Scarf Exchange 2017

Scarf Exchange

One of my favorite days of the year happened this week…our scarf exchange!

So, I blog about this every year because it’s such a fun idea and I think you and your friends should do too!  This was our sixth year in a row to have one and I’m telling you…it gets more and more fun every year.

Here’s what we do:

1: We always do it at the beginning of September because it gets us in the fall mood.

2: Everyone brings a scarf wrapped up so that we can’t see what the scarf looks like.  (You can set a budget so that everyone is paying the same amount.)

3: We write down numbers on pieces of paper for how many of us there are.  So if there are 12 of us, we write 1-12 on little strips of paper and then we all draw a random number.

4: Number one goes first and picks a scarf.  They open and we all admire.  Then #2 can either steal a scarf or pick another random wrapped package.  And this goes on and on (like a White Elephant Exchange you might do at Christmas).  The scarf can only be stolen twice before it gets frozen and then cannot be stolen again.  At the end, we let #1 go again and she can either keep her original scarf or exchange it with anyone wearing an unfrozen scarf.

Okay, if your friends aren’t into scarves, then change it up!  Host a bracelet exchange, candle exchange, bath product exchange, etc.  This is such a fun way to spend a girls night out!

Here is a little look back at our scarf exchanges…

Scarf Exchange 2012


Scarf Exchange 2013


Scarf Exchange 2014


Scarf Exchange 2015




And then this year…

…clearly someone was missing.

Sweet Manda loved our scarf exchanges so much, and I can’t even begin to tell you about the void that was there on Tuesday night.

Manda died on February 26 and about a week later, her husband called me and asked me when our next scarf exchange was.  I told him that it’s always in September and he said he was saving Manda’s scarves for us and he wanted me to surprise everyone with one the night of.  So, two weeks ago, I went over to his house to get the scarves and he handed me just a big bunch of them and as I turned to walk down the sidewalk back to my car, I burst into tears…because they all still smelled like her.  Grief is hard.

So, I came home and a few days later, wrapped up each scarf for my friends.  That night, right before we did our real scarf exchange, I told them I had a surprise for them and then randomly handed them wrapped up gifts.  They all opened them at once and I told them they were Manda’s.

Oh sweet Manda.  We miss her so much.

Here we are wearing our Manda scarves…

…it was her first scarf exchange to miss, but thanks to her sweet husband, she was still there with us.

My girlfriends are like family to me.  I love these ladies more than words can say.  We have had a rough last few years…but through it all, we’ve handled it together.  I’m blessed by each and every one of them.  We miss our friend so much.  Life is short, ladies.  Love on your girlfriends while you have the chance. xo

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  • Heather Bramlett September 7, 2017 at 4:56 am

    You have me in tears. That was the sweetest thing her husband could have done for y’all. I know you will treasure it forever.

  • Susan Jeffries September 7, 2017 at 5:01 am

    This is so very precious. And how thoughtful of her amazing husband! I pray that my daughter has a group of friends like this when she is older an din the phase of raising babies. What a gift.

  • Meagan Ruse September 7, 2017 at 5:11 am

    You’re right! Life is so short. No time to waste. I still can’t believe she is gone. Opening up her scarf, and putting it around my neck was such comfort. I don’t know what I would do without you girls!!! Love you all so much.

  • Elspeth Mizner September 7, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Such a fun idea. I can definitely see the void! What beautiful friends you all are. Still patting for Manda’s family as they go through life without her! What a great activity to start fall off!

  • Narci September 7, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Oh, we miss her so much! I’ll always treasure that scarf from our girl, Manda! What a sweet night!

  • CC September 7, 2017 at 5:58 am

    What a sweet memory to have one of Manda’s scarves.

  • Gentry September 7, 2017 at 6:00 am

    You had me tearing up this morning! It was so sweet of Manda’s husband to save her scarves for you so that she was still a part of your special event. I love my girlfriends more than life too so I can’t imagine the loss you suffered this year. So glad you all have each other!

  • Courtney September 7, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I always enjoy reading about your parties, especially this one. I’m so glad Manda’s husband thought of you all for her scarves, what a blessing you will carry with you forever.

