How To Plan the Perfect Trip to Waco, TX to Visit Magnolia Market

Nearly every trip I take to Waco, Texas I hear people tell me how lucky I am that I get to visit Magnolia Market. I agree. There is something special about that place that I'm not sure words can explain. Time and time again, little Waco gets knocked down with controversy but for the first time in years, Waco has something good happening there and it's all hovering around the rusty eye sore that we all have come to know and love as The Silos. Locals are excited that for once outsiders are seeing the town that they love get the good attention that it deserves. Waco, Texas is a sweet little college town steeped in history, tradition and because of the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper, the town is being seen in a whole new light. While I am still baffled that people want to make a special trip to go to a small town in Texas, after my last visit, Fixer Upper clients from season 3 opened my eyes to the draw that Fixer Upper has created and it seems as though this draw is something much bigger than the hit design show. While you may not find any material goods at Magnolia Market that you can't find from the comfort of your home on their store website, a trip to Waco will provide you with something more. Something you can't quite put your finger on. If you are being drawn to Waco, Texas I want to help you plan the perfect visit and am going to give you my best insider secrets so that you can do just that!

The Silos, Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Waco Tours

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The Gift of a Baby Blanket

When my youngest son was a baby he received a blanket that was handmade by a neighbor. He snuggled up with that baby blanket covered in pictures of Pooh and friends for the first few years of his life. When he was a newborn, it was a soft warm blanket to wrap him up in for his first winter and as he grew it became a source of comfort for him. He needed his blanket to take a nap or there was no sleep to be had! As he got older and became more independent, he started dragging his blanket around the house with him as he played. It's no wonder that the word security is often used to describe these kinds of blankets.  As children grow older they spend more time exploring their world as they seek independence and having something that is constant {like a blanket} is comforting to them.  As a mom, it was nice to know that all he really needed to feel safe, warm and cared for was his Pooh bear blankie and his mama.  I want to share a few stories with you today about a mother in Uganda and a mother in Zambia who received blankets as a gift for their newborns just like I received a blanket for my son.



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Use Your Words



This post was sponsored by Hallmark Signature through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Hallmark Signature, all opinions are my own.

There are some people that you meet that you just immediately connect with. Something about them makes you want to be near them. You feel a peace around them and their words inspire something in you that stirs the soul. From the time that I was a young girl, I remember hearing missionaries come in to church events to tell their stories. These were people that had traveled the globe or maybe just stepped out their front door and they were doing extraordinary things in the world but they looked just like me. The impact that they were making was creating a ripple effect and the stories they had to tell were inspiring. The older I get, the more evidence I see of God working in the details. It's amazing to see the dots that are connected when you spend the time connecting them. 

I recently spent some time getting to know Luke and Rachel Whyte. They were on season 3 of the HGTV show Fixer Upper. Luke had a life changing moment that drew him into a deeper relationship with Christ as he clung to the side of a mountain in Alaska trying to survive, praying for a way out. During the reveal of his newly designed home by Chip and Joanna Gaines, there was a metal sign with a mountain that said "your mountain is waiting so get on your way." Luke revealed to me that Joanna hadn't ever heard that piece of his story and yet the detail that came together in that moment took him back. 



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Make Your Home Smart in Minutes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Schneider Electric for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love to save money however we can. We have a son in college and growing kids that shockingly, don't get cheaper each year. I'm always looking to make smarter choices that will save our family money. Extra bonus if saving money is convenient and includes an upgrade that makes our lives easier. I love finding simple money-saving solutions and more and more those simple solutions are controlled with one device...my smart phone.  I "clip" coupons with a grocery app on my phone, I scroll through savings websites while I'm waiting in lines and I keep a stash of store rewards cards together virtually that end up saving me money with every purchase. Energy bills can get expensive, especially as the colder months of winter roll around so why not find a system that has technology that is so advanced that it will help our family maximize our energy savings and still stay comfortable. 



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Christmas Gift Guides for Creatives

It's no secret that I love to create. I've been crafting and creating for as long as I can remember and I love trying out new techniques and using new supplies and digging into kits to learn new skills. I thought I would put my thinking cap on and put together a Christmas gift guide that you can use when you are buying for those creative people in your life. This guide will at least get you started so you can get pointed in the right direction. You will find gifts in all price ranges {however most are under $20} for all ages and skill levels. 



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Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide

The first gifts that get opened in our house come from our stocking. The stockings are always hung on the mantle, but on Christmas morning, they are always spread out carefully by the fireplace on the floor usually stuffed full. I've put together a little buying guide for all of those people on your list so that you can stuff their stockings to the brim with gifts they are excited about.

