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A note from Joanna Gaines on the ‘Fixer Upper’ finale and what’s next

Originally posted by Joanna Gaines on Magnolia.com.


Tonight marks the final episode of Fixer Upper—the series finale. This season of life has been rewarding, challenging, unbelievably fast and furious and nearly everything in between. Back in September when Chip and I posted the blog announcing that this season would be our last, it still seemed so far away. At the time, we were knee-deep in the restaurant renovation, we had filming left to wrap up, and we were working toward finishing up several projects. April felt like it was forever away, but somehow it snuck up on us. Time is funny like that, the days sometimes seem long, but the weeks, months and even years fly past us when we least expect it.

I really loved this final Fixer Upper season because there was such a variety of styles and projects that really kept us on our toes. We did everything from an old barn out in the country to a downtown loft apartment. We also got to do some pretty unique projects like my garden house, a new build for clients, our restaurant, and an ADA compliant house for two amazing boys and their family that we met through the Tim Tebow Foundation. Oh, and of course tonight’s episode, where we do a renovation for a Rockstar! You can read a recap of all the homes from this season and see photos of all the designs up on our website under the tab “Show”. We are grateful to all the families who joined in on this journey with us over the past five years—what an honor to be a part of their stories.

I do want to take some time to update you on a bunch of things that are going on in our neck of the woods now that filming is over. We are so thrilled that our restaurant, Magnolia Table is finally up and running. The whole project was a huge undertaking, and we are so happy that it is officially open! If you come visit the restaurant, some of Chip’s favorites are the Farm Eggs Benedict, tater tots, the bacon and eggs appetizer and of course Chip’s Ham Sandwich. I am currently craving the pancakes, chicken salad sandwich, lavender latte and the Gaines Bros Burger with the jalapeño drip jam. My stomach is growling as I type this!

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We also finished my cookbook, Magnolia Table, which will be out April 24th. It’s a collection of recipes from my kitchen, our restaurant, and some of my favorites from family and friends. Cooking is so special to me because time spent around the table with family and friends is such a gift. My hope is that this book inspires you in the kitchen and that you’ll find recipes that become tried and true favorites for your own family!

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I am working on finishing up my design book this month! My passion is to help people in their own homes—you don’t have to be a designer to get it right. It’s not about rules and special formulas. I believe it starts by simply going with your gut and telling your story. I unpack many different looks and styles in this book and give a deeper look into the design process and where to start with your space. I can’t wait to share this project with you, and I will keep you posted on when it will be available.

As far as renovations after Fixer Upper, many of you may know that we were doing construction and design years before the show came online. Our company Magnolia Design and Construction has been fixing up homes for over 15 years now and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon! We have some big projects in the works and we are currently renovating a few flip houses and building about 20 new homes here in town. I will be posting some pictures soon—I can’t wait for you to see all of these new designs. Once these homes are a little further along, we will share more info with you about them so stay tuned!

We have exciting plans for our online store this summer here at Magnolia! We will be launching Magnolia Kids which will have everything from children’s furniture to accessories. There may be some baby stuff, too, because of course that’s all I can think about!

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And now for a quick update on the home front. Chip continues to increase our pet population. He recently surprised us all with a new kitten AND a new puppy. Oh, sweet Chip…

Chip is also busy training for the Silo District Marathon in May. He is doing such an amazing job and anytime he goes on a long run, my favorite thing is watching the kids wait for him to come down our driveway so they can cheer him on in those last steps. I always get teary eyed because I am just so proud. When this marathon comes, I am going to be a big ball of a mess when he crosses that finish line. Chip wrote about wanting to run a marathon a year ago in his book, and now he is just a month out from reaching his goal!

For us, the end of this final season marks the beginning of a new one. If you would have told me that I’d end this season of the show pregnant with our fifth baby, I would’ve laughed. Like the entire Fixer Upper opportunity as a whole, life has a way of surprising us. With our little ones getting bigger, we had this gut feeling that it was time to step back and focus on them and our businesses here in Waco, Texas. And although that’s why we thought we decided to step away from the show, we now realize with this little one on the way that there was a bigger plan in place for us all along.

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Pregnancy has been so fun, in fact my two favorite things to do are take naps and eat! Since it’s been over eight years since I was pregnant with Emmie Kay, I joke with my friends that it feels like it’s my first time being pregnant. The best thing about all of this is the excitement that my kids have shown for their new baby brother. Since I had our first four babies so close to one another, none of them actually remember me being pregnant. They love my growing belly (and boy is it growing), and they cannot wait to meet him. I truly believe this baby is a gift from God for our family in this season.

