Father’s Day Gift Guide

It’s officially June! Which mean’s Father’s Day is coming right up on June 16! To help pick out the perfect gift for dad,  I’ve pulled together and sourced some great deals that will also save you some money (win-win) while making a big impact and stealing dad’s heart.  Although it’s good to spoil dad, remember to work within your budget and do what you can – it’s the thought that counts, but please if you only remember or can get one thing, just get Dad a card and write him a sweet and thoughtful note.
Father's Day Gift Guide - hte bee life
BOGO Power Tools: Home Depot is having a deal with Ryobi power tools – if you buy two batteries for $99 you get a free Ryobi power tool! Which are on average either $69 or $79 for the free power tool, this is a really great deal considering you’d send more than $99 if you bought the power tool and then the battery.  Win days hear with some new equipment for his workspace. This deal ends June 19 – so plenty of time to order in time for Dad.

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is right around the corner – Sunday, May 12 – so if your in need of help on ideas to spoil mom this year, you’re in luck! I created this gift guide with a variety of ideas that can stand alone or be paired together to wow-mom.  From self care to home decor, to just because – you’ll be pampering and spoiling mom with these simple and personalized, yet easy gifts!
Mother's Day Gift Guide - the bee life
Self-Care: Gardening season is here, which means extra hand washing and dirt! Gear mom up with these fashionable floral gardening gloves from Williams Sonoma under $20 (on sale!)  And whether it’s self care after gardening or excessive hand-washing from home projects, Aveda’s hand relief cream is a must-have for anyone you love (and yourself!) it’s so luxurious – not to mention it’s the best hand healer, which is why it’s one of my daily essentials!  Lastly, spoil mom with a new robe, because you know the one she has was around when you still lived at home (eek!) – Anthro has a ton of beautiful options that’ll make mom feel like a million bucks and make her want to donate that old robe, ASAP. <Shoppable links below>

Home Decor: Joanna Gaines’ Hearth & Hand line at Target has THE perfect mug for mom, it’s simple and the perfect reminder to mom that you love her (because it says ‘Love You, Mom’) – especially if you can’t see or talk to her everyday!  Stay on the Chip & Jojo train and get mom Joanna’s newest book Homebody is the perfect guide for anyone who loves decorating or looking for design inspiration for their home!

Just Because. The Anthro Block Letter Monogram necklace is so simple and so elegant, whether it’s a first or last name initial, mom will absolutely love this – it’s an easy and thoughtful gift that can work for anyone on your list! You can’t forget a card for mom! Go homemade or local for a personalized touch.  This card from Boundary & Thorn is the perfect mix of florals and watercolors – mom will want to frame it!

Shop the Gift Guide: Williams Sonoma Gardening Gloves | Target Glass Jar Candle | Homebody Book by Joanna Gaines | Anthropologie Block Letter Monogram Necklace | Aveda Hand Relief Cream | Love You, Mom Mug from Target | Anthropologie Flora Robe | Boundary & Thorn Mother’s Day Car

The best part is you can even pair a few of these items together as little gift sets, or with other different pieces: like the Anthro Robe with a spa gift card or bottle of mom’s favorite wine.  The coffee mug could be paired with mom’s favorite coffee beans or k-cups, and the gardening gloves and hand cream would go great with a flower pot and fun flower for mom to plant!  But remember, beyond just spoiling your mom – make sure you tell her you love her. xox

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Last Minute Holiday Fashion Guide

Last year I fell in love with furs – mainly because of my winter wedding and then pulling those fur wedding vibes into my holiday looks. Fur is still my go-to piece for all my holiday looks this season!  Here is some inspiration for last minute holiday looks from my closet – plus I sourced some current pieces in case you want to shop any of the pieces (and a few of them are on sale!!)
Holiday Fashion Fur - bee life (1)Formal Christmas Party.  Burgundy is a great warm and sultry color to introduce into your wardrobe especially around the holidays.  Now pair burgundy with some floral prints and a classic capelet fur and you’re holiday ready! I love this look as it’s a bit more formal for a party without feeling overly Christmasy – not to mention it’s a little sexy too!

Classic & Comfy Plaid with Fur. Okay, total disclaimer this might be my favorite outfit – it’s so stinkin’ cute plus it screams Christmas! My plaid tights were any early season purchase from Old Navy, I can no longer find them on their website, but I found some for $13 at Walmart (linked below!) My awesome shoes (which are basically a shoe version of an ugly sweater) are from Katy Perry and appear to no longer be available – but she has new festive ones for this season to shop!Holiday Fashion Fur - bee life (2)
Fur Meet Metallic.  For a happy medium between dressing up and casual – I love mixing this classic blush scoop tee with a fun metallic skirt, throw that fur capelet on and you have a wintery look ready for a holiday party or evening mass.  This look is the right amount of festive without going over the top!

