Ten Things – 2018

Three years ago I shared ten things to help my readers get to know a little more about me – it was funny reading it back and looking at how I would answer now. So I thought it was time for an update and another little intro to any new bee readers. So please enjoy these ten things about me, oh and I’ve included my 2015 answers just for fun!
Meet the Bee
1. If money was no object, what’s something you’d buy right now.
2015: My own personal gym.
2018: A vacation or four… maybe a sports car.

2. Spring vs. Fall?
2015: Fall – clam bakes, sweaters, pumpkins, coffee, jeans, scarfs, cool runs… shall I continue?
2018: Still fall. ❤

3. What’s on your nightstand?
2015: Pictures of me and B and my glasses.
2018: Lamp, ring holder, small vase with flowers, coaster & water glass

4. What’s your favorite room in your house?
2015: Our sunroom!
2018: Although our sunroom is still a gem, my new favorite room is our master suite (it was not finished in 2015!) … and our basement makeover (reveal coming soon!)

5. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?
2015: Too many choices…. it’s a toss up between Derek Jeter and Katy Perry
2018: This one is tough, maybe some Bravo reality stars? RHOBH or Vanderpump!

6. Name one thing on your bucket list.
2015: Sky dive with B
2018: Travel to Europe

7. What’s the best vacation you’ve taken?
2015: Jackson Hole w/ B and my parents! The company makes all the difference.
2018: Our honeymoon to Palm Desert was a pretty great vacation

8. Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to…
2015: Ireland & Germany
2018: Lake Como & Greece

9. Backyard BBQ or Formal Dinner?
2015: Formal dinner – I love getting dressed up, and sitting around the table sharing stories, good laughs and a bottle of wine.
2018: Same! But I do love a good meal out on the patio on a summer night.

10. What advice would you give your teen self?
2015: There is a much bigger world out there; explore it as much as possible, and even if you break away – there is still a bigger world beyond that.
2018: Don’t let silly people affect you to the point of insecurities or anxiety – they do not define you, and there is a world of people out there that won’t tear you down.

Some of these were tough to answer again! But it’s fun to reflect on these ten things, as life and the world seems to move too fast.  Have a question you want me to answer? Leave a comment below!

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DIY – $50 Trunk Makeover

You see, we found this old trunk on a neighbors tree lawn and had to snatch it up, it had admittedly seen better days… but that never stops me.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it just yet, but that would come in time… after some trunk searches on Pinterest I determined to flip this baby into a coffee table, but I had a hard time figuring out how I wanted to finish this piece.   I was tempted to go the all white route or maybe pink with gold accents? And then the inside… what was I going to do with the inside?!  Oh, and we didn’t need another coffee table. *smiles*

The trunk was pretty banged up, it had old stickers all over it and then the inside was a little stinky with some blue paper that was torn.  It was a little daunting – how easy was the inside paper going to come off? What about the outside… and getting those stickers off?  Well with a little bit of water and a scrapper the paper came off with a little added elbow grease and help from B.  To my surprise, the stickers came off the same way! Although, I still didn’t know how I wanted to finish this sucker.

After doing some research, I liked the look of Hairpin legs and found these 6″ black ones on Amazon, so I purchased – still trying to figure out the color scheme, knowing I could spray paint to match if the black wouldn’t work.  I finally decided I was going to stick to the trunks original colors and just bring some life back to it! I loved the gold accents and couldn’t cope with the idea of painting over them in white or another color. After a good clean and a few layers of paint, this trunk was seeing new life.

To finish off this DIY, I finally went with some fabric for the inside vs. peal and stick paper.  I thought the fabric would be nice to work with, and a lot of options for the patterns and colors.  $18 later we had our fabric picked out, I bought 4-yards just to be safe and within one night cut and place the fabric to line the trunk with 3M Adhesive spray.   Before adding the fabric, I did spray the inside with bleach a few times (with weeks in between) to help with the smell and kill anything that might be hanging out!

