Weekend Recap – A Christmas Story Run

This past weekend was full of festive activities to kickoff the first weekend of December!  Our Saturday started with a trip downtown with the extended family for the A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k.  With it’s sixth year in, this has always been on our wish list of races to-do, but never seems to workout, we finally signed up so we could partake in the little tradition that our extended family has been doing the last few years!
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With following along with the tradition came evil elf hats from the movie and walking the length of the 5k… which for B and I wasn’t ideal, but we wanted to partake in the all the fun and experience!  On top of walking that meant, stopping to take pictures at the mile markers, Cleveland sign and seeing everyone’s costumes!  We finally made it to the house, which by the time we’d gotten there from walking, it was madness in the little A Christmas Story village in Tremont.  So we shuffled past the house with the crowd. B and I ended up getting our run in, while the rest of the family waited for a bus to get back downtown – we decided to run back to complete the circle and get our actual 5k run in!

After taking some photos in  picturesque downtown CLE – we did a little shopping before stopping at our go-to post race spot, Brewnuts for A Christmas Story themed donuts to go and then grabbed brunch at XYZ Tavern in Gordon Square!  It was a fun little adventure with the family, while feeling a little silly in our hats (because they had to be worn everywhere) – but it was all in good fun and a great way to kickoff the holiday season.

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Travel: Guide to Palm Spring’s Aerial Tram

One tip we received during our honeymoon was to do the Palm Spring’s Aerial Tram.  Unfortunately, by the time we found out about it, tickets were sold out and we were SOL.  So this time we planned ahead and made sure it was on our trip itinerary.  So if you’re visiting Palm Springs, this is definitely a fun adventure to spend a few hours doing and make sure its a successful experience with these tips!

  1.  Buy Tickets Early! Not only will this guarantee you a day/time to visit and experience the tram, but you’ll basically skip the line when it’s your trip time.  Tickets range from $26 for adults to $17 for children.
  2. Plan for 20-30 extra minutes for Arrival.  We definitely cut it a little close with our arrival time and ticket time.  First, because our GPS took us on a wild adventure to the wrong address, second – there are different level parking lots depending on the time of day and how busy it is, you might be farther away – so get ready to hike up a hill or wait for the bus to come pick you up!  Also there is a $6-8 parking fee.
  3. Consider Planning Your Trip Around A Meal.  This would be a way to fully experience everything the mountain station has to offer.  From a casual cafe, full bar, or the Pine’s more upscale restaurant, this already memorable trip could be topped off with a delicious meal and endless desert views.
  4. Dress in Layers.  At an elevation of 8,516 ft. it is definitely cooler on top of the mountain than the base – so depending on when you go plan accordingly.  When we visited it was in the 70’s at the base and in the 40’s at the top!
  5. Consider Hiking.  If you’re in for more adventure and activity verses a sit-down meal, there are over 50-miles of hiking trails to take advantage of, so dress and pack appropriately for an afternoon of hiking!

IMG_2469Honestly, I totally underestimated what this experience would be like – from being on multiple trams in the Teton Mountains, the mountains surrounding the desert cities although beautiful are smaller in comparison, or at least that is what I thought!  The quick 10-minute tram ride, is a stunner and fairly intense with steep inclines running 2.5 miles and climbing 5,873 from the Valley Station to the Mountain Station.  It was an incredible ride up and took us out of the desert for the time we experienced the aerial tram!

Learn more about the tram here!

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Travel: Palm Springs Eats

We celebrated our one year anniversary with a little trip back to Palm Springs/Palm Desert California.  What better time to head out west when the temperatures are dipping below 30-degrees and snow flurries are becoming a regular occurrence?  After getting our feet wet a little last year on our honeymoon – we definitely knew of a few spots we wanted to go back too and then a handful of spots yet to explore – and a few we had on our list from watching Desert Flippers on HGTV.

Our Brunch Spot.  From meatloaf with an egg on top, biscuits and gravy, french toast or a tradition eggs with bacon, everything is beyond delicious at Wilma & Frieda’s.  A MUST-HAVE is their biscuits, they fall apart and melt in your mouth, plus are served with a fruit jam that just puts it over the top.