The Ultimate NYE look. When I think NYE, I think gold, glitter, sequins and sparkle… so what better look that a sequin dress and a fun fur vest!  When I was looking for a similar piece (my gold sequin dress is from Target last year) I found this adorable black large sequin dress from H&M that is on sale <linked below> and I might like it better than my gold dress! Anyways, this outfit is party and champagne ready.  Holiday Fashion Fur - bee life (3)

Shop the pieces: Faux Fur Capelet – Nordstrom $83 [on sale!] | Lace Shift Dress – Nordstrom $59 | Burgundy Floral Sheath Dress – Old Navy $26 [on sale!] | Red Plaid Leggings – Walmart $13.95 | Faux Fur Vest – Target $39.99 | Sequin Sleeve Shirt – Target $16.99 | Metallic Animal Print Wrap Skirt – Express $29.95 [on sale!] Black Sequin Dress – H&M $34.99

One of my favorite fashion times of the year is the holidays – it’s an excuse to dress up and be as sparkly as you want!  I’ll definitely be rocking a few of these looks in the next couple weeks for coming office parties, family festivities, Christmas Eve mass and of course NYE!  What’re some pieces you’ll be incorporating into your holiday looks this year?

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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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Bee Holiday Hacks – Christmas Cards

With the holidays quickly approaching, I wanted to share one of my holiday hacks for Christmas cards!  I love creating and sending Christmas cards, and usually like to get a head start on these – but I really got a jump start on this year and also wanted to share some other ways I like to share the Christmas spirit in a thoughtful and personal way, so you can too!
Holiday Hacks - the bee life
Plan Ahead.  Christmas cards can sneak up on you, so try to plan ahead whether it’s booking a portrait session with your honey or family at the end of Summer or early fall, or it’s getting ahead and ordering small batches of cards as you can.

Take Advantage of Freebies! 
I love Shutterfly – and luckily because I have the app and get notifications I can pick and choose which promos I want to take advantage of.  Shutterfly and Tinyprints were having 10-free cards throughout the month of October which can save you a ton of money when you’re only paying a few dollars for shipping!  You can also do this for address labels – I was buying Christmas patterns in the Summer!

Mix It Up.  Don’t be afraid to mix-up your Christmas cards.  Sometimes I can’t decide on which style, color or pattern I like – so I order multiple versions!  This is also a great way to use multiple photos for a gallery or one for more of a statement.  It’s also OK to not send photo-cards to everyone on your list, buy some fun Christmas cards to mix into your group, that way you won’t be breaking the bank!

Glam Your Envelopes.  Don’t be afraid to pick a colored envelope or add in a paper insert.  These can be fun surprises to recipients and pull the entire look of the cards together.  Also, if you use a darker envelop color it can be a fun way to write in gold when addressing your envelopes!

Personalize It.  Beyond sharing vacation pictures or memories throughout the year with friends and family that you might not see often, I always like to at least write our names or a little note on the back of the cards. Sadly, Christmas cards can easily be impersonal with the easy ability of printing/typing whatever you want to say!  So try and find ways to personalize it so you’re friends and family don’t feel like an after thought, or you just stuffed a card into an envelope.

Holiday Hacks - Cards - bee lifeIf you’re going the photo-card route, these can add up quick, so find ways to either use a promo code or take advantage of those promotions to get some free holiday cards!  Don’t be afraid to mix-up your styles or photos, my one go-to design pick is always trying to mix in some plaid and having a picture of Moz or two.  One last hack is making sure to purchase Christmas stamps in mid-November, AKA now, so that you can get the cute designs before they run out!

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Shop My Cards: Merry Colorful Holiday Card from Tinyprints | Diagonal Wishes Holiday Card from Tinyprints | Gradient Scripted Merry Christmas Card from Shutterfly | Cheerful Foliage Christmas Card from Shutterfly

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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Latest Obsessions 02.18

It’s that time to share my latest obsessions this month!  And these obsessions are all around the house, the latest trends and styles that I’ve got my eye on to help make a statement.
Latest Obsessions 02.18 - the bee life
Floral Curtains. Obsessed with adding any pop of floral I can throughout the house, and a great way to do this is with floral curtains, especially when styled right, absolutely stunning. I haven’t worked floral curtains into our home just yet (chairs and pillows, yes!) but they’re always in the back of my mind trying to see how they might fit when I’m working through room updates. I love the vintage like patterns and bold colors these can bring to a room – I’ve got my eyes on this pair from T.J. Maxx.

Kate Spade Kitchen. We received a handful of Kate Spade goodies for our kitchen from our wedding registry and they’re some of my favorite things, from glasses, to serving platters and bowls, mugs, a rose vase, champagne flutes, oven mitts, and canisters. Not to mention, “Eat Cake for Breakfast” is basically my mantra – it’s become a thing.

