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Archive for the category “Taking Care of Home”

How the Marie Kondo Movment Is Making Us Rethink Our Stuff

bed bedroom ceiling fan chair

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I think I saw the memes and gifs on social media before I even realized that best-selling author and decluttering/organization expert Marie Kondo dropped a series on NetFlix.

I remember hearing about Kondo, the bubbly clutter-buster from Japan, and eventually buying her equally well-edited, straight to the point book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

We overindulgent, down for instant gratification, multiple-trips-to-target-taking Americans were in desperate need of some help. We’ve been buying things we don’t need for a really long time, to address other deeper things. Also, having “stuff” is a big marker of success in these parts, across socioeconomic status.

Armed with her translator, Marie floats into various homes in each episode helping families figure out how to get rid of all of the stuff and find the joy that’s been hiding in their homes and in themselves all along. Her title is right, discovering that is pretty magical and certainly life-changing.

I did engage in this process a few times in preparation for my move earlier this year.

The rules were simple. Start with your clothes. Dump everything out and sort through them, keeping only items that spark joy.

I love that Marie was wise enough to create a criteria of elimination by joy, because sometimes that’s a hard and elusive thing for us. We know pleasure, we know happy, but I think she strategically instructed people to think about how deep and lasting joy is. But when we pick up an item and actually ask if it sparks joy, for a lot of the things we own, instantly know it doesn’t, and so, we have to force ourselves to follow the criteria and let it go. She is a genius for wording it this way.

It’s a real challenge. And for that reason, you’ll see a lot of tears and a lot of a ha revelations going on with each of the families as they break mental contracts they made with the stuff they won’t let go of because, “It was such a good deal.” Or, “This was really expensive.”

Another word that I think Marie expertly uses is tidy. It’s not a word we use often in America. We love the word clean and we will dabble with the word neat, but tidy, to me is more specific and suggests like joy, it is a regular practice. Anyone I’ve heard use the word tidy, tended to be older women, with immaculate homes, and clothing, who were highly disciplined, and followed their cleaning routines religiously and were highly likely to have hard candy in their purses to share with you at church.

Tidy always seemed aspirational to me and highly disciplined. And on the show Marie had guests whose homes were clean, they just had a lot of crap in it. In the one episode Marie complimented a guest for having a really clean home, and the woman admits she hides a lot of things or stuffs them in closets, counters, and drawers.

With some elbow grease, a few tears, and several trips to the Goodwill, we can be tidy and we can have some joy, and save a few bucks reminding ourselves that we really don’t need it.


‘Make Your Own Damn Sandwich’ and Reasons Why We Can’t Surrender to Love

Man, I have been so inspired by a recent article in the New York Post.

This woman’s situation raises so many questions and thoughts and the reaction of some readers also raises thousands more.

I was particularly touched by the story because I totally know the power of sharing and showing love through cooking food for people. It just feels good, you feel good doing it, you feel good seeing and hearing the reaction and seeing a plate picked clean by your loved ones.

A few days ago I made the most awesome turkey wrap ever, and as I ate it, I thought to myself, “I’d love to make this again for my man after we’ve made love. Well, after my post-coital nap, THEN, I’ll make it.

So seeing this article today, had me beside myself in laughter, because while folks were raging on about it, I had a good laugh and I understood.


Long story short, this woman happened to make her a very tasty sandwich one night and he loved it. So she started making him more awesome sandwiches and one day he blurted out that if she made 300, he’d put a ring on it.

So of course, people started tripping off of what was probably originally just a funny in-the-moment comment and began to go in on this dude, for “demanding” she make 300 sandwiches.

Homegirl took it literally and started her quest to 300. She’s somewhere around 127 and counting. I have to say after seeing some photos of these sandwiches, I like men very much, but if she was making those kinds of sandwiches for me everyday, I’d switch teams for a minute to reap the benefits. I kid.

But the sandwiches look original, creative and delicious. I actually want to try some of the recipes myself.

So I read the article from Facebook where a number of black women sounded off. Even in the article this chick is catching a bit of hell.

