My 2019 Goals

New year, new goals – am I right? I am sure the interwebs and your social feeds have been bombarded with everyone’s resolutions, positive mindsets and consistent workout routines and clean diets for the last 8-days.  Well for me – I’ve been really thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, especially coming off of a super normal 2018.
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So as I’ve been thinking and thinking… and then looking back at past goals there were a few that came to mind immediately – traveling and my health routine.  More to come on the health routine – I’ll be kicking off my monthly Fitness Friday posts with my 2019 fitness goals, because those my friends will be a lengthly list as well.  *smiles*  Ok, ok, back to my 2019 goals.

More trips! This is pretty much a goal every year – and last year’s travel goal was a bit lofty, thus our travel game in 2018 was a bit weak compared to years previous.  So this year, I’m going to keep it simple and focus on longer weekend trips that B and I can take together whether it’s a car trip or a cheap flight. The other sub-goal of more trips is trying to fit a few new cities in – we’re repeat vacationers, so I want to make sure we keep exploring new places!

More time for friends.  We have friends that live next door, we have friends that live 1-hour away and we have friends that live hours away — so it’s important to continue to make time with all of the friends no matter how far away they are.  And the key to this is planning ahead!

Spend breaks. I have yet to be successful with this goal – and I know this will be a hard one, but we’ve had friends that have been successful with this and say it really helps! So we need to plan for our spend break(s) and make it happen.

No scrolling before bed.  I’m so guilty of this, and habits die hard – but this is one I really want to work on.  In fact, making it more of a rule, like no social media for an hour before bed as my work-week rule of thumb.

Keeping fitness a priority. As I mentioned, more to come on this – so stay tuned!

Continue being creative. One way that I’m able to express my creativity is through decorating our house and doing DIY projects or up-cycling furniture – and then sharing my projects and creations with all of you! So I want to continue to be inspired, take risks and be creative!

There are of course a million other things I want to work on for myself and do in this next year, but these were the few that stood out to me as priorities for the new year – that are just good for the soul.

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2018 Recap

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Happy all of the things! I took a bit of an unintentional hiatus for the end of the year, which seemed to be needed, thus back on track and a bit delayed here is my 2018 Recap, which I’ve been very reflective on this past week leading up to the New Year… and with mixed feelings, might I add… Year End Recap 2018 - the bee lifeCompared to 2016 and 2017… the only word I could think of to describe this past year was normal.  2016 was an epic year, it was the year we got engaged, the year the Cavs won the NBA Finals, the year I transition into a new job, plus we had some awesome trips mixed into all of that.  2017 was of course #ourweddingyear including more vacations and just all around amazing-ness.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with normal – it was just figuring out what’s next after two amazing years of it all.

So as I tried to not to overlook our “normal” 2018, I started thinking back about everything we did.  From two great trips, including one new city, to countless days/nights with friends, pool days & birthday parties with our nieces, lots of weekends back home, and many dinners and day dates in between – our 2018 was anything but normal mainly because of all the wonderful people we spent our days with – which I think is evident with the pictures above.

I also had some personal accomplishments coming off a year of ups and downs, and finally getting my butt in gear physically and professionally.  It felt great to run two long races without stopping from our 10-Miler in April to our half-marathon in August — it makes me want to continue our running streak and find new races to run, while sticking to our favorite ones.  A few other accomplishments I was proud of was joining the board of a nonprofit and my one-year anniversary at my company!

So here’s to 2018 and loving the new normal in 2019!

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Travel: Guide to Palm Spring’s Aerial Tram

One tip we received during our honeymoon was to do the Palm Spring’s Aerial Tram.  Unfortunately, by the time we found out about it, tickets were sold out and we were SOL.  So this time we planned ahead and made sure it was on our trip itinerary.  So if you’re visiting Palm Springs, this is definitely a fun adventure to spend a few hours doing and make sure its a successful experience with these tips!

