Why I Finally Decided To Change My Last Name

Confession time:  I wasn’t planning on changing my last name once B and I tied the knot – in fact I was pretty adamant about not changing it.  Everyone always asked me, “Well what does B think about it?” … and at first he didn’t love the idea, but as we talked about it over time he grew to understand my perspective and was accepting of the idea.  And no matter what people’s responses were to me saying I wasn’t going to change my name – because people definitely had opposing opinions – I knew that B and I were on the same page and that was all that mattered. In fact,  we actually joked more about B changing his last name instead of me changing mine.
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Now, it’s only fair of me to not share ALL my reasons of why I didn’t want to change my name – and those closest to me know. And if someone asked and REALLY wanted to know, sure I’d tell them, but I’m not going to just offer it up. *tongue out emoji*

But onto the good stuff about WHY I decided to change my name and HOW I shared the news with B. The reason why might sound really really stupid or even a little silly… but I wanted people to know that B and I were married.  Sure, most people knew, we both wear rings – but there were little moments in everyday life, that made me pause and have to explain, “No my husband’s last name is Wildebeest.”  I also felt that the whole point of being married is being one with each other as a union and in those little moments it didn’t seem that way at all.

So, as these little moments in life continued to happen over the course of our first year of marriage, I began throwing around the idea of changing my name – first to friends and then worked on convincing my stubborn self.  The first anniversary gift is paper, what better gift to give B than surprise him with my new social security card with my new name on it? … as the year went on, I continued to pitch myself on the change while those little moments continued to happen and build the case.  Plus, I knew B would be psyched, deep down happy, and not expecting it at all.
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Needless to say, I was a little nervous when I finally told B for our anniversary, because he’d gotten so OK with me NOT changing my name – that I wasn’t sure if he would really care anymore.  But he was so excited about it and not to mention completely shocked (and in a bit of disbelief)!

Final confession.  It’s still a bit of a struggle for me, I fought against conforming for so long and have a deep love for my maiden name that it hurts my heart a little – dramatic? Maybe, but I know that in time the change won’t even phase me, and that I’ll always be EB deep down.

To help with my name switch I enlisted HitchSwitch they provided detailed check-lists and pre-filled paper work to make the transitions easy while helping me feel not so lost navigating all the different updates! I still have a few updates to make, but all the major ones are checked off the list. ❤

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Beach Portrait Session Photo Credit: Marina Claire & Co.
Wedding & Engagement Photo Credit: Timothy Logan Photography

6 Pieces To Expand Your Wardrobe for under $30

Who doesn’t love a good accessory? As the seasons shift and the days get cooler, layering and switching up options for versatility is always a goal for me.  I like having outfits that work daytime and can easily be updated for an evening look for those week after work happy hours or last minute date nights.  The best part is you don’t have to spend a fortune to expand your wardrobe options!  Here are a few key pieces I always like to add to my wardrobe to help switch up looks – plus I’ve found pieces that are under $30 to help you expand your wardrobe too!Expand Wardrobe - bee life(1) More Scarves, Please!  Expanding your scarf collection with patterned and neutral scarves can expand your wardrobe options dramatically.  If you’re working with a  patterned scarf, like this Leopard Print Scarf from Gap  – you can stick to a neutral color palette as your base canvas versus a neutral scarf with a patterned dress or sweater.  Scarfs can also help you transition summer pieces into fall!

(2) Classic Booties. And buy multiple colors! Once you find a good classic pair of booties, stock up! You will quickly find that you’ll be switching these in and out all season long.  A great pair of booties can go with a variety of looks from a dress to jeans, plus they keep your tootsies warm!  Check out these booties from TJMaxx that come in both camel and black… and yes they’re under $30.

(3) Statement Necklace.  A statement necklace can change a whole look taking it from basic to glam.  I love taking a more casual look and adding a necklace making it feel more complete and ready to take on the day.  This is also another easy way to transition an outfit from daytime (no necklace) to nighttime (necklace!)  Pro-tip: Stock up with sales, like this sale at New York & Company happening right now!

(4) A Nude Handbag (or four). You should probably have like four nude handbags in different styles from over the shoulder, to a structured tote, to a work bag.  A nude bag can help make a statement when paired with fun colors, and is also professional for the work week! Aldo has a handful of nude stunners on sale, for under $30.