I’ve mentioned before I believe in feminism and I stand in solidarity with black feminism and all of its nuances and complexities. It’s some other ish, and the people I follow on twitter who are part of the black feminism movement have really educated me and gazillions of others.

Most people agreed aiming for an arbitrary number of sandwiches to get to 300 specifically just to get a ring isn’t a good idea.

And under most circumstances, looking at that idea at face value is ridiculous. What does making a great sandwich over and over have to do with marriage? Isn’t it about love and reciprocity and respect and loyalty and honor and discipline and responsibility and maturity? Yes, yes and yes.

And through this sandwich-making, this woman is actually showing all of those qualities.

If you read the description of their relationship, she says she adores him. She says he cooks amazing things for her (a perfect filet mignon), they travel together and they have been accepted and loved by both families. They live together and seem insanely happy.

So what is making a couple hundred sandwiches?

And trust, if their relationship is solid, and she really loves this man she’s got thousands of sandwiches to go. She’s not going to stop at 300, just because she’s got the ring, or 301, just to be on the safe side.

Love is built on various unselfish acts that we do for one another every single day.

But people can’t see past the sandwich, or the fact this intelligent, attractive woman is taking time from her day to do this.

I guess they want her to cure cancer or something instead.

She’s been called a Stepford Wife and accused of setting women back.

Women who attack other women for consciously wanting to reciprocate love to a man that’s treating them well, is what’s setting women back. REAL TALK.

The majority of women responding in the negative on the Facebook post were black women.

This is part of the reason why we aren’t winning. I’m not going to get on the already beaten and bludgeoned dead horse about why black women– particularly successful black women are single. But these kinds of attitudes contribute.

I’m going to add another layer to this. If you haven’t read the article, the woman featured is African-American and her boo thang is a white man.

So, some black women may be up in arms about this educated, attractive sister making sandwiches to “earn” a ring from a white man (who has clearly shown that he’s probably going to marry her anyway), but already planning “Scandal” parties for next week, making sandwiches for their girls, drooling while a married, white president Fitz, fabulously sexes down the brilliant and gorgeous Olivia Pope.

American black women can be a little touchy about relationships with American white men, due to our horrible history together in this country through sex and slavery.

The venom is misplaced.

I think there’s some hate and jealousy in the mix. This woman is getting what she wants. She wants to be loved, she wants to share her life with someone who appreciates her.

And isn’t that the goal? They share a lovely home together, they travel, he cooks. Like he really cooks. Shiiiit. 300 sandwiches ain’t nothing. If Idris Elba asked a black woman to do it, she’d do it in a heartbeat.

We have parameters on who we love, and a dysfunctional sense that if we consistently do something nice for a man like cook or clean or iron or sew a button, we have demeaned ourselves. We’ve made ourselves lesser.

I’ve told you all the story about my sister bringing my brother-in-law his dinner, on a tray to his man cave. The younger me hated it. And I thought she was being weak and a Stepford. But that was her style of giving love and making him happy and making him feel like the man of his house. I know my brother-in-law to be a very hard worker, often working two jobs to support the family and give them everything they need. He adores my sister and you can feel it the way they laugh and joke and play with each other.

In order to enjoy mature love, both sides have to be vulnerable and show a lot more humility and not be afraid to do so. Many of the black women I know, we want to be in control, we want to know what’s going to happen in the future and we want an established record of good behavior from a man in order for us to completely give ourselves over.

But it seems us expecting love to work that way is not working FOR us. That attitude is working against us. We should be cautious and discerning when we pick our partners. Yes, but we have to trust we’ve done a good enough job in the selection process, that we should want to show love in ways others might see as domestic servitude.

We want men to fix things for us, to get up in the middle of the night with a baseball bat against a potential gun if there is a home invader. We want men to lay down expensive blazers in a puddle and or get rained on so we don’t get our hair wet; we want them to kill bugs and remove critters and dispose of garbage— things that an educated man could scoff at, just as educated women could scoff at cooking and cleaning and declare as things a man can “do his damn self” — but would we do all of those things our damn self, if we had a good man who doesn’t have to do it, but chooses to make us feel safe and loved and appreciated?

