Thursday, August 5, 2021

Book Club: July

Hello August! How on earth is it already the end of Summer?! Anyone else feel like it just kind of flew by?? 

Just us? 

Well, it's official. All the Mini Magnolias are back in school.  It's a year of change for both of us because the youngest mini we sent off to kindergarten and the oldest mini started high school. 

How did we even get here? 

Excuse us if we skip the "book" part of this club, and just head straight for our wine and cry. 

Kidding. Sort of. 

We would never skip out on Book Club. It is one of our favorite posts of the month! 



I was able to squeeze in a lot of books over the summer. I really liked all of them and can't wait to share them with you today!  
First up for me was UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY by Kristy Woodson Harvey.  This might be my favorite title of hers so far!  I love the way she weaves southern coastal towns into her stories and this one was a love story that was years in the making.  Old friends reconnect after Amelia discovers something about her childhood friend and next door neighbor, Parker.  They are both dealing with a loss of their own and the twists this story took had me wishing and hoping for the outcome to make everyone happy again.  Definitely recommend it!  

Next up was THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND by Colleen Oakley.  When I started reading this I wasn't sure what to except, but it was such a different and clever plot that it sucked me right in.  The fictional Frick Island can only be reached by boat and is inhabited with a dwindling population...all of whom are stuck in their ways and live without the modern conveniences of cell phones, televisions, and WiFi.  A young widow on the island acts as if her husband is still alive and the entire town just goes along with it.  A reporter visits and ends up becoming a regular on the island so that he can produce a podcast about the quirky little island and its people.  What starts as a podcast project turns into so much more.  I really enjoyed this book and felt like it was so different than anything I had read in a while, so that was really refreshing!  

I've always loved Taylor Jenkins Reid novels and this one was no different.  AFTER I DO, was a story about a married couple who seem to have lost the love.  They are at each others throats, constantly annoyed with one another, and just in a bad place in their marriage.  They decide to take some time apart and this story follows their journey to reconnect and remember why they first fell in love with one another.  I think any married couple goes through ups and downs and this book put an honest spin on how that life can look. I loved the way it ended and would definitely recommend this one! 

Last up this month was THE SIREN by Katherine St. John.  Jen suggested this book to me and told me it was full of Hollywood secrets and scandal.  She was right! It's set in the Caribbean for a new movie that is being shot and I loved getting to get a peek behind the scenes of what a movie set and production would be like.  It follows several different characters and their stories (the producer, an actress, and her assistant), but ends up bringing them all together for a thriller/mystery type of story towards the end. It was a really fun read!


My "to read" pile is officially taking over my night stand! I tried my best this month to read physical books, and not listen to as many. There was no rhyme or reason to what I would grab. Mostly, I would look at the cover and see if it looked summer-ish. :) While most of these covers look like light and fun, some of these reads have a little more depth and a little less beach to them...

Camille Pagan knows how to tug at my heart strings while simultaneously making me laugh out loud. I discovered her novels a few years ago, and was so excited a new one came out. DON'T MAKE ME TURN THIS LIFE AROUND is the follow up novel to Libby’s story from LIFE AND OTHER NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES.

This can be read as a standalone, but LAONDE is the novel that hooked me onto Pagan, so I’d say read it if you haven’t!

In this book we fast forward around 15 years in Libby’s life. And while she’s living her life cancer free and has everything she could ever want, something is off. She plans a trip back to Puerto Rico to recapture her magic, but one disaster after another and Libby begins to wonder if she’s not really meant to have it all.

I loved this story and while I teared up at multiple parts, and there were several times I was annoyed by Libby in this one, I understood why her story needed to play out the way it did. The ending requires a tissue alert, and even though I didn’t get the closure in one character’s story that I wanted (book three??), I’m so glad I added this one to my poolside reading this Summer.

And now to also book a trip to Puerto Rico. :)

TO SIR, WITH LOVE might be the most adorable book I've read this year. This is a slow burn romance between two of the most lovable characters. Gracie Cooper is fulfilling her parents legacy by running their family champagne shop located off Central Park in NYC. Things are going well, but not great. Ever the one to believe in fairy tales, Gracie turns to "Sir", and accidental online dating app love interest for comfort. Only problem...they haven't met in real life yet. 

