Winter Weekends – Christmas Tree

The first weekend in December means the Christmas decorations are out and the tree is cut down! Growing up in, essentially, farm land, and now living in a suburb of a city, it’s a little harder to find Christmas tree farms without having to go for a drive.

We had found the perfect spot last year, had our cash ready and went for a drive. Well, we started out walking and looking for the imperfectly-perfect tree.  And we kept looking… and looking… and looking… it got to the point where we were about to leave and just buy a pre-cut one from a larger department store (no fun!) but then, there she was! Literally at the very end (or beginning), right before we were heading back – tall and skinny just like we wanted.

She was a little goofy, but we went for it, and cut her down!  We also got a fresh wreath and a bundle of swag and then headed back to grab a few other items to finish trimming the tree and house.  Once we got the tree in the house and in the stand, it was seriously perfect. We spent the rest of the weekend listening to Christmas music, decorating inside and out, watched Home Alone and stayed cozy at home!

 

Fitness Friday no. 23

It’s the first Friday in December! Now that the holidays are right around the corner, I wanted to share 4 simple tips that I’ll be using this month to help maintain and not gain.

fitness-friday-no-23-the-bee-life

  1. Eat Breakfast. Don’t skip out on breakfast. I think it’s human nature to try not eat if we have a party that night, so that we can fully enjoy the snacks and treats – well this will only lead you to overeating, and not the right things.  Eat a good, healthy breakfast and don’t skip out on other meals! Consider eating proteins and healthy fats that will fill you up throughout the day.
  2. Build your Immune System. This should always be part of your daily regime, but especially around the holidays be sure your taking care of your body inside and out. Taking Vitamin C, echinacea and other immune system building antics can help in the season of sneezing, coughing and colds!
  3. Get that Workout In. But don’t stress over it or kill yourself to get there, know the number of workouts you want to get in… no the realistic amount… I’ve gotten to the point where three workouts during the work week is my minimum goal – I don’t always achieve it but I get pretty darn close! And when I beat it, it’s even better!
  4. Limit the Sweets.  Yes three cookies are always better than two.  But when you’re about to pick up that third or fourth cookie, think again and spread out the sweets. This goes for alcohol too, try and limit the number of beers, or stick with vodka or gin mixed with soda water and a fresh garnish!

What’re your tips and tricks to help beat holiday weight gain?  Share them in the comments below or on social @mmariebee.

Happy Holidays!

7 Insta’s to Get You Amped for Xmas

I get so excited every Christmas season once the stores start lining their shelves with decorations, greenery, ornaments and nutcrackers.  Social media is also a crutch to find the latest inspiration for my Christmas decor, new DIY’s, wrapping paper ideas, food, holiday dress… you name it.  So I wanted to share my favorite social accounts (since I am always sharing off Pinterest) to help you feel inspired or just get amped up for Christmas (and secretly envy their perfect trees and living rooms).

14547580_138826539932926_2771364215095558144_n1
@landeelu: Definitely feeling more festive on the inside too! Oh how I love the glow of a Christmas tree. Truly magical. #christmastree #christmaslights #christmasmagic
15101635_1629796847313956_1654694223036809216_n1
@peabodyandsassafras: This week’s winner for our #create4theholidays challenge is this amazing black and white mantle by the ever talented and sweet @craftedsparrow! Make sure you’re playing along with us to be featured on all the host’s accounts next week.
15034622_118221211995366_6497343035519533056_n
@dearlillie: Our den decorated for Christmas is up on the blog! (Link in profile). We’ve had most of these ornaments since our first married Christmas ten years ago. There’s a detailed source list on the blog along with lots of pictures and links to all the other bloggers we are joining for the #farmhouseholidayseries! – Jenni
15047981_394681884204175_964802362243809280_n1
@memehillstudio: Well it’s looking a lot like Christmas inside and out! More of Chloe’s room and a big shout out to my niece @cralphy_5 for helping me out alllll day. Love you Char! Both chairs from @raymourflanigan, ornaments, rug, desk from @homegoods, striped panels from @overstock,tree from @walmart , ribbon and ornaments from @michaelsstores … more pics to come. Have a wonderful night friends and keep sharing #howyouholiday!
15035635_1171822979567826_5135532016900505600_n1
@ourfifthhouse: Happy Friday friends! #fifthhouseholiday #oursixthhouse
14547747_349036608796196_2849261985403502592_n1
@diaryofdaveswife: The NOEL house has never looked better! 😉 We got all our exterior lights up today and I can’t tell you how much I am loving my new red door! I have a few more touches to put on the inside and we are officially ready for Christmas! 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄 . . . #thenoelhouse #mesa #mesaarizona #az #instaaz #hillviewacres #daveswifeshouse #christmas #christmaslights #thatsdarling #abmhappylife #abmlifeissweet #abmlifeisbeautiful #abmathome #abmlifeiscolorful
15101545_1257806580932145_7057578775768203264_n
@theeverygirl_: 🎁 GIVEAWAY! 🎁 Win a $3,000 package to treat yoself to some much needed pre-holiday pampering this season. We’ve partnered with some of our favorite brands to cover everything from 💅🏼 to 🍷. Click the link in our profile to enter! || photo by @sarahkjp

