Local Love: Valentine’s Edition

Hello, Cleveland lovers! Guess what – Valentine’s Day is a little over a week away… eeek!  Are you ready? If not,  I have some of my favorite local spots that would be perfect for a coffee date, heart-felt card or a romantic date night.
Local Love - Valentines Edition - the bee life
Brewella’s: Decorated to the tee for the day of love, you might just fall in love with someone here.  Whether it’s a gift card, a coffee date for one of their seasonal latte’s (with homemade strawberry whip cream) or a breakfast date for crepes – Brewella’s will not only deliver in delicious drinks and eats, they’re festive pink and red decor will make you melt! Explore the coffee shop from their instagam.

Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes: KEC just dropped their Valentine menu, the key for this is ordering ahead to make sure your sweet treats are secure for your sweetie for the big day!  Not feeling all the kitchy V-day sweets?  KEC has a collection of customizable cakes for any occasion and other delicious treats stocked daily! Check out the Valentine menu here or tease your sweet tooth with KEC’s insta feed.

Boundary & Thorn:  The kitchen punny line of prints are so cute, and not to mention a little frisky!  This would be a fun little gift to give to a gal pal or sig-o, one of my personal favorites from the Coffee Punnies by B&T is “Wanna French” with a french press – it especially makes me think of B since we always make a french press on the weekends!  Boundary & Thorn also specializes in custom projects (dog portraits, wedding invites, holiday cards!) beyond her shop items! Shop B&T’s instagram feed.

Lovely Paperie & Gifts: Hey guys, listen up for this one! This would be a great place to bring your gal pal on a little shopping spree, to let her pick out a Lillie Pultzer piece, a monogram bracelet, or maybe some Kate Spade? If a shopping spree sounds a little too extravagant, they also have an assortment of stunning Valentine cards that would make anyone’s heart melt.  Ladies, they also have gifts for your guys too! Shop Lovely virtually here.

Distill Table: If you head to Distill you have to order one of their handcrafted cocktails, made with all locally sourced ingredients that will not only make your tastebuds giggle but the presentation will turn you to a heart eye-emoji.  The red velvet booths will make you want to cozy up with your Valentine while you enjoy all delicious and local food!
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So if you haven’t even thought of Valentine’s Day yet, maybe some of these local spots will inspire you – even if you’re not reading from CLE.   These are a lot of my favorite local shops that I like to frequent as often as I can especially for special occasions, looking for one of a kind gifts or for just some delicious local eats (or coffee, LBH)!

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Image Sources: Group image sourced from shops instagram feeds and linked within content.  

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!
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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!
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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!

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Happy Halloween – Throwback Ed.

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to share a few throwbacks from Halloween pasts.  Apparently I liked keeping my costumes simple – so I frequently did repeat costumes (more than I realized!) like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, I think it’s because I liked the ruby slippers so much!  I also recycled the 50’s poodle skirt girl in Pre-K and 3rd grade and then my Miss America costume was a hit in first grade and then repeated with an old prom dress my senior year of high school (not pictured!)

I’ve definitely had a few years that were not so hot and filled with extra chubby cheeks!  But the fun part for our Halloween costumes growing up is a lot of times we did the DIY route (before DIY was a thing) or found vintage clothes for the look.  Lately, the occasions for when B and I need to dress up for Halloween lately have been few and far between — but our last two decent costumes were Amy & Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and Jim and Pam from The Office but that was even 2-years ago!

Did you ever repeat a Halloween costume? I want to know if I’m the only one, comment below!

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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)!
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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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Weekend Recap – Fall Fever

We had the perfect fall filled weekend with friends and family.  We went off the grid for a couple days into the middle of nowhere, like the places when you’re driving and you see amish buggy signs, fields of cows and just beautiful fall foliage flanking the roads.

Venturing to the middle of nowhere is a yearly tradition that B and I have been doing for five years… finding our way back to Southern Tier Brewery in Lakewood, NY.  We especially try and go in the late summer months/fall so that we can get a taste of their delicious seasonal beers – Pumking and Warlock.  We love the spot and always enjoy each other’s company catching up, laughing and making plans for the future.

The rest of the weekend was the perfect mix of rest and relaxation with a taste of catching up with family and friends.  Saturday we went to a local brewery called Rohrbach Brewing Company to grab some lunch and taste a few beers with K + T.  From lunch we headed to this beyond adorable little farm that had monstrous pumpkins, gorgeous gourds, colorful mums, and lots and lots of beautiful colors.  It was like a dream and this perfect little spot was run by a husband and wife, they had their trophy pumpkins on display for people to admire – they had to be close to 50 pounds or more. Although, I did a pretty great job of racking up our own batch of pumpkins – we weighed out at 70 pounds worth of pumpkins and gourds! Whoops!

It was great catching up with friends and family, getting in some much needed fall activities, sipping some delicious beers, and being able to sleep in a few days too!  October is one of my most favorite months and this long weekend full of all things that make it perfect was exactly why.  What do you love about the fall?

