Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Easy & Inexpensive Boo Boxes

Full disclosure - going to be a little "extra" here. I love giving gifts, and have been known to give them for every and any occasion. But in past years, I haven't really given gifts for Halloween. This year, though, three of the seven teachers my kids see daily have birthdays the week of Halloween. So, I thought I would do a little something fun for all of the teachers. 

And let's be honest. If anyone deserves a gift these days, it's our teachers! 

I came up with the idea of these little "Boo Boxes". They look pretty, but I promise they are quick and easy to put together. Bonus - I was able to make each one for around $5! 

The kids helped sort and stock each one and within a few minutes each one was packaged and ready to go. So it looks "extra", without being a whole lot of extra. 


Most items I grabbed from the Target Dollar Spot and the Walmart Seasonal section. It all kind of coordinated, but you can do your own mix of items too! 

In case you want to know where specific items from this bunch came from here is a breakdown: 
- Drink holder: Walmart Seasonal Section (come in packs of two)
- Mini Candy Corn Packs - Walmart Seasonal Section
- Decorative Cookies - Target Bakery
- "I Put A Spell On You" Socks - Target Dollar Spot, $1
- Fall Candle - Target Dollar Spot, $3
- Glitter Nail Polish - Target Beauty Section (Colors: Strobe Light & Rockstar Pink)

The fun socks I just couldn't resist. Especially since the week of Halloween our teachers have a lot of fun events planned. Our teachers are a wide range of ages too. 

One classroom is peanut-free so I did these Fall candles with the drink huggers and socks instead of the mix candies and cookies. 

For wrapping I used the following: 

- 5x5 inch treat boxes (can be found here or here)
- Various ribbon -Walmart Craft Section

Long time readers know we used to have an Etsy shop with different stationery and printables we created. Those days are long gone, and while I still love creating personalized items for our family, for this project I download this super cute "Spooky Wishes" tag from another Etsy seller. 

The "Spooky Wishes" tag printable came right away and was editable. I customized them to each kid's name and then printed on some cardstock. Super easy! 

Once the kids put the items they wanted for each of their teachers and wrote a little note, the "Boo Boxes" were all wrapped up and ready to go! 

I did these for our teachers, but could totally see doing this for friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers. They might even make for a fun little agent gift if you are a real estate agent. Put in a Home Depot gift card and done! 

I like that it was a simple idea and could even be done as a candy filled "Boo Box". Everyone loves a little surprise - no matter how big or how small! 


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Monday, October 11, 2021

You're Invited: Charcuterie with Coton Colors Atlanta

 What is your charcuterie style? Do you have favorite cheeses you always use? Go to accoutrements? Dips that are always a huge hit? Or do you have no clue and just throw things together? 

I tend to belong in the latter category. 

I love a good charcuterie board, but often just "wing it". I know how to make it pretty, but when it comes to the perfect pairings, or the best cheese combos...I'm lost. 

That's why I am so excited to attend Coton Colors Charcuterie Event later this week at their Atlanta Flagship store! And I want to see some familiar faces, so hopefully a few of you can join me too! 


When: Thursday, October 14th, 2021 
(The fun starts at 6:15p.m. and lasts until 8pm!)

Where: Coton Colors Atlanta
3872 Roswell Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 
Located in the Buckhead Court Shopping Center

What: Creating the Perfect Charcuterie Board!
The event will include a designer lead demonstration to show you how to create "the perfect charcuterie board". There will be lots of tasting, lots of wine, and lots of fun! Including an end of event shopping opportunity where everyone in attendance can get 15% off in store. 

Ticket Info: Purchase Tickets Here
Space is limited, so grab your tickets soon!


A few weeks ago, Carrie Beth and I did a little shopping at the Coton Colors Atlanta Flagship store and met the owner and her wonderful staff. We swooned over all the amazing home decor and gift items they have in stock, and were blown away by their customer service. They strive to make sure you leave their store feeling like you got the best experience ever! 

And their charcuterie board section is not to be ignored! We shared the amazing selection they have in stock - so many board sizes, patterns, and coordinating accessory options! So whether you are a charcuterie pro - or rookie - they know how to help you make it look good!

Seriously, they have the most adorable accessories. No one will care if you meats and cheeses don't coordinate. They'll be too busy giving all the heart eyes to this adorable Hedge Hog Tooth Pick Holder. 

One of our favorite things about the store was that it also carried local and artisan accoutrements to help inspire you to create the perfect charcuterie board. We love when you can help support local businesses while one stop shopping - it's a win for everyone! 

