Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Making Entertaining Easier With Tara at Home

This weekend marked the unofficial - yet official - start of Summer! Summer is my absolute favorite season out of the year. If I could live in summer forever I would. One of my favorite things about summer is that life slows down a little bit and we tend to entertain a lot more.

I love that summer days are longer, which means more time for playing in the yard until the sun sets, BBQ fun with family and friends, and evening cocktails on the screened porch. Time slows down, and it makes "the grind" seem to fade to the background. So this weekend I did a huge relaxed sigh, and enjoyed the fact that summer has invited itself back into my home.

And then I did a huge squeal when I opened this box...


As much as I love entertaining, I love to spend as much time as I can enjoying the company we have. I like setting the stage for the "perfect" meal and creating an atmosphere that is enjoyable for our guests. However, hosting involves a ton of prep work, cooking, and clean-up - all of which detract from spending quality time with our loved ones. Any way to cut down on that time, and allow me to focus more on enjoying my guests, I'm in!

A few weeks ago I was introduced to Tara at Home and asked to give a few pieces a try. I was so excited looking through the website at all the gorgeous serving pieces. After reading how innovative their serving pieces are for making meal prep and entertaining easier, I couldn't wait to give them a try.


There are a ton of insanely fun patterns and "mix & match" options, but I was instantly drawn to the Star Stitched Collection. Forth of July is my favorite holiday, and knowing that from Memorial Day to Labor Day these pieces would get used a ton (I keep my Red, White, and Blue themed decor up all Summer), I was delighted to add a few of these pieces to my collection.


They are patriotic perfection and I couldn't wait to unbox them and set my table for the weekend. Each stoneware piece is wonderfully detailed and crafted to be not only durable, but extremely functional for all stages of cooking.


Once I laid everything out the way I wanted, and drooled over how darling my table would now look for the holiday weekend, I put the new pieces to work in prep for a little BBQ we were hosting.


I love that the pieces are oven safe (up to 500 degrees), microwave safe, and - my personal favorite - dishwasher safe.  Again, the less I have to do means way more. So the fact that I am able to cook, reheat, serve, and clean-up all in a few easy steps just made me Tara at Home's number one fan.


If gorgeous functional serving ware wasn't enough to make my heart skip a beat, the yummy recipes and fun Pantry items sealed the deal. Tara at Home extends the ease of entertainment but sharing an array of yummy recipes online as well as a variety of delicious mixes for purchase. From dips to drinks they've got a little something for everyone.  


I whipped up a batch of the "Not Your Mother's Cucumber Dip", and before I could even take a photo it was gone. Trust me when I say you need this in your life.


We gave the "Spice, Spice Baby" rub a test run on some pulled pork and it provided just the right amount of flavor to the BBQ. 


All we had to do was add some of our favorite BBQ sauce and voila! We had a delicious meal that, to be honest, I didn't have to think too much about. 


Let me not forget to mention one of my favorite parts. Several of the serving pieces come with easy to click on storage tops.


We tend to have a ton of leftovers and it was so nice to have a serving piece be able to go from the table straight to storage with little clean-up involved. Later we just removed the lid and reheated as instructed. So so easy!


And that's how summer should be - fun, laid back, and easy!

What events are you looking forward to hosting this Summer? What tips or tricks do you have to make entertaining easier? 

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**We were given product from Tara at Home for review. All thoughts and awesome opinions are our own. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Favorites: It's Officially Summer!

Today's Friday is special because it marks the official first Friday of 
SUMMER!!!!

There are no words to express how excited we are for Summer to finally be here. While we love our school, the teachers we had this year, and all the fun activities we've had the last few weeks, we are so ready. SO READY! 

Summer alone is my ultimate favorite, but it wouldn't be right to not share a few other things with y'all. As usual linking up with some of our favorite bloggers for Friday Favorites



One of our favorite friends/local shops made us some super cute mommy tees. 



We've mentioned Kathryn's fun store a bunch on this little blog, but we haven't mentioned that she's given us a fun little discount to share with y'all! 


Her southern inspired items are so much fun, and we love her sassy take on the south mixed with some hometown love. 


