5 Ways to Give Back on Your Birthday

As I continue to get older (😭), one thing I enjoy doing on my birthday is trying to give back – whether that’s through monetary donations, time volunteering, or donating goods. So if you’re looking to give back, but not sure where to start – I’ve put together a few ideas on how you can pay it forward!

Here are five ways to give back on your birthday:
  1. Donate Goods. This could be a variety of things; whether it’s canned goods or other needed pieces (many local food banks list their most needed items on their website), or going through your closet and donating old clothes to a local church, there are so many ways to give back. Even donating old furniture to a local Habitat for Humanity is another great option, some places even pick-up clothes and furniture!

  2. Volunteer Your Time. This may be a little harder now during Covid-times, but I’m so glad to have the opportunity to volunteer my time at a local dog shelter. For this type of volunteering, I had to do a series of training in order to be able to volunteer, walk and handle the dogs on my own. If you run into a situation like this, and don’t have the training – look to see if there are other ways to give goods. The dog shelter I volunteer at has an Amazon Wish List and can always use dog treats, poop bags, and a variety of other necessities for the pups at the shelter. You can even order from Amazon and send directly to the shelter!

  3. Host A Facebook Fundraiser. As much as I hate Facebook, this is a great and easy feature to have friends and family raise money and donate to a cause near and dear to your heart! Plus, Facebook covers all of the fees, so there isn’t any built in charges when you or your friends donate. If you don’t have Facebook, create your own fundraiser by sharing a web link to family and friends in lieu of presents for your special day!

  4. Random Acts of Kindness. Whether it’s in the Starbucks drive thru by picking up the tab for the car behind you, or leaving a twenty at a local coffee shop to grab the next round of drinks — buying coffee for a stranger is an easy and simple way to bring a little sunshine to someone’s day! Another way to do this, is dropping off flowers to someone who might be having hard time, cooking a meal for someone in need, or maybe wheeling back your neighbors garbage cans!

  5. Donate Blood. This one is definitely not for everyone – but as a first time blood donor this past week, the fear of donating has officially been faced and I finally took the jump. Now I’m in the system and can more easily know what to expect and give a couple times a year! Trust me, I nearly passed out, but it wasn’t that bad or time consuming in the grand scheme of things. The Red Cross always has a plethora of drives, and other opportunities to give back.

A few other ideas to sprinkle a little good into the world; pick up trash at a local park or along your street (safely of course), sending a card to a friend, draw a positive message with chalk along your sidewalk, or bringing your neighbors garbage cans up on trash day. I’ve found myself giving more monetary this year or through goods, since I’ve cut back on in-person volunteer hours. But, I have found in my time volunteering, especially with the dogs, I am able to do something I truly love, and through spending a few hours over a weekend giving the dogs a break from their kennels (or whatever your volunteering is) — it’s just good for the mind and soul.

Pandemic Approved Birthday Apparel

I’m quickly approaching my second pandemic birthday, well given that last year on my dreaded 30th birthday the world literally came to a screeching halt. All of my grandiose plans to distract from turning 30 last year got cancelled one by one — so I’ve come to realize and accept normal bday fun is a thing of the past, at least for another trip around the sun. So I’m ditching the heels and glittery skirts and swapping them in for glam sweatshirts and obnoxiously cute accessories for a birthday celebration in.

Since we’re still sort of living in a pandemic of weird times, the way to rock your birthday is with some glammed up, comfy and super cute sweatshirts – jeans are optional. I shopped a few super cute and most affordable sweatshirt options that can make a fun statement for your special day. Also, a few of my latest obsessions from February are also perfect for having a nice birthday at home. One trend that has come out of this pandemic, that I absolutely love is these cute sweatshirts with puffy sleeves, bejewels, or ruffles – like finally! Why has this taken so long?

Shop Sweatshirts: H&M Black Ruffle Sweatshirt, Beaded Puffy Sleeve Sweatshirt, Old Navy Be The Love Sweatshirt, H&M Pink Love Sweatshirt, Old Navy Cream Floral Sweatshirt

Okay, now that we have options for a cute staple sweatshirt – it’s time to add on some accessories and little more personal flair. Whether it’s a statement tee, a splurge on a chunky gold necklace or a keepsake of your zodiac sign – treat yourself with something special that brings out your personality. I am all about sharing love, drinking bubbles, loving on the pups and letting my pisces pride shine. Wearing some beaded or oversized earrings is another way to dress up a more casual look to help you stand out and feel extra special for your birthday.