Stay tuned! We are looking forward to sharing what we learn at the event, what tips we can bring home with us with the upcoming holiday seas, and a few behind the scenes peeks at what we experience during the event. 

Hope to see you there! 

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Friday, October 8, 2021

Mix & Mingle: Simply Be Box

One of our favorite things about running Magnolia Mamas is all of the amazing companies we get introduced to. We love supporting other women and moms who are going out on a limb, following their callings and creating some amazing things.  Because of that we started our Mix and Mingle share with you some fun small businesses and the people behind the amazing products we come across. 

It's been a while since we've had a post in this series, but when I got introduced to Ellen Cooper by a mutual friend I knew this post was meant to happen! Ellen is the founder of Simply Be Box. Simply Be Box is a faith-based subscription box just for teen girls (middle and high school ages) and we absolutely LOVE what Ellen has created.  I'll share a little more about the box and all the goodies in a sec, but first let's get to know Ellen. 


1. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm an Atlanta native, grew up in East Cobb, graduated from Walton High School and went to Ole Miss. Been married to James since 2003 and we have two teenage daughters, Ella and Hannah. I worked in a corporate career for 15 years and left in 2013 to spend more time with our girls, get more involved in the community and at church. At 40 years old, God called me to seminary which was never in my plan, but turned out to be a life transforming experience. I've always felt called to pour into girls and have had many opportunities to do that over the years with my own daughters, their friends and through bible studies and small groups. 

2. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

I'd probably eat and drink my way through Italy. 

3. What's the funniest/most embarrassing thing that has happened to you as a mom? 

When my girls were younger, we had that first nerve racking birds & bees discussion. In an attempt to be real and open with them I held nothing back, used all the real words and for some reason felt the need to go into specifics about the egg and know all the details. Feeling relieved and quite proud of myself to have successfully made it through that conversation, my husband walked in and said, "so the girls tell me you lay eggs?" I have never laughed so fail! 

4. What inspired you to start Simply Be Box

During quarantine, we kept seeing commercials for the big subscription box brand so my daughter and I decided to order one. It was so fun, we both loved receiving it in the mail. It got me thinking how nice it would be if there was a subscription box specifically geared toward teen girls filled with things they'd love, that was positive and could be a vehicle to share the gospel and encourage them. I did some research and couldn't find anything so I decided to start it myself. Since graduating from seminary in 2019, I'd been praying for God to reveal what was next and for a while it was unclear, but as 2021 rolled around it started to become clear that this was it. The box full of goodies may get the girl's attention, but I'm really after their heart, to help them know how much they are loved by God and to be who God created them to be. 

Now that you've gotten to know a little more about Ellen and how Simply Be came to be, it's time for the really fun part. Taking a peek inside the fall box!  

My girls were thrilled to open up theirs and see all of the goodies it is filled with.  

What's in each box?
Each Simply Be Box has a theme focused around one of their "Be Attitudes." 
Be You, Be Brave, Be a Light, Be a Friend. 

It is filled with items that are on-trend and that the girls love, but also items that are positive and uplifting...something all our teen girls need in this day and age. 

Each box includes something to READ, DO, USE, DISPLAY, WEAR & EAT. 

 How often do they come? 
The neat thing about Simple Be is that you can choose to get a one-time box, a seasonal subscription or an annual subscription. We think these would be fun gifts for the teen girls in your life!  You could do a one time gift or a subscription, but this is something positive and really different than anything out there that we have seen!

Book Club
Y'all know our love of books and a good book club. Can you even believe that Simply Be has it's own?! The READ in each box is a faith-based book, devotional, or bible study focused on that box's theme.  The girls are invited to participated in a 4-6 week virtual book club via Zoom to discuss the book, implement what they are learning and to just be encouraged. 

Simply Be Book Club is a subscriber exclusive, offered to those who sign up for an Annual or Seasonal Subscription. 

Discount Code 
Ellen was kind enough to share a discount code with us for our followers to get $10 off any purchase of an annual subscription, seasonal subscription or a one-time box. 
Use code: MM1021 through the end of this month! 

Learn more about Simple Be Box

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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Book Club: September 2021

Happy October friends! While we are Summer girls at heart, there is just something magical and fun about the month of October. It's still very much warm here, but there is something about those crisp Fall nights we occasionally get, and the hints of leaves changing, and the start of the holiday season. Because let's be honest, when you have kids Halloween is the real start to the holiday season. 

