A Magnolia Moment and Waco Highlights

Is that house one of those “fixer uppers”?
You have heard that before.

So we know the “fixer upper” phrase was around before we knew of Chip and Joanna, but it’s safe to say that this amazing couple can take the credit for making it a household phrase again.

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I had the pleasure to join my Sister Trina in Dallas this November. That is a whole other blog post on Dallas—we wrapped-up our Texas weekend with a quick trip down to Waco Texas to learn more about the Silos and be up-close with the Fixer Upper phenomenon.

Dallas is about an hour and half South drive on 35W E to the city of Waco which is a town of about 130,000 people.

Trina and I went straight for the Silos where they opened at 9 AM. (Note CLOSED on Sundays)

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The Silos really are huge! Growing-up in Minnesota we see silos from the roadside a lot, and they are usually painted or a boring solid color. The Magnolia silos rusted texture and authentic elements make you feel at home and is even better in person (than the show).

So when do we go inside the silos? You actually don’t go inside the Silos folks. Just for show—at least for now. 

Travel Tip: Bring a small tripod to do your own photo-ops without asking others who can’t focus or don’t understand the rule of thirds. This place is full of places to grab interesting angles and take pictures of you and your crew. (Or bring your talented Sister to take a few pictures of you with her lens)

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Magnolia was buzzing by 10:30 AM with crowds appearing from everywhere. Mostly tourists but also saw locals heading towards the Silos Baking Company that was a newer addition the grounds to grab coffee and baked goods.

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Getting inside the Magnolia Market shop itself, we set aside a good 2 hours to allow for enough time to not feel rushed.

As you see the grounds is mapped in a beautiful way below:

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A separate paint section in the lower level of the shop showed the details of the unique names of grays and a display that totally makes sense.

Can I bring a gallon of Sunday Stroll with me in my carry-on please?

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Purchases included a few branded apparel items for ourselves and to gift, a bracelet and necklace and also a cute tin branded mug. #DemoDay shirt of course!

Travel Tip: Check prices online quick before arriving at the store.

The surprise? We were through the store in less than 35 minutes and that was even taking our time too!

The check-out lines weren’t super long, but can see that on its own on a busier time of day could be another 30 minutes easily. There was Christmas music playing and the start to the Holiday decor in early November when we were there.

We end our Magnolia tour with one more look throughout the gardens.

There are also a dozen or so food trucks that included pastries and sandwiches but we weren’t quite hungry yet, leaving the Silos at 11:30AM.

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Travel Tip: It seems really kid-friendly to be honest, space to run, things to eat. Bring them if you would like (or leave it adult-only) I didn’t see any wine bars or beer trucks.

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img_0397And we were off with our smiles and goodies! Thanks Joanna for having us! 
A true success at the Silos! Definitely worth the trip and a great place to go back and see the changes and additions that Joanna Gaines does. Seriously—well done Jo Jo! 

I have seen every episode of the HGTV show Fixer Upper filmed in the Waco area and was confident with my Real Estate navigating skills that we would see a few Fixer Upper Homes…

Travel Tip: Finding the Fixer Upper houses themselves is way harder than imagined. There is a Waco Tour team now to find and point out the show homes and favorites. If you ask shop employees and random people on the streets about any “fixer upper homes” they won’t say a peep! Serious! So Waco Tours it is in 2017!

waco tour vanIn our case we had just 4 hours to see everything so the tour wasn’t quite the right fit. Fun branding though on the tour bus parked outside of the Silos.

While navigating through Waco in our Eco-friendly rental car, snapped a few pictures of a few homes that made sense to be close runner-ups on the show, or are part of Season 4 or 5? Chip what do you think?

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Many small businesses like this around Waco including Jail Bond places next to homes.

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Cute porch and I can see the potential on that curb appeal.

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Below, remember that custom door? Look familiar anyone? This WAS on the HGTV show!

img_1814 img_3212It was our friend Clint from Harp Design’s house and shop! They are right next to each other.
We were impressed by the small unique items and approachable prices on his wooden items. Since we were traveling we didn’t leave with a chair or heavy cutting board, but loved the idea of the store open to the public. We highly recommend a drop by, make sure to check their hours first.
We didn’t see Clint working but for sure a handful of employees in the back.

