Thursday, April 1, 2021

Book Club: March 2021


Today is Book Club Day and we couldn't be more excited! We did a lot of chatting back and forth about our books this month because they were just. that. good. 

At the beginning of the month we polled the good people of Instagram to see what are your favorite genres of books - just to see if we are aligned in providing you with good recommendations. An overwhelming number of you like mystery and thriller novels. We will try to incorporate more of those in our rotation. 

A close second was romance and beach reads. Well, we always have you covered there! 

A distant third was non-fiction and biographies. Hmm...we both struggle with this area. We will try to do be a better job of throwing one in the mix occasionally, but lets just say we read for escapism most of the time. 

March was jam packed with reading/ let's get to it!!!



Last month I quickly devoured book one of the Crave series by Tracy Wolff and loved it. It's so far fetched and the whole vampire/fantasy fiction thing usually isn't my jam, but this totally sucked me in.  

I immediately added the next two books in the series to my Audible app and listened to them pretty much non-stop. My kids made fun of me on a Friday night with my headphones in, but it was THAT GOOD and I couldn't stop until I knew what happened.  In book #2, Crush, the story continues to follow Grace, Jackson and his brother Hudson.  A major plot twist occurs when the evil Hudson starts living in Grace's head so that she can hear his every thought. At first she is annoyed by it, but then you see their estranged friendship start to turn into something more.  The love triangle continues throughout the book, but when Grace and Jackson's relationship is tested and Grace's life is in danger at the end of the story Hudson comes to a surprising rescue and realization.  When it ended with a major cliffhanger I gasped because I wanted so much more! Good news is, book #3 ready and waiting for me! 

Covet was a lot more magical and fantasy and not as much love story. I still enjoyed it and loved seeing how Grace and the love triangle managed to work itself out, but I think book #2 was my favorite in the series so far.  That being said, I don't know how I'm going to wait until September for the 4th and final book, Court, to be released!  

I don't know if anyone else is like this, but after I end a really amazing book I'm always hesitant to start something else just because I don't want to be disappointed.  I asked Jen for a recommendation of something she loved recently and she gave me a doozy.  Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren took my breath away.  I've read some of her other books before and this one was TOTALLY different.  Still a love story, but with so much more to it.  The story switches back and forth between present day and the past when teenage Macy has just lost her mother and meets the boy next door at their weekend home.  Macy and Elliot quickly form a bond that cannot be explained.  At first it is just friendship and then grows into more.  He is her only friend, her best friend, the ones who helps her grieve the death of her mother and is truly her everything for years.  During the present day chapters, Macy runs into Elliot and they begin to navigate their friendship/relationship by tip-toeing around the past. Lauren keeps hinting at something that happened 11 years ago that caused them to lose contact and not speak for all of that time.  I thought I had it totally figured out and knew what was coming, but I was SO wrong. I LOVED this book because I love books that make me really feel. The characters were so well developed and it made me so emotional to hear their stories.  I cried at several parts, smiled at so many more and just really can't say enough about how good it was. I highly recommend this one!

I totally switched gears for my last book this month and listened to the sequel of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.  In book two, Good Girl, Bad Blood, we get to follow the same characters.  After Pip solves the town murder mystery as part of her senior project, she starts a podcast that gains lots of popularity.  She vows to never get involved in another investigation, but when a friend asks for her help finding his missing brother she can't say no.  Just like the first book, this reads like a mystery podcast for part of it and I found it so fun to listen to. I loved keeping up with the clues and trying to figure out on my own what happened!  If you like thriller/mystery type stories this one is for you. 


I read five books this month, and for the first time in forever I can say I loved all five of them. Each and every one of them I would say add to your reading pile ASAP. A few are top book of the year contenders, and a few have me anxiously awaiting sequels because they were just that good! 