Speaking of Halloween, and all things spooky, last week released our "Best Books of Fall" list. If you are looking for a good thriller or mystery - we got you! 

If you like your spooky with a little side of steamy - we've got you too! ;) 

But before we get into all the novels that will be sure to keep us up late at night, let's chat about what we read last month! 

It's Book Club day! 

We read a little of everything last month, and have one book we are majorly on the fence about. Grab your coffee/wine/candy corn, and come chat books with us! 



First up for me last month was Write My Name Across The Sky by Barbara O'Neal. This one was a slow start for me, but once the characters were more developed I felt more invested to see how/if their issues would be resolved. It follows three female characters, two sisters who couldn't be more different, and their aunt who has raised them for most of their lives.  They live a pretty well-off life in a swanky NYC apartment, but they each have quite a lot of personal issues they are working through.  It was interesting to read about the different lifestyles of each of them (one a musician, one a video game developer, and one a retired flight attendant) and to see the connection of family bonds that ultimately ensures they would do anything for one another.   

Next up for me was The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.  This is a sequel to The Inheritance Games that Jen and I both read and enjoyed last year.  In The Inheritance Games, a multi-billionaire has left his fortunes to an unknown teenager, much to the annoyance of his family. His grandsons and the heir find a series of games/clues to help them figure out just why she was chosen.  This follow up novel answers a few more questions and helps them get to the bottom of what really happened all those years ago to connect the two families. 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid was my last book for this month and I LOVED it.  Some of you may remember that I named Daisy Jones and the Six by the same author one of my favorite books of 2020 so she had big shoes to fill and in my opinion did it brilliantly with this one.  This story follows four siblings who, despite having a famous father, grew up broke and basically taking care of themselves. They all ended up being super successful on their own thanks to the eldest sister.  You get to flip back and forth between the past and present and learn how everything building in the past leads to one epic party that will change all of their lives forever.  I thought it was really good and definitley recommend it!  


First up for the month was Sally Thorne's Second First Impressions.  The first word that comes to mind when I look back at this book is "sweet". This was a sweet, slow build-up to romance between the two main characters. Ruthie and Teddy have a chance meeting at a local gas station and first impressions leave hurt feelings. Fast forward to their second meeting and it just happens to be for Ruthie's place of work - the Providence retirement community.

To me the setting and the quirky secondary characters make this book. I loved the witty commentary between them all, and you can't help but want to be Renata when you grow up (the grouchy rich older lady who holds nothing back from her tongue and hires young male assistants to "break" as a hobby.).

But the slow build-up the entire novel lead to a really fast paced last chapter. It felt like within ten minutes all the problems the characters experienced throughout 95% of the book were summed up/resolved in the just a few sentences.

I brought The Royals Next Door on our Fall Break trip and it was the perfect book to read on the beach. The cover alone looked fun. And it lived up to that fun image. I loved the slow burn romance between Piper and Harrison. It was also fun to think how life would be if Royals moved in right next to you and life was turned completely upside down.

This was a lighter book, but the author touches on a few heavier topics and mental illnesses. It was a touching addition to the overall story and gave the characters a chance to show growth.

It was a super fun story and I can’t wait to read more by this author! 💙

There are a few authors who never do me wrong when it comes to a great read, and Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of them. My favorite novels of hers are still her earlier ones, but Malibu Rising does not disappoint. This one mixes hollywood glamour with coastal cool. The Riva Family drama continuously pulls at your heart strings, but gives you all the feels at the same time. There are characters that I loved, characters that I wanted to hate and couldn't, and characters that I hope have their own spin off stories because I want to know more! 

I know there are some mixed reviews about Malibu Rising vs. Daisy Jones and the Six, but I love that Reid throws us a fresh new story with each and every book. I fell in love with this surfer gone hollywood drama, and think it might be one of my top reads this year.

Last review for the month, really isn't a review. Or at least not a full one. I started listening to the audio book of Apples Never Fall by Leanne Moriarty. Her novels are hit or miss with me, but this one sounded really good. I'm about half way through and I keep abandoning it for long periods of time. There's just something about it that isn't capturing my attention. I don't know what it is. Have you read it? Should I stick with it? Abandon it completely? I'm torn...



I loved You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley so much (it might make my top three of the year) so I decided to pick another one of hers.  I'm going to read/listen to Close Enough To Touch for my next one! 


I think to get into the spirit of the month, I'm going to kick off October with a little something from our "Best Books of Fall" list. The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling looks like the perfect way to kick off spooky season (in the most romantic comedy sorts of ways!). 



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