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.
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).
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.
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?
With Galentine’s falling on a weekend, it is the perfect excuse to host a brunch! And for me, there is nothing more that I love than a good brunch — not to mention, I think it’s one of the easier meals to host, while still being able to make an impressive spread that is tasty for everyone. But don’t worry, I have you covered from the menu, recipes, table setting, Valentine’s and decor, too!
When it comes to brunch food, there are a ton of great recipes that are overnight prep so all you have to do the morning of, is stick them in the oven and wait for your guests to arrive! Not to mention both casseroles are easy to prep, don’t require a done of ingredients and cover both bases for those friends who are sticking to a diet or maybe love indulging in a little something sweet! The overnight egg casserole is easy to switch out to be meat free if you’re accounting for any dietary needs. Fresh fruit with brunch is always a must, I like to go with blueberries, strawberries or raspberries – something colorful and health conscious to take away some of the guilt!
Galentine’s Brunch Menu:
– Overnight Casseroles: Breakfast Egg Casserole + French Toast Casserole
– Fresh Fruit
– Donut holes or Cinnamon rolls
– Bloody Mary Bar
Lastly the beverages for your Galentine’s Brunch are just as important as the food! Knowing your gal-pals preferences always helps streamline this, so you can have a mix of Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas or can stick to one. This post on how to create your own Bloody Mary bar can help you make a fun statement and if you’re planning for mimosas, be sure to grab a few extra juices besides the standard, like cranberry or pineapple plus your fresh fruit can garnish these too!
Set the Table & Decor. Since it’s your gal pals, keeping the table setting and decor simple, yet fun and festive is key and will also let you enjoy yourself too! Making your own table runner and place settings can help save some money with taking little time and effort on the crafting side, and still resulting in a big impact. This hand painted X’s and O’s table runner, I shared last week is just too stinkin’ cute and is pretty in pink for Galentine’s Day!
Also, don’t let your gals go home empty handed without a little keepsake; these wooden love letter Valentine’s can be customized with everyone’s names or fun little notes like, “U R CUTE” or “BFF4L” or “Ride or Die.” Adding a little note on the back is another way to send a little extra love their way! These will help finish off your table decor and filling these seats, while also bringing a big smile to your pals faces. And snag the colorful cute heart tassel garland from Target for only $6 to add to your table decor or hang in an entry way! Finishing Touches. Getting festive red or pink paper straws can be a fun touch for those Bloody Mary’s or the mimosas. Fresh flowers are always a nice touch if you wanted to switch out your table centerpiece. Don’t forget to set the mood for your brunch with some music, check out my Heart Ache playlist or my emnblovetracks playlist for a mix of all those feelings of love. Heart Ache has a lot of good throw backs, especially some good ones to sing with your gals.
Happy Galentine Brunching!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
As the 2019 year winds down, I thought it would be fun to look back at our 2019 trips! B and I adventured to two new cities (for us) and spent time with friends and family and created new memories together. Every year, a goal of mine is to travel whether it’s new places or old favorites. B and I have so many places we want to visit – so we always try to get a few trips in each year.
Chicago, IL | March 2019
B and I have both been to Chi-Town, but never together! We took a road trip to spend a few days in the big city for my birthday – we found a cute boutique hotel closer to Lincoln Park and conveniently located next to our new favorite spot the Restoration Hardware. We literally grabbed a drink there one night and just walked around as a night cap after dinner! Of course we ate as much food as possible with our short trip and hit up all the tourist spots like the Skydeck at Willis Tower, the bean, took a run down the lakefront trail and got lots of steps in!
Portland, OR | July 2019
We were excited to plan our trip out to PDX to visit our old neighbors and good friends who moved out there in March. This trip was not our typical vacation since the main point was to visit and catch up with F+D! We just happened to be in a new, incredible city with killer views and so much to explore. Our trip was the perfect balance of catching up, site seeing and getting a taste of Portland! Highlights from the trip were a champagne bar, seeing Mt. Moran and our hike around Latourell Falls — the fourth of July was fun having a picnic at F+D’s house, as it felt a bit like old times. There is so much more to see in PDX — so we know we’ll be back for more.
Myrtle Beach, SC | August 2019
After a city adventure and mountain-esq trip to the west coast, we were able to squeeze the beach in too. If you’re an avid Bee reader, you know have seen the reason we head down to Myrtle Beach — which is to visit my grandma who lives in a nursing home. This trip was different, as a recent health scare made grandma more nursing home bound that usual, so instead of getting her out of there as much as possible, we were visiting her there, as much as possible. Not exactly an ideal trip to travel to Myrtle Beach to be in a nursing home, but it’s not often we see my grandma — and as I get older I’ve learned to appreciate this time more, especially since I’ve never been close with either of my grandmas growing up. We did get some beach time in between card games and coloring!
With our 2019 trips wrapped up, we’ve already started talking about our 2020 trips and even our 2021 trips! We have big plans, and big things coming up that we’ll be celebrating and lately all we want to do besides gifts or birthday celebrations are more trips, new memories and new sites to see! Where are you headed in 2020?
