30 Birthday Reflections

Well… reality happens and life doesn’t always go as planned and that is just simply life — no matter what else is going on, whether you’re fighting your way through your 30th birthday, planning trips or just simple dinner dates. Life can hit us quick for a fast reality check. And this last week has definitely been a slap in the face to just that.

I shared all of my grandiose plans that would be a month long celebration to help offset my anxiety of the start of this new decade, but with the recent pandemic happening around the world — things have definitely been put in perspective and shifted the anxiety away from 30 and more to the day to day. I know I am not the only one who can relate to this anxiety or even for some, fear.
IMG_5821So, trying to focus on more of the positive, I reflected on this past decade a bit — that of which was my 20’s. And I, 100% would not change how I’ve grown, what I’ve learned, and everything that has been accomplished in those last 10 years. I still grimace at some not so great points during my 20’s, but luckily those are few and far between. I also am so grateful for the places I’ve been able to travel, the love I’ve learned and life I’ve been able to build. And I know that with each year, I learn more, grow a little wisher and always have a lot more fun! So I will definitely work to get past the number and focus more on all of the other good things that come with getting older.

Which… is what we should all do in life right now, focus on the positive, do what we can on a day to day basis and make sure we’re staying healthy both mentally and physically and understand that most if not all things in life are fairly temporarily, especially the crazy moments. And understand and accept that a lot of life is not in our control, as much as we plan, want it to be, sometimes we just have to live and let be and trust in a higher power 💛.

So, here we go 30 you’re starting a bit crazy but I know you’re going to be good!

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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 is, 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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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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DIY – Every Day Moments Jar & How to Capture Your Year

A yearly tradition that B and I do is writing little notes down and placing them into our Memory Jar — but as I like to call it our “Every Day Moments Jar” because it’s more than just memories… we actually write down every day moments. Those moments that are easily forgotten or overlooked and don’t stack up to all of the other big memories throughout the year.
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I first made the jar in 2012 as a Christmas gift for B — it was a year we were trying to be frugal with gifts and saving our pennies, so I created a decoupage jar with words, letters and phrases that make up B and I.  This made our jar special and unique to us — a lot of memory jars on Pinterest are plain mason jars with a simple label stating ‘Memory Jar’ or ‘2020 Memories.’ Your memory jar is really whatever you want to make it, it could even be a wooden box, but I love making it a bit more special!

To create your own memory jar you could decoupage a mason jar or a jar similar to the one we have like this Libbey® cylinder jar from Michael’s – snag some old magazines, photos or notes and glue to cover the jar using modge podge.

So you have your memory jar, now what?  It can be hard to keep up with this throughout the year — so B and I keep this on our dining room table where we eat each night and make it a habit of adding in a note or two every night or every other night.  Next to the jar I keep a couple pens and a notepad that we tear pieces of paper from. Adding memories regularly, help capture those funny, thankful, or sweet moments.  We even add in tickets, wrist bands or other fun keepsakes throughout the year in the jar as we go.
MemoryJar-beelifeblog(1)On New Year’s Day, B and I make time to dump out all our little notes and take turns reading them back and forth to each other.  We laugh, try and guess who wrote the other’s note and reminisce on those ones that we forgot about. To keep these notes accessible, I tape them into a journal – filling the pages, so it’s easier to look back and we’ve added to the same journal year after year, with more memories captured in more years than others.

This would also be a great Valentine’s Day gift and won’t be too late to start writing down those memories with your family and loved ones.

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Bee’s 2019 Recap

Another year is coming to a close — and it all seems too familiar the repetitive nature this time of the year brings. The feeling of excitement of something new, a fresh start, endless possibilities of another calendar year.  The feeling of reflecting on the past year, things we wish we would’ve done, things we did, personal growth, heartbreak and learnings. And the feeling of the great unknown, yet every possibility of the future.
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Our 2019 year was full of new adventures we were able to take three great trips, two of which were new cities for us to explore together. Six new little ones were welcomed into our lives this year. We spent lots of weekends with friends, family and even just the two of us, including lots of nights on the back patio. We did a lot of dog sitting, lots of Moz cuddling and even started volunteering at a local dog shelter this year too.

I was challenged a lot personally this past year, with seasonal depression to start the year, a serious back injury that kicked my butt for 6-months. I was also challenged in good ways like taking a new, welcomed direction in my career — that has been simply put life changing.  I worked towards getting back into a healthy fitness and eating routine, and slowly yet persistently worked through my back injury and chronic pain, to come back on top.

2020 is going to be a big year. We have a lot of big family milestones and a lot of trips brewing in the planning stages. So ready or not, here we come 2020!

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Merry Christmas – 2019

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours the happiest Christmas filled with new memories, lots of laughs, and all of the love and magic of every Christmas before this one.  I hope that you stay true to all your favorite traditions while welcoming new traditions, from mom’s homemade Christmas cookies, to watching It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, or starting with your stockings first this Christmas morning. Christmas2019-beelifeblog
photo by: @marinaclaireandco

And may you be able to continue to spread Christmas cheer even after the holiday, visit with all of your loved ones and catch up with those who may be miles apart.

So from B, Moz and I — Merry Christmas!

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Happy Thanksgiving – 2019

Happy Thanksgiving to all my amazing bee readers! What’re you thankful for this year?  Every year, I’m always amazed and reminder at how lucky B and I are for our life and all of the amazing people we have surrounding us.

I’m also thankful for winning a fun little portrait mini-session earlier this month (see below) by the talented MML Photography, Michelle Loufman. B and I did a quick little session and the photos just captured so much of our love and personalities while being timeless photos for us to have for years to come.
Em and B Mini Session 2019
Photo by Michelle Loufman at MML Photography

I’ll have to admit that I’ve been a little jaded over this Thanksgiving holiday, especially this year — all the demands of family wanted me to shut it all off and just hide.  But all of my amazing friends listened to my stresses, frustrations and as much as they supported me, they also worked to share a different perspective for me to maybe change my mind… which ultimately ended up happening (yes, I know I’m being cryptic – what else is new?!)

So, I’m heading into this holiday with patiences and gratitude — Happy Thanksgiving!

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