Travel: Lake of the Ozarks

B and I were lucky enough to take another awesome vacation this past week.  We headed west-ish for my aunt’s belated 60th birthday trip to the Lake of the Ozarks.  A first for B and I, it was a treasured childhood spot for my mom and her family growing up, with lots of memories in and around the lake!

Days consisted of bikinis, sunshine, pool gossip sessions, corn hole tournaments, cold beers, fishing and ski-dos.  One day the ladies went hiking and explored around Ha Ha Tonka State Park, climbing 317 stairs both ways, while exploring old castle ruins, breath-taking water spots and the natural bridge.
Travel - Ozarks - the bee life
Night’s consisted of large family dinners with St. Louis style ribs paired with incredible spreads of fresh salads, fruit, lots of beverages, including of course, Manhattans.  There were also many family stories shared, reminisced of old times, and lots of laughs.  We celebrated my Aunt’s 60th our last night at the lake, and her gratitude for everyone making the trip there, was exactly the reason we went, to create and share in family memories.

It was a great vacation, full of sunshine, awesome weather and even better company.  We can’t wait to get back to the lake!

Six.

Today mark’s six years with B and about 6-months until we’re married (!!!) and although we will have a new anniversary, this will always be our first.

As we’ve been prepping for our wedding with vendors, meetings, and security deposits, we’ve also been prepping for our wedding through the church with a series of quizzes and even an all day ‘prep course’.  I can hear some of you asking, a quiz? A course? Who is the church to decide if you’re able to get married? Valid, yes. But it’s our faith and how we grew up and a part of our wedding that is important to us, that it’s recognized in the church.  So during our all day course, we had to separate and write down where we saw ourselves in 5 and 10 years (among other things). And as we read these back to each other we laughed because they were nearly identical.  And although we talk about the future, our hopes and wants, it was nice to sit down and write these things down and discuss them with each other. Our “marriage prep” with the church has allowed us to talk about a few more things proactively vs. in the moment of life.

Every year together we grow a little more, we challenge each other, we become stronger, we love a little harder, we laugh, we try new things, we go new places, we support and encourage each other.

I can’t wait to walk down the aisle to this man and keep tallying up the years and memories together.

I love you, B! ❤

It’s Been Fun, 2016!

Wow – this year has been so epic.  I look back at pictures on everything that has happened and I just can’t get over all of it. In honor of the last 3-days of this amazing year, I wanted to share a look back at each months highlight, although I must admit it was hard picking just one.

2016 Highlights: Getting engaged, Katie & Travis’ wedding, celebrating 5-years with B, traveling to Denver, Jackson Hole and Kansas City, going to the World Series, Cavs NBA Championship and a new job! Among countless others!

These 12 pictures don’t even come close to giving this year the justice it deserves.  I am sad to see this year end, but SO excited for 2017!

What were your highlights from 2016?

Cheers!

Travel: Jackson Hole – Part 3

Sick of all the amazing photos of beautiful scenery and food from our trip? Me either. This last recap is for the must see photo stops beyond the millions of other stops you can make along the way.

Oxbow Bend
This is on the north end of Jackson as you’re headed out to Jackson Lake Lodge or Yellowstone.  Not only does Oxbow Bend have great views of Mount Moran, but you can also bet on seeing some wildlife around there, particularly a grizzly or moose.

Jackson Lake Lodge
JLL is a great place for a nicer dinner and drinks especially if you want to be wowed by an amazing view of Mount Moran and the stunning range it belongs too.  Again, another great spot for animal watching especially early morning or in the evenings the floor to ceiling windows allow for nearly unobstructed views.

Jenny Lake
You’ll find that this is a popular destination for new and seasoned visitors.  Whether you’re stopping at a pull off to capture a peak of the lake, jumping on the ferry to cross over, or renting kayaks to paddle along you’ll have stunning views of Teewinot and Mount Owen.  This time around we went the kayak route which can be rented right at the boat dock and it was awesome.

Moulton Barn on Mormon Row 
This is one of the most photographed barns mainly because of it’s stunning views of the Grand Teton not to mention it’s iconic structure.  Since I first went out to JH, Moulton Barn has definitely risen on the map and is more “commericalized” with an outhouse, parking, and even a bridge to be able to walk over and get up close to the barn.  When we first went out the property seemed sacred only being able to get only as close as the fence would allow (below 2009 vs. 2016).  It’s definitely changed over the years, but still a must-see.

Schwabacher Landing
If you do an image search “Jackson Hole Wyoming” one of these iconic pictures of the Grand reflected into water will turn-up.  Most famously shot early mornings at sunrise you’ll be up before the sun to get this shot.  We did that on our last morning, got up early and waited until the sun came up to grab the perfect shot with the pinks on the tips of the mountains.  If you walk the trail further you’ll be guided to another marshy area full of beavers! Definitely a stunning shot that looks nearly fake in photos.

Jackson Town Square
The center of Jackson is cornered with four elk antler arches, huge arches that you can walk under and they stand in their glory day and night. It’s often sometimes hard to get a clean shot in front of an arch due to the tourists walking around and even snapping their own pictures – going early mornings or later in the evenings usually has a smaller crowd.  If not offer to snap a couples photo and have them take yours, in and out!

