Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tips to Make Your House Feel Like a Home

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT Furniture Outlet for IZEA Worldwide. All opinions are 100% mine.

I think one of the biggest compliments someone can give you about your house is that it feels like a home.  Making your house feel inviting to friends and family and having the cozy and comfortable lived-in feel is what makes a house a home.  It will become a place that not only you want to come home to, but it will also be welcoming to your friends and family.

I used to always want to be on the go, but now I am such a homebody!  I think a big part of that is because I really do love our home! Today I’m sharing 6 tips to make your house feel like a home.

    1    Keep it clean and stay organized.  This one is a biggie for me.  I start to feel so anxious when there is clutter everywhere, but feel so calm when my house is neat and tidy.  Stay organized with mail and school work, declutter, and put things away!  I always stress this with my kids.  Everything has a place and just putting things back where they belong will go a long way to making your house feel neat and tidy. 

   2    Add soft textiles like rugs, pillows, and throw blankets - both indoors and in your outdoor living spaces.  One of my favorite things to do to make a house feel like a home is to use pillows! 

I switch them out for each season and use them everywhere…beds, sofas, benches, chairs, and even big floor pillows.  Rugs are also a super easy way to make a space feel more put together and complete. 

Even if you have carpeted rooms, put rugs on top of the carpet to define the space and add some dimension to a room. 

    3    Mix and match your furniture.  This could mean blending old and new, finding individual pieces you love, or even doing a little DIY project to paint or update current furniture you already own. 

Your furniture doesn't have to come as a set and it looks much more interesting to mix and match colors and styles.

If you are searching for new furniture a great place to check out is CORT Furniture Outlet.

We found so many amazing pieces and loved all that they had to offer. They sell both new and previously leased furniture that has been used in model homes, on movie sets, by home stagers and in corporate apartments for a fraction of its original retail price.

    4    Personalize your home. Filling your home with things that are meaningful and memorable to you will not only make you smile every time you look at them, but it will also make your home unique and add character.  Anything from favorite books, photographs of family members, items from your travels, or just something that holds special meaning to you and your family. 

   5    Add plants - artificial and real!  I don’t have much of a green thumb, but love using artificial greenery or fresh blooms in just about every room of my house.  There is something incredibly calming about nature, so having a bit of it indoors can really have a calming effect on your home. 

I love any type of artificial greenery in interesting containers like ceramic pottery or mason jars. I also always joke that a bouquet of grocery store flowers is all I need to make my house feel like a home! 

    6    Light it up.  Adding interesting light fixtures, lamps on side tables or even just lighting some candles can really soften a space and brighten up a room and do wonders to make it feel more cozy! 

How do you make your house feel like a home?  Be sure to check out the CORT Blog for other home decorating tips!
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Monday, August 19, 2019

Back-to-School Snacks & Hacks

This post is sponsored by Santa Cruz Organic but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Unless you are lucky enough to be savoring these last few weeks of Summer as actual Summer, you are in full on back-to-school mode. We’re a few weeks deep, and already we are counting down to the first break where we can turn off our alarms and put away that dreaded homework folder.

But until then we’ve come up with a few hacks to make the back-to-school transition just a little smoother. With a few easy adjustments morning routines become a little easier, days progress a little happier, and sports/after school activity nights are just a little less chaotic.


1: Pre-make your lunches the night before. Quite possibly one of our favorite back-to-school hacks.This saves a ton of time and stress both in lunch planning as well as eliminates one step from the already chaotic morning routine. 

2: Create a morning toiletries basket. Put all your morning toiletries essentials in a small basket to keep on the main floor of your house. Include toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, vitamins, hair ties - basically any getting ready toiletry items your kids might need. Putting one of these together has been so helpful! Every precious second counts on those busy mornings and keeping everything together in one central spot eliminates some of that last minute running around that can occur during morning routines.

