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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Weekend Recap – Bday & Bubbles

This past weekend was a mix of fun and relaxation – which is just what I needed after being a bit under the weather all of last week and even still into the weekend.  But I’m finally feeling like this cold is winding down and about to hightail out of here!

Friday I was fortunate to take a half day from work and grab lunch with an old coworker – we kicked off our birthday weekend with some much needed catching up! I was able to get a decent nap in before our neighbors going away party that night which lasted right up until midnight to welcome my official birthday!  Our old neighbors were in town visiting for the party as well, so it was great catching up and having almost the whole crew together under one roof again.
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Birthday Saturday was a busy, yet relaxing day.  B and I kicked off the morning with an unofficial, official birthday workout – from there I got my birthday drink from Starbucks and made my way to the spa for a facial and mani/pedi appointment. It was a nice way to kickoff the day, self care at it’s finest.  While I was at the spa, B and his dad were making some good progress on the bathroom remodel and wrapped up just as I got home – it was perfect timing, plus a BIG item crossed off the to-do list.

The rest of the day was low key until we headed to one of our favorite spots for drinks and dinner. Bubbles for me, dirty martini for B, pear salad – with no cheese for me, meatball plate for B and then we both got personal pizza’s – mushroom and prosciutto pizza, with no cheese, for me and a classic pepperoni with banana peppers for B. We grabbed some bubbles and cake before heading home for the rest of the night!
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With a birthday the day before St. Patrick’s Day, partaking in festivities usually happens by default!  We popped up to our favorite little coffee shop for their festive Pot O’Gold latte and a quiet regroup before the day got started.  The shop was glowing in green for the holiday with clovers and all things lucky – which made it another perfect reason to pop in to kickoff the Irish holiday.

From there we headed to brunch with some family before they headed to the big parade downtown.  We got more coffee, caught up with some of our favorites and ate some more delicious food.  After two jam packed days and nights, B and I were down for a relaxing afternoon.  Weekend Recao - the bee life (3)
I think one of the best parts of the weekend was that the sun was shining ALL weekend. It was amazing – not to mention I woke up to birds chirping both days.  Saturday morning, I literally did a double take and checked my phone to make sure the birds were real and not my phone alarm! It was beautiful and also meant that Moz got a walk, which always makes for a great weekend.

Cheers!

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Blueberry Mint Mixer – The Recipe

Summer may feel like it’s coming to an end – but let’s hang onto it just a little longer… I have an easy and tasty cocktail to help fill those hot summer days and long weekends!
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What You’ll Need:
– Vodka of your choosing, I used Tito’s
– Tonic water
– Frozen blueberries
– Mint leaf ice cubes

Step-by-Step:
1. Prep! The night before, get some fresh mint and make some ice cubes with mint in them! Rip off mint leaves and place into the cube tray and then pour ice over, have it sit overnight and you’ll have some fancy and tasty ice ready for your drink!
2. Okay, time to make the drinks! Place your mint ice cubes into the glasses and sprinkle a spoon or two of frozen blueberries over the ice cubes.
3. Use a shot glass and pour your vodka in, this is totally on preference, but I usually keep my drinks 1-to-1 with alcohol and the mixer. Once you’ve added your vodka, top off with your tonic.
4. Give it a stir, cheers with your boo and enjoy!
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This one is easy to have all the ingredients stocked around the kitchen and has hints of summer written all over it with the light flavors from the mint and blueberries.  The pinkish-purple coloring really make this a fun drink – not to mention the pretty mint garnishes from the ice cubes!

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3 Tips for Hosting a Summer Dinner Party

With a little over a year with our back patio, we made it a point to have both dining and relaxin space – making it the perfect spot for a classic dinner with family and close friends.  We hosted, the first of many dinners on the patio and it was the perfect combination of all the things that make a dinner party great a classic and easy menu, a stunning table setting and awesome company.

My favorite part about hosting a party or dinner is the planning that goes into it and the opportunity to make a special memory for our guests, while also having a fantastic meal and great company.  It’s about making the night special from all the other dinners we have every other night and giving the people you care about a little extra love.
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I’ve realized that hosting a dinner or party for some may seem super daunting and overwhelming, but focusing on these three things helps keep it simple while also allowing you to enjoy the night as well!

