Latest Fashion Obsessions 07.17

This month’s latest obsessions is a fashion edition. Covering off on all my favorite summer pieces from the beach, to the patio, to a wedding!  Let’s face it, that is pretty much what the whole summer is about, and your wardrobe can never have enough options for any of those occasions!
Latest Fashion Obsessions_07.17 - the bee life
For the Beach:  My must have is high-waisted bikini bottoms! A little over a year ago, these were hard to find, now you can find them almost everywhere! From Target, to Old Navy to Athleta, the prints and options are endless and adorable!  Since my beach bod has been a work in progress, this is a cute way for me to feel more confident and comfortable!  Not to mention everything is on SALE right now! Stock-up!

For the Patio: For the cool summer nights I’ve been loving a pair of mid-rise jean shorts paired with a flowy long sleeve shirt or sweater.  It’s perfect for a low-key night with friends sitting around the fire, sipping on a tasty beverage and listening to some good tunes.

For the Wedding:  I first fell in love with Jessakae on Pinterest when I saw these gorgeous floral printed dressed.  Although, like most clothing pins on Pinterest, the links never work but I decided to click, and to my surprise the link worked! I’ve bought three dresses off Jessakae, they arrive quickly, the fabric is incredible soft and light and they’re great for casual events or to dress up with heels and a nice hair style. They also offer tops, bottoms, and cute shoes!

There is still plenty of summer left to stock your wardrobe with all these essentials, I know I have been!

Image Sources: Top Left || Top Right || Bottom Left || Bottom Right

Weddings: Creating Your Sweetheart Table

One trend that seems to be increasingly popular is the idea of a sweetheart table for the bride and groom. I’ve read a few articles about the pros and cons of having a sweetheart table, and I am sure each bride and groom have their own reasons. For us, it’s simple. We have a small bridal party, and I think it would silly to make them sit without their sig-o’s at a table! Plus I love the idea of B and I having our own intimate spot to sit together and watch the magic of our wedding unfold.

And since we’re doing a sweetheart table, I wanted to do it right, which means pulling in the key elements to really make a statement with our table. Those key pieces to help make your sweetheart table standout are; the chair(s), floral accents, pop of personalization, and placement. Creating Sweetheart Table - the bee lifeThe Chair: Consider a furniture rental vendor that has awesome vintage chairs or a bold settee, these will stand out from the rest of your chairs in the venue signifying these are for the bride and groom.

Floral Accents: My personal favorite for a sweetheart table is a garland floral arrangement. This adds texture and depth to your table, while also calling it to be different from the rest of the tables.  Also consider bold arrangements that could be placed along side the tables or back flanking the space.

Pop of Personalization: The go-to seems to be adding Mr. & Mrs. on top of the table or a sign hanging from the back of the chairs. But consider other meaning full words that might be used or even using the initial of your new last name to make a bold pop.

Placement: When considering all of these elements for your sweetheart table, think about where this will be – if you’re going to have signs on the back of your chairs, will your chairs be in a place that others will be able to view and admire? Is a floral arch behind your table going to flow with the space or look out of place?  You can also work to make your sweetheart table to be the focal point of the venue if it’s lack luster our outdoors.

Pulling these key elements together will create a special place for you and your groom to dine to enjoy your first meal as husband and wife! Happy planning!

Image Source Inspiration: Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right

The Truth: Weddings & Registries

It’s that time of the year again, wedding season! And with every wedding season, comes the cycle of bridal showers, multiple registries to review, and the actual wedding gift…  As a bride-to-be this upcoming fall, and a guest to four-weddings before then, I feel your pain! But here are answers that will help ease some of those questions and help you conquer all your gifts with success this wedding season!
Weddings & Registries Guide - the bee life
The Gift. If you’re like me, you’re often conflicted with wanting to give the couple something unique and not on the registry.  But I’ve also heard from many past brides/friends say; “I just want the stuff off my registry!” I always thought buying off the registry was boring! But, news flash, it’s not about you or me!

Ultimately it comes down to knowing the bride/couple.  Will they like something specific and personalized if you stray from the registry? Or are they picky and have a specific style, so it’s best to just buy off the registry?  When in doubt, buy off the registry.

Money. Yes, it is tacky to talk about money, but it’s a topic many people struggle with, myself included! How much is enough? Especially if you’re attending four or more weddings in one year!  So I did a little research, and asked my friends and fellow brides-to-be. The consensus for a bridal shower gift was around $50. Although, there is an exception if you’re in the wedding party/close family friend.

Okay, so now how much for the wedding? The going response was basically covering the cost per person/per plate. As you can imagine, this could vary depending on the city, venue, type of food, but a low, but safe baseline is about $50 per person. So between you and your hot date, grand total/minimum of $100. But again, this all depends if you’re in the wedding party, family, or simply just a guest!

