Life Lately – Living in Color

Three months ago I shared a Life Lately & Bee update and how I was dealing with some major seasonal depression. And I’m happy to report that life lately has been so much better – even dealing with back pain and not being able to workout.  Life lately has been so pretty with the spring time, flowers blooming, fresh grilled dinners, bright pops of color and lots of sunshine.
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We’ve had a good mix of busy weekends and weekends when we haven’t had anything on the calendar – but somehow we’ve filled up our empty calendar days with projects around the house, walks with Moz, patio meals and naps on the back patio.  We’ve been getting the house ready for the summertime, with deep spring cleans, planting flowers and watching our peonies grow and bloom.

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Latest Obsessions 03.19 – March Roundup

To close out one of my favorite month’s of the year – my latest obsessions are honestly a bit of a roundup of some of this past month’s adventures, happenings and behind the scenes planning. Ironically we’re closing out the month with a fresh coat of snow after having a lovely day in the 50’s just yesterday. #Spring

Our Chicago Trip:  Our weekend getaway to Chicago was just what the doctor ordered and was a much needed escape from reality – not the mention B and I got to explore another city together and do as much city touristy things as possible while also trying to eat as much Chicago food as we could! This little trip as spurred our other 2019 trips into booking mode instead of just planning mode!

Bathroom Finishes & Accessories: With our bathroom remodel project well underway, we’re finally getting to a point where finishes are right around the corner and we have a defined space! … Although this just means my wheels have been spinning a bit more than usual with all the possibilities.  I still have yet to find some towel holders, soap tray, bath towels and other bath accessories that I love (well that aren’t $100 each) … so I think I’ll actually have to shop in a store vs. browsing online.
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Getting Back Into My Fitness Routine: I’ve been working to make this more intentional into my day to day and trying to prioritize around all of the other things that are such as life. It hasn’t been easy, I’ve had good streaks and I’ve had bad streaks but the most important part is that it’s a priority and change is slowly happening – which is better than none at all!

Inspirational Books: I’ve been reading a lot lately which unfortunately isn’t usual for me! I’m more of a vacation/travel reader – but I’ve found some books lately that have been what I’ve needed, they’re educational, inspirational and motivational. I’m looking forward to sharing a few with you as I finish them up!

March was a bit of a rollercoaster of fun, emotions, change and everything in between so I’m happy to see it go and looking ahead to warm months with lots of possibilities, more obsessions and a whole lot more fun!

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Travel: #emnbtoCHI

In case you missed our Chicago Eats check them out here! Beyond wanting to eat as much yummy food as possible, we also wanted to be just plain tourists and checkout the best spots, while also getting a taste of the life of locals – which I think we did a nice balance of! So without further ado, here is the rest of our CHI-town round-up!

Skydeck at Willis Tower: With views from the 103 floor, you get 360 views of the city, Lake Michigan and every skyscraper in between!  The going rate to get up to the top floor is $25 per person (which is much cheaper than the Empire State Building). It was really fun to soak in all of the city views, plus we had perfect blue skies.

Pro-tip #1: Buy your tickets ahead of time to skip the line!
Pro-tip #2: You get 60-seconds on the glass ledge, so plan your angles ahead of time!
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Cloud Gate aka the Bean at Millennium Park: I mean, we had to check it out right? Everyone that goes to Chicago gets an iconic picture in front of the bean! Our bean pics were anything but iconic – I’m not sure why everyone is so obsessed with it because it just stretches out your face. If the weather was a little nicer, we would’ve explored the rest of the park a bit more!
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Run Through Lincoln Park & the Lakefront Trail: This was honestly my favorite part of our trip – our little 4 mile run through Lincoln Park and then popping over to the Lakefront Trail for stellar views of the Chicago skyline was an absolutely perfect start to our Friday.  Our hotel was about 2 blocks from entering Lincoln Park, so we ventured down the brownstone lined streets through the quiet of the morning before all the hustle and bustle. Lincoln Park was filled with doggy play dates, other runners and we even got to see some Zebra’s from the zoo!
CHI Recap - the bee life (3)The Chicago River: We were able to enjoy the stunning views of the Chicago river as we ventured to Willis Tower and the back to our hotel and down the Magnificent Mile back to the Gold Coast where we stayed. Again, because it was super chilly unless you were in direct sunlight, we weren’t able to take the 1.25 mile Riverwalk, but next time we go in the summer it will be a must!

Fun fact: The River was NOT still green after St. Patrick’s Day.
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A few other fun sightings we were able to soak in was the Chicago Tribune (Never Been Kissed) – our hotel even had a valet that didn’t allow you to self-park, so immediately our trip was starting out like a Ferris Bueller movie. We can’t wait to get back to CHI when the weather is a little nicer so we can explore on feet a little more; even though we still racked up 10.3 miles between our run and walking adventures!

What’re you favorite Chicago landmarks?

