Must-Have Birthday Party Decor

With a few of the stress out of the way with my last post, it’s time for all the fun. It may be no surprise to my bee readers that March for me is all about my birthday and St. Patrick’s Day (only because it’s the day after), so that means eating cake, fun party plans and festive decor!  So, continuing on this birthday party train — here are a few finishing touches that are easy and essential for any party celebration and can really help pull in a thoughtful and personalized flair.
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Balloons. Ok, helium shortage aside — balloons are super fun and can be made affordable with the personalize helium tanks, and also make transporting and decorating easy and convenient to decorate in the party space! Bare minimum, having big gold numbers for the big milestone birthday is an absolute MUST. Ordering those off Amazon can also help save on cost and have the balloons shipped right to your door. Even adding a little bit of helium into balloons so they cover the ceiling with long pretty strings is also a simple yet bold look!

Polaroid Frame & Polaroids. This is another Dollar Store hack! If you grab their foam board, it’s conveniently the same rectangular size as a polaroid — so tracing and cutting out to make it a hand held photo prop is another fun way to make a memorable mark. You can even include a hashtag, date or event title on the bottom for all the pictures! Not feeling crafty? You can order customized ones from Etsy. If you have a polaroid camera, this is another fun way to capture memories and moments in front of a photo wall or all the faces who are helping celebrate!

Festive Centerpieces. As much as I love fresh flowers for parties and events, there are simple and cost effective ways to add a little party flair to dessert tables, centerpieces and food spreads.  Grabbing a bunch of party blowers from the Dollar Store and throwing them into small glass vases from the Dollar Store, is a fun and party festive way to add a little extra flair — and even more perfect if you’re throwing a surprise party!
PartyEssentials(1)Dessert. Whether it’s a fun party cake that represents the birthday bee’s personality and favorite flavors to a tee or custom sugar cookies with fun designs and year dates, having a variety of desserts, favorite snacks (like frosted animal crackers or chocolate covered pretzels) or just a super fancy cake, is a fun way to add another personalized touch while making the birthday bee extra happy. Don’t forget, left overs for breakfast!

A Signature Cocktail. A festive cocktail and even themed party cups is another easy finishing touch that can serve as a conversation starter and fun party favor! Whether the cocktail is a play on the number, or an ode to the birthday bee’s favorite beverage and mixer with a fun garnish, patterned paper straws or golden party umbrellas for a fun birthday beverage!

Simple Photo Collage. Creating a simple photo wall of the birthday bee can be the perfect way to celebrate the big milestone birthday and looking back at all the years before! Using a string and festive clothes pins can be a cute way to display all the pictures, also clipping onto your blind strings is another alternative that can help fill up a space without making away from streamers and other fun party decor!
PartyEssentials(3)Another easy way to help keep yourself on track and also having a cohesive look for your next birthday bash is picking a theme whether it’s a 90’s throwback theme, a color scheme, or a mood you want to invoke — this can help keep you in line for picking all these finishing touches and really make a statement!

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My Truth About 30.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this post, how I wanted to approach it, how far I wanted to go, how honest I wanted to be, which direction I wanted to take it… IF I even wanted to write and share this post. And here we are. A few weeks before my 30th and I really did want to share a bit of my truth around my resistance towards turning the dreaded 30.
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photo: Michelle M. Loufman Photography

First things first, I’m not sure if it was my 16th or 18th birthday (my mom probably knows) that I really wasn’t thrilled about getting older, but ever since then I never liked getting older and have had a bit of Peter Pan syndrome with every birthday that comes (except for my 21st 😝).  So there has always been that, plus I’ve never really liked old wrinkly people and I don’t want to get old — plain and simple as that.

The second reason is all the social pressure that comes with 30, especially as a married woman. This social pressure and expectation of starting a family. There was a point in my life when I did think about having kids (very, very briefly), because that was what you do, you get married and you have kids and that is life. The second part of that thought was, I would want to have them when I was 30, because that’s how old my mom was when she had me, and she is my best friend now and I wouldn’t change that for the world — but this was always an added pressure that has continued to build as the years inch closer to 30.

