House Tour – Front Landscape

We are feeling pretty accomplished after finally crossing off a house project we’ve had on the list for just about 4-years, our front landscape!  Although, like all house projects it ended up being a bit pricer than we initially expected – it was totally worth it.

When we first moved into the house, there were two over grown/random scrubs that didn’t do much from an aesthetic perspective – so we tore those out pretty quickly after we moved in, leaving us with a blank slate to dream about.  We made some improvements over the years, like updating the front lattice, adding in some perennials and a couple annuals that stuck around, we tried to dress up the empty dirty with mums and ferns as the seasons changed so it wasn’t completely bare, but alas it was still a blank slate that needed some love.
House Tour - Front Landscape - bee life blog
This project seemed daunting especially from a plant perspective, we didn’t want to pay for a landscaper and had a few ideas about what plants/bushes to incorporate, it was really just filling in all of the holes.  So one day, B and I went to three different nurseries and read tags, looked at plants and started to narrow down our options and took pictures, while we also price compared.  From there we ordered 5-yards of dirt to build up the area, it seemed like too much, but somehow we managed to spread it throughout.  And then we went and bought our plants;

(1) Little Lime Hydrangea
(2) Sorbet Peonies
(4) Boxwood Winter Gem
(3) Fern Line: Fern Leaf Buckthorn
(2) Maiden Grasses
(1) Coneflower – Cheyenne Spirit
(1) Lavender plant (already had)
(1) Butterfly bush (already had)

We spread the love with our plants purchases between some locals shops like Petitti’s Garden Center and Gale’s Garden Center. So once we bought all the plants, worked through placement, we got to planting!  Before we mulched, we built the stone wall to help divide the grass and landscape (this was a compromise of the project with B and I!) – he wanted one, I didn’t – the stones I wanted to compromise with were wayyy to much so we found some at Lowes that ended up working out. From there we ordered 3-yards of mulch (via Kurtz Bros!), which was more than enough, giving us a good base and finished look.
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The house feels a little more complete with the front landscape done, we are so happy to get it done and with the way everything turned out.  We also took our time working through this project (clearly!) but I think that helped to our benefit because we weren’t stressed about it and were able to take advantage of some cool summer days/nights to get everything done.   We can’t wait to see how it fills in and welcomes visitors to our home!

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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. 

 

Fitness Friday 07.18

I’m not sure about you guys, but the 4th of July holiday really whooped my butt! With it being on a Wednesday, I regrettably didn’t take any time off directly before or after – I figured a holiday in the middle of the week would be no biggie, if anything a nice way to break up the week.  Well it definitely broke up the week and then derailed it completely – day drinking on a warm summer day, leading to a Thursday night happy hour with family, only to still have one day of work to wrap up.  The food, fun, friends and family continued through what seemed like a 5-day weekend (with some work thrown in) and I was not only exhausted, but feeling super unhealthy after over indulging on delicious cocktails and tasty eats the entire time!! Ick!!
Fitness Friday 07.18 - the bee life
This past week was a rough start, but also a time to reset, recharged and get back into a healthy routine of balance.  I told B, Sunday afternoon we were going to be ‘detoxing’ this week – and I think my version of detoxing is probably different than many others and I’ll tell you how.  My detox isn’t a juice cleanse, it isn’t eating celery sticks for 4-straight days, it’s simply cutting out the crap and getting back on track.  No sweets, no alcohol, no chips/snacks, no candy and low-to-no carbs.  My detox is making healthy choices, picking veggies over chips, salads over cookies, and no bagels/bread/rice/heavy carbs.

For me, when I know the balance has been lost, it’s better for me to be a bit tougher on myself, keeping myself accountable than letting a few more things slip through the cracks.  I maintain plenty of that balance – but it’s getting back into the mental state of making those smart choices and saying ‘no’ to the ones we often want to say ‘yes’ too.

I fought many temptations at the office this week and stuck to my guns when it came back to getting back into my balance, waking up and running or getting to the gym and then maintaining those healthy food choices (cheated with some bubbles one night!) throughout the day of what I put in my body.  How do you get back on track? Have questions, or need help – leave a comment below!

