The world has gone crazy.

Twitter feuds have escalated to a new level. Kylie AND Khloe are pregnant (whaaaat?). And yesterday Chip and Joanna Gaines broke the news that “Fixer Upper” is entering its final season.

Why must all good things come to an end?

Fans are heartbroken, and understandably so. Over the past four years Chip and JoJo have brought us beautiful home improvement inspiration, uplifting binge-worthy TV, an unprecedented obsession with shiplap and the ultimate #couplegoals.

And while the end of “Fixer Upper” is disappointing on our end, I think they are incredibly brave to choose what is right for their family over what’s popular.

How many TV stars have we watched as their lives slowly spun wildly out of control and far from their original identity? I remember in middle school when “Jon and Kate Plus 8” came out, I couldn’t get enough of watching their family’s chaotic life with those precious children. Then there’s Hannah Montana. Remember her? I remember telling my mom what about this cool, Christian girl named Miley Cyrus. “Rachel, she’s probably going to go ‘wild,’” Mom said. “That happens sometimes.”

Silly Mom. Not this girl! She obviously had no idea what she was talking about…

Anyway, you see my point.

I don’t know the specifics of why Chip and Joanna felt that ending the show was the right decision, but I know it couldn’t have been an easy decision. Keeping the show would’ve been normal, comfortable and, in the short term, conflict-free. However, they acted based upon what was right for their lives, not what was comfortable.

How often do we say “yes” to other people without stopping to think about what’s healthy for our personal lives? When we’re presented with an opportunity that is not inherently bad on its own, we feel guilty for politely declining and saying, “It’s just not for me.”

I think we can learn a lot from Chip and Joanna’s announcement. First of all, let’s take time to stop and actually think about big decisions. Maybe take a week and pray it over. Do some soul searching to discern what is right.

Secondly, let’s not be intimidated by what other people will think. There is no doubt that Chip and Joanna care deeply about their fans, but that doesn’t mean the fans dictate their lives.

And lastly, let’s remember that it’s okay to SAY NO to something that’s popular, even comfortable, but not right for us.

Soft snaps for Chip and JoJo. Thank you for showing us what it looks like to make the brave decision. It’s going to be okay.

It’s no secret that I love reading and writing about people’s stories. I’ve recently gone through three top-notch autobiographies from some of my favorite people in the entertainment industry. If you like them on-screen or on the radio, don’t hesitate to pick up or download a copy of their book. Enjoy!

The Magnolia Story (Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino)

Aren’t they the cutest? This book rewinds to the beginning of Chip and JoJo’s love story, which is just as sappy-sweet and comical as you would imagine. Both innovators at heart, Chip and Joanna take readers through the ups and downs of how they launched their one-of-a-kind careers, all while beautifully giving credit to God and His sovereign plan for their lives.

One of my favorite parts? The story of how Chip surprised JoJo by spending their extra money on a decrepit houseboat. This disastrous move on Chip’s part is what actually landed them a reality TV pilot.

Talking As Fast As I Can (Lauren Graham)

It sounds impossible, but I propose that you’ll walk away from this book loving Lauren Graham herself even more than the beloved Lorelai Gilmore or Sarah Braverman. Lauren is smart, witty, classy, down-to-earth, clean, funny, and oh so entertaining. You feel like she’s your best friend. (We ARE best friends, right, LG?) You’ll relish Lauren’s hilarious tales about skipping kindergarten, living on a houseboat, working in The Theatah (no thea-teeeer), being single (and why that’s okay), and of course, making Gilmore Girls and Parenthood.

One of my favorite parts? Advice from Old Lady Jackson. Lauren writes,

“Old Lady Jackson is a character I made up when I started catching myself giving advice–initially to Mae and Miles on the Parenthood set–that sounded like it came from your grayhaired grandma who spends her days in a rocking chair knitting your scratchy socks you pretend to love at Christmas. By creating this character, who was obviously very, very, very far away from myself, I hoped to confuse Mae and Miles, among others, into thinking that while I might sometimes seem to offer suggestions that could be considered a tad ‘old-timey,’ they weren’t actually coming from me…”

I think I have a little bit of “Old Lady Jackson” in myself, so this chapter was particularly comical to me. (Again, because Lauren and I are besties. Right?)