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Local Love: Brewella’s

The cutest little coffee and crepe shop opened up near us that we’re pretty sure this might become a new go-to spot, especially on the weekends.  With an inviting store front Brewella’s isn’t just your typical coffee shop, they also sell collectibles and use them as decor around this quaint shop that is an instagramers dream for the next swoon worthy decor photo. 

Let’s talk Crepes. With over nine different flavors of savory and sweet you can’t go wrong with either pick – I guess it just depends on what mood you’re in! We devoured the sweet chocolate, banana and peanut butter crepe, the ham & gruyere cheese, and then the egg, spinach and cheese.  Not only are their options for just about anyone, the batter of the crepes is so light and airy that you don’t feel stuffed after eating this delicious and generous serving! They also give you fancy vintage folks to eat with – playing right into that collectibles vibe.

Coffee talks. Between B and I our go-to’s are the hot drip coffee (for me) and the iced coffee (for B).  They serve Phoenix coffee and it’s quite tasty if I do say so myself.  They’ve even introduced a couple season drinks to the menu like the Jack-o-Latte and Hot Apple Cider, which are on my list for our next sit-down visit!

Brewella’s started as just being opened on weekends but are now open 6-days a week, woo – more opportunities for crepes! Whenever we’ve visited on the weekends there is a full house as it’s definitely become a neighborhood favorite for most as the atmosphere is so inviting and there are little nooks to cozy up in with a loved one to enjoy some coffee and crepes and chats.

Cheers to new neighborhood hangouts!

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5 Hosting Tips for Fall

It’s getting to one of my favorite times of the year – the time for holiday parties and plenty of opportunities for hosting friends and family.  Whether you’re planning an intimate sit down dinner or a more festive party, these five tips will help cover your bases, wow guests and have a fun night to remember!
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These tips will also help you relax as a host while still having those finishing touches and taking your party to the next level.

  1. Consider a Bulk Signature Cocktail. Signature cocktails can be fun, especially if it’s more of a seasonal drink for the fall and winter months.  As a host pro-tip, make these in bulk ahead of time in a pitcher or shaker – that way you won’t be stuck making everyone a drink as they come in.  Don’t forget the garnish and a fun cocktail napkin to top off the full effect!
  2. Make a Killer Charcuterie Board. This can serve as your focal point and will cover the bases on a variety of food categories from meats and cheeses, to breads, jams, nuts and fresh fruit that will make guests want to dive right in.  Check out Skinnytaste or Spend with Pennies on some tips to making a killer board.
  3. Don’t Forget the Dessert! It’s easy to get caught up figuring out the main dishes for the evening and overlook the best part, dessert!  This is something to keep simple whether it’s buying some more expensive chocolate bars, baking fresh chocolate chip cookies or asking friends to help bring this, so you can check it off the list!
  4. Plastic vs. Non-Plastic Plates. The great debate on which to use continues! I often shy away from plastic because I prefer the aesthetic look of plates – but depending on which type of party you’re hosting, one might make more sense than the other.  For example a more intimate dinner party or smaller guest count may call for plates to add that extra touch, but if you’re having a large party that is a bit more casual save yourself the end of the night clean-up and grab plastic bowls and plates!
  5. Create Welcoming Smells. This can be an easy victory – if you’ve been prepping food all day, your house might have a mixture of smells, so to clear it up light a few candles with similar scents throughout your home (don’t forget the bathroom!) or throw in some chocolate chip cookies right before guests arrive for a homey welcome.

If you’re looking for inspiration to host a fall party and ways to keep it simple read; 5 Reasons to Host a Fall Party.  And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your own party, as the host it’s easy to get caught up in perfection and making sure everyone else is taken care of – but don’t forget to grab yourself a drink too!

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Image Sources:  Skinnytaste \ The Effortless Chic | Apartment 34

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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Weekend Recap – Labor Day Love

All weekend I kept seeing social posts saying, “good-bye summer” and all these sappy farewells to a season that most of us look forward too the other 7-months of the year.  I was a little shocked… a little confused, since when is summer over?  That is one of the good things about being an adult, summer only ends when the good weather runs out… and the good weather isn’t running out anytime soon!

This Labor Day weekend was a much needed extended weekend with perfect summer weather, endless sunshine and the right amount of fun and relaxation.  Almost every day consisted of coffee, sunshine, cooking out, patio drinks, a little bit of house work, a nap and some friends or family.

One of our highlights of the weekend included enjoying a part of our city that we don’t nearly take advantage of enough – a rooftop bar in the center of the city with great views, delicious drinks, and some tasty treats.  I planned a surprise date for B and I, he didn’t know where we were going until we were walking inside the building – it was a simple afternoon chatting, enjoying the scenery and then got a bonus of the airshow for the holiday weekend.

Like I mentioned, the three day weekend was just what the doctor ordered.  We were even able to celebrate my dad’s birthday with him, while my mom and dad passed through town on their travels!  It

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