3: Choose protein packed snacks. There’s no getting around it - kids snack a ton. Try to opt for protein packed snacks. Protein gives a much needed boost in energy and makes you feel more full. So ultimately your kids, pantry, and budget will thank you. If you need a great idea we love peanut butter based snacks and these Peanut Butter Fruit Bars top our list of snack time favorites. They are quick, easy, and made in just a few simple steps with the help of Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter and Santa Cruz Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread. (See below for full recipe.)

4: Keep Everyone Hydrated. Kids are so much more active during the day. And considering we start back-to-school in July, they’re tackling all those new routines and activities in the hottest part of the year. Hydration is important for energy, learning, and aids in making better eating choices. We send them off each day with a large water bottle, but also keep them in the car, and HUGE jugs in their sports bags year round. 

5: Keep homework time frames small. Okay we had a hard time with this because we originally wanted to do all our homework at once and just get it out of the way. We realized our kids were giving us big push back about that. We learned at the suggestion of a teacher that kids are much more productive when they are given multiple smaller blocks of time to do their homework. So grab a snack, give them a 15-30 minute timer, head over to their designated homework area, and let them do what they can. They re-visit later. 

6: Keep everyone on a sleep schedule. This goes without saying, but everyone does better when they are well rested. We know it is tricky with after school activities and sports some times, but we try to keep everyone on a good sleep schedule. Even us mommies! It’s so tempting to put everyone to bed and stay up late because we finally get some “me” time, but good rest supersedes a good reality TV binge watch sometimes. 

7: Say yes to some sweets. Did you know that eating chocolate while studying will help retain information a little easier? Now that’s advice we can get behind! Peppermint has also been proven to stimulate the brain and help with concentration. We try to have tiny individual wrapped  options of these available when studying for tests. Mommy might sneak a piece or two as well because let’s be honest - a lot of this we are re-learning too.


There are a few snacks or homemade treats that our kids request over and over again. These Peanut Butter Fruit Bars are one of them. They are super easy to make and beyond delicious. We make them with Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter because we love the taste and the fact that they use they are certified organic. Santa Cruz uses non-GMO ingredients and processes, which we are all here for because we want those little bodies to get all the good fuel it can for back-to-school.

We make these on Sunday nights and they usually make it at least three or four days. I make more some weeks, but they gobble them up just as fast!

Peanut Butter Fruit Bar Recipe
Serves 8-16

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes

- 1 cup of Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter
- 3/4 cup of Santa Cruz Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread
- 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2: Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil, leaving one inch overhang. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
3: Put peanut butter, sugar, and butter in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended.
4: Add vanilla to mixture and stir evenly.
5: Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Mix evenly and then add to peanut butter mixture. Stir until even.
6: Press the batter into the bottom of the pan.

7: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bars are golden brown on top.
8: Allow bars to cool completely for 15-20 minutes. Lift bars out of the pan by the foil overhang, and then cut evenly into squares. 
9: Spread strawberry fruit spread evenly over the batter.

10: Serve and enjoy!

What back-to-school hacks or snacks do you have for rocking back-to-school season?

To learn more about Santa Cruz, and their line of yummy organic products to help get you back-to-school ready, visit HERE.

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Beija Flor Jeans: The World's Best Jeans

Okay our title might be a little over selling a bit. But, trust us, today's post is all about some really really good jeans. Like we've been ruined from all other jeans. The minute we put on a pair of Beija Flor Jeans we knew we'd found the jeans of our dreams.

A few months ago, Ashley from Beija Flor contacted us about giving the jeans a try. We were intrigued when we read, "Curve friendly fits for every body type...". Those who are long time blog readers know we try to promote clothing items and brands that support women of all shapes and sizes. From yoga pants to swimsuits, and everywhere in between, we do our best to share items we feel would be a great fit for a wide range of women.

Dig a little deeper and you learn Beija Flor Jeans was created by a woman. (Makes sense that a woman would create the "world's best jeans" for women, right?!)

They claim to create a light weight, stretchy jean that (wait for it!) doesn't stretch out. All without gapping and providing an ultra slim silhouette. Read that again.

That's right - they are magic pants.

We couldn't wait to give them a try.

