Summer to Fall Essentials

There’s no doubt that as the seasons change, we have to adapt a few of our essentials – from staying extra hydrated during the heat to doubling up on hand lotion as the days grow colder.  We also switch up accessories, like our everyday handbag or stick with our classic pieces that work all year round. So here is a break down of a few of my latest daily fall essentials!
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Can you say hello fashion backpacks? I recently transitioned my everyday handbag into a convenient, cute and styling backpack that is not only functional but easy to wear.  I snagged mine at BJ’s Wholesale for $29.99 and it’s the perfect tan leather for fall, while also staying classic for other seasons. Here is a similar tan styled backpack from Target.

Glam Monogram & Mascara. These are two of my staples, no matter what the season. I love my oversized monogram letter ‘W’ (and sometimes I sport the ‘B’) for a classic statement piece while still being a bit understated.  And once I have my mascara on, I’m ready to conquer the day! With these two finishing touches, I am ready for anything – even with the added stress.

Workout Gear & a Ball Cap.  Since I’ve been back into my workout routine (slowly but surely!) I’ve come to get back into workout clothes as my essentials to help conquer my workouts.  My go-to outfit is a strappy sports bra, flowy tank and capri workout tights.  I’ve also been loving baseball caps, they’re perfect for after workout errands to cover up sweaty gross hair (or even after the spa!), keep the sun out on those afternoon or early morning runs and also are just super cute to dress down a casual look on the weekends.

Anti-Stress Fighters & Immune Health.  I mentioned I’ve been a bit stressed out lately, which has caused a few unwanted breakouts – I’ve been using my cleanproof, deep-cleaning charcoal mask by Mary Kay for a little extra fight against those nasty pimples.  Valerian Root is also my go-to at bedtime to help turnoff all those swirling thoughts that always seem to linger especially at night.  And, I’ve shared my love for Echinacea before and I am definitely not a Doc, but I swear by it and take it daily.
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So there you have it, these are my essentials as the transition from fall to summer starts, to keep that workout routine consistent, to help stay beautiful and feeling confident while also keeping up my immune and mental health! What are some of your essentials?

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Fitness Friday 10.18

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I thought I would switch up my typical Fitness Friday and share some helpful information around breast cancer, ways to be screened and other considerations to help prevent your chances of getting cancer.
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Knowing Your History.  This can be the difference of someone being an average risk to a high risk of having cancer.  Know your family history, whether it’s someone who has had invasive breast cancer or BRCA 1/2 gene mutation, especially if they’re a first relative.  If you have a family history your breast cancer screenings can start as early as 26 vs. an average risk person starting at 40.

Make Healthy Choices. These may seem like a big DUH, but how we treat our body and what we put into our body can greatly affect how we run!  All of these things that can prevent cancer may seem a bit obvious, avoiding use of tobacco, increased physical actively, working out regularly,  sun protection, and healthy diet choices are among the few.  Sometimes it seems like cancer will be unavoidable, but we can at least strive to make healthy decisions and actively avoid things we know are obvious cancer causers (tobacco – sun – etc.)

Check Your Body. Being aware of your body is important, whether it’s providing self exams to check your breasts for lumps or abnormalities or being aware of potential sun spots that may have not been there before.  It’s important to know your body so you can listen to your body and know when something might be off.  When in doubt, have it checked out my your physician.

Go to the Doctor. Maintaining your annual visits to your primary care physician and OBGYN can help mediate risks and also keep you on track for clinical breast exams – which should occur every three years starting at the age of 20, until it’s time to start receiving mammograms.

As a board member on a local organization that helps provide emergency financial assistance to women actively receiving breast cancer treatment who cannot afford life necessities – the risks of breast cancer are prevalent.   With that comes heart wrenching stories of those who lost the fight (like a 38-year old mom of two, who died within a year of being diagnosed), although it also allows for a lot of inspiring stories of those who’ve beat it.  Another sobering moment recently that hit home is my cousin who is my age going through preventative surgery as she has the BRCA gene mutation.  It’s something we can easily forget about, unless we know someone directly affected – so it’s good to stay informed and aware!

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Sources: Susan G. Komen – High Risk & Self Awareness| Mayo Clinic – Preventing Cancer

Hofbrauhaus Half Marathon – Recap

This past weekend marked our 7th half marathon and it’s incredible what a difference a year makes.  We… or I should say, I struggled through out last half marathon, the Mighty Niagara last September, and this year seemed like a breeze, well… mostly.