Shop these pieces: Dog Mom Tee on Etsy, J. Crew Chunky Gold Chain Necklace, Love Tee from H&M, On Sale: Pisces Ring Set from Anthropology

As I continue to embrace another pandemic birthday, I’m going to keep enjoying the finer things, sip on plenty of bubbles and eat way to much cake — and I’m going to be comfy and cute while I’m doing it! Speaking of the finer things, if you are looking for a little more something special, here is some inspo from last year’s pre-pandemic looks. Here’s to the official birthday countdown, another pandemic birthday, which actually doesn’t officially count.

Weekend Roundup – March

Well, when I was planning out my March content this post was going to be a fun one to write and jammed packed! Here is everything that we had planned and promptly was cancelled week after week, after week, thanks to the pandemic. Obviously, I am not the only one that has had a lot of cancelled plans/trips/life moments — but I was trying to overcome my turning 30 anxiety by doing as much fun stuff as possible. But in all honesty the perspective of this pandemic as I mentioned in my birthday reflections (it’s a good read) quickly changed the 30 anxiety into a much different perspective and reality — I mean it doesn’t even feel like I actually turned 30 😝.
MarchRoundUp(3)-beelifeblogOur Cancelled Plans:

  • Trip to Philadelphia for the actual birthday
  • Spa Day + Dinner with Friends
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Broadway Play
  • Parents Coming into Town for Birthday Celebrations
  • A hair cut
  • Cancelled Birthday Cake

So yes, there was a lot of fun and celebrating that was going to be had, between my birthday and then my Dad’s retirement we were going to have a lot of fun especially this last weekend! BUT, even though we had a few more quieter weekends than anticipated, we still had a lot of fun and made the most out of everything — especially my birthday weekend.

My Birthday Weekend. With our Philly trip cancelled, I decided to partake in all of my favorite things I love doing at home. This included getting a final workout in at the gym, sipping on some coffee and getting spoiled with fun surprise deliveries throughout the weekend which included champagne 🍾, flowers 💐, and a coffee ☕ gift card from one of our favorite spots Brewellas. Saturday night for dinner we headed to our favorite dinner spot – Georgetown, mainly because they have all night happy hour on Saturday and a tasty menu paired with delicious drinks. We overindulged and then headed home for more drinks, card games and music.
MarchRoundUp(2)-beelifeblogSunday we woke up and headed to volunteer and walk dogs at the local dog shelter we volunteer at. We then made sure Moz got out for her walk too before relaxing and heading over to an incredible impromptu birthday dinner at my aunts. They prepared Lobster tail, scallops, filet and a sweet potato dish — oh my gosh. The food was incredible. We finished the evening with my very own ‘Corona Pie’ which was pretty tasty and garnished with my favorite cake candies.

My actual birthday was on a Monday, so I took that off work and just enjoyed my day. We started my first day in my 30’s with a grocery trip, because the apocalypse was coming and March 16th is basically the day the world stopped – at least in Ohio. The first day of no school, remote working, gyms closed, masses cancelled, restaurants and bars closed… it was like a screeching halt. Luckily, I was still able to grab my free Starbucks coffee, to-go of course, before heading home and hanging out. I got a workout in and even took Moz to the park to soak in some of my favorite city views.
MarchRoundUp(1)-beelifeblogOther March Highlights. We’ve been cranking on house projects, one of which was our fireplace hearth makeover and another which I’ll be sharing here soon as we just wrapped it up this past weekend and did all the finishing touches. Moz has also gotten more walks this past month then she has in a long time, it’s been nice to get her fresh air and out catching all those smells. I did get to see my girlfriends at the beginning of the month — which was good to get that in, since they have littles and it might be awhile before we’re all together again.

