Monthly Archives: June 2017

A.L.I.E.E.E.N. Book Review

A.L.I.E.E.E.N., or Archives of Lost Issues and Earthly Editions of Extraterrestrial Novelties, was another book I discovered via My Ideal Bookshelf, recommended by cartoonist Zachary Kanin.  A collection of vignettes about aliens, told in an alien language, A.L.I.E.E.E.N. may be from a galaxy far, far away…but the morals and lessons are recognizable by any human.

alieeen book review

In his letter to the reader, author Lewis Trondheim talks about how he happened to stumble upon this otherworldly collection of tales.  While vacationing in the Catskills, Trondheim and his family came upon a grassy area that had been burned and covered with debris.  They were about to turn around and go back, but then he spotted a tattered, beaten-up comic book on the ground.  The title, the artist, and the language were all new to him.  Was this comic from another planet?  Was the debris from something outside of planet Earth?  Did a space ship create this burned perfect circle in the grass?

After reading the book, Trondheim got in touch with a publisher and submitted what appears to be the very first comic strip for extra-terrestrial children ever discovered on our planet.


A rare artifact written in an alien language, A.L.I.E.E.E.N. is a collection of interwoven tales that prove that some stories are indeed universal…no matter how weird or bizarre they may seem.  Regardless of how many eyes, legs, or tentacles they have, it’s comforting to know that aliens also cry, laugh, smile, poop, and develop friendships.  They fall prey to peer pressure, have a great sense of humor, try to do good, and learn from their mistakes.  You may not know exactly what these little guys are saying, but through images and expressions, us humans can try to understand the workings of this alien world…and perhaps find comfort in the fact that, in reality, these lovable creatures really aren’t so different from us, after all.

Image result for A.L.I.E.E.E.N.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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15 Fun Facts about Dawson’s Creek

It was the angsty teen show to end all angsty teen shows.  With a cast of supposed 15-year-olds who spoke with more eloquence than my grandparents, Dawson’s Creek was THE SHOW for us 90’s girls.  It taught us everything we wanted to know about life, love, friendship, sex, and – of course – BOYZ.  Who was #TeamDawson?  Who was #TeamPacey?  Would Joey and Pacey ever make it work (YES, THANK GOD)?  Would Dawson ever get over losing the love of his life?  Ugh the teenage drama was real, people!


But suuriously…CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS ENTIRE SCENE??  DAAAUUUMMMNNN.  #TeamPacey all the way!

Starring James Van Der Beek (Dawson Leery), Joshua Jackson (Pacey Witter), Katie Holmes (Joey Potter), and Michelle Williams (Jen Lindley), Dawson’s Creek was one of my all-time favorite shows when I was young…and I will forever be jealous of Joey and Pacey’s relationship and how they could just leave their lives behind and go on a sailing trip around the world because why the F not…

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Hard to believe, but DC has been off the air about 14 years now (!!).  While we still see the cast now and then in movies and shows, I’ll forever know them as the crew from Capeside…sitting on the pier, climbing through windows, and having intense and emotional conversations between classes at Capeside High.

You may not remember it now, but DC actually dealt with some pretty tough stuff while it was on…depression, divorce, death of a parent, mental illness, drugs, and alcohol were all a part of this 6-year story line…however it also brought the first male gay kiss to primetime TV and was one of the first shows to really explore a gay character.

Image result for dawson's creek, jack

But, all things considered, life on the Creek was pretty peachy for this group of seaside teens…and if you tuned in to The WB on Wednesdays to catch up with Dawson and the rest of the gang, then you’re going to love this little collection of 15 Fun Facts about Dawson’s Creek.

15 Fun Facts about Dawson’s Creek

Nearly 500 actors tried out for the part of Dawson, including the frontrunner, Adrian Grenier.  James Van Der Beek was only BARELY cast after show creator Kevin Williamson had to basically beg them to cast him as Dawson.  He got the job two days before filming began.  Grenier would go on to star in Entourage.

 dancing troll dubstep dawsons creek james van der beek GIF

Katie Holmes sent in an audition tape with her mom acting as Dawson.  She couldn’t fly out for the actual audition, as she was in her high school production of Damn Yankees at the time, so she filmed a scene and sent it in…and the rest was history!

