Galentine’s Brunch Planning Guide

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!
Galentines_beelifeblog(2)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
– Mimosas

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!
Galentines_beelifeblog(3)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! Galentines_beelifeblog(1)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!

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DIY – Holiday Snow Globe Place Settings

Spoiler! I love decorating and hosting get togethers and I especially love transforming our house into a Christmas wonderland.  Included in that Christmas wonderland is playing around with our dining room decor and making a statement with our tablescape. I love shopping on Pottery Barn, we registered for our wedding there and I always find a few gems, especially seasonal ones that I grab when they’re on sale or occasionally splurge on. So long story short, I saw these Village Snow Globe Place Card Holders and was about to splurge — until I was like, wait it would be super fun to make those!
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What You’ll Need:

Plastic ornaments
– Mini wire brush trees, animals or houses – shop Christmas Village decor at Michaels. I bought (2) mini white trees and (2) green tree set
12×12 Glitter scrapbook paper/card stock, silver glitter and glue
Craft sparkle pipe cleaners, same color as glitter/paper, I used silver
– Cotton balls
– Uline knife
– Hot glue and mod podge

Estimated total project cost: $25

Step-by-Step:
1. First things first, you’ll need to cut a opening in the bottom of your plastic ornaments. This was a bit tricky to figure out, and should be done very carefully!  I used a sharp mini philips head to poke a hole in the bottom. Once I had a hole, I used a Uline knife to cut a smaller circle for the opening, go slow and wear gloves to protect your hands. Repeat based on the number of place settings you’re making – this is the least fun part of the whole project!
SnowGlobeDIY-beelife(1)2. Woo! We have our openings, so now it’s time to cut our our bases and start planning our wintry scene. I used thicker card stock, that I ended up painting and putting glitter on — I would highly recommend buying scrapbook 12×12 glitter paper. This would’ve saved time and a mess. *smiles*  So using your thicker paper, trace a circle using a drinking glass that is rounder than your ornament, trace and repeat to cut the same number of circles as you have ornaments. These are your bases!

3. Working from the center of your circular base play around with your mini trees/houses or animals. Once you have your scene figured out it’s time to glue in place! I started with my larger wire brush tree in the center, and flanked either side with smaller ones. Pull a cotton ball apart and shape around the base of the trees and glue into place. Wah-la, snow! Repeat, or switch up to have different variations.

Pro-tip: Don’t go to far from the center, so that you’re ornament can fit around your wintry scene especially the cotton ball snow

4. Once you have your bases decorated, glued and secured — place ornaments overtop, making sure everything is fitting within the ornament.  Glue and secure the base of the ornament with hot glue!
SnowGlobeDIY-beelife(2)5. Now, depending on if you bought glitter paper or not, this step may not be needed.  Using mod podge glue I painted the top of the white paper bases and then covered in silver glitter over a paper plate to catch the excess. I had to touch up a few spots once the glue dried and I dumped the remaining glitter off to see emptier spots.  If you bought glitter paper, you are 10-steps ahead of me!

6. Time for finishing touches! Get that hot glue back out and glue the pipe cleaners around the base where your ornament meets the base. You’ll most likely need to trim for an even meet at the back.  I then used the left over scraps of the pipe cleaner to create a circle to loop into the top of the ornament to hold place cards for guests! I used old place cards that we didn’t use from our wedding, but you can cut and customize as you want or not include!

7. Once your mini snow globes are created, it’s time to set the table and get ready to host a delicious meal with close friends and family!

This was such a fun DIY and I love how they turned out. For $25 I created 8-mini place setting snow globes compared to spending nearly $60 at Pottery Barn — plus I made them! I must admit figuring out how I was going to cut and create this using ornaments had be puzzled for a while, and it took a few trial and errors before I figured out how to cut the hole in the bottom. And I really wanted to use ornaments vs. mason jars or other types of glass cylinders I saw online.  So once I figured it out and put it all together I was so excited! The best part is you can keep and use year after year or send home with guests as a little keepsake <3.

Happy Holiday Hosting!