When God Doesn’t Fix It (Laura Story with Jennifer Schuchmann)

In contrast to the other two books I mentioned earlier, this autobiography carries a serious tone and many difficult truths. You might recognize the artist Laura Story from her radio hits like “Blessings” and “What a Savior,” but you probably don’t know about her personal hardships.

Laura began an unexpected journey only one year into her marriage, when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What initially seemed to be a “next surgery will fix it” situation turned into a realization that Laura’s husband would likely have serious memory issues for the rest of his life.

One of my favorite parts? Laura concludes each chapter with a myth and a truth. My favorite is, “MYTH: God can only use my story when there is a happy ending. TRUTH: God can use my story when I trust him in the journey.”

Laura tackles the topic of our “happily ever after” mindset, sharing how she learned to praise God in the midst of grievous trials.

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There you have it, friends! As always, I love to hear your thoughts on these books and on YOUR favorite biographies. Happy reading!

 

Friends, I am thrilled to introduce you to the super-talented, yellow-wearing, fun-loving, Erin Robertson! Erin is the WINNER of Project Runway Season 15, and I am honored to have her as my latest “Celeb Sit Down” guest.

Throughout the season, Erin won the hearts of Project Runway’s fans (and judges!) with her bubbly personality and out-of-the-box designs. After speaking with Erin, I can attest to her genuine, upbeat spirit and creative enthusiasm.

One thing that distinguished Erin from the other contestants was her bold use of color and willingness to take risks. I asked Erin if she ever got nervous before facing the judges (Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen).

“I really respect the main three judges. I was never nervous! I love critique and positive feedback,” Erin said, adding that she doesn’t view anything as “negative” feedback. “It never scared me.”

Erin also spoke highly of Project Runway host and mentor Tim Gunn, who encouraged Erin to stay true to her personal style. “I think his role is to test you to make sure you’re being you. Not telling you who you are or who you aren’t, but making comments that make you think. “

More than once, Tim was concerned about Erin finishing her look in time for the runway show. However, Erin said that working under a time crunch is one of her strengths.

“I knew I had a good chance of winning because I know how I work under pressure,” Erin said. “I’m a positive procrastinator, so a lot of times I leave things until the last minute, and then I whip it out!

For Erin, the hardest part of the competition was working in a different environment without the collaborative influence of her friends from home.

“I talk to my friends everyday, and when I work in the studio, I always get their feedback,” Erin said. “I’m very community driven, so I had to create this new community with these people who I’m competing with. But I was really lucky. Honestly, I loved everyone.”

As part of the series finale, Erin and three other contestants presented a 10-piece collection at New York Fashion Week.

“There’s so much that goes on behind the camera,” Erin said. “We woke up at 2 a.m., and they started filming morning reality at 3.” After hours of prepping models and rehearsing the show, the finalists presented their collections and collapsed backstage for a much-needed nap. “We woke back up, and they said they were going to announce the winner. We were all delirious! That’s the funny thing, and no one knows it.”

And that’s when Heidi Klum spoke the words Erin longed to hear: “Erin, you are the winner of Project Runway Season 15!”

Erin spent the evening celebrating with her parents, two best friends and other contestants from the show. She is currently in the process of receiving the Project Runway prize package, which she plans to use to purchase studio space and equipment.

Born and raised in Utah, Erin moved to Boston after high school and worked as a dental assistant before attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design to study fashion and fiber art.

“I did fashion when I was in high school,” Erin said. “I made my own prom dress and whatnot. Then I took a break because I didn’t think I could make money as a fashion designer. I wasn’t raised on the idea that you could go to art school and make money, or even that art school existed.”

In Boston, Erin worked in a dental research lab under Dr. Porsche, the woman who became her mentor. “I ended up assisting her in the lab for two years and doing all of these crazy of experiments,” Erin said. “I think that’s where I learned a lot of craft. I learned tenacity, that if you don’t do something right, you have to do it again. Failure is not an option.”