And how adorable are these oyster shell keychains she just added to her shop?!?


Take a peek at one of our favorite boutiques and use code MAGNOLIAMAMA15 for 15% off your order of $25 or more. And trust us...it's so easy to spend $25. We want it all!



What's better to kick off summer than some shopping? The Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale is going on right now and so many things are up to 40%! 

I've found a ton of things I love that are great deals. The Toms wedges might be one of my favorites!



The stone tassel necklace is a good deal too. It reminds me of the Kendra Scott Rayne necklace, but not nearly as expensive. 




Speaking of Kendra Scott, these turquoise earrings have been on repeat lately. 


No matter what I am wearing, these turquoise ones and my gold ones are my favorites to partner with almost any outfit. The gold pair is a lot lighter so I tend to reach for those slightly more. 



When I was grocery shopping this week I stumbled upon a new snack when I was restocking my favorite granola bars


I spotted these little snack bites and O.M.G.! They are so so yummy! It's hard to stop at just a few.   



Mid-week I had to restock and found another flavor to try. Both are so good and definitely worth a little taste test if you are craving some healthy chocolate snacks in your life. 




One of my favorite moments this week is when we surprised the kids for the official kick start of Summer. If you follow us on Instagram, you saw that Carrie Beth does this with her kids too. But nothing is more fun than having a water balloon and silly string fight the moment you step off the bus into the beginning of summer break. 


We got the kids with over 300 water balloons, and everyone kept asking how long it took me to get everything together. My answer...five minutes! 

The makers of Bunch O Balloons have really upped their products because these worked like a charm this year. Every balloon filled and within minutes I had hundreds of balloons ready to soak some happy children. 



And that's it for my favorites this week!



Now I'm off to enjoy Summer by lounging poolside, catching up on some of my favorite shows, reading a good book or two, and turning that alarm clock off!

What are some of your favorites this week? 

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Summer S'mores Bar

We're officially on summer break!!!  Yesterday was my kids' last day of school and we couldn't be more excited about it. We just love summer around here.  The relaxed schedule, the break in sports and the time to just spend more time with family and friends is the best.  One thing we always do more of this time of year is grilling out with friends.  We love having friends over and when we do that usually includes a lot of kiddos at our house.  By far our favorite after dinner dessert is S'mores.  Not only is it a dessert, but an activity for the kids, too.


We've learned a thing or two along the way and know that having everything ready and prepped ahead of time helps anxious kids get their little hands on the sticky goodness sooner.  


Plus, some fun ingredients help put a yummy twist on traditional S'mores.  Kids love getting creative and picking out their favorites.  


Read all about our summertime s'mores bar ideas over on Savvy Sassy Moms today!  Click HERE to read.  


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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5 Shows We Can't Stop Watching

I'm usually not a television watcher. Until a few months ago, I probably hadn't sat down to watch a non-sporting event show in a year. However, between working out and trying to complete some school projects, I've done a ton of binge watching lately. In between the my nightly activities of running, crunching, lunging, gluing, cutting, taping, and repeat my eyes were at least enjoying some quality entertainment. I managed to get sucked into quite a few shows, and a some that I literally cannot wait until Fall when new seasons start back up again.

I know Summer is just around the corner and a lot of shows are on hiatus, but I figure that's the perfect time to binge watch and catch up on the things. Here are just a few of my favorites - some old and some new:


I love a good brain dump at the end of my day. With the all my waking hours filled with what seems like an endless list of tasks, my brain is full. Sometimes I just want to watch something that takes very little thought. That's where reality TV sets in. 


Now I do love me a good episode of RHONY or The Bachelor, but my favorite reality guilty pleasure is Southern Charm. Cameran's sass, Thomas' drama, and my personal favorite - Patricia. It's just the right mix of reality drama for me. I've expressed my love before for this Charleston treat, but it still remains one of my favorite reality shows. 




Now on occasion I want to take my reality television watching to a somewhat classier level and I turn on everyone's favorite home improvement network. HGTV simultaneously makes my heart feel all the feels while I feel the need to wish for a private island in a European city with a farmhouse that needs to be restored. I love it. 