(5) A Neutral Jean Jacket. For under $30?! Hell yeah! The key is finding one that is classic and neutral both in colors and embellishments like this Jean Jacket from Target.  With the right jacket your wardrobe can be styled from casual to evening and from summer to fall.  Pro-tip: if you plan to layer a lot with you jean jacket, consider going up a size, or you may be somewhat limited to your seasons!  I love styling my jean jacket with a fun dress or styling it down with a t-shirt.

(6) Layering Vests.  Adding a few vests to your wardrobe will not only be functional, but will also give you a variety of options for switching out looks for continued versatility.  Having a few key vest types can help whether you’re dressing up a look (like this Vest from Nordstrom Rack) or being more casual on the weekend for a quick trip to the store or a walk with the pup (shop this Puffer Vest from Old Navy)!
6 Pieces Wardrobe - the bee life
Shop the pieces: Leopard Print Scarf from Gap | Vest from Nordstrom RackJean Jacket from Target | Booties from TJMaxx | Structured Tote from Aldo | Statement Necklace from New York & Co.

I am always looking for easy and budget friendly ways to expand my wardrobe while making sure my looks and pieces are functional!  A lot of these may seem like basics, but the key is to expanding and adding to your wardrobe expanding outfit options for all occasions.  Happy Shopping!

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Ten Things – 2018

Three years ago I shared ten things to help my readers get to know a little more about me – it was funny reading it back and looking at how I would answer now. So I thought it was time for an update and another little intro to any new bee readers. So please enjoy these ten things about me, oh and I’ve included my 2015 answers just for fun!
Meet the Bee
1. If money was no object, what’s something you’d buy right now.
2015: My own personal gym.
2018: A vacation or four… maybe a sports car.

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

3. What’s on your nightstand?
2015: Pictures of me and B and my glasses.
2018: Lamp, ring holder, small vase with flowers, coaster & water glass

4. What’s your favorite room in your house?
2015: Our sunroom!
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!)

5. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?
2015: Too many choices…. it’s a toss up between Derek Jeter and Katy Perry
2018: This one is tough, maybe some Bravo reality stars? RHOBH or Vanderpump!

6. Name one thing on your bucket list.
2015: Sky dive with B
2018: Travel to Europe

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

8. Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to…
2015: Ireland & Germany
2018: Lake Como & Greece

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

10. What advice would you give your teen self?
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.
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.

Some of these were tough to answer again! But it’s fun to reflect on these ten things, as life and the world seems to move too fast.  Have a question you want me to answer? Leave a comment below!

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6 Budget Friendly Ways to Upgrade Your Home

We were fortunate enough to find a home that didn’t require a lot of major renovations or immediate upgrades – for us a lot of it was taking out the 40-years of style, giving it a little bit of love with easy cosmetic updates.  And because of that we were able to make a huge impact with these budget friendly upgrades, without breaking the bank which allowed us to splurge on grown-up furniture and help cover those surprise homeowner expenses!
Budget Friendly Upgrades for Your Home - the bee life
So I wanted to share the wealth! Here are a few tips and ways you can upgrade your home without spending a ton of money.

Paint. A gallon of paint can work WONDERS!  We literally painted our entire house, including the ceilings ,and just alone from a paint perspective the house looks like a completely different place.  Another pro tip is working from a similar color palette which can help save costs and create a cohesive flow throughout your home.  Painting with lighter colors or even the ceiling can help make a room look bigger and brighter with just 40-bucks and a little bit of elbow grease.

Light Fixtures & Ceiling Fans. This was a project we worked on updating throughout the house when we first moved it.  Updating old ceilings fans, to something a little more white and modern can help make the space look larger and blend more into the room vs. a bit eye soar.  One of my favorite updates was our dining room chandelier it always gets a ton of comments and looks almost original to the home.

Blinds & Curtains.  We had 1-inch blinds throughout the house when we first moved in and gradually updated all of the blinds to 2-inches.  They look that much more high-end and help with privacy and darkening the room.  Adding in some curtain shears overtop help to add dimension and also makes the room feel cozy and inviting.  You can also help make a statement with a fun patterned curtain in a room that might be more subtle and subdued – just be careful these can sneak up in price especially if you’re shopping for a new curtain rod.