  1.  Buy Tickets Early! Not only will this guarantee you a day/time to visit and experience the tram, but you’ll basically skip the line when it’s your trip time.  Tickets range from $26 for adults to $17 for children.
  2. Plan for 20-30 extra minutes for Arrival.  We definitely cut it a little close with our arrival time and ticket time.  First, because our GPS took us on a wild adventure to the wrong address, second – there are different level parking lots depending on the time of day and how busy it is, you might be farther away – so get ready to hike up a hill or wait for the bus to come pick you up!  Also there is a $6-8 parking fee.
  3. Consider Planning Your Trip Around A Meal.  This would be a way to fully experience everything the mountain station has to offer.  From a casual cafe, full bar, or the Pine’s more upscale restaurant, this already memorable trip could be topped off with a delicious meal and endless desert views.
  4. Dress in Layers.  At an elevation of 8,516 ft. it is definitely cooler on top of the mountain than the base – so depending on when you go plan accordingly.  When we visited it was in the 70’s at the base and in the 40’s at the top!
  5. Consider Hiking.  If you’re in for more adventure and activity verses a sit-down meal, there are over 50-miles of hiking trails to take advantage of, so dress and pack appropriately for an afternoon of hiking!

IMG_2469Honestly, I totally underestimated what this experience would be like – from being on multiple trams in the Teton Mountains, the mountains surrounding the desert cities although beautiful are smaller in comparison, or at least that is what I thought!  The quick 10-minute tram ride, is a stunner and fairly intense with steep inclines running 2.5 miles and climbing 5,873 from the Valley Station to the Mountain Station.  It was an incredible ride up and took us out of the desert for the time we experienced the aerial tram!

Learn more about the tram here!

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Travel: Palm Springs Eats

We celebrated our one year anniversary with a little trip back to Palm Springs/Palm Desert California.  What better time to head out west when the temperatures are dipping below 30-degrees and snow flurries are becoming a regular occurrence?  After getting our feet wet a little last year on our honeymoon – we definitely knew of a few spots we wanted to go back too and then a handful of spots yet to explore – and a few we had on our list from watching Desert Flippers on HGTV.

Our Brunch Spot.  From meatloaf with an egg on top, biscuits and gravy, french toast or a tradition eggs with bacon, everything is beyond delicious at Wilma & Frieda’s.  A MUST-HAVE is their biscuits, they fall apart and melt in your mouth, plus are served with a fruit jam that just puts it over the top.

Because It’s Just So Good.  I could’ve had In & Out burgers everyday, the double cheeseburger is the only way to go.  Plus the first bite needs to be documented at all accounts – plus with a side of animal style fries, yum, yum, yum! Whether you’re getting this go to or dining in the experience of an old-school diner topped with a delicious meal is a west-coast must.

The Perfect Drink + Dinner Combo.  One of our favorite nights was spent with family friends who live in the desert year round.  We told them to pick the spots and we would come along for the ride!  We started with drinks at the bar at Lulu Bistro (which we also brunched at) to get the evening started with a fun atmosphere and music.  From there we popped over to Tropicale and had the perfect seats out on their patio, which is a must when you dine in there! We ordered a number of small plates, continued to drink, laugh and just sampled a variety of dishes – the calamari was by far one of the best things we had!

A few other honorable mentions that are must visits throughout the greater Palm Springs and Palm Desert area are AC3 at Hotel Paseo – the service, food and atmosphere was incredible it was a good pick.  Spencers was another brunch spot, but came highly recommended as a favorite dinner spot from our desert dwelling friends – the patio again was magical with trees growing up right up into the sky.

We had a great time eating our way through our trip -one night we even grabbed sushi at a Japanese Steakhouse because we were craving it for our actual anniversary dinner!  It was so good, although we didn’t put the Steakhouse name and idea together until we sat down. Every spot we went had a fun yet welcoming atmosphere with bright colors and warm faces – not to mention most of the patios had heaters too, so it was perfect for morning breakfast or late night dinners!

The sad part and good part is there are so many other, trendy, delicious spots that we haven’t even visited yet! The good news is we’ll also have new places to try while still being able to head back to our favorites.  What’s your favorite desert dining spot?