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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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DIY – Upcycle Skinny Dresser

You guys, I’ve been so excited to share this DIY with you all.  We first picked up this piece in the winter on a curb, it was calling my name – although banged up with multiple broken drawers, I saw the potential.  I didn’t even have a space for it at first, but I just needed to take it and make it over – and I wanted to pull out the stops to make this a show stopper.

First we had to assess the situation, three of the six drawers were busted up, one significantly cut that needed a little extra TLC (still a work in progress).  With a little bit of wood glue and updating, B helped put these back to life.  The old handles really dated this piece, so we removed those and got to work sanding down the surfaces.  Surprise, surprise we went with an off white color that we had from the house and painted this piece instead of spray painting, which is usually my go-to.  Painting was surprisingly really easy, and covered the piece well with only a couple of coats needed.
DIY -- Upcycle Skinny Dresser - the bee life
Let’s talk finishing touches. I wanted to splurge a bit on the finishes and was really hoping to indulge in some hardware from Anthropologie, as mentioned in my Latest Obsessions.  But I didn’t want to order them online, the store near me was SUPER picked over and I couldn’t talk myself into spending $8 or $10 per knob, when I needed six!  So I stopped at Pat Catans on a whim, and found some knobs I kind of liked ($2.99 each) – the first knobs I bought didn’t do much on the drawers, they were small – I need something more… bold. I went back and traded the pink blah knobs for these chunky stunning silver ones.  These still might get switched out one day…

Inside of the drawers was another place I wanted to find something a bit more fun and fancy.  Just as I was about to compromise on some typical contact paper from Target, I ended up getting distracted, swooning over some Opalhouse when too my surprise noticed the wallpaper was 50% off! Light bulb! I put down the gross contact paper and bought this elegant peel and stick wallpaper! For $15, I was leaving with my show stopping piece I wanted to help finish off this piece – not to mention the peel and stick was super easy to work with and customize per drawer.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Knobs: $18
  • Stick Wallpaper: $15 (on sale)
  • Paint: $0 (already had it)
  • Sandpaper: $5
  • TOTAL COST: $38

We have this piece in our dining room for now, and aired out a few other pieces to make this work.  Worst case I will put it in my walk in closet and use it to organize my clothes (bummer!)  But it was a fun piece to update and bring back some new life too.  The drawers still aren’t perfect – but you’d never know!

#EmnBWed – The Ceremony

I hope you’re not sick of my wedding pictures yet?!  If you’ve missed out on these beauties, check out our first sneak peak, the girls getting ready, my handsome groom and our stunning venue. And now, I leave you with the main event – the actual ceremony and the last of wedding photo posts for a bit!

We had a traditional, full service mass for our wedding vows, something that was important to the both of us.  We also put a lot of thought into the readings we chose, and who we asked to be involved in the ceremony. Most of it was a blur but we had a few good laughs with the sweet homily from our priest and then a little moment during our vows that will always be sweet memory.  My main goal was not to cry walking down the aisle, because I’m a Kim K. cryer, but I kept it together and only got a little teary eyed.
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Since it was a tsunami of rain our entire wedding day, our exit from the church had to be adjusted – I had hand cut and made over a hundred ribbon wands and they weren’t going to waste! So we had a quick brainstorm while we were held up in the bridal suite to hand them out to guests ahead of time and asked everyone to wave them as we walked down the aisle – it worked out pretty great, and the best part was B had no idea so he was completely surprised!

What I love the most about these photos is they share the true emotions of happiness and love that we all felt that day, it was an unbelievable feeling that won’t be able to be duplicated.

Planning your big day? Here are some helpful posts; Wedding Registry Guide | Choosing a Florist | Tips for Planning Your Honeymoon | How to Create Your Sweetheart Table 

Photography by: Timothy Logan Photography 

Weekend Recap – Simple Fun

Sometimes the best weekends are the simplest weekends and consist of great friends and family and that was exactly our weekend!  With a road trip home to visit the fam we were automatically in for a good one.