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Jason Biggs was also up for the role of Pacey…but no one can deny…Jackson’s got dat swagger!

 tv sunglasses deal with it dawsons creek pacey witter GIF

The episode “True Love” contained the first male gay kiss on U.S. primetime TV (between Jack [Kerr Smith] and his boyfriend, Ethan).

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Meredith Monroe was 29 when she played 16-year-old Andie.  Her on-screen brother, Jack, was 27.

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James Van Der Beek’s meme-worthy cry was actually an ad lib.  It wasn’t scripted, he just lost it in the moment.

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In 1998, the Creek cast did a photoshoot for J. Crew.  See the pics here.

There were six head-writers for Dawson’s Creek, one for each season.

Though Michelle Williams didn’t want her character Jen to die in the end of the series, the writers felt that Jen’s death was “…that last bit of growth that pushed [the characters] into adulthood.”

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Van Der Beek’s luscious locks were inspired by Brad Pitt’s hair in The Devil’s Own.

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In the most meta episode ever, “High Risk Behavior”, Joey draws Jack naked – a la Jack and Rose – as they discuss Titanic.

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Want to visit the real Dawson’s Creek?  There’s an actual place in Canada called Dawson’s Creek…and despite taking place in fictional Capeside, MA, most of the episodes were actually filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Joey (Katie Holmes) was the only character to appear in all 128 episodes.

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Joshua Jackson and James Van Der Beek actually lived together for a while during filming.  Aww!!  Bros for life!

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Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson actually dated IRL when they were filming Dawson’s Creek.  Katie once told US Weekly that Joshua was her first love!!  OMG I CAN’T STAND IT!  PACEY AND JOEY FOREVER!!!!

 dawsons creek pacey witter joey potter pacey x joey GIF

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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Crocheted Ice Cream Cone Garland

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Let’s face facts…ice cream is the best part of summer.  It’s also the best part of fall and winter and spring, too!  Ami right?

 baby excited ice cream dessert gimme gimme gimme GIF

But ice cream certainly gets some extra love in the summertime, and this cute crocheted ice cream banner is the perfect addition to your summertime BBQ or birthday party.


An AWESOME yarn scrapbuster, these mini ice cream cones will clean out your yarn stash in no time.  Use beads to add sprinkles or chocolate chips…or use multi-colored yarn to create delicious-looking flavor combinations!

Crocheted Ice Cream Cone Garland


  • Tan yarn for cone
  • Bright yarn for ice cream
  • 3.5 mm crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Stuffing

*Rows are worked in continuous rounds.

Starting with tan yarn, make magic circle.  SC 6 into magic circle.

Row 1:  SC in each stitch around (6 SC)

Row 2:  SC 2 in first stitch, SC in next stitch.  Repeat two more times (9 SC)

Row 3:  SC in each stitch around (9 SC)

Row 4:  SC 2 in first stich, SC in next two stitches.  Repeat two more times (12 SC)

Row 5:  SC in each stitch around (12 SC)


Row 6:  SC in each stitch around (12 SC)

Row 7:  SC in FLO each stitch around (12 SC)

Row 8:  SC in each stitch around (12 SC)

Row 9:  SC in each stitch around (12 SC)

Stuff firmly.

Row 10:  SC2TOG.  Repeat to close.

Bind off; weave in ends.

With cone facing away from you, attach yarn to one of the ridges created in the FLO round.  SC 3 in ridge.  Skip next ridge.  SC in third ridge.  Repeat around entire cone.

Bind off; weave in ends.

Tread a needle with the color yarn of your choice.  String yarn through tops of cones.


Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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The Inner Light


“If a man is to shed the light of the sun upon other men, he must first of all have it within himself.”
–Romain Rolland


Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Southwestern Chopped Chicken Nachos

Sometimes there’s really nothing more comforting than marathoning a trashy TV show and indulging in a big ol’ plate of nachos.  I mean, how DELICIOUS do these look?


I’m a sucker for nachos…I’m a sucker for any chip and dip, really.  I love the classy nachos with the delicious poblano pepper sauce and I love the dirty nachos with the hot Velveeta cheese sauce that’s definitely not real food.  If it’s a chip with meat and cheese and sauce on it, chances are I’ll be on board.

So the other day as I was marathoning New Girl (I’m SO behind), I had a serious craving for some nachos…I had all these ingredients to make a healthy southwestern salad…but who wants salad when you can make nachos in 10 minutes?!