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Fitness Friday 03.19

If you read my post about Life Lately & Bee or keep up with my Fitness Friday posts – you know my fitness routine and goals have been struggling a bit! But as I’m working to pull myself out of my winter slump – I’ve made an intentional change to my fitness routine within the last week. Woo! Fitness Friday 03.19 - the bee life
In the last week and a day, I’ve already worked out more than I did in the entire month of February! EEK! But it’s all positive now – I’m back on track, I’m making strides to fit ME TIME into my days and making my health a priority.  Not to mention with a birthday (tomorrow) – I want to continue to stay in my best health, and keep getting better after all the progress I made the last two years.

Looking forward and into the rest of the year – we have a 10-miler race (that we’ve run the last 4-years) at the end of April so I have to get my butt in gear so that I can have a successful run!  From there we need to sign up for another half or two, this year still and continue the running game while sticking to my cross-training.

Here’s to making more intentional changes, for good!

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Catch-up on other Fitness Friday’s: Eliminate Excuses | 2019 Fitness Goals

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!!
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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-Recipes I’m Dying to Try

Since we’ve been in #weddingdiet mode, we’ve been trying to be a bit more conscious with our dinner choices, on top of some recent dietary restrictions I’ve been faced with, the options become extremely limited.  So we’ve had to try a few more options and stick solely to the basics; meat and veggies.  But with this comes prep time and planning which are two crucial items when trying to eat right!
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The goal for me, is finding recipes that can easily be tailored to fit within my dietary restrictions, which pretty much means, no cheese and nothing too spicy, among other things that I’ve just learned to stay away from – and even just in general the more plain the food is, sadly the safer it is for me! So although these recipes I’m dying to try will need to be altered – it doesn’t mean you all have to suffer too!

Beef Taco Salad Pizza: This looks so delicious, and very few ingredients too, which makes pulling this one together affordable!  I would have to ditch the cheese and sour cream, but the seasoning and avocado will make up for any lost taste!

Black Bean Quinoa Burger: This plump looking burger calls for some spicy mayo, this would definitely need to be substituted out in addition to the cumin and cayenne called for in the actual burger.  I love the idea of mango and avocado topping this quinoa black bean burger – mouth officially watering.

Greek Grilled Eggplant: This recipe again is super easy and low cost, making it a perfect busy-day dinner!  Ingredients are probably all housed beyond maybe picking up a fresh eggplant to slice up and grill. I think you could probably guess by now, no feta for me! But some fresh basil would be a great topper.

Have any great, easy recipes? Leave a comment below and share them with me!

Fitness Friday no. 22

Hello! I took a little bit of a Fitness Friday break – I’ve been trying to get back into a groove to share all the progress I’ve been making!  But it’s been slow progress and I was lacking motivation and inspiration.
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But within this past week I’ve gotten up three mornings in a row to hit up the gym.  After work has been too busy and now that it’s dark when I leave work the motivation is very little… lunches are good but I always feel rushed. Morning workouts have been the trick and I’ve actually been doing them. Another motivator that has helped get these in is having workout buddies to go with me, yay for workout partners at your same gym! After these last three mornings I instantly feel better, I instantly don’t want to stop.

Here are my tips and reminders lately that’re keeping me focused to stay on track this time.

  1. Our Wedding! We are nearly at the year mark to the wedding, and since this past year has been a constant struggle I need to start now to really get motivated and make progress. Although I’m pretty sure once I secure my dress the motivation will kick up a level.  This will be a prom diet on steroids. Don’t have a wedding or big event coming up to look forward too? What about a vacation or a bikini you’ve had your eyes on, it’s never too early to start working on yourself!
  2. My Jeans. I know when my jeans are feeling a bit tighter that I need to get off my butt and get to the gym! I don’t like stepping on the scale, but I know when things aren’t going in the right direction when my clothes aren’t feeling right.  Don’t like the scale either? Read your clothes and pick up the pace if you’re not loving the fit. 
  3. Feeling Better. I haven’t felt overly tired this past week after my early morning workouts,  in fact I’ve felt better all around.  I’ve even started pushing myself to running on the treadmill (which I hate) but doing it in small doses and picking up the speed more than my comfort zone, and knowing I can do it.
  4. Half Marathons. I’ve got my eyes on some upcoming races to end this year strong and even to get ready for, for 2017 to help with wedding prep! I know I would be in no condition to run a half marathon right now, but I really want to run another one since it’s been almost 2-years since our last half. Yikes!

I’m excited about this new progress and thankful for having motivating friends who also want to get back into a routine, it helps so much!

Cheers to progress and motivating friends!

Travel: Jackson Hole – Part 1

Happy Tuesday and start to a short week after a longggg weekend.  I was lucky enough to have a super long weekend and was vacationing all last week in one of my favorite spots ever – Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The last time I was out in JH was two-years ago, which was the first time B got to experience the magic and beauty of the Grant Tetons, he feel in love too.  To share the love of my trip, and in case any of you are planning a trip or looking for your next vacation spot, here is Part 1 of our trip, focusing on the hikes we took throughout the week!

