5 Hosting Tips for Fall

It’s getting to one of my favorite times of the year – the time for holiday parties and plenty of opportunities for hosting friends and family.  Whether you’re planning an intimate sit down dinner or a more festive party, these five tips will help cover your bases, wow guests and have a fun night to remember!
Party Hosting Tips - the bee life
These tips will also help you relax as a host while still having those finishing touches and taking your party to the next level.

  1. Consider a Bulk Signature Cocktail. Signature cocktails can be fun, especially if it’s more of a seasonal drink for the fall and winter months.  As a host pro-tip, make these in bulk ahead of time in a pitcher or shaker – that way you won’t be stuck making everyone a drink as they come in.  Don’t forget the garnish and a fun cocktail napkin to top off the full effect!
  2. Make a Killer Charcuterie Board. This can serve as your focal point and will cover the bases on a variety of food categories from meats and cheeses, to breads, jams, nuts and fresh fruit that will make guests want to dive right in.  Check out Skinnytaste or Spend with Pennies on some tips to making a killer board.
  3. Don’t Forget the Dessert! It’s easy to get caught up figuring out the main dishes for the evening and overlook the best part, dessert!  This is something to keep simple whether it’s buying some more expensive chocolate bars, baking fresh chocolate chip cookies or asking friends to help bring this, so you can check it off the list!
  4. Plastic vs. Non-Plastic Plates. The great debate on which to use continues! I often shy away from plastic because I prefer the aesthetic look of plates – but depending on which type of party you’re hosting, one might make more sense than the other.  For example a more intimate dinner party or smaller guest count may call for plates to add that extra touch, but if you’re having a large party that is a bit more casual save yourself the end of the night clean-up and grab plastic bowls and plates!
  5. Create Welcoming Smells. This can be an easy victory – if you’ve been prepping food all day, your house might have a mixture of smells, so to clear it up light a few candles with similar scents throughout your home (don’t forget the bathroom!) or throw in some chocolate chip cookies right before guests arrive for a homey welcome.

If you’re looking for inspiration to host a fall party and ways to keep it simple read; 5 Reasons to Host a Fall Party.  And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your own party, as the host it’s easy to get caught up in perfection and making sure everyone else is taken care of – but don’t forget to grab yourself a drink too!

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Image Sources:  Skinnytaste \ The Effortless Chic | Apartment 34

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Granny’s Whiskey Sours – The Recipe

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with my fellow bee readers.  Before I share this with you all, I have to give you some of the history, why this recipe is so sacred and why it’s so fricken good. And also, I’m sharing this with you because it’s still summer despite what the rest of the social world seems to think!
Whiskey Sour Recipe - bee life blog
Urban legend has it, this is my great-grandma’s recipe – it’s unclear whether this was a family staple, or a staple that was also shared at the bar (Marty’s) they owned in St. Louis near Anheuser-Busch.  Helen was born September 11, 1911, she was the woman who told you to ear your crust otherwise you’ll have long saggy ear lobs, like she did (although, I’m pretty sure they were from the clip-on earrings she rocked) the woman that also smiled, was always dealing cards and laughing.  This recipe is so detailed and specific that you must follow the rules and directions to a tee, or you will mess up the whole thing!  The most important rule to remember is 1-to-1-to-1.

What You’ll Need:
– Ten High Whiskey
– Frozen Lemonade Mix
– Water
– Maraschino Cherries
– Ice

Step-by-Step:
1. Dump your frozen lemonade mix into the blender.  Measure out your whiskey by filling up the empty lemonade canister, pour into blender over top frozen mix.  Fill up empty lemonade canister with water and pour over top.
2. Blend up, until nicely mixed together.
3. Over rocks, in a scotch glass pour mixture – garnish with some cherry juice & cherries.

The recipe is so simple and so DELICIOUS, it’s one of the reasons I love it so much plus it was my Granny’s so that’s just the cherry on top (literally).  Another fun little story about my great grandparent’s bar near Anheuser, is a lot of the brewers and workers from the brewery would come for lunch or after work to the bar.  Which meant my mom and aunts as children had special visits to the Clydesdale barns and were even able to ride the horses!   This recipe is a staple at most gatherings and family events, whether it’s summer or we’re cooped up inside — we always cheers to ‘Granny’ after a batch is poured.

