My Summer Reads

Reading is always on my goals list each year – as I love diving into good books – I just usually fall asleep when I’m reading, especially if I’m at home.  So, I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like too. But that is just another reason why I love traveling and flying, because I just hunker down on the flight and read away – even our PSP trips were spent reading and napping by the pool.

I wanted to get a few more books finished before Summer’s end, but I did get through a few goodies that were both for fun and also for some professional and personal development and enrichment.
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Ok so here are my summer reads;

Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand by Brittany Hennessy
I don’t talk much about my 9-to-5, but I’m very much in the world of social and influencers. And as a blogger myself I was intrigued to learn a bit more of the business side of being an influencer while also understanding the business side being the influencer coordinator because there are a lot of pieces and parts to the puzzle. This industry also has seemed to blow up over night! It’s a great read and includes case studies along with guides for getting your social profiles, blog and community up to snuff!

18th Abduction by James Patterson
This is a series I’ve been reading since at least high-school, if not middle school.  My mom read James Patterson and I got into the Women’s Murder Club Series, which releases a new book each spring.  I’ve grown and learned to love the characters over the years – this is always an easy ready with short chapters usually ending in cliff hangers, which means another chapter or five.  The main character is Lindsey Boxer a detective for the SFPD, her boss gal pals, a report, attorney and medical examiner who help solve crime, serial killings and much more. I also just saw that the next book is coming out October 9th so I’ll be diving into that these winter month!

She Means Business by Carrie Green
I’ve always had a ton of ideas about doing more of the things I love on a daily basis and this book is a guide to help you foster those ideas and start turning them into reality and something that is sustainable.  Not only is Carrie’s story inspiring, her motivational dialogue throughout the book is inspiring and empowering.  I am still working through Carrie’s book – but it’s definitely one I have been book marking, highlighting and taking notes along the way!

What books have you read this summer? Any good recommendations?

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Tips for an Easy Summer Table Setting

When we host a dinner, I always like to have a warm and inviting space for our guests to dine at whether that is inside or out.  This means, putting a little extra time into creating a unique space for that dinner.  When I set the dining room table, I like to have pieces that I can use for multiple seasons, while pulling in other elements to highlight the specific season.  This summer has been a little lighter on the dinners we’ve hosted, but we finally hosted a cookout this past week and have the most perfect summer evening. And I just have to share the simple, yet beautiful table setting that anyone could pull together the next time you’re hosting some guests!

To make it easy while also making a statement, I like to start with a neutral color palette, and then add in some color/patterns paired with a decorative centerpiece. The last piece to top off your table centerpiece and really make guests feel welcomed is a bouquet of fresh flowers.  This really made the table-setting pop with the fun colors of the limey-pink hydragengas – which I cut from our own yard!  And fresh flowers outside are a nice, unexpected touch to most.  With our outdoor dinners, I use a fun caddy to tote out silverware, salt and pepper and other condiments – this allows guests to grab what they need while make it not feel too formal. Ours is a white metal caddy with a handle so it’s supper easy to fill up and transport in and out! Easy Summer Dining - beelifeblog(3)
Shop My Pieces: Indoor/Outdoor Tweed PlacematsSimilar Plain Blue Napkins, set of 4 | White Napkins with Pom Pom Trim, set of 4 Dinner Plates from Pottery Barn |  Water Glasses from Pottery Barn | Similar Metal Flatware Caddy

The best part, is this can easily be translated inside for a great setting and paired with a different centerpiece elements to fit different seasons, weather it be spring or fall!  I think the key to keeping it simple, is working with a lot of pieces you already have, whether they’re our more neutral pieces or our a little more fun pink pieces – this is one of the things I love to do, and helps make the evening feel effortless while still putting a little thought and personal touch on the space!

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Fitness Friday 08.19

Hi beeutiful people! I’ve got a confession to make. And… I tend to keep the confessions somewhat limited on here, but I also feel that sharing and being honest with my bee readers may help one of you as I often find for myself.  SO! Here it goes… I’m scared… I’m scared to workout again, and I’m scared to go back to my bootcamp classes. I am scared I’m going to mess my back up again. So, I haven’t gone. I’ve continued to make excuses and let my busy August get in the way of pushing back my start date another month.
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But I have also know that if I don’t face my fears and do things that may be a little scary I won’t grow, I won’t try and I won’t succeed. So I need to face my fears, stick those excuses in a box and say good-bye.  I’m a bit mad that I’ve continued to let this back problem persist longer, but also trying to understand that some things take time.  I did get past some of the workout fears by running a bit, but I need more structure to get back into something and I love my bootcamp classes.