Erin’s design aesthetic can be described as playful and humorous, and she is a master at the art of unconventional materials. (One of my favorite pieces from the season was Erin’s dress made with meal worms and guitar pics. Amazing!)

“Part of my work is taking something and hiding what it’s original state is. I think [unconventional materials] are a challenge, but I like a challenge…” Erin said. “I find humor in that.”

Known for her signature yellow, Erin says that she has always been a fan of bold colors. “Even when I was a dental assistant, I would wear bubblegum pink scrubs when everyone else would wear black.” She often uses the banana motif, which Erin said was inspired from a cell phone case she got a few years ago.

“Do you still have that case?” I asked.

“I’m talking to you on it right now!” Erin replied.

One of my last questions to Erin was, “If you could be anything other than a fashion designer, what would you be?”

After careful consideration, Erin answered, “I don’t see myself as just a fashion designer. I don’t like to put myself in just one category. I want to be a bunch of stuff. That’s why I say I’m just a human!”

In the future, Erin plans to find a live-work space in Cambridge and continue studying sustainable textiles and innovating fabric development. You can keep up with Erin and her creative endeavors on Instagram at @an_erin, or visit her website, erinrobertsonart.com.

 

It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite time of the year! Unfortunately, we only have 20 more days where it’s socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music. I’ve put together a playlist entitled “Mix & Match Christmas” with some of my favorite, lesser-known Christmas songs. While these songs may not be top 20 on the radio, they are fantastic and well-deserving of a download! Enjoy!

Hello friends! I know you’re all excited to meet my next Celeb Sit Down guest from one of our all-time favorite shows, Gilmore Girls! This blog post is long-anticipated, as I’ve had this interview since early summer.

Now that we’re only three days away from the revival, it’s time for me to share my exclusive interview with the one and only… Emily Kuroda! You know Emily as the notorious “Mrs. Kim,” the mother of Rory’s best friend, Lane. From her fierce warnings about boys to her ruthless rules (“You break, you buy!”), Mrs. Kim has brought us many laughs throughout the series. So pour a cup of coffee, order some pizza and enjoy!

RS: What was it like reuniting with the Gilmore Girls cast? Who were you excited to see?

EK: The table read was so much fun. It was nice to see everyone! Keiko wasn’t there because she was shooting Grimm.

RS: What is your favorite episode of Gilmore Girls and why?

EK: I love them all, but one of my favorites is when I decide to kick Lane out of the house because she had looked me in the eye and lied to me. As she was leaving, Amy and Dan wrote a very short quiet scene — underlined with maternal conflict, fear, hurt and love.

RS: You have described yourself as “shy.” Are people surprised when they discover that your personality is very different from that of your character?

EK: They usually think it’s pretty funny.

RS: Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000. Did you expect the series to gain such longstanding popularity? Why do you think the show resonates with many different audiences?

EK: Amy and Dan are smart and witty and refuse to talk down to people. With so many shows on TV the audience is ahead of the story, but with GG they are always catching up. Jokes are not underlined, and when the audience catches one it is especially delicious. It is also based on real (although often far fetched) characters with very real relationships. Gilmore Girls appeals to the heart and the mind, and I think that is the reason the show has been so accepted and appreciated globally.  

RS: Even though Mrs. Kim and Lorelai are very different, they are both independent mothers with compelling mother-daughter relationships. What parallels can you draw between the two characters?

EK: The parallels between Lorelai and Mrs. Kim are the love for their only daughter and the difficulty of motherhood. Although Mrs. Kim has a loud bark, there were many times she doubted herself and her decisions.

RS: You had many comedic moments on the show. Can you remember a specific scene that was hard to film without laughing?

EK: The Bracebridge Dinner. I sat across the table from Sally Struthers (Babette) and Liz Torres (Miss Patty) — the two funniest (and kindest) ladies on the planet!  

RS: The show never addresses the character of Lane’s father. If you had to write in the character or history of Mr. Kim, what would his story be?