Let’s rewind a bit – we signed up for this race a little over 2-months ago, I saw the price was about to increase and thought, why not? I easily convinced B and a little while later our registration was secured.  I took a difference approach to half training this year, and it seemed to work out, as I definitely got a few more mid-size runs than I had anticipated.  We ran 10-miles last weekend – so we were feeling as ready as we’d ever be going into the half on Sunday morning.
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The start time for the race was 7am, which was good since it was going to warm up quickly and be pretty toasty by 9am, which would be just about finish time.  We started out at a good pace and keep in sync with each other, slowed down a little around mile 5 but then were cruising and feeling really good after mile 6, moving into miles 9 and 10.  The last three miles, were the longest and of course were straight pavement with the sun beating down on our backs.  Thankfully the first 10-miles were relatively covered, which helped immensely, or we definitely would’ve been screwed! But those last three were giving us flashbacks of last year’s struggle, but we didn’t stop, we kept running and we crossed that finish line together! I finished 12th out of 32 in my age division, (woah!) and we had a respectable time of 2:08:51 – it was a good run.
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We were covered in sweat when we crossed the finish line, and were happy to see the end.  The after party at Hofbrauhaus was a great atmosphere and the definition of a race-after party. In addition to the awesome metal all runners also got a beer and a brat, it was the perfect treat!  Live music was playing in the biergarten and there was a Starbucks truck sharing samples of their new coffee smoothies made with almond milk, yum!  It was an accomplishing start to our Sunday and good to check off another half.  As B said; “First half of 2018 and first one as a married couple. My run or die chick.”  ❤

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Image Source: Finish Line photo from Hermes Road Racing Cleveland

 

Blueberry Mint Mixer – The Recipe

Summer may feel like it’s coming to an end – but let’s hang onto it just a little longer… I have an easy and tasty cocktail to help fill those hot summer days and long weekends!
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What You’ll Need:
– Vodka of your choosing, I used Tito’s
– Tonic water
– Frozen blueberries
– Mint leaf ice cubes

Step-by-Step:
1. Prep! The night before, get some fresh mint and make some ice cubes with mint in them! Rip off mint leaves and place into the cube tray and then pour ice over, have it sit overnight and you’ll have some fancy and tasty ice ready for your drink!
2. Okay, time to make the drinks! Place your mint ice cubes into the glasses and sprinkle a spoon or two of frozen blueberries over the ice cubes.
3. Use a shot glass and pour your vodka in, this is totally on preference, but I usually keep my drinks 1-to-1 with alcohol and the mixer. Once you’ve added your vodka, top off with your tonic.
4. Give it a stir, cheers with your boo and enjoy!
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This one is easy to have all the ingredients stocked around the kitchen and has hints of summer written all over it with the light flavors from the mint and blueberries.  The pinkish-purple coloring really make this a fun drink – not to mention the pretty mint garnishes from the ice cubes!

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Dairy Free Taco Night Recipes

There are a few staples that I miss dearly being dairy-free among my many other dietary restrictions, a few of those being staples at taco night… *clears throat* queso… sour cream… cheese… all the good things!  So since I’ve been sticking to the opt-out of dairy lifestyle and finding substitutes or alternate recipes to fill in those gaps, I wanted to share a few recipes I have my eyes on and will be testing out in the kitchen here shortly.
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For any of those newer to the dairy free world, in case you didn’t know but a lot of recipes use cashews as a substitute for cheese.

Vegan Queso: I’ve been scoping out a few different recipes a spicy jalapeno recipe, this delicious looking one, and then one surprisingly with eggplant instead of cashews! I’ve already assessed a few of these and know I’ll have to peel back on some of the ingredients and alter accordingly to make sure they’re kosher for my stomach – but that is the fun part about cooking!

Dairy-Free Sour Cream: A 10-minute recipe to give you the taste and texture of real sour cream, sign me up!  This recipe looks so easy it would be silly not to try it out – and have as the perfect topper for build-your-own tacos!

While I continue to research and look for more dairy-free recipes to try, I feel like I can at least start getting back to a normal taco night by incorporating these recipes in.  I’m also super lucky that B not only is game to eat and try these different recipes out, but he often takes the first step and makes a lot of them with me!  It definitely helps being on the same page when it comes to diet and restrictions, because it can become a lot to remember!

Do you have any dairy free recipes that you just love? Leave me a comment! I want to try them!

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Image Sources: The Cookie Rookie | 24 Carrot Kitchen (recipes also linked above)

 

Fitness Friday 06.18

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

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

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

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

Happy Training!

