Showing posts with label HGTV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HGTV. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 3

Some Tough Questions for Chip and Joanna Gaines

Hello lovelies and Happy New Year! Let's all let out a huge sigh of relief that we survived that trainwreck of a year that was 2016. Am I right? We are now 3 days into 2017 and I want to ask my old friends (loose terminology) Chip and Joanna Gaines a few tough questions. 

First - some background. If you've read my post from a few years ago, I Want To Be Joanna Gaines, I love these two and their show Fixer Upper on HGTV. They are funny, they are best friends to each other, their family is ridiculously sweet and they are fantastic designers. I love their show. I love their style. I love their dedication to making their community a better place. 

Photo courtesy of

In November, they came under fire for being members of the Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX. This church, and specifically the pastor, Jimmy Seibert (who apparently really IS friends with Chip and Joanna) have taken a strong stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. According to this Buzzfeed article Jimmy has been quoted saying: 

“Truth No. 1: Homosexuality is a sin. The lie: Homosexuality is not a sin. The statistics say that 90% of people who are in a full-blown homosexual lifestyle were abused in some way. Physically, sexually, mentally. We have people and young people that never had any intention of a same-sex attraction et cetera, who have seen sexuality up front in pornography and now are trapped in the addiction of it.”

While Chip and Jo chose to remain primarily quiet after the article was first published, yesterday Chip put up this blog post. Click on the image to read it. 

In it, he talks about learning how to lovingly disagree. While he doesn't say it directly, one has to assume that either Chip and Jo don't agree with their minister and that is the harmonious discord that he refers to. OR that they do agree with Pastor Seibert and they want us all to accept that they have a different point of view on this particular topic. Meaning, they too believe that homosexuality is a sin.

So let's break it down. 

Let's say it's Scenario 1: Chip and Joanna go to a great church that's become a major part of their lives. Like many of us they find comfort and community there and a place to talk to their God. Presumably, they use the church as a place to teach their children how to be faithful, loving little human beings. But there are certain aspects of this church that they don't agree with - ideologies that are old, out of date and that make them uncomfortable. 

In this scenario, wouldn't it have been incredible for them to use the blog post to say to the world, "We love our church but on this topic we respectfully disagree." Or go a step further in their conviction and ask the Pastor to set a true example of acceptance and understanding of those who are different by eliminating dangerous and unfounded statements. By staying silent initially, and then publishing a vague blog post, they have missed a fantastic opportunity to effect real change in the hearts and minds of their most conservative followers. 

But let's say it's Scenario 2: that Chip and Joanna agree with their church that homosexuality and gay marriage are condemnable acts that lead you away from God. Their faith and their background, their strong belief in traditional values have led them to the conclusion that being gay is, like the minister says, a sin. They are certainly entitled to their opinion, but to then post a blog about understanding and acceptance, saying that they as a family want to "operate from a position of love in all things" while inherently believing that certain types of love are sinful, is hypocrisy. 

Chip says in his blog that "Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders. We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike." start at home. If you don't agree with your church's stance on this issue, encourage a public conversation with the church asking them to consider the damage their controversial statements can have. 

If though they agree with Seibert's statements, such as the one where he calls the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015 a "biblical admonition", then they must own it. Do not hide behind grand proclamations of acceptance and understanding while practicing discrimination and exclusion in your own home. 

So my dear friends (again, loosely used and not intended to produce a restraining order) Chip and Jo - what do you really mean when you say "fear dissolves in close proximity. Our stereotypes and vain imaginations fall away when we labor side by side"? Are you speaking to your real friend, the minister of your church, asking him to open his heart and mind to the concept that members of the LGBT community are not sinners, and are instead misjudged and persecuted widely? Or do you, deep in your heart, believe that they our gay brothers and sisters are dangerously close to being beyond redemption based on their life "choices"? 

Uniting a house divided as you suggest requires clarity and the work cannot begin until the depth of the differences are truly understood. Yes, you are correct when you say that "disagreement in not the same as hate" but the judgement and condemnation that the LGBT community has endured, partly because of vitriolic remarks like those of your pastor, has been nothing short of hateful. 

I fear you will not say where you truly stand on this issue because you are afraid it will damage your brand and you may lose fans. And that is certainly a possibility - either way.  But part of the reason for your huge fan base, and the subsequent success you've had, is because you wear your hearts on your sleeves and share everything. 

So share this, Chip and Jo, so we can all fully understand the differences between us and work to bridge the divide - as you say you have been called to do. 