Hardware.  Although this can add up quickly, it doesn’t compare to a whole new kitchen. Updating your hardware or plumbing fixtures can be easy and a more affordable way to make a statement in rooms that need a little extra love.  We updated our faucets in our kitchen and bathroom, and although we’re still waiting for the major reno for both these spaces – it helps!  Adding different knobs in our kitchen helped getting out the old and adding in some new.

Flooring.  Whether it’s ripping up some old dingy carpet to unveil beautiful hard wood floors or buying a nice statement rug for a room – these are other ways to pull the look and feel of your room together and add a more finished look. If you’re shopping right you can usually find a good deal or discount on a rug, too!

Pops of Color.  This can be accomplished with blankets, pillows, photos or a fun tabletop lamp.  Using pops of colors in accent pieces, decor or accent furniture can allow you to update a bit easier if you are ever in need to switch out seasonally or ready for an upgrade.  One of my favorite ways to do this is with H&M’s pillow covers.

It’s easy to want to go all out and make everything perfect when you first move into a new space/home – but it takes time and money!  Hopefully these tips can help you get your home into a better place as you continue to figure out and finish your space.

Questions? Comment below!

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#EmnBWed – The Final Update

In case I have any avid bee readers out there – yes, I’m still getting married, and no, we haven’t gotten married yet! But it’s happening, and it’s happening very soon! I figured I would fill you all in with the latest and greatest, but keeping in bee fashion and not spilling too many deets of the big day.IMG_4765So about a month ago, we hit a few hiccups – and I’m only sharing in case any other brides are reading and have experienced the same thing; and I’m sure many have experienced much worse.  All of the following hit at once; B started a new job, B lost his voice and was diagnosed with a paralyzed vocal cord (still happening, 5-weeks strong), the electric in our garage magically stopped working ($$$), my debit account got hacked and drained my savings account – thank you overdraft, oh and our DJ mentioned he was declaring bankruptcy.   We rallied through most of these and as mentioned, B is still working through the whole paralyzed vocal cord diagnosis, which is pretty crazy, since one day within a few hours he just couldn’t talk. Our awesome and super handy neighbor was able to help us through the garage electrical drama and saved us the money and headaches we would’ve had to manage had we gone the contractor route. And we’re learning to have a little faith with our DJ. But woah, was it a lot, all at once.

So now that hopefully the worse is behind us… here are all the things I’m most excited for, and I think B would probably agree about most after our recent chats.

  • 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.
  • Walking down the aisle to B and seeing him all done up in his suit!
  • My Father/Daughter dance – it’s going to be a tear jerker but that’s all I’m saying.
  • Dancing the night away with B, our family and friends.
  • Eating MY wedding cake and drinking champagne!
  • Finally being B’s wife!

The details have come together quite nicely, there are still a few things to do on the list but nothing crazy it’ll only be a matter of time before I’m straight butterflies, complete ADD, and ready to walk down that aisle to my husband!

Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share all the details and a behind the scenes look on the blog later this month!

Until then! XO!

Photo Credit: Timothy Logan Photography

Fitness Friday no. 14

Fitness Friday is back after a little vacay! Speaking of vacay, that’s the perfect segue into today’s Fitness Friday – workouts on the go.  With summer quickly here, especially now that Memorial Day has come and went, weekends are filling up with vacations, weddings, house work… you name it, and getting workouts in on the weekends, now becomes harder than workouts during the week! So I wanted to share some workouts that can be done pretty much anywhere, with little-to-no equipment needed.  Fitness Friday no 14 - the bee lifeRun – You can run anywhere if you have sneaks and the right clothing. Packing some extra clothes and your running shoes can help you get some key sweat sessions in when you have a moment in the morning or afternoon. When in doubt get your workout done earlier in the day,  waiting might close the window of getting one in!

The Bee’s On-The-Go Workout:

  1. Jumping Jacks/Jump Rope = 3 minutes
    • Again, no equipment needed, even for jumping rope, jumping in place and do the motion with your arms will tire you out not to mention will get your heart rate up
  2. Push-Ups = 5-sets of 10
  3. Squats = 5-sets of 25
    • You can do a variation of squats to jump squats, side squats, wide stance squats or normal squats.
  4. Side Leg Lifts = 3-sets of 15 each leg
  5. Donkey Kick = 5-sets of 25 each leg

You can do this set of exercises 5-times through or stagger them however you like. This will be enough to get your heart rate going, some muscles aching, and the feeling of accomplishment to enjoy your busy weekend of planned festivities!

