An Easy Picnic with Friends

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This post is sponsored by Bob Evans.

There’s one thing I’ve been wanting to do since the beginning of Summer, and that is to get some of our friends together for some conversation, crazy kid shenanigans and, of course, FOOD. I just haven’t been able to get my act together…and darn it. Summer is almost over.

Here’s the backstory:  I have a little history with Bob Evans. My mom used to work there as a single parent (and she would even bring me to work occasionally), so you could say I have a soft spot for Bob Evans. So when they reached out to us here at TME, it just made sense. Um. Yes. I’ll host a picnic with Bob Evans!

All I had to do was text invite the friends, schedule an order on Bob Evans’ online ordering system (super easy, by the way), throw on an easy, comfortable outfit and then pick all the food up right before heading to meet up with everyone. I didn’t even have to get plates, utensils or napkins! I never would have hosted a picnic if I had had to actually plan the menu, cook and then pack it all. HA! That’s hilarious. (It never would have happened.)

Let’s be real – I can barely cook a legit dinner for my own kids on a regular basis, so…

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picnic

outfit details

top: anthro tunic (old), but just recently came across this long-sleeved Pintucked Lace Tunic (and I want it for Fall).

bottoms: BP. Moto leggings (wearing size Small, TTS) – my favorite for throwing long tops on with…comfortable and look good with all different styles of footwear. Basically, these are the bottoms for the busy, too-tired mom. *raises hand*

shoes: Sole Society Koko Sandal (on sale right now!)– great pair of everyday sandals. I like the Night Taupe, because they go with everything. TTS.

shades: BP. 55mm Round Sunglasses – favorite pair of s unnies. I have the black and Mauve…and wear them all of the time.

on neighbor (the one with a baby bump): striped dress from Old Navy, which Iooks like it’s no longer available, but she has been loving Old Navy’s dresses for maternity wear. It’s all very affordable and good for that short-ish period that is a pregnancy. I like this Boho Split-Neck Swing Dress, for instance.

You couldn’t have asked for a better picnic spread:  biscuits, pulled pot roast sandwiches, fried chicken, roasted chicken, mac n’ cheese (which the kids devoured), cole slaw, veggies, banana bread, sweet tea, lemonade and PIE. Must have pie. That’s just a given…and stop. it. Delicious.

My poor hubs got stuck in traffic and couldn’t get there until we were already done eating (boo), but we saved him a heaping plate of literally everything. As he was walking up to our picnic blankets he said, “whoah. that’s a lot of food”. ha ha. It was. I mean, hey…if you’re going to feed friends a good, summer meal…go all out. Well, we were covered, with no thanks to me (and thank goodness for that).

The picnic was easy, it was yummy and there were leftovers that I was able to send home with everyone for their lunches the following day. HECK YES. Pretty much I felt like I rocked it…and I literally did almost nothing. Now, that’s my kind of picnic to host!

Thanks, Bob Evans for making so easy.

Cheers,

Cams

ps. Thank you all so much for your thoughtful feedback on this post. I read all of your comments and appreciate how much you all care…enough to let us know that this post hit way off the mark. Its not always fun to have your work criticized, but it does help me to learn and grow in this profession, so thank you. You have been heard & notes have been taken for future posts. 🙂 Cheers.

This post was sponsored by Bob Evans. I was incredibly excited to collaborate with them on this. I grew up eating brunch there and, like I said, my mom worked there to support us for a quite a while. It always makes me feel like I’m home every time I eat their food. Thanks, Bob Evans. 

Photos by Christina Hussey Photography.

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About Author

Wife, mama of 3, true believer in the importance of finding meaningful ways to stay sane(-ish) throughout motherhood, such as style blogging, making absurd videos on Instagram & hiding in the guest room. It’s not always easy, but when it’s hard…there’s always Netflix. *peace sign*

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70 Comments

    • You should really be more tactful in your commentary. These are real people with real feelings running this blog. If you have an issue, discuss it without the hateful tone. If you don’t like the blog, stop reading.

      Don’t mess with my girl Cams.

    • I understand your concern, it’s not their usual topic. However, this blog belongs to THEM not you, and you’re not entitled to have it look/sound however you like. Just skip the sponsored posts. Remember, this is their livelihood, and ads are how bloggers make the money that allows them to continue doing what they do.

  1. I’ve never heard of Bob Evans. apparently from your pictures, it looks like some sort of restaurant. we don’t have that in the east coast

  2. This is such a bummer. I don’t read this blog to learn about Bob Evans. I also believe most moms aspire to feed their family healthy food.