Chunky Knit Blankets. These make such a statement and can be that finishing touch to a bed or sofa, and I’m completely obsessed with them (and that bedroom above).  Although I am NOT obsessed with the price tag on these beauties, but that’s another story! Etsy has a lot of these in various colors and sizes, too and I love this one from Ethan Allen.  I’ll be shopping around a bit more for a decent price!

Statement Tile. I love that patterned, statement tiles are becoming more and more popular and accessible. This patterned tile is not only affordable but classic and available at Lowes!  I hope to one day have some stunning tile like this in my bathroom or kitchen.

What have you been obsessing over lately? Any latest trends that you are dying to bring into your house?

Image Sources: Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right

End of Summer – Bucket List

I know, I know, I hate to say it, but being the second day of August, Fall is quickly around the corner. And although we were fortunate to take 2-great vacations, there are still a lot of things I want to do! So to keep summer going, I’m sharing my end of summer bucket list to stay motivated and to soak up as much sun as possible!
Summer Bucket List - the bee life

  1. Patio date night:  This one is a two-part deal. I want B and I to have a night out on our new patio with our fire pit, a bottle of champagne, and just talk the night away. The second part would be going out and enjoying another intimate patio at a favorite restaurant with some cocktails and small plates.
  2. Enjoy downtown: Since we both work downtown, we don’t always make it back out, so planning a weekend night or Sunday afternoon perusing the city is a must.
  3. Watch the sunset at the beach: Easy enough and something we don’t nearly take advantage of being so close to the beaches.
  4. Take Moz on more walks: I don’t want our busy schedules to get in the way of getting Moz out for a walk!
  5. Go to a baseball game: Surprisingly we haven’t gotten to a ball game yet this summer, and it just isn’t summer without a stadium hot dog and the seventh inning stretch!  We’ve already made plans with friends to get to one.
  6. Lay out in the sun: My early summer tan is fading! And a good afternoon in the sunshine is always the perfect fix to any summer blues… or fading tans.
  7. Go golfing: With B of course! I’m not an avid golfer, but I always enjoy it, so a round of 9 holes would be fun.
  8. Kayaking: We went kayaking last summer and it was the perfect activity to jump start a weekend morning and enjoy the water.
  9. Weekend at the cabin: We’ve been so busy that this might end up being a fall activity, but it’s been a yearly tradition so we have to get back and turn off for a weekend.
  10. Finish some books: I’ve started a few books, that I need to finish! Even though I enjoy reading, unless I have dedicated travel time, reading is a forced thought. I need to finish, Big Little Lies, 16th Seduction and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

It’s already going to be a busy end to the summer, so I hope sprinkling in a few of these bucket list items will be fun and welcomed! What’s on your end of summer bucket list?

5 Reasons To Host a Fall Party

If you don’t have an upcoming fall party planned, I highly recommend getting something in the books whether it’s later this month or into early November. And if you’re not convinced why you should be hosting a fall party… or that it can be SUPER easy, let me tell you how. reasons-to-host-a-fall-partyBrunch & Football – Throwing together a football brunch can be really easy too, with a magic thing called breakfast casserole (recipe to come)! Most of the prep for a breakfast casserole is the night ahead, so all you have to do the morning of is throw it in the oven.  Have a TV with football? Boom, turn it on and grab some mimosas or bloody mary makings and your set for a day of drinking, friends and football – check out our brunch last fall.

Chili – I’ll be sharing my mom’s delicious chili recipe (that I’ve adopted overtime) on an upcoming post.  But as long as you have a killer recipe, a box or two of cornbread and a crockpot, all you need to do is throw the ingredients together in the morning and by mid-afternoon or by dinner time you’ll have a delicious, easy to serve, low mess and matience dish for your guests!  Have some friends bring some beers and dessert and you’ve got a low key night. Light some candles, start a fire and pull out some games and you’ve got a fun night ahead of you.

Pumpkin Beers – Literally craft a party around pumpkins beers (or harvest blends).  Have your guests bring a six pack or two, and let the tasting begin.  You could even create score cards and a rating system for everyone to weigh in.

Breweries or New Spots –  Don’t want to host something at your house? Plan a gathering at a local pub or a new brewery with your favorites.  Not only will there be no mess to clean up at the end of the night, but you’ll be able to try something new or enjoy a fan favorite.  Then end the night with a bonfire back at your house!

Pie Baking – Have a girls afternoon and bake some pies! Pop open some wine or rose, share some recipes and bake some yummy pies or fall favorites to work out the kinks for upcoming holiday celebrations!

The summer’s are always so busy so try and catch-up with friends now before the holiday craze starts up again! You don’t need to be too elaborate or overthink your upcoming fall party, it can be easy, low key and affordable!

Hosting an upcoming fall party? Share your pictures or hacks with me on twitter or instagram @mmariebee.