Here’s the other thing, I’ve never been a baby person, I’ve never been that person who says “I can’t wait to have kids” or “I was born to be a mom.”  There are people who I know and are dear friends who have always openly talked about not if but when. And the when for me as of late has not been a question. But, B and I are on the same page, we have always been open and honest and have this conversation and this, to me, is what counts the most.

first photo: Michelle M. Loufman Photography

So why bother sharing all this? Well, I feel like there aren’t as many women out there sharing this perspective — maybe I’m only 1 of 10… maybe there are a few others hiding out there just waiting and hoping people stop asking or hinting at kids. Maybe, like me you feel confused, hurt and unsure about what is right and what is ok. And it wasn’t until I saw this interview with Margot Robbie that I just wanted to scream; “PREACH GIRL!” Society and the people around us, do a really good at making us feel like something is wrong with us because we’re different or don’t want the same things as the vast majority of the population do.

So there you have it. My double edge sword and truth of all my anxiety and fears of turning 30. I was recently critiqued for being a bit too honest and sharing my feelings, but that is honestly something that makes me, me and something I pride myself on especially in a world that is so politically correct all the time. And I always tell my mom, and B… I’m an open book you just have to ask me 😘.

So now with all that out of the way, let’s get to celebrating this birthday!

xox

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*DISCLAIMER: In two years, we could get hit by the baby bug (but I sure hope not)… but maybe it happens. In four years, we could decide we want to adopt and share our home with another soul who needs a bit of love on this earth. In six years, we might still be here with 4 dogs, traveling the world, hosting parties and loving on our nieces and nephews. And all of that is OK. 

Travel Tips for Planning an Affordable Weekend Trip

I love taking trips with B to new places we’ve never been! We always try to get a couple trips in throughout the year, some bigger and grander than the ones, and some are just longer weekends away that are more affordable and sprinkled into the mix. If you’re a working couple like B and I, not only are we juggling busy family/friend commitments and house project bucket lists, but have this thing called PTO that makes traveling as much as we want too somewhat limited… especially when you throw other life items into that PTO mix. So I’ve got a few travel trips to not only help plan out more trips, but also how to save some pennies while still exploring and eating your way through new places.
TravelTips(5)Ok! Here is how to plan an affordable and fun weekend getaway!

1. Scheduling A “Long” Weekend. We always like to try and plan trips around holiday weekends, that we already get a day off from work for, or a timeframe when we’re already going to be taking some PTO off.  For me, I like to take my birthday off, and the next day (because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and why not) — so I already had two days that budded up to a weekend! Leaving on a late night flight, on a Thursday night can also help eliminate the need of taking multiple days, giving you a full three day weekend!  If you’re looking to take advantage of those summer long weekends (Memorial Day, Labor Day or 4th of July) — you’ll want to plan a bit more in advance to avoid higher fees or not being able to secure a place to stay!

2. Picking Your Destination – Part 1. If you have a destination in mind, then head down to tip #2. If you’re not quite sure on how to figure out where to go, there are a few ways! First determine how you want to get there, flying or driving?

    • Driving: Then if you’re driving determine what your maximum drive time will be. From there, I’m pretty old school and will pop over to Google Maps and do some ‘Destination’ plugging into of some near-ish cities or destinations that sound adventurous. Last March we headed to Chicago because it was a cool 6-hour drive and within our time limit, plus we’d never been there together – and previously we drove to Washington D.C. for a surprise trip that B planned for our anniversary.
    • Flying: Since we are planning for a longer weekend (3-4 days) we went to our local airports website and searched their nonstop flight destinations.  Our airport flies to a lot of Florida destinations, and a few in between so I started my search there — now head to Part 2. Looking for early flight times and ensuring you’re on the nonstop are also clutch to making sure you’re getting the most time and bang for buck!

TravelTips(1)3. Picking Your Destination – Part 2. Affordable is the next piece of the puzzle, we wanted to keep our long weekend trip under $1,000 and even more so if possible ($500 – $600 was our sweet spot).  So I popped onto Expedia and did a combo Flight and Hotel search for a few destinations based on the nonstop flights from our airport. We checked Miami, Sarasota, West Palm Beach, and even Charleston but they were just a tad pricey for what we wanted, and where we would want to stay in those spots.  Then I pivoted to a few East Coast cities: New York City and Philly. Since we’ve been to NYC before, we passed — and Philly was hitting our sweet spot, and the Expedia search helped me narrowed down the airlines and accommodations.

Pro-tip: When you have your accommodations and airline determined, check the native websites for those vs. booking directly through Expedia — you just might find it cheaper directly through the airline and hotel (we did!)