Filled with amazing flavor and perfect with a pint of beer and a guilty pleasure Netflix show that you only watch when your significant other is at work, these Southwestern Chopped Chicken Nachos are everything you need in your life right now.

Southwestern Chopped Chicken Nachos


  • 1 bag tortilla chips (I LOVE the El Ranchero chips with salt)
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 cups (or more!) shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like!)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced


Arrange chips on large baking sheet.  Top with chicken, corn, beans, tomatoes, onion, and cheese.  Bake in 450 degree oven until cheese is melted.  Baking time depends on your oven size, but 10 or so minutes is probably good.

Remove from oven and top with avocado and cilantro.


Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something – Part 3

The third Harry Potter book is probably up there as one of my favorites.  The 4th one is still my favorite, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is so ripe with great characters, amazing character development, and excellent storytelling (the background on Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, amiright?!).


If you’ve been keeping up with my blog recently, you know that I’ve been posting my musings as I re-read the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth billion time.  If you’ve missed my other postings, you can check them out here:

Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something –Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

And here lies my thoughts on book three, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Do you share or disagree with my thoughts, particularly my theory on that stupid cat, Crookshanks?  Comment below and let me know!


I solemnly swear I’m up to no good…


Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something

Part 3:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Do all the photos in The Daily Prophet move the same way?  Like, would a picture of Sirius Black on the front of one issue move the same way in all the papers or is each issue independent from the next?

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But how on earth was he going to persuade Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia to sign the form?

Every time I read “Uncle Vernon”, this Tom Waits song plays in my head:

And I just imagine Vernon bouncing heavily around the house singing, “Uncle Vernon!  Uncle Vernon!”

There were no seats; instead, half a dozen brass bedsteads stood beside the curtained windows.
The Knight Bus sounds so magically perfect.  Muggle buses need to get on dis shit.

…and Hagrid was one of the bravest people Harry knew.
Yet, 0% of Harry’s children are named Hagrid…

Why didn’t the Accidental Magic Reversal Department modify the memories of all the Dursley’s and not just Aunt Marge?  That way none of them would remember “Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake”.

“Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me?” said Harry blankly. 
Well, if ya just did that, Harry, your story would have ended right here at this moment.  AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER BECAUSE HARRY MINDED HIS OWN FUDGING BUSINESS.

So does anyone get injured or landed on when they make the jump into Platform 9¾?  People are bound to get run over if they don’t get out of the way of the wall, right?

I find it hard to believe that Hermione didn’t know what a dementor was and that she didn’t recognize the Patronus charm when Lupin used it on the train…she knows the ancient history of Hogsmeade for God’s sake…

…each pulled, Harry could only assume, by invisible horses, because when they climbed inside and shut the door, the coach set off all by itself, bumping and swaying in procession.
Wouldn’t Harry be able to see the Thestrals even before Sirius dies since he technically saw his mom die?

Divination would probably be my favorite subject at Hogwarts.

If Dumbledore actually cared about any of his students other than Harry, couldn’t he use the tears of Faux to fix Malfoy’s arm and shut him the F up after Buckbeak’s attack?

Remus Lupin was probably the best teacher any of these kids ever had.

Neville’s grandma’s clothes are insane.   A HAT WITH A STUFFED VULTURE ON TOP?  Do you know how big a vulture is?  How heavy is that hat?!  Here’s a human with a vulture, for science:


I wonder what my Boggart would be…


I still don’t understand why wizards need a permission slip to visit Hogsmeade, but they have free reign of The Forbidden Forest, Knockturn Alley, Diagon Alley, and basically the entire Hogwarts campus.

And I am telling you all to turn to page 394.
If you don’t read that in Alan Rickman’s voice, there’s something wrong with you.  #always ❤

D’you know what that— (he called Snape something that made Hermione say “Ron!”)…

He handed them to her, and as the team watched in amazement, Hermione tapped them with her wand and said, ‘Impervius!’”
“There!” she said, handing them back to Harry.  “They’ll repel water!”
“Wood looked as though he could have kissed her.
Lucky girl…

Lupin:  “I don’t pretend to be an expert at fighting dementors, Harry…quite the contrary…

How did Fred and George know how to work the Marauder’s Map?

