She is ‘wearing’ me out


My little cow girl chose a bandana-esque skirt from Old Navy, Target t-shirt, a hat and rain boots. I’m just glad mixing prints is in this year!

My struggle is real. She dressed herself for Western Day at school, disliking the outfit I chose. Loudly disliking … . I left her bathroom in a huff, told her to just wear what she wanted. Not my best parenting moment for sure. It is very hard to be a control freak with a dynamic daughter … .So very hard.

There’s a new sheriff in town. #Bodacious

My sweet Magnolia? Not so much

A view of the Magnolia storefront from

A view of the Magnolia storefront from

by Sarah Toth

Like many people, I am completely enamored with the HGTV show Fixer Upper. While it’s highly unlikely that my house will ever even closely resemble any house that appears on that show, a girl can dream. In fact, if I even utter the word “shiplap” in my home, Mr. Aggie rolls his eyes. I’m a little obsessed, I can admit it.

Tons of people have been hitting the highway to venture to the farmhouse-chic mecca that is, uh, what? Waco, Texas? Those of us who live in Texas know that Waco is known for two things — one being Baylor University and the other being a crazy cult of people in the early 1990s that we would rather forget.

But all of the sudden Waco is cool again and that is thanks to two people – Chip and Joanna Gaines. Their eclectic farm fresh style has made rustic furniture, minimalist design and raising chickens cool again.

So, to get to the point. It was spring break, it was rainy and my mother-in-law was in town so I decided to hit I-35S and see what all the fuss is about at Magnolia Market and their new location at the silos in downtown Waco.

As we drove down Webster Street on this rainy Thursday morning, we could see the infamous silos. I could almost hear the swipe of my credit card already! After 20 minutes of trying to find a parking spot, we ended up a few blocks away and hoofed it over to Magnolia Market. It was wet and muddy, but we were ready to shop!

We entered Magnolia Market and immediately recognized that it was utter chaos. There were people everywhere. Starry-eyed women with dreams of a shiplap kitchen dragged their bored-looking husbands around. Those husbands who knew what was good for them, shlepped around vintage-inspired decor items and didn’t say a word as their ravenous mates tried to find the perfect item to make their house look just like JoJo’s!

We were confused about where to go. People looked like they were shopping but were actually in line — a line that wrapped through the entire store and basically prevented anyone else from being able to look at items or shop.

We saw a lower level and decided it looked less crowded and made our way down the stairs. Well, we had wandered into the “Scratch and Dent” section and it was actually larger than the “real” store. We’re not talking about a smudge on a picture frame here – these were BROKEN items. I have no idea why people would purchase this stuff. Truly. It was a disaster. It took us about 20 minutes to wander around pondering all the broken trinkets around us.


A Magnolia brand t-shirt, from the store’s web site.

As we headed back upstairs, we were drawn in by the t-shirts and other Magnolia Market/Farms items. I grabbed a cute t-shirt that said “Texas Forever” – it was rolled up and tied with twine. So cute! My mother-in-law grabbed a Magnolia Market signature t-shirt as proof that she had made the trek to Waco.

We began to wander in the area of the store not engulfed by the giant line of people waiting to pay. I found a cute vintage-looking poster of cameras. Uh, so perfect for my office!!

I passed by Joanna’s signature scent candle — so cute! Uh, $28? What? No thanks. What an awesome white vase — too bad I’d have to take out a second mortgage on my house to pay for it! OK, this was getting ridiculous!

Finally another shopper told us that we should just get in line to pay and shop while we’re in line since the line wound through the entire store anyway. Uh, genius! So into the line we went! The people behind us were from Binghamton, New York. I immediately felt bad for them. I wondered if they were as disappointed as I was.

Let’s get real for a second. The stuff is cool, there is no denying that. However, most of the items could be purchased at your local Hobby Lobby or Michaels. If not the EXACT same items, something very similar. It was extremely generic and mass-market. I have a good friend who has a booth at a store with similar items in Wylie, Texas, and I’m pretty sure she carries some of the exact same things I saw at Magnolia Market.

For example, I purchased an interesting metal vase for $21. The name of the vase was printed on the tag so I googled it. I found it (wholesale) online for $5.99. Boo. Obviously there will be a markup, but that seems extreme.

I ended up spending $106 because I felt dumb driving 100+ miles and returning home empty-handed. As we walked out of the market, I felt like I had been cheated. The store was a lot smaller than I expected and most of it was taken up by the Scratch & Dent section. Oh, and when we got home, we found that my $26 t-shirt was printed wrong and my mother-in-law’s was labeled the wrong size. Thanks, Magnolia Market!

So I leave you with this thought. If you love Fixer Upper and want to go the Magnolia Market to simply say you’ve been, then go. If you actually hope to buy items for your home, you will be disappointed because it is all VERY overpriced. I mean, who pays $16 for one fake tulip? Not me, that’s for darn sure!

Magnolia Market is overrated. Save your gas, save your money.

Old folks like me: Spring Break in Branson

For spring break this year, we decided to take a real trip. But where to go, I wondered. Skiing? Glamping? The beach? The possibilities were dazzling. Then The Hubs suggested a few days in Branson. As in Branson, Mo.

“Branson?” I asked, sneering with derision. “That place is for old people!” which hurt his feelings. So, just to prove a point – on both sides – we went to Branson.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Branson is well-known for “family-friendly entertainment” (read old, washed out singers) and its mega amusement park, Silver Dollar City. I don’t know if it’s my age or my multiple sclerosis, but I get motion sickness and I loathe rides. So I was less than thrilled when The Hubs found a special for a two-day pass for the park. Kill. Me. Two things I hate: bad music and roller coasters. Put them together and that’s my version of hell.

We booked tickets for Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and the Butterfly Palace. We also planned to spend a day fishing and lunch at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner. I was relieved when we couldn’t get tickets to see a magic show. The last thing I need is a budding magician at home dumping milk out of hats or trying to saw his sister in half!

Our first morning at Silver Dollar City was perfect amusement park weather for me. Cold and rainy! And which mom decided against packing pants or jackets for her family? That’s right! This mom! So, $75 in commemorative park sweatshirts later, we were ready to hit the rides. Well, I was ready to stand in line and hold everyone’s stuff while they rode. Fortunately for me, Little Son is tall enough to ride almost everything by himself, which meant The Hubs and Bodacious could ride together with Little Son in the adjacent seat. Score! The first ride they chose was the giant carousel swing. Riders swing in a circle, 40 feet up. Bodacious was pumped! Little Son refused to ride until his sister gave him the thumbs up. Three turns later, they were ready to tackle everything!

While they were swinging, I discovered something great at the park, something just for me. Shopping. And lots of it. The park is home to many artists, including a glass blower, a potter, painters and a smithy. There was also a Christmas store, though it had nothing on Miss Cayce’s, and a princess dress up store for little girls.

The Hubs wanted to tour Marvel Cave, the giant cave system that is 500 feet below the ground there. Do you know how you tour the cave? By stairs. Seven hundred and forty stairs to be exact. Holy cow, it was a heckova climb for my night-blind self and my short-legged daughter. I was the very last person out but I made it! I hit my 10,000 steps that day for sure!

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