Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magnolia Fall Gathering

Before looking forward to Christmas - and all the magic it entails - I want to take a quick look back at one of the highlights of my Fall....

I was so fortunate to be invited to attend Magnolia's first ever Fall Gathering and Workshop! 

One of my sweet friends at work, Belinda, was lucky enough to snag two tickets to the event in Waco.  Since we are such huge fans of HGTV's hit show, FIXER UPPER, she asked me to tag along with her on an overnight trip to Waco.  

Have you discovered this program yet?  Chip and Joanna Gaines are an adorable couple in Waco, fixing up the most neglected homes in old neighborhoods and breathing new life into them!

We made the 2-1/2 hour drive in a state of giddiness, barely able to contain our excitement.  We checked into our room at the Hilton and were greeted with goody bags from Magnolia, including an old-fashioned bottle of Dublin Dr. Pepper, a delicious homemade cookie and lots of notes about some of Joanna's favorite hometown spots to visit, including coupons.  

After a quick "freshen up", we set out on foot to walk the three blocks to venue, the Phoenix Ballroom, a renovated brick structure right beside the train tracks. 

There, we joined 600 other fans in one of the friendliest lines I've ever witnessed.  We met lots of other women, from all over, who had made the journey into town just for the evening.  

While we waited in the mild evening air, Chip came out for photo opportunities......

And, finally, the doors opened and we were ushered inside the meeting hall.  The tables were lovely! 

There was a small stage set up and Joanna had staff in place to organize her greeting with each guest.  They even took photos with our phones for us as we posed with her! 

Then, it was time to eat....and it was just the sort of fare you would expect!  Tomato bisque with crispy croutons, homemade macaroni & cheese and tasty roasted pork sliders with a variety of chutneys and salsas.  There were delicious specialty cupcakes for dessert and freshly brewed pumpkin spice coffee.  We ate before the program....and again afterwards.  They made sure we got our fill!!!

Joanna shared their story and gave some terrific tips on entertaining simply in our homes.  We had the opportunity to make some table setting accessories of our own, using natural elements and materials that were supplied at each table.    

Each attendee received a bag of swag - a Magnolia tote bag filled with goodies to use at home.  

The next morning we got up and went shopping.  We found a great place to browse for just about anything under the sun, right across the street from our hotel!  

Even the ladies' room was decorated in this place......I couldn't resist snapping a photo! 

Of course, we went to Magnolia and bought some goodies!!!

We also took in Harp Design Studio.  For those of you who follow the show, Clint Harp is Joanna's carpenter, who creates many of her signature wood items.  He and his wife bought a home that was renovated in season one.  We had the pleasure of visiting with them at length in the showroom at their shop, right next door to the house that was the star of the show.  

We arrived back home with lots of great ideas to implement some of Joanna's ideas into our own homes and lots of wonderful memories.  And, to top it all off, I even heard from Joanna when I posted on Instagram about our trip to Magnolia.....

How do you like that?!?!?  I'm a fan for life!!!

Many thanks to Belinda for including me on this grand adventure!  You are such a blessing to me, dear friend! 

Blessings, friends.....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Shopping With Baby.....

Shopping with an 18-month old?!?!?!?  "Heck, yeah!" says this Mimi.

I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with all three of my kids today.  Ben has been in town for a couple of days for Thanksgiving, so he, Sam and Savanna joined up with Bonnie, Autumn and me for a bite to eat before doing a little shopping.  Autumn was easily entertained with a single crayon and coloring sheet and ate lots of green beans, french fries and yummy fried mushrooms (she loved 'em!).  It felt like a little slice of heaven to be surrounded by my babies.....

Ben is now working for an engineering firm, pulling and testing concrete.  He has to be outdoors at construction sites quite a bit.  With winter coming on, he was in need of some warm gear to cope with the colder temperatures, so we went to Academy Outdoors + Sports.  Suited him right up with a Carhart jacket, toasty thinsulate gloves and a toboggan with a warm face shield!  Merry Christmas, Ben!!!  

After Ben left to head out for home in San Antonio, Bonnie and I were just warming up.........

Hello, Target!!!!  Lots of good sales still left, although some of the merchandise was a bit picked over.  She helped me settle on some Christmas presents for the kids.  And, Baby (aka Autumn) went the distance with us.  She was even a good sport when Bonnie tried the most adorable little red coat on her.....well, a pretty good sport.  She was more partial to the sock monkey cap, though....can't you tell by the look on her face that it was her choice???

She was a trooper right up until the end.  But, once we loaded her in the car seat, she dozed off pretty quickly.  This was day 2 with no nap, so I think Bonnie and Matt will probably enjoy an early evening off.....

This was the third day of my 4-day holiday weekend and it was just as delightful as the first two!  Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!!!!  

Blessings, friends......

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