The champagne shop's prime real estate brings nemesis/real estate mogul Sebastian Andrews to her doorstep. He's the character you want to dislike, but just can't bring yourself to do it. And neither can Gracie. 

This story had me laughing out loud several times. The banter between all the main and secondary characters is excellent. This easy breezy romance did my soul some good, and I already look forward to seeing what else Lauren Layne does for her next novel because now I am a huge fan!

Oh my, if you are looking for a novel packed with Hollywood drama, exotic locations, interesting characters, and mystery - then THE SIREN has got you covered. I described this one as "juicy" to Carrie Beth, and told her to read it for a little something fun to throw in the mix. 

Three women land on a private Caribbean island for the filming of a mega-anticipated movie. Little does anyone know, all three women have their own agendas and their own secrets they are hiding from the rest. 

The story is told through their perspectives and with each page turn there is a new surprise. Love interests pop up. More secrets become unveiled. Murder. Mayhem. Lies. And even a hurricane. This book had a little bit of everything and I. could. not. stop. reading. 

THE SEAT FILLER wrapped up my reading for the month. This is a fun "meet-cute" with charming banter between all the main characters. 

A hollywood awards event turns into rom-com fun as one of the world's best actors stumbles upon a seat filler sitting in his date's seat during a break. There's more than meets the eye about either, and soon the pair begin running into each other off stage. But there's one problem - one doesn't date. Or at least is scared to, due to a rare phobia. 

From there the story is a little bit predictable and a whole lot "cute". If you are looking for a light romance to read that is a little more on the G rated side - snag this fun, quick to read novel.



It's no secret that I'm a Twilight fan. I shared about my obsession with MIDNIGHT SUN earlier this year (see my review HERE) and when I saw LIFE AND DEATH - TWILIGHT REIMAGINED by Stephanie Meyer I quickly added it to my must-read list.  

Yes, Twilight has been overdone and I really don't see how many more ways it could be spun, but I'm here for it and willing to give it a try! I'll report back next month. :-)


I'm going to do a little something different to kick off next month. I've share about Once Upon a Book Club before (and will again soon), but I ordered the Bridgerton Box and now that the kids are in school, can't wait to dig in!  

Like most Netflix subscribers, I loved the show! I have never read any of Julia Quinn's popular series, so I am looking forward to having a little reading fun with it before the second season comes out. 

(Psst!!! Don't forget anything that you want to purchase on Once Upon a Book Club, you can use code MAGNOLIA10 to save 10% off! They have some great mini-sets available that would make for great gifts if you have a big reader in your life!)

Anything fun you've been reading lately that we need to put on our lists? 

Share with us! 


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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Boxed Bites 2 Go

I love entertaining and hosting fun get togethers. Even for the most random of holidays or events. I also tend to be a little “extra” when it comes to hosting. I mean, there was that time I made Mr. Magnolia purchase artificial turf just for a soccer swim party

The week of the Fourth of July our good friends from Colorado were coming into town. Brittany is an amazing cook. I knew I would never be able to impress her with anything I could bring to the table. 

But I knew our friend Helen could. Helen owns Boxed Bites To Go, a local charcuterie box creator. She creates the cutest charcuterie boards and to-go boxes. They are delicious and can be customized to almost any occasion or event. 

Since it was the week of the Fourth, I texted her last minute to see if she could do something fun for the holiday. Not only did she have something ready to go for me in just 24 hours, it was themed and extra - just the way I like it. 

How cute is this American Flag Star Charcuterie Board she created?! 

Every little delicious detail was so cute. The star shaped cheeses. The red, white and blue themed accoutrements. All of it was just perfection! 

I even love she partners with our friend Deb, and includes her yummy cookies! 

Sometimes she has specialty boards - like this one - available for purchase. She will usually share them and available stock updates on her Instagram or Facebook.  The Star one is perfect because I know I can reuse it a lot - especially with the Olympics coming up! 

Helen is such a sweetheart and was nice enough to give our readers a special discount code. If you use the code TheMagnoliaMamas at checkout you will get $10 off any order! The code will be valid July 21st -31st! 

I already have another event I've enlisted Helen to help me with. I can't wait to surprise everyone with all that yummy. 