So go ahead and enjoy this delicious drink and don’t feel bad when you’re whipping up your second batch of sours.

Cheers!

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Dairy Free Queso – The Recipe

A little while back I shared a few recipes for my fellow dairy-free eaters that want to enjoy taco night!  Coming to terms with my dietary restrictions and not being able to enjoy some of the staples of taco night (sour cream… queso…) has been an ongoing process, but within the last year and a half, I’ve finally mastered saying no and working to find healthier alternatives that work with my diet! Enter; dairy free queso.
Dairy Free Queso - The Recipe - bee life blog
What You’ll Need:
– Cashews (2-cups)
– Nutritional Yeast (1/3 cup)
– Almond Milk (1/2 cup)
– Corse Sea Salt (2 teaspoons)
– Lime Juice (1 tablespoon)
– Chili Powder (1/2 teaspoon)
– Fresh Cilantro, chopped (1/4 cup)
– Rotel Tomatoes w/ chile peppers  (10oz can)

Step-by-Step:
1. Soak your cashews over night in water (5-hours minimum)
2. Drain cashews and mix with all ingredients except the Rotel Tomatoes.  Using a food processor blend ingredients on high until smooth.  I opted to try and use our Vitamix for this portion, I wish I would’ve pulled out the food processor – the consistency wasn’t as smooth as it should’ve been.
3.  Once the ingredients are blended, put mixture into skillet on stove top and mix in Rotel Tomatoes.  On medium/low heat stir as needed to warm and mix everything together.
4. Garnish and serve with chips and salsa!

This recipe was surprisingly easy to make and not time intensive – which is nice for a change when it comes to a dairy-free recipe!  I will definitely be giving this recipe a go with round two, this time using the food processor and probably a little more nutritional yeast to help with that cheesy flavor.  The recipe above was adapted from The Cookie Rookie – but will probably try a few others and adapt together. Do you have a dairy free queso recipe? Tips? Leave a comment, below!

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Latest Obsessions 08.18

Surprise, surprise – this month’s latest obsessions are mostly house obsessed, as I’ve got my eyes on the next prize and the projects just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger.  Beyond the house project bug, weekend getaways and trips or seasonal parties also have me heart-eyed with excitement.
Latest Obsessions 08.18 - the bee life
Basement Projects.  This is a two part.  Part one has been talked about off and on with B, but seriously discussions and planning have started to take place to build out a full-bathroom.  A good friend is a plumber, so with his expertise and help it doesn’t seem so daunting, yay!  Plus, it will add value to our home, making it 2-baths vs. 1-bath. Part two, is making the other space a bit more livable – we have a decent amount of space for storage, so the configuring has been playing out in my head and I think we can make it work.  The livable space might just be a bit industrial chic vs. completely finished basement. I love this article for some inspiration on finishing touches for your unfinished basement.

Seasonal Parties.  I can’t help but get excited for upcoming season parties, whether we’ll be hosting or attending – from the calm bake, to dare I say it…. Christmas?! Yup! I’m just looking forward to creating new memories and fun with family and friends.  And the only reason I have these on my mind, is because schedules get so crazy – we have to plan that far ahead especially if we want any chance of getting on our family/friends schedules!

Getaways.  Whether it’s a quick two-hour drive or a flight across the country, the travel bug continues and I’m excited to get out of town for a bit in the coming months.  With that, I can’t help but want to find the best brunch spots, shop for a few new outfits, and figure out other fun details to weave into the trip.  I’m trying not to wish these to come too soon though, because time has certainly been flying lately!

What’ve you been obsessing over? New house project or fashion trend – leave a comment, I want to know!