First up for the month was Love at First by Kate Clayborn. I read Love Lettering last year and really enjoyed it so when I saw a new novel was out by the same author I couldn't wait to read it. This is an adorable must read romance novel! It was just plain cute. I absolutely adored this story and am not sure how to let these characters go yet. Nora & Will meet in the briefest of ways as children, but it was instant love for one of them. Sixteen years later they are each coasting through life with different levels of emotions (or lack there of), and their paths cross again. It's a heartwarming story of love and finding family in the unlikeliest of places, and the ending left me with all the happy sighs. If you enjoy your romance novels a little more PG rated on the intimacy and language, Clayborn totally delivers on this one for you! 

Oona Out of Order has been on my reading list forever. I consider it was meant to be read when Good Morning America gifted me a copy. Loved this book in so many ways!!  The story is beautifully written, and the story is unique to anything else I’ve read. Oona faints one New Year's and wakes up in the future in a strange apartment with a kind stranger. She soon realizes from instructions she leaves that this isn't the first time she's "leaped" into a different year at a different place. Each of Oona’s leaps were super intriguing. As the book was coming to a close, I wanted more years to sink into with Oona, Madeline and Kenzie. I rarely give five stars to a book, but this one gets it - and might be a contender for my top three this year for sure! Such a great read and highly recommend!

Listen, sometimes a girl just needs a little teenage vampire fantasy drama in her life. I read the first two books of the Crave series earlier in the year. I then told Carrie Beth they were right up her alley and to read them right away. The third book, Covet, came out this month, and I instantly download the Audible. This series keeps getting better for me each book. I am thrown right back into those days where we were all obsessed with the Twilight series. Only the Crave series to me is slightly more mature. Just slightly. I'm totally sucked into the story, and it ends on the biggest cliff hanger. I already can't wait until September to get the fourth book in the series. Judge if you will, but I am all team Hudson and I don't care if you know about it. 

Next up for the month - a little politics. But my kind of politics. The romantic comedy kind. Meet You In the Middle was one of those Target cute book cover purchases that get me sometimes. But sometimes those impulse purchases in the book department while my kids are scouring for a Captain Underpants book they haven't read yet, turn out to be winners. This fun hate to love romance follows Ben and Katie, who are on opposite sides of the Senate floor. But after some back and forth pranking, spying, and bets gone wrong they find themselves a little more...bipartisan. ;) Loved it from start to finish, and it would make for a great Spring Break beach read if you need one! 

Okay mystery/thriller lovers - this one's for you. Good Girl, Bad Blood was another sequel I couldn't wait to get my hands on in March. I thought Good Girl's Guide to Murder was so so good, and had me at the edge of my seat the entire time I was listening to it. Good Girl, Bad Blood picks up where GGGTM leaves off. This is one of the few books that the sequel lived up to the hype. GGGTM #2 was just as good as the first. The story builds on the original with a focus on one of Pip's friends from the first book. With a popular podcast quickly gaining Pip a wide reach of audience, her friend Conner comes to her asking for help regarding his missing brother Jamie. Pip vowed to never step into role as investigator again, but left with no other option than possibly losing her childhood friend, she agrees. With her boyfriend/sidekick Ravi, she tackles issues of the past, endures twists and turns at every step of the investigation and leaves us with a cliff hanger that has me begging Holly Jackson to release GGGTM #3 ASAP!



I thought I had read just about every Colleen Hoover novel, but when someone recently shared Ugly Love and how much they enjoyed it, I realized this was one I never read.   

Hoover never disappoints and the characters in her love stories always have me coming back for more, so I'm excited to start this one!   


I've heard nothing but good things about The Last Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I snagged a hard copy of this at a local bookstore, and am already excited about Spring Break next week so I can sink into my pool chair with this highly buzzed about mystery-suspense novel.



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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Teen Hangout Room {Part 2 - It's DONE!!!}

I'm so excited to finally share the completed Teen Hangout Room/Media Room!  It's actually been done for a while, but I finally got a chance to take pictures when my kids weren't in there.  :-) This room used to be our play room and I shared the first part of the transformation HERE.  