I feel like I’m a broken record but it’s really important that we continue to focus on the positive — if you’re upset about the seven things that just got cancelled, find seven positives out of those negatives. Write them down, even. Remember to keep your routine, stay active, get outside, eat well and stay in touch with all your peoples. This will be temporary in the grand scheme of life and there is plenty to be thankful for 💛.

bee (1)

30 Birthday Reflections

Well… reality happens and life doesn’t always go as planned and that is just simply life — no matter what else is going on, whether you’re fighting your way through your 30th birthday, planning trips or just simple dinner dates. Life can hit us quick for a fast reality check. And this last week has definitely been a slap in the face to just that.

I shared all of my grandiose plans that would be a month long celebration to help offset my anxiety of the start of this new decade, but with the recent pandemic happening around the world — things have definitely been put in perspective and shifted the anxiety away from 30 and more to the day to day. I know I am not the only one who can relate to this anxiety or even for some, fear.
IMG_5821So, trying to focus on more of the positive, I reflected on this past decade a bit — that of which was my 20’s. And I, 100% would not change how I’ve grown, what I’ve learned, and everything that has been accomplished in those last 10 years. I still grimace at some not so great points during my 20’s, but luckily those are few and far between. I also am so grateful for the places I’ve been able to travel, the love I’ve learned and life I’ve been able to build. And I know that with each year, I learn more, grow a little wiser and always have a lot more fun! So I will definitely work to get past the number and focus more on all of the other good things that come with getting older.

Which… is what we should all do in life right now, focus on the positive, do what we can on a day to day basis and make sure we’re staying healthy both mentally and physically and understand that most if not all things in life are fairly temporarily, especially the crazy moments. And understand and accept that a lot of life is not in our control, as much as we plan, want it to be, sometimes we just have to live and let be and trust in a higher power 💛.

So, here we go 30 you’re starting a bit crazy but I know you’re going to be good!

bee (1)

 

 

Weekend Recap – Bday & Bubbles

This past weekend was a mix of fun and relaxation – which is just what I needed after being a bit under the weather all of last week and even still into the weekend.  But I’m finally feeling like this cold is winding down and about to hightail out of here!

Friday I was fortunate to take a half day from work and grab lunch with an old coworker – we kicked off our birthday weekend with some much needed catching up! I was able to get a decent nap in before our neighbors going away party that night which lasted right up until midnight to welcome my official birthday!  Our old neighbors were in town visiting for the party as well, so it was great catching up and having almost the whole crew together under one roof again.
Weekend Recao - the bee life (1)
Birthday Saturday was a busy, yet relaxing day.  B and I kicked off the morning with an unofficial, official birthday workout – from there I got my birthday drink from Starbucks and made my way to the spa for a facial and mani/pedi appointment. It was a nice way to kickoff the day, self care at it’s finest.  While I was at the spa, B and his dad were making some good progress on the bathroom remodel and wrapped up just as I got home – it was perfect timing, plus a BIG item crossed off the to-do list.

The rest of the day was low key until we headed to one of our favorite spots for drinks and dinner. Bubbles for me, dirty martini for B, pear salad – with no cheese for me, meatball plate for B and then we both got personal pizza’s – mushroom and prosciutto pizza, with no cheese, for me and a classic pepperoni with banana peppers for B. We grabbed some bubbles and cake before heading home for the rest of the night!
Weekend Recao - the bee life (2)
With a birthday the day before St. Patrick’s Day, partaking in festivities usually happens by default!  We popped up to our favorite little coffee shop for their festive Pot O’Gold latte and a quiet regroup before the day got started.  The shop was glowing in green for the holiday with clovers and all things lucky – which made it another perfect reason to pop in to kickoff the Irish holiday.

From there we headed to brunch with some family before they headed to the big parade downtown.  We got more coffee, caught up with some of our favorites and ate some more delicious food.  After two jam packed days and nights, B and I were down for a relaxing afternoon.  Weekend Recao - the bee life (3)
I think one of the best parts of the weekend was that the sun was shining ALL weekend. It was amazing – not to mention I woke up to birds chirping both days.  Saturday morning, I literally did a double take and checked my phone to make sure the birds were real and not my phone alarm! It was beautiful and also meant that Moz got a walk, which always makes for a great weekend.