I hope you’ll tune in tonight for our final episode on HGTV at 9/8c. This project is one of my favorites, and of course, we must end the series with some shiplap! Season Five’s Behind the Design episodes will start airing next Tuesday, which will give you an in-depth look into the process and also some rooms you didn’t get to see in the original reveal.

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Today is really bittersweet for us. Fixer Upper is the thing that introduced our family to yours, and every Tuesday night for the past five years, we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen. We’ve said it many times, but it’s worth saying again—thank you to everyone who has walked beside us on this journey. Whether you watched every single show since season one or you are just now tuning in, you all have been a part of this and Chip and I will always be grateful for your support. We’re not saying goodbye! I’d love for you to follow along with us on our newsletter, on social media or right here on my blog for future updates. We’re so excited for all that’s still to come!

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When your coworker is expecting a baby, what do you give them? A cute onesie? Some classic baby books? How about your own paid time off?

A recent report by Good Morning America has sparked plenty of online conversation about the growing trend of colleagues donating their own paid time off to an expecting parent in the workplace, and the overwhelming consensus is that while well intentioned, colleagues shouldn't have to crowdsource a substitute for parental leave.

As plenty of Twitter users have pointed out to GMA, paid parental leave is sorely needed in the United States, but in its absence, generous co-workers are giving up their own PTO so that a new mother or father can enjoy an extra day at home with their baby.

Last month The Washington Post reported the practice is common in federal offices. "Co-workers donate them to help extend parental leave so a frazzled new mom doesn't have to go back to work six weeks after giving birth," columnist Petula Dvorak wrote.

GMA interviewed mothers in non-federal workplaces who had their maternity leaves topped up by colleagues' donations.

Jessie Sampson works for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, but Nebraska does not offer state employees dedicated paid maternity leave. The state does allow "new moms who work for the state to receive donated time once they have used their own accrued sick time" thanks to a program launched in January GMA reports.

Sampson was able to have four more weeks with her second child than she did with her first thanks to the donations of coworkers. "I had more bonding time with my child and I was able to establish a much better breastfeeding routine," Sampson told GMA. "That's time [my colleagues] could be spending relaxing and to give it to me to spend time with my child, I'm really grateful for that."

Sampson is greatful, but Twitter users are outraged by the idea that programs like this should even have to exist, and point out that the colleagues of new parents shouldn't be sacrificing their own time off.

While well-intentioned to be sure, colleagues who donate their own paid time off may be putting themselves at risk. Research indicates that women who don't take their vacations time are eight times more likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease than women who vacation twice a year, and when men at high risk for heart disease actually take their vacations they're 32% less likely to die of heart disease.

In short, we need our time off. And when colleagues feel pressured to donate theirs so a new parent can take a leave, they're putting themselves at risk of burning out. That's simply not fair, and it's actually not good for workplace productivity either.

"The mental and physical benefits of taking time off work include improved sleep, a better headspace, more clarity and increased creativity," Dr. Kathryn Smerling, a New York City based psychologist told NBC News. "By taking time off, you'll find a renewed sense of purpose, more energy to carry out tasks and in general, an overall sense of happiness."

Colleagues donating their own time off is a beautiful, generous act. But it's an itty-bitty Band-Aid on a great big gaping wound. America needs paid parental leave, and we need it now.

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Sometimes people get hungry when they're out and about, and since babies need to eat more often than most of us, they definitely get hungry away from home. Parents can't—and shouldn't—be forced to find a private spot for a breastfeeding break every time baby needs to nurse.

Breastfeeding is normal, it's natural and our right to do it in public is protected.

American mothers "have the right to breastfeed your baby wherever and whenever your baby is hungry," according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office on Women's Health. Until this year, Idaho was the one state that had no protections for breastfeeding mothers, but that has changed.

Now all 50 states (and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) have laws that protect a mom's right to breastfeed in public, notes the National Conference of State Legislators.


The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the World Health Organization all encourage women to breastfeed and want to raise breastfeed rates in the United States. These organizations encourage exclusive breastfeeding because a growing body of evidence suggests breastfeeding offers optimal nutritional and immune system benefits, including lower risks for asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, 63.74% of Americans believe women should have the right to breastfeed in public places, and 57.75% say they are "comfortable when mothers breastfeed their babies near me in a public place."