The Wedding. So back to that $100 for the wedding gift.  Do you just write a fat check? Or do you head back to that registry for more goodies?  Well consider this; a box of envelopes is much easier to transport after the wedding for whoever gets stuck with gift duty vs. 50+ different sized presents. Also, logistically as the guest, lugging around a gift during the ceremony and cocktail hour might not be the most enjoyable! The couple will most likely buy items they didn’t get off their registry (with a discount) with that cash anyways. So when it comes to the wedding, stick with cash/check.

Before I dived into all my registries, I jokingly talked about creating an online fund for our kitchen remodel! But I found something better, Zola Registry! Zola is a one stop shop for planning the big day, registering for your standard gifts from a number of known/unique brands, but also allowing couples to register for experiences, trips, and personalized cash funds for a kitchen remodel or honeymoon!

As a bride-to-be that has spent many hours searching for the perfect pieces, I’m learning a new found respect for gifting off registries and knowing when it’s okay to just gift with cash.

Happy Wedding Season!

Latest Obsessions 05.17

Here’s what I’ve been completely obsessing over lately, spoiler alert, the theme of everything may or may not be summer. Yes, I am jonesing for warm weather and the perfect entertaining pieces from kitchen to patio.
Latest Obessions 05.17 - the bee life
Sources: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 

Lemon Patterned Everything.  From kitchen towels, to serving trays, to wrapping paper, a lemon pattern is bright and cheery, timeless and refreshing.  Kate Spade is currently feeding this obsession and has a lot of perfect lemon patterned pieces for entertaining, and the better part is you can go all out lemons or just buy a few key pieces to play off neutrals.

Patio Furniture. Spoiler, our latest home project is a back patio at our house.  Since we will have true, dedicated space for a patio and dining area, we now need to find the perfect mix that’ll be able to entertain a decent number of friends for impromptu family occasions or neighbor hangs.  I keep going back between more of a outdoor sectional vs. the traditional conversation set with a love seat and chairs.

Outdoor Entertaining. Staying on theme, I’ve been a bit obsessed with finding cute plasticware for outdoor parties and entertaining. In addition to that, upgrading and finding some cute plastic plates and finding a nice outdoor tray has been on my to-do list as well. Home Good’s is definitely going to be my go-to for this, I’m just waiting to pull the trigger.

What have you been obsessing about lately? Are you completely ready for summer mode too?

Wedding Planning – Flowers

When it comes to flowers for your wedding, there are a lot of things to consider, like… first and foremost if you even want real flowers at your wedding! There are so many alternatives from realistic fake flowers to paper flowers! For me, I knew I wanted fresh flowers at our wedding. Flowers are something I’ve always dreamed about for my wedding, lots and lots of flowers… everywhere.  But as you’ll quickly come to find out, like I did, flowers are not cheap! In fact, I had a few vendors reply first stating their minimum price for an event, and it was double my budget, so I kindly responded and said thanks, but not going to work for me!

I will admit, I was a bit discouraged, and started mentally talking myself off the ledge of needing over the top florals, and starting thinking of how I would be able to simplify everything in order to at least have some flowers that I could afford.  Well upon many searches and reaching out to a few more unknown florists, I found my one.
Wedding Planning - Flowers
Here are a few tips for when you start the chats with potential florists:
1. Have pictures ready on pinterest to share with your florist! If you’re talking over the phone, try and send these ahead of time or a link to your pinterest page so you can talk through your vision live
2. Know ballpark numbers of how much you’ll need of hand bouquets, boutineers, centerpieces, ceremony space, hand corsages, etc. this of course helps with that estimating part
3. If your florist is asking you questions about your venue and ceremony space that is making you think, for example – does your church expects that the bouquets/centerpieces are donations?  You’ll want to gut check to see if other florists ask the same question, this verify’s experience and level of detail
4. Because…. if they’re considered donations you may not be able to reuse them in your venue space as additional decor or a centerpiece. Speaking of which, talk through with your florist how pieces can be used in both the ceremony and receptions spaces
5. Get ready to take notes and google a lot of different flowers, I know the basics, but a lot of what I wanted I only knew by seeing it – also ask about similar more affordable flowers that might work to get you the look you want
6. Don’t be afraid to ask your florist for a mood board/image to support pricing to make sure the vision and reality will match!

Our flowers for the wedding, are one of the things I am most excited about – besides the stunning venue and marrying my B.  I can’t wait to see how they’ll turn out, they’re definitely close to the level of my wildest dreams, and I can’t wait to see them come to life, in our venue, on our wedding day!

Sources: Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right

Wedding Planning – Groomswear

Groomswear, because there is nothing better than a well dressed man. And one of the most essential parts of the wedding day should be making sure your man is dressed his best.  A perk of having a small bridal party is that we have the luxury of ordering custom suits and having a few more options on where to shop, since we don’t have to worry about rentals.  I’m personally not a fan of the renting tux’s – there is a huge risk for them to be incorrectly sized for any one of the groomsmen or groom in turn throwing off the entire look of the day.  Not a risk we want to take.
Groomswear Inspiration - the bee life
The photos above are definitely a mix of inspiration, pulling pieces and parts, fabrics and colors together to give B a completely custom, fitted and handsome suit.  B is deciding if he wants to go the bow tie route, or more of a statement tie.  I also love the idea of having a pattern or floral’s, and even if not for the groom perhaps the Best Man/fathers.  There are so many options for tie’s, we’ve looked into creating custom ties or shopping at a favorite spot; Grand Frank.

