Monday, August 20, 2018

Parents Escape: Key West

I love my kids. I do. I really really really do. And I have no problem taking them anywhere in the world. They've accompanied us on many an adventure, and have put quite a few stamps in their own passports. But sometimes it's amazing (read: incredibly awesome) to just take an adult only trip. Even better if you can sneak more than one night in. 

We did this last year for the first time in forever, and we became official converts. After last year's trip to Islamorada, we decided we needed to take an adult vacation at least one a year. 

This year marked our ten year anniversary. We had plans to do a huge trip somewhere, but then life occurred and it got put on the back burner. Somewhere in June we decided to just book something. We looked at our calendars and Mr. Cute could only do random days here and there until the end of the year. We somehow pieced together six days, and booked the first thing that came to mind - Key West. It's a quick flight from Atlanta, I had never been, and it hit all the marks (ie. tropical, things to do, and good restaurants).  Carrie Beth goes to Key West every year so I knew it would be a good time - and it so was! I already am looking forward to going back one day! 

Day 1 

| blue gingham top |

Peace out kids! Parents only vacay starts now! 

The flight from Atlanta to Key West is just over an hour. So quick! And if you've ever been to the Atlanta airport before, you appreciate small airports and the fact that you can be through baggage claim and to the taxi stand in under ten minutes from de-boarding. 

We stayed at the Casa Marina Resort in Key West. This is a historic hotel built in the 1920's and holds the only private beach on Key West. The grounds, pool area, and beach are gorgeous. 

We had an oceanview room on the top floor, and it was a typical room. Nothing overly fancy, and the accommodations were similar to most standard hotel rooms. 

But the view from our balcony was beautiful! 

Our flight arrived right at lunchtime. So after we checked in we headed out to grab some lunch and do some exploring. A few blocks from the hotel was the Southernmost Beach Cafe, and it didn't look too crowded so we gave it a go. 

We loved the open air feel, and the drink and food options didn't disappoint. 

Once we finished we made our way back to the hotel to kick off our week of vacationing adult style. 

This little spot beachside did us just fine. 

And so did a good book and a yummy cocktail. Our friend Hall has to travel to Key West frequently for work, and suggested we order the off the menu cocktail, Orange Crush. It didn't disappoint, but maybe order a water with it too. ;) 

| woodgrain sunglasses | gold aviator sunglasses | black one shoulder swimsuit | gold earrings |
After a good bit of living our best beach life we showered and made our way to dinner. 

Someone gave us a recommendation for Hogfish Bar & Grill. It's located on Stock Island, which was about a 15 minute Uber ride from the hotel. It's located in kind of a remote area, but oh so worth it. 

Not to mention, highly entertaining. 

| romper |

Not only did Hogfish have the yummiest food, the drinks were my favorite out of the entire trip! 

(P.S. Hi Wyoming!)

The restaurant is located right off the shrimp docks in downtown Stock Island, so after dinner we decided to walk around a bit. Before headed back to the hotel. It was a fun little walk, with great views and so many friendly people who live on their boats year round. 

After our walk we headed back to the hotel and we weren't quite ready to go to bed just yet, so we parked ourselves back in our previous oceanside spot from earlier in the day and soaked in the sunset.  It was a great way to end our first day!

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the trip! 

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Fashion Fix {Ways to Wear It}

We're excited to start a new little Fashion Fix series here on the blog called Ways to Wear It.  First though, a disclaimer.  We love to post about fashion, style, and wardrobe pieces, but we like to do it with a different twist than most fashion bloggers.  

Here's the thing...there are some bloggers who appear to have an unlimited budget, shop at the trendiest spots and always seem to present a perfect outfit.  Don't get us wrong. We love following those bloggers and getting outfit inspiration from them.  However, that isn't really real life and here at The Magnolia Mamas we like to keep things real. So, while we might show you some cute things we ordered from Nordstrom or a pair of shoes that cost a little more than we would regularly spend, we also want to always share super affordable things from regular everyday places.  We're just regular, everyday moms who might toss a cute top in our cart while picking up cleaning supplies at Target or run in Old Navy to grab something cute. 

Regular clothes, worn regular ways, for regular moms.  That's our mission!  And I don't know about y'all, but if I'm going to spend money on something I want to know that I'm going to get my money's worth. I want it to be something that I can wear a lot of different ways and this time of year I feel like that is super important. It's still hot, but fall is right around the corner, so I like to find pieces that I'll be able to wear now and easily transition into fall.  