Just over 19% of Americans are not comfortable seeing mothers breastfeed in public, but it's important to remember that a mother's right to breastfeed is legally protected, comfort in public spaces is not. Unfortunately, research suggests that "restaurant and shopping center managers have reported that they would either discourage breastfeeding anywhere in their facilities or would suggest that breastfeeding mothers move to an area that was more secluded."

Those attitudes are changing, but there are still many people who do not understand that breastfeeding moms have a right to feed their babies in public.

Recently, an Illinois mother who was waiting in (a very, very long) line during the Build-A-Bear Pay Your Age event was reportedly discouraged from nursing by a mall security guard. Fellow moms were not having it, and held a peaceful protest inside the shopping center last Saturday.

"We do not agree with the officer's decision to approach the mother and his actions do not reflect the views of this shopping center," the mall's General Manager said in a statement to the Beacon News. The manager apologized and said the shopping center will continue to support breastfeeding rights in the future.

So what can a mother do if she is approached by someone who discourages her from nursing in public?

"Remember that the law protects your right to feed your baby any place you need to. You do not need to respond to anyone who criticizes you for breastfeeding," the CDC states on its website. "If you feel in danger, move away from the person criticizing you and look for people who can support you.


We can breastfeed at bus stops, at restaurants, at the public pool, at the library, at the mall, or anywhere we need to. It's our responsibility to feed our children when they are hungry, and it's our right, too.

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They say there's no use in crying over it, but for pumping mamas, spilled milk is a major upset.

When you're working so hard to make sure your baby has breast milk, you don't want to lose a drop, and Chrissy Teigen knows this all too well.

The mom of two posted a video to social media Wednesday showing her efforts to rescue breastmilk from a tabletop. She used various utensils and a syringe to try to get the milk back in the bottle.

"I spilled my breastmilk and this is how important it is in this house," she says while suctioning up milk with what appears to be a baster.

In a follow-up video Teigen continues to try to rescue the spilled milk.

"We're trying," she says as she suctions up a drop or two. "I got some."

Teigen is currently breastfeeding baby Miles, her son with husband John Legend, and has been very public about the fact that she pumps a lot as a working mom.

She's also been open about the fact that milk supply has always been an issue for her, not just with Miles but with Luna, too.

"I actually loved [pumping] because I'm a collector of things, and so when I found out I could pump I [did it] so much because I knew the more you pumped, the more milk you'd make," she told POPSUGAR back in March. "So I loved collecting my breast milk and seeing how much I could get, even if it was very, very little."

Like a lot of moms, Teigen did struggle emotionally when a pump session wouldn't get her the ounces she wanted.

"I wasn't producing a lot of milk, and it was frustrating. When you're frustrated, [it can also make you] not produce that much."

Research backs her up. Stress has been linked to lower milk production. Because of that, she's trying to stay positive this time around, but captioned her video post "EVERY DROP COUNTS IN THIS HOUSE" because, well, they do.


So many mothers can relate. Have you ever tried to save your breastmilk?

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Former Bachelorette and mom of two Ali Fedotowsky is on a roll when it comes to starting conversations about why we mamas should love our bodies (and we love her for it).

Earlier this week Fedotowsky posted a series of photos showing her postpartum belly, loose skin and all. It was a vulnerable post, but a really valuable one in a world where images of celebrity postpartum bodies often don't reflect the ones we see in the mirror.

"I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky captioned the photos.

It seems like that post is helping, because, as Fedotowsky noted in her next Instagram post, her honest belly pics were met with an outpouring of love and support.

"I had no idea how many women needed to see that post," she wrote, noting that the reaction to those photos inspired her to write a blog post featuring her favorite breastfeeding-friendly clothing, because she's celebrating and loving her postpartum body for what it did and continues to do for her baby, not just what it looks like.

"Yes, I may have extra fat and loose skin around my belly, but that same body nourishes and comforts my child. Just another reason to love every inch of my body and how it has changed."

Fedotowsky gave birth in May, so she's only a couple months postpartum and it's not surprising that she's still carrying a little extra weight. Research indicates that about 20% of moms are carrying about 11 pounds extra 6 to 18 months after giving birth. And while weight loss is often cited as a reason for women to breastfeed, studies show that breastfeeding doesn't lead to substantial weight loss for everyone, and in fact only has a small effect on postpartum weight loss typically.

So moms like Fedotowsky should absolutely love the bodies that are feeding their babies, and we love how Fedotowsky is encouraging that.

Pregnancy changes our bodies. But they are still so beautiful.

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