Sincerely, Your Best Friend That You've Never Heard Of - Allie 

Wednesday, January 7

Ellen's New Design Show...A Sign of the (Decor) Times?

If there was ever a sign that home decor is at an all time high in terms of public interest, then it's the fact that Ellen DeGeneres has a new furniture show premiering on HGTV later this month. HGTV!!  A comedian turned talk show host and now furniture design expert???

Photo Courtesy of HGTV
It may not be completely out of left field - home design and decor is not a new interest of Ellen's. She and her wife, fellow actress Portia De Rossi have long been known for their sense of style and their gorgeous homes. Here are a few shots from their horse farm in the Santa Monica mountains (courtesy of Elle Decor). 

Ellen's new show will pit six furniture designers against each other in a series of contests where she will eliminate a designer each week leaving just one to win the $100,000 prize. While venturing outside of her comedic roots isn't something new for Ellen (American Idol anyone?) the fact that she is putting her name on a decor based show on HGTV is significant. It signals an ever increasing level of viewer interest in all things home design which as I have noted before, is big business these days. 

Need further proof of the trend of celebs dipping their toes into the lucrative tv world of home design? Rapper Common will premiere his new show called Framework on SpikeTV with a very similar format to Ellen's show where furniture designers and award a $100,000 prize as well.  

Photo Courtesy of Spike
Add to Ellen and Common 80s icons Vanilla Ice and Jennie Garth along with hip hop legend Reverend Run who is documenting his home renovation. It's a bonafide home decor feeding frenzy! 

So what is behind the trend? One could argue that celebs have a lot of disposable income and love to spend it on their glamorous homes and a LOT of free time. But perhaps the bigger story here is an ever growing audience of people like me and the advertising and programming dollars that follow. In fact, in the third quarter of 2013, HGTV was the most watched cable network among viewers whose household income exceeded $100,000. A lucrative demographic, an almost incurable appetite for all things design AND main stream celebrities? Put them all together and you have a recipe for success!

So who is next on the list of celebs with home decor shows? I vote for Ben Affleck and Jen Garner personally! How awesome would that be? A girl can dream no?

Monday, October 6

The Business of Design & Finding A Balance

I am but an infant blogger having only done this for a short time, but one thing I've learned quickly is that I am not alone in this space. A quick check of the website BlogTopSites and I found more blogs in the Home and Garden category than I could count. Literally, I got to number 718 and stopped out of sheer exhaustion. Some are more successful than others such as Thrifty Decor Chick with her 2.5 million monthly page views or  Centsational Girl with her only slightly less impressive 1.5 million. Hometalk, the popular platform for people to share their decor and DIY projects boasts more than 715,000 Facebook followers and there's even a national conference called Haven which "allows people to learn from and gather with some of the most notable DIY/Home bloggers in blog land." A whole conference on blogging about home decor. This isn't a cottage industry folks, this is big business! 

Of course, blogs are just one part of the home decor cosmos. HGTV is seen in more than 99 million households with an annual revenue figure of $176 million. According to Target's 2012 annual report, close to $13 billion in sales came from their home furnishings and decor department. That's almost equal to the GDP of Iceland people!!!

So why the national obsession? I suppose I am in a good position to answer that given I am one of the masses. For me, it is my creative outlet. Starting with a blank slate and creating a beautiful space gives me pure joy. There's no drama. There are no deadlines. No one is yelling at me or counting on me. It's just me and a giant puzzle that I am obsessed with putting together. The minute I have a scheme in mind, I literally can't wait to implement it. And once it's done, I keep going back into that room to look at what I've done. I know how that sounds and let's be honest, being an amateur designer and beginner blogger hardly makes me Mother Teresa.

So how do I balance my obsession with pretty things and my inner desire to give back? I got a small glimpse at how I might be able to do both this summer when I was contacted by BJs Wholesale Club who asked me to help them redesign a teacher's lounge at an elementary school in central Virginia. On a hot August day, I took my 10 year old daughter with me and we took shots of the lounge and then using all BJs products and a very limited budget, I came up with a concept to transform the space. Here was how the room looked when I visited:

And here is the inspiration board I created using all products from BJs. I provided them with a detailed and numbered guide on how to implement the design and which products to chose from their website. Unfortunately, scheduling and budget constraints kept this project from being implemented in this way, but I was happy to do the work and it inspired me to do more.

Now that I have reduced my work schedule and am close to finishing my own house, I am going to start looking for more projects where I can give my time to helping the designer challenged. And I think you know who you are. JUST KIDDING! What I mean is finding deserving people/places that could use a little pick me up to make daily life that much more enjoyable. A balanced life awaits!