As we were talking to Ashley we realized it seemed like these unicorn jeans and our bodies were just meant to be. Beija Flor currently has two locations - Kiawah Island and Greenville. I (Jen) just happened to have a vacation planned for Kiawah Island. The jean goddesses wanted these jeans to be brought to our attention.

We scheduled a meeting during my trip and it was so fun to see the store, get a hands on feel for each jean style, and meet the Beija Flor team in person. And trust me when I say they know their stuff. The minute I walked in Ashley took one look at me and said, "You can try on anything you like, but I think you will love the Audrey jeans on you the most."

I left with a pair of the Audrey jeans.

I gave all the cuts a try though and it was a tough choice. I loved several of them, and as I looked back through the photos I put a few pairs in my cart that I am now kicking myself for not purchasing when I was in the store.


Here's a quick peek at four of Beija Flor's main styles, and my try-on. Keep in mind I am 5'1" and typically wear a size 0 or 2. (More so a 2 because I love tacos. And donuts. And cocktails.) But you get the idea - I'm pretty petite. So I brought Carrie Beth a pair home too. She'll represent for all our taller lady friends.

The Audrey
Suggested Body Type: All, Short Torso
Measurements: Mid-Rise with 28" inseam

The Audrey in Distressed Blue

The Audrey in Tonal Navy

Final Verdict: Loved these! The fit perfectly in every way. I sized down to a 0 in all colors except for the dark navy. At Ashley's suggestion I sized up to a 2. She said for whatever reason that color run tends to run small so go up one size.

The Kelly
Suggested Body Type: Apple, Rectangle, Long Torso
Measurements: Slightly higher mid-rise with 31" inseam (a 28" ankle inseam and 24" cropped inseam available)

The Kelly in Light Aqua

Final Verdict: These were incredibly comfy and I loved the pull on waist. We are always here for it when it comes to a "jegging". However, because of my height and torso they were not flattering. Would be great for someone overall longer than 5'0". These would also be a great travel pant.

The Jennifer
Suggested Body Type: Hour-glass, rectangle, long torso & apple when it comes to the high-rise options
Measurements: Available in a mid-rise and a high-rise. 31" inseam on the skinny. 30" inseam for bootcut. 28" inseam for petite and ankle options.

Final Verdict: Right off the bat Ashley mentioned these would be great for Carrie Beth's build. I put them on so she could have a reference. I actually really loved the fit! The regular length skinny was long on me, but overall fit was spot on.

The Nicole
Suggested Body Type: Pear, hour-glass, athletic
Measurements: Mid-rise with a 31" inseam or 28" ankle inseam.
Final Verdict: Loved these too! The Beija Flor team informed me the structure of these was intended to give your butt a little lift - and that it did! From all angles this pair was a winner! I wore my regular size in these and other than the regular length being long they are perfection.

There are several other cuts and styles available from Beija Flor as well.  Their team is amazing at helping you find the right fit, but if you aren't able to make it in store to get fitted, their online fit guide is a great resource!

All cuts offer multiple colors and style options - even skirts! We love that once you find your perfect fit you have multiple options to chose from. There isn't any restarting back at square one to find another pair of pants.    


Jen chose the Audrey pant in Distressed Blue and Carrie Beth chose the Nicole in Smokey Grey.

| Tiered Ruffle Top | Audrey Jeans in Distressed Blue

| Tee | Nicole Jean in Smokey Grey | Snake Print Platform

And we're already dreaming of Fall and all the outfit possibilities now that we found a pair of jeans that are the right fit and oh so comfortable.

| Peplum Top | Nicole Jean in Smokey Grey | Leopard Wedges

| Leopard Top | Nicole Jean in Smokey Grey | Perforated Grey Sneakers |


Our friends at Beija Flor Jeans are so nice, and after chatting for a few hours and leaving with our favorite new jeans, we knew we couldn't leave empty handed for YOU! The ladies gave us a discount code to share with you. Use code MAGNOLIA10 for 10% off your entire order!

Thank you again to the Beija Flor team! We can't wait to get to Kiawah Island again soon and have another fun chat and try-on sesh! 

What Beija Flor Jeans will you give a try?

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