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Bee’s Holiday Party Check List

It’s no secret around the bee life that I love planning and hosting parties! We’ve slowly started a tradition of hosting a Christmas Party each year, that started in our old apartment hosting a Christmas Ale themed shin-dig and has turned into a larger party now that we have a home to entertain in.
HolidayCheckList-beelifeblog(2)With hosting a Christmas party nearly 4-years in a row (last year we substituted B’s 30th surprise party in place of it) — I have a lot of the fundamentals down that are my go-to party planning check-list.

  1. Simple but inclusive menu. For our parties, I really like to stick with the basics and easy snackable items. Like a nice charcuterie board, pizza, peanuts, popcorn, and chips and dippy items. Also work to be conscious of dietary restrictions, since I’m an offender of that and have a few friends who are meatless.
  2. Don’t forget the booze. We always like to have a variety of beverages for our guests available, as everyone is always good about BYOBing. So we always have plenty of options and variety for everyone!
  3. Something Sweet. It is important to ALWAYS have dessert – especially something chocolatey. I love having m&ms around in little dishes and then other yummy treats like brownies, cookies and even a few Christmas cookies if I really get my butt in gear.  Let’s be honest — I’m going to be drinking champagne and eating desserts.
  4. Party Games. With our holiday party, I like to bring in some of my family traditions and games to our friends.  As we’ve had these parties over the years, games have been requested and even demanded and it’s fun to see these new tradition started.  We even do a white elephant ornament exchange!

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I’ll be a busy bee elf next week getting ready for the party, especially with Thanksgiving falling so late in the year — our house is not yet Christmased. So it will be fun getting everything set come December 1st for our party! Do you have any party planning hacks that you swear by? Do you stick to the same general game plan when you host parties or switch it up each time? Leave me a comment below, telling me your hacks!

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Tips for an Easy Summer Table Setting

When we host a dinner, I always like to have a warm and inviting space for our guests to dine at whether that is inside or out.  This means, putting a little extra time into creating a unique space for that dinner.  When I set the dining room table, I like to have pieces that I can use for multiple seasons, while pulling in other elements to highlight the specific season.  This summer has been a little lighter on the dinners we’ve hosted, but we finally hosted a cookout this past week and have the most perfect summer evening. And I just have to share the simple, yet beautiful table setting that anyone could pull together the next time you’re hosting some guests!

To make it easy while also making a statement, I like to start with a neutral color palette, and then add in some color/patterns paired with a decorative centerpiece. The last piece to top off your table centerpiece and really make guests feel welcomed is a bouquet of fresh flowers.  This really made the table-setting pop with the fun colors of the limey-pink hydragengas – which I cut from our own yard!  And fresh flowers outside are a nice, unexpected touch to most.  With our outdoor dinners, I use a fun caddy to tote out silverware, salt and pepper and other condiments – this allows guests to grab what they need while make it not feel too formal. Ours is a white metal caddy with a handle so it’s supper easy to fill up and transport in and out! Easy Summer Dining - beelifeblog(3)
Shop My Pieces: Indoor/Outdoor Tweed PlacematsSimilar Plain Blue Napkins, set of 4 | White Napkins with Pom Pom Trim, set of 4 Dinner Plates from Pottery Barn |  Water Glasses from Pottery Barn | Similar Metal Flatware Caddy

The best part, is this can easily be translated inside for a great setting and paired with a different centerpiece elements to fit different seasons, weather it be spring or fall!  I think the key to keeping it simple, is working with a lot of pieces you already have, whether they’re our more neutral pieces or our a little more fun pink pieces – this is one of the things I love to do, and helps make the evening feel effortless while still putting a little thought and personal touch on the space!

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3 Party Planning Hacks – Baby Shower Ed.