It’s something to think about.

If I know that I have a great man who loves me, I want to want to do things he likes for him even if it may inconvenience me from time to time, because I know he’s doing the same for me. I’m not going to keep score and with hold my love or positive loving actions because I’m waiting for him to do something for me that I consider equal or greater to my action. That’s not love.

Soon as I get home from work. Babyface

People hated Cater to You by Destiny’s Child. But basically this is the point of today’s blog. If you grown, you get it.

Am I 20 Pounds Away From Mr. Right?

I had a startling thought as a handsome guy on Plenty of Fish straight up told me I wasn’t his type.

The first thought was damn homie.

The second thought was in some kind of way or another, I’ve rejected others just as harshly, despite trying my best to let them down as humanely as possible. I’ve hurt others who didn’t fit into my box and I justified it.

A friend told me online dating is an exercise in the superficial.

He’s right.

But it really made me think about my package and presentation. I think I’m a good-looking person, but in recent years I’ve struggled with my weight. As I get older, and as we use online dating more and more and people focus on photos as a hook, even though I get compliments from men I don’t find attractive, I’m getting fewer compliments from the ones I do.

In my college years and early years in the workforce when I was constantly on the run, I could hardly go anywhere without getting some attention. Now, it’s almost like I’m invisible.

I told a friend that I’d be really pissed if I drop a few pounds all of a sudden the wall will lift, the levees will break and here come the men. That would upset me deeply, because inside, I’d still have the same sense of humor, the same passion, the same smarts, accomplishments, same eyes.

Let’s get it right. I don’t want to lose weight for what I think may be a better pick of men who would be attracted to me. I do want to lose weight to look better, feel better and boost my confidence and wear what the hell I want without having to think twice about my stomach or thighs.

I’ve noticed I don’t take a lot of photos of myself these days, because I feel like most of them are unflattering. It’s interesting to see how things connect.

I’m hoping that going back to grad school will also help me lose weight from stress and just being busy and having to really compartmentalize my schedule and force me to prioritize. Isn’t that terrible?

But just like going back to school and not wanting to take the GRE but having to do it anyway, that example reminds me of getting back on a better fitness and eating regimen. I don’t want to do it, but I have to do it and I have to be consistent to get the things I want.

I think about how I used to be and how I fought for things.

There was a certain point in time I’d either get comfortable or tired and I stopped fighting. Then came the weight, then came the lower self-esteem. Then came the not taking care of myself and finding it easier to do nothing than to fight off that urge to do nothing and do something.

My life is on me. Period. What’s on the outside does count. What I’m doing to feel good and feel productive matters.

Secret Travel Obsessions

I have obsessions that come and go.

My most recent was looking for the perfect mid height, chunky, strappy high heel, that would work well for my upcoming trip to New Orleans this summer.

I found them. I’m good.

But I have another. There’s a show on T.V. called “Sweet Retreats” where people go to a city they want to vacation in and have a choice of three kinds of vacation homes they want to rent. They visit the homes, weigh out the pros and cons of each and pick a winner.

I think renting homes and bed and breakfasts are probably the most awesome way to go when you are vacationing and you are as serious about relaxing as you are seeing stuff. Hotels to me, are convenient and places to lay your head and shower. But rentals and B&Bs feel way more homey, and you can even taste the memories later on. Staying in places like that, to me, really feels like you are a part of the experience and the community you are visiting. You can cook or order take out, but eat on plates. You can really relax, and if you are sharing with others, there’s more space and privacy.

When my cousin had a lovely rental in the heart of Catalina Island, I thought to myself, yes. This is how you do it. I stayed in a lovely hotel, but we spent a good amount of time hanging out, eating and drinking and cooking at the rental.

You can really make it a party, when you have your loved ones around in a paradise-like place, and usually, as “Sweet Retreats” reveals, when you split up the cost, spending $2,000 for a six-bedroom two- or three-bathroom house for a week among you and the homies, it’s a pretty good deal.