My goal was to make this a spot where the kids would want to hang with lots of comfortable seating options.  I love how everything came together using mostly items we already owned.

We added the accent wall and painted that dark (SW Urbane Bronze), which I don't regret one bit. We got new carpet, and then moved the sectional from our living room into this space.  It's big and super comfortable so it is perfect for this room.  All of the other furniture is stuff we already had in other parts of the house.  

The giant blue bean bag chair is something my son bought on his own and I knew it would be great in here, but just wasn't sure how to tie it into my boho vision. When I found a few pillows with the same color in them at Tuesday Morning I just knew they would be perfect.  

The other pillows are either from Amazon or Wal-Mart. Their Better Homes and Garden line has the BEST stuff at very affordable prices.  

We moved the air hockey table from our basement into this room and the kids have played it more than I think they ever have...especially if they have friends over so that's been fun for them. 

After all my sewing for the new living room curtains I knew I just wanted to buy something for in here. These velvet curtains aren't 100% blackout, but they do a pretty good job and certainly make the room super dark during the day if they kids want to watch movies in here.  

I'm so happy with the way the room turned out!  Not only do the kids love it, but the Mr. loves hanging out in there too because it's so cozy and the giant TV on the wall is pretty enticing. It accomplished exactly what I wanted to to and we still have the closet to store the toys that will occasionally get used. 

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Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday Favorites: Small Business We Love

Happy Friday!  One of the most fun things about what we do with Magnolia Mamas is getting introduced to new concepts, ideas, brands and products.  We see all sorts of things come across our channels, but we are pretty selective in what we actually accept and who we want to share with you all.  Today's Friday Favorites are brought to you by some small companies that we really love and couldn't wait to share with you all! 


This week my daughter had her first week of high school cheer tryouts!  I can hardly believe she will be in high school next year, but she is so excited so I'm really happy for her.  

I had a very last minute idea to get some decorated cookies for her and a few of her friends to wish them good luck!  I had the idea on Friday night and needed the cookies on Monday. I reached out to Christina's Baking Studio and she agreed to do the rush order for me. 

I was so happy with the way they turned out and the girls loved them.  I've used Christina's Baking Studio a few times in the past and she never disappoints! If you are local, definitely check her out. You can find her on Facebook or Instagram

We were recently introduced to Lunchy Club and let me just tell you, it is such a game changer!  If you are like me and dread packing lunches each night, this service is for you.  You can order customized lunches for your kids, picking the items you know they will eat. 

I loved that they had everything from organic snacks and juices to full on Kool-aid and Fruit-by-the-Foot options. 

You place the order by Tuesday night and then it is delivered to you over the weekend so you are ready to have them for lunches the next week.  SUCH a brilliant idea and a major time saver. Plus, my kids loved it because they thought it was something fun and different than what I normally pack for them.  Lunchy Club is offering free shipping through the end of the month, so it's a great time to check them out! 

I've been wanting some new necklaces that I could wear for a layered look and when I saw these Tough As A Mother necklaces I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for.  This small company is mama owned and part of their mission is to minimize mom guilt and encourage positive daily affirmations.  That is something ALL mamas need!  

I decided to do the initial necklace with my own initials, but you could do your kids' initials, names, or anything else that is meaningful to you.  I also layered with one of the stone necklaces. Each of them has a different meaning and the one I picked means "balance." Clear quartz promotes patience and perseverance over worry and struggle...I just loved that!  These would be great for Mother's Day gifts!
You can see all that they offer HERE

Ever since I discovered that I can cook salmon in my air fryer, it's become a weekly go-to for dinner which means we are eating a lot more fish than we used to.  When I learned about Sitka Salmon Shares I knew it would be a great fit for our family!  