 

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

House Tour – Home Office

Our home office has been the latest room we’ve been putting the finishing touches on, it started preemptively this summer when we had a lot of visitors and needed to make this space more functional for overnight guests.  With two spare bedrooms and our office, there are times when all three of these rooms are occupied with guests! The old college (uncomfortable and brown) futon wasn’t cutting it anymore – we needed to get a more sleep friendly piece that also worked with the whole home office feel as well.
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Instead of adding a bed into our office – we opted for a pullout sofa that was functional in both ways and matured the space! We purchased the couch site unseen, it’s also super versatile not only with the pull out (queen bed) but with it’s switchable left or right extended ottoman, perfect if we ever need to rearrange the space! This of course led to needing a new rug with some flecks of color and a fun pattern.  Mainly I was trying to find a subtle way to bring PINK into the space, well any space in fact – but bringing in subtle tones of pink in the rug and accent pillows seemed more acceptable (with B) than painting the walls pink. *smiles*

Our office is the one space in our house for our sports memorabilia being a mix of Cleveland sports with some New York Yankees thrown in. I grew up watching them, and they’ll always have my heart. It’s also the perfect space for our race medals and photos, in addition to other accomplishments and fun keepsakes – like all the Cavs Championship bobbles we had to buy.
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My initial vision for this space was for it to first and foremost be a functional spare guest room, but also be a bit glam with a taste of sporty flare.  We had the initial framework with the bold accent wall, and pops of white with the floating shelves and desk – we just needed to finish the space with the functional and pops of pink! I know there will still be things we tweak and more sports memorabilia added, but for the most part it’s another room that is finally gotten a little more love and is functional for us.

Fitness Friday 02.18

As I reach my one-year anniversary this month of being back in the fitness game, I continue to feel more and more vested and determined to not only maintain all of my progress, but to continue to set new goals and reach them!  One aspect of our health and wellness that can often get overlooked is preventive care for our immune systems.  It unfortunately is the season of sick, and it’s important we not only stay fit and active but take care of ourselves to stay healthy!
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Here are some ways that I like to keep a tap on my immune system, stay-in tune with my body and also work preventatively against getting sick!

Sleep: One of the most important ways to stay healthy is making sure you get enough rest. I’ve become more attuned to my body when it’s asking for this and have learned not to fight it anymore.  When the body needs sleep – give it sleep, it’s helping you store-up and fight off anything brewing within.

Daily Echinacea: This is a herbal natural supplement* that supports immune health and helps fight off illnesses.  I take echinacea daily for preventative, and multiple times a day (based off the label) when I am starting to feel not well. It has helped in many instances were I feel I’m coming down with something and I swear by it.*

Vitamin C: This is another supplement that I have in my daily routine on top of echinacea to help build up that immune system as preventative care.  When I’m starting to feel a tinge of something come on, I double up on Vitamin C.  Emergency-C packets are a great thing to have around the house in those situations to give an extra boost.*

Exercise. Yup! Regular exercise promotes general good health which in turn benefits your immune system health as well. On the flip side, just like sleep, I’ve learned to listen to my body when I need to take a break on exercise (for rest!) but I’ve also gauge when I can push myself and still exercise to release the toxins.  Maintaining this into your routine helps promote that healthy lifestyle.

There are many other factors that can affect your immune and general health like stress, your diet and eating the proper nutrient foods, and even alcohol intake. When working to maintain a healthy lifestyle and work towards fitness goals, it’s important to maintain your best self to reach those! This includes actively working towards your immune health daily and not just when you’re starting to feel sick.  Remember that if you’re sick all the time you won’t be hitting the gym or reaching any of those goals!

 

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and never will claim to be one, so please consult with yours on what would work best for you to help support your immune health on a daily basis. 

Local Love: Yogatta Give Back

Today’s local love is spotlighting one of my favorite local businesses which combines yoga and giving back to the community.   The founder, Danielle, also happens to be a dear friend and it’s been so impressive what she’s been able to accomplish having just started Yogatta Give Back this past June. In seven months YGB has supported 15-local non-profits and has participated in 4-neighborhood clean-ups.
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What I love the most about Yogatta Give Back is you’re not only taking care of your own body, mind and soul, but you’re also contributing and giving back to your own local community in the process. Giving back is something I always have on my list of to-do’s but don’t always find a way for it to fit in regularly, with events offered weekly, I can refine my yoga skills AND give back on a routine basis to local organizations.

Classes vary from donations being monetary (and often built into the class fee) or specific to the non-profit from canned goods, to school supplies, or simply picking up trash.  In the warmer months, classes take place in various locations like rooftop patios, local parks or community centers. In these cooler months, Danielle leads practice in historic fire houses or partnering facilities.  With classes held multiple times throughout the week, the opportunities to practice yoga and give back are endless!

You can learn more about Yogatta Give Back; here and also be sure to check  out Facebook and Instagram!