I wouldn’t advise getting into such an endeavor with shady friends or family members, but if you know your crew is good for the cash, and won’t annoy the hell out of you for a week, I think it’s worth doing.

I would honestly love to chill in a lovely rental home either near the beaches of anywhere from the Mid Atlantic on down to the south. Another friend recommended the Poconos. I’m down for that too.

I’m also having a growing interest in visiting new places in the United States that I would have never gone before. There are some spots in Colorado, Utah (Park City), Arizona (Sedona), New Mexico and Kentucky (the Makers Mark factory) that I’d love to see.

I’m dying to travel out of the country too. One of my good friends tends to have the attitude that it ain’t a real vacation if it ain’t on a beach outside of the U.S. That is cool, but for me, honestly if I can get some fresh air and sunshine in a beautiful place and there is a pool, I don’t have to be on a beach.

Not sure, but as I get older, I want the planning and execution of my vacations to be just as uncomplicated and drama-free as my actual vacation. I don’t have to have strict wall-to-wall plans for every moment of the day, I don’t care about night life as long as there’s a bar someplace or a movie theater. I guess as a working adult, the ability to relax is paramount.

Everywhere I visit, I always book a spa appointment. And I always yelp restaurants. I also look for local theater, historical sites and museums and where shops are. It’s only right.

So what do you tend to look for when you are planning your trips and vacations? Do you need lots of excitement? Beautiful scenery? Peace and quiet? Adventures that test yourself?

You’re Too…Local

I am a serial long distance dater.

So much so, I told a friend/pseudo suitor, he was in fact, “too local.”

I haven’t had a same city relationship probably since 2003.

I haven’t had a same state/timezone relationship since 2006.

Even the men I’ve decided to date casually or spend time with, they have always lived far away.

The local men never last.

I think I’ve figured out why.

Being a long distance lover, you live for those weekend getaways. There’s an excitement attached to hopping on a plane and leaving your mundane world behind for the arms of your lover/love.

You get gorgeous, you shave where you are supposed to.

You smell good, you can’t wait to see them, they can’t wait to see you. You’ve planned your best outfits.

You normally have great dates planned, fabulous dinners, taking in the sites of a city that’s not your own.

Then you part ways, until the next time.

Usually because of the expense of flying, even the most spontaneous of visits are planned at least three days out. Which is enough time to get oneself together, do any cleaning, etc.

Even though I’m trying to have better habits when it comes to cleaning or getting rid of clutter in my house, I’m not as prepared for unexpected company as I’d like to be and it makes me a bit ashamed and uncomfortable. Even when I’ve cleaned from top to bottom I have some kind of disorder/insecurity that makes me think my visitors still won’t think it’s clean enough, even though I know it’s clean.

I never want any man I’m interested in to think I can’t keep home, but because I don’t have a lot of company very often, sometimes I’m not as vigilant on keeping everything perfect.  So I have to be in control of visits if I’m dealing with a local man. He can’t come over unannounced and not unless I think my house is right.

Meanwhile, there’s a part of me that’s like, I don’t live in filth and anyone who likes me should understand I work everyday and drive a total of nearly two hours each day for my commute. I’m not Suzie Homemaker. Take me and my home as I am.

I’m eclectic, I have lots of books and magazines, most of which are in shelves but can end up in various parts of my house. I sometimes have inspiration boards and tee-shirt stuff everywhere in my living room.

So am I scared of commitment? No, just scared of someone being all up in my space and face and suddenly realizing I’m not really as wonderful and put together as they thought (and as I advertised). Keeping up appearances is tiring and I need someone to see through all of that and think I’m the best thing since sliced bread.

That was my biggest fear when I was engaged. I was scared, he’d eventually declare false advertisement. Bear in mind, I think I was the most real I had ever been in a relationship with him. He saw me sick, he saw me in grief, he knows I can eat like a linebacker and blow up a bathroom.