And because today only there is such a great deal going on at Old Navy with 30% off your entire purchase, I'm going to share a fun, super affordable item with you! I've been wearing this Luxe tank on repeat.  

Just by throwing on a jacket and switching to more neutral shoes it can transition into fall!  

And I also love the monochromatic look when layered with this pink field jacket (also from Old Navy). An outfit like this is perfect for running errands, volunteering at school, or driving carpool. 

I LOVE this pink jacket and wore it a ton last spring and feel like I'll keep getting lots of use out of it this fall, too. 

But for now, it's still HOT!!!  And that means I'm wearing this tank knotted with my fav denim shorts and trying to survive until cooler temps arrive. 

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Getting Down to Business with Basic Invite

We started this little blog over four years ago. Four! We can't believe it! If you had asked us as we were sitting by that pool dreaming up a little collaborative blog for moms where we might be in four years we would have laughed at you. I mean we were just hoping someone other than our moms, best friends, and husbands might actually read our little slice of Internet.

Fast forward to now and we are amazing at what our tiny little blog has become! Don't get us wrong, it's still a tiny little blog, but at least a handful of other people read it outside of those under pure obligation (thanks again mom!).

And we are so thankful/in awe of that!

We have been able to take part in some amazing things, had the ability to be stretched creatively, and have connected with some truly inspiring people. This blog has allowed us to interact with people all over the world, and each and every day we learn a little something new. And we freaking love that!

In the last four years, our blog has transitioned into something way bigger than we ever imagined - both personally and professionally. It excites us in so many ways, and yet equally stresses us out. Because hello?! We are just two moms who decided to create this thing while cocktailing it up poolside.

So after four years we finally succumbed to the idea that while it is super fun, it is also work. This little blog requires a lot of attention these days, and on a few levels we can't continue to treat it as though it is just a "fun little side project" anymore. That's the side you guys get to see (and hopefully always will!). Behind the scenes though it's a lot of brainstorming, a lot of calendar coordinating, and lot of negotiating. It's a lot of networking, it's a lot of figuring out our worth, it's a lot of time management and it's an obscene amount of phone calls/emails/texts...

It's a job. It's a little (big?) business that we run without realizing we ever started one.

So that brings us going into our fifth (holy cow!) year. We have so many fun things on the horizon, and a ton of new ideas that we think will excite you even more than they excite us. But first...we had to make it official. We strapped on our big girl mom boss pants and made a plan to keep the business side of our blog a little more, well...businesslike.


Our first order of business was to create custom business cards. We can't tell you how many times in the last four years we have been asked for a card and have embarrassingly not had one on hand.

Well...a little background. We did have business cards we created ourselves three and a half years ago before we went to our first blogger event. Jen designed them, Carrie Beth printed them on her at home printer, and we felt like a boss when we stared at those cards with our very on logo on them. Perforated edges and all - we thought they were glorious. Then somewhere along the way we lost them track of them, and never really thought to take the time to make some new ones. I'm sure some PR person out there is thankful we are no longer passing out paper cut hazards like it's our job, but still for a brief period in time they served their informational purpose.

This time around we wanted a card that we would be proud of. We wanted one that conveyed what we actually do, gave all the correct information succinctly, and gave a little nod to our southern blog roots. We reached out to the good people of Basic Invite for their help, and were amazed at how easy it was to create a professional looking business card without breaking the bank.

There are so many easy to use templates we almost had a hard time choosing which option we wanted to go with. Do we use our headshot? Do we use our logo? Go with slightly updated branding? Can we get some of that gorgeous foil pretty please?

We were so impressed with the variety. We were even more impressed with just how easy it was customize a card to exactly what we wanted!

Basic Invite is one few places we found online that you have unlimited color options, and gives you an instant preview of what your design will look like online as you create it. It's also one of the few places you can get a sample of your card sent to you so you can see exactly what it will look like before you purchase a large quantity.

The process from start to finish was super easy, and we are so happy with how our business card turned out! They are on thick sturdy card stock, the colors are flawless, and the back even has a matching graphic on it.

So now when you meet us and request a business card we will proudly hand over one of our gorgeous new ones.