Suggestion: If you’re on an extended stay or week long vacation and with friends/family, make working out a group activity so that everyone can get involved and help hold each other accountable.  If other’s are involved it’ll also help when planning activities, because everyone will be on the same page!

If you’re staying at a hotel, take advantage of the gym or even the pool and swim some laps before the crowds show up.  Swimming is a full body workout that can be accomplished in between long laying out sessions while you’re working on your tan!

What’re your go-to workouts when you’re on the go?

Wedding Plans – An Update

Now that it’s officially June – I figured I would start sharing and writing a little more about our wedding planning (or lack thereof).  If you remember, I wanted to wait awhile before we started planning since I feel like a lot of couples rush into it, and don’t actually enjoy being engaged or take advantage of it! (I might be taking a little too much advantage of it :])

Venue
Source: Style Me Pretty

So here is the thing I’ve learned with the tiny bit of “planning” aka research I’ve done so far… EVERYTHING IS SO MUCH MONEY.

Period, end of story, done.

But seriously, I truly can’t believe or fathom spending that kind of serious cash on ONE DAY. Granted it’s a day of celebration and the start of a new journey, but it’s just crazy to me, there are SO MANY OTHER THINGS, I would much rather spend that money on. Don’t even ask what, because the list will be endless. I don’t even want my parents to spend that much money on our wedding either – it’s crazy! Unless Donald Trump wants to pay for our wedding, it’s hard to reason it all.

Long story short, there has been no wedding planning, just a lot of chats to try and figure out what sort of direction we want to go in (small, large, or half-half).  We were set on one direction, but the more I started researching and vetting out options, the less interested I’ve become, mainly because it doesn’t seem like it’ll save any money, and would be more involved from planning. So I truly just don’t know what to do. B and I have a few more chats that need to happen, I am thinking an evening or afternoon with some continuous beers will help make some decision, and then of course sticking to it.

One of these days, I’ll actually have something solid to report back on. The only thing we have planned right now is our engagement pictures… so stay tuned for a first look at those in the next few weeks!

 

Wedding Woes

I’m going to be completely honest with all of you.

I’m a bit afraid to start planning our wedding, it’s probably one of the reasons why I’ve resisted planning for a few months… and why whenever someone asks if we’ve started or have a date I give a sigh, try not to roll my eyes and say, “no.”

Wedding Woes - the bee life
Photo cred: Grey Likes Weddings & Rachelle Derouin Photography

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, why? She should be so excited to plan her wedding and everything that comes with it!

Yes, I am. But I am also very afraid of everything that is going to come along with it, and I blame everyone else whose gotten married or is getting married, especially my friends and family – you’ve all scared me poop-less!

To keep it simple, here are all of the reasons why:

  • I don’t want to be a traditional bride; I don’t want a bridal shower, I could care less about a bachelorette party, and I would prefer to forgo the whole wedding reception thing and just elope. But I can’t. (Now you’re probably saying; so do it, it’s you’re wedding! But is it? I know I am going to get pressured into things, because other people want that for me.)
  • I don’t want to end up hating my (future) family. With my non-traditional ways, I am sure I will piss of a few people or unintentionally hurt some feelings – but I really want to live up to the saying; “It’s my/our wedding.” Although, I already know there will be some compromise.
  • It’s just SO much money… for one day. I just want a killer dress.
  • Everyone has an opinion, and wants to share it. I have one too. *smiles*
  • If B and I do get our way for our wedding, we will end up making a lot of people mad – because they won’t understand that it’s about us and not about them.
  • Either way, I don’t think there is a way to avoid hurt feelings or drama.

Not to mention, I’ve been to, two bridal showers so far this year, and each of them have had drama; hurt feelings, tears, and stress (at least behind the scenes).  And in between all of that and the planning more drama, petty family crap, that I frankly don’t want to deal with. I cut out the drama in my life a long time ago and have since kept it to a minimum. At a time in my life that is supposed to be so happy, I don’t want to remember so-and-so didn’t come because they had hurt feelings.