  • Sheaffer Sims September 7, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I’m still so moved and thankful that Aaron thought of us and shared her scarves with us. It’s such a sweet reminder of her, and I will treasure it always.

  • Natalie September 7, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Wow…. what a wonderful post. I’m in tears reading this.. fun and sad all wrapped up into one. Where did you go for the scarf exchange? Looks like a lot of fun…

    • Mix and Match Mama September 7, 2017 at 6:30 am

      We were at Karla’s house :).

  • polly September 7, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Thank you for sharing. I also lost a best friend to a horrible disease years ago and still feel her loss nearly every day. When I was six months in, I was still crying/bursting into tears practically daily. My advice? When the grief hits, “ride the wave”. Take a breath. Remember some foolish/happy/silly thing you did together or said to one another. You will get through. Time heals all wounds….Give it time, time…

  • Melissa@ Finding My Mojo September 7, 2017 at 6:36 am

    I’m in tears this morning. How sweet it was for Mamda’s husband to know how meaningful those scarves would be for you all. What a wonderful group of girlfriends you have!

  • Erika Slaughter September 7, 2017 at 6:38 am

    One of my very favorite nights! Getting to open one of Manda’s scarves-It was definitely the sweetest surprise! I’m so thankful for that group of girls. And I couldn’t agree more…love on your girlfriends while you can. XO

  • Erin Port September 7, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Oh my goodness. I am in tears. We lost my Aunt to cancer and I have taken her daughter under my wing. She was just 18 months when her mom died. 17 years later and now her daughter is the age I was when her mom died and heading to college right down the road from me. Manda’s story hit so close to home and I every time I read about her, I can relate. Your friendships always make me smile, everyone needs sweet friends :). I am thankful for my tribe! Xoxo ERIN

  • sydnee September 7, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Love the scarf exchange idea! Manda’s husband really thought ahead, what a great idea to remember her!

  • Rebecca September 7, 2017 at 6:48 am

    So very sweet! Love that he saved them all to share with each of you, what a gift! As I read this through tears this morning I am wishing Irma wasn’t at our backdoor because it is keeping me from supporting a precious friend today as she lays her husband to rest in GA. You are so right, life is short but more importantly life is precious-make the most of it and I know you guys did that with Manda, she knew she was loved. xoxo

  • Lizzie @ This Happy Life September 7, 2017 at 6:49 am

    The tears are flowing reading this – how sweet is her husband!?! I love that he thought of that idea and you got to surprise everyone.

  • Daniele September 7, 2017 at 6:58 am


  • Paula September 7, 2017 at 7:12 am

    So sweet & so special.

  • Jenny September 7, 2017 at 7:31 am

    How sweet and thoughtful of her husband. I can only imagine how special it was to you all. Hugs!

  • Karen September 7, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Such a beautiful idea…my mother-in-law passed away last month and she was famous for nearly always wearing a scarf with each outfit. One of her son’s suggested we bring the huge collection to her memorial service to display along with other memorabilia and then to offer everyone to choose a special scarf to take home with them in her memory. It was a huge hit, many of the men chose one too, we all went home with a little piece of the beloved woman who meant so much to us…

  • Amanda September 7, 2017 at 7:48 am

    What a thoughtful and sweet gesture from her husband. Now you all have an extra little bit to remind you of her.
    Smells are hard – we still have a cabinet that smells like my grandmas house inside and it makes me so sad but so happy it still has that scent. Her house smelled the best!

  • Lisa September 7, 2017 at 7:50 am

    So very sweet!! I’m not a crier and my eyes are all misty. Several years ago, a friend of ours fell down her basement steps and hit her head and died. It happened in November. A year and a month later, her husband showed up in my office with a wrapped Christmas present. She had purchased a present for me and he didn’t find it that first year in his grief . . .but found it and gave it to me the next year. Oh my goodness – I get how you felt at your scarf exchange!!

  • Angelique September 7, 2017 at 7:59 am

    The thoughtfulness of both Manda and her husband amaze me. She planned out her daughter’s birthday and he planned out the scarf exchange. What wonderful people to have in your lives!

  • Nicole F September 7, 2017 at 8:00 am

    You really do exemplify valuing, not only your friends, but your family. I guess they call that ‘your people’. Haha. I think that is one of the things that draws me to reading your blog. And a very important example to set for others 🙂 I think that is one way God really shines in/through your life and to others. That’s awesome and I thought it was worth saying today.

