Welcome to Favorite Finds.
"Favorite Finds" are short lists of things I have found that I think you might like too. Each edition is unique and built around a theme of sorts. The lists might include books, podcasts, products, places, gifts or thoughtful lessons.
This edition is a curated list from my trip to the Magnolia Silos of Chip and Joanna Gaines fame. I have done some of the work for you in that I handled each item on this list. But it is so much more than a shopping list. It is a celebration of sisters, daughters, brand new friends, standing in line and getting married.
And here is one thing I want to tell you. It almost didn't happen.
I wanted to visit the Silos, but the introvert in me wanted to avoid the Silobration hoopla, what I thought of as jacked-up hotel prices, jostling crowds shopping at ninety vendors, and very long lines. Still, I was looking for connection and it was a night away with my oldest daughter, Kate. We had planned the trip months before when her family moved 2000 miles away to Texas. I would not miss the chance to whisk this new mama away for some girl time. So Silobration or no, I was all in.
When that October day rolled around, clear and bright, it turned out both of my daughters and my little sister all piled into the Jeep for a road trip to Waco. We were on our way down a fast Texas highway with a cooler full of fresh strawberries, Dr. Pepper Ten and Tipo Chico, all favorite finds in their own right.
We laughed our way all the way to Waco, surprisingly parked only a block away, and breathed in a friendly vibe from our very first step onto the vendor sidewalks that hugged the Silos.
Yes, it was hot. And yes, we stood in long lines. But we were together and for that we were thankful. We leaned into the lines, applying the Conlin family line strategy, a throw-back from our Disneyland days.
Standing in line is part of life, maybe a good part.
Back in the days of little kids, Mike and I had discovered that standing in line has a valuable place in life. Like most parents of littles, at first, we were dreading it. Then we decided to work it into the experience. We embraced standing in lines to build good qualities into our family: teamwork, patience, and togetherness.
Here's how. We started by surveying the kids for the rides or events they most hoped for. That got us talking and considering the day's priorities among us. Then, as we stood in line, we got to know their hearts by asking a lot of "What's your favorite ________?" questions. Fill in the blank with (song, color, book, movie, superhero, place you've been, the place you hope to visit one day, best quality in a friend, etc) and you've got heart connections at a time that is usually whiney and wasted.
We started with the simple conversation of deciding as a team which lines to start in. Priorities. Then, we did a divide and conquer move. With some of us still in line, we took shifts going to the restrooms while the others held our place in line. Efficiency.
So, once at the Silos, we big girls did all of that and more. We walked and talked and stood in line together, we sipped iced tea while asking all the good questions. What do you most want to do while you're here? How did you meet your beloved? Tell me about your wedding dress. When will our cousin ask his sweetie to marry him? (We like her. He'd better not blow this.)
In Waco, by the time we came to the end of a line, we had each been to the bathroom, solved all the family problems, and held Mason jars big as the Texas sky and full of cinnamon iced tea to cool us off.
Before you think I have this standing in line thing completely conquered, I still try and avoid most lines if I can and I get cranky standing in line at the Post Office or the DMV. Why is that different? Maybe it is the end game, but I think it is the presence of seven windows and only two workers that gets my goat. I am a work in progress.
Now, if sisterhood and the lesson of line-standing were not enough, here is my curated list of favorite things from my trip to the Magnolia Silos. Most are handmade, fair trade, good for your soul, and the world.
Walls that Speak
Words are mighty. I need a few words on my walls to remind me what I am about and inspire me toward it. Sticky notes and index cards are one way to spur me on, but there comes a time when making a few of my favorites bigger, beautiful, and more permanent is just what I need.
Between You & Me Signs is a family business that captures just that. Their website says,
"Between You & Me is about the important people and things in our lives. . . This is not just a wooden sign or piece of subway art...this is a constant reminder of what your family values".
These beauties will make your walls speak to you and all who come through your doors. The trouble is I cannot decide which one to get. Maybe you can help.
Here are a few of my favorites. To find one that could make your walls speak, go to Between You & Me Signs. All photo credentials for these individual pieces go to Tara and her team.
The very best part for me was getting to meet the girl behind the creativity face-to-face. (Boy, did I need a hat!)
I had met Tara on those little white squares, but now I had the chance to chat with her. I hate bridging the gap between bumping into each other on Instagram and meeting face-to-face. It can be awkward and sometimes disappointing. But this was none of that.
We talked about all of the best things in life – kids, states we love and live in, and her favorite jewelry on these Silo sidewalks. (She's is wearing a necklace from Genuine and Ginger.
Not only does she have good taste in jewelry, Tara shines as warm and delightful in person as her creative work does online. You will be blessed to have one of her designs on your wall.
For me, hoops are always a favorite find. Big circles or small, chunky or thin, or not even circles at all, I never get tired of them. I discovered these thin oblong wire ones handmade by designer Ellen Mote. She calls them the Silver Rosa Earrings.
You can find these delicate beauties at EM Jewelry + Designs.
Every time I wear them, I remember these 48 hours of Silo togetherness.
We moseyed in and out of all the jewelry booths pointing out what we saw as each other's style. Isn't that one of the best parts of a girls' weekend away – that we are seen and named outside of our day-to-day life? Out of the fray of daily life and all the hats we wear, the conversations between sisters and friends draw out our playfulness, deeper thoughts, and wild, unspoken dreams.
With Ryan's wedding right around the corner, our chats seemed to find their resting place there. She kept coming back to another style of hoops, a kind of graceful gothic arch. Ryan decided, standing in the shade of the Silos that these are earrings she will wear on her wedding day. You can find them at Able: beautiful products by women who have overcome.
Shhhh! She is not wearing them until her wedding day, but here a photo from ABLE's website.
Their website says, "Your purchases mean you are ABLE to empower women and give them a job with dignity".
I have a love-hate relationship with baseball caps. They flatten my hair, but they also shade my fair and freckled face from the burning sun. Baseball caps are good for bad hair days and rainy days, too. And best of all, they always pair well with hoop earrings.
We found the best caps at the Gigi Pip booth – floral, linen, and two-toned, distressed ones. And another surprise, the prices were deals, so good that Kate bought two.
You can visit them online at Gigi Pip. And they have a terrific blog highlighting mamas who wear so many hats.
Here's to the women who wear many hats! I bet you are one.
Here is my recommendation for you. Go to the Silos with whoever your sisters are. Stand in line with a cheerful heart knowing it does good work inside you, have deep and playful conversations while sipping cinnamon iced tea, and don't leave without a meaningful trinket or a cupcake from the Magnolia Bakery. I am not even a cupcake girl and I loved them. Chip's favorite was mine too.
In the meantime, get your Christmas shopping done with good gifts full of purpose recommended by a friend, all while still at home in your jammies by the fire.