EK: It keeps changing. Sometimes I thought he was a missionary, or he had another family in Korea, or he’s a rockstar on the road…

RS: With over 30 years of experience in theater and television, which do you prefer?

EK: Gilmore girls was like a theater piece, but one that built and explored its characters over seven years. How lucky am I to have been given that!

 

Watch this clip from Emily’s favorite episode, “In the Clamor and the Clangor” (Season 4, Episode 11). Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, will premiere on Netflix Friday, November 25!

FAVORITE GILMORE GIRLS MEMORIES

Alright friends, we’re only 1 WEEK away from our beloved Gilmore Girls revival! As a way to celebrate, I want to share a few of my favorite Gilmore memories as we look back on the past 7 seasons. BUT, I need your help too! I’m asking you to share your favorite scenes or episodes by commenting on Facebook, reposting this article or tweeting @1RachelSinclair with your favorites… whatever you can do to spread the Gilmore love. I can’t wait to see your responses! 

1. Lorelai and Emily’s Fashion Show

You know Emily will do just about anything to ensure Rory’s bright future at Chilton, including going all out in the Booster Club’s fashion show that Lorelai somehow ended up hosting. Although horrified at first, Lorelai eventually lightened up and even smiled as she and Emily struck a final pose on the runway.

2. Rory’s Graduation Speech

“My ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life’s blood, Lorelai Gilmore. My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be.  She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith.  As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.  Thank you, Mom: you are my guidepost for everything.”

Bring out the tissues, please!

3. Luke and Lorelai’s First Kiss

IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! This might just be my favorite scene of the entire series. And you have to love Kirk. He’s the cherry on top to make this a scene of perfection! #LukeandLorelaiForever.

4. Lane’s Baby Shower

Sweet little Lane… on bedrest with TWINS! The whole town (including Lorelai and the feisty Mrs. Kim) comes together for an epic baby shower for Lane, Zach and their twin boys. Lane is only able to attend the party because of her friends and family who wheel her across the town square to Miss Patty’s studio. 

5. Rory’s Graduation/Going Away Party

 

Good ole’ Luke pulled off the surprise party of the century. He stays up all night cooking hot dogs and sewing together tarps because of how much he cares for Rory! (And the townspeople, and… maybe Lorelai too?) Everyone from Stars Hollow comes to bid Rory farewell. Richard and Emily even make an appearance AND tell Lorelai that Rory’s incredible character and success is a testament to her parenting. What a sweet moment!

I’ve shared some of my favorite Gilmore memories, and now it’s time for you to share yours! Tag me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and spread the #GilmoreLove! And stay tuned for my upcoming #celebsitdown interview with one of the Gilmore Girls cast members!

If you missed part 1, read it here!

One of the best parts about talking with Atticus was hearing him share about his family. The Middle is all about family dynamics, and I loved hearing just how important family is to Atticus in real life.

You might be surprised to learn that Atticus didn’t grow up on the streets of Hollywood, but on a farm! From an early age, Atticus worked with his parents and older brother to take care of their land and farm animals.

“I come from a very hardworking, blue-collar family,” Atticus said. “Nothing has ever been handed to us, ever.”

His mom wanted her children to understand where food came from–whether from livestock or from the ground. “You have to work to get your food,” Atticus recalls his mother saying. “This is what the pioneers had to do when they first came here.”

So how does Atticus balance living on a farm and working in the film industry? He says that he avoids getting caught up in the glitz and glam of Hollywood through what he calls a “bologna-dar.”

“As I’m growing older… I’m very good at seeing ‘bologna,’” Atticus said with a laugh. “Typically, I have a ‘bologna-dar,’ like a radar for bologna. And as soon as that thing starts pinging, I’m walking away!”

My favorite part of the interview was when Atticus shared about his faith in God.  Atticus is open about being a Christian, and he said that he’s increasingly aware of how the Lord is working in his life.

“My faith has definitely kept my head above water, and it has kept me down to earth,” Atticus said. “I know I could not do this without the Lord, without these perfectly guided steps that led me from one thing to another to another.”

