Road Trip: Magnolia Market at the Silos

My maternity leave is almost over and I was itching to get out of town for the day, so we decided to take a family road trip two hours south on I-35 to Waco, Texas, to visit the latest masterpiece from Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Market at the Silos.

 Chip and Joanna are household names thanks to their extremely popular show on HGTV, Fixer Upper. They have wisely taken that fame and used it to expand their brand to have a bigger footprint in Waco, buying these old silos and converting them into a family-friendly market area to sell their wares. And as suspected, it just oozes Joanna's style!

Let's walk through the market together, shall we?

It is located right in the heart of Waco, very close to Baylor University. I can only imagine how grateful Waco is for the positive publicity that Gaines bring to Waco, especially after the horrifying Baylor football scandal has continued to make headlines. That school seems to have a knack for scandal, but the Gaines bring nothing but positive press and plenty of jobs to Waco. They owe them a key to the city or something.

It was a Monday - the first Monday that most kids were off school down here in Texas - and as expected, the Silos were really crowded. Here we are walking up with our awesome double stroller, trying to find the entrance.

There is a lot of construction right near the front entrance because they are expanding to include their bakery, Flour, which you can see in the background of this photo.

She has posted a couple of progress pictures of that space on her Instagram, and it's adorable. However, it looks pretty small from the outside so I can only anticipate how crowded it will get.

She said in this month's HGTV magazine that black and white is her favorite color, and that classic color scheme is used throughout the Silos.  Even the main building – seen in the background of this photo below – is black and white. And how cool are those cedar planter boxes? I'll get back to the outside areas later...

Inside the main building is the actual Magnolia Market, where they sell all of the things they sell in their online store. The double stroller was not the easiest thing to maneuver inside the market because it was filled with people. On the other hand, Scott was a total chick magnet all day. So many people came up to talk to him about the twins while I explored the shop.

It's all styled very beautifully. The first level has a definite Anthropologie vibe. Lots of inspiration to be had, which is nice because the merchandise was a bit too expensive for me.

Beyond this area, you go downstairs into a much larger space that is half shop, half warehouse. It looks out into the grass courtyard area.

The outside area of the Silos was actually my favorite part, but it was hard to linger out there because the Texas heat was brutal that day. We had the babies with us, and we couldn't just sit outside and let them get overheated. We did walk around quickly to enjoy the separate areas. I loved the black and white striped awnings and bean bag chairs on the lawn.

Over at the actual silos, they had created a shaded area with picnic tables. Notice the wire details and the way they used the pipes as planters.

In the back corner was a small shop that housed the gardening part of the market, called Magnolia Seed & Supply. It's tiny, but adorable. It's actually close to the size of their first Magnolia Market, which we visited a couple of years ago.

The outside area was lined with food trucks, so we sampled some of the gourmet grilled cheese. YUM.

We took refuge under the silos, taking a minute to eat our lunch, cool off the babies in the shade and get a couple of family photos.

Please note how our black and white stroller perfectly matches the color scheme at the Silos. Great minds think alike, Joanna. ;)

Look at how big the twins are getting! They are 10 weeks in this photo. They'll be 12 weeks in a couple more days. Hard to believe!

Poor Evan was a little grouchy. It was past his nap time and it was pretty hot in that stroller.

Grammy Jo came with us and entertained Hope while we chowed down.

And just like that, we packed up and headed back up I-35 to Dallas. I know what you're dying to know: Did I buy anything?

Yes. A t-shirt. And it's super comfortable. Two thumbs up!

I will admit that we had some preconceived notions about the market that left us a little disappointed, but it's probably our own fault. I'm not sure where we got these ideas– probably just misinterpreting some of the social media posts about the Silos.

First of all, I thought the actual silos – the giant round buildings – were part of the shop. I thought you could walk in that area and they were renting our spaces to other vendors, like an antique mall. It's possible that I made this up entirely, or maybe it's part of Phase II. But just know that right now, the silos are just there for decoration. The actual shopping is only Magnolia Market merchandise (not flea market style like I thought) and it all happens in the big white building behind the silos.