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Put Money Back Into Your Pocket with FreeShipping.com

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of FreeShipping.com. All opinions are 100% my own.

I really love the idea of online shopping. You can wake up, sit down at your computer still in your pajamas, sip your coffee and get lost in the internet. Let's say you find a few items to put in your shopping bag and then as you go to check out, the price of your items goes up and you look at the total and you see that shipping costs are adding on an extra fee that you hadn't anticipated. I love finding a good bargain, but sometimes once you add in shipping, your good bargain is no longer a good bargain. I can't tell you how many times I've walked away from my on-line shopping cart because I didn't want to pay shipping fees. I have friends that try to tell me that the hour they would have spent driving to the store and wandering the aisles for the deal they found with minimal effort on-line trumps the shipping fees, but for some reason, I can't seem to see past it. I end up spending more time trying to google free shipping codes for the store I'm shopping, usually with no luck. For those of you who are like me and you despise shipping fees, I have a program that you are going to love! I had no idea FreeShipping.com even existed until they offered me an opportunity to work with them and give it a try and I love it! I'm sold. It also comes at the perfect time for your holiday shopping. From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, FreeShipping.com is offering 20% cash back at 30 top retailers, and that's on top of the already amazing deals you will be finding at all your favorite stores. You guys are going to love it! 


http://bit.ly/2eycwqR
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12 Fun Family Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

Christmas traditions are a way to create fun family memories.  My family participates in many different traditions each year.  Some are old traditions that I fondly remember doing as a child and some are new ideas that we’ve adopted and started from other families.  Each one is looked forward to every year, even as the kids grow older.

advent, family life


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Fixer Upper: The Flip That Made Them Famous

waco, fixer upper, HGTV, Joanna Gaines, Chip Gaines
HGTV
I'm sure by now we have all heard the story behind how the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper got its start. I especially love the story, because it's deeply rooted in something near and dear to me, and that's my blog. The story goes something like this: Joanna, a mom blogger with great design style was featured on a larger blog, and a production company saw that post, loved it, and got in contact with her. Soon after, a pilot was made for Fixer Upper, and the rest is history.  But wait! There's more to the story. I fell down a Fixer Upper wormhole today and was able to piece together some fun information that should fill in some gaps in your Fixer Upper knowledge. Not only do I have the story of the flip that made them famous, I've even got before and after pictures of the flip that started this phenomenon called Fixer Upper.
waco, fixer upper, HGTV, Joanna Gaines, Chip Gaines
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Free Printable Coffee Sleeve for a Friend

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of 7-Eleven. All opinions are 100% my own.

Nine. That's how many coffee shops I have located a stones throw away {or under a mile...I throw stones far!} from my home. My house isn't downtown, it's not in a high rise, it's located in a neighborhood in the suburbs of what might just be considered the coffee capital of the United States. Before I moved to the Seattle area, I never really drank coffee. I actually spent the majority of my three children's infancy and toddler-hood entirely uncaffinated. I'm actually wondering how I survived! Slowly friends started introducing me to coffee and it didn't take long before I fell in love. Coffee has become a daily habit that I enjoy. Most days I brew my own coffee, but sometimes it's nice to be able to take a walk to one of the local coffee shops in my area. Some of the coffee shops are more affordable than others, which is why I ended up at 7-Eleven this morning and I was surprised at what I found. 7-Eleven gave me the opportunity to try a new coffee they are offering and so I gave it a try and wanted to let all of you know all about it. I also think sharing coffee with your friends is one of life's best gifts. I have a free printable coffee sleeve that you can add to your 7-Eleven coffee cup and gift it to a friend.

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DIY Bathtub Spa Shelf

I work from home so it's sometimes hard for me to separate myself from work and relaxation. Work is always there lingering in the background. In order to not get distracted by it I have to be very intentional. I've set up specific work hours for myself that I try to adhere to.  I also try to focus my work in just one room. The other areas of my home need to feel like home, not like work so it's important to me to have things in those spaces that feel relaxing and warm. Candles are one of the best way to do that, which is why I was so excited when Chesapeake Bay Candle asked if I would partner with them to learn a little bit more about their Mind & Body Collection.  One of my favorite ways to unwind is with a warm bath in our Jacuzzi tub. I light some candles, turn on some of my favorite music and settle in with a good book. I'm sharing my easy DIY bathtub spa shelf so that you can create your own relaxing spa-like space too!
at home spa, candles, decorating with candles, easy to make
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Free Christmas Brush Lettering Page

I think my generation may be one of the final generations to remember practicing their penmanship. I spent hours looping and curving and writing each letter or phrase over and over again, but with computers, handwriting and penmanship have sort of been set aside. If you read any historic documents or look at centuries old letters, you will immediately be struck at how beautiful the handwriting is. This appreciation for the art of lettering is probably why I'm drawn to brush lettering and script that is so popular right now. 