    • I understand your concern, it’s not their usual topic. However, this blog belongs to THEM not you, and you’re not entitled to have it look/sound however you like. Just skip the sponsored posts. Remember, this is their livelihood, and ads are how bloggers make the money that allows them to continue doing what they do.

  3. Did I miss you posting about that Tunic you’re wearing in a previous post Cams? I think I need it. 🙂

    And don’t let the negative Bob Evans comments get you guys down. This blog belongs to YOU not them. <3

  4. Monica, it is their blog. And they have included a comments section, which means they are ok with our commentary, even when we disagree with what they’ve done. I don’t think people who disagree with something are claiming that they are entitled to have it look/sound however they like. They are offering feedback, which I’d assume TME wants to hear.

    And I agree with Ashley and Lucy. There is a difference between clothing companies sponsoring posts on a fashion blog (which I don’t love, but a) I get that they need to make a living and b) at least it’s related to the topic)) and posts sponsored by completely unrelated products. It feels gross, like the product is being shoehorned in, which makes me question to what extent your endorsement is based on the money or the quality of the product. In other words, I can see the TME staff writing about clothing from LOFT or Nordstrom even if they weren’t sponsors. But color me doubtful that TME would spontaneously generate a post about Bob Evans.

    TME, please rethink this approach. It’s really off-putting.

    • It feels worse to me because it follows so closely on the heels of the Walmart sponsored post that also received more negative than positive feedback. Both Walmart and Bob Evans feel really off-brand from the both the vibe and shopping philosophy that TME has spent years building and cultivating.

      Yes, it is Shana and company’s blog to do with as they please. But, if they lose readers (and more importantly affiliate clicks) by going off the rails, then that will affect their bottom line. They should want to hear this feedback.

    • Agree with JS and all others expressing some doubts. Yes it is their blog, and their job, but in a sense, their audience at large is kind of like their employer. If things don’t jive with the people who come to their site, they lose traffic then income, etc., just like if you didn’t perform at any other job your boss would let you know. So while they are welcome to post literally whatever they want, if people feel like it’s fake or doesn’t seem right it will affect them. And I would think they would want to know. This blog hasn’t really been about random food posts, it really has been focused on clothes. Camp Patton could get away with a post like this because she does a lot more family posts, in fact, the blog is mostly about family. But TME isn’t focused the same way and definitely not in the same amounts, which is why I think it’s rubbing the majority the wrong way.

  5. I agree with the comments above – I’m honestly floored to see a post sponsored by Bob Evans on your blog. I have no intention of being rude just a bit confused as it doesn’t fit with the style of the blog and makes me question the honesty of the endorsement.

    • We so appreciate all of these comments. Have to be honest, wasn’t expecting it…but that’s what cool about writing for a blog and having readers. You all have opinions and those opinions help us to do better! Thank you! I honestly do love Bob Evans (always have), so I thought it would translate well to everyone…but I was off on this one and should have presented it all very differently. Cheers!

  6. Bob Evans? I’m seriously puzzled by this blog. One minute it’s expensive bags and coats and the next minute it’s fast food in styrofoam containers? I understand the need for sponsorship, but I think you’ve lost me.

  7. I don’t understand what it means that it was sponsored. That they asked you to do a feature and otherwise you wouldn’t have? Was the picnic meal free? Because it could have easily just been an unsponsored endorsement of a restaurant close to your heart with convenient take-out options with included affiliate links in case someone was inspired. So how does the sponsorship make it different? I guess it feels more logical when an expensive or little known new brand sponsors (though those bug me because I wonder if the bloggers would naturally be purchasing or covering that expensive material if not given freely for coverage, because that feels ungenuine)…guess you can’t win 😉 But I am curious how the sponsorship actually happened and what it meant.

  8. I have some nostalgic fondness for Bob Evans myself, but I agree this post feels really discordant and off-brand in a way that makes me question the integrity of other sponsored posts on this blog (which I generally adore!). And I felt the same about the Walmart post. One difference between this post and the usual Loft or Nordstrom sponsored post is that in the fashion posts, there is sometimes still judgment made between products–i.e., this is cute, but I was disappointed this didn’t work so well–in a way that makes the opinion offered feel more authentic and less like it is simply bought and paid for. That is not the tone here.

  9. I agree with everyone, the Bob Evans post is so out of place that it screams ad. I felt exactly the same way about the hotel post on Captitol Hill. There was nothing in the article about what you would actually do with your family in DC, just an ad from a pretty run of the mill hotel. I completely understand sponsored posts, but these two posts scream blatant paid endorsement. And I personally love the biscuits at Bob Evans but this post is like me saying I found this really great place, McDonalds.