To further the motivation of facing my fears, I stepped on a scale yesterday *screams* … I know it’s not always about numbers. But I also know what numbers are not good for me and I know where I need to be.  It’s been a struggle and rollercoaster this year, coming off a few strong years cranking into wedding mode, it seems about fitting.

And I’m ready to get back into beast mode and I’ve set the goal to keep running for the rest of the month and come September 2, I’m going to demolish those fears.

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My Week of Low-to-No Carbs.

CARBS. I love carbs. But carbs are also not so great for you – especially those traditional carbs like breads, granola, pasta, potatoes… I always try and eat as low carb as possible but I of course have my faults – a quick sandwich for lunch, toast for breakfast, the occasional pizza, granola bars so I wanted to cut out those quick easy fixes for a meal, especially since I haven’t been able to workout because of my back flair up.  My week of low-to-no carbs still included carbs, but not those empty carbs, I also kept my keto rules in mind for my eats! Here’s how it all went down…

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Life Lately – Living in Color

Three months ago I shared a Life Lately & Bee update and how I was dealing with some major seasonal depression. And I’m happy to report that life lately has been so much better – even dealing with back pain and not being able to workout.  Life lately has been so pretty with the spring time, flowers blooming, fresh grilled dinners, bright pops of color and lots of sunshine.
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We’ve had a good mix of busy weekends and weekends when we haven’t had anything on the calendar – but somehow we’ve filled up our empty calendar days with projects around the house, walks with Moz, patio meals and naps on the back patio.  We’ve been getting the house ready for the summertime, with deep spring cleans, planting flowers and watching our peonies grow and bloom.

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Fitness Friday 06.19

It’s June! Which means it’s our half-way point in the year where we can check in on our fitness goals, reassess if we need too and prioritize our focus.

Normally about this time of the year, B and I are gearing up to start training for a half marathon. Unfortunately for us, we have yet to be registered for our next half.  Timing and dates with a few of the races we want to do aren’t lining up with other plans, so we are still on the hunt for a half to run this year!  But working out has taken a bit of a halt for me recently…
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I’ve been down and out from the workout department that’s why I’ve been focusing more on my food because that is the one thing I can control at this moment.  I’ve shared that I was diagnosed with chronic back pain when I was 16 – so I’ve always lived with back pain and restrictions, well right after our 10-miler, I grouted our bathroom shower and effed up my back! Perhaps the worst it’s been ever, the entire month of May I was out for the count, and struggling through painful everyday interactions. Resulting in a doctor visit, and now following up with physical therapy – I am luckily feeling better with time, but reluctant to get back into the workout game.

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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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Fitness Friday 05.19

It’s time to talk food, that thing we love to hate – especially when it comes to your fitness success and reaching those goals.  Food has always been a struggle for me, understanding the balance of life, the things I love (that aren’t so great for you) and then also understanding my gastro issues that have been recent within the last 2-years. Because let me tell you, I love cake and cookies and cupcakes and I believe in the beauty of balance – especially when it comes to enjoying the finer things in life.
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Within my health and fitness journey, there are a few rules I’ve learned that work for me while being able to have that balance – and when I’ve been very strict with them I see great results – and when I’m a bit more lenient I know exactly what I need to cut to see a change. But one thing is for sure, whether I’m strict or not – I always enjoy those cupcakes.

Little to No Carbs – Fun fact: Carbs are hidden in a lot of different things that appear to be healthy or good for you – this includes a fair amount of fruits and vegetables, like carrots, apples, bananas, and melons (just to name a few).  So really understanding what foods you’re putting in your body and what they contain is half the battle – then you just have to cut them out! Also pasta, just stop eating it.

When in Doubt: Berries – Speaking of knowing what is good for you vs. what is not – when in doubt when it comes to your fruits, berries are the way to go.  These are your besties and easy rule to remember: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries. Yes.

No Dairy – This one isn’t so tough for me, since I’m lactose intolerant I pretty much steer clear, but I am able to enjoy hard cheese – like Extra Sharp Cheddar – so I can get my cheese fix, although I noticed that when I completely cut this out pre-wedding, I felt great and was trimmer. So I think there is some method to the madness of a dairy free diet, whether you have an allergy or not.