  • Andrea September 7, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Balling my eyes out reading this! Friends are such a gift & how sweet of her husband to do that. Manda is definitely smiling down on y’all!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick September 7, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I wish I’d have known Manda better. The fact that she put so much thought into this knowing she probably wouldn’t make it to the next scarf exchange but wanted y’all to have those just breaks my heart.

  • Liz September 7, 2017 at 8:11 am

    I love your scarf exchange and wasn’t it great of Aaron to know that event was so special to Manda that he saved scarves. That makes me cry. I love girlfriends. Gonna cry to leave some of my favorite here in Dec.

  • Barbara Parnell September 7, 2017 at 8:11 am

    how very sweet of her husband..and thoughtful. Sounds like a special evening.

  • Angela Ellingson September 7, 2017 at 8:12 am

    I love this tradition!! That is really so sweet and thoughtful of Manda’s husband. I’m sure she would be so happy you all have one of her scarfs.

  • Kristen September 7, 2017 at 8:14 am

    What a touching & sweet memory <3 My friends and I have had our annual scarf party the party two years in a row (thanks to you!!), and it is one of our favorite nights of the year! Thank you for the idea 🙂

  • Desiree | Beautifully Seaside September 7, 2017 at 8:15 am

    So sweet of Manda’s husband to do that. Lord fill him with your love and peace Jesus. Looks like you had an evening of joy with your friends. Many blessings to all of you. With love, Desiree

  • Kathy Shirk September 7, 2017 at 8:17 am

    oh, I teared up reading this! And it’s picture day. I do not need racoon eyes! Love reading about this tradition. Thinking of suggesting it for all the women in my family for Christmas.

  • Laura @ Laura Likes Design September 7, 2017 at 8:25 am

    I love this idea for a girls’ night — definitely going to suggest this to my girlfriends!

  • Keisha M Dawson September 7, 2017 at 8:27 am

    This blesses my heart so much! What a precious memory for each of you ladies!

  • Melanie S September 7, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I imagine there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. How sweet of Manda’s husband to save those for you all. I can’t imagine losing a girl friend, but she is still with you.

    I host an annual Friendsmas, but am thinking of doing it in fall because holidays are so so busy.

  • Katie September 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

    OMG. I don’t even know her but I’m sitting here bawling. What a sweet gesture and a tangible way to remember her. Love that.

  • Aubrie September 7, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Gosh that is sweet. God bless her sweet husband.

  • Lindsay at Hot Mess, Cool Day September 7, 2017 at 9:00 am

    This made me tear up at my desk this morning. What a beautiful thing her husband did by saving her scarves for you all. I’m so sorry you have to go through life missing one, but what a joy to have close friends to spend your time with.

  • Astleigh H. September 7, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I’m not a cryer by nature, but this got me. How incredibly thoughtful of Manda’s husband to think of his wife’s friends and their grief in her absence. This was such a lovely way to keep her memory alive. I hope you gals had a wonderful time together. Friends are everything! xo

  • Melanie September 7, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Such a wonderful idea! Love this post.

  • Alexis deZayas September 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Have always loved reading about this tradition of yours but especially loved it this year. This night will always be extra special for all of you!

  • Katie September 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I never post on blogs, but I am touched by your post because this morning I happen to be wearing a scarf belonging to my dear friend Robin, who died of cancer in December 2015. At first I didn’t want anything from her closet because I thought it would be too hard. Her sister convinced me to take some of Robin’s scarves in case I later regretted not having something of Robin’s. Now, almost two years on, I’m so glad I have them. Wearing them makes me feel close to her and I know she would be happy for me to brighten my outfit with a little bit of her personality. I am happy that Manda’s friends can remember her this way. Grief is hard, I know, and you are blessed to have your girls around you to heal together. God bless.

  • Shelly September 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

    What a precious way for all of you to have a piece of Manda with you!

  • heidi September 7, 2017 at 9:31 am

    This has me in tears. What a beautiful reminder of friendship.