But according to married folks, everyone is going to declare false advertisement at some point anyway. Everyone is going to say what they signed up for isn’t what they thought they signed up for.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Local fellas….eh, I still don’t know about yall. You’re just too close… Can’t let yall catch me slippin.

Rent Is Too Damn High: Are You For Real (Estate)?

Stuart Miles/freedigitalimages.net

We’ve all heard about women marrying folks they didn’t love in order to get a green card.

Now that I’ve gotten the terms for my upcoming lease renewal, I’m almost ready to jump the broom so I can split the rent or mortgage with someone who will give me penis on the regular. But of course marriage is not that simple, but this is the one time where I feel like being an independent woman is a burden.

The reality and the pressure of being 30 that I bragged about not quite feeling yet, I’m totally feeling in the regard to home ownership. One of my dearest friends has owned her beautiful home since the age of 26. She wavers between loving her place and hating having to pay for it and the hassles that come with trying to refinance and haggle for better interest rates. I’ve long been jealous of her, and she’s often told me not to be and that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and she’d gladly trade places. She even offered a house swap for a few months, where we pay each other’s bills.

My friend makes significantly more than me, but being a single woman, she can easily share the sentiment that handling all these bills alone is tough and stressful.

Honestly, I thought I would be out of my apartment by now. Especially two years ago when I was happily apartment hunting with my fiance in the suburbs of Chicago, eager to split the bills. It was one of the parts of marriage we both looked forward to most.

I actually cussed my ex last year when I had to sign my new lease and pay a whopping additional $80 a month to stay. I was literally cussing him and blaming him for the rent increase even though he had nothing to do with it and could not hear me. But my point was, if things didn’t fall apart, we would have been in marital bliss, splitting the bills and spending our disposable income on fun trips and furnishing this great home.

As for my place, yes, I got in on a fantastic deal nearly six years ago, and some would argue my new proposed rent would be closer to market value.

I still don’t care. I’m paying too much to live here. (And no, I’m not going to get a roommate. This is a non-negotiable)

Here’s why.

My community isn’t horrible, but it isn’t utopia.

There are occasional crimes that occur. I have heard gunshots twice in the time I’ve been here, and there are so many damn children and for some reason they love to congregate in front of my building.

The other problem is since I live in a mixed community of young professionals, families, older people and other folks of varying socioeconomic backgrounds,  I’ve overheard people who I presume to be on government assistance paying hundreds of dollars less than me to live in larger apartments with more bedrooms.

I’m sorry, but middle class Americans trying to rise are the main ones who get jerked and taxed to death and then are deemed ineligible for social assistance because we make too much, because we aren’t in complete poverty. And I’m not saying that those in complete poverty should not get help, because they should, but let’s face it. Most middle class folks are one paycheck away from poverty themselves between all of the rising fees they have to pay for groceries and gas and RENT!!!

I drive a 12-year-old car and I don’t have cable people. I’m trying, I’ve been sacrificing!!!

So I feel the sting every time lease renewal season comes around.

And every time, I reassess my situation and every year I think about what a pain in the ass it would be to move.

Then I think  if I move to a nicer, more expensive apartment community, what will happen to me if the rent increases while living there? Yes, I wrote yesterday about getting a raise, so I shouldn’t care about the increase or the increase shouldn’t hurt as badly. But damn it raise or not, I’m not a fan.

Honestly, over the last six years from what I’ve paid in rent, I could have had about 75 percent of the least expensive condos in my area already paid off by now. And that hurts.

So why didn’t I buy sooner? Well, I spent the last five years getting out of debt and trying to improve my credit while working my way hope getting small incremental raises (keep in mind I chose journalism as a career, so I didn’t get an amazing salary out of school like my other friends who chose other, more lucrative professions).

I have to get my ish together and join the ranks of the homeowners. Fixing my own plumbing, electric and all of that stuff scares me. But what scares me most are property taxes. They are no joke.

And as a woman who spent the earlier part of her 20s moving around the country, buying a home will truly signify that I’ve planted roots…for the next 30 years (or 15 if I want to pay a whole lot more money a month).