Atticus recalled a recent conversation he had with one of the crew members of The Middle who is also a Christian. They talked about how trials and hardships can ultimately draw believers closer to God.

“It’s amazing how there are opportunities to trust in God,” he said. “You may not understand it, you wish that it didn’t have to happen, whatever the case may be. But you have the opportunity to trust him.”

Atticus is thankful that he can use his experience to point others to God. “This is a blessing, this is amazing work I have with amazing benefits. I get to be a role model [and] meet all of these different people. This is kind of a form of ministry, and here we are.”

Before Atticus had to go, I wanted to ask him a question that I’ve been wondering for years: Where did Brick get his name?

“When Brick was born, Frankie and Mike were trying to think of a name,” Atticus said. “They read somewhere that if your child has an interesting name, they will inherently be interesting. So they came up with the name of Brick, and it’s from the name of a character in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

Atticus said this background information was explained in the series’s original pilot, in which every character was recast except for Brick. Atticus was thankful to return for the second pilot, which is the pilot that aired on ABC.

Lastly, I asked Atticus if he could give us any sneak peaks from season 8.

“I can bring up this,” Atticus said after careful consideration. “Brick, because he’s older now, is going to be turning 15 this season. He is going into high school, and that’s bringing up a whole slew of new problems for him to handle… I’m really excited to have people see how he handles his newfound high school issues and how well he actually handles them.”

 

And that’s a wrap for this #celebsitdown! Keep up with Atticus on Twitter, and catch The Middle on Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.

Friends, I am SO excited to introduce you to one of my favorite TV actors–Atticus Shaffer! You know him as “Brick Heck,” youngest child of the hilarious and dysfunctional Heck family on ABC’s The Middle. Atticus has captured the hearts of Americans since the show premiered in 2009 through his quirky and endearing character. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed when he offered to speak with me a few weeks ago during the filming of season eight.

Atticus said he’s amazed at the new laughs and fresh comedy that come with every episode. “This season is probably one of the best seasons we’ve had where consistently, every week, the episodes are making me, my family and all of the people on set laugh out loud,” Atticus said. “Since we’ve been on [air] for so long, you wonder if stuff will ever get old or stale. But nope! Our writers are good!”

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One of the reasons my family and I love watching The Middle is because each character is so relatable in one way or another. We laugh when my mom has a “Frankie Moment” and forgets the snack bag, or when I do the “Sue Heck Dance” after receiving good news. I was curious to ask Atticus which actor’s real-life personality was most consistent with that of their character.

“Probably me,” Atticus said. “Not because I’m into fonts or I whisper to myself, but it’s mainly because Brick and I both follow the beat to our own drummer… I am who I am, and I’m accepting of that. Brick hasn’t necessarily articulated that, but it’s the backbone of who he is. He is smart, he is quick, and he says, ‘this is me.’”

Atticus said that one of his favorite episodes was “Halloween” from season two, where Brick dresses up as Sergeant Charles MacKenzie, a Scottish World War I hero. “I loved it because I’m a huge military history nerd,” Atticus said. “I got to wear a kilt for a week!”

Fans of the show often tell Atticus how they admire Brick’s self-confidence and enthusiasm. “I get people all the time who say, ‘We love your show, and we think your character is a role model,’” Atticus said. “I get to be a character that’s a role model and that your kids look up to? That’s insane. That’s so amazing.”

Atticus himself is an inspiration to others, as he continues to thrive in the television and film industry while overcoming the challenges of living with osteogenesis imperfecta. This genetic bone condition affects the collagen of his bone cells and increases bones fragility.

Atticus said he prefers to use the term “condition” rather than “disability.”

“My condition in no way disables me. And that’s really my message: if you have a challenge, a condition, or whatever, it’s nothing that can disable you… you work around your challenge,” Atticus said, adding, “You don’t focus on the can’t; you focus on the can.”

