Today, Los Angeles marked the first day of spring by unceremoniously dumping torrential rains upon our sunbleached heads, as if to say "Take that, SUCKAS!!!!" We commemorated the occasion by seeking refuge at our local mall, along with 98% of the general population within a 50-mile radius, to indulge in a little retail therapy.
I have been on a bit of an (extremely out-of-character) shopping kick recently, hellbent on spending a good chunk of my (measly) bonus check on home improvement. Anyone who knows me well would tell you that this is decidedly not befitting my well-earned status as Cheapest Bitch Alive, and truth be told, my newfound spend-thrifty ways even perplex me somewhat. My sister-in-law suggested it could be nesting, and although it seems several months early, I suppose I could just go with that. But the truth is that, as someone who can rarely justify spending money on herself (aside from food, because by damn, I love to eat - although really, at the end of the meal, what do you have to show for it besides a bloated stomach?), I have discovered that a few upgrades here and there can do wonders for one's sense of well-being.
It started with my sudden need to rid our bedroom of its ancient, wobbly bedside tables. We searched high and low for suitable alternatives that would work with our fancypants (read: long-ago gift from someone generous) bed and chest of drawers and provide some extra storage space for our bursting closet. To my surprise, we ended up at our tried-and-true standby: IKEA.
Inexpensive, yet works perfectly with the pricier stuff we already had. Love, love, love.
While we were at it, I decided that our duvet cover - a fantastic, long-loved red paisley Pottery Barn purchase from my single days - definitely needed replacing. Roaming in the bedroom textiles, I found it, the antithesis of the busy red paisley: white and crisp, with delicate vines in various greens creeping up the comforter cover. It is serene loveliness, perfect to herald the beginning of spring, and with matching pillow shams to boot. AND on sale half-price at $14.99. I would show you a picture, but it's gone from the IKEA website. Thus the $14.99.
I've had an antique mirror, rescued from my deceased grandmother's home, hulking in the corner of our bedroom for the past two years. Yesterday, my husband finally hung it on the wall over our chest of drawers, marking the first item we have hung on our bedroom walls in over two years of dwelling in our current abode. I know, pathetic, huh? But with these small upgrades, our bedroom suddenly went from a ramshackle disarray of laundry piles and discarded toys to "WOW! Grown-ups live here!" I feel fancy.
You might think that would be enough, but well, you'd be wrong. While visiting last month, my saavy mother discovered something that the two of us airheads hadn't yet noticed - one leg of our dining room table had basically detached and was about one small push away from totally collapsing. Ah yes - another shining example of excellent parenting. I'm fairly sure "do not allow table to fall onto child's head" is somewhere in the book of baby-proofing that I haven't read.
We set out posthaste in search of a replacement table, but again, a good one proved hard to find. We looked high and low (and we live right by Los Angeles's La Brea furniture row, so that's saying something, kids) and couldn't find anything right. Everything was either cheap and junky-looking or ridiculously pricey. What to do?
That's right - IKEA it is, yet again:
It must be said that this photo simply does not do justice to the glory of our new table. It truly looks like it wandered out of a high-end gallery and into our two-bedroom apartment. It seats at least eight at its current size, and then pulls out to reveal two additional wings for added space, allowing it to sit at least a dozen people (and really, when the hell am I going to have more than a dozen people over, I ask you? Answer: no time soon). Yes, I'm a little in love with my new table.
Think that's enough? OH NO! Lately I've also been on an anti-Teflon kick, and decided that it was high time to replace the two decaying nonstick pans that are probably pumping carcinogens into our bodies with each egg we scramble. In the rapidly escalating anti-Teflon fury that consumed me, I became paranoid that EVERY piece of cookware that we have must be coated with the evil junk. Aside from the two PTFE and PFOA-packed nonstick offenders, the rest of our cookware was an expensive gift from our wedding registry, which I chose long before I had even a remote inking of toxins, health, the environment, yadda yadda. It probably went something like this:
"WHEEE!!!! Lookit that set! It's awful shiny! I'm gettin' MARRIED and I wants it! YEEEEEHAH!" (and beep beep beep goes the registry gun)
I don't know why I'm a hillbilly in this scenario, but you get the point. So I did some frantic googling and was overjoyed to discovered that there is not one DROP of Teflon in our very nice Calphalon set. Huzzah!
Still, my mother insists that stainless steel is the way to go, and she both works in a cookware shop and kicks serious ass in the kitchen, so I'll take her word for it. In our consumer roamings today, we found ourselves in the Macy's Home department, in the midst of a massive sale. And that's how I came home with this fine addition to my cabinets, my Calphalon Stainless Steel 10" Skillet:
Hello, my shiny new friend. Welcome to our home. Won't you cook me dinner?
It was originally $79.99, but marked down 50% to $39.99, with an additional 15% off for using my Macy's card, for a whopping total of $33 or so. I believe a WOOHOO! is in order.
Just when I thought I was done, I ended up in the bedding section, and discovered the most glorious set of sheets on a super sale - 620 thread count, soft as my baby's bottom, butter yellow (love) - originally priced at $175, on sale for (drumroll...) $59.99. Holy bedding sale, Batman!
I walked out of there exhausted but happy, with sheets under one arm, frying pan under the other, and a toddler wedged firmly on my pregnant hip.
To summarize, we now have proper bedside tables that won't topple down and crush our noggins in the middle of the night, a pretty new duvet and sheets to warm our tired selves, a table to eat like royalty, and a pan to cook culinary masterpieces. All this, and I still have plenty of bonus check left over - but that's going straight into savings. Mama's got a house to buy.