    • Hey Beth! Thanks for the comment. I have heard the multitudes!…and have edited both posts. The DC post now includes more on what we did, etc. I have also added outfit details to this post. I will keep all of this in mind going forward. Cheers.

  10. I have to agree with other posts here. The blog has turned into one giant advertisement. I’ve been around since ANMJ and I’m losing interest in posts with 10 photos of one outfit so that they can mention the sponsor.

    • Thank you for your feedback! We appreciate all constructive criticism so much. It helps us a lot. We do love photography on this blog, though, so you will probably continue to see many photos within posts…it’s just what we do. 🙂 However, I can understand your frustration with sponsored posts. We work really hard to only work with companies, brands and lines that fit in with our own style and the personality of this blog. Cheers, Carol.

  11. So, I have another slightly related issue with this post…. the clothing was never discussed! Okay, fine, Bob Evans paid you to feature their food – on a fashion blog. I can deal with that. But, where is that cute tunic from? What did your shoes look like? This is what I read this blog for – finding inspiration and resources to make myself look pulled together. Fashionable. I am a long time reader. I remember posts past that took inspiration from a fashion magazine and showed me how to translate it to my everyday “mom” wardrobe. That gave me styling tips and new ways to wear clothes I already owned. That inspired me to shop my closet and create new style from old clothing. I don’t see that on here much anymore. I agree with the others in the fact that I’m losing interest. Come on, girls! I love this blog!

    • Agree entirely! This is my favorite blog, but the past few months I am starting to slowly lose interest. This is their blog and they can do whatever they want, but I (43 year old full time working mom of 4) read this blog for fashion inspiration. Cool, comfortable, slightly edgy, accessible fashion.

      I still like the blog and check it daily, but I skip most of the posts on kids’ clothes, baby products, etc. My only interest is the fashion – oh, and I love Scotti’s makeup tips. Also loved Shana’s post last year on makeup routine.

  12. Local veggies from the farmers market, kombucha by the growler, homemade granola – all the things I love. However, I think there is something to be said for making it easier to get together with friends!! Also, plenty of posts are sponsored. It seems a bit elitist to take issue with this one in particular. Thanks for the fun post!

    • I don’t have a problem with fast food. I’m not looking for a “prestige” blog. I love that there are posts about fashion at different price points. But come on. Cams ordered take out from Bob Evans. That merits a post? On TME?

    • Thank you!! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and for your support. I have edited this post a bit, because I do see what everyone is saying, to a certain degree. 🙂 Anyways, thanks!!

  13. Yeah, ditto to the general consensus here. Feels forced and disingenuous, and odd that there is zero commentary on the clothes. And the clothes are cute!

    • Thanks, Carrie! Have read all of the feedback and appreciate it. I have now edited this post to include outfit details. I have no idea why I didn’t do that in the first place! Cheers.

  14. Ditto.Ditto.Ditto. I know sponsorship needs to happen. I read your blog all the time, but have never paid for a it. So I get the need for sponsors. However. It seems like there are MUCH better ways to go about it other than a forced and slightly grumpy looking (lets be honest here) picnic. What about talking about your mom working at Bob Evans and translate that into a discussion about today’s hard working moms.
    And the Capital Hill post? What was that? It would have been so easy to talk about traveling to DC with kids, especially since you know the place. Talk about navigating the subways with kids, which restaurants are kid friendly, etc… It would have been so easy and interesting, and I might would have been more interested to read about how great the hotel was.
    I know you guys are better than this!!

    • Thank you so much for your feedback. Appreciate the constructive comment. haha…”grumpy picnic”. It was close to 100 degrees that evening, so I guess we were slightly “eh” looking. 😀 I have adjusted this post a bit, to include outfit details AND edited the DC post, with info on what we actually did. I hope that you’ll check it out. Thanks, Rebecca!

  15. Sadly I agree with all of the other comments. And I also was struck that the hotel post didn’t even mention which museums you went to. It would be so easy to say what you actually did with your kids so that others might want to plan a kid friendly trip and go to that hotel. Mentioning free museums and activities nearby wouldn’t alienate your hotel sponsor. This Bob Evans post missed the mark. I guess I missed the Walmart post others are mentioning.

  16. Walmart owns Modcloth now. The last sponsored post. It would be nice if all blog writers would be more in tune to where they get their money from. But maybe it’s worth it to the TME team. Seem like selling out to me.

  17. I live in California and have never heard of Bob Evans. I didn’t find this post very accessible or enjoyable (why no mention of fashion? No links to clothing?). I’ve been enjoying this blog for 8 years and I’m sad to see it jump the shark- please return to your roots! More fashion (for adults!), more creativity and heart!