4. Finding Your Accommodations.  In Chicago we opted for a smaller boutique hotel, because we were able to find it more affordable than mainstream hotels (it was also in the perfect location).  Again, I looked for smaller, boutiquey spots and found Sonder — they lease out rooms in buildings in the area, all with a fun style and unique name. It’s also close to the airport, so that will make it easy to grab an Uber to and from!

    • When you’re considering where to stay, again I like to pull up a map and look at key landmarks/destinations that we want to visit and look for some that are generally walkable!
    • Reading reviews is also a great way to gain insight into smaller boutiques or spots that aren’t as mainstream like a Hyatt or Marriott.

Pro-tip: If you can pick a spot that friends or family live to save on accommodations, do it!  Even asking where family or friends might have a house or time share can be another affordable way to cover the cost of your stay!

TravelTips(2)5. Figuring Out Where to Eat. This is going to sound SOOO millennial, but it’s how I’ve found some great gems on all of our trips: Instagram. I start following traveling accounts for our destination and find all the foodie accounts to start creeping and finding all of the spots.  From donuts, to bakeries, brunches and the best dining spots — you can literally find it all and then pop over to their websites to make reservations or see full menu offerings.

I also like to find places to eat by browsing through OpenTable — this makes it easy to book a reservation for the night your looking for, and there are often user generated and restaurant provided photos, ratings and reviews and easy to flip through menus for all their offerings. Another great way is asking for recommendations from friends or family if you know they’ve been!

Pro-tip: Make a Reservation! If you can, make reservations to ensure you’re getting into the hottest spots, when you want to eat, especially in bigger cities like Chicago, Washington D.C. and NYC the lay of the land is through reservations.
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6. Planning Activities. Heading to a cities travelers bureau via social media or online is another great resource to find key locations to visit or a little less mainstream spots.  Strategically planning activities around your hotel or farther away on certain days can help you optimize your travel days. Also purchasing any tickets ahead of time to visit popular landmarks is crucial, especially if you want to check those off on the early visit times!

Planning and taking that weekend getaway, and checking off more cities on your bucket list doesn’t have to eat up all your PTO or drain you bank account! We will be heading to Philly next month and I’ll be sure to share in my recaps a round up of our travel expenses along with all our yummy eats and traveled spots. Have questions? Leave a comment, below!

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Fitness Friday 02.20

Happy Fitness Friday! Since the start of the year, I’ve been sticking tight on sticking to my workout routine and making sure I’m checking off the boxes each week. I’ve been feeling great, feeling slimmer and my jeans and clothes have been fitting great! Although, I was recently quickly reminded at how easy it is to fall out of a routine. FitnessFriday 02.20 - bee life blog
This Valentine’s Day we definitely over indulged on a few sweet treats and I also missed a workout or two, in addition to enjoying leftover cookie skillet for a few extra days (so good!)!  So what I quickly realized was that it’s easy to fall off a bit if, I’m not sticking to the workout routine that works for me.  I know myself, and I know I need to stick to a minimum of three days of a good workout, stick to a stricter diet and limit my cheat days — and any derivation of that hurts more than it helps!

Bonus is we’re only two months into the new year, so this reminder definitely comes at a good times, especially as busy season is quickly approaching.  I’ve been sticking to my goals and also know which ones I need to continue to work on, like my core strength!  What lessons have you learned about your fitness journey so far this year?

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Valentine’s Day – 2020

Sending lots of love and sweet wishes to all my bee readers, a Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️!  I’ve been having a lot of fun getting the house ready, planning treats for Moz and even doing some scheming on something meaningful for my number one, B — and now the day is finally here! How’re you celebrating the love?ValentinesDay2020_beelifeblog
photo: Marina Claire & Co.

B and I will be cooking at home tonight, listening to Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra radio, may play a card game or two and will most likely end up watching Vanderpump Rules and falling asleep on the couch — and there is nothing else I’d rather do than spend it with my core unit of Moz and B.