I wonder if they ever reversed or removed Peter Pettigrew’s Order of Merlin, First Class award after they learned the truth about him…

And here lies an awkward wizard boner:  “She smiled at Harry as the teams faced each other behind their captains, and he felt a slight lurch in the region of his stomach that he didn’t think had anything to do with nerves.”

The hearing will take place on April 20th, and we ask you to present yourself and your hippogriff at the Committee’s offices in London on that date.
Exactly HOW will that happen??  Look how big this thing is!!

Reading how mean James and his friends were to Snape is heartbreaking, knowing Snape’s backstory now…

So in the book Hermione slaps Malfoy…but the punch in the movie is just SO much more effective…

Do any other teachers besides Snape and McGonagall give and take house points away?

Then came Astronomy at midnight…

Crookshanks is “friends” with Black’s animagus dog, tries to protect Black from Harry, and somehow knows something is up with Scabbers the rat…the proof is getting stronger and stronger that Crookshanks is an animagus, too…


This cat—Crookshanks, did you call him?—told me Peter had left blood on the sheets…
HE TOLD YOU?  Of course he did, because he’s an animagus!!

I’m not giving up on this theory…it’s a good one, right??

Aww, thanks Ron!  😉

OOOH the things Wormtail must have seen as a rat growing up in a house of five young boys…

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Ah, well, Snape…Harry Potter, you know…we’ve all got a bit of a blind spot where he’s concerned.
Ya don’t say??

I still have so many questions about this time changing thing…

You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him.

The letter Sirius writes Harry at the end of this book still makes me cry…


Mischief Managed.


Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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50 Fun Facts about the United States

Every state in our nation has a wealth of fun facts to share…here are just a few to help showcase your state pride!


50 Fun Facts about the United States

Alabama:  Montgomery is the capital and birthplace of the Confederate States of America…and the Confederate flag was designed and first flown in Alabama in 1861.

Alaska:  Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 of them are in Alaska.

Arizona:  The Bolo tie is the official state neck ware of Arizona.

Arkansas:  Stuttgart, Arkansas is home to the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest.

California:  More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the United States.

Colorado:  Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state.

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Connecticut:  Connecticut is home to the oldest US newspaper still in publication:  The Hartford Courant, established in 1764.  It also has approximately 145 newspapers published in the state.

Delaware:  Delaware is the only state without any National Park System units, such as national parks, seashores, historic sites, memorials, and monuments.

Florida:  Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators, where the drink was first developed.

Image result for University of Florida Gators, gatorade

Georgia:  In Gainesville, the Chicken Capital of the World, it’s illegal to eat chicken with a fork.

Hawaii:  Hawaii is the most isolated population center in the world.  It’s 2,390 miles from California, 3,850 miles from Japan, 4,900 miles from China, and 5,280 miles from the Philippines.

Idaho:  Bruneau Dunes State Park contains North America’s tallest single structured sand dune.  It stands 470 feet high.

Illinois:  Illinois is home to the first skyscraper, the first aquarium, the first Mormon Temple, and the first McDonald’s.

Indiana:  Santa Claus, Indiana receives more than half a million letters and requests at Christmas time.

Iowa:  Burlington’s Snake Alley has been dubbed the most crooked street in the world.

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Kansas:  Kansas won the award for the most beautiful license plate for the wheat plate design issued in 1981.

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Kentucky:  Kentucky is the state where both Abraham Lincoln, President of the Union, and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, were born.  They were born less than one hundred miles and one year apart.

Louisiana:  Metairie is home to the longest bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.  The Causeway is 24 miles long.

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Maine:  Eastport is the most eastern city in the US.  It’s considered the first place in the country to receive the rays of the morning sun.

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Maryland:  The first school in the US, King Williams School, opened in Maryland in 1696.

Massachusetts:  There is a house in Rockport built entirely of newspaper.

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Michigan:  Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes and 36,000 miles of streams.  It also has 116 lighthouses and navigational lights and has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska.

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Minnesota:  Minnesota is home to the first stapler, the first practical pair of water skis, the first automatic pop-up toaster, the first pair of rollerblades, Scotch tape, Wheaties cereal, Bisquick, the Bundt pan, Green Giant vegetables, and Aveda beauty products.

Mississippi:  Natchez was settled by the French in 1716 and is the oldest permanent settlement on the Mississippi River.  It once housed 500 millionaires, more than any other city except NYC, and now has more than 500 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Missouri:  The St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 saw the invention of iced tea and the ice cream cone.

