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Best Birthday Trip EVER!

I really don’t even know where to begin with this post. I have been so excited to share our amazing trip we just got back from with you all. I am also going to share some tips with you at the end of the post that we learned along the way, if you ever decide to visit the silos.


I guess there’s no place better to start than the beginning.


About a month ago I was trying to schedule a doctor’s visit for our son Leo and I was texting with my husband to make sure we were free the weekend of my birthday. I didn’t think we had anything planned so I didn’t really think anything of it. To my surprise, Paolo told me we wouldn’t be able to do that weekend because he had something planned for us for my birthday. He told me it was a weekend getaway. I was a little surprised because it’s not like this was a big birthday for me. I mean after I turned 30 I started to forget my age! Now I was curious and wanted to know what we were doing. I am not a very patient woman so I knew this was going to be hard waiting. I had my guesses but I really had no clue what we could be doing. Honestly he could have taken me to a Motel 6 and told me we get a weekend alone without kids and I would have been excited! Having a few days alone to drink HOT coffee, sleep in and just relax would be plenty anywhere.

We got through thanksgiving and finally my birthday came and I was so anxious to hear what we were going to be doing. My birthday fell on a Wednesday so I had a few days to be excited and pack for whatever adventure awaited. Paolo set up a nice dinner that Wednesday night out with some of our family and had me open a big envelope in front of everyone. I pulled out what looked like a flyer (that Paolo made himself) and in big letters I read, Christmas at the Silos. I couldn’t even tell you my reaction because I don’t remember. I think I was in shock and couldn’t really process everything. We were going to WACO, TEXAS! Years ago I fell in love with a show called, Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna Gaines, natives to Waco, Texas started to help families find old, rundown homes to fix up and turn them into their dream home. They did this for many seasons and then we watched as they took over some old silos and turned them into a beautiful place for families to come eat, shop, play and fellowship. It was also evident that Chip and Joanna were loving people that wanted to help others by sharing their talents and their hearts. You could see how humble they both were and how much they loved each other and the Lord. If I could tell you my top five celebrities I wanted to meet, Joanna has been in my top THREE! So needless to say, I was so excited to go visit their empire they have created in Waco.





Due to my excitement, I don’t think I slept the two nights prior to our trip. I couldn’t wait to get over there. The weather was supposed to be beautiful that weekend which could be rare at this time of the year. We packed light (duh I needed room for some goodies I knew I’d bring home) and were on our way Friday morning. We had a direct flight from Sacramento to Dallas and Paolo planned everything so perfectly. He told me we were renting a pickup truck. I thought he was joking but once we got to the rental cars there was our white pickup! We fit right in! We stopped for lunch on our way into Waco at a yummy taco place called, Torchy’s. Probably the best tacos I’ve had and highly recommend.


The drive from Dallas to Waco was about an hour and a half of open country road. It was a pleasant drive and we turned on some Christmas music and just enjoyed the drive together.

A lot of the families that Chip and Jo helped with their homes have decided to sell and a lot of the homes are now on Airbnb. My amazing husband had booked us one of those houses. We stayed at the little house on the prairie. Do you remember that one? Let me remind you, it was on season 2 and it was for a young couple who owned a nearby coffee shop named, Common Grounds. Chip and Jo found them an adorable three bedroom house they fixed up and in the process of fixing it Chip discovers a beautiful brick fireplace right in the middle of the home. That’s the home we stayed in. Probably the cutest little house I have ever seen. I loved that Paolo did this because it really made me feel like I was a part of the show. By this time it was probably 3 o’clock in the afternoon and we were ready for some coffee so what better than to hop over to the famous coffee shop, Common Grounds. We got to Common Grounds and across the street was Baylor University. We both wanted to check out the campus so it was nice to be right there.