Now that we have gone through the process, and have seen how easy it is, we definitely will be using Basic Invite for all of our stationery needs! They have stationery that coordinates with our business cards and we can't wait to get our hands on them. Because what kind of southern girls would we be if we didn't write a thank you note or two each day?

We love that we can customize this just as easily as we did with our custom business cards right down to the envelope choices. Basic Invite offers over 40 different colors of custom envelopes.

From custom business cards to real estate agent business cards to custom invitations and photo holiday cards - Basic Invite is kind of a one stop shop of all stationery needs. We loved working with them, and if you need to up your business game or simply order monogrammed stationery or design a shower invite they are a great option to have on hand.

They also are running a promotion right now where you can get 15% any order. Use code 15FF51 at check out and the code will automatically adjust the price!

Thank you all for reading our little blog and making this "business" a fun one! 

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**Thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.**

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Win $250 to Oriental Trading!

Okay so we know it's only August, but we have partnered with our friends at Oriental Trading for a spooktacular little giveaway for Halloween! We - along with some of our blogger friends - are giving away a $250 gift card to use at Oriental Trading. Just in time for Halloween!

We love using Oriental Trading for just about any and every party we plan, and Halloween is one of our favorites! Really you can use the gift card anytime on any merchandise available, but you know how we love a good theme.  We thought this was perfect timing for all that Halloween planning on the horizon!

They literally have everything you might need! Halloween costumes for everyone in the family...

camo ninja costume

DC Superhero Girls Costume - Supergirl Costume

Halloween decor...

halloween decor - halloween porch decor - halloween pillows

And any kind of Halloween party supply you can think of! 

Super cute halloween party supplies.


Entering to win is super easy! Contest starts today, August 15th, and ends September 5th. Winner will receive one gift card for $250 to Oriental Trading. Winner will be emailed shortly after entry verification. Enter below and good luck!

What will you purchase if you win $250 from Oriental Trading? 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Create a Homework Station {For Less than $100}

Thank you CTSandThat! for sponsoring this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I have been thinking about transforming our playroom for a while now. Some of you might remember that I posted about it a while back because my kids just weren't using the space anymore and sadly they have pretty much outgrown the toy phase.

I wanted to transform the playroom into more of a tween room complete with a hangout space and also a homework station.  In the past they have done their homework at the kitchen island. While I don't mind them being there I do mind all of the stuff!  Papers, folders, notebooks, pencils and everything in between. It would stay all over the counters and drive me crazy.

I wanted to create a space for them to have everything they needed for their homework and studying and with the help of andThat! I was able to find the perfect organizational items with a few fun things mixed in, too!  The challenge was to stay under $100 and with all of the amazing items at great prices I was able to do it!

One thing I really wanted to find was some organizational pieces. I feel like with homework on busy afternoons that is half the battle.  Having all the supplies needed and keeping it all organized was my goal!  I love using mason jars all around my house for different things and I found these that fit right into the three section wire tray. I knew it would be perfect for pencils, markers, etc.

And they had all of the office and organizational supplies I needed!

After grabbing a few other baskets for papers and notebooks I wanted to add in some fun stuff, too!  
I fell in love with these handmade wooden scrabble tiles.  I debated on what I wanted to spell out, but settled on "LEARN" after getting some feedback on our Instagram Stories. 

After loading up my cart I made my way to the check out and was so happy to learn...

...that my math was correct and I had indeed gotten everything I needed for under $100!

I couldn't wait to come home and style it all!

This light box add some much needed fun to an otherwise boring task of homework.  The kids or I can change out the message on it when they have friends coming over. 

I loved these wire baskets for holding extra notebook paper and folders. 

And the frames at andThat! were such great quality and a VERY reasonable price.  This one was around $5 and I made a little Wifi sign with our password to go in it. Surprisingly, a ton of my daughter's homework and studying is on the computer this year so when her friends come over they all need to be able to connect to get the work done! And for a tween, Wifi is a very important thing! 

I used a table we already had instead of purchasing a new desk because I figured more thank one person could sit there and hung the LEARN tiles above it. 

I think this might be my favorite thing and I love that each andThat! has unique items that are local to the area. 

I also got the coordinating organizational desk pieces that match the wire baskets and online they are sold as a set.  These hold everything they could need for their homework and projects. 

Overall, I am really happy with how the homework station turned out and so far they are loving it. (Well, loving it as much as kid who isn't a fan of homework can!)

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