For me, there’s no one more inspiring than Chip and Joanna Gaines when it comes to achieving a lifestyle of simplicity. Chip and Jo are the stars of the #1 hit TV show Fixer Upper on HGTV and are known for their “urban farmhouse” style. They’ve created a whole brand/lifestyle around remodeling homes, but to their fans, they’re also known as the definition of #relationshipgoals (if you want proof, go watch their show – you’ll thank me later).
Not only have they created an extremely successful business remodeling homes, but they’ve created an even greater success based around the simplistic lifestyle they live. Chip and Jo live on a farm, and they haven’t had a TV in their home since they got married – they believe their time is better served focusing on each other. All four of their kids help out on the farm, where they are taught to work with their hands, and that not everything happens with instant gratification. Up until the success of their show, they were always one failed business attempt away from going broke. On their twelve-year anniversary, Chip surprised Jo by offering to upgrade her engagement diamond to something bigger than what they could afford back when they got engaged. Jo turned down the offer, explaining in their auto-biography The Magnolia Story, “If I looked down at my hand and saw a more expensive diamond in that setting, it somehow wouldn’t fit. But this ring, with this diamond, the one I wear every day-this ring fits. When I look at it, I remember picking out that very diamond on the night of our engagement…” If that isn’t the definition of #relationshipgoals and true simplicity, then I don’t know what is. If you want a further glimpse into the simplistic lifestyle of Chip and Jo, go read their autobiography. It will totally inspire you to pack up, move to a farm and start raising chickens in your backyard. (You don’t believe me, come talk to me after you’ve read it).
I know what you’re thinking – “A blogger preaching about simplicity? Their whole business is based around consumerism!” Guess what – so are a lot of careers. Chip and Jo have created a business around consumerism as well, through the homes they fix up. The difference is the way they run their business – making their products accessible and appealing to all different types of families and incomes. The proof is in the stats – Chip and Jo have single-handedly put Waco, TX on the map as a tourist destination. Their Magnolia Market shop brought in 1.9 million visitors in 2016, and hotel revenues grew 19% – the strongest growth in all of Texas that year. (Waco Tribune-Herald)
I’ve always been an old soul, striving to live this simplistic lifestyle. Each year as I grow older, my values of God, family and contentment become that much more important to me. Don’t get me wrong, of course I enjoy the finer things in life, but we’ve got to have some perspective here. To me, my peace of mind is much more important than keeping up with appearances.
Up until recently, Chip and Jo didn’t have much money – Jo learned to remodel homes by shopping at antique and thrift stores, buying old pieces and fixing them up to look new. This is how their whole business started – and if it weren’t for Jo’s creativity in making a tight budget look high-end, they would never be where they are today. There’s something to be said about antique, timeless pieces. There’s always a story that comes along with a purchase like this that makes it somehow worth more than any new, high-end piece ever could. As Jo says, “There’s something about doing things the way our ancestors used to do them that kind of puts your heart back into the rhythm of this thing called life.”
Jo makes one more great point in creating this lifestyle of simplicity and contentment. She explains in the autobiography “For the first four years of having kids, I threw elaborate birthday parties. I spent money we shouldn’t have spent. And then I realized that my two-year-olds didn’t even notice all the details I’d spent so much time and money on. All they wanted was cake! And I did all this for what? For me? To look impressive?… Letting it all go is freeing. (And it’s cheaper too!) I am learning that getting our intentions right simplifies our decisions in life and changes our perspective. And in the end, what it’s all about is thankfulness and contentment.”
I mean seriously, how exhausting is it keeping up with appearances? Is it really worth sacrificing your peace of mind (and budget)? Wouldn’t you rather live a life all for you and the ones you love – not for those people on social media that we don’t even know? I try to keep these thoughts and ideas close to my heart every day – living a life of simplicity is one of the most freeing things you can do, and nothing is more valuable than your peace of mind.
***Not only are they my life coaches, Chip and Jo also design the cutest tees through their online store, Magnolia Market. Shop below for the two tees I’m wearing, along with more of my faves from the market.***
Photos by Laura Von Photography