Montana:  Out of Montana’s 56 counties, 46 are considered “frontier counties”, with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile.

Nebraska:  Nebraska has more miles of river than any other state.

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Nevada:  Not surprisingly, Las Vegas has the majority of the largest hotels in the world and is home to more hotel rooms than any other place on earth.

New Hampshire:  The first free public library was established in Peterborough in 1833.

New Jersey:  New Jersey has the highest population density in the US…an average of 1,030 people per square mile, which is 13X the national average.

New Mexico:  Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the United States, at 7,000 feet above sea level.

New York:  New York City has more than 700 miles of subway track.

North Carolina:  The Biltmore Estate in Ashville is America’s largest home and includes a 255-room chateau, an award-winning winery, and extensive gardens.

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North Dakota:  North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state.

Ohio:  The first ambulance service was established in Cincinnati in 1865 and Akron was the first city to use police cars.  Cincinnati also had the first professional fire department.

Oklahoma:  Oklahoma as the largest Native American population of any state in the US.  It’s tribal headquarters for about 40 recognized tribes.

Oregon:  Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state.

Pennsylvania:  The first public zoo, The Philadelphia Zoo, was founded in Pennsylvania by Benjamin Franklin.

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Rhode Island:  Rhode Island has no country government.  It is divided into 39 municipalities, each having its own form of local government.

South Carolina:  South Carolina was home to the first battle of the Civil War.

South Dakota:  Badlands National Park contains the world’s richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.  It’s also home to the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the US.

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Tennessee:  Tennessee has more than 3,800 documented caves.

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Texas:  Texas is the only state to have the flags of six different nations fly over it:  Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and The United States.

Utah:  Levan is “navel” spelled backwards.  It’s so named because it’s located in the center of Utah.

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Vermont:  Montpelier, Vermont is the only US state capital without a McDonald’s.

Virginia:  Eight US Presidents were born in Virginia:  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

Washington:  The forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and are the only rainforests in the continental US.

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West Virginia:  West Virginia is considered the southern most north state and the northern most south state.

Wisconsin:  The Republican party was founded in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.

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Wyoming:  Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote.

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Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!


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And the Bitches Whatevered Cross Stitch Pattern

This is my new favorite thing:


I don’t know what it is about unicorns, but they’re freaking everywhere nowadays.  I mean, don’t get me wrong…I’m all about this trend, but holy guacamole you’d be hard-pressed to find something WITHOUT a unicorn on it.


So when I was thinking of a fun way to dress up my next cross stitch pattern, I pretty much had to put a unicorn on it…and I just love how this pattern turned out!

Wanna make your own unicorn mantra cross stitch pattern?  You can download my pattern for free right here!

And the Bitches Whatevered Cross Stitch Pattern


Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.


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Finding Out What Happens Next


“She was a girl who could not wait.  Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next.”
–Beverly Cleary


Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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9 Delicious No-Bake Summer Desserts

Lez be honest…summer is the worst sometimes.  Here in Chicago, we’ve been pushing temperatures north of 90 degrees F even AFTER THE FREAKING SUN GOES DOWN.  Sure, with an amazing air conditioning system, summer can be a breeze for us Midwesterners…but for those of us getting by on one tiny air conditioner that doesn’t cool any room in the house except the room it’s in, well, summer sucks.

 cat hot summer fan warm GIF

Because my kitchen is in the back of my apartment, it hardly ever gets cool air from the air conditioner, so cooking in the summer is usually a ton of salads and dinners spent in air conditioned restaurants…and when it comes to dessert, the oven RARELY goes on in the summer.

Thankfully, there are a ton of delicious no-bake summer desserts that can quench your sweet-tooth without heating up your kitchen.  Cool, refreshing, and often infused with alcohol and fruit, these no-bake summer desserts are a great way to cool off without heating up your house.


9 Delicious No-Bake Summer Desserts

No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes


No-Bake Pistachio Coconut Pie


No-Bake Strawberry Jell-O Lasagna


No-Bake Lemon Blueberry Parfaits


No-Bake Cookie Dough Dip


No-Bake Pineapple Dream Dessert


No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Dessert


No-Bake Rum Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries


No-Bake Strawberry Daiquiri Cheesecake


Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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