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Image Sources: Bathroom Inspiration Party Decor Inspiration Unfinished Basement

Blueberry Mint Mixer – The Recipe

Summer may feel like it’s coming to an end – but let’s hang onto it just a little longer… I have an easy and tasty cocktail to help fill those hot summer days and long weekends!
Blueberry Mixer Recipe - the bee life
What You’ll Need:
– Vodka of your choosing, I used Tito’s
– Tonic water
– Frozen blueberries
– Mint leaf ice cubes

Step-by-Step:
1. Prep! The night before, get some fresh mint and make some ice cubes with mint in them! Rip off mint leaves and place into the cube tray and then pour ice over, have it sit overnight and you’ll have some fancy and tasty ice ready for your drink!
2. Okay, time to make the drinks! Place your mint ice cubes into the glasses and sprinkle a spoon or two of frozen blueberries over the ice cubes.
3. Use a shot glass and pour your vodka in, this is totally on preference, but I usually keep my drinks 1-to-1 with alcohol and the mixer. Once you’ve added your vodka, top off with your tonic.
4. Give it a stir, cheers with your boo and enjoy!
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This one is easy to have all the ingredients stocked around the kitchen and has hints of summer written all over it with the light flavors from the mint and blueberries.  The pinkish-purple coloring really make this a fun drink – not to mention the pretty mint garnishes from the ice cubes!

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Dairy Free Taco Night Recipes

There are a few staples that I miss dearly being dairy-free among my many other dietary restrictions, a few of those being staples at taco night… *clears throat* queso… sour cream… cheese… all the good things!  So since I’ve been sticking to the opt-out of dairy lifestyle and finding substitutes or alternate recipes to fill in those gaps, I wanted to share a few recipes I have my eyes on and will be testing out in the kitchen here shortly.
Dairy Free Taco Night - bee life blog
For any of those newer to the dairy free world, in case you didn’t know but a lot of recipes use cashews as a substitute for cheese.

Vegan Queso: I’ve been scoping out a few different recipes a spicy jalapeno recipe, this delicious looking one, and then one surprisingly with eggplant instead of cashews! I’ve already assessed a few of these and know I’ll have to peel back on some of the ingredients and alter accordingly to make sure they’re kosher for my stomach – but that is the fun part about cooking!

Dairy-Free Sour Cream: A 10-minute recipe to give you the taste and texture of real sour cream, sign me up!  This recipe looks so easy it would be silly not to try it out – and have as the perfect topper for build-your-own tacos!

While I continue to research and look for more dairy-free recipes to try, I feel like I can at least start getting back to a normal taco night by incorporating these recipes in.  I’m also super lucky that B not only is game to eat and try these different recipes out, but he often takes the first step and makes a lot of them with me!  It definitely helps being on the same page when it comes to diet and restrictions, because it can become a lot to remember!

Do you have any dairy free recipes that you just love? Leave me a comment! I want to try them!

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Image Sources: The Cookie Rookie | 24 Carrot Kitchen (recipes also linked above)

 

Tips for Swoon Worthy Engagement Pics

Planning your engagement photos?  With the Pinterest & Instagram the exposure and pressure to have pin-worthy engagement photos is kind of a thing.  There are sooo many stunning photos out there it’s a bit intimidating! So how do you make yours special? Well, I have a few tips to help make sure these photos are swoon worthy, personalized and show stoppers.

Wardrobe.  If you really want something show stopping, yet simple – steal the show with a jaw dropping look. Whether it’s a gorgeous skirt, bright color in front of a stark back drop, or a casual look on a fall day – don’t skimp on the wardrobe! Also ladies, don’t forget about your significant other and making sure they step up to the plate and match your look.  Just remember, wear what you’re comfortable in, and true to you both as a couple!

Location.  Beach? Forest? City-scape?  Your favorite diner? With the help of your photographer scope out your spots, and see what might work – but have a couple ideas in mind.  Working to get multiple locations in one day? Make sure they’re close, and again chat with your photographer too see what might be possible. Don’t forget that some of the simplest locations will result in the most stunning pictures.

Time of Day.  We wanted some beach photos, and our photographer recommended sunrise photos instead of sunset.  Although we had to get up super early, the sky was perfect, no one was around and we were able to capture some gorgeous shots.  Evening photos could get tough and might need lighting to be involved, which could be a bit more costly, and some locations might not allow photography, so be sure to ask ahead of time if you photographer doesn’t!

Photographer. Finding the right photographer that has a portfolio inline with your vibe is important! But don’t forget about working within your budget – since you still have to save up for the big day! Although, this is a good test run to see how you’ll work with them on your actual wedding day.  Some photographers might also offer a package for engagement & wedding day, so be sure to ask!