It had to happen some time, so now I’ve got to get it in gear and for real.

I need to get with a great program that helps first time home buyers and I’ve got to save, save, save and sacrifice to accumulate a half way decent down payment.

I can’t go nuts and be unrealistic about what I can and cannot afford, but I refuse to buy a hell hole I have to keep dumping money in just to improve.

There’s also no point in me buying a house, house with a lawn and such.

A gal like me needs a simple, modest condo.

So let the games begin. 30. It’s so real (estate).

Take it away Luther…A house is not a home, but an apartment ain’t truly yours either.

Bonus Post: Depression-Era Grandmothers Can Fix the Economy

I was reading a very interesting article today in the Huffington Post’s Women’s section.

I was initially interested in it because the headline hinted at the amazing Meryl Streep one day playing the role of the also amazing U.S. Secretary of State, former Democratic Presidential candidate, and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That’s not really going to happen in the immediate future, but that was the running joke at a recent event both ladies participated in at the Women in the World summit.

All of these powerful females gathered from all parts of the world to discuss progress and leadership and all of that great stuff. They also discussed the national uproar over birth control (which is really pissing me off for a number of reasons, and I’ll save that for another post- in short, controlling our own reproductive organs is best for everyone in the end). The timing of this gathering of about 2,000 global female powerhouses is fitting as March is Women’s History Month.

The one quote that stuck out above all others to me was one from the International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde. “She suggested that the financial crisis might have been averted, or at least been much less serious, if more women had been at the helm of financial institutions.”

“If Lehman Brothers had been a bit more Lehman Sisters … we would not have had the degree of tragedy that we had as a result of what happened,” Lagarde said.

She added that recent studies have shown “what the level of testosterone in a given room can produce when you do trading.”

As one of my boys would declare upon hearing something profound, “That’s a headcrack.”

It is. What would it have been like if more women were a major part of the final decision-making in these financial institutions?

I do think anyone and everyone has the capacity to be greedy and underhanded under the right circumstances, but I do think women have an advantage over men in terms of getting the bills paid and prioritizing on behalf of others.

Yes, we will splurge, but we are going to handle the important stuff, somehow, someway.

Here’s my theory.

Men are historically and genetically hunters and gatherers, while women organize and distribute. Women have to plan and make sure that whatever is hunted and gathered is going to last and will be enough for everyone to survive. She figures out how to store the extra, recycle the extra into something useful, or sell it or give it to someone else for use.

Ask anyone’s grandmother who was a pretty young thang during the Great Depression, and they are going to tell you what miracles they worked for a family of five with just nickles.

I’m not knocking men. I know guys who are far better budgeters than some women I know, but overall, in countless households, I see it over and over. Women handle the day-to-day bill payment and household organization, while the men don’t give it much thought. They hand over their share and it all just gets done.

Would the financial crisis have been averted if women were at the helm? I’m not too sure of that, but I do agree that things could have possibly not been as disastrous.

I think women do think about the future more than men, I think women also think more deeply about the effects of their decisions on the greater good and try to deliver the lightest blow possible if there is a negative result.

Send Depression-Era grannies to Congress to work on our budget. We all may be eating cabbage soup everyday and wearing patches in our clothes and shoes for the next five years, but I bet you we’d have a surplus by the end.

Ode to Ikea

Ikea was pulling me in before I ever realized they were doing it and doing it oh so well.

I was probably in middle school when they sent large catalogues to my house. There was something about this store with the short funny name.

Was it pronounced eye-kee-ya? Ick-e-a?

Page after page, I’d see beautiful, organized homes, with happy people relaxing and entertaining. My parent’s home was cozy enough, but man what would it be like to live in places like that?

Unfortunately, when I’d flip to the back cover of the book–my head filled with dreams of what my house would look like as an adult, so chic and modern (which makes perfect sense for the successful magazine editor I wanted to be)– my dreams were crushed. The closest store was in some random place in New Jersey. My parents weren’t even thinking about new furniture, let alone Swedish furniture that none of us could pronounce. The other U.S. locations in the 90s were no where near as plentiful back then as they are now.