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.
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!
November has finally been a month that B and I have been able to breathe. Looking back at the last three months, we were literally booked everything single weekend from August through October — yikes! So needless to say, November has been a breath of fresh air with a little extra time to do more things we love, sleeping in and distressing from October.
By finally being able to take a minute, I’ve been able to check off a few things on my to-do list (finally), make special memories and prepping for the fast approaching holiday season! These have been my latest obsessions this month.
Bathroom Organization. I’ve been trying to get my bathroom drawer stocked and organized since the beginning of October — and that’s just about how things have been going over here lately. BUT! It’s finally finished, and it’s perfect and beautiful and has a high-end feel for a small price of only $12. I wanted to make sure this bathroom was stocked for us and guests since our other main bathroom is two floors up!
Celebrating Two Years. Our anniversary was this past Monday, so B and I did a bit of celebrating and created new memories this year since we were actually home and not in sunny, Palm Springs. We went out Saturday to one of our favorite spots for dinner and drinks, then popped a bottle of bubbly when we got home. Monday we exchanged gifts – B really knocked it out of the park by creating roses out of cotton rounds (picture above), something he thought of all on his own. He also had the vows he wrote me, but never shared since we had a Catholic ceremony, on cotton paper! These were the first time I read them and they were funny, sweet and brought me back to two years ago. We also went out to brunch and had a nice dinner at home that night!
Holiday Ready. …Well almost! I am trying to get there. I’ve gotten a little jump start on some shopping and just started buying stuff, as I’m normally a December shopper. These next few weeks will be busy with Thanksgiving and then immediately jumping into December and hosting our annual holiday party. So I’m getting my lists ready with ALL the things — from making a dairy free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving to picking a day to get our Christmas tree! I’m excited for the holidays, but want them to go slow.
What’ve you been obsessing over lately? Are you stressing over the holidays or easing into them like me?
It’s our two year anniversary! Part of me can’t believe it and part of me can — and part of me would love to relive that night all over again, in it’s pure magic, fun and perfectness. I loved our wedding, and I would plan another one (minus spending all that money again) in a heart beat.
TBH. As much as the night was perfect there were a few moments that weren’t completely perfect, even though all the perfect moments out weighted those. Like the fact that it was basically a tsunami from just before I left the house to head to the church to the end of the night when the party was shutting down. Which meant, our guests and ourselves were transporting two and from the church to the venue in a rush with strategic planning. But they say rain on your wedding day is good luck, right?
Another favorite memory of our wedding is the last two songs of the night. It was big planning the last two songs with the DJ and he made an awesome choice of combining a song that B had recommended as a must play, Five More Hours by Chris Brown with Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling just afterwards (which you can see a snip of it below.) But I’ll never forget when Five More Hours came out and I rushed to find B so we could dance to this amazing song — that now brings tears to my eyes with happiness whenever it comes on.
These last two years with B have been about living our life and doing more of the things we love together, house projects, traveling, spending time with friends and family, working on our physical fitness and creating new memories together. They’ve been about making plans, growing together, learning from one another, laughing and strengthening our team. Now it’s time for some brunch, to celebrate!
Wedding photo: Timothy-Logan Photography
I may or may not still be recovering from the weekend! For nearing the end of September, the weather was toasty warm and full of sunshine – it was perfect for porch hangouts, two year old bday parties, a wedding and even a nap outside on the patio. Yup, that was the flyover recap of the weekend, but the highlight was definitely K&J’s wedding on Saturday.
Funny enough, this was the first wedding we’ve been too in almost 2-years, the last wedding we went to was ours! So we were feeling a little rusty with the whole wedding guest game. K&J’s wedding also happened to be the 21st night of September – queue the Earth, Wind & Fire’s song September. The ceremony was intimate as it took place in a wine cellar with friends and family gathered around. In addition the the intimate setting, the vows were personal and special to the couple with plenty of laughs for all to be had – it was the perfect mix of what makes up K&J. The reception was full of dancing, laughs, pictures, catching up with coworkers and bonding with the bride and grooms family. It was a beautiful night for the newlyweds, not to mention the bride was simply stunning!
Other highlights from the weekend included getting a Saturday workout in and enjoying a homemade breakfast afterwards on the patio with B as we enjoyed more of the beautiful weather and sunshine. We did some housework, cleaned up the house and just enjoyed the day being home. On Sunday we celebrated our nieces second birthday with her big party! The theme was minnie mouse and the weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor party – the girls even got me into the bounce house for a bit. I also got a major nap in on Sunday after the birthday fun, we had a late night from the wedding so apparently I needed it.
It’s hard to believe we’re in the last full week of September with one more weekend left. Where did this month go? Not to mention, Monday was officially the first day of Fall – but the weather definitely doesn’t feel like fall just yet, so I am still clinging onto Summer!
What were your weekend highlights?