And let's be honest, my guests are very thankful they are no longer subjected to my own weak kitchen skills. 

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Home Office Decor Inspo from Target

 The countdown has begun - school starts in just two weeks. Eek! Schools in our area are moving forward as normal, and for me that means all three kids in one school. 

To say I am excited about this is an understatement. This is the only year it will happen out of all the years my kids will be in school, so I am going to savor it like a fine champagne. 

With that said, in between playing in the pool and taking these kids to all their summer social engagements (and I thought I drove a lot during the school year!!), I've been organizing my office and our work spaces. 

Largely my office is just plain sad. It just has furniture and a rug in it. The walls are already painted, and we did some trim work during the renovations, but other wise...nothing. 

We've moved in a year ago y'all!! I'm so embarrassed. 

 It is right when you walk in the house and one of the first rooms you see and I've let it be a dumping ground of epic proportions. 

But not this year! 

These next few weeks I plan on fancy-ing it up. 

Or at least putting a picture on the wall. 

After taking one of our many trips to Target a few weeks ago, I told Carrie Beth I noticed they had a great selection of home office decor and items. A lot of items that are super trendy right now (see all things acrylic), but at much more affordable prices than other places you see office decor. 

I was so impressed and inspired!

I came home and made a few vision boards (I love doing these!) to see what might coordinate with one another. I am saving my final decision to share later, but here is a peek at where my head is at in case you are doing a little office redecorating yourself (or for the kids!). 

(Shopping Details: HERE)

(Shopping Details: HERE)

(Shopping Details: HERE)

(Shopping Details: HERE)

(Shopping Details: HERE)

Which office look is your favorite? Do you have a must have office item that helps keep you organized? Share all the office things with me! 

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Kura Home Maintenance

Have you ever thought about the fact that your home is probably the most expensive investment you will ever own and it doesn't come with an owners manual?  There are SO many things to maintain on a home and most of us don't have the time or knowledge to be able to keep up with it all.  Today I had Kura Home Maintenance visit my home and do some routine home maintenance that they offer.   

Douglas and Jordan showed up prepared with everything they would need to help service, clean and maintain all sorts of different areas in our home.  

They offer a quarterly service to cover everything from cleaning refrigerator coils and changing the water filters in your fridge to cleaning exterior dryer vents, cleaning washing machine filters and even draining sediment from water heaters.  You know, all of the types of things you know you probably should do, but don't on a regular basis.  They also offer all sorts of handyman services, as well as, air duct cleaning which is something  my husband and I are looking into since our home is about 7 years old now. 

Their customized tasks help you learn where your home could use the most attention and then you are able to decide what areas you would like to focus on. Today for me they cleaned behind my refrigerator and vacuumed/cleaned the refrigerator coils and compressor.  With a dog and just general household dust, it definitely needed to be done! 

They also cleaned behind the dryer and even cleaned the exterior dryer vent, something that is a MAJOR fire hazard so I feel so much better knowing that this has been done. 

They also took down every bathroom fan vent and cleaned it for dust, debris and BUGS!  Yikes! 

They also cleaned and degreased the vent hood filter above my stove, cleaned my garbage disposal and sealed all of the granite countertops in my kitchen leaving it feeling fresh and new! 

Douglas and Jordan were so professional, polite, and knowledgable.  I really appreciated them taking the time to explain everything they were doing and why it is important for our home maintenance.  They also made recommendations for other items I wouldn't have even thought of that we can follow up on during their next visit.  

For locals, Kura Home Maintenance services all of Georgia, but they are also based in Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, and Texas. You can learn more from their website HERE and also join them on Instagram HERE for lots of home maintenance tips!  
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Monday, July 12, 2021

Lamps We Love

For anyone that has been following along with my family room makeover I have a little update.  It's almost done!!!  I'll share all of the details soon, but wanted to share this little corner of the room.  

We had been waiting on the chair and ottoman to arrive and, like everything right now, the delivery was delayed.  This big chair and a half finally arrived, but this corner looked pretty bare with only a big chair for a while.  I eventually found a little side table for drinks/books at HomeGoods, but had been searching for a lamp for a couple of months.  I had something in mind and just couldn't seem to find it...until now!  The Better Homes & Gardens line at Walmart NEVER disappoints and I don't know why I didn't think to look there from day one.  While I was on the hunt I came across all of these great lamp options that I just loved and thought I'd share if anyone is looking to spruce up an area in your home! 