In Jackson, pretty much anywhere you drive will have stunning views of the Tetons or the foothills, it’s incredible how much beauty is packed into one space.

Questions on JH or just visited? Send me your pictures @mmariebee or leave a comment below!

ICYMI:  JH Recap #1 – Hikes || JH Recap #2 – Food || #EmnBtoJH – 2014

Latest Obsessions: August Edition

Starting out on the first Friday of August, here’s what I am obsessed with lately!  Even though it seems like summer is coming to an end, it still feels like we are just getting started and have a lot more hot days and weekends to enjoy! So I hope you enjoy and share in some of these latest obsessions.

Kate Spade: Outdoor & Home
I first saw some of these gems at a Hallmark on steroids on our Denver trip.  It was the Hallmark location in Cherry Creek. And it was amazing! I also thought the plastic cups with fun lemon patterns, polka dots and other bright patterned pieces were perfect, especially for summer. I don’t know if I would actually spend the money on these, but I feel like everyone needs a good set of entertaining plastics ‘glasses’ or wine glasses.  And everything else is just too cute and perfect to keep summer lasting!

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Our Engagement Pictures
We have been getting teased with small batches of our engagement pictures since we first had them done in mid-June.  It’s been a little torturous waiting to see what the rest look like after getting teased with the first 5 and then a week later 5 more… but they have definitely been worth the wait! I received the latest batch of the most current and I honestly can’t stop staring at them. I’m a hypocrite for mocking every other bride-to-be who posted a million engagement pictures one right after the other on social… so I am definitely pacing myself from blasting them all! So you all get the first peak of the next batch. *smiles*

Photo credit: timothylogan.com 

Silver Picture Frames
Sooo… Marshall’s has been killing it with elegant, classic silver frames lately.  I first bought a few for my mom and FMIL to give them a picture of when B and I got engaged, but now that we have these awesome engagement photos coming in I need more! The pictures just pop in the frames whether its a color or  black & white photo. I was half tempted to buy all new frames for our living room, but quickly realized that was a bit ridiculous … but maybe it’ll still happen.

What’ve you been obsessing over lately? Leave a comment below & let me know!

TGIF!

Wednesday Reminders – Friends

One of the hardest parts of starting my new job, one-month in to the date, is not spending the entire day with my best friends. Yes, that’s right, one of the things I am most grateful for from my previous job (besides all of the experience) is the friendships I made. I truly think that was the greater purpose of me working there for the years that I did and starting when I did.
Wednesday Reminders - Friends - the bee lifeIf it weren’t for the amazing people I met,  life would be very different, my career would be very different.  Dramatic? No. These people have inspired me to dream bigger, work harder and fight for what I want.  They’ve also helped me laugh when I did not want to laugh, to take the lunch break to walk and gossip instead of stewing at my desk over an email. Sneak away for impromptu drinks “after work”, doggy play dates and team lunches.  They were my sounding board for life and professionally encouraging me to ask hard questions, dig deeper of myself and want more.

I was so hesitant to leave my job because I loved so many of the people I had gotten to know over three years and spent all my days with.  But I knew I had to make a change for me, and that they would still be up the street (literally).  I was also partially afraid that I would never see some of them again, other people I was close with have moved on or got new jobs and it just wasn’t the same. But since I left, not a whole lot has changed, lunch walks and coffee dates still happen, team lunches and happy hours, group texts and bitmoji’s and now even some snapchat fun.

We help inspire each other, learn and grow from each other, build each other up and laugh at each other, cry with each other and even borrow sneakers.  We help each other to try not to take life so seriously, give the hard truths when it’s needed and just listen to each other.

I have realized (especially) lately how lucky I am to have so many strong fierce women around me, (you all know who you are!) thank you!

XO

Weekend Highlight: Kayaking

It has been toasty toasty this past week, but I know we haven’t been the only ones roasting.  Our humidity was nearly 80% on Friday. Gross! Not to mention, we don’t have AC … *smiles* … so it’s been even more unbearable, we broke down and bought a window AC unit for our bedroom, so we at least can sleep at night, after sweating all day! So a little mission this weekend was to ‘beat the heat’ whether it was going out to eat at a restaurant to cool down or hanging out at our neighbors to soak up some cool air!

Saturday morning we headed to the Metroparks with some friends and rented kayaks!! Living close to a large lake, I often take for granted the amenities or extracurricular activities that’re available to us within minutes from our house. So I was happy when some friends recommended we go kayaking.

It got off to a little rough start, with the oh so friendly woman at the kayak rental.  We luckily were able to rent kayaks for 1-hour, after she scolded us to make reservations and how you have to make reservations, especially on the weekend, oh and if we were even 5-minutes late coming back we would be significantly up-charged and it would throw off the rest of the day because they were so booked. She was so nice.IMG_4555So after we got through that, we were able to jump in two tandem kayaks and head out on the river with sights of the lake! It was relaxing after B and I got into our grove and  were able to enjoy the scenic views along the river of the private yacht club and large beautiful homes flanking the river. We were able to make it out to the lake with plenty of time, after the fear of god was instilled in us to not be a single minute late back to the rental area. So it was just enough time to paddle around the lake, enjoy the view and then head back down the river. IMG_4537FullSizeRender

The water and breeze from the lake was refreshing, while still being able to soak up some of the hot summer sun! After we dried off a bit, we headed for some bottomless mimosas and brunch at a nearby spot – yum!