My mom thought the shop would be selling some of the bigger items, like the couple's new furniture and rug lines. They don't sell that stuff there, so don't go expecting to see it. She was a little bummed about that. If you're in the DFW area, the only place that sells it is Nebraska Furniture Mart. You can find a retailer near you. Interested in Joanna's rugs and pillows? Find them here.

All in all, we still had a great time. It helped us pass the day (which can be hard to do with two infants) and gave us some fun family time. If you're ever in the area, you should definitely swing by and check it out.

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DIY: Chic Custom Photo Frame Makeover

A couple of years ago my company was relocating to a new location and was throwing all of the art from the old office away. They were tossing it into the dumpster when I bravely threw my body in front of the dumpter, desperate to save the art from total ruin.

Ok, it wasn't really that dramatic. I simply asked if I could have the art instead of them throwing it away, and they looked at me like I was crazy. The artwork was a bit 1980s and didn't appeal to most of my coworkers. However, it was custom framed and I know how much that costs, so I figured I could use the mats and frames to fancy up my own artwork.

I've had most of them in the closet of our guest room, collecting dust. My favorite was a set of 4, but we broke a couple of the frames so we were down to a set of two. Here's a photo of two of them propped with the original artwork up on my mantel when I was playing around with where to put them.

 I painted a random abstract on top of the 1980s artwork about a year ago, but it wasn't my best effort. It was very so-so, but I didn't have anything else to put on the wall so I hung them on either side of the TV until something better came along. I don't have a photo of that, but you can see the abstracts here in this photo I dug up from Instagram.

That "something better" came along on March 24, when two beautiful babies rocked our world in the best way possible. (Sleep: Who needs it?) Anyway, I am a proud mommy now who wants pictures of her babies on display, so I thought these frames were the perfect display piece.

Here's what we started with. The frames had no glass because we broke it a long time ago. Plus I don't like glass frames that much because they have such a bad glare when the light bounces off.

I ordered some rolled canvas prints (no wooden frames since I wanted to put them inside an existing frame) from the babies' newborn photoshoot on CanvasPrintFactory.com.  It was very affordable, and I was really pleased with the quality of the photos.

This is where we got stuck for about a month because I couldn't decide the best way to proceed. The new prints were smaller than the existing artwork, so I needed a new mat cut to my specific size. I kept saying I would go buy one at Hobby Lobby, but let's just say it's a lot harder to run out the door for little errands now that I have the twins. Anything that wasn't a NEED got pushed to the bottom of my list.

Then my clever husband had the brilliant idea to cut a mat for me using very thin wood. That would have never occurred to me, so he deserves all the credit in the world for how this project turned out. He was able to use his table saw and jig saw to cut two custom mat boards for me out of one $9 sheet of underlayment wood, which is 0.2 inches thick. He attached the canvas to the back of the underlayment wood with brad nails, and I spray painted the existing silver metal frame with matte black spray paint. It only took us an hour or two, so it wasn't too time consuming either. Perfect nap time project!

The canvas prints came with a white border around the edge, which we chose to expose so it would have the look of a double mat.

To say I am pleased with how these portraits turned out is an understatement! Don't they look custom made and very expensive? I love how the mats tie in with the other wooden tones we have in the room, and the black frames go nicely with the TV.

While we're on the topic of photos, how great are these capiz frames from HomeGoods? Those heirloom baby shoes were a gift and I thought they were so beautiful that I decided to display them as part of our decor. The sole of each shoe is customized with their name and date of birth. 

Yes, we turned out bar cart into a baby supply cart. My how things change! #adulting

The best part is that they really let those adorable baby pictures shine, which is the most important thing. Whenever it's a nonstop baby screamfest at our house, I can look at the portraits and remember how sweet and precious my babies are when they aren't hungry, tired or just plain grouchy. Now that's priceless!

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Mother's Day Gift Ideas

I love buying presents. As far as I can remember, I have always put energy into finding thoughtful gifts for the people in my life. I remember dragging my mom all over town in middle school to find the perfect color lava lamp for a friend's birthday gift.