The Menu. We kept the menu simple, healthy and refreshing for a warm summer day.  We opted for chicken and steak kabobs mixed with mushrooms, peppers and onions.  We had a fresh mixed greens salad with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes (cheese on the side for us non-dairy folk) and a fresh fruit salad with blueberries and strawberries.  When it comes down to it, there are just a few staples that just can’t be beat – not to mention we had plenty of kabobs that we were all stuffed!

The Setting. I had fun dressing up our not so glamorous outdoor table with placemats and neutrals. I used a variety of outdoor friend pieces like the plastic salad plates and glasses from Opalhouse while bringing out some nicer Kate Spade serving dishes and fabric napkins.  The neutral base let the table be the center of attention with it’s bright colors and inviting feel with the mix of patterns.  Pro Tip: dress your table and prep as much food as possible before your guest arrive so you’re able to enjoy their company and a cocktail!

The Company.  Although I love large parties, sometimes it’s better to keep things small – so we had my parents and B’s parents up. It was the perfect mix of company and conversation was able to be had with everyone vs. side conversations or too much noise, especially if this is your first major dinner party – keep it small and low key so the impress isn’t stressing you out.

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The best thing about hosting is that you’re able to call the shots! From the menu, to the vibe you can set the tone for the evening – but it’s always important to make sure your guests are taken care of first and feel welcomed!

Cheers!

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Champagne Cocktails for NYE

We are in the final countdown of days for 2016 so that means it’s time to start planning for your last night of the year.  And in my opinion, every occasion is an occasion for champagne, although some occasions call for a little more expensive champagne than others.  But there is always one occasion that demands champagne and that is New Year’s Eve!  I love champagne straight, all day long, but found some fun, easy cocktails to try for your NYE celebration for those who might want a little more “umph” to get the party started.
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Pomegranate Cranberry Champagne Punch – This cocktail will be tasty for everyone, and requires minimal ingredients beyond what you may already have stocked on your bar. Garnish this with some cranberries and mint leaves and you’ve got a fun drink to be enjoyed by all!

Champagne Punch – I love this punch because it has a bit more flavor paired with rum and pineapple juice for a little more exotic flair to kick off your evening of celebrating. Not to mention the recipe allows for a larger portion, perfect for the family party or night with friends.

Raspberry & Ginger Beer Champagne Cocktail – This cocktail is something even your honey won’t mind drinking… well maybe besides the pink color.  Mixing a taste of raspberry with ginger beer and champagne this cocktail is sure to be refreshing and light and perfect to enjoy the whole night!

If your like me and have a love for champagne, these are fun ways for other guests and friends to enjoy some bubbles as well – or even more simple buy some garnishes to throw in your bubbles – frozen cranberries, raspberries, blue berries, or even a strawberry garnish and some greenery to give your champagne a sophisticated look for your NYE party! And don’t forget to WOO when you pop that bottle!!

Cheers!

 

 

Photo sources linked above. 

Latest Obsessions 12.17 – Holiday Fashion

Guys & Gals! This year’s holiday fashion trends have me heart-eyed emoji-ing and are my latest obsessions this month! I love looking for new pieces each holiday season to rock at holiday parties for work or with friends, Christmas Eve mass and into the midnight hours of NYE! Finding pieces that are versatile but also unique to stand out is all in the fun of putting together your holiday-ready look.
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Sparkles.  Always sparkles! Sparkles are especially perfect for a holiday party or to finish off your NYE look.  They’re festive and fun and make you feel pretty! Finding a statement top with sparkles is like the ultimate win-win.

Velvet. This is definitely a newer trend that has come out in full force this season and is filling stores.  This look is warm, fun and ads texture and style to any look for holiday festivities. Plus these trendy velvet tops are coming in all sorts of colors like maroon, light pink or blues, these translate into the later winter months!

Kimonos. Introducing the new, trendier poncho. These can help dress up any causal look with their intricate designs and use of fabrics.  You can go high-end on these or shop a bit more affordable options that can be switched out more! Either way, these are a must, and perfect for covering up a sexy tank.

