Weekend Roundup – May 2020

May has been tough, but it’s also had some glimpses of normal — well, what used to be normal. And it’s also had glimpses of “the new normal” as everyone seems to be calling it. May has been a month of slowly starting to see family again, some in normal ways, some in different more protected and distant ways. May has seen some lows and it’s seen some highs. May has also been the last month of the temporary hope of this thing all being over, because this new normal definitely isn’t going away anytime soon. May has even had a few WTF moments.
MayRecap(1)We started the month off with a little road trip to finally see my parents.  It was much needed on both sides. The best part was we were able to make it there in one trip, and hunkered in over the weekend with lots of eats, drinks, board games and laughs and still able to maintain social distance from the world. My mom even surprised me with a homemade birthday cake, so we finally got to celebrate a belated birthday since our big plans in March all got kiboshed. It was great to be together in person, instead of 4-hour virtual chats, and as I mentioned, a much needed visit.

Mother’s Day consisted of a masked and mostly socially distant family gathering with our in-laws and supporting local to shower our mom’s with some special gifts. We also attended not one but two of our first virtual college graduations for my younger cousins, and even a virtual wedding (technically the last day of April)! The virtual graduations definitely had their advantages, beyond just being a new concept — but it also gave us an opportunity to actually attend and participate in these moments when we might not have been able to travel to them before (pre or post corona).
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More May highlights included lots of walks with Moz and even a few car rides to the Starbucks drive thru for puppachinos. We’ve also been perfecting our breakfast sandwich making skills, including grilling bacon on the grill in a cast iron skillet along with grilling out local meats from MeatboxLocal to help mix-up our dinner menu. We’ve also finally gotten around to planning a few fun house projects while also reaching out to contractors for a few not so fun projects. We’ve been admiring all of our flowers budding and blooming and all the beautiful green with all the rain we’ve been getting. B and I also celebrated 9 years together with burritos and a brisk walk. We’ve also had fun counting down the days until when we can get our haircuts… which is now only one more week away! The weather also started to feel a lot like summer, so the weekends have been spent outside, like all day, every day — which has been really nice.
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The month of May was also a big month for the state of Ohio as they started the phased re-openings early on in the month of May. I was actually surprised at how much started to reopen so quickly. Dentists, veterinarians, retail, dine-in at restaurants, salons, hair dressers and gyms have all been able to reopen (among many other things) this month. And it’s been interesting to balance and start having conversations with family and friends to understand what everyone is comfortable with as things reopen.

As much as I’m craving for getting back to “normal” and back into a routine, there is still a major fear factor — although it’s not a fear of even getting it, it’s the feat of potentially spreading it and also other people’s perception along with trying to be responsible for our community and those who are close to us. It’s a very weird time, but luckily there were a few moments of normal — so I hope that continues to be the case as we jump into June. And hopefully, we can get a trip in still this year. What were your May highlights?

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Easter 2020 Recap

All of us around the world and U.S. altered our Easter traditions this year — stayed away from family, didn’t attend church and opted for workout clothes instead of our Sunday best. This year is already making to be one for the books and I know this Easter will also be one of those moments that is talked about years from now. We definitely missed spending time with our families this year but tried to make the most of our this untraditional holiday, which I hope is one of the few holidays affected by this pandemic.
Easter2020(1)I woke up pretty early, for no good reason — so I took the opportunity to take Moz for a car ride to the Starbucks drive thru for some hot coffee and a puppachino for Moz! She got her Easter treat and loved every minute of it. We had a pretty low-key morning, sipping coffee and catching up on Little Fires Everywhere before cooking our yummy brunch. We had plans to make my parent’s waffle recipe, had bacon queued up and even mimosas ready to go 🥂! Waffle’s is my families go-to holiday brunch breakfast and always paired with bacon and hash browns — we opted for some eggs instead of hash browns. While we ate our brunch, we watched Easter mass
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Once brunch was done, I snuck a nap in with Moz. And woke up to the weather shaping up and the sun peaking out — making for a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I made myself get out for a 5-mile run, which felt pretty good and was much needed after over indulging in our delicious brunch. I even got to see my aunts by chance on my run and from a 6-foot distance for a quick hi! When I got back, B and I took Moz for a nice long walk — enjoying all the blooming trees, flowers, fresh air and sunshine while Moz was just loving life, smiling with her tongue out the whole time.  Luckily we were able to maintain good social distance during our walk, and even while I was on my run — as I’ve opted to just run in the road to avoid the sidewalk traffic, especially on the weekends. As you can see, my Easter outfit consisted of PJ’s and activeware with zero make up and some pretty great hat hair.
Easter2020(3) We spent the rest of our day FaceTiming with our parents and a few other family members catching up, sipped on a Manhattan and had a super fancy Easter dinner with a DiGiorno pizza and salad and finished the night watching the latest episode of KUWTK.  We made it a pretty great day (minus breaking a dining room chair and champagne flute 🙃), enjoying the incredible sunshine and weather, had the perfect mix of active and relaxing while eating some pretty great food — while  documenting the day to family/friends via pictures and texts.  How did you send your Easter?

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Baking during quarantine? Check out this easy bundt cake recipe!