We then decided to head over to the silos since it was getting close to evening and knew it would be really beautiful to see at night with all the Christmas lights. Parking was a little crazy so we drove around a bit and found an open spot right across from Jimmy Don’s pop up Shop. For those that watch the show, Jimmy Don has made many appearances with Chip and Jo making them custom metal signs. Once we got out of the car I actually saw Jimmy Don get into his truck and I was bummed to have missed him. But we walked over to his shop and looked around and sure enough a nice Texan man gets out of his truck and walks over to us to introduce himself. There we met Jimmy Don and we chatted with him for a while. He was so sweet to spend so much time with us. We were the only ones there because they were getting ready to go home so that probably helped, but either way I was grateful to have talked with him. We loved hearing how much he loves his state and all the people he gets to meet and most importantly how he loves the Lord. I worked up the courage to ask him for a photo and he was more than happy to. We said our goodbyes and both walked over to the silos with a little pep in our step.





Once we got to the silos we passed by Magnolia Press which is their new coffee shop; it was so darn cute inside. We were already caffeinated so we didn’t get coffee but we were able to check out their new shop. We finally came up to the silos and I had to pause and just take a moment to realize where we were. I truly never thought I’d get a chance to get there so this was such a fun moment for me. And I was also pretty sure I fell even more in love with Paolo too! Like most, we took a ton of photos and tried to take it all in. It was like Disneyland for adults. There were so many people. Since it was the opening weekend of their Christmas celebration there were a ton of people. There were lots of vendors selling fun goodies and a bunch of food trucks. We knew we were going to spend the next day there and would have plenty of time to see the vendors later. So this night we decided to go shopping in their cute Magnolia store. It was crowded but well organized. There was so much to see and I loved it all. Paolo, to my surprise, loved walking through and seeing every little thing which made it that much more fun for me. We bought a few things and then decided to head back to the house so we could get ready for dinner. Paolo made reservations at a nice steakhouse that was recommended by friends.





At the house we started to get ready for dinner and I told Paolo I didn’t want to get dressed up because I was getting tired and just wanted to be comfy. Paolo said to me jokingly, “What if we meet Chip and Jo though.” Haha we both laughed knowing good and well there was no chance we’d just randomly bump into them. We got to the beautiful steakhouse and the hostess led us to our seats. I wasn’t really paying attention as we were walking to our table, but as we were sitting down Paolo leans over to me and says, “Oh my gosh, that’s Chip and Jo right next to us.” I of course thought he was joking but I slyly looked over and sure enough I saw them. They were at a large table with about 20 people. My heart immediately started to beat faster and faster. I looked at Paolo and we both started to freak out a little. We could not believe that we were in the same restaurant as them. What are the odds? There was no way in heck that I was going to go over there and say something; I was way too nervous and also wanted to respect their privacy. Instead I just walked by their table twice (which seemed embarrassing) to use the restroom. Hey, I’m pregnant, you can’t blame me, haha! Then we decided the nice thing to do was to tell their waiter to get them another round of drinks on us and tell them cheers from California. So that’s what we did! As we finished up dinner I noticed that about half of their party had already left so it was a much smaller group with them now. They had already eaten their dinner and were just finishing up with drinks and conversation. It seemed like a perfect time to head over to say hi. We finished up our dinner and had to walk by their table to get out of the restaurant, and I was NOT going to stop but my cute husband politely tapped Joanna on the shoulder and said, “I am so sorry to bother you guys but I surprised my wife with this trip from California to see the silos. She just adores you both and wanted to say hi.” Joanna graciously got up and started to talk to us. Chip joined in and their entire table got in on our conversation. So what did I say you ask…well I don’t remember because I am pretty sure I blacked out! I was so nervous and just was in shock. I do remember giving her a hug and shaking Chip’s hand. Then Joanna said to us (which I am so glad she said it and not me), let’s take a picture. They both were so humble and so gracious, just like I knew they’d be. Ahhh my day/year/life was made! We left the restaurant in complete shock. Did we really just talk to Chip and Jo?? We got back to our house and called our families letting them know what just happened!





