Las Vegas was my husband and mine's first major trip together. I'd gone to New York the December prior, and begged for him to take me somewhere first. I'd never flown, my mom hadn't either, we were deer in headlights. Luckily, we made it through everything easy peasy, and did just fine sans airport experience. So when we finally got the chance to take a big trip together, I was ecstatic!
Vegas is another place I didn't expect to like to much. I'm not really a gambler, I work to hard for my money, and I'm honestly not much of a drinker, other than the occasional social drink. But wow! Las Vegas, Nevada is about so much more than that! There's the glitz and the glam, the shows, the history, the stunning nature surrounding the city, and even right smack in it, the family friendly air (yes! family friendly! If we had children, we'd load 'em up to go to Vegas), the architecture, even culture--so much more beyond booze and casinos! While we were there I said on several occasions that I'd felt like I'd traveled all over the world in one day! The casinos are each truly a work of art, and submerse you into new worlds. Soon I'll share more in detail of our experiences "abroad" in Vegas. For now, I hope you'll enjoy a few highlights.
Fountain & Flowers at the Bellagio
View of the Bellagio from Paris' Eiffel Tower
The Hoover Dam
American Muscle Car Drive through Lake Mead National Park
Bellagio Fountains and Paris
The Grand Canyon via Helicopter
Gondola Ride at The Venetian
We packed so much into this 1st Anniversary trip, and we're hoping to make it back there soon. Would you believe I can still smell it? Yes, Vegas is covered in Jasmine, and it is so incredibly fragrant and lovely! We visited in mid to late April, and the weather was perfect, just warm enough! What are your must see spots in Vegas? I'd love to hear your suggestions for our next visit there.
Seattle, Washington wasn't exactly on my wish list of places to go. It sort of fell into my lap when my husband was sent there for a 45 day long training course. As luck (or hard work) would have it, our finances were right and savings plenty so I was able to visit not once but twice. And boy was it a treat! Spring in Seattle was beautiful!
View of the Space Needle from Chihuly Glass Gardens
Future of Flight Museum
The Great Wheel
The Gum Wall
Mt. Rainier from Paradise Jackson Visitor Center
Flowers at Pike Place Market
View of Seattle and Mt. Rainier from the Space Needle
I'm really so excited to share more in depth about Seattle with you. It was such a happy surprise to have like it so well! There is really an abundance of activities for anyone, young or old, children or no children. With it being a major port for cruise ships, all the deets are bound to help some of you out there! Hello, Alaska? Someday I'll be back to Seattle to sail away on an Alaskan adventure! Until then, see you back soon for more highlight reels.
In getting the ball rolling with my new venture in blogging our travels, I knew I wanted to share more in depth than Instagram or Facebook allows. I wanted to share more photos, deeper thoughts, things we learned, etc. on specific places (restaurants, parks, activities, beaches) in every locale we've visited. Maybe the details will be interesting to you, maybe some won't. So to accommodate the details and the highlights, I'll be sharing "Destination Details" posts and "Destination Highlights" posts of our travels. They will be exactly what they are titled, in depth details and highlight reels from each trip. There are so many things we learned and places we visited that you can't find specific details about, or honest opinions, without some major digging. So I'm hoping these posts will help with that.
I've thought long and hard on how to share the information and photos, and I've decided to focus on one trip at a time. So in the next week or two you'll see "Destination Highlights" posts for each trip. Then we'll get into Destination Details, and if you want to see all of the details of each trip, just click the side bar on the right hand side for the trip. Easy peasy, all in one place. As we travel more, I'll focus on each trip as it happens. I'm so excited to take you flying with me. So let's get started with a journey to Hawai'i!
About 5 years ago, well into my 20s, I created a 30 before 30 list. A list of 30 things, mine is 40 #indecisive, big and small, I wanted to do before turning 30. Hawaii was one of the 3 trips I had listed. A little back story" at the time of the list's conception, I'd never even been on a place. Dream big, right? I didn't actually think I'd ever make it to the places I'd dreamed about, but I jotted them down anyway. Best decision ever, making that list, writing out those goals. I now have marked off 29 of the 40, including two major trips. So write down those goals! Ok, back to the trip! When Hawaii started to become a reality, we were ecstatic! We'd hope to go on our honeymoon, but it just didn't work out. So, we considered this sort of a belated honeymoon. We planned the trip around our work schedules, which lucky for us happened to be during whale season, a highlight for me! Though these photos don't include every single highlight, you'll at least get a great feel for Hawaii.
100+ year old Banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui
Sunrise from Mt. Haleakala, Maui
Whale watching near Kihei, Maui
Ka'anapali Beach, Maui
Sugar Beach, Kihei, Maui
Sunset at Lahaina Harbor, Maui
Beach of lava rock off of Honoapi'ilani Highway, Maui
Rainbow in Upcountry, Maui
Dole Plantation, Oahu
Pineapple Fields, Oahu
USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu
On this trip, we saw an endangered monk seal, swam with sea turtles, experienced the coldest weather imaginable, ventured to the bottom of the sea in a submarine, paid our respects at Pearl Harbor, and marveled at Christmas trees on the beach. Soon I'll be sharing the details of all of this and more. Thank you so much for flying to Maui with me! I can't wait to share more of our grand adventures with you.
