A Gaines Duet

I forget during which of my sisters’ remodels that the term “shiplap” was thrown around, but when it was, I remember being utterly confused, and my family being totally bewildered in response that I’d never heard of a little show called Fixer Upper.

Sidebar: I lived without cable for many years, and even when I had it, I never really got into any of HGTV’s offerings…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Despite their insistence that Chip was the funniest and that Joanna’s taste was unparalleled, it was only recently that I fell down the Magnolia rabbit hole.

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines

Why I picked it: Though I’d been reading/listening to The Last Black Unicorn for awhile, I decided I needed something a bit lighter for a road trip to Austin a couple weekends ago. Despite being able to (at the time) count on one hand the number of Fixer Upper episodes I’d seen, I spearheaded a girls’ trip to Magnolia Market this spring. This little road trip to Austin seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn a bit more about Waco’s golden couple before heading there myself.

Truthfully, I thought this was a finance book when I first saw it in Barnes & Noble. Let me put your mind at ease right now—it is not, lol.

Blurb in brief: “The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of 4 in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.

In Capital Gaines, we walk alongside him as he relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.

Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life.”

What I thought: Not really coming into this as a fan of the show (YET), I was pleasantly surprised by it. Chip and Joanna’s whole schtick with Fixer Upper andI’d argue, the secret to their success, is that they’re the real deal, and that authenticity shines through this whole memoir. Chip is a goofball, but he’s seriously hardworking and obviously loves his wife, his kids, and of course, Demo Day.

There is a lot of silly in this book, but there’s also a lot of heart—Chip as narrator is one part clown, one part coach—and at several moments, I found myself nodding along mouthing “Yes!” to some of his more profound rambles.

The book begins with and is structured around Ecclesiastes 3, with sections titled “A Time to Learn,” “A Time to Grow,” and “A Time to Build.” I think that framing works out so well with one of this book’s main themes: timing.

Chip Gaines has done a lot of stupid stuff (see: the title of this book), but despite that, I think he’s a man with few real regrets. He trusts in God’s timing, but he also is not a man who is afraid to act, to throw himself in wholeheartedly into any venture he thought worthy of his time and attention.

““Not one of us is getting any younger, and waiting for your ‘perfect moment’ or for the ‘most convenient time’ could very well turn into a missed opportunity.” -Chip Gaines

If you’re a fan of the show, I’d say this is a must-read, but even if you’re only passingly familiar with the Gaineses like I was, I’d still say it’s worth a look.

Total read time: 2 days on Audible

My rating: 4/5 stars; Goodreads rating: 4.09/5 stars


A book written by two authors: The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Why I picked it: There is no middle ground for me when it comes to pop culture; I’m either totally obsessed or uninterested. Once I drank the proverbial Kool Aid, I really had no choice but to read this book. And by read, I mean listen to.

Blurb in brief: Are you ready to see your fixer upper?

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people? What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.”

“I don’t think it’s irrational or too conservative of me to think, I never want to carry my baby into the county jail ever again.
Is it?” -Joanna Gaines


What I thought: I just love these two. Joanna wrote and read the forward in Capital Gaines, but I really enjoyed getting to hear both of their voices throughout this one.

The story of Magnolia truly is the story of Chip and Joanna, how they met and fell in love despite their vastly different personalities, and how together they built a beautiful family and a wildly successful business. The journey there wasn’t easy, and it was inspiring to hear about the setbacks and failures they met along the way and how they were able to surmount them with a mix of faith, gumption, and a willingness to get their hands dirty.

“If I had planned my life, it never would have ended up like this. So maybe it’s kind of fun not to plan. Maybe it’s more fun just to see where life takes you.” -Joanna Gaines

Total read time: 2 days on Audible

My rating: 4/5 stars; Goodreads rating: 4.25/5 stars

Chip and Joanna will admit themselves that they prove the old saying, “opposites attract.” This is made abundantly clear in both Capital Gaines and The Magnolia Story, but it’s also clear that, because of their differences, they bring the best out in one another. I’ll admit it, I was charmed, and consequently, spent most of last weekend binging episodes of Fixer Upper. #noregrets


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