And if I give into the pressures, I know I will still end up loving my wedding and having a great time, only because I’ll have B by my side… but I can’t help but cringe in fear every time someone mentions my bridal shower, or bachelorette party or the rehearsal dinner and just think to myself – umm I don’t want one!

I know, poor me. But seriously guys, I need some help, especially before I get started!! Any advice? Tips? Experiences from when you planned your wedding? How did you overcome some of the stereotype traditions, or not?  Is it worth it?

Many love and thanks in advance!

10 Tips for (future) Homeowners

As the snow starts to melt (for good), and the birdies chirp a little more, and the blooms start to bud, the “for sale” signs start popping up more and more. As a kid growing up I loved looking at houses online (especially the really expensive ones) and then as B and I started our house search in the summer of 2014, it was definitely an experience that is probably different for most, making it hard to prepare for until you’ve actually done it.  So here is my advice for any of you who are on the house hunt to hopefully help you prepare for this potential roller coaster of a ride.

10 tips for future homeowners - the bee life

1. Love your realtor. We liked our realtor, but there were definite moments we did not like our realtor (like the time we wanted to make an offer on our house, and she told us she felt uncomfortable writing the price we wanted to go in at, and refused). You’ll be spending some nights and even some weekends with this person, in hopes they find you your dream home within a price point you’re content with. Try and find a family friend or referral and make sure they’re a good fit for your area and you! Do a few “phone interviews” before you truly commit.

2. Take notes and pictures. Don’t be shy, it is a bit awkward (especially the first few times)  having someone watch you look around your potential future home, but this is a serious decision so take your time, take notes, ask questions and take pictures! This is especially helpful if you’re looking at a few houses in one day, trust me after a few days or weekends you won’t be able to tell them apart – looking back at notes/photos helps you compare and eliminate as you go.

3. Go with your gut. Love at first sight? Or it’s an immediate no? Then cut the visit short, no need to waste the time of your realtor or yourself. On the flip side if you know it’s the one, go for it even if your fear (of a major commitment) starts setting in!

4. Be ready to act fast.  In our market, houses we would look at would literally be listed contingent the next day. So we learned quickly that if we saw a house we liked, we needed to be ready to act fast, because we lost a few good ones, even before we could look at them!

5. Hold your ground. When it comes to price, whether it’s going in low or going in at a price that’s comfortable for you, even if it comes down to negotiating, know what your bottom line is. Is it getting the closing costs covered? Or a lower sale price? We ended up coming up in price in order for the closing costs to get covered, because over the span of our mortgage it was not a big deal as opposed to having to pay more out right.

6. Compromise.  Wallpaper? Paint color? Carpet? Gross curtains? Don’t like the kitchen cabinet colors? All easy fixes- don’t let the little things affect your decision or turn you off from a house.  I’m honestly amazed at what a little (or a lot) of paint can do to improve the house without breaking the bank.

7. Be prepared for extra costs. When you’ve made the decision and are moving forward be prepared to have a little extra cash on hand for closing costs, the inspection and any other incidentals. These creeped up on us and can be scary if you’re not expecting them! We even had a few extra costs after we received the keys, like the refrigerator breaking that was an extra $700 dollars or so that we weren’t expecting to pay.

8. Push back your move-in date. (If you can) Yay! You have the keys! Let the fun begin! If there are projects big or small, try and get them done BEFORE you move in, you’ll be so much happier after the fact. Especially painting, it’s much easier to paint and tape and make a mess when you’re not worried about furniture.

9. Be ready, to notice a lot of random imperfections… once you move in and start cleaning! New house or old, your going to notice little things about the molding or floor or a crack in the wall you hadn’t noticed before and it’s ok! You’ll also learn the kinks that come with the house, good or bad, what I like to remind myself and B is, that it’s character!

10. Remember to relax. If you’re like us, with a century home there are plenty of projects big and small to do nonstop. Since we’ve lived in our house for over a year we have done A LOT! So remember to relax and take breaks in between the projects especially so you don’t get in a hole financially because random expenses will pop up!

This will be stressful, but it also will be fun! So enjoy the most of it, because once you find the house and can call it home, it’s all worth it. I love the fact that we have something we can call and make our own!  Good luck!