Mother's Day has really been on my mind this year, and not really because I finally get to join the mom club. It's mostly because my own mother has been completely keeping me above water since the twins were born -- and even before then when I was helpless on bed rest -- and I feel a strong need to thank her properly for being such an amazing mother to me and grandmother to our babies. Plus, my mother in law and grandmother in law are so loving and supportive that overall I'm just feeling really blessed to be surrounded by such strong women. Caring for the twins has been so hard, and I really have a better understanding of how much they have sacrificed to raise us.

Anyway, I have been brainstorming gift ideas that I think would appeal to most mothers out there just in case you are stumped about what to get the women in your life.

One more thought before I get into the list: The best gift for any mother is probably time. Time spent with you. Time spent with her grandchildren. For a new mom, time for herself so she can take a long nap/shower/walk to refresh her spirit. So I would say that when possible, make sure any material gift like the ones below comes with the added gift of time. And a card with a handwritten note is just the perfect cherry on top!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

  • You cannot go wrong with flowers, especially if you buy your mom's favorite kind. I'm pretty sure Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for florists, and for good reason. Two of my favorite online floral companies who make modern, organic looking arrangements are Farmgirl Flowers and Bouqs.com
  • If your mom is into decorating like mine is, a simple home decor item that reflects her taste - the wooden tray, a cheerful cake stand, a fun decorative pillow or a happy new door mat - could be a perfect gift. Some of these aren't available online anymore, but you can find similar options at HomeGoods, Target or World Market year round. 
  • There is a reason why pajamas are such a popular gift. We all love sleeping, and having cute pajamas is just the icing on the cake. I recently bought these pajamas for myself (the button down shirt is perfect for the breastfeeding new mom) and they are so soft and cute. The best part is you can buy the set with the pants and then add on the shorts so that it's a pair she can wear year round. It comes in several cute prints. Highly recommend!
  • Does your mom love to read? I know I do, but it also feels like such a luxury to have a chunk of time to lose yourself in a good book. Depending on your mom's reading taste, a new thriller or funny, encouraging reads (I love this book, and this one too) might be the perfect option. Or you can buy her some classic novels with beautiful covers, which are great to read and to leave out on the coffee table for a pop of color. Bonus points if you throw in a bottle of wine/coffee cup/bubble bath to accompany her reading time. And if your mom loves reading but you always get her a book, think outside the book and try something fun like this scarf printed with classic literature
  • One way to approach gift giving is to buy the person a special treat - a luxury item they would never buy themselves. It doesn't have to be crazy expensive, but just something they would feel a little guilty purchasing for themselves because it's not a necessity. How about a nice perfume (I'm partial to Marc Jacobs scents and packaging and wear this and this) or a new lipstick
  • Have a mother who is constantly on the go or really into her Zumba classes? Treat her to some nice new sneakers.  I know my mom loves taking her dogs on long walks and could benefit from a new pair of sneakers that fit well help prevent injury. It's frustrating to shell out money for nice sneakers, so consider taking your mom to your local sporting goods store, have her get properly fitted and treat her to some new running/walking shoes. Just like buying bras, it is really important to get fitted for running shoes. It wasn't until I got properly fitted at my local running store that I realized I needed shoes one full size bigger, and they needed to be narrow width. I'd been doing my feet a disservice all these years with ill-fitting shoes.
  • Jewelry is a popular gift, but consider jewelry that is more personalized. Birthstone jewelry carries a sweet sentiment, but I think a lot of it is a little bit cheesy. However, I love this bracelet with the birthstones. Fill her bracelet with the birthstones of her children or grandchildren and I'm pretty sure she will love it. 
  • Lastly, photo gifts. We all love photos of the kids and grand kids! There are so many cool options now, like framing your artistic Instagram photos or building her a photo book. If you buy her a set of frames like this for Instagrams, earn some bonus points by actually hanging them up for her, too. I know I am bad at hanging artwork so I would love if someone did it for me. (Thanks for hanging everything in our house, dear husband.)

I also want to send my thoughts and prayers to anyone out there who is suffering through infertility or has suffered a loss that makes Mother's Day a very sad time for you. It's hard for me to believe that at this time last year, we were three years into an infertility struggle. We were going through our first round of IVF and didn't know what the future held. I felt pangs of sadness on Mother's Day and would even avoid church so I wouldn't be reminded of what I was missing out on. It's really hard.

I'm thinking about you, friends. <3

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