Friday night we kicked off the weekend with a long overdue visit to see my forever bestie Kates and her hubs Travis.  We kept it simple with local pizza, salad and chicken wings… oh and bubbles, of course.  There was plenty of catching up to do with lots of belly laughs, it was a much needed visit. We also got to meet their newest addition to the family, their 6-month old puppy, Oscar, he’s a ball of energy and so darn cute.
Weekend Recap - 6.17 the bee life
Saturday we helped my parents out with some things around the house – my dad has been recovering from ACL surgery so he hasn’t been able to do everything he is used to doing!  We then went out for a later lunch and enjoyed the beautiful day along one of the finger lakes – the scenery and company was great but the food and beverages (sadly) were mediocre, but it was still nice to try someplace new while soaking up the sunshine.  From there we just enjoyed each other’s company catching up at the house and having a cookout!  Sunday of course consisted of a Father’s Day brunch, bloody’s and a few other things around the house with the rents before we hit the road.

These weekends always seem to fly by, and there never seems like enough time to catch up with everyone but it’s also that much more special for us to soak it all in and enjoy our time with everyone!

Fitness Friday 06.18

Happy Friday! We’re halfway through the year… what?!  And I’m going to ask that annoying question that you may have been avoiding… how are you doing meeting your personal healthy and fitness goals so far?

I did some reflecting on my FF post from last June – and it started about the same way as this one, and too my surprise the rest of it was going to follow suit. I was just about to get ready to gear up for a half marathon.  And ironically, B and I just signed up for a half in a little less than 2-months – just spur of the moment decision on a Friday night.
Fitness Friday 06.18 - the bee life
The half we ran in September was really rough for me, but yet here we are again, giving it another shot. So I’d be a fool if I said this half was going to be a walk in the park, I’ve run enough races to know that all the training in the world isn’t going to help you kill a race, but also no training doesn’t help you either!  So my plan of attack for this half is simple:

  1. Continue my cross training classes
  2. Get in at least one 3-4 mile run each week until the race
  3. Go on 3-longer runs (6, 8, 10-miles)
  4. Don’t stress about it

I’m not out to beat any PRs, I just like the mental challenge as much as the physical challenge… and that feeling once you’ve accomplished both of those things after crossing the finish line is true euphoria.  Signing up for these longer races has always kept B and I motivated and running – it was the one thing that first things that connected us and that we’ve always enjoyed doing together!

Happy Training!

 

Catch up on past Fitness Friday’s;  March | April | May 

Chocolate Covered Bananas – The Recipe

I shared this recipe back with a few other dairy free desserts, and I finally got around to creating this delicious treat and it was SO EASY! Not only was it easy (took 10-minutes for prep and assembly) but it was affordable with a ballpark total of $10. You can really wow guests or impress your sig-o with this delicious yet healthy treat, plus it looks like it would be super time intensive.  Ok, now on to the good stuff…
Choc Covered Bananas - the recipe - the bee life
What You’ll Need:
– Banana’s (however many you’d like) – you don’t want them too ripe
– Baker’s Dark Chocolate (one pack covered 3-bananas for me)
– Pistachios; I bought pre-pealed for convenience!
– Sea Salt
– Tooth picks, foil and cookie tray
Choc Covered Bananas steps - the bee life
Step-by-Step:
1. Prep! Cover a cookie tray with foil, un-peel and stick the ends of bananas like corn on the cob with the tooth picks, this makes it easier to grab for chocolate covering. (I had used kabob sticks and put them a bit too far into the banana, it wasn’t ideal for serving!) Next, prep your pistachios by crushing them with a rolling pin in a zip lock baggy, you probably only need a handful or two.  Finally, follow the instructions on the chocolate to heat up in the microwave until it’s nice and melted.
2. Once your chocolate is melted, start pouring chocolate with a spoon your bananas on the foil tray, make sure they’re nice & covered!
3. Top off with crushed pistachios and sprinkle with sea salt.
4. Throw in freezer for an hour or so. Make sure you thaw a bit before serving, slice up and enjoy!

This is the perfect summer treat with the right mix of salty and sweet!  It’s easy enough to whip up for those last minute gatherings or just to satisfy a mid-week sweet tooth!