Gaines, Gaines, and More Gains: A Review of Capital Gaines

I have something to confess. It is a guilty pleasure of mine, except I don’t think “guilty” is the right term for it. I’m sure a lot of you have this same pleasure: HGTV reality shows. It is seriously a problem, guys. I am obsessed with the renovation shows on that channel. I used to hate them, but then my mother got me hooked on them. Thanks, Mom. In reality, though, she had help from two very charismatic renovators.

The Gaines.

Yes, you guessed it. Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines are the reason I fell in love with renovation shows and why restoring an old, brick colonial to its former glory is now on my bucket list. I mean, who doesn’t love them?! Weirdos, that’s who! As you could probably guess, I was pretty bummed out when they announced they were leaving the show, but I am also very happy for them and the cute new addition to their family. However, I then had to deal with a Chip-and-Jo-sized hole in my entertainment, so when the opportunity arose to read Chip’s new book, Capital Gaines, I jumped at it.

For those of you who have watched the show, you know exactly how much of straight-shooter Chip is, and it is no different in his latest novel. In this story, he shares the details of how they started Magnolia and reached the level of success they are at now. Of course, there are plenty of jokes and shenanigans along the way to keep you entertained if you are like me and get bored easily by nonfiction. (I’m not the only one, right???)

What made this book so special to me is the way Chip wrote it. He really writes from the heart, and you can feel it in the text, almost as if he is a friend sitting right next you, giving you the advice of a lifetime. In our day and age, a lot of people on television are not the same in real life. It is almost like there are two different people, but that is not the case with Chip. He is the same loveable goofball in this book as he is on the screen. I finished this book feeling like a better person because of what he taught me on those pages. I felt more prepared to face this world after Chip imparted a little knowledge to me.

I highly recommend this novel to people of all ages, people who are simply looking for a pick-me-up or a little advice. Chip Gaines does a masterful job of combining the two in a way that only Chip Gaines could. That hole in my life hasn’t gone away because now they have made another, entirely different impact on me by making me feel like a friend for 184 pages. But that’s okay because it has changed me and my views on life and the world in indescribable ways. Chip and Jo may not be on our screens anymore, but they are certainly still effecting change in the world in the most wonderful ways possible.

And if by some chance that they ever see this article, I want them to know how grateful I am for what they have taught me. Chip, your novel is part of how I found the courage to even begin this blog. Jo, you have opened my eyes to the wonderful world of design, and I love you for it! Thank you both from the bottom of my heart, and God bless that beautiful, little family of yours!

As for the rest of you, pick up Capital Gaines. Make a change in your life for the better. Choose today to be a little stronger at something, to choose what makes you happy first. You know I am all about that!!



Unfiltered by Lily Collins

Recently, I began working on an essay for my English class. I chose the topic of body shaming. I had already written one of my papers on this subject, so I thought the jumpstart would help. I scoured books, magazines, and of course, the internet to find the information I needed for my argument. But one source took me by total surprise and may even change my life.

We all know Lily Collins. The daughter of famous musician Phil Collins, Lily is a talented actress herself and has starred in movies such as Mirror, Mirror; City of Bones; and more recently, To the Bone. Well, this past year she returned to her journalist/writing roots and released a poignant autobiography titled Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. In this novel, Lily tells all about her struggle with anorexia and bulimia, the rocky relationship with her father, and the dark exes of her past. In doing so, she reminds us all just what it takes to be strong and confident.

I have never been one of those women who can walk up to any guy she wants and flirt or look in the mirror and think of myself as sexy. In fact, as I’m writing this, the voice in the back of my head whispers that it is probably not good enough. Simply put, I have never had any confidence in anything I have ever done. I don’t think of myself as beautiful or desirable. I don’t think of myself as particularly talented, but this book has shown me that I am not the only one. It doesn’t matter what a woman looks like or acts like; society always convinces us that we are not good enough. But in following Lily’s journey to overcome this, I have learned that it is not a one-time battle. It is an everyday choice. I do not battle bulimia or anorexia, but I know all too well what it feels like to think you are not pretty enough or thin enough or smart enough to ever be good enough for someone. There are days when those thoughts consume me entirely. I cannot bring myself to smile, I cannot bring myself to drown them out. I just let them wash over me.

This book taught me that you must take it one day at a time. You must make the decision every single day. It is not a one-time choice, and it is taken care of. Every morning when you wake up, you must decide that you will not let those thoughts get to you. You must decide to believe in yourself. You are the only one who can say, “I am good enough”, because, as Lily points out, no one can truly love you until you love yourself.

It is the biggest struggle I have in my life. The voice in the back of my head is very loud, but I can drown it out. So, I am issuing all of you a challenge. First, read this book. It is my firm belief that every woman—whether she considers herself insecure or not, confident or not—must read this book.       Second, I challenge all of you to make the choice. Every. Single. Day. You are good enough, you are pretty enough, you are enough. Every day, decide not to let the voices get to you. Decide to believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. It may not happen overnight, but I promise you, your life will change.

I will be taking this challenge, too, because I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to feel beautiful. I don’t want to rely on someone else to do those things for me. And bless you, Lily Collins, for sharing your beautiful story. What began as research for a school paper has changed so much in me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Your story will impact the lives of so many women in unimaginably beautiful ways.