Safe to say, B and I will definitely be doing this again before the summers end! We might just try out another rental spot and will definitely make reservations ahead of time, regardless of where we go! *winks*

#EmnBWed – The Dress

So a few weekends ago, I surprised my mom with dress shopping. We were walking to a nearby boutique (she didn’t know where we were going) and on the way there, I said, “Ok! We are going dress shopping!”  She replied, “We Are?!” She was excited and surprised about it for sure. I went into the appointment with the mindset of not finding a dress and just wanting to try on a lot of different styles and options to see how they looked and figure out what I like – but that quickly changed. I quickly started figuring out what I liked, and what I didn’t like. Butttt I also liked a lot of different styles.  The boutique we visited blew me away – they had unique, well made dresses in lots of different styles and fabrics, not to mention what seemed like unlimited customization options, well unlimited based on your budget. *winks* This was all confirmed after visiting a chain wedding dress store.  All the dresses seemed cheap, over done with lace and bling and just completely lack luster.  Although it was good to have the comparison, I don’t think I’ll be bothering with any stores like that again. FullSizeRender (2)FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender
So I thought almost all of the dresses I tried on at the boutique looked really good, not to sound full of myself, but they did!  It got hard narrowing them down, especially the styles that I really liked. Luckily, some of the styles/looks just weren’t what I’m going for. For example – the last dress was AMAZING, if we were having a winter wedding that would definitely be a top contender along with the full beaded dress (it was SO heavy). The other part I loved about the boutique is that the owner would pair different dresses from a designer to make a new dress; observe above in picture #2!  It truly helped envision and create a dress unique for you.

I ended up going back the week after with Katie (surprising her too), so I could share the experience with her and also show her my top contenders after going with my mom. Having one-on-one shopping trips with my favorite people is definitely not the conventional way, but it’s my way of making special memories with each of them.

When Katie and I went back, I think we found the dress. Although I’m not sure I will get that feeling, of just knowing, but I think I’m pretty darn close. It’s so pretty.

So here is my advice to first time bridal dress shoppers;

  1. It’s OK to say NO!
  2. Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions, especially when it comes to price
  3. Go to at least one smaller boutique
  4. It’s OK if you don’t get THAT feeling, just pick what feels right
  5. You don’t need to know all the shapes/styles by name, just have your pinterest board ready!
  6. The decision might be harder than you think!
  7. Think accessories with your dresses; belts, necklaces, veil, hairstyle, shoes. Every little detail will tie into your overall look and vision!
  8. Invite as many people (or not) as you want
  9. Take pictures
  10. Enjoy it!

Unfortunately, the dress won’t be shared until our wedding day – so you’ll have well over a year for that one! Bum bum bum!

Fun Hangover.

This week has been crazy with a side of ridiculous. Since Sunday night’s victory of the Cavs winning the NBA Finals, setting a number of records and making history, this city has been non-stop, myself included!

Monday it was like Christmas, waking up reliving everything, being so happy, and just soaking in all the coverage, the players tweets, party photos, snaps, replaying the last few seconds of the game and going through all the emotions over and over again. Not to mention, the Cavs came home so there was a welcome party that of course we had to watch as they got off the plane.  Tuesday seemed like the calm before the storm, but also crazy just getting ready for Wednesday and trying to plan and guess how the parade would be – as it was a first for many, if not all.

Wednesday was the Cavs parade. The first championship parade this city has seen in nearly five decades. The estimates of how many people who were expected to cram into downtown were anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million.  Well there was a reported approx. 1.3 million people who came down to Cleveland for the parade. People who started arriving downtown at 6AM (if they hadn’t spent the night), waiting for the parade which didn’t start until 11AM, and ended up taking four hours.

We decided to get downtown pretty early since we saw on the news that the crowds were growing fairly fast, at least quicker than we anticipated. Luckily working downtown, we had a parking spot secure in my lot and then we headed to a coworkers apartment near by for some pre-gaming fun. We slowly recruited other coworkers to head over from the office, since the city was packed and celebrating the Cavs!

It was so much fun. I love my coworkers and it was fun to party and hang with them, with B too and some of our other friends. It was also bitter sweet since my last day at the office is today. I’ve made awesome friends and that will be the hardest party of leaving, is not seeing them everyday, all day (but we will still be close!) So I know we will all still stay close.

Because the parade took so long, we didn’t last to see much in person, we waited at the end of the Rally, thinking that was going to be the grand finale and party, but it was a little lack luster.  Apparently the parade was where it was at! So we should’ve started at the beginning! Oh well, it was still so much fun, an experience we will never forget, a part of history, an awesome party and amazing day for our city.

Go Cavs!!!