Katie Leigh Reads: Magnolia

December 16, 2018
There is a part of us that craves the old fashion way of doing things. Getting back to our roots, making things with our hands and living a much simpler life that speaks to all of us on some level. Whether it’s buying a record player, starting our own business or enjoying the traditions of Christmas. Yes, we are all looking for a little bit of yesterday, where the community came first, and things were made with quality.

Maybe in my learning of minimalism and embracing things with intention and quality, I’ve started craving this type of life more. Or perhaps it’s always been a part of me. But at Christmas time I feel the need to go back to the old even more than I do the rest of the year, which is where my reading recommendation comes this month.

Magnolia. An entire brand that’s dedicated to putting our families at the top of the list and encouraging quality in every decision we make. Building a home, creating a recipe or hearing a story that helps us understand our own just a little bit more, Magnolia has something to offer.

Chip and Joanna Gaines have created a brand that is all about embracing the old. Not because new is bad, but because there has been something lost in the technology boom. In the fast growth we’ve seen in the last century we have forgotten some important things, and those growing pains are now being felt more than ever. There is a dire need to connect, with the people around us, with nature, and with ourselves. Magnolia is providing small ideas of how to do that again.

The Magnolia Story, The first book written by the Gaines is a story of meeting, falling in love and finding their way in building a business and a family. It shares the struggles with figuring it all out and making it work for us. It shares the importance of having a dream and having the gumption to go after that dream. It isn’t a map for what your life needs to look like, only a recipe for what someone else has done, and maybe a few of those ingredients will be right for your own life.

Magnolia Story, takes you on the ride of Fixer Upper, on business decisions that could have been detrimental to their family, but with a little faith and a lot of hard work, worked out in the end. Chip and Joanna’s story is one to inspire us all that anything is possible and that dreams do come true, as long as we are willing to put in all the work and take a few chances on ourselves. What I love most about this book is the authenticity that these two bring wherever they go. The realities of raising kids and growing a business. The struggles with marriage and loving somewhen even when they drive you crazy, but mostly I love the stories they share of life not being perfect, of screwing up and still figuring out what is important at the end of the day. (Currently, this book is free to Prime users on Kindle.)

Magnolia Cookbook, shares not only the recipes in Joanna’s kitchen but the recipe to connect with the community. By sharing a table with friends and family, we become closer. We hear stories and opinions that might not fit with our own but are welcome. The table is the safe place that we can all come and be ourselves, where we can learn to accept and love those that are different than us to strengthen our community. Everything happens around the table.

Of course, Magnolia Cookbook is filled with recipes too and stories of the farm. You might not find any Weight Watchers approved meals in here, but you’ll find a lot of family memories and meals that you can make some healthy tweaks to. We love to bring out this book when we know we’ll be having guests over or want to have a special treat for ourselves. It’s good ol’ Southern comfort food through and through.

Having talked about family and cooking it all comes back to one place, the home. The home is the foundation for any family. It’s where the magic happens. After having gotten married this year and been working on our own home, I see the importance of creating a space that feels like us. It’s not only fun to show off to friends and family, but it feels fantastic to come home to a space that sparks creativity and relaxation. You can tell that we’ve put a lot of love and attention into our home. Just as I said in a recent post, the Divine is in the details and being in a space that feels joyful and comforting is a sign of the Divine to me.

The most recent Magnolia book, Home Body, is a design book created by Joanna for you to decorate your home. She breaks down the house room by room with examples of homes you’ve seen on Fixer Upper and homes you haven’t seen before. She talks about the details of design and the different styles that are out there. Every piece of designing a home is broken down in this book released in October of 2018.


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If you’re like me and want all of this in one place then Magnolia Journal, their quarterly magazine, is the perfect book for you. Filled with everything that makes the Magnolia brand so enjoyable, this journal is the thing I look forward to at the beginning of each season. I wait for it to hit the newsstand at Natural Grocers, with little patience, so I can go home and be inspired. I love the stories of focusing on the essential things and adding quality design to every area of my life. Magnolia Journal is easily my favorite magazine of all time, and what makes it better, it transcends time. Just because I have the winter edition of 2018 doesn’t mean it won’t be relevant in 2019. Their focus on timelessness, not just the latest trends is one of the things that has continued to make this brand so amazing. It isn’t just about selling more items but of helping you build a life that lasts. Just like our grandparents had.

Now that’s a philosophy I can get behind!

Go back to the basics. Seek quality over quantity. Live a life of intentions. Remember what is most important in life – family and community. Whether you read these books or not, these are the lessons I hope you can walk away with.


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