Cheers!

bee (1)

29 Birthday Reflections

For all my Bee readers, and even close friends that may be reading along – you know I hate getting older (sorry too all my friends who are older than me, ilu!) – but I’m working on that imperfection and fear of getting older each year by trying to embrace my birthday!  Ha! So in honor of the start of the last year in my twenties *starts sobbing* … here are 29 birthday reflections/hopes/dreams or just things about me.
29 Birthday Reflections - the bee life
Thinking of 29 things – was actually pretty hard, so here we go!

  1. Still love birthday cake.
  2. I was blonde when I was little
  3. I was named after a man, my great grandpa, Emil
  4. I hated having my picture taken from the ages 2-5 (& have pictures to prove it)
  5. Within the last 3-years I’ve had to figure out a lot of my dietary issues & have a random list of cannot eat items; like cauliflower to spicy foods to Chinese food
  6. I’m also lactose intolerant
  7. As much as I loved Barbie’s I also loved to play with Legos & Matchbox Cars as a kid
  8. Jasmine was my favorite Disney princess
  9. I love hosting parties and entertaining at our home
  10. I was a cat lady before I was a dog lady
  11. I love taking pictures and a lot of my friend’s favorite wedding pictures are candids I took ❤
  12. This will be my first birthday with my new last name
  13. I want to go on 5-trips before my next birthday
  14. I love being on a board as part of a local nonprofit that helps people who are fighting breast cancer in our community
  15. My goal is to read more books – I’ve already started!
  16. I want to take more time to talk and listen to my friends
  17. I love organizing and making things look pretty
  18. I want to run 3-half marathons before my next birthday
  19. I want to play more golf
  20. My high school year book prediction was that I’d be the Queen of England. lol #TheCrown
  21. Note to self: Take more walks… with Moz & B
  22. I love decorating and designing spaces, even if it’s just setting the dining room table
  23. I have yet to travel outside of the country!
  24. I’ll gladly admit I’m wrong… any day… but I rarely am *tongue face*
  25. My parents never had cable and still don’t have cable
  26. As much as I have expensive taste, I love a good bargain
  27. Cookie Dough is my favorite ice cream (if I could eat it)
  28. Remember to slow down and soak in the little things
  29. I want to continue to face my fears

Did I miss something? I’m sure I did – leave a comment below!

xo
bee (1)

My Hubby’s Surprise Party & Tips for Planning One

For the last 6-months or so I’ve been planning a surprise party for my hubby, B — this quickly turned into a bit feat as we got closer to the actual surprise date!  You see, I get really excited about presents I pick out, gifts, or surprises – I like to bait people and often can’t wait, just wanting to spill the beans.  Planning this party was definitely a test of that (that I passed!) but was also a bit stressful, yet very exciting!
bee life blog - surprise (2)
So here are a few tips and areas to focus on when planning a surprise party!

Plan a Date.  Since B’s birthday is a few days after Christmas, it often gets looped in with the holiday and overlooked – so I wanted to make sure we avoided the holiday but also wanted it to be close.  Since December tends to be a busy month for everyone I planned over the summer and sent out my digital Save the Dates.  I also picked a Friday night, thinking it’d be easier for me to sneak away on a work day than a regular Saturday.

Location.  This one can be tricky! I initially had the perfect place picked out with an ideal party room – then they closed over the summer.  The options got smaller and I got picker, so the fall back was our house, that way I could control the food, decorations, alcohol, etc.  I just needed to keep the hubby away long enough to get the house decorated and sneak 30-people inside.

Plan the Diversion.  I wracked my brain on this for months, until I finally reached out to MW to help with the diversion – he was all over it and a HUGE help to this all working out!  This started getting planned just a few weeks before, and then initiated with B the week of the party – drinks after work, and then getting back to the house in time for the surprise!

Pick a Theme & Decorate.  To keep a somewhat complex event, simple – I wanted to stick with a classic color scheme of gold, black and white! I kept decorations easy too,  with lots of balloons, big gold number balloons, fun themed thirty banners, some ‘Vintage 1988’ plastic cups, pictures of the birthday boy and a photo booth with polaroids.  Pro-tip: Buy a mini-helium tank, it’s easier and cheaper! 