It's a community supported fishery that offers monthly shares of wild-caught seafood from a collection of Alaskan fishing families.  They are responsibly harvested seasonally by their small-boat fisherman, swiftly blast frozen which gives it the fresh-from-the-ocean taste, and then delivered directly to your doorstep! 

Each delivery also includes recipe cards that offer suggestions and ideas for preparing the fish.  If you are a family that eats a lot of fish, this would be a great option for you!  Check out their website HERE and be sure to use code MAGNOLIAFISH for $25 off the 2021 Premium Share box option.   

Spring is here!  We just love this time of year because we love wearing bright and colorful things. We've been Eva Franco Designs fans for a while now and every time we share pieces from her line we get so many comments and questions.  

You may recognize some of her items from Anthropologie, but she is now selling directly from her website.  We got some new spring/summer items and just LOVE them. 

 These items were actually part of their colorful surprise box we received.  You tell them your size and then they hand pick items just for you and send them your way.  It's so funny because some of the pieces I received were things I never would have picked for myself, but ended up loving when I tried them on.  I always go for the same styles and this forced me out of my comfort zone.  

We have a discount code if anyone is interested in adding something new to your spring/summer wardrobe.  Use code MAGNOLIA30 for 30% off!  It won't work on the surprise boxes because they are already such a steal, but if you want individual items be sure to use that and save. :-)  

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!  

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Atlanta Spring Events: Disney On Ice, Supercross Live & Monster Jam {Plus a Giveaway!}

Okay local friends - break out your calendars! Atlanta's calendar is popping this Spring, and we have exclusive information on a few fun events you won't want to miss. Plus we have a fun ticket giveaway for one lucky reader! 

Disney on Ice, Supercross, and Monster Jam are all making their return to Atlanta this April for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Each event has taken into consideration Covid, and has a variety of safety measures set in place so that families can enjoy the shows with ease. 

We've had the chance to preview these events in the past and they are fun with a capital F! Here are all the details for this years shows...


Show Dates: April 15-25
Location: Infinite Energy Center
Ticket & Safety Information: Visit HERE

Join the fearless Moana and the greatest demigod that ever lived, Maui, on an action-packed voyage to restore the stolen heart of Te Fiti. Explore the Land of the Dead as Miguel from Disney Pixar’s Coco brings the festivities of Día de los Muertos to the ice. Get tangled up in Rapunzel’s hair-raising quest to see the floating lights. Travel to the kingdom of Arendelle with Anna, Elsa and Olaf in a dramatic retelling of the sisterly love that saved a kingdom. And discover the strength, bravery and kindness that inspired generation after generation with Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora, Belle and Cinderella.

Now through March 31st, get 20% off with discount code DOI2XS.


Show Dates: April 10-17
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Ticketing & Safety Information:

Photo courtesy of Supercross Live

Atlanta will be host to rounds 13, 14, and 15 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross FIM World Championship. 

Check out our visit and review of last year's show! It was so much fun! Our family had a blast! 

March 30th - April 6th, get 20% off with discount code SX20RM.


Show Dates: April 24-25
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Ticketing & Safety Information: Visit HERE

Monster Jam®, the most action-packed motorsports event on four wheels. At the event, you will witness world-class driver athletes and the most recognizable trucks tear up the dirt and compete in intense competitions of speed and skill. 

Check out our visit and review of last year's show! We had the best time doing a mother/son date night. 

March 30th - April 6th, get 20% off with discount code MJRM2X.


We've teamed up with Feld Entertainment and Brave PR to give one lucky reader 4 tickets to Monster Jam!! The tickets will be for Sunday, April 25th's show at Atlanta Motor Speedway. To enter just comment on this post with who you can't wait to take to Monster Jam

Winner will be chosen randomly and announced Saturday, March 27th. Tickets will be transferred electronically and fulfillment will be provided by Feld Entertainment and Brave PR. 

Can't wait to hear how you guys enjoy these shows! 

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