love Valentine’s Day as I get older, because I used to absolutely despise this day. But now, the only bone I have to pick is that of the expectations of this one day to show someone how much you love them with a grandiose gesture or a commercialized gift (even if we love them). What happened to showing our love each and every day?

Photo by Marnia Claire & Co. Photography

Back in 2018, I dedicated the entire month of February to sharing little pieces of love to B – whether it was a little note, a memory, a special card or a punny gift, and it was so much fun, but it was also tough! Why can’t we try to share a little piece of love, a smile, a compliment to the people in our world’s every single day? That’s why I’m excited to share my little challenge, but it’s going up post-Valentine’s Day because we need to share it beyond one day!

With that, I wish you all a sweet and simple Valentine’s Day. B and I will be creating our own little memories together, over indulging in delicious eats and yummy treats. We’ll be cozied up by the fire, sipping on some bubbles and watching basketball.

Latest Obsessions 02.21

Each year, I fall a little more in love with Valentine’s Day. And this week leading up to the day has me wearing hearts, lots of pink and snacking on a bunch of sweets! I have been completely obsessed with getting ready for Valentine’s Day and beyond. I’ve been stocking up on heart and love themed accessories to look festive, and also share love with those who might see me (even if it’s just through a Zoom). Here are a few of the pieces I’ve grabbed and other ways I’ve been getting ready to celebrate heart day!

Heart Tee’s. I’ve been obsessed with finding fun and sweet heart-themed shirts to not know wear for Valentine’s Day but will also work all year-round. This navy with colored hearts tee is so sweet and fun from Loft – they also have a sweat suit in this same print! Shop a few more of my pieces below.

Gimme All The Sweets! Confession time: my sweet tooth has been a bit out of control lately. From snacking on festive M&M’s, to pre-ordering Valentine treats from our favorite KEC — so naturally I had to make some homemade cut out cookies because I bought new Valentine themed cut outs! Topped with my mom’s homemade frosting recipe – these are not only too cute but they taste ah-mah-zing!

Heart Earrings. From oversized to understated, I found all the options for a touch of love to sprinkle from my ears. These oversized heart hoops from Target are so much fun and I had to have them as soon as I saw them — better for you, they’re now 20% off! I also got the these cute and sassy leopard faux leather heart earrings from a local CLE Etsy shop called Frantiques, they were must-have as soon as I saw them. Not to mention they’re so comfy and super cute!

Dressing The House With Pink & Red. Since we’re obviously staying in this Valentine’s Day, I made sure to dress our living room mantle and hearth with some dashes of red and pink! We spend most of our time in our living room, especially on the weekends and now it’s festive for the holiday.

Shop my pieces: White Clip Heart Long Sleeve, Leopard Faux Leather Earrings, Navy Heart Tee, Oversized Heart Earrings, Puff Sleeve Sweatshirt

After this Valentine’s Day holiday, I will definitely be needing to jump off the sweets train and jump back on the workout train (I’ve been so horrible!) But I’m excited to enjoy some extra special treats and a delicious dinner at home, while rocking a cute outfit and some fun accessories — I think I’ll be rocking the Puff Sleeve Sweatshirt and those oversized heart earrings. Putting on a real outfit will make it feel like we haven’t spent the last 41 consecutive days at home!

How are you getting ready for Valentine’s Day?

Valentine Date Night At Home Ideas

Planning to stay in this Valentine’s Day? We usually like to stay in for Valentine’s Day and grab or make a special dinner, some sweets and drinks for an ultimate date night at home. But, just in case you’re feeling a bit lost — I have some fun, creative and easy date night or date day ideas to help celebrate the holiday this year. Don’t worry they are simple, fun and can be customized to you and your boo!

Make It Festive. An easy way to feel festive and make your Valentine’s Day at home special is adding a little festive flair! Whether it’s cutting out paper hearts with construction paper and stringing them up for some garland, buying some flowers to have around the house or making this X’s & O’s painted table runner, by simply adding a bit of red and pink can help spark the mood for the holiday!

Make it A Crafting Afternoon. I snagged a few kids craft kits from Target by Spritz, that are now sold out – but Michael’s has some similar clay hearts that you can paint. Whether you paint them for each other as keepsakes to bring out each year, or paint to gift as a Valentine to family or friends – this is a fun, creative, and low key afternoon! These wooden love letters will be a fun DIY and keepsake to make, too.

Game Night. B & I love game night at home, it has become a quarantine go-to. We love to play Yahtzee, King In the Corners and Scrabble. Of course grabbing a few classic board games like Life, Clue, Sorry! or even Candy Land would be fun while bringing back some childhood memories! Put on some tunes, pour a drink or three and get some friendly competition going with your boo!

Walk & Sip. Bundle up, grab your masks and take a morning snowy stroll to grab some coffee to-go at your favorite local coffee shop! Maybe even take the long way home while you sip and enjoy the quiet of the morning – plus you’re helping support a local business. You could even plan for a boozy evening stroll if that is more your speed, with some spiked coco or cider!