Say Bye to Pizza – I will admit, I also indulge in pizza every now and then when we’re home for the night – but again, when we cut out pizza for nearly 4-months pre-wedding the extra weight and temptation went away! We also can’t do cauliflower crust, because my stomach hates me – so it really became all or nothing from a pizza perspective.

Complicated Order – Don’t be afraid to have a complicated order at the restaurant and also just say no to the free sides ahead of time – because as much as you think you won’t eat that side of fries with your burger, let me tell you you’ll probably have at least half if they’re in front of you!  So when it came down to it – I would order a burger with NO bun (yup! cut those carbs) and I would order a side salad in place of the fries (bye, carbs!)

The biggest thing to understand when it comes to food and your health – not everything works for everyone.  Sure, there are a few obvious things that should be avoided, but no one “diet” works for everyone. The second thing to understand that it’s not a diet – it’s a lifestyle, you truly have to be proactive every single day to make smart food choices.

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DIY – Floating Rectangular Wall Shelves

For our bathroom project we have an ugly door above our toilet that is access to a crawl space area that we don’t use, but might need to access so we couldn’t do anything too permanent. So in addition to painting this ugly door white, we wanted to hide it a little more, I knew I wanted to put some sort of shelf in that area, but I couldn’t decide how many, what kind or finding the perfect pre-made piece that fit.
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That is when I spotted some beautiful old wood we had in our garage and I was inspired to build our own rectangular floating wall shelf to help cover it up while also bringing in some natural wood feel into the space.  Since these pieces of wood were just shy of 4-feet they would work perfectly for the space. Here is how I built our shelf – you’ll need minimum materials, especially if you have your own scrap wood lying around!

What You’ll Need:
– Wood Glue
– Miter Saw
– Nail Gun + Nails
– Wood Boards
– L brackets for hanging + Screws

Step-by-Step:
1. Measure your space & determine the size of your shelf, I wanted it to be a bit oversized the crawl space door area, but didn’t want it to be too tall. So I went with 3-feet in length and then about 8-inches high including the thickness of the main shelfs.
2. Measure and draw lines and cut your pieces of wood for your main top and bottom shelves with the miter saw.
3. Determine and measure your in-between pieces and cut appropriately with the miter saw. You should have all your pieces cut! Two long top and bottom pieces and then two smaller side pieces that will fit in between the longer pieces, connecting them!
4. Add wood glue to your in-between pieces and attach the top with your in-between with a nail gun.  You may need a helper to hold the pieces in place while one staples, be sure to staple along the length of your board. Continue this for all four corners, be sure to wipe any excess glue after stapling the pieces together.
5. Let your piece dry before moving forward with adding the L brackets and hanging. Sand any rough edges, paint or stain if necessary based on your aesthetic.
Pro-tip: Make sure the screws going into the shelf aren’t longer than the board thickness!
6.  Determine spacing based on wall studs and add the L brackets to the inside of the top of the shelf and then drill into the wall with screws (this is probably a two person job!). We will be painting the metal part touching the wall – although once filled up with towels you can’t even tell!
7. Now for the fun part – adding the finishing touches and add your finishes!
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I’m so excited to be adding in finishing touches to our bathroom space – and as you can see you’re getting a bit of sneak peak of the space, but mainly the showstopper (that floor!) We still have small finishing touches to do around the room, like the crawl space door we’re trying to hide, we still need to cover up that heating pipe entrance – plus I’m sure I’ll be getting some different accents to put on top of the shelf.

Price Breakdown:
So the obnoxious part of this (for you, not me!), is the cost of this project was $0. The wood for the shelves we got from my sister in-law’s house, because I knew I would have a good project pop up to use them with!  Everything else was around the house – but pending the wood, you can get the Wood Glue for about $3, L-brackets for about $5, and screws for anywhere from .30 – .50 cents each. Meaning you could make this shelf for about $10-15.
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Since a lot of our bathroom is white with the black pops of black in the floor, I love the addition of natural wood, we have another finishing piece to help tie into this vibe that we have yet to do as well – so the big reveal will have to be a bit delayed still.  But I’ll be sharing some of our project woes, lessons learned to help you prevent the same mistakes on your upcoming projects!

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