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We headed over to the Findery which has been featured on the show. It’s just a hop away from the Silos. No need to re-park on this one.

Trina and I could have spent another hour at the Findery, that store was a place that just kept on giving, we were also looking for Felix the November Elf on the shelf too for a $20 gift card towards our purchases.

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The second level of the Findery picture above.

Now we had an appetite folks! Where we going y’all? 

We did try to get to a few more local favorites but Mondays many restaurants were closed. So we walked across the alley to the Backyard from the Findery. It was fine for a cold brew and some fried food before heading back on the road. Nothing to tweet about but worked for us!

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With only 30 minutes left in Waco (before we had to head back to catch out flights—seriously we had it timed out) we made it to the Magnolia Realty office South West of town. On the way there we found a few more higher-end neighborhoods but didn’t spot a Fixer Upper episode star.

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My impression of the real estate office was under-whelming. I did notice the small design touches that made this very corporate office feel a bit more on-brand.

While visiting the restroom at the real estate office, spotted the Bed and Breakfast friend that was featured on the episode when Joanna and Chip created the Magnolia bed and breakfast. BTW fun fact as of December 2016—The Magnolia House itself has been booked through June 2017 at 1,295 per night with 2 night minimum. #GoodForThem

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I also had the pleasure to chat with the Magnolia Realty brand manager and talk shop with a Minnesota img_5393connection, agent and my referral to Waco, Hesper Cordero. Overall the real estate in Waco is booming and the Magnolia Fixer Upper fans do stop-in for homes for sale (not often at the office itself) but there is a bit of science between vetting out real buyers from tourists. People are re-locating to Waco overall though (like Hesper did for her husband’s job) and there are a lot more suburbs that I forgot about, even more than from the show!

As the rain kept coming down, Trina texted we better head back to Dallas to catch our flights.

 

A SUCCESSFUL 5 hours in Waco!
#MilesToMagnolia 1,072 miles for me from Eden Prairie, Minnesota
and 1,474 miles for Trina from LA.

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Thanks for stopping-by and taking in some Waco and the Silos with me,
Tricia Jo on the Go

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Credits and links for additional information on travels and sights:

Magnolia Market
Harp Design Co
Magnolia Realty
The Findery Store in Waco
Bed and Breakfast by Joanna
Waco Texas Tourist Guide FAQ
Five O Seven Photo Studio by Trina

 

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Travel with your partner

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Recently my husband and I went to Maui, and through all the hikes, drives, tee-times, beach-bumming-moments and amazing fish tacos I realized I wasn’t sure what our “couple travel brand” was.
Why do I even ask this question?
I’m a born-marketer and I keep seeing branded Twitter handles, websites and blogs with couples traveling and doing amazing things.

To be exact two stellar couples I can’t get enough of, are traveling and documenting their travels for us to enjoy:

CARL MARTIN and his wife ANNA OLSON are the founders of this incredibly smart way to spend a year-long, cross-country documentary project as newlyweds. They are taking the 52 weeks of this year and using them to make a short film about 50 states US Anywhere. Give them some travel tips when they visit your favorite city @usanywhere. It is only the beginning for this couple!

I also met last year onset MICAH KVIDT. He mentioned him and his wife’s branded travel project Wander The Map. It is where him and his incredible travel partner JENNA document their experiences. They take on world-wide adventures and even get paid for (some) of them! Digging’ their Instagram too, but seriously check them out and tweet them hello @WanderTheMap. Keep them book-marked folks.