DIY Cost Breakdown:

  • Trunk = $0.00
  • Hairpin Legs = $25.00
  • Paint Supplies = $12.00
  • Fabric = $18
  • TOTAL = $55.00 

We also figured out a home for this guy, with our Basement Makeover happening, this was another piece of the puzzle that fit just perfectly with the overall look and feel of the space.  It’s a little side table and perfect for some extra storage for blankets, games and extra candles!  Of course, I love the way it came out and how the gold pops against the black – plus it looks perfect in the new space.

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Bee’s 2018 Summer Highlights

I make the joke, that now that I’m a full-time working adult, the summer never ends for me! I don’t have to go back to school or dread the return of something after a long break – I can keep summering all through August, September and even October if the weather permits.  But being October 1st, I felt no better way than to welcome fall by highlighting some of our Summer fun!
Summer 2018 Highlights - the bee life

  1. Asheville Trip – We kicked off our summer with a trip to a new city and had a fun time sipping our way through the city with our good friends and our pups! We’ve already talked about a returning trip with more family and friends to check our this trendy city.
  2. Our Front Landscape – This is totally a boring #adulting one, but we’ve had this on our house to-do list for FOUR YEARS! It was so accomplishing to finally check this off the list and our house looks even cuter than it did before. Yay, us!
  3. Morning Runs – It’s easier to get up and run in the mornings when you have a running buddy! Thanks to my running buddy, Kayla – we made early morning runs a thing and as a bonus got to enjoy the beautiful sunrise.  I really enjoyed the morning quite time and checking off my workout before getting to the office.
  4. Pool Days with Our Niece – We were lucky enough to spend a few times with our niece in the pool! She’s a ball of energy and her personality is so fun as she gets older, with her little arm swimmies she is quickly becoming a fish.
  5. Finished a Half Marathon – It’s always an accomplishment when we finish a race!  And an added bonus, when we can try a new race out, which we did running the Hofbrauhaus Half– running is something B and I have always enjoyed doing together so I like that we make it a priority to do a few runs every year.
  6. Catching up with Friends – We definitely made it a point to spend nights, weekends or mornings catching up with friends.  The summers are always busy and then the winters always seem to be busy with the holidays – so we always make it a priority, even if we’re scheduling 3-months in advance.  I even had a girls sleepover, which I haven’t done in years!!

Compared to last summer, this one was definitely tame – between all the weddings we had, all the trips, and all of our wedding festivities we had last year, this year was a different kind of busy and nice switch up!  But I imagine we will be planning a few more trips for next year before we know it!

What was your summer highlight? Comment below!!

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Latest Obsessions 09.18

This month’s latest obsessions is all about making a statement in your home, whether it’s in your bathroom, your bedroom, in a office or your main living space – there are easy ways to focus your efforts on creating a big visual impact and making a room feel special even if it is just your bedroom. Latest Obsessions 09.18 - bee life

The best part about making a statement is sometimes you only need to focus on one aspect of the room, or a finishing touch which could be furniture, paint or a orientate tile – so remember you don’t need to rack your brain to pull off a show stopping look, just keep it simple!

Painted Wood. This can really add for some drama in a study/office or even a dramatic wall in your master suite in place of a headboard.  Although this might not be for everyone, especially if you’re going a bit extreme with the purple study above – you

Patterned Bathroom Tiles.  It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of a good statement tile, and I think pulling it into your bathroom can be a really great way to add some flair to functional space.  Whether it’s on the floor or a whole wall in a glass shower – it’ll really impress, but remember with tiles you’re making a little more of a permanent commitment so make sure it’s something you’ll love or is a little more neutral and classic.

Modern Aesthetic.  I’ve been on a bit of a kick of pulling in a little more of a modern aesthetic, especially for our basement makeover.  If done correct you can really add some drama into your space with modern furniture pieces and accents.  A good way to accomplish this is with a great couch, I love West End 96″ Sofa in the Blue from Value City.

Statement Mirrors.  A good mirror can add some drama in any space, but a fun place to splurge a bit is with a vanity or make-up station.  Things to consider with statement mirrors is either buying a mirror that feels oversized for the space – to add that impact, or to buy a mirror with thick frame work and detail – this Amelie Wooden Arched Mirror from Arhaus is a stunner with a vintage twist.