Taggart Lake Trailhead
Level: Easy – Moderate | Distance: About 3-miles
You can access Taggart Lake once you enter Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) from the Moose Entrance Station it’s one of the first stops that is clearly marked as you head north.  It’s definitely a popular spot and you’ll run into fellow hikers and tourists, throughout this hike you’ll be stunned and amazed at the Grand Teton as you keep getting closer and closer.  Once you get to Taggart Lake you can definitely relax in serenity and soak in the views of the Grand. If you’re looking for more views and a little longer of a hike from Taggart Lake you can go a little further and reach Bradley Lake, if you’re looking for something more challenging you can also head to Ampitheater Lake from the Taggart Lake Trailhead.

Geraldine Lucas Cabin
Level: Easy | Distance: 2-miles
Geraldine Lucas was a pioneer for her time and the second woman to ever climb the Grand Teton (at 58-years-young).  She was mostly notable, unfortunately, for being a divorced single mother,  not only was she divorced and a single mother but she also attended college, in Ohio of all places. She retired out in Jackson Hole in 1913 – she acquired nearly 160 acres for her homestead.   The property was later owned by Harold Fabian, and the property is now commonly referred to as the Lucas-Fabian Homestead.  This trail is a bit tougher to find – well currently, but the park service is finally getting this on the map with marked trails and signs (as it’s currently a bit of an adventure to find).  Again off Teton Park Rd., you’ll want to look for The Climbers Ranch road and drive down the road past the first driveway, over a bridge and park to your right in a little pull off. The Cottonwood Creek Trail to the homestead starts there. You’ll again reach stunning views of the Tetons once you reach the 11-house homestead, Geraldine picked a killer spot.

Two Oceans & Emma Matilda Lakes 
Level: Moderate – Hard |  Distance: 4-11 miles
This hike was a random pick by me, mainly because of the name, Emma Matilda, a nickname my mom calls me.  You’ll get here by taking 191 and continuing onto 191 at Moran Junction, from there follow the signs to Two Oceans and Emma Matilda, after entering the park. The hike around Emma Matilda Lake is about 11-miles. The hike from Two Oceans to Emma Matilda is about 4-miles depending on how much you explore, Two Oceans is about a 6-mile hike, so you’ve got a lot of options with this spot. Although this is prime bear country so be sure to make noise while hiking (wearing a bell or clapping) and be sure to have bear spray! We did not see any grizzlies, unfortunately, but this is definitely one of the less traveled trails. The views however once you reach Emma Matilda from Two Oceans is unbelievable and definitely worth it. Our hike was cut short from some thunder and rain, but still totally worth it.

Although we only went on three hikes throughout the week, they were all different from when we were last out in JH. It was fun getting out and exploring and seeing as much of the beauty as we could up close and personal.  There are so many hidden spots and treasures in GTNP, and these are definitely a few of them!

Latest Obsessions: Pillows

So lately I have been completely obsessed with PILLOWS! I want soooo many pillows. All of a sudden there is about 5-places in the house that I could name that need pillows to add that extra finished and cozy look. The dining room built-in bench, the bay window in the staircase, the office, the master and the spare daybed… not to mention the living room pillows could use a freshen up… shall I go on? I have literally been scrolling through screens and screens of pillows, hitting the ‘Add to Cart’ button, until I reach the end, check out my chart (because they all seemed like such a great deal) and it’s $150+ … click “save for later”repeat x5. *smiles*Latest Obsessions - Pillows - Neutrals 01 | 02 | 03 | 04

Pillows are the perfect way to spice up a room and add some extra flair without needing to refurnish the entire place. Pillows can also help personalize a space; whether it’s with a state, zip code, or even this fun bee pillow by French Laundry (above) – I’m obsessed!  The other thing I love about pillows is that they can add a level of subtlety when you mix a few patterns or fabrics correctly.  Pillows add a level of cozy and warmth to a space and can be the key finishing pieces, without you knowing! 

The other key to pulling in pillows and buying them is getting different shapes, large square pillows, long horizontal pillows or even larger body pillows to help build the space, (for example normal bed turned daybed).  Having different sizes also creates depth and dimension to your space making the space look larger and more plush than it might be.

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My go-to stores for pillows as you can probably tell if you’re checking out the links throughout are; Target (duh), Marshalls/T.J. Maxx (double-duh), Pier 1, Pottery Barn and Society 6. Although I usually start in the clearance sections first – because you can’t beat a good deal, especially if you’re using the pillows as updates to the space and are more likely to switch them out more frequently.  And as excited as I get about a pillow, I like to wait to see if my initial gut reaction of LOVE, is still LOVE after I see it again in the line-up of a gillion pillows. I also can’t usually resist a good 2-pack of pillows especially if they’re essentially the price of one, it’s a win-win!

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What’re your favorite spots to get pillows?  Do you have any pillow rules? I’ve slowly started ordering a few here and there for the spaces I mentioned above. Yay!! 

For the love of pillows,