Furs. Faux of course! Finding a fun faux fur to use as a cover-up or dressing up a plain sweater with a statement vest is perfect for a family or office party.  These can also add a layer (no pun intended) of fun to your look while keeping you warm in transit to and from!

It’s just another reason to love this time of the year – and excuse to wear an excessive amount of beautiful things that make you sparkle! Cheers to another year of creating memories and looking fabulous while doing it.

 

Image Sources linked above

House Tour – Christmas Dining Room

One of my favorite rooms to decorate during the holidays and different seasons is our dining room.  We have a large custom table that is perfect for statement centerpieces and plenty of room for family and friends to gather around for a delicious meal, conversation and laughter.
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I love thinking of ways to transform this space each year and building upon pieces I already have or buying new… this year I kind of went the old/new route based off the color theme of gold and green, selfishly carrying our wedding color palette into the holiday season and our home!  I used some pieces from our wedding and ended up buying a new table runner and napkins to pull the look together for guests.

My goal this year was to keep the dining room intimate and cozy for a small group of six, candles mixed throughout with customized ornament place settings. I used glass ornaments, (I basically have plain glass bulbs stock-piled once the year end sales hit) and poured white paint inside of them to drizzle along the inside, so when I wrote names in gold on the outside they popped! Guests can take these home as a keepsake of the holiday memory to hang on their tree!
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The greens mixed in help bring that classic Christmas feel and were conveniently trimmed off our tree. I love entertaining and having friends and family in our home, celebrating, laughing and creating memories and with the perfect setting and people it makes it easy.

Cheers to new memories!

Weekend Recap – #BestofCLE

This past weekend started with a bang on Friday night at Cleveland Magazine’s annual Best of Cleveland Party! This year the event was hosted at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame which is a kickass venue for a party.  The #BestofCLE features the hottest spots around the city, nominated by the people, live music, tasty treats, on top of being able to walk around and explore the Rock Hall exhibits.
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I ate all the sweets I could at the event, including cookies from Little Shop of Cookies, doughnuts from The Vegan Doughnut Company (YUM!), Jack Frost Donuts and macarons and sugar cookies from Luna Bakery & Cafe! Everything was so delicious. Beyond all the sweets, they had an array of sushi, sliders, pizza and popcorn from all of Cleveland’s favorite spots.  The night ended with DJ EV remixing a bunch of new and old songs getting everyone dancing, one big party.

We’ve been able to attend this party for the last seven years and it’s become a tradition with B and dear friends.  This is where we’ve first met people who have turned into dear friends and nights we’ve fallen more and more in love with our city.  If you’ve never been, its one of the best parties to attend in the city and you’ll get a taste of the entire city!

Cheers!

#ICYMI: Catch up on past #BestofCLE’s: 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016

Weekend Recap – #AlwaysAndForEbner

Saturday after our half marathon we had to quickly jump on the road and head home so we could make it to our friends wedding that night! Yes. We ran a half marathon, then pretty much immediate jumped in a car for 4-hours, got pretty in 1-hour and were at the wedding with 5-minutes to spare. Woo! Staying with me?

Yeah, it was crazy but we wouldn’t have missed J and B’s wedding.  They’ve become dear friends over the last few years, and we were honored to be guests at their nuptials. The venue was a historic arcade downtown and it was absolutely stunning. They wed on the grand staircase, their ceremony included a number of personal touches of loved ones past, each of the bride and grooms personalities/traits and how they’ve come to be as a couple.  It was so sweet!
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Once the ceremony finished, we were escorted up to cocktail hour to overlook the beautiful arcade. After some sips and snacks, we headed down to our tables and cheered for the bridal party and the bride and groom as they were officially announced to the reception!  The food was delicious, B and I both got the steak, and we were both a bit ravenous since it was our first real meal of the day. Eek!

Once the dancing got started it was a great mix of throwbacks and we were living on the dance floor, only stopping for more drinks or slow songs! The second most fun part (besides J and B getting married) was dancing it up with this group of friends, our neighbors. We’ve been so lucky to have an awesome group so close!

It was a long day, but it was a great night celebrating these two sweet, funny and caring people!  This wedding definitely got B and I excited for ours!

Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. E!