Since we’re keeping it simple this year, I thought it would be fun to share fourteen things that B and I love to do together when we’re staying in:

  1. Watching basketball, specifically the NBA
  2. Cooking dinner
  3. Drinks on our back patio (when it’s warm out)
  4. Making breakfast and drinking coffee on the weekends
  5. Play cards, specifically Kings in the Corner
  6. Watch documentaries
  7. Scheme our next house project
  8. Just sit and talk — no tv, no music
  9. Host friends for dinner and drinks
  10. Late night facetimes with our west coast friends
  11. Play with Moz
  12. Watch Bravo
  13. Mini scrabble tournaments
  14. Morning or evening walks with Moz

Some of our best memories, are spending nights sipping on our favorite drinks, listening to music and talking the night away.  We also love whipping up a fun, delicious meal or two — I’m super excited for our Valentine dinner, don’t worry I’ll be sharing recipes if everything comes out as good as it seems!

xoxo

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My 2020 Goals

I feel like my 2019 goals sort of sucked? Ok, maybe not all of them, but a good handful of them — I look back and am like, HA! Not a good thing, right? Well, that’s why it’s a new year! So, in addition to making my fitness goals a priority, which includes getting six races in this year, I have a few other personal goals that I want to focus on!
goals(2)-beelifeblog Pay off My Credit Card Debt by my 30th Birthday. This has been a goal of mine for… a bit, and it’s been one that I’ve been embarrassed to share, but I know I’m going to get this paid off and I’m damned determined to enter my 30th year with $0 in credit card debt. So that is just about 2-months from today *smiles*

More vacations. I just want to travel, always. I want to see so many places and experience, see new views and taste all the good foods. Our trips for the year are pretty much already planned out. But, I’m hoping to squeeze a few long weekends into a few more getaways beyond the bigger trip we have planned for later in the year. As always, I love sharing our travel adventures and eats with all my Bee readers, so stay tuned for a fun year of new places!
goals(1)-beelifeblogSaying No. I just had an exchange with my mom the other day, as I told her I’m sick of doing things – especially in my free time/weekends – that I don’t want to do. And she responded saying; “Well isn’t that life?” …and I said back to her… “Why does that have to be life!?”  We do things to please other people, because we may feel guilty or it’s just easier to say yes than it is to say no. But I’m over that, so don’t get offended people, or get ready to be offended. *winks*

Being More Present. This is across the board; in personal, professional, friendships, in family and self care.  I find myself being distracted, my mind wandering, picking up my phone to scroll — it’s easy to think of the millions of other things we want to do, already forgot about, or even dream about, but it’s not always easy to be present. And I think another part of that is continuing to be present and staying touch with all those important people, especially my hubby.
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I want to continue spending time with our dear friends, more one on one time, slowing down and just talking — we were reminded of that over the Christmas holiday and it was, refreshing, it was like old times, times I missed. I want to continue fostering my creativity through DIYs, house projects, writing, my career, and through encouragement and support of loved ones around me.

Needless to say, there is no shortage of goals over here in the Bee Life — but the ones above are the top, for now. What’re your goals for 2020? There’s no better time to start working on them, than now!

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Latest Obsessions 10.19

If you just saw my October Weekend Roundup — you know that this month has been nonstop for us.  That post didn’t include the late nights working, family drama, bouts of stress/anxiety and early morning workouts — but don’t worry I’ll be opening up on some of the not so fabulous things soon, because I’m all about sharing the trials and tribulations of this bee life.  So all in all, October has been a mixed bag when it comes to obsessions, but a lot of them have been a bit more on the personal side this month.
LatestObsessions1019-beelifeblogSo with all the things happening, some amazing and some stressful, I’ve tried to focus on the positive, with a side of pumpkins and a bit of love.

My Fitness Routine. I have been feeling it, I’ve jumped in hot this October and am feeling great. In turn, I’ve also started to focus and streamline my food more.  I’ve been packing lunches consistently, having a light breakfast and not over indulging too much.  It has felt good to be back into a routine, and getting my butt out of bed, getting up on the weekends and even putting in extra work to make sure I’m getting those workouts in each week.

Basic Bee in the Fall. Yup, guilty! I’ve been loving up on all things fall, from all of our October fun, to rocking the booties, ponchos, and buying all the pumpkins and mums for our front porch. The leaves have also changed instantly overnight, so the runs and drives have been serving.  Even loving on the fall eats and drinks with pumpkin latte’s from our favorite local spot.

Two Years. With October coming to an end, I can’t help but look forward to November and all the love that this month brings. B and I will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary and I can’t help but feel all the feels — while also trying to plan a few surprises for B in the meantime to celebrate!

What things have you been focusing on this month?