For B and I, it was a little awkward at first, posing, kissing, and trying to look longingly at each other.  But once we got warmed up, we started to get the hang of it and have a little more fun.  Also have fun with props (balloons, your pup, fresh flowers) and don’t over think it – but also talk with your photographer and be sure to share your vision and even a few examples from your Pinterest board to show some different angles or inspiration!

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Missed Out? Or planning your wedding? Check these out:  Our Engagement Photos Tips for Creating your Wedding Registry How to Plan your Honeymoon Our Wedding Sneak Peak

 

Image Sources: Black & White Close-up Blue Tulle Skirt White Dress Kiss Forest  Hands & City

Latest Obsession 07.18 – Fashion Ed.

This summer has been HOT! So lately I’ve been trying to find outfits that are not only cute and fashionable, but are easy with the heat.  So I’ve been leaning on a few staples to help me stay inspired through this hot hot heat, and these are my latest obsessions!
Latest Obsessions 07.18 - bee life blogClassic Neutrals.  Jean shorts have been my go-to weekend outfit, because you really can’t go wrong with a pair of these and a neutral tank or tee. Whether you’re dressing these down for a more causal day, at the ball game or running errands, or dressing this up with a sexy tank or fun top for date night, jean shorts are a perfect staple for casual or cute!

Mixed Prints.  Whether it’s polka dots and stripes, or a floral print with a pin-stripe – I’m loving mixing patterns up to pull off a fun statement. This also gives a bit more variety of options in your closet for switching up your looks if you have multiple outfits throughout the day!

Lots of Dresses.  Because who wants to wear pants when it’s 90+ degrees!? Not me.  So my dresses are being fully cycled through, even needed to dig into a few dressier options for day looks. For my dressier dresses, I’ll usually grab a denim jacket to help dress down for a day at the office.  And some of my more casual dresses I’ll mix with a fun statement necklace or wedges.

Kimonos for Summer.  Kimonos were one of my fall obsessions and they’re carrying on into the summer months. I love wearing one over a plain dress or paired with my classic neutrals, the fun patterns lend endless options! Plus they’re easy to go from picnic to pool with a singular look to navigate through the day over a one-piece and jean shorts.

What are you favorite summer trends? Comment below!

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Image Sources linked above. 

 

3 Tips for Hosting a Summer Dinner Party

With a little over a year with our back patio, we made it a point to have both dining and relaxin space – making it the perfect spot for a classic dinner with family and close friends.  We hosted, the first of many dinners on the patio and it was the perfect combination of all the things that make a dinner party great a classic and easy menu, a stunning table setting and awesome company.

My favorite part about hosting a party or dinner is the planning that goes into it and the opportunity to make a special memory for our guests, while also having a fantastic meal and great company.  It’s about making the night special from all the other dinners we have every other night and giving the people you care about a little extra love.
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I’ve realized that hosting a dinner or party for some may seem super daunting and overwhelming, but focusing on these three things helps keep it simple while also allowing you to enjoy the night as well!

The Menu. We kept the menu simple, healthy and refreshing for a warm summer day.  We opted for chicken and steak kabobs mixed with mushrooms, peppers and onions.  We had a fresh mixed greens salad with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes (cheese on the side for us non-dairy folk) and a fresh fruit salad with blueberries and strawberries.  When it comes down to it, there are just a few staples that just can’t be beat – not to mention we had plenty of kabobs that we were all stuffed!

The Setting. I had fun dressing up our not so glamorous outdoor table with placemats and neutrals. I used a variety of outdoor friend pieces like the plastic salad plates and glasses from Opalhouse while bringing out some nicer Kate Spade serving dishes and fabric napkins.  The neutral base let the table be the center of attention with it’s bright colors and inviting feel with the mix of patterns.  Pro Tip: dress your table and prep as much food as possible before your guest arrive so you’re able to enjoy their company and a cocktail!

The Company.  Although I love large parties, sometimes it’s better to keep things small – so we had my parents and B’s parents up. It was the perfect mix of company and conversation was able to be had with everyone vs. side conversations or too much noise, especially if this is your first major dinner party – keep it small and low key so the impress isn’t stressing you out.

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The best thing about hosting is that you’re able to call the shots! From the menu, to the vibe you can set the tone for the evening – but it’s always important to make sure your guests are taken care of first and feel welcomed!

Cheers!

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