This past weekend was my sister-in-law’s baby shower and I was lucky to help with the planning and was in charge of the decor.  I love a good party, and I love a good party with a theme.  The theme for K’s shower was Woodland, and as I worked through the decor it quickly morphed to a Woodland Glam theme especially once we learned the baby is a girl. So instead of breaking everything down, I wanted to share a few hacks I did for this baby shower that made a statement and helped pull everything together.
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Framed Art: One easy way to help decorate and pull the theme through was with framed art of little Woodland animals with flower crowns. Since Woodland was also K’s baby room theme, I wanted to get prints framed that could work for the shower and that could then be hung in the nursery for room decor! It was a fun conversation piece during the shower as party guests spotted them throughout the house – plus I think N&K really liked them. I purchased 6 Baby Animals with Flowers Crowns and these 11×17 frames from Michaels Craft Store.
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DIY Floral Letter: This was another piece that was used as decor at the shower and will now find a home in the nursery as well. The muted colors that were picked out play into that glam, Woodland and romantic feel.  Not to mention this was super easy and an affordable DIY that made a huge statement as part of the main centerpiece in the opening room as guests came into the baby shower. Read the full Floral Letter DIY how-to by click here.
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Dessert Table:  A dessert table has been my must-have staple for all the parties that I plan.  This is an easy way to make a great statement, while having a lot of yummy treats, lots of options and it’s another way to help pull in a theme.  There are a few pieces to mix and match for your dessert table, my go-to’s are at least one cake, maybe two depending on the size, cake pops and chocolate covered pretzels. Designed sugar cookies are another great addition to a dessert table too! Displaying everything at various levels helps give another wow factor to your sweet treats and finishing off with greens and a table runner pull it all together.
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A few other must-haves at parties are balloons and the way we pull this off is by buying those personal sized helium tanks – these make it so easy and transportation a breeze. Depending the occasion, fresh flowers are always a nice touch especially if it’s a baby or bridal shower.  I also love making sure napkins, plates and glassware are on theme and compliments to the entire party.  I love how everything came together for K’s special day, it was exhausting pulling it all together, but definitely worth it!

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Ultimate Summer S’more Board

It’s time to step-up your s’more game, and I’ll tell you just how to do it with my ultimate summer s’more board. It’s the charcuterie board of s’mores and it’s only going up from here in the wow, mouth watering, #goals department. Don’t worry the only thing that doesn’t change is that delicious perfectly toasted marshmallow. So whether this is for a girl’s night, date night or low-key hang with the neighbors the way you eat s’mores is forever about to change – and you’re going to wow your guests in the process. Oh, and don’t forget the bubbles!
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My Hubby’s Surprise Party & Tips for Planning One

For the last 6-months or so I’ve been planning a surprise party for my hubby, B — this quickly turned into a bit feat as we got closer to the actual surprise date!  You see, I get really excited about presents I pick out, gifts, or surprises – I like to bait people and often can’t wait, just wanting to spill the beans.  Planning this party was definitely a test of that (that I passed!) but was also a bit stressful, yet very exciting!
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So here are a few tips and areas to focus on when planning a surprise party!

Plan a Date.  Since B’s birthday is a few days after Christmas, it often gets looped in with the holiday and overlooked – so I wanted to make sure we avoided the holiday but also wanted it to be close.  Since December tends to be a busy month for everyone I planned over the summer and sent out my digital Save the Dates.  I also picked a Friday night, thinking it’d be easier for me to sneak away on a work day than a regular Saturday.

Location.  This one can be tricky! I initially had the perfect place picked out with an ideal party room – then they closed over the summer.  The options got smaller and I got picker, so the fall back was our house, that way I could control the food, decorations, alcohol, etc.  I just needed to keep the hubby away long enough to get the house decorated and sneak 30-people inside.

Plan the Diversion.  I wracked my brain on this for months, until I finally reached out to MW to help with the diversion – he was all over it and a HUGE help to this all working out!  This started getting planned just a few weeks before, and then initiated with B the week of the party – drinks after work, and then getting back to the house in time for the surprise!

Pick a Theme & Decorate.  To keep a somewhat complex event, simple – I wanted to stick with a classic color scheme of gold, black and white! I kept decorations easy too,  with lots of balloons, big gold number balloons, fun themed thirty banners, some ‘Vintage 1988’ plastic cups, pictures of the birthday boy and a photo booth with polaroids.  Pro-tip: Buy a mini-helium tank, it’s easier and cheaper! 