Making a statement can be a fun project, but can also seem a little daunting depending on how bold you want to go! I’ve been on a kick of a modern pop for our basement makeover, which I’m excited to share with everyone soon!

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Image Sources: Bathroom | Statement Vanity | Painted Study | Modern Living 

Travel: Letchworth State Park

It’s amazing how many hidden treasurers are all around us.  I was reminded of one of those again when we went and visited Letchworth State Park in New York.  The park is 35-miles south of Rochester and is 17-miles long with just over 14,000 acres of trees, hiking trails and is known as the Grand Canyon of the East.  We packed up the SUV and headed with the fam for an afternoon of exploring this hidden gem.
Travel - Letchworth State Park - bee life blog
We spent the afternoon soaking in the views, taking mini hikes and even retreating to a quaint little inn for an afternoon pick me up. With a $10 park fee, entering the park is easily accessible with 5-different park entrances with drivable roads, ample pull offs with photo ops and hiking trails – but if you’re just making a pit stop for an afternoon and want to catch the best sites, here are the 5 spots you must visit!

Upper Falls. Entering the park from the Castile entrance will be your quickest way to access not only the Upper Falls, but Glenn Iris Inn and Middle Falls. Right from the parking lot you catch glimpses of the Upper Falls with the railroad tracks in the distance watching over these powerful waterworks. The trail was closed so we weren’t able to get as high up as we wanted, but the views were still beautiful.

Middle Falls.  You’ll catch a glimpse of these on your way to the Upper Falls, but it’s best to walk over from the Upper Falls to take in the Middle Falls, which might be even more spectacular than the Upper Falls!   You’re able to walk around these falls, taking in a double rainbow, catching some of the mist and just swooning over the beauty of these falls.

Glenn Iris Inn. A short walk away from the Middle Falls you’ll find the Glen Iris Inn.  Built in 1914 – this picture perfect inn overlooks  the middle falls with a beautiful lookout perch.  With outdoor seating and a restaurant the inn is also still serving to guests with it’s three stories and gorgeous interior architecture (the staircase was all wooden looking up all three floors!) A wedding was being set-up as we were there too and we even got to witness the first look, it was the perfect backdrop!

Inspiration Point. This came as a surprise, but needed stop.  With a higher view of the middle falls, upper falls and the railroad trellis – this was definitely the show stopping view.  There was also a trail that you could follow while soaking up the views of this spot the whole way!

Although the park will be closing soon in late fall, I can only imagine how beautiful these views are with the orange, red and yellows of the leaves changing with the season! We will definitely be going back to Letchworth State Park for some more hiking and taking in the beautiful works of this amazing planet!

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6 Budget Friendly Ways to Upgrade Your Home

We were fortunate enough to find a home that didn’t require a lot of major renovations or immediate upgrades – for us a lot of it was taking out the 40-years of style, giving it a little bit of love with easy cosmetic updates.  And because of that we were able to make a huge impact with these budget friendly upgrades, without breaking the bank which allowed us to splurge on grown-up furniture and help cover those surprise homeowner expenses!
Budget Friendly Upgrades for Your Home - the bee life
So I wanted to share the wealth! Here are a few tips and ways you can upgrade your home without spending a ton of money.

Paint. A gallon of paint can work WONDERS!  We literally painted our entire house, including the ceilings ,and just alone from a paint perspective the house looks like a completely different place.  Another pro tip is working from a similar color palette which can help save costs and create a cohesive flow throughout your home.  Painting with lighter colors or even the ceiling can help make a room look bigger and brighter with just 40-bucks and a little bit of elbow grease.

Light Fixtures & Ceiling Fans. This was a project we worked on updating throughout the house when we first moved it.  Updating old ceilings fans, to something a little more white and modern can help make the space look larger and blend more into the room vs. a bit eye soar.  One of my favorite updates was our dining room chandelier it always gets a ton of comments and looks almost original to the home.