We also really like the idea of having a colored suit or a suit with a bit more texture and movement. A few other items that will also need to be determined once the suit is figured out is finding a great pair of shoes, belt, socks, pocket square and tie.  I can’t wait to go shopping with B to pull our vision to life for the big day!

Did you go custom for you groom? Share tips/tricks in the comments below or on social @mmariebee.

Sources: Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right

Chocolate Mug Cake – The Recipe

Happy Friday! Ever craving an after dinner sweet, but don’t have anything baked or sweets to pull from? I’ve got a recipe that pulls from ingredients that are easy to store and have around the house, and perfect for those sweets cravings! Plus it has a low ‘bake’ time – since it’s all done in the microwave, yeap, it’s that easy… not to mention mouth-watering and delicious!Chocolate Cake Mug Recipe - the bee lifeWhat You’ll Need:
– 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 3 tablespoons sugar
– 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 3 tablespoons of almond milk
– 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 12 oz. microwave safe mug
– Splash of vanilla extract <optional>
– Pinch of salt <optional>
– 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips <optional>

Step-by-Step:
1.  First measure out the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into your mug, and blend together with a fork.
2. Next add the milk, vegetable oil and vanilla, blend together until smooth finish.  If you’re using chocolate chips, stir these in last!
3. Microwave on high for 90-seconds – let cool for 2-3 minutes before eating! Your cake should be moist and delicious!
4. Enjoy!
Chocolate Cake RecipeThis is a great option for a dinner party, for individual serving sizes for your guests, or even splitting one to share!  This would be great paired with raspberries, ice cream or whip cream as additional toppings, enjoy!

Wedding Planning – Shower Dresses

Happy First Day of Spring!

As I am planning my wedding, I can’t help but try and find the perfect dresses for other wedding festivities, like the Bridal Shower, Bachelorette, and the Rehearsal! Since most of these festivities are in the spring/summer the clothes and options are starting to become endless and the decision is going to be tough!

Although I haven’t found my perfect dress(es) yet; I’ve pulled some looks that are serving as my inspiration, as there are a few different routes that I could go and you might be in the same boat!
Bridal Shower Dress Inpiration - the bee life
01 | 02 | 03 | 04

If you’re like me and already started your hunt, consider the following…

All White: This is definitely an easy way to go and a classic option, wearing all white at any one of these festivities keeps you as the bride and truly the focal point!

Make A Statement: With a bright color! Showing up in a bright pink or patterned dress will help keep the focus on you.  This might be a fun way to show off a bit of your personality too!

Know Your Venue: Is your shower/rehearsal a sophisticated backyard soiree? Or is it a casual setting at a family members house? Or maybe a tea party theme at a local country club? Be sure that you’re standing out but also dressing to your venue to keep the theme of the day/night on point.

Will You Wear It Again? Ask yourself this question as your picking out the dress. You’ll want to make sure you can wear it again for a date night,  the honeymoon, a friends shower or family function! That way you won’t feel so bad if you invest a little more money that you were planning!

Happy Shopping!

Skinny Mexican Casserole – The Recipe

The other night B wanted mexican food, and since we’ve especially buttoned down on our eating habits this past month, we opted to search for an easy recipe that we could make at home vs. opting for our usual choices, Chipotle, chips and salsa, or rice and beans. So we found this recipe, and adapted it, by cutting out some ingredients we didn’t want, OH and the tortillas.
skinny-casserole-recipe-the-bee-lifeWhat You’ll Need:
– Can of corn
– Can of black beans
– 2-chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
– Half-onion chopped
– 3-garlic cloves
– Enchilada sauce
– Diced tomatoes with green chilies
– 9×13 pan
– Shredded cheddar cheese
– Cilantro for topping

Step-by-Step:
1. Cook your chicken breasts and shredded chicken once cooled; spread out evenly across the bottom of you 9×13 pan – this is your base!  Oh, and pre-heat your oven to 375.
2. Next, drain your corn and black beans and layer each one over the chicken.  Sprinkle your chopped onion evenly across with your garlic and then diced tomatoes.  Then take your enchilada sauce and evenly distribute across the top of your layers.  Lastly sprinkle cheddar cheese across the top.
3. Pop this in the oven for 25-minutes, wait to cool a bit and garnish with cilantro!  Salsa and guacamole also make great mixes to add as toppings to your dish.
4. Enjoy!
1We will definitely be making this dish again, it was so easy, filling and the perfect fix if you’re craving some Mexican food but want to skip on the tortilla and chips!