Growing up, I hated where I lived. Our closest family member was hours away, I always felt different, and when we visited family, their town was always more exciting. It wasn't until I left for college that I began to appreciate Waco and the small town nearby where I grew up. I realized an interstate was a big city's saving grace, you don't have to be in New York City to feel like you're in Central Park, you can even admire the buildings of Baylor University and pretend you're at Disneyland, and where I grew up wasn't quite as boring as I remembered. As an adult, I've spent more time exploring and appreciating it. Isn't that something we all do?
Since I have turned my travel dreams into realities, Waco and where I live have become even more special to me. It's true what they say, you can't truly appreciate home until you've traveled. So one of my goals the past couple of years has been to grow that appreciation. Whether it be exploring the small towns around, walking the trails of Cameron Park and the Brazos River, or discovering shops I've never been to, or going to museums or landmarks I've always said I would, I hope to explore more of home. For me, this applies not only to my hometown/area, but to Texas as a whole. There are about a million and one places just in Texas I hope to explore, but for today, I'm starting small, right here in Small Town Texas turned nationally recognized.
After I moved back to nearby-Waco and began working with my current employer, I began driving in more areas of Waco I hadn't before in order to get to places I needed to go more quickly. During these travels, I noticed a tiny little house turned store with the cutest, rustic marquee-esque sign. At the time, I thought it was a realty company, as I'd seen advertisements donning that marquee logo in our local magazine, The Wacoan, advertising realty. It wasn't until later on that I realized it was a sweet little shop. About the time I put all of the pieces together, an article was ran featuring a family that remodeled an old, run down farm house into their now amazingly rustic, yet elegant home. That couple was the owner of that little building on Bosque Boulevard, and that yearning to stop in grew even more. As stories go, time got away. I never made it in to that little building before it all happened.
So what happened? That couple was Chip and Joanna Gaines. That little shop was Magnolia Market. You probably know them well by now, as the 3rd season of their show on HGTV will begin airing in the next couple of months. The whole country has gotten to know them on Fixer Upper, and they have been right under my nose all this time! So, the 3rd season will begin airing in December, and I'd had yet to visit that little shop on Bosque. The timing just never seemed right, and let's face it, my spare time is on the weekends when the shop is full to the brim of customers from all over the country! Last week, that all changed. I finally stepped foot into the little shop on Bosque, and right away I was smitten!
Over the weekend, I hosted a group of ladies from East Texas, and who were all dying to check out the shop. Isn't it funny how sometimes it takes outsiders to push us to be tourists in our own town? We circled around town, first checking out the new location, the Silos, a few of the Fixer Upper houses, the Gaines' farm (kindly from the road of course), and the shop squeezed right in the middle.
If you follow Chip, Joanna, and the Magnolia Market on social media, you may be familiar with their current promotion, #milestomagnolia. Each of the ladies in the group posed with the the chalkboard showcasing how far they'd traveled to get to Magnolia Market, somewhere in the 150 mile range, nothing compared to the 1600 miles we'd wiped off to write our miles in. As silly as it may be, I did the same! I wrote in my measly 10 miles, and proudly posed in front of the shop, thinking "better late than never, right?"!
The shop greeted us with window boxes overflowing with welcoming plants, rocking chairs, and warm colors. We wasted no time heading on in, and it was better than I'd imagined! We went on a Thursday, so it wasn't too busy. In fact, there were more employees there to welcome us than there were customers--great for us! I walked around the shop twice, eyeballing each and every piece and detail.
I looked low and high, and my favorite details were on the floor. I adored the raised area covered in old wood of many colors, and a cute little corner where the floor perfectly transitioned from tile to tattered white wood. Another favorite feature of the building were brick and cedar (I think) columns straight ahead as you walked in. I didn't want to be in anyone's way, so I didn't catch a photo of them. Walking around the shop, I felt sort of sad that it would be moving to a new location, but I quickly remembered it will be in another old building, redone just as well, if not better, than this one. I can't wait to see how the silos turn out, but I will definitely have to squeeze in another trip to this little shop before the big move in October.
Inside the main shop, my favorite displays and products were Jimmy Don's laser cut signs and the decor greenery. I adored the cotton stems and wreaths the most! On my trip back, I intend to put a few of each right in my basket! Along side the main shop, there is an outdoor shopping area with marquee letters, old troughs, and other fun finds. We peaked around there, then went into the second shop building.
When you entered the second shop you are greeted by this fun alphabet display. This is another item on my must have list. This is one of the several things in the shop I couldn't find online, so you just might want to start planning that visit to see it all.
I was so excited to see several items for sale that are made right in Waco! This place and these folks' commitment to Waco is the real deal! If the Magnolia Market is something you've been dying to see, I highly recommend checking it out! The staff truly is as lovely as you'd imagine, the displays are as inviting as the photos, and products will not let you leave without calling your name! One thing I would have loved to see some seasonal items, but I am crossing my fingers that will come with the new shop. All in all, the Magnolia Market is a must visit place right in Waco, Texas.
Just from passing by, I know the shop is extremely busy on the weekends, but a weekday was just right! So I definitely recommend planning your trip for a weekday, at least until the more roomier shop at the Silos opens up.
Thank you so much for stopping in and exploring the Magnolia Market with me today. If you have any questions or thoughts, I'd love to hear your comments and am happy to answer your questions. I'll be posting an update come early November once I've had a chance to visit the new shop, so be on the look out for that. Thanks again for stopping by!
The photos, thoughts, and opinions presented here are solely my own, and not endorsed or sponsored by The Gaines', Magnolia Market, or HGTV's Fixer Upper.