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Fitness Friday 10.19

Happy Friday!

How has your fitness routine been? Are you on track or need to get back in the saddle? We’re quickly starting to get into holiday season, the season of colder weather, big sweaters and leggings — which gives us a little more stretch (no pun intended) to not feel so conscious about the way our jeans or tight summer clothes may be fitting. BUT! That shouldn’t give us fuel to slack off in our health and fitness goals.
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After getting back into my workout routine this past September, I’ve been holding myself accountable and just waking up with a better mindset and getting up in the morning and getting my workout finished before my day really starts.  This has helped me get the workouts in — since the nights have been getting darker sooner and the work days are getting a bit longer. Not to mention, I’ve gotten back into a routine just in time for the holidays to hit!

How do you help hold yourself accountable in your fitness routine?

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Amazon Fashion Review – Fall Edition

It’s time for another Amazon Fashion hall – sharing with you the wins and even the fails (only two this time!) A few of these finds were from the help of fellow bloggers like Megan from Honey We’re Home – she regularly has Amazon shopping round up posts for all the seasons, so I definitely tried a few of her must haves and tried them for myself!

Women’s Tunic Dress with Embroidered Floral Mesh Bishop Sleeve = $18.99
My Size = Medium (Returned)
Oh my gosh, this was such a disappointment, because I actually loved it so much especially for the price.  Even with the snags in the embroidered floral sleeves (which could’ve easily been cut) – it was just WAY TO SHORT for me. But seriously, the sleeves and style was adorable and flattering, I just don’t care to have my butt hang out, especially since I was wanting this for a wedding it was not going to be dance-friendly. But honestly if you don’t mind a shorter dress, or maybe ordering a size up you can’t beat the price!  P.S. I got mine for fourteen bucks and some change (it’s since gone up!)
Amazon Fall Review - beelifeblog(1)
Casual Trouser Paper Bag Pants Elastic Waist Slim Pockets = $23.00
My Size = Large
These are super fun, super stretchy and not to mention perfect for a client meeting and day at work.  These are also a flattering piece to add to you wardrobe with the high-waisted band. I tried these pants with the body suite which was a classic look and almost felt a bit jumpsuit-esq (see below).

Scoop Neck Body Suite = $14.99
My Size = Medium
I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Not only was this super soft and comfy, it was flattering as well – and I loved this paired with some jeans for a simple look (see above).  I also tried this on with the high-wasted trouser pants (above) and then a cute denim skirt I have – all left a streamlined look with no rumples under my pants or in my skirt from an oversized shirt being tucked in.  This body suite always has clasps for potty breaks!  If you haven’t dived into the world of body suites – I would definitely try this one, especially for the price you can’t beat it!AmazonFall-thebeelife(2)

Long Sleeve Round Neck Knits Sweater Pullover = $21.99
My Size = Medium

I’ve had my eyes on this sweater for a few seasons, I think the hearts on the elbows are such a fun and cute touch while still keeping to a pretty classic, staple sweater.  It is surprisingly light weight, yet well made. I can easily see this piece becoming a staple not only for the fall but into the winter as well. The sweater seems to fit well, but I would be curious to see how a size smaller would fit – especially with wear! Whattcha think?
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Colorblock Long Sleeve Loose Cardigan = $31.99
My Size = Small (Returned)

I may or may not have a long cardigan addiction – so I felt like I was going a bit out of the box with the colorblock version of one to add to the collection. First strike for this cardigan once I got it was that I realized it didn’t have any pockets. And although this piece was made nicely, soft and fairly warm – I just didn’t really love it.  I didn’t feel like the shape or colorblocking was flattering on me either. And for being one of the more expensive items in my Amazon haul, I decided to send this one back.
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Embroidered Ruffle Babydoll Peplum Tops Blouse = $16.99
My Size = Medium

Obsessed! I am definitely in am embroidered floral mood lately and this peplum top is the perfect combo of all my favorite things, pink, flowers and a peplum blouse. Pair this top with some jeans with a cute date night or black tights and nude heels for the office. And I mean it’s just fricken adorable, and I want 10-more of these in every single color – but this peplum style only comes in pink and white.
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I definitely need to add a few Leopard printed pieces to my fall wardrobe, as that obsession has quickly grown out of control since my initial Amazon Fall Hoard. What pieces are you adding to your fall wardrobe this season?

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