Atticus said his mom had a huge influence on him by encouraging him to find a way to overcome his physical difficulties. “If you can’t get through it, you work over it, under it, around it or whatever way you can. That’s what my mom taught me ever since I was little. She made the conscious decision that whatever I couldn’t get to, she would bring it to me if it was worth it. And she brought the world to me. Growing up, and even now, she brought the world to me.”

PART 2 of this article discusses Atticus’s family, faith and the story of how Brick got his name. Keep up with #celebsitdown by following @1RachelSinclair!

Songs of Truth – a power playlist with songs grounded in God’s Word

I’ve put together a playlist of 10 power songs that have helped me remember just how amazing my God truly is. Whether you’re overwhelmed with a problem, seeking endurance or simply celebrating God’s goodness, it is so important to stand on the promises of God found in His Word. I hope that these songs will inspire you to investigate God’s truths and proclaim them through song.

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” –Psalm 34:1-2

Click HERE to download the playlist on Spotify.

SONGS OF TRUTH:

“King Of The World” (Natalie Grant)

“Your Words” (Third Day feat. Harvest)

“Joy Of The Lord” (Rend Collective)

“Broken Together” (Casting Crowns)

“Here’s My Heart” (I Am They)

“How Can It Be” (Lauren Daigle)

“Thy Will” (Hillary Scott & The Scott Family)

“You Amaze Us” (Selah)

“As Sure as the Sun” (Ellie Holcomb)

“Where I Belong” (Building 429)


Want to read more? Visit rachelsinclair.net/checkitout.

She has off-the-charts vocals. She can belt the high notes and rap to Lecrae. She’s been traveling through Europe touring with TobyMac. Oh, and she’s also 19 years old.
Meet Hollyn, the young artist who is already making her mark on the Christian music industry. In 2015 she released her self-titled EP, which shows off her incredible vocals in an upbeat, modern style of music.

RS: What is it like touring with TobyMac? What have you learned from him?

H: Touring with Toby has been incredible to say the least. He’s so much fun to be around. Diverse City has become my family, and I am so grateful to travel and be a part of this journey with them by my side. I’ve learned so much from their years of experience, and they are helping me become the artist and leader I need to be.

RS: You are 19 years old. What are the benefits and challenges of pursuing a singer-songwriter career at such a young age?

H: The benefits of being so young and being an artist is the opportunity to see the world and singing for a living. I mean, how many people get to do what they love for a living? I’m truly blessed and the Lord is faithful. It’s also challenging because I barely have time to see my family or friends from home, but I keep in touch and FaceTime has become the best way to do that for now. Everything has pros and cons, and I’m trying the best I can to balance it out.

RS: How did your experience on American Idol (Season 12) shape your music career?

H: My experience on American Idol showed me that I wasn’t ready at the time to dedicate my life to something I didn’t believe in. I didn’t know who I was as an artist, so I went home and made an effort to figure that out. That’s when I met Toby, and accepted the fact that God was calling me to do this.

RS: Did you ever consider producing secular music?

H: To me, great music is being transparent and honest. Whether that’s about my relationship with Jesus, how my heart has been broken by a boy, friendship, or a track that I love because it just makes me feel good. If you craft songs intentionally and speak from the heart, people will listen.

RS: How is your music distinctive within the Christian genre?

H: I have an incredible team that allows me to write music I’m passionate about. My goal is to create a sound and brand that is fresh and unique. Something that people my age are drawn to and that speaks to a generation called to be different.

RS: When did you first become interested in rap?

H: I’ve always listened to rap music, but I recently stated attempting to rap about 3 years ago. I wouldn’t call myself a “rapper” but I love having fun with it.

RS: How has your family supported you throughout this journey?

H: My family has supported me through every aspect of life. Music or no music. They love me for who I am in Christ and as their daughter/sister. They’ve traveled, invested their time, and loved me unconditionally. I am eternally grateful for them.

RS: What are your plans for the future?

The future excites me. Five years ago I was sitting in school day dreaming about singing on stage for a living, and now I get to travel the world with TobyMac. I can’t wait to see what the next 5 years bring.

To learn more about Hollyn and her music, visit iamhollyn.com and follow her on Twitter at @iamhollyn.

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