Food & Drink Favorites.  Since I was hosting, I could pretty much pick whatever for the food and I wanted to make sure to incorporate some of B’s favorite things. To do this, I ordered chips and salsa from his favorite spot picked up dark chocolate pretzels, another favorite!  From a beverage perspective, I made sure there was plenty of B’s favorite Christmas beer – and our friends/families brought plenty of beer options for him too!
bee life blog - surprise (1)
My goal was to plan a surprise party for B to celebrate his upcoming 30th, while keeping it simple and intimate – which isn’t easy to do with big families and lots of friends, but somehow I think I pulled it off! B was DEFINITELY surprised and had no idea, I kept the charade up all day – even though I took a half day and had planning for months.  Another plus of planning so early is I slowly ordered decorations and party supplies throughout the months so I really only needed to worry about the food the week of!

It was fun, but I don’t think I’ll be planning another surprise party anytime soon!

bee (1)

 

 

Weekend Recap – Birthday Fun

These past two weekends have been full of birthday celebrations! It was great being able to celebrate my birthday two weekends in a row with family and dear friends, sweet treats and lots of bubbles… all of my favorite things!
21Weekend Recap - Birthday Fun - the bee life
When my family was in town we headed to Bar 32, a newer hot spot with awesome views of the city.  It’s a ‘rooftop’ bar on the 32nd floor with views for miles right along the lake, with a bit higher end menu of drink options. We enjoyed a few drinks here, the views and ordered a gigantic pretzel to share with the table, everything was so delicious!  From there we headed home grabbed some pizza, blew out some candles.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of my birthday celebrations was the night before, B and I went out to dinner to one of our favorite spots in town and had some bubbles and a great meal.  It was nice spending uninterrupted time as just the two of us, and a great way to really kickoff my actual birthday weekend.
20Weekend Recap - Birthday Fun - the bee life I took my birthday off and enjoyed a three day weekend!  Started the day with an early morning workout with B, my birthday workout – and honestly the perfect way to start the day! From there I ran a bunch of errands and got some things ready as we hosted a bunch of our friends over for an informal birthday party. It was fun having our nearest and dearest friends over for more celebrations, and a great excuse to have everyone over.

This past birthday, I truly felt so special and spoiled by all of our friends and the family, it’s been so great to bring in another year without focusing on the actual number!

Cheers for another year!

 

Birthday Reflections

Another wonderful year has come and gone, and I’m looking straight into the eyes of 28. Eek! So in order to celebrate and share, here is a hodgepodge of 28 things about me, things I learned about myself this past year and inspiration for my new year!
23
Here we go!!

  1. I will always love birthday cake.
  2. The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie as a kid #rubyslippers
  3. Every year I would get a ‘Nancy’ cake and they were usually Disney princess themed growing up
  4. I love champagne, but it’s also one of the only alcoholic beverages that agrees with my stomach
  5. Hidden Talent: Dog Whisperer
  6. I am an avid scrapbooker and started in high school – I probably have about 10 and counting large 12×12 scrapbooks
  7. I hope to get more into interior design this year with projects beyond my own home
  8. When I golf, I only need 3-clubs: a driver, iron and putter and I’m not that bad
  9. Crafty especially in the homemade card department
  10. I prefer to cook without a recipe, but baking, recipe needed
  11. I have two godmother’s, but no godfather.
  12. This past year I learned I can go without eating pizza for months!
  13. I can recite The Wedding Singer, line for line, among many other movies…
  14. Dancing is one of my favorite things to do
  15. I’m really good at games; Scrabble, Cards, Connect 4, Wii Bowling (sitting), you name it… bring it on!
  16. Vanilla frosting, vanilla cake, rainbow sprinkles
  17. Fruit and desserts are two food groups I could live off of
  18. When I was little, I swallowed a plum pit, because I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to eat it!
  19. I have a super high pain threshold
  20. This past year I learned I am stronger than I think I am
  21. Pink and gold are my favorite colors
  22. Growing up my dream job was to be a CIA agent, like Sydney Bristow
  23. I love fast cars, like Lamborgini’s and Ferrari’s
  24. My Starbucks order started as a Carmel Frappuccino, I now order Red Eyes
  25. B and I were both characters from Wizard of Oz for Halloween, multiple years
  26. I don’t like going to the movies
  27. I wish I could’ve known my grandpa
  28. I dream of the mountains

It was really hard to think of 28-things because I didn’t want to overshare, but I also didn’t want to bore you! Did I miss something that you’re dying to know? Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer!

Cheers!