It wouldn’t be until I went to college, I’d make the trek to the magical place with the unmistakable blue and yellow logo I dreamed about as a preteen.

The building was massive. As I walked through the showroom it was like the catalogue I flipped through as a young girl came to life. I sat in the chairs, hugged the patterned pillows, sprawled out on the mattresses. I looked up close at the photos on the wall, books on the shelves and clothes and shoes in the perfectly organized closets that made it all seem realistic, but not intrusive to the imaginary family living in those rooms.  Even as an “adult” and a story-teller by nature, I made up stories in my head about the people who lived in the rooms.

A lovely bookcase I built. From...Ikea!!

When I was learning about starting a business we talked about psychology and shopping. How a brand makes you feel, how they present themselves and offer their services.

Ikea is an amazing case study on this particularly here in the U.S.

We want stuff that looks good.

We love stuff that’s cheap and makes us feel like we got a deal.

They know we have a lot of shit we don’t need and won’t get rid of and being able to hide it effectively in our homes and in an organized manner not only appeals to us, it titillates us.

We are quite obsessed with home improvement and competing with others and feeling like we have lovely homes.

We get hungry when we shop.

One of the most genius things Ikea did was offer food. As a broke college student and a broke adult writer, I’ll be the first to say, there were times I went in there not even thinking about furniture, dishes or home accents.

I wanted the $.50 hot dogs and $.75 soft serve ice cream cones.

When they expanded the cafeteria (you can get a pretty darn good meal for $6 using real plates and utensils) it set something off in people. It was another victory for the brand (and for guys taking girls out on dates…”yeah girl lets pretend we are furnishing our future home..let me feed you another meatball girl! You deserve it, boo. Hell, let’s get some ice cream too!”)

Families could sit down for civilized meals while they shopped in a clean, well-organized environment. No cardboard boxes or paper cups.

A bookcase I converted into a TV/entertainment center! Ikea!!

I know I may sound like an obsessed Ikea stan right now, but think about it. Those Swedes get what we as Americans wish we could be and wish we had the time to be.

We are loud and messy and unorganized.

We eat terribly. We are addicted to the quick gratification that comes from a $.75 ice cream cone or a $39 bookcase that actually looks pretty nice.  We can gussy up our bathrooms with some new vases, we can finally frame those photos we’d been meaning to get to and display them on our walls, giving our living spaces a much-needed, yet simple and inexpensive transformation.

Most of us can’t afford interior designers, and after hours and hours of HGTV marathons, we feel empowered to give it a try ourselves.

Ikea gives us the go ahead.

Ikea makes us feel good. It makes us feel like although we did something seemingly small, like buying a rug or a new set of dishes, it’s a pleasant change significant to our everyday lives.

We go to this store in hopes that if we buy these nice hangers (NO MORE WIRE  HANGERS!), our closets will be more organized. If we buy the bookshelf, we’ll stop letting all those classics from college collect dust in the basement in a large plastic bin, and we’ll also show our friends we are smart and sophisticated when they stop by.

If we are more organized, we can be better people; our minds will be clear to finally do all of those things we swore we’d do. We can look like those happy people in the catalogues hosting parties sipping out of cute wine glasses, serving perfect finger foods on lovely cheap platters that our friends will gush over and ask us where we got this great stuff from. And proudly, as if we have given away a secret only known to ourselves, we’ll smile, and say, “Ikea, and you won’t believe what I paid.”

The reality is they will believe it, because they have the same “Karby” rug in their house too.

It’s all quite calculated. The flow of the showroom, walking from area to area, and then like being let loose in the gift shop at the end of a museum tour “the marketplace” of Ikea awaits you at the end. It’s climatic.

You reward yourself with a snack for $2.00, and you go home excited to add your new embellishments to your home. Good bye to that old, worn-out ratty bathroom rug!

Here’s to the dream. I’ve got to go. I have a “Bild” and a “Ribba” to hang in my bedroom!   

Gonna frame and hang this tonight!!!

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