Travel: Why We Vacay in Myrtle Beach

So the reason we visit Myrtle Beach is a little different that I am sure 80% of the people heading down there.  The beach and other extra curricular activities are always secondary to the reason we “vacation” there.  I’ve mentioned in previous MB recaps, that we go to visit my grandma who lives down there in a nursing home and that is 100% why we go down to Myrtle Beach, to see her.
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The goal generally when we go down and visit with my parents is to get my grandma out of that nursing home for a few days whether it’s a trip to the beach, shopping, dinner, or hanging out at the pool/condo.  But this trip wasn’t so much the case. Earlier in August she had an unexpected trip to the hospital that ended with her needing surgery which then led to longer hospital visit.  Luckily things went better than anticipated given she is 86 years old, but she was still recovering and more fragile from the surgery and her stay in the hospital when we went down there.  SO, we couldn’t take her out, meaning it was a lot of visits at the nursing home this time.

Our days at the nursing home consisted of making sure Grandma ate her lunch and dinner, occasional visits out to the patio area, cards (which she did not play), coloring (which she did not want to do either) and a few chats about the past.  She even had some photos from her wedding in 1956 – her wedding dress was amazing so I asked her what she ended up doing with her.  Her response; “I burned it.” … Yup! She burned her wedding dress when she was 24.
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The reality of our trip down to the beach destination with 80-degree weather all week was that we only made it to the beach once and only went swimming once at the condo (and at 9 o’clock at night). Friday we went to lunch and did the Conway Riverwalk in between visits at the nursing home.  Saturday was all day at the nursing home with a quick shopping trip to the Tanger Outlets before dinner with the extended family.

We also got to visit with my cousin and her three boys, who are an absolute treat and love B – they were super fun to see how much they’ve grown up, their personalities and sheer sweetness they give us for only seeing them every so often! We soaked up as much time with them from jokes, to hugs, hide and seek, giggles and cuddles on top of being able to see my cousin and aunt and uncle who live down there too.
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So although Myrtle Beach is often a beach retreat for many others, we go to see family who can’t travel to see us and hope to offer a little ray of sunlight to her probably lonely and long days at the nursing home.

Do you have a ‘vacation’ destination like this? Comment below!

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Latest Obsessions 07.19

It’s HOT in the SUMMER and oh how I love it, so much! So let my latest obsessions, summer edition continue into the month of July – because I am just eating it all up. One thing about summer is it always makes me want to travel, and coming fresh off a trip the travel bug is still lingering, hot! On the opposite side of that, because the weather has been so great we’ve been loving our outdoor living space and soaking up as much sun and summer nights as possible in our own backyard oasis.
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Summer 2020 Travel Plans:  With a bigger trip falling through that we had on our radar for next summer, my wheels have already started turning for another big trip or multiple little ones to fill in the gap.  2020 is going to be a big year – so as much as I hate thinking about it and rushing away 2019, it is definitely going to be one that calls for some planning! Speaking of 2019 – we still have a few more trips queued up and are still swooning from the west coast, lush Portland was definitely an awesome trip!

Our Backyard Oasis: We’ve been a bit obsessed with our back patio and using it as much as possible, from eating dinner, snacks, to late nights sitting with music playing and drinks flowing until it’s time for bed! On the weekends, it’s honestly been weird to sit around inside for too long unless it’s first thing in the morning.  Moz loves it too, she gets all the sun spots!

Running Routine: I’m slowly getting back into my running and fitness routine! It’s been a slow start to 2019 and even slower start this summer – my June Fitness Friday post shares the latest updates from pulling my back, to physical therapy and now getting back to it.  Although this might be one thing I don’t love about summer, is running in the heat – so I’m pushing through and making myself still run!

What’re your favorite things about summer?

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Travel: Portland Eats & Drinks

It’s no secret one of my favorite things about traveling is all the good food involved.  Normally I’m researching months and weeks in advance of a trip, but I admittedly was a bit more relaxed with this trip, knowing we were visiting two new locals who love good food — while also knowing D is an amazing hostess and chef. This trip also had no shortage of champagne and local beers.

Ambonnay Champagne Bar: This cozy and quaint champagne bar was a bit off the beaten path (at least it seemed to be for me), but ended up being the perfect little spot for pre-dinner drinks, conversation and yummy champagne of course! With a rotating menu of different, hand sourced champagnes you can’t go wrong especially if you are a champagne connoisseur – we simply described our preferred bubbly finish and the lovely owner recommended a delicious glass… or two!
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Travel: #EmnBtoPDX

We’re fresh off a trip back from PDX aka Portland, Oregon! Our really good friends (F&D) and former neighbs moved out there at the end of March — so we just had to get out there for a visit and to see their new city! Our trip was a good mix of catching up, exploring the city and their neighborhood while also seeing some of the beautiful nature spots that Oregon has to offer from Mt. Hood to the Hood River, local markets, the Rose Gardens and all those historic Portland signs.

Highlight #1: Downtown Farmers Market + Rose Gardens — On our first day in, we explored a local farmers market with all of these fresh local vegetables, fruits and luscious flowers. One thing I was not expecting from PDX was the amount of greenery, beautiful flowers and all the fresh LOCAL fruits. It was pretty incredible and not to mention delicious as D stocked up for the week ahead on delicious treats. beelifeblog-pdx(3)
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Latest Obsessions 05.19 – Desert Inspired Decor

With our bathroom remodel coming close to an official wrap – the final decor is coming into play and I’ve been having fun by adding in some desert flair, inspired by our trips out to Palm Springs. Which, btw totally has me in vacay mode dreaming of days by the pool and nights dining at trendy restaurants with delicious food (yes I’m watching flights).  So the goal has been to make our bathroom feel like a desert resort – pulling in the all the things we love about PSP.

What I especially love about PSP decor are all the pops of color paired with modern and simplistic lines.  Not to mention, gold!  Channeling some desert inspired decor has allowed our black and while foundation hold strong while building upon those simpler design picks.  And although we’re pulling ours into our bathroom, I couldn’t help but be inspired by some other Palm Springs inspired mod decor, both simple and bold.
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Easy Ways to Bring in Palm Springs to Your Decor:

Faux Plants & Succulents: A few years ago finding good faux plants was a bit hard without spending an arm and a leg – today, you can still spend an arm and a leg for a fun faux cactus (I almost did) – or you can get a little creative and pull in a variety of faux stems and plants into the space.  We ended up creating a fun statement and pop of color with these 40″ Monstera Leaf Stem from Target and 41″ Red Ginger Flower Stem from Target. We found the clean vase at Home Goods, but I was also hemming and hahing about the basket route.  I’ll also continue to pull in smaller faux plants throughout the space for more colors and lush feel, also since we don’t have a ton of natural light this is an easy way to bring a little life into the space.

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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!
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(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 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!
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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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