There experiences inspired me to rethink how I brand going on travels with my partner in crime Tee Off With Steve. Since our travels will never match-up to the themes of these two talented couples, I had to think of our niche. I came up with a few options related to the golf course experiences around the U.S. we share. So tell me what one you think could stick as our branded travel theme:

  • This Gal and his Golfer (does it make you think of Tiger Woods too much?)
  • Tee off with Steve plus Tricia
  • The Greens of the USA (wait a minute, like those kind of greens…)
  • FORE! by the two of us 
  • Bye Bye Birdie—By the Leangers. 
  • Hole in one. (not sure if that will be the best SEO)

We may need to work on the brand vision a bit more but here are a few moments documented from our Maui Golf day at the Plantation Kapalua.

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Brunch before hitting the course!

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Don’t be intimidated by documenting or branding your travels too much folks. Just snap pictures and video of your experiences and keep track of them the best way possible—so when you are 95 years old it’s an easy way to thumb-through those experiences, even if there is no such thing as Facebook or Twitter.

Couples who travel together stay together,
this MN Design Gal and Tee off with Steve

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California Vaca – Studio Tour Reco

California—Fuel Your Dreams (brought you to by VisitCalifornia.com).

Going way beyond what the travel websites may say, I’m super lucky to have my sister residing in California—this Fall we visited the Warner Brother’s Studios. WB is one of the big 6 in LA area for film makers.

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Trina, Mom Candee, Me

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Recommendation is to buy the ticket the night before (or plan way ahead if need be) through the Warner Brother’s website. Then use the [  AAA  ] discount code for $5 off a ticket. Notice NO handling fee.

Arrive for the 9 am – 11 am tours if your schedule allows. When we left at 2 PM the line to get in was way out the door and the California inland sun makes it a super hot tourist day.

Your tour guide random, and every day is different, so no tour is the same! Fridays is when less TV shows are filming because of having the day off. This can be good or bad for trying to get into particular studios and star-sighting. The backlots and soundstages all vary to who books them, while some are consistent with standard shows having their home-base.

Ellen films in stage # 1 (now officially called Ellen Studio 1 after her 2,000th episode).

Stage 23 is a new movie ‘The House’ starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler’s.

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IMG_6284We just so happened to be there when Fuller House was beginning to film and also Vampire Diaries took over some of the street so we couldn’t walk through some main areas. Ellen DeGeneres was doing a special on QVC in her TV studio, so we couldn’t get in to peek, like most tours do.

Be prepared to shout-out what favorite shows and movies that are produced through Warner Brothers. You guessed it—we did our homework and shouted out:

F-R-I-E-N-D-S!
Sex and the City!
Gilmore Girls! 
Batman!
My Fair Lady!
E.R.!
The Hangover!

…..

The tour guide will then will craft the tour with special facts as they come to his or her head about those movies and shows. Did you know that E.R.’s helicopter pad was actually just in the WB parking lot?

Did you know that FRIENDS actually didn’t film much at all in NYC, even though being based there? The cast would report to the WB Studios in Burbank every week and the 3 main sets where the Central Perk, Rachel / Monica’s apartment and Joey / Chandler’s place. All other sets where just walls that would be placed and decorated to look like the set. The scenes filmed in transitions were just s

The Big Bang Theory has surpassed FRIENDS weekly viewers by being at 14-15 million. FRIENDS was closer to 12 Million weekly viewers.

The end of the tour the FRIENDS set is up for grabs for a quick photo. There is an attendant that offers to use your phone or camera and take a photo.

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IMG_6329TIP: Forget about the video upfront with Ellen talking and run to the FRIENDS set. Have more time looking at the set before the crowd follows you and your photo-opt is only for 10 seconds.

Trina and I acted out a few Central Perk scenes before we were kicked-out of the set—I had picked-up Febe’s guitar on the stage and was about to start to belt-out Smelly Cat.

IMG_3904-24Three green screens are set-up to act out a few popular scenes from movies. Gravity was first, then Batman and ending with Harry Potter. Be prepared to then wait and see the video clips for 3 seconds before they try to sell you the $49.95 videos.

Don’t forget to grab the Oscar and take a quick picture. That will have a guard and it’s super heavy!

Thanks for reading through this tour tip and share your experience with me. Love hearing from readers and travelers, like yourself.

Your Traveling Gal — Tricia

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