What I love about social media is that you can find other people/accounts that share the same style as you, but also find different styles that inspire you.  I’ve got lots of ideas up my sleeves for our home and Christmas this year, but I am a firm believer that it’s always a work in progress, I would love to have a perfectly done house (like the ones above) over night, but I’m still finding my styles, my pieces, my likes and dislikes! Either way it will definitely feel like Christmas around our house.

Share your Christmas decor inspiration with me on instagram @mmariebee!

 XO –

Photos above link to instagram accounts featured on this blog post. 

Holiday Party Essentials

One thing that I absolutely cannot wait for are the holidays and all the amazing parties! Here are some holiday essentials to get you ready for every type of party, from family dinners, work parties, low key nights with friends working all the way up until NYE. These versatile must-haves include awesome timeless dresses, classic sweaters and statement pants and tops!
holiday-party-essentials
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

The key to nailing every holiday look this season is easy; keep it simple AND know when to pull out those statement pieces like metallic patterned pants and sparkly sequined shirts! Don’t be afraid to keep it classic with red plaids or plain dresses for more casual looks or dress them up with statement necklaces, dark tights and cute booties or a slick pair of heels.

I saw the plaid sweater (#7) in Target and bought it immediately! Not to mention it was on sale during a BOGO.  Start stocking up now because those good pieces will get snatched up quick from other fashionistas!

What’re your favorite pieces this holiday season? Tag your upcoming party looks at me on instagram @mmariebee.

Sparkle on!

Christmas Hangover.

Am I the only one with a Christmas hangover?  Somehow, I don’t think that I am. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas, full of love, laughter, sweet moments… and not too much drama (let’s face it, families are the best at drama).

This Christmas was one of new traditions and changes. I spent Christmas for the first time ever away from “home” – and at our home with B, our first Christmas in five years that we’ve spent together!

The weather has been a bit amazing too – mid to high 50’s in the midwest, is NOT common especially for this time of the year.  Being able to take Moz on a walk on Christmas Eve in yoga pants and a sweatshirt was amazing. In fact we’d joked about a month previous that it’d be cool to do the exact thing.

Our Christmas Eve was nice and busy – we did a lot of prep around the house, I did a lot of baking and Christmas dinner prep, and of course a few last minute gifts with B.  We went to church and then came home snapped a few pictures and made some pizza’s and flipped the TV between It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf!  We also toasted with Manhattan’s in honor of my Grandma’s birthday and to new traditions.

Christmas morning we woke up and opened our stockings and presents – we had a great Christmas and both spoiled each other.  We relaxed a bit and then got ready and headed to B’s grandma Dee’s house for breakfast. We then headed over to his parent’s for presents and a movie for most of the afternoon! We finally headed back up to our place just in time to prep and cook dinner while my parents made it into town!  My aunts came over too – and we had a nice dinner around the table talking and enjoying each-others company.  More presents ensured after dinner from my parents!  It was then almost time to call it a night.

The mayhem continued on Saturday – after relaxing a bit in the morning we headed down the road to my aunts house for Hampel Christmas. Snacking and drinking, playing a new pickle game, laughing, dancing and catching up was the next few hours until dinner.  Pork, sauerkraut, gravy and dumplings are the main dinner items – presents and white elephant followed after dinner and then the games commenced.  We always play Pass the Trash and this year played a few fun games of LRC.

Finally, Sunday was B’s birthday – so we headed to church with our parents and then out to brunch right after.  It wasn’t until almost 3 o’clock we finally had the house back to ourselves and were able to crash for a nice nap!

It was four days of non-stop family, drinking, eating, and a lot of fun.  I’ve enjoyed taking some down time today to continue to relax and recover and get the house back in order.

Merry Christmas!

 

Throwback Thursday – Christmas

Since we’re just about at that week away point for Christmas, I wanted to share a little TBT of past Christmas’ a look back at the memories and traditions, and oh how I’ve changed over the years!