Food & Drink Favorites.  Since I was hosting, I could pretty much pick whatever for the food and I wanted to make sure to incorporate some of B’s favorite things. To do this, I ordered chips and salsa from his favorite spot picked up dark chocolate pretzels, another favorite!  From a beverage perspective, I made sure there was plenty of B’s favorite Christmas beer – and our friends/families brought plenty of beer options for him too!
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My goal was to plan a surprise party for B to celebrate his upcoming 30th, while keeping it simple and intimate – which isn’t easy to do with big families and lots of friends, but somehow I think I pulled it off! B was DEFINITELY surprised and had no idea, I kept the charade up all day – even though I took a half day and had planning for months.  Another plus of planning so early is I slowly ordered decorations and party supplies throughout the months so I really only needed to worry about the food the week of!

It was fun, but I don’t think I’ll be planning another surprise party anytime soon!

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5 Hosting Tips for Fall

It’s getting to one of my favorite times of the year – the time for holiday parties and plenty of opportunities for hosting friends and family.  Whether you’re planning an intimate sit down dinner or a more festive party, these five tips will help cover your bases, wow guests and have a fun night to remember!
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These tips will also help you relax as a host while still having those finishing touches and taking your party to the next level.

  1. Consider a Bulk Signature Cocktail. Signature cocktails can be fun, especially if it’s more of a seasonal drink for the fall and winter months.  As a host pro-tip, make these in bulk ahead of time in a pitcher or shaker – that way you won’t be stuck making everyone a drink as they come in.  Don’t forget the garnish and a fun cocktail napkin to top off the full effect!
  2. Make a Killer Charcuterie Board. This can serve as your focal point and will cover the bases on a variety of food categories from meats and cheeses, to breads, jams, nuts and fresh fruit that will make guests want to dive right in.  Check out Skinnytaste or Spend with Pennies on some tips to making a killer board.
  3. Don’t Forget the Dessert! It’s easy to get caught up figuring out the main dishes for the evening and overlook the best part, dessert!  This is something to keep simple whether it’s buying some more expensive chocolate bars, baking fresh chocolate chip cookies or asking friends to help bring this, so you can check it off the list!
  4. Plastic vs. Non-Plastic Plates. The great debate on which to use continues! I often shy away from plastic because I prefer the aesthetic look of plates – but depending on which type of party you’re hosting, one might make more sense than the other.  For example a more intimate dinner party or smaller guest count may call for plates to add that extra touch, but if you’re having a large party that is a bit more casual save yourself the end of the night clean-up and grab plastic bowls and plates!
  5. Create Welcoming Smells. This can be an easy victory – if you’ve been prepping food all day, your house might have a mixture of smells, so to clear it up light a few candles with similar scents throughout your home (don’t forget the bathroom!) or throw in some chocolate chip cookies right before guests arrive for a homey welcome.

If you’re looking for inspiration to host a fall party and ways to keep it simple read; 5 Reasons to Host a Fall Party.  And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your own party, as the host it’s easy to get caught up in perfection and making sure everyone else is taken care of – but don’t forget to grab yourself a drink too!

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Image Sources:  Skinnytaste \ The Effortless Chic | Apartment 34

Parties – Festive Cocktails

Since I’m SO pumped for the holidays this year – I can’t help but get excited for all the fun leading up… the decorating, the tree hunting, our Christmas party, baking cookies, just all of the things!  One way to customize your holiday party is to have a signature drink, these drinks have me totally inspired for our upcoming holiday party.
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Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer: This drink just looks light and refreshing especially with the garnish of rosemary to top it off.  I think substituting out the pomegranate for cranberries would also be a great option if you wanted to make it a little more affordable and easier to create. This would also be a great drink for a NYE party!

Pink Peppermint Russian: Although I would need to substitute the milk, perhaps with almond milk, this drink looks so pretty and delicious and has Christmas written all over it. Not to mention, it’s a warmer drink which is perfect for warming up your guests from the cold and snowy nights.

Crockpot Cranberry Apple Cider:  This is perfect for a party to start up, and let it simmer and cook in the crockpot while you fine too the decorations and prep the food!  Easily add in some whiskey or rum and you have an instant cocktail to keep you warm and keep the festivities going!

My other go-to holiday party drink is getting the party start with Little Beers, or red and green Jell-o shots!

Cheers!