  • Rebecca Brittain September 7, 2017 at 9:32 am

    What a wonderful idea for fall, and I’m glad to know you were able to incorporate your dear friend, Manda into the exchange still. I have no doubt you ladies will find a way to remember and honor her in all of your holiday events each year.

  • Rebecca Jo September 7, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Oh my gosh… what a precious thing to do from her husband. I know it had to be hard but how sweet to feel (& smell) her near you all again in this fun time.
    Grief is so hard… but so glad you all have each other to get through it.

  • Kelly Stamps September 7, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Love this! Know y’all miss her dearly.

  • Gabrielle Storey September 7, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Oh my… how sweet of her husband to think of all you girls… Looks like overall you had a really good night!

  • Olivia Snyder at Joyfully Prudent September 7, 2017 at 10:51 am

    That is so sweet about Manda’s scarves! Fun tradition to kick off Fall too!

  • carmen September 7, 2017 at 11:35 am

    It was really sweet of Manda’s husband to give her scarfs to you to remember her.
    Why would you buy a new scarf to give away for this game tho? You could easily just exchange those scarfes you already own and don’t like to wear anymore. Especially scarfs don’t really go out of fashion and can be worn a couple more seasons.

  • Liz Thorson September 7, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Tears filled my eyes as I read your post today, Shay. I had already begun to think of your sweet friend Manda being missing friom this cherished event When I saw your blog intro. How dear of her husband to have thought of you all, so new in his grief in February, knowing how much you all meant to Manda. I was crushed to notice that Shaeffer was missing from the picture, but her post shared that she did get a scarf.💕💕

    • Mix and Match Mama September 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      She did! A few of the girls could not attend, but I went and delivered them each their scarves.

      • Liz Thorson September 8, 2017 at 11:40 am

        Shay, you are so thoughful! It is so evident that your friends adore you. From following you for a couple of years on your blog and watching Sean’s bachelor season, I think you are such a blend of your sweet mother and your gentle-soul but fun-loving father.

  • Kelly September 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Friendship is such a gift and you and the other McKinney girls celebrate that so well. I can imagine your time together was bittersweet. Manda’s husband is obviously a very thoughtful, amazing man. Life as we know it can change in an instant, thank you for the reminder to love on those who God’s puts on our path as long as we can.

  • Justine @ Charm City Ciemny's September 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    So sorry for the loss of your sweet friend, Manda! I love that her husband had the idea to give her scarfs to you… that is just so sweet and thoughtful!

    Justine @ Charm City Ciemny’s

  • Lilly Gorman September 7, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    What a beautiful way to honor your sweet friend. She was definitely there with y’all in spirit! I love this idea to get everyone in a great fall mood, too.

  • Jeanie September 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    What a precious gift from Manda’s husband. You bet she was there with you for the exchange.

  • Kim nations September 7, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Such a sweet thing to do. I didn’t she Sheaffer in the pictures. You guys are all precious.

    • Mix and Match Mama September 8, 2017 at 5:34 am

      She wasn’t able to make it, so I took her a scarf on the way to the party.

  • Megan Butler September 7, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I just love this so much. How thoughtful of Aaron during such a hard time to think of you girls. I mean seriously. I just love this!!!!

  • Lisa Richardson September 7, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Wow, just wow! I’m fighting back the tears. Her husband must be a special man to think of all y’all and bless you that way. What a sweet gift for you and girlfriends.

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog September 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    The scarf exchange idea is such a great one! What a super bonding experience that brings you all together every year without fail!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Kathy September 7, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Well, I cried throughout this post. I saw Manda in all of those pictures and my heart hurt. But what a beautiful way to remember her, by wearing her scarves. Bless you wonderful girls for you strong, beautiful friendships.

  • Emily September 8, 2017 at 5:50 am

    So sweet. I didn’t know Manda (and I only “know” you through the blog world) but this made me cry! I lost my mom 6.5 years ago when I was 29 and I still get so sad when I hear of others losing their moms and best friends. I will say, I know Manda’s daughter may be too young for this, but I always love when my mom’s friends invite me to their gatherings in her place. Makes me feel so special. Just a little idea for y’all to start doing when that little girl is old enough!

  • Shawnna Griffin September 8, 2017 at 9:47 am

    hey girl- great post! Love the idea! y’all have a blessed weekend!