    • Thank you for your comment, Maeve! Bob Evans is mainly an East Coast/Southern chain of restaurants. I grew up eating there, even up in Maryland. I understand your confusion and have taken all of this great feedback to heart…in hopes to do better with future collaborations and posts! Cheers.

  18. I agree with the thoughtful criticism of this post — I check this blog every day and have read and enjoyed it for years. Whenever I buy something inspired by this blog, I make sure to use the affiliate link so that TME gets the commission. I’m totally fine with and even find useful most of the sponsored posts, because they tend to dovetail with the brand that Shana and all of the writers have been carefully building for years. From the start, TME/ANMJ has been clear and consistent in its commitment to reviewing mostly high quality, long-lasting clothing and other items with an emphasis on the value that brings. It was so disappointing to read a Wal-Mart sponsored post about furniture, in part because the cost-per-use of that stuff has got to be terrible; the DC hotel post was a bummer for reasons well-articulated by other commenters here; and this one, too, was a huge disappointment.

    I really enjoy Shana’s travel and Philly articles, even though I live nowhere near Philly and won’t be going to Iceland or even Breckenridge anytime soon. They are genuine and enjoyable, and they always include the useful fashion-y stuff that is this blog’s reason for being.

    You have such a loyal and appreciative readership, TME. Please hear us out.

  19. Come on ladies, I started reading this blog 3 years ago for fashion advice to aspire to with my new mom bod. I don’t read TME for Bob Evans posts. Very disappointed. I have been losing interest because of all the sponsored posts but this has pushed me over the edge

  20. One thought building on what others mentioned is that both this and the hotel post would have been much better (and the sponsorship wouldn’t have been such a problem) if the focus and been on elaborating the travel and ideas: what to visit in DC with small kids, how to dress, where to eat, what went well and what didn’t, etc. and oh by the way we really enjoyed this hotel. And for the picnic to elaborate on how it all came together, the ease of ordering take-out, the pros and cons of it as well as the location for your picnic and timing and group size and how to dress. That would have been translatable to any location with any source of take-out and wouldn’t have screamed, “I got a free picnic from Bob Evans for posting about them to my readership!”

    • Sorry, that last part sounded mean, but wasn’t meant to be. Just conveys the vibe of the post without the rest of that interesting detail.

      • This is seriously helpful feedback you guys. And it IS much appreciated. Let me think on this…and we’ll try to do better next time.

        • Madeleine Hill on

          Shana – thanks for putting some thought into this. You know I’ve been reading since ANMJ – sadly, I stopped subscribing in the last couple years because the posts started becoming inaccessible to me (Yes, I started reading when my kids were toddlers – but they’re not anymore – maybe you could find a way to retain some of your longtime readers whose kids have gotten a little older??). Nevertheless, I do still check in every now and then because I do love your style. This really surprised me, though. Its seems completely incongruous.

          • Thank you for the awesome feedback. I appreciate it so much! It helps to guide my future work and realize exactly what it is that our followers would like to see. Cheers!

        • Perhaps an editor for tone and clarity could be helpful. Reading the comments, it seems like this post could have been improved by 1) a more credible thesis (e.g. an even stronger and more compelling personal connection about why this company is great/fashionable, a pitch on convenience being more fashionable than perfection) -and- 2) Stronger emphasis on clothes w/ links. The photos alone do not strike me as a totally off-brand. As a reader, one of my favorite parts of this blog is the variety of voices reflected in the editors’ posts. A wordsmithing/clarity editor would need to be able to preserve the authenticity that is so valuable to each of the posts.

          • Yes, EXACTLY. You nailed it. We (the TME team) have had so many discussions about keeping things real (what was that article we loved? messy hospitality?) and the online ordering/take-out component of Bob Evans seriously appealed. Combine that with Cam’s personal connection and her gorg pics/outfits…..yeah. I don’t think this article was off-brand at all! But the fact that some readers did think that….is due to exactly what you described above. Which is 100% on me. I’m gonna chalk this up to end-of-summer laziness. And maybe start looking for a tone/clarity editor. Are you interested? 🙂

  21. I love TME but I think this is the first time I’ve read a post and didn’t see links to all the outfits. Cams outfit is darling – where is it from??

  22. TME seems to have jumped the shark. I think the world of you ladies, but this along with the new layout has had me coming to this site less and less.

  23. Christy Hartman on

    TME Team, kudos for trying to be adaptive in a tricky marketplace, but as you can see from the comments, it’s time to pivot back. We love who you are – stay true to that. 😉

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