Guide us, Joanna!  

By Meghan Overdeep
December 19, 2019
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From cooking and home design to raising a family and building a business, if there’s one celebrity we can always count on to inspire us in all aspects of life, it’s Joanna Gaines.

2019 was a big one for the Waco Wonder Woman. With help from her demo-loving husband Chip, this year Joanna celebrated son Crew’s first birthday, announced the launch of a new television network, opened a coffee shop, published a children’s book, shared plans for a new hotel, and so much more.  And somehow, the mother-of-five also managed to serve up plenty of handy tips along the way. Without further ado, please enjoy the top eight things we learned from the HGTV star this year.

These are the world’s comfiest shoes

If you’re a Fixer Upper fan, there’s a good chance you noticed throughout the show’s five seasons that Joanna has a penchant for a certain pair of slip-on sandals. A quick look at her Instagram posts from the summer months proves that she’s a huge fan of her Birkenstock Arizona sandals, and has been for years. Even daughter Emmi has a matching pair! And this Texas mama is not alone. More than 1,300 customers have given the Birkenstocks a near-perfect review on Zappos, calling them "most comfortable sandals ever."

The best affordable nude lipstick

In a Magnolia blog post detailing her makeup routine, Joanna refers to MAC's Nude Lipstick in Fresh Brew ($18.50; Nordstrom) as "the best long-lasting nude lipstick I've found!" With more than 3,000 positive reviews on Nordstrom, consider us sold!

The perfect do-it-all casserole

We’re always in the market for a go-to dinner recipe that works at home and as a gift for a new mother or a family who could use a hot meal. That’s why we immediately filed away Joanna’s Friendsgiving Casserole from her upcoming cookbook Magnolia Table Volume 2. A satisfying mix of bread, chicken breast, cranberry sauce and celery, from beginning to end, the whole thing takes about two hours to make. Even better? It comes with an assurance from Joanna that it’s “easy to love, even for the pickiest eaters.”

How to pot a plant without drainage holes

It’s a situation we’ve all faced, but thankfully, Joanna is here to help. "If you find that your favorite pot doesn't have a hole in the bottom for drainage, we have good news: almost any container can become a happy home for a plant!" she wrote on her blog back in March.  All you need is the plant itself, a pot or container for your plant, landscape rocks, horticultural charcoal, and potting soil. Then, simply layer them to provide your pretty plant with adequate drainage.

The secret for a kitchen with wow-factor

There’s nothing worse than a drab kitchen. Jo’s solution? High-contrast color combos to create wow-factor. For example, she suggests mixing and matching your upper, lower, and island colors, as opposed to sticking with a monotone cabinetry palette. Using shades of black and white is another timeless, Joanna-approved way you can create contrast in your kitchen without turning stomachs.

Advice for staying in the present moment

Like all of us, Joanna often finds herself struggling to live in the moment. That’s why she came up with a simple two-word mantra she repeats “every time she feels that invariable tug to disengage from the present.” Just two simple words: look up.

“And because I believe there is power in asking our body to act on our heart’s behalf, no matter where I was or what task may have been in front of me, if I sensed myself drifting, I’d do my best to pause and look up,” she explained in a blog post.

Not to rush the hunt for the perfect décor

Buried among the swoon-worthy photos documenting her stunning renovation of the Magnolia office library, Joanna shared a valuable tip about collecting decor for a certain space. Basically, to relax and trust that it will work out. “I’m reminded time and time again in design not to rush the process of completing a space, but to wait for the right pieces to come along over time,” she wrote.

Which paint colors to avoid

This might be more personal preference than anything else, but Joanna feels pretty strongly about avoiding bold colors on her interior walls. "For my own home, I typically tend to lean more toward neutral colors and a clean palette,” she revealed in a March interview with Real Simple. But that doesn’t mean she’s totally adverse to some pops of pizazz here and there. “I might shy away from reds and purples, but there is a time and place for any color. For example, I do think the right shade of red can add character to a front door and is great for curb appeal!"