Because It’s Just So Good.  I could’ve had In & Out burgers everyday, the double cheeseburger is the only way to go.  Plus the first bite needs to be documented at all accounts – plus with a side of animal style fries, yum, yum, yum! Whether you’re getting this go to or dining in the experience of an old-school diner topped with a delicious meal is a west-coast must.

The Perfect Drink + Dinner Combo.  One of our favorite nights was spent with family friends who live in the desert year round.  We told them to pick the spots and we would come along for the ride!  We started with drinks at the bar at Lulu Bistro (which we also brunched at) to get the evening started with a fun atmosphere and music.  From there we popped over to Tropicale and had the perfect seats out on their patio, which is a must when you dine in there! We ordered a number of small plates, continued to drink, laugh and just sampled a variety of dishes – the calamari was by far one of the best things we had!

A few other honorable mentions that are must visits throughout the greater Palm Springs and Palm Desert area are AC3 at Hotel Paseo – the service, food and atmosphere was incredible it was a good pick.  Spencers was another brunch spot, but came highly recommended as a favorite dinner spot from our desert dwelling friends – the patio again was magical with trees growing up right up into the sky.

We had a great time eating our way through our trip -one night we even grabbed sushi at a Japanese Steakhouse because we were craving it for our actual anniversary dinner!  It was so good, although we didn’t put the Steakhouse name and idea together until we sat down. Every spot we went had a fun yet welcoming atmosphere with bright colors and warm faces – not to mention most of the patios had heaters too, so it was perfect for morning breakfast or late night dinners!

The sad part and good part is there are so many other, trendy, delicious spots that we haven’t even visited yet! The good news is we’ll also have new places to try while still being able to head back to our favorites.  What’s your favorite desert dining spot?

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Wednesday Reminders – Grateful

On the eve of Thanksgiving, it’s time to take a moment before all the crazy starts tomorrow and really reflect and remember what we’re truly grateful for.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m grateful for the wonderful people in my life.  My family, my friends, our neighbors and my coworkers — we are lucky to have so many thoughtful and caring people in our lives that we can call family.

We have been blessed with such a wonderful life and that in part has been because of the fabulous people in our lives and the opportunities they’ve provided for us to get to where we are today.  I hope you all have a blessed, happy and stress free Thanksgiving and remember to squeeze your friends and family a little tighter this year!

xox.

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Cheers to One Year!

Yesterday was B and I’s official one year wedding anniversary.  It’s amazing that it’s been one year, sometimes it feels like our wedding was just yesterday and sometimes it feels like it’s been years! I was looking back at my wedding final update on The Bee Life, and it was fun to read the 6-things I was looking forward to the most.  As a refresher, here they are along with some fun memories for each.

  • Seeing the reception venue all set-up and all the tables put together – it has all been a vision in my head for well over a year… and I can’t wait to see it all put together. This was one of my most favorite parts, luckily we were able to get in on Friday to get stuff set up before the big day – the venue was everything we dreamed it would be and more, completely obsessed.
  • Walking down the aisle to B and seeing him all done up in his suit! This was a surreal moment, I was trying so hard not to cry – which I was successful keeping it together.  This part was such a blur! But seeing videos of this, I was sprinting down the aisle, ha!, probably so I wouldn’t cry.  Recap: Our Ceremony
  • My Father/Daughter dance – it’s going to be a tear jerker but that’s all I’m saying. I loved this moment and it definitely got a lot of guests teared up.  We danced to A Whole New World from Aladdin, which happened to be the same song my dad and I danced too when I was about three – and we had that video playing in the background as we danced to it again!
  • Dancing the night away with B, our family and friends.  So. much. fun.
  • Eating MY wedding cake and drinking champagne! Our cake was so delicious and I didn’t drink nearly enough champagne!!
  • Finally being B’s wife! The best part.

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If you missed all our wedding fun, catch-up on some old posts; Girls getting ready and the groom getting ready pre-wedding.  And check out the links above for the Venue and Ceremony!! Our wedding was pretty perfect, and our first year of marriage has been a nice coast through and happy to have all the wedding festivities behind us!

Cheers!

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Here are some helpful wedding planning posts if you’re getting ready for the big day! Creating Your Sweetheart Table, Planning Your Honeymoon, Tips for Creating Your Wedding Registry, 8 Wedding RSVPs You Won’t be Expecting, and Tips for Swoon Worthy Engagement Pictures.