(source)

A few weeks ago I stumbled onto a "new to me" show called Home Town and dare I risk blogger banishment when say I like it a little more than Fixer Upper. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Chip and Joe, but I really enjoy the southern small town love that Home Town shares. Their vibe and style just gets me. Totally a binge worthy show. 



My next favorite show I've mentioned a few times before as well, but if you haven't put it on your radar yet this year - you need to! 


This is Us is hands down one of the best shows I've watched in awhile. From episode one I was sucked into the varying story lines, and by episode three I owned stock in Kleenex. But it is just. so. good! I'm not quite to the end of last season's episodes, but I already can't wait for it to return next Fall. 


I took the plunge last month and signed up for Netflix. I received some excellent feedback and suggestions that persuaded me that this would be a good decision. After browsing through the thousands of options, I took the suggestion of starting The Crown.  

(source
I love it! Earlier in the year I was obsessed with watching Victoria - a dramatized show of Queen Victoria's reign - and The Crown follows her great granddaughter, and current reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.  I blew through the first season and can't wait for the next one to start. It is so entertaining and so interesting to learn about the current Queen's early life. There is so much that I've Google'd to see if it was accurate. I'm just so fascinated by royal life and what all goes on behind the scenes. 


Now this one I haven't gotten too far into the series yet, but it is so good! Big Little Lies is one of my favorite Lianne Moriarty books, and anything Reese Witherspoon is in is magic to me (gotta show a fellow southern girl some love!). 


I love the show's take on the book so far. I already am looking forward to snuggling in this weekend one night with a nice healthy glass of wine to catch up on the drama. 


Now what shows have you been watching lately? Anything I need to add to my list? I've heard of so many great ones. Scandal is on my short list (yes, I am that far behind on life), but what else should I binge watch?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fashion Fix: Ready for Summer with prAna Swimwear

**Thank you to prAna for sponsoring this post.  I was given this product in exchange for my review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

Tomorrow is the last day of school around here and we couldn't be more excited!  I just love having the kids home with me for summer and we spend tons of time at the pool, lake or beach.  That means tons of time spent in a swimsuit.


While it would sometimes be nice to lounge by the pool, sip on fruity cocktails, and read my magazines all day long, that just isn't the stage of life I'm in right now.  Instead it is all about being in the water with my kids, judging cannonball contests, and reapplying sunscreen for the 10th time.  Oh, and don't forget the snacks.  I don't know what it is about kids and swimming, but they are constantly starving and needing more snacks.

Because I'm so active with the kids all summer long I need swimsuits that can go along with that lifestyle.  All moms know that can sometimes be a challenge.  Finding something that is fashionable, that makes you feel confident and covered in all the right places, and one that actually stays in place is a must.  I was recently introduced to prAna and fell in love with their line of swimwear.


They have a variety of pieces that come in so many cute designs, colors, and styles.  Everything from bikinis, tankinis, one pieces and even sun tops and swim shorts.  I really liked this feature on their website where you could create the perfect suit. I could mix and match their tops and bottoms in different styles and patterns until I found just what I wanted.

I was a little nervous to order a swimsuit online without trying it on, but the fit was perfect and very true to size. Bottoms always make me a little unsure, but these had great coverage and will be perfect for staying put while I'm playing with my kids all summer long and also super cute for those rare moments when I get to relax in the sun a bit (maybe for an adult only vacation!?!).


Once I fell in love with my new swimsuit I read a little more about prAna and fell in love with the company even more.  They are really big on giving back to communities all over the world and they also make it a priority to show love for our planet by making clothes with organic cotton, hemp and even recycled materials.  Their ultimate goal is to make sustainable clothing accessible and important to everyone.


If you are looking for a great suit that will fit correctly and one that is made to last, I definitely recommend checking out prAna.  Plus, right now our readers will receive 15% off though June 16th if you use the discount code S17PCLUCB when you check out.



I love starting each season with a little something new and I definitely feel ready for summer now that I have my new swimwear.  Bring on the sunshine, pool parties, beach trips and boat rides.  Happy
summer friends!!!

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