Blinds & Curtains.  We had 1-inch blinds throughout the house when we first moved in and gradually updated all of the blinds to 2-inches.  They look that much more high-end and help with privacy and darkening the room.  Adding in some curtain shears overtop help to add dimension and also makes the room feel cozy and inviting.  You can also help make a statement with a fun patterned curtain in a room that might be more subtle and subdued – just be careful these can sneak up in price especially if you’re shopping for a new curtain rod.

Hardware.  Although this can add up quickly, it doesn’t compare to a whole new kitchen. Updating your hardware or plumbing fixtures can be easy and a more affordable way to make a statement in rooms that need a little extra love.  We updated our faucets in our kitchen and bathroom, and although we’re still waiting for the major reno for both these spaces – it helps!  Adding different knobs in our kitchen helped getting out the old and adding in some new.

Flooring.  Whether it’s ripping up some old dingy carpet to unveil beautiful hard wood floors or buying a nice statement rug for a room – these are other ways to pull the look and feel of your room together and add a more finished look. If you’re shopping right you can usually find a good deal or discount on a rug, too!

Pops of Color.  This can be accomplished with blankets, pillows, photos or a fun tabletop lamp.  Using pops of colors in accent pieces, decor or accent furniture can allow you to update a bit easier if you are ever in need to switch out seasonally or ready for an upgrade.  One of my favorite ways to do this is with H&M’s pillow covers.

It’s easy to want to go all out and make everything perfect when you first move into a new space/home – but it takes time and money!  Hopefully these tips can help you get your home into a better place as you continue to figure out and finish your space.

Questions? Comment below!

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Bee’s Tips for a Vacation Ready Wardrobe

For our honeymoon, we were headed someplace warm during our cold months – but that also meant we were going to have a pool available to us 24/7 while we were away, so I became a bit swimsuit obsessed.  And since then, it’s expanded to having comfy day-outfits, and evening wear that is on trend for our vacay destinations, especially those warm spots!  The fun part of vacations is that you’re traveling and exploring someplace new – so it’s an opportunity to have a little more fun with your wardrobe and pull out all the stops!
Bee's Tips Vacay Ready - bee life blog
Here are some tips and tricks I use to help find not only the perfect pieces but also some great deals to help build my vacation ready wardrobe!

Pre & End of Season Sales.  These are great especially if you’re vacationing someplace warm in the traditional ‘off season’ – I love taking advantage of sales on swimwear and other summer dresses at places I wish I could shop at more regularly like Athleta, The Loft or Anthropology.

Amazon. Amazon is not the first place I go to when I’m shopping for clothes, but lately it’s been a spot I’ve been checking out especially for coverups, casual rompers, or dresses. I think what I love the most about shopping for clothes on Amazon is the ease of customer reviews, tips and photos that help guide sizing or my steer you away from a bad purchase – plus you can’t beat the affordable prices or two-day shipping!

Research Your Destination. Do some research on your destination and look at historical temperature data so you can somewhat plan appropriately, like if it cools down in the evenings it might be wise to pack a jacket or jeans!  Also it’s good to research some spots you might want to visit whether it’s a day outing, evening dinner, or brunch spot – so you can plan outfits accordingly and have versatility for your destination.

Build on Current Pieces.  Especially when it comes to bathing suits – sometimes it’s more affordable to just buy a fun new bikini top or more conventional bottoms that work with other pieces!  This goes the same with cover ups or finding pieces that can easily go from pool to dinner with a change of shoes and a little extra mascara.

Living in the midwest, the warm clothes see a blimp of daylight and often have a a couple years of live under them – that’s why I like shopping for some new pieces for our upcoming trips, it makes them feel ever more special than they already are!