Bee Holiday Hacks – Christmas Cards

With the holidays quickly approaching, I wanted to share one of my holiday hacks for Christmas cards!  I love creating and sending Christmas cards, and usually like to get a head start on these – but I really got a jump start on this year and also wanted to share some other ways I like to share the Christmas spirit in a thoughtful and personal way, so you can too!
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Plan Ahead.  Christmas cards can sneak up on you, so try to plan ahead whether it’s booking a portrait session with your honey or family at the end of Summer or early fall, or it’s getting ahead and ordering small batches of cards as you can.

Take Advantage of Freebies! 
I love Shutterfly – and luckily because I have the app and get notifications I can pick and choose which promos I want to take advantage of.  Shutterfly and Tinyprints were having 10-free cards throughout the month of October which can save you a ton of money when you’re only paying a few dollars for shipping!  You can also do this for address labels – I was buying Christmas patterns in the Summer!

Mix It Up.  Don’t be afraid to mix-up your Christmas cards.  Sometimes I can’t decide on which style, color or pattern I like – so I order multiple versions!  This is also a great way to use multiple photos for a gallery or one for more of a statement.  It’s also OK to not send photo-cards to everyone on your list, buy some fun Christmas cards to mix into your group, that way you won’t be breaking the bank!

Glam Your Envelopes.  Don’t be afraid to pick a colored envelope or add in a paper insert.  These can be fun surprises to recipients and pull the entire look of the cards together.  Also, if you use a darker envelop color it can be a fun way to write in gold when addressing your envelopes!

Personalize It.  Beyond sharing vacation pictures or memories throughout the year with friends and family that you might not see often, I always like to at least write our names or a little note on the back of the cards. Sadly, Christmas cards can easily be impersonal with the easy ability of printing/typing whatever you want to say!  So try and find ways to personalize it so you’re friends and family don’t feel like an after thought, or you just stuffed a card into an envelope.

Holiday Hacks - Cards - bee lifeIf you’re going the photo-card route, these can add up quick, so find ways to either use a promo code or take advantage of those promotions to get some free holiday cards!  Don’t be afraid to mix-up your styles or photos, my one go-to design pick is always trying to mix in some plaid and having a picture of Moz or two.  One last hack is making sure to purchase Christmas stamps in mid-November, AKA now, so that you can get the cute designs before they run out!

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Shop My Cards: Merry Colorful Holiday Card from Tinyprints | Diagonal Wishes Holiday Card from Tinyprints | Gradient Scripted Merry Christmas Card from Shutterfly | Cheerful Foliage Christmas Card from Shutterfly

Latest Obsessions 11.18

It’s November, the month that is quickly becoming one of my favorites for a variety of reasons, from our house anniversary, wedding anniversary, the official kickoff of the holidays and so much more!  And since the holidays are quickly approaching, I can’t help but obsess over the latest holiday trends and getting our house Christmas-ready!
Latest Obsessions 11.18 - the bee lifeSpoiler! I’m switching up our Christmas decor this year, typically red and gold, we are going to be having a green Christmas in this household!  I’ve already started planning and taking advantage of pre-holidays sales and coupons, and before all the good pieces get snatched up!  I’m so excited to share some mini-house tours in the coming weeks… but this leads to my latest obsessions for our Green Christmas decor.

New Ornaments. One of the items I had to bite the bullet on for planning ahead for our Green Christmas, was ornaments!  I’ve always decorated the tree with a variety of red glass ornaments and gold accents, but bit the bullet and stocked up on green bulbs that of course were on sale!

H&M Pillows.  Yessss…. I’m STILL obsessed with H&M pillow covers!  They’re such an easy way to update a space for whatever season, holiday or mood you’re in and I feel like pillow cases really pull together the entire space of everyday living with holiday decor.  So incase you couldn’t guess – green pillow cases will be purchased!

Evergreen Trees.  I want mini tree’s everywhere from glass trees in green and gold to bottle brush trees, to tall alpine trees sprinkled throughout the house – I love the idea of incorporating trees throughout the mantle, dining room centerpiece and bay windows.

So yes, I’ve been busy obsessing and planning for our green holiday decor —  I can’t wait to decorate but going to hold off until after the Thanksgiving holiday!  What Christmas decor trends have you obsessed this season?