Of course another easy way to celebrate at home is grabbing some dinner to-go from your favorite local spot. Planning on just making dessert at home can be another fun memory with your sig-o. I’ll be sharing an easy and delicious recipe for a cookie skillet that is oh so good and is sure to impress anyone! Finally, if you need some last minute gift ideas, here are 5 free Valentine gift ideas.

How’re you celebrating Valentine’s Day at home this year?

Ten Things About Bee

So apparently I unknowingly have this every three year blog post going, that I’m excited to share again. And you may be saying to yourself, what are you talking about? Well, in order to share a little bit about me, the bee, to my new and returning readers, I am tackling ten questions, while including my answers from 2015 and 2018 (see, every three years!). It’s sort of funny to see how things change, or not — but I may be in need of a few refreshed questions, so you’ll have to leave your ideas in the comments below!

Photo by: Michelle Loufman

Ok, are you ready? Here we go!

1. If money was no object, what’s something you’d buy right now.
2021: A house in Jackson Hole with a personal gym (see what I did there)
2018: A vacation or four… maybe a sports car.
2015: My own personal gym.

2. Spring vs. Fall?
2021: Fall baby.
2018: Still fall. 
2015: Fall – clam bakes, sweaters, pumpkins, coffee, jeans, scarfs, cool runs… shall I continue?

3. What’s on your nightstand?
2021: Pretty much the same as 2018 — lamp, picture frame, phone charger, ring holder, coaster, medicine….
2018: Lamp, ring holder, small vase with flowers, coaster & water glass
2015: Pictures of me and B and my glasses.

4. What’s your favorite room in your house?
2021: Our basement bath is pretty dreamy!
2018: Although our sunroom is still a gem, my new favorite room is our master suite (it was not finished in 2015!) … and our basement makeover (reveal coming soon!)
2015: Our sunroom!

5. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?
2021: I think I want to bring someone back from the dead, but I’m not sure who. TBD.
2018: This one is tough, maybe some Bravo reality stars? RHOBH or Vanderpump!
2015: Too many choices…. it’s a toss up between Derek Jeter and Katy Perry

6. Name one thing on your bucket list.
2021: Hot Air Balloon Ride in Jackson Hole
2018: Travel to Europe
2015: Sky dive with B

7. What’s the best vacation you’ve taken?
2021: This past trip to Jackson Hole was pretty epic and special
2018: Our honeymoon to Palm Desert was a pretty great vacation
2015: Jackson Hole w/ B and my parents! The company makes all the difference.

8. Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to…
2021: Somewhere I wouldn’t think to travel that would totally blow me away like Bali.
2018: Lake Como & Greece
2015: Ireland & Germany

9. Backyard BBQ or Formal Dinner?
2021: A formal backyard BBQ!
2018: Same! But I do love a good meal out on the patio on a summer night.
2015: Formal dinner – I love getting dressed up, and sitting around the table sharing stories, good laughs and a bottle of wine.

10. What advice would you give your teen self?
2021: Be true to you, be bold, be brave, but also listen and learn with an open heart and open mind.
2018: Don’t let silly people affect you to the point of insecurities or anxiety – they do not define you, and there is a world of people out there that won’t tear you down.
2015: There is a much bigger world out there; explore it as much as possible, and even if you break away – there is still a bigger world beyond that.

Ok, that was still fun — but in all seriousness, I’m ready to shake up some questions & maybe even do another Q&A post in a couple months. What fun questions do you want me to answer? Comment below!

Latest Obsessions 01.21

January’s latest obsessions are coming in hot to share a few things that I’ve been loving on! I’ve been waking up and falling asleep reading my latest book obsession — and I’ve been getting excited working on some smaller project spaces getting the house organized for the year. I also recently shared my go-to pieces for getting organized, that work in ANY space. We’ve been watching a lot of sports with the NBA officially back (woo!) and our teams being in the NFL Playoffs, we’ve been engulfed in all of it.

Currently Obsessing Over & Reading: Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer — Yup, I am definitely a Twilight fan, although I was late to the game and resisted at all costs when it first came about. I first watched the movies and then read the books (definitely the way to do it). This latest book is all from Edward’s perspective and I am eating up this love story all over again — and I love being taken into a bit of a fantasy world.

Now Wearing: Headbands & Bows – I’ve always loved accessories that are bold, colorful and slightly obnoxious, although they’re usually paired with something much simpler. And I’ve had a lot of fun lately with bold hair clips, knotted headbands, and cute statement earrings — plus they’re perfect for looking halfway decent on a Zoom call!

Getting Organized! My accessory closet was in need of some purging, clean-up and glam organization — I’ve had so much fun finding clear and acrylic pieces to help me organize this space while also displaying all those fun accessories for my eyes to see. A few of those finds are in this picture including the acrylic shelves, stackable jars, necklace wall rack and the four-drawer jewelry box. See the full reveal here!

Most importantly, on top of all of these latest obsessions – I’ve been obsessed with making lists and getting things crossed off. From scheduling appointments, taking care of my health, to getting projects complete inside the office and at home — it’s been refreshing to cross off those to-do’s, especially in these long, colder winter months — while also keeping myself accountable!

What have you been obsessing over lately? What has gotten you up and going each day this month of January?

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.