1. Arc Floor Lamp ($80)

2. Brown Weathered Wood ($32)

3. Bronze Floor Lamp  ($65)

4. X Frame Wood Lamp ($18)

5. Geo Textured Glass Lamp ($36)

6. Gray Glazed Table Lamp ($36)

7. Diamond Weave Table Lamp ($38)

8. Tripod Floor Lamp ($80)

9. White Washed Table Lamp ($24)

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Friday, July 9, 2021

Celebrate National Sugar Cookie Day with Tiff's Treats {code + giveaway!}

 Today is a day to CELEBRATE! First of all it's Friday. (Weekends during the Summer will forever be our favorite.) Second of all it's National Sugar Cookie Day! 

It's totally a thing. 

And a thing that we are going to enjoy to the fullest. Because who doesn't love sugar cookies?! Or a reason to eat sugar cookies?! 

Especially when those sugar cookies get delivered warm and straight to your doorstep. 

If you haven't had a Tiff's Treats cookie delivery, you are totally missing out. Because when those warm cookies arrive in their fun packaging and wafting their delicious smells all over your house it's what we imagine heaven must be like. 

Then you taste them, and you can hear angels singing because you've blacked out from the sheer deliciousness of it all. 

So maybe stack some pillows near your front door to be ready just in case. Because today we are partnering with Tiff's Treats to celebrate National Sugar Cookie Day in a BIG way. 


We have a code for you! Because discounted warm cookies delivered to your doorstep is the only way we could possibly make this day any more amazing. Use code MAMAS25 to save 25% off any order between now and 7/15. Use it for you, gifts for family, gifts for friends, gifts for that random neighbor down the street - spread the cookie love. 


Okay we lied. We can totally make this day a little bigger. And by bigger, we mean BIGGER. We have also partnered with Tiff's Treats to giveaway away 4 $25 Gift Cards! Head over to our Instagram for full details and the way to enter! 

But really the winner is this Chocolate Frost 'Em covered Sugar Cookie. 


But a blissful, sugar cookie angels singing death. 

It's the only way to go. 

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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Book Club: June 2021


It's Book Club day!! Typically we do this at the beginning of the month, but we've been on back-to-back beach vacations with July 4th celebrations smooshed in between. is in full motion again and we have zero complaints! 

And speaking of beach vacations...we've been reading all the beach books. Light, easy, steamy with a side of fruity cocktails - sounds about the perfect reading recipe for vacation, right? 

It is our very favorite time to read, and we are taking full advantage of all the juicy romances and seaside thrillers that have been released this year. And there are some goooood ones! 


Christina Lauren never does me wrong. I know when I pick up one of their novels, it will be something I enjoy from start to finish. THE SOULMATE EQUATION follows Jess who is a single mother and River Pena who is about to release the match making company of all match making companies. On a whim, Jess's quirky romance novel writing best friend Fizzy convinces her to tour River's company with her and ultimately give it a try. When results return though, no one is more surprised than Jess and River. 

Quaint coffee shops, adorable daughters, steamy romance, and laugh out loud commentary - Christina Lauren packs in all for the adorable enemies to lovers romance novel goodness we've grown to love from them. I enjoyed THE SOULMATE EQUATION, but I still think my five star read from them would be LOVE AND OTHER WORDS. Reading both this Summer will not disappoint.

Looking for something a little darker this month in a sea of beachy romances, I picked up HER DARK LIES. This was just the suspense thriller my beach bag needed. Set off the coast of Italy, Claire finds herself the center of attention as she is about to marry into the über elite and über rich Compton family. Notoriously private, the family decides the wedding should be held at their villa on the island of Isola. However, as events unfold and remains of a body are found upon arrival Claire wonders if her wedding is a stage for disaster, and if the Compton's desired privacy is to truly have a chance to escape from it all, or a chance to escape from all of their secrets.