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Bee’s Pre-Vacation Checklist

Not a great planner? Well I wanted to share my Pre-Vacation checklist with you in case you needed a little help when you’re getting ready for your next trip – there are so many things that need to get coordinated, from pet sitters, bills, work and all the last minute things you forget about!  Here are 6-easy things things to help you stay organized and get all the things done before you go!
Bee's Pre Vacation Checklist - the bee life
(1) Schedule your Mani & Pedi 2-3 Days Before Departure.  I love having a fresh mani and pedi for major life events and vacations! So for me it’s crucial, and something to schedule closer to your departure date so you can ensure your nails stay un-chipped and vacation ready,

(2) Get Your Spa Appointments in the Week Before.  Depending on what kind of vacay you’re having or where you’re going.  Whether it’s getting a nice base tab with a spray tan, getting a fresh haircut, or a bikini wax for the beach! Make sure to space these out or get them scheduled a week or so before vacay.  Remember – you don’t want to be too busy right before you leave, because that won’t help with the stress!

(3) Plan Your Outfits Ahead of Time.  It might feel like it’s too soon to pack but setting aside outfits two or three weeks ahead of time will help you fill in the blanks if needed! This also saves time of doing loads and loads of laundry just before you leave for that last minute piece you decided to wear – not to mention if you need to go shop for anything you’ll have time to make sure you have a vacation ready wardrobe.

(4) Organize Your Confirmation Codes & Reservation Details.  It’s important to get all your reservation details organized into a central place that will be easy to reference on the road – that means your flight numbers, rental car and hotel check-in.  I like doing a quick screen grab and favoriting on my phone so they’re easy to find and adding details in my notes section as my back-up.

(5) Set A Reminder On Your Phone for Flight Check-Ins.  24-hours before you’re flight you’re able to check-in, and this is something I always forget – I don’t have airline apps or get email notifications, so I need to set my own reminder.  With a quick and easy reminder 24-hours before I remember to get all checked in, don’t forget to do this for your trip home!

(6) Pre-Schedule Vacay Activities.  Whether it’s a special dinner reservation, tickets for a famous tourist attraction, check out ticket pricing and times ahead of the trip.  This is especially important if you’re heading to city destinations like NYC or DC.  We quickly found out that we wouldn’t have been able to eat, or at least not at a decent time if we didn’t have a dinner reservation in either city! Same with famous destinations, tickets and crucial times quickly get snatched up – planning ahead will relive stress and allow you to see and do all those picture perfect places.

As much as vacations are for relaxing, they’re a bit stressful leading up to them so with a little pre-planning and organization you can be a little less stressed and straight to vacation mode!  Also, make sure you have a vacation ready wardrobe with these tips, seen previously on the bee. Do you have any pre-vacation rituals when you travel?  Leave a comment below!

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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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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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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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Weekend Recap – City Love

This past weekend has been NON-STOP! It was a blast and it was centered around family and all of the things we love about this city.  The weekend started on Thursday night for us at a fundraiser wine tasting for the nonprofit I’m on the board of, JDBCF.  It was a fun evening, and it was hosted at a fun cozy spot in the Gordon Square area called Toast.

My cousins were in town for the weekend, so I was giving them the cities best picks for yummy eats and places to see while the explored the city Thursday and Friday.  We finally got to connect with them for dinner at our go-to summer spot; Collision Bend, Friday night.  Collision Bend has a great menu and perfect views and it’s always a great spot to show-off our city.  Saturday morning we started the day with our fitness class, then headed to the parks to rent some kayaks! Another fun way to see parts of our city and do something a little off the beaten path when visitors are in town.  B and I try and kayak at least once a year, so it was fun to get out with the family.

Saturday afternoon we switched gears and families and celebrated our nieces 3rd birthday – it was Moana themed, which now makes me slightly curious about the movie to see what all the fuss is about (unfortunately I can only post photos of the delicious sweets due to political reasons)! We ended the evening back home with some patio drinks and laughs with family story time. Sunday morning we took my cousins down to another park and showed them the endless city and lake views and the Solstice Steps.  Just another part of our city that we often take for granted and might get overlooked by visitors as well.  We then #brunched at the aunts house they made a few casseroles, including a french toast one that we’d never had before – and it was Ah-ma-zing!  I’m definitely going to be sharing the recipe in a future post!

It was a jammed packed weekend and it was great spending some extra time with our cousins that we usually see in small doses! Plus we got to do a few of our favorite things in our city. ❤

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