Saturday morning we were able to sleep in, drink a nice hot cup of coffee and just slowly get ready. We really wanted to get breakfast at Magnolia Table but knew it was going to be busy. Sure enough, once we got there, it was about a three hour wait. Instead of waiting we decided to get their take-out. The take out menu is still the full menu and only takes about 15 minutes and you’re still able to eat out on the patio of the restaurant. It was a beautiful day, about 65 degrees. We ate and everything was delish from the coffee to the strawberry butter. After our yummy breakfast we both wanted to check out Chip and Joanna’s original shop that happened to be on the way to Harp’s Design Company, which was our first stop of the day. It was really neat to see their original shop where it all started years ago. We enjoyed looking around and seeing all their cute home decor. Next we went to Harp’s Design Company. Clint Harp also was on Fixer Upper almost every episode making each family a custom piece of furniture. Chip and Jo fixed up a home for Clint and his wife right next door to the shop (now you can rent it). Their shop was small but so cute. We ended up getting a cute ornament and enjoyed looking around. Definitely a spot to go to! Now we were ready to head to the silos to look around and check out all the vendors and have lunch. We spent a few hours at the silos and loved shopping around, eating and meeting some new people from around the country. After the silos I wanted to drive around Waco to check out a few of my favorite homes they did on the show. Again, most of them can be rented and the addresses are available to the public. It was fun to check out the city and see these adorable homes that I watched on television years ago. Then we had the opportunity to tour another one of the homes Chip and Jo fixed up. The Barndominium home was an old barn a family wanted to renovate and it was a big fan favorite. They now have weddings there and large families can rent it out for the week. It was absolutely stunning! By this time it was about 4 o’clock and we were ready to head back to Dallas for the night. Paolo made reservations at a beautiful hotel in downtown Dallas and made reservations at Pappa’s Bros Steakhouse for dinner. We said our goodbyes to Waco and set off to Dallas for our last night.





Dallas was fun and dinner was very good. We ended up meeting some of Paolo’s friends from high school who moved out to Texas so it was nice catching up with them. Sunday morning came around and we both knew of a great pastor that had a church in Flower Mound, Texas. So we decided to go visit their church. Another highlight for me was meeting one of my favorite podcast hosts, Allie with the Relatable podcast I have talked about her before on my blog and she is definitely one to follow. She is an amazing Christian woman and I was really excited to have been able to meet her. I reached out while we were in Dallas and we were able to meet for lunch. Paolo really wanted some good Texas BBQ so we went to a place called High 8 and he was in heaven. We had a great time talking with Allie and her husband and enjoying some good food. Afterwards we headed to the airport. It was the perfect way to end our trip. We smelled like BBQ all the way back home to Sacramento.


What a trip, right? I still am on cloud 9! It’ll be a trip I will never forget and Texas will always have a special place in my heart. I fell in love!


I promised I would give you a couple tips to make your trip to Waco a little easier...or more fun!


First tip would be, if possible bring another suitcase or bag to pack your goodies you buy. We weren’t planning on buying a lot, and we didn’t, but we wished we packed an extra bag knowing we needed some room for souvenirs.


Second tip, try and get a fixer upper house; I promise it makes the trip come to life! I’ll link ours here. Or if you have a larger party check out the barndominium here. Its the same host that owns the little house on the prairie and she is the absolute sweetest!


Third, if you go to Magnolia Table and the wait is too long...go to the ‘take out’ side and order; it’s the SAME menu and takes about 10 minutes and if it’s a nice day you take your food to their patio and eat there. Saved us 2 hours! Also, it’s not on the same property as the silos. So if you wanted to shop while you wait you have to drive, or they have a shuttle but you HAVE to be back 30 minutes before you are supposed to be seated.


Fourth, if possible, plan your trip during the week due to the crowds. It was very busy but still fun. We were told the weekdays are not as bad. Also whatever day you go to the silos try to go towards the evening when the lights are on; it’s beautiful.


Fifth, you really need one full day, maybe two days in Waco, BUT you are a close drive from Austin or then Dallas so extend your trip and do the drive for more fun.


Sixth, things we enjoyed seeing...The silos, Magnolia Press coffee, Harp’s Design Company, Magnolia’s original shop, Laverty’s antique shop, Common Grounds coffee, Baylor University, Magnolia table, and some of the fixer upper homes.


Start planning your trip to Waco and let me know you're going so I can follow along!







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©2019 by Shawntel Newton