What I love about the holidays is making cut out cookies with my mom on Christmas Eve, listening to Christmas music non-stop and still having the same reaction whenever Mariah Carey’s – All I Want For Christmas comes on (which is getting so excited and belting it out!) I love getting excited to walk down the stairs in the morning to see all the presents (Yes, Santa is real). I love our big family parties we have (always after Christmas) – I love going home to see my family and dear friends and I love getting dressed up for Church and singing at the evening mass. I love the waffles and bacon my parents make for brunch on Christmas morning, now with mimosas! I love eating cut out cookies as soon as we go downstairs before any present opening commences. I love opening our stockings! I love when there is a fresh coating of snow on Christmas morning. I love the new traditions that’re being created, and I love remembering the old!

Let the countdown commence!

New Traditions.

This 2015 Christmas season is going to be full of new traditions, one of which was this past weekend! So in the past and as I’ve mentioned before, the first weekend in December is usually spent in Upstate NY with my parents helping them get their Christmas tree.  Well this year I broke the tradition after nearly 5-years plus the 20 years prior to that when I lived at home.

One of the reason I wanted to stay was my office company party – this was the first year significant others could join, and the first time in the 3-years I’ve worked there that I decided to go for that reason.  It was a good time! And nice for B to meet a lot of the people I spend most of my time with.


Saturday afternoon we ventured out to the country to this small Christmas Tree farm. Which finding a place to go around a super urban area was a challenge in and of itself! I did not want to pick up our tree at a Lowe’s or Home Dept – I wanted the experience and also a lower price.  So of course once we got to this place, they only accepted cash or check, in which we had neither.  So we ventured back to the town we’d driven through and luckily found an ATM and grabbed some cash and headed back (so typical for us). IMG_9216FullSizeRenderIt was just what I was looking for – handmade wreath’s, cut your own tree’s, hot coco and a gift shop! The search for the perfect tree was cold and long, since when we’d left our house and by the time we got out there the temperature had dropped about 20-degrees and we were dressed for the warmer.  But we FINALLY found the tree, there was a lot to search through, especially since we wanted to get a tree that was significantly taller than 6’6″ B – a selfie was immediately taken.

IMG_9208
After B cut it down, we walked it back to the little hut to have it wrapped up, grabbed a fresh handmade wreath (because you just can’t beat it!) and we grabbed some hot coco and hit the road back to the house. IMG_9213We will definitely be going back next year, armed with cash and dressed warmer!  But it’s those little things that add to the experience and make it that much more memorable.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon putting the finishing touches on the tree and around the house! It really feels like Christmas, and I’m so happy how everything has turned out, I hope to share final photos with you all soon!

I can’t wait to see what other new traditions are in store for us this Christmas!

 

Fitness Friday

Here are some ways to get a kick start to your New Years resolution before the major holiday weight gain sets in.2

1. Sign up for a race, now! Don’t wait for those prices to go up, spring and summer races are still priced low – so get ahead of the curve and register for a race or two sooner than later. That way you’ll also be able to a jump start and maximize your training schedule! I’ve already signed up for one in April and have my eyes set on one in March.

2. Eat healthy, but still enjoy. Since the month of December is nothing but endless weekends of parties and lavish dinners there is no excuse to not indulge. At the same time, be smart during the week and eat healthy and light. Fresh greens and protein with extra water. The day of your parties? Be sure to eat a good breakfast and hearty lunch, this will help you from snacking too much on hors d’oeuvres or over eating your main meal.

3. Easy on the alcohol. Same rule for the food applies for the alcohol. Cut back on your free days, even if you’re used to having a drink or two. Make sure to drink water throughout your party nights and stay away from shots! Also, the less you drink the more likely you’ll be motivated to get a workout in the next day.

4. Don’t miss a workout. Don’t let a party or house guests get in the way – the second you break your routine the more likely you’ll be to fall off track and your resolution won’t be looking so hot.

5. Switch it up. Start exploring some new workouts and facilities to mix it up and give you a new challenge – starting new habits now will make you stronger tomorrow.

Let’s start getting back and stay on track with that healthy grove and enjoy these holiday parties!

 

My Top 5 Christmas Movies

One of the things I love the most about this time of the year is having the excuse to watch Christmas movies over and over again because you’ve only got a month to get them all in.  Here is a listing of my favorite Christmas movies that I watch a few too many times as soon as December 1st hits.

top 5 christmas movies

Of course there are a handful of others that usually play on TV that you just get glued too.  Another unconventional movie I love to watch during the holiday’s is When Harry Met Sally – it’s one of my favorites and reminds me of the holidays!

Last year B and I tried to start a tradition of picking a movie night during the week and start watching these classics – turn everything else off and just watch fabulous Christmas movies.  It was a little tough last year as we were working on getting our house painted and ready to move in (mid-December) and then the million other house projects on top of work and the normal holiday hustle and bustle.  But this year we are starting a new and will have success! I even put it on our shared calendars so that we would make a date of it!

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?