From start to finish, I could not put this one down. Each twist and turn uncovered a new secret from a characters past, and even though I was able to guess who the murderer was about halfway through, it was the secrets and all the juicy details that kept me enticed. There are a ton of surprises along the way, and even a character I wasn't expecting to had her own dark secrets. HER DARK LIES was such a good twisty thriller! 

This is the second hit for me by Emily Henry. PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION is a swoony best friends to lovers romance with a fun vacation twist. Poppy and Alex are polar opposites, but after sharing a ride home from college one college summer break they manage to become the best of friends. Both are seeking some sort of escape and plan a trip together. The trip turns into an annual event they look forward to until one trip ends in a disaster.

Poppy is a travel writer for a popular magazine in New York City. On paper she has everything she’s ever wanted, but misses Alex terribly. She decides to plan one last trip to see if their friendship is repairable but in this slow burn she finds more heat in the desert than she bargains for (see what I did there?! 😜). From start to finish, I loved how Poppy and Alex’s relationship unfolded. It was a quick, page turning read that makes for perfect beach reading. 

I initially picked out FLOAT PLAN because of the cute cover. I was expecting a light/breezy rom-com style story, but boy was I surprised. Later, as I looked closer to the cover, it actually gives hints to the story perfectly. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I'll try to quickly summarize. The story follows Anna who was supposed to be on a Caribbean sailing trip with her fiancé. Depressed and feeling lost she decides to take the trip alone. Very quickly she realizes she needs help. In walks Keane at the perfect time. Keane is an Irish professional sailor who is also dealing with his own tragedies and lost path. Together they decide to do the trip together in hopes of finding their ways.

This story brought me to tears so many times. It's a romance/beach read story, but with much more depth (especially considering some of the topics it covers). It's a story that opens with a tragedy, but is more about recovering from the aftermath and dealing with loss than the actual tragedy. I couldn't put it down, and appreciated having a beach read with a little more "meat" to it. I wanted a little bit more to the story and was excited to learn that it is the first in a planned series, so we will get to know more of the story, but also the chance to follow some of the other fun characters you stumble across as you read.

I loved FLOAT PLAN, and definitely recommend you throwing it in your beach bags this summer. But pack tissues too!

I always appreciate that Jennifer Weiner books tend to be a little deeper and shed light on important social topics. THAT SUMMER is a story about two women who stumble upon each other and realize they have more in common than just a similar name.

A friendship forms just when Diana needs it most. Her closest friend has recently passed away, she feels more inferior in her marriage than ever, her daughter is distant and leaving her prestige boarding school under troublesome circumstances, and overall she just feels lost.

The new Diana gives her a jolt of purpose and a boost of much need confidence, but then the reality of their friendship, and secrets from the past, cause her world to come crashing down.

Set in Cape Cod over Summer the story has that beach read feel, but delves into a modern day “Me Too” twisty tale of friendship.

I enjoyed the book as I do with of Weiner’s novels, and loved the love story buried with in the tragedy of horrific circumstances. Well done JW for weaving such a beautiful story.

Colleen Oakley does it again! She pulled at my heart strings, and gave me the perfect beach read all in one. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I saw some of her early novels are on sale for Kindle, and I can't wait to add those to my ever growing Kindle library.

THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND might be one of my favorite books of the year. I brought this one to the beach with me, and it was the perfect setting to read it. Set on the remote location of Frick Island (lots of jokes about this throughout the book), it opens with the heartbreaking story of a wife losing a husband at sea. This young wife becomes the center of a lot of island drama, yet captures the heart of each and every one of her neighbors.

Even though all signs point to Piper's husband being dead, Piper still sees him, makes him breakfast, talks to him at the local restaurants...and not a single neighbor argues otherwise. Until Anders Caldwell lands on the island. Hopeful journalist and podcaster, he lands on the tiny island expecting to do a quick article about the island's Cake Walk event, but stumbles on a much larger story he can't resist. Or is it Piper he can't resist?

Love story, ghost story, grief story, mystery story - AMAZING story! I enjoyed it from start to finish!


After a slew of tear jerking beach reads, I am switching it up with something a little more fun and light. I've got WHEN STARS COLLIDE ready to go for some steamy poolside romance reading. This is the latest in her Chicago Stars series, but can be read as a stand alone. 

WHEN STARS COLLIDE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips



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