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Image Sources: Green Christmas Mantle | Dining Decor | White Stockings | H&M Pillowcases 

Local Love: Brewnuts

One of our favorite local spots is a donut shop with a bar!  Brewnuts was a much anticipated donut shop that teased locals with gorgeous gourmet donuts on their amazing instagram, custom orders and limited releases until opening their shop late summer of 2017, which has been a favorite since – especially with their colorful and trendy decor.

Brewnuts has a weekly rotating menu of unique, classic and seasonal flavors paired with fun events throughout the year around movie releases (like Jurassic Park), latest trends (Harry Potter day), holidays (Friendsgiving) and Cleveland centric sporting events.  In addition to cool events and tasty donuts, you can get great local beers which are also often times included in the donut recipes themselves! Whether you just want one donut or are going for a half dozen (which I highly recommend doing) you can’t go wrong, with impressive flavor line-ups it’s hard choosing just one!

A few of my favorite donuts to date include; the Animal Cracker Fry Cake (heavenly), their signature Strawberry Sprinkle and Maple Bacon and Vegan Cookie dough.  Lately when we stop in, in addition to grabbing a dozen donuts I’ve been ordering a mimosas and B usually grabs a beer or Bloody Mary, yum!! The best part is if you can’t stick around, the donuts taste just as good at home as they do at the shop.  In addition to having an awesome menu at their brick and mortar location, Brewnuts also does custom letter orders or private events like weddings – and they have gold glittery donuts… *swoon*

If you’re ever in town, have friends visiting, or simply just because, this is an awesome spot to try something different and fun and support a local Cleveland business. The donuts are big enough to share, but also not too big to finish one yourself! Brewnuts is our new go-to post-race spot and is the perfect spot for a little celebration.  Be sure to check out Brewnuts on instagram so you can swoon over their donuts and get the latest scoop on upcoming events and menu updates!

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Fitness Friday 11.18

It’s that time of the year, the  gatherings, dinners, the holidays are creeping in quick!  If you’re like me and go to THREE different Thanksgivings within a four day period, you can quickly kiss away all your fitness progress, that’s if you decide to indulge in each and every one, not to mention all the booze!
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So in order to maintain and not gain this holiday season, here are some easy tips to remember and still enjoy the holiday meals and get togethers.

(1) Get that Workout In! This is one of the most important ones and will help you keep your sanity – the best bet to insure you check this off the list is getting it done early.  Just because you have a few days off doesn’t mean you should forget your normal workout schedule, plus once festivities start and the first mimosas is poured you won’t be too motivated to workout!  If you’re traveling to visit family, hit up your cousin who spins or goes to the gym and go to a drop-in class with them.

(2) Smarter Alcohol Choices. Tis the season for holiday brews… and yes they’re delicious but they’re packed with calories and carbs – one of our local favorite Christmas Ale’s has 200 calories in a 12oz. bottle and 20 carbs! Ah!! Try not to drink your calories and carbs and check out the Keto Alcohol rulesI like to follow, stay away from beer, opt in for those bubbles! Red wine is also a good choice or pure spirits, but be sure to avoid those sugary mixtures.

(3) Don’t Go For Seconds. Don’t do it!! This is where all bets are off, and no good will come of it.  In addition to refusing seconds, limit your portions – when you’re heaping that stuffing onto your plate use the rule of thumb to make sure you see the bottom of your plate!

(4) Stay Hydrated. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, it helps flush out toxins and even can help if you’re planning to indulge in the adult beverages.  This is also easy to forget if you’re traveling and driving to multiple houses throughout the day making the rounds – pack a water bottle ahead of time and keep it in the car!

(5) Eat Breakfast. Make sure you eat a good breakfast and other meals throughout the day before your big meal – I think it’s human nature to try not to eat so much during the day knowing you’ll be indulging later in the evening, but this can lead to going up for seconds and binging.  By eating healthy throughout the day you’ll be more full and less likely to over do it at your holiday meals!

At the end of the day you’ll enjoy the holidays as you want, but after Thanksgiving starts the endless holiday gatherings, pretty soon we’ll be making New Year resolutions – so remember, it’s OK to NOT over indulge in the holidays, just maintain balance, because you don’t want your New Year’s Resolution to be the same as the year before!

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Catch-up on past Fitness Friday’s: Physical vs. Mental Battle | Accountability and Food | Maintaining Balance