Brush lettering is such a fun thing to do when you are using your journaling Bible. Those pages are usually my favorite!


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Illustrated Advent: Bible Journaling Through the Season


Earlier this year, I was introduced to Bible journaling. I purchased a Bible journal for my daughter for Christmas and after seeing her Bible, it made me want to purchase one of my own. I've been pairing my Bible study with time spent illustrating my faith and I have really been enjoying it. My new Bible is beautiful and I have had many comments and compliments on it when people see it. The comments usually turn into a discussion about Bible journaling. Many people haven't heard about it and are interested in seeing what illustrating their faith would look like to them. I recently had the opportunity to share a glimpse into Bible journaling with a small women's group from my church. Since I knew they wouldn't have their own Bible with blank pages to journal in, I created an Illustrated Advent book and I want to offer the same book up to you, my readers as well. 

Illustrated Advent is a Bible journal that can be used through the Christmas season. It's a daily devotional that can be used throughout December as a way to reflect on the word and prepare your heart for the season.

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Caramel Apple Slab Pie

It is officially my favorite time of the year. It's pie season! When I was in junior high I took a cooking class and making pies was one of my favorite things to do. I used to make the perfect crust every single time, but I don't know what it is, maybe I lost my touch through the years, but pie crust has become the most intimidating factor for me in taking up pie making again. Not to worry! This recipe allows you to still hit a home run with a homemade delicious pie crust that doesn't have to be perfect. You can even press it out on the cookie pan. It's so forgiving! But look how very amazing this open faced caramel apple slab pie looks. This may just become a family favorite at those upcoming holiday gatherings. Speaking of, this pie will take less about the same time to make as a traditional apple pie, but it will feed an army! Perfect for large family gatherings. 

holiday, thanksgiving, christmas, family recipe

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11 Things You Didn't Know About Fixer Upper and Waco,Texas

silos, magnolia market, chip and joanna gaines

For the third time this year, I made a trip to Waco, Texas. Every visit is a little bit different, but the focus always seems to take a turn toward all things Fixer Upper. Five years ago, at the very mention of Waco your thoughts would automatically go to the Branch Davidians. Now, you can't mention Waco without people asking about Chip and Joanna Gaines or their HGTV hit show Fixer Upper. While I rarely watch the show {and I haven't read their new book}, I am captivated by Joanna's style and the improvements that are happening in Waco, Texas. I stood in line at Magnolia Market and struck up conversations with two women on a girls-trip with their daughters from Colorado. I heard another woman in line mention she was visiting from Indiana. People are coming from all over the world, drawn in by the phenomenon Magnolia has created. Several months ago I had the opportunity to get an exclusive interview with Season 3 client Jaime Ferguson, and since then I have become a kind of Fixer Upper expert. Every time I visit Waco, I like to learn something new or different about the show that I didn't know before. If you are a fan of Fixer Upper or if you have enjoyed following the Gaines's success story, I bet I have some information you haven't heard before. In fact, it's a little challenge I created for myself to find something even the biggest Fixer Upper fan wouldn't necessarily know. So read on and tell me in the comments if I succeeded. 

silos, magnolia market, chip and joanna gaines, faith

 

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How to Start a Skin Care Routine From Nothing


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I mentioned before that I haven't been very good to my skin. I rarely wash my face at night and almost always sleep with my make-up on. I've been really fotunate to have smooth skin that has been fairly free from blemishes. Though the older I get the more I am noticing sun spots and sun damage on my face. I'm in my late 30's now and I know that something has to change. Which is why I was so excited to partner with Neutrogena for a 7 day rapid repair challenge in October. I ended up loving the products so much and was noticing such a difference in my skin, that I decided to continue this routine well after the challenge had ended. They say it takes about 21 days to create a new habit, and I think I turned over a new leaf in my skin care routine by using these Neutrogena wrinkle repair products, which is why I want to share with you, how you can create your own skin care routine from nothing. That's what I did!

neutrogena, skin care, fine lines, wrinkles, even skin tone

They say the proof is in the pudding, so be prepared to see some side by side images that will convince you to give Neutrogena wrinkle repair a shot too!

neutrogena, skin care, fine lines, wrinkles, even skin tone

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