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Dairy Free Queso – The Recipe

A little while back I shared a few recipes for my fellow dairy-free eaters that want to enjoy taco night!  Coming to terms with my dietary restrictions and not being able to enjoy some of the staples of taco night (sour cream… queso…) has been an ongoing process, but within the last year and a half, I’ve finally mastered saying no and working to find healthier alternatives that work with my diet! Enter; dairy free queso.
Dairy Free Queso - The Recipe - bee life blog
What You’ll Need:
– Cashews (2-cups)
– Nutritional Yeast (1/3 cup)
– Almond Milk (1/2 cup)
– Corse Sea Salt (2 teaspoons)
– Lime Juice (1 tablespoon)
– Chili Powder (1/2 teaspoon)
– Fresh Cilantro, chopped (1/4 cup)
– Rotel Tomatoes w/ chile peppers  (10oz can)

Step-by-Step:
1. Soak your cashews over night in water (5-hours minimum)
2. Drain cashews and mix with all ingredients except the Rotel Tomatoes.  Using a food processor blend ingredients on high until smooth.  I opted to try and use our Vitamix for this portion, I wish I would’ve pulled out the food processor – the consistency wasn’t as smooth as it should’ve been.
3.  Once the ingredients are blended, put mixture into skillet on stove top and mix in Rotel Tomatoes.  On medium/low heat stir as needed to warm and mix everything together.
4. Garnish and serve with chips and salsa!

This recipe was surprisingly easy to make and not time intensive – which is nice for a change when it comes to a dairy-free recipe!  I will definitely be giving this recipe a go with round two, this time using the food processor and probably a little more nutritional yeast to help with that cheesy flavor.  The recipe above was adapted from The Cookie Rookie – but will probably try a few others and adapt together. Do you have a dairy free queso recipe? Tips? Leave a comment, below!

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Fitness Friday 08.18

It’s time to talk food again.  The love-hate we have with sweet, delicious, carby food.  Last Fitness Friday, I was talking a bit about falling off the rails, being a little less strict with my routine – the boundaries started to get looser and I needed to rain it in.  So within the last month or so, I’ve tightened up on my diet and I can see the difference on a daily basis.  Trust me, there are some days where I ask myself, what more could I possibly change? But when I really test the accountability factor – I quickly figure out what needs to go and what can stay, and it usually comes down to FOOD!
Fitness Friday 08.18 - the bee life
Here are five tricks I do when I need to crack down, and honestly after a week or two of being strict, these aren’t as much of a battle as it is at first!  The most important thing to keep in mind – is that these aren’t quick ‘do this for a week’ and you’ll loose 20-pounds, these are lifestyle changes that will help you achieve your fitness goals and love yourself even more!

Smart Snacking.  A great work perk that I have is having snacks around, the decision between a mini bag of Doritos or picking up a banana/handful of nuts is the pass or fail. Don’t want to be tempted at all of picking wrong? Stop snacking and drink water!  It’ll be tough at first, but your body will quickly adapt and you won’t be craving a snack at 3pm.

Less Carbs, More Protein. Especially at dinner, this is a time when B and I have been loading up on meat and skipping out on the extras or scary sides.  We also switch out the buns for lettuce wraps, which is just as tasty and looks fancy for a week night meal at home.

Smaller Portions.  With smarter snacking and eating more filling foods, portions in line get a bit smaller, allowing you to get full faster.  Those after dinner cravings for some sweats are often eliminated after a nice filling and healthy dinner.

Limit Alcohol. Alcohol and beverages in general can be a surprise at how much sugars/carbs are actually jammed into them – so be sure to check the labels before drinking, you’ll thank yourself later.  Alcohol choices can also impact negatively or help, for this I stick to the Keto Alcohol rules, no beer and opt for those bubbles! Red wine is also a good choice or pure spirits, but be sure to avoid those sugary mixtures.

Stop Eating Pizza! Yup, I said it – just stop eating pizza! Try it for a month, try it for two… you won’t miss it, I promise.  Pizza is an easy food to over indulge on and is full of carbs, some people have pizza every Friday night… and then there are probably leftovers for the next day… just cut it out – you’ll see a difference.

The true key to living a healthy lifestyle, making gains, and maintaining your goal weight, all boils down to not only exercise but the supporting cast of FOOD – it’s that balance of both that is the perfect formula.

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