Weekend Roundup – March

Well, when I was planning out my March content this post was going to be a fun one to write and jammed packed! Here is everything that we had planned and promptly was cancelled week after week, after week, thanks to the pandemic. Obviously, I am not the only one that has had a lot of cancelled plans/trips/life moments — but I was trying to overcome my turning 30 anxiety by doing as much fun stuff as possible. But in all honesty the perspective of this pandemic as I mentioned in my birthday reflections (it’s a good read) quickly changed the 30 anxiety into a much different perspective and reality — I mean it doesn’t even feel like I actually turned 30 😝.
MarchRoundUp(3)-beelifeblogOur Cancelled Plans:

  • Trip to Philadelphia for the actual birthday
  • Spa Day + Dinner with Friends
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Broadway Play
  • Parents Coming into Town for Birthday Celebrations
  • A hair cut
  • Cancelled Birthday Cake

So yes, there was a lot of fun and celebrating that was going to be had, between my birthday and then my Dad’s retirement we were going to have a lot of fun especially this last weekend! BUT, even though we had a few more quieter weekends than anticipated, we still had a lot of fun and made the most out of everything — especially my birthday weekend.

My Birthday Weekend. With our Philly trip cancelled, I decided to partake in all of my favorite things I love doing at home. This included getting a final workout in at the gym, sipping on some coffee and getting spoiled with fun surprise deliveries throughout the weekend which included champagne 🍾, flowers 💐, and a coffee ☕ gift card from one of our favorite spots Brewellas. Saturday night for dinner we headed to our favorite dinner spot – Georgetown, mainly because they have all night happy hour on Saturday and a tasty menu paired with delicious drinks. We overindulged and then headed home for more drinks, card games and music.
MarchRoundUp(2)-beelifeblogSunday we woke up and headed to volunteer and walk dogs at the local dog shelter we volunteer at. We then made sure Moz got out for her walk too before relaxing and heading over to an incredible impromptu birthday dinner at my aunts. They prepared Lobster tail, scallops, filet and a sweet potato dish — oh my gosh. The food was incredible. We finished the evening with my very own ‘Corona Pie’ which was pretty tasty and garnished with my favorite cake candies.

My actual birthday was on a Monday, so I took that off work and just enjoyed my day. We started my first day in my 30’s with a grocery trip, because the apocalypse was coming and March 16th is basically the day the world stopped – at least in Ohio. The first day of no school, remote working, gyms closed, masses cancelled, restaurants and bars closed… it was like a screeching halt. Luckily, I was still able to grab my free Starbucks coffee, to-go of course, before heading home and hanging out. I got a workout in and even took Moz to the park to soak in some of my favorite city views.
MarchRoundUp(1)-beelifeblogOther March Highlights. We’ve been cranking on house projects, one of which was our fireplace hearth makeover and another which I’ll be sharing here soon as we just wrapped it up this past weekend and did all the finishing touches. Moz has also gotten more walks this past month then she has in a long time, it’s been nice to get her fresh air and out catching all those smells. I did get to see my girlfriends at the beginning of the month — which was good to get that in, since they have littles and it might be awhile before we’re all together again.

I feel like I’m a broken record but it’s really important that we continue to focus on the positive — if you’re upset about the seven things that just got cancelled, find seven positives out of those negatives. Write them down, even. Remember to keep your routine, stay active, get outside, eat well and stay in touch with all your peoples. This will be temporary in the grand scheme of life and there is plenty to be thankful for 💛.

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Latest Obsessions 03.20 – Quarantine Ed.

I think it’s time for a little fun, anyone else feel the same way? As I’ve mentioned in a few of my last posts — things have changed pretty quickly these last few weeks especially in the state of Ohio, but I’ll share a bit more of all that in a upcoming recap post about March.

Anyways — since social distancing, self-quarantining and virtual happy hours are quickly becoming the new norm, there hasn’t been a whole lot to do, or a whole lot that we’ve wanted to do as this pandemic continues to creep and sweep into communities and the nation. It’s so important that we continue to remain as positive on all the changes, so that is why I’m sharing with you my latest quarantine obsessions.
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Getting Outside. Sadly, we live in Ohio which means March/April weather is always hit or miss and I’ve gotten a little jelly of the quarantine folks on the West Coast or down South who are out riding bikes or just sitting in the sun!  But, stay positive! We’ve still been making it a point to either bundle up and get Moz out for a walk, or even pop down to nearby parks for some new scenery that helps break up the day and is 100% fresh air intake.

Workout From Home (WFH). Much to my dismay, I’ve embraced working out from home but also to my coaches credit has become somewhat easy since he’s been sharing free workouts online that are mostly body weight and easy to do at home! The best part, is if you’re looking for some more WFH routines, you can access all of them on my coaches YouTube channel. A few of my favorites so far have been the Cardio Fat Incinerator, Body Weight Workout, and the Post St. Patty’s Day Blitz (good if you’re a bit hungover!) Need a little added Fitness inspo? Read my latest Fitness Friday post to get motivated.

Game Night. This should be no surprise, but board games are making a come back! And I even like to throw in a few card games, because we have a few go-to card games that we love to play (Kings in the Corner + Blitz) when we’re just sipping on some beverages, listening to music and hanging out. On the docket for this weekend is playing LIFE! B and I have never played this game together, so it’s fun this will be a first for us.

Not Planning for the Future. I am definitely a planner — and what makes me even more scared is everything that just gotten cancelled in March and now quickly becoming April being queued up and squeezed into 8 short months. *smiles* Yes, we still have a few trips we need to reschedule and figure out, but for now I’m just letting things be and hoping we can start planning again soon, but for now eliminating that stress and just not planning anything (it’s sort of refreshing – at least for now!).

A few other things we’ve been trying to do to stay close to home is ordering in-store pick-ups as much as possible, ordering UberEats from a few of our favorite local spots to give them as much love as possible.  We also stocked up on a few supplies so that we could tackle a few house projects, which I’m so excited about!

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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 wiser 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, 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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