Nerdery

I’ve debated writing this post for a while, which is something I find that I do whenever I want to write about something that makes me a little uncomfortable or that I think I won’t get a favorable response on.

Welp, guess you guys have liked me long enough anyway, right?

I want to talk about selfies.

Up until about a year or two ago, you probably had never even heard this word. I hadn’t. I mean, they existed. Every since the beginning of portraiture, mankind has been seemingly obsessed with capturing their own appearance. (Don’t believe me? History don’t lie.)

There’s even a fairly fun trend in the art world of turning iconic photos into selfies. (I kind of love it.)

The point is, selfies are not actually a new thing. What is new (and especially poignant with the onslaught of social media, which gave millions of teenagers a platform on which to project their faces), is the sudden and sharp distaste for the genre.

I mean, I can’t lie — I get it. I get that it’s irritating to see someone post photo after photo of their own face. Like, what, you think we forgot what you look like? You’re just doing it to get compliments. It’s totally self-centered. Right?

Well, okay.

Sometimes, I think that’s true. But I think there has to be more to it. Because, yeah, okay, I know a lot of people who are self-centered in general who post a lot of selfies. (It makes sense that so many teenagers, who are notoriously absorbed with their own lives and worlds, would be the biggest offenders.)

But I also know a lot of sweet, selfless, otherwise mild-mannered people who still post the occasional shot of themselves. (Usually with all the usual “eek #obligatoryselfie” disclaimers, of course.)

Heck, I’ve done it. I counted no fewer than 21 selfies on my Instagram account. And that’s not even counting the dozens of “half-face”, hair shots, and group photos I’ve uploaded in the last two years.

But, I mean, I also write a blog about my life, so clearly I don’t have that many qualms about showing you my face.

So why do we do it? Obviously, I have a theory. Two, actually.

The first is that a selfie is solid, near tangible way of marking a moment in time. This is me. On this day, at this moment. Here I am. I was.

It’s something you can point to and remember. Pine for or be glad is over. Selfies are a little peek into your history.

That’s one theory. The other theory is much simpler, and way less philosophical.

A selfie is a way of capturing a moment when you felt good about yourself. After all, most of us only post flattering selfies. I know when I do it, it’s sometimes a way of saying, “Look, you guys! I look pretty right now!”

And yes, that is a petty reason for doing something. But I also have a hard time judging someone else for feeling pretty. (And I try not to judge myself for feeling that way either.) There are too many reasons to feel ugly these days, and too many people perfectly willing to tear others down for the sake of some shallow feeling of superiority.

Whenever I feel myself getting annoyed at someone for posting too many photos of himself or herself, I try to remember that. I try to to be happy for them for feeling pretty. Proud of them, even.

So, yeah, a Facebook album titled “Me*!*!*!*!*!<3lol” packed with 30 photos you took in the mirror is annoying. But the occasional “Woooo new haircut!” post? I can deal.

You probably look pretty spectacular, anyway.

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Can you believe it? We’ve been in our apartment only three months and I’m basically done decorating.

It’s a miracle.

I mean, sure, there are little things here and there I want to add. And the bedroom isn’t quite done yet. But everything else is about as done as it’s going to get. (In an effort to live a simpler life, and to acknowledge that this is just an apartment we’ll be in for a while and not our dream home, I’m trying not to change our decor as often as I did in the last place. Trying.)

Anyway, here’s a quick tour of the parts that are 99.9% done.

Here’s the view facing the front door toward the kitchen. You can just see our little Craigslist-ed kitchen table and chairs. Hanging on the wall to the right is a vintage Paris map I picked up at HomeGoods ages ago but never had the right spot for.

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Here’s what you see when you first walk in the door facing the bathroom.

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Joey actually picked that spot for our wedding guest “tree,” and it fits perfectly.

If you go right from there, you enter the kitchen:

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Here’s our table with two prints I found on Etsy. (One is a beer bottle and champagne glass with “his” and “hers” on it, the other says “The secret ingredient is always cheese.”) (Because it is.)

The one thing I still want to add to this corner is an oversized print of a Penguin book I have, but I haven’t had a chance to get to Kinkos yet to print it.

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Here are the built-in cabinets. I’ve made peace with their old-timey color. We store our bigger items (crock pot, cake plates, etc.) on top and dishes and glasses inside them. My father-in-law also installed little hooks for me under the cabinets to hang teacups and mugs. The seafoam green mat I got from a tag sale at work for about $5.

Back to the living room!

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Not too much has changed in here since you last saw it. (It’s cleaner, though.) We actually have no visible clutter in this room, which is pretty incredible to me. (And awesome.)(I’m a nerd.)

The one thing I still want to add to this room is a bulletin board over the computer. I have cork tiles that I want to spray paint white to make it. Stay tuned.

So that’s it! It’s so nice feeling like we can finally have guests over. We already had overnight guests, but we spent so little time in the apartment with them, it didn’t seem to matter if everything wasn’t put together. But Saturday we had our first dinner guests, and I’m hoping to host a few more events this summer. Can’t wait!

“Painting metal file cabinet.”

“Skip washing your hair.”

“What to wear to a concert.” (Irony.)

“Bachelorette party in Chicago.”

“Inside out stuffed shells.”

And my personal favorite: “Make princess curls.”

This is what I corner the market on, you guys.

You guys. I don’t want to brag (especially because I know that the second I do, this will stop being true)(rhyme!!!), but I am pretty dang good at Craigslist.

In the last couple of weeks, I have bought and sold about six pieces of furniture, which will make moving easier (sayonara, mammoth china cabinet) and make our new apartment prettier (he-llo, gorgeous leaning bookshelves from Crate & Barrel). Here’s a quick round-up of my favorite success stories:

1. Bar cart from Crate & Barrel
Original price: It’s not on the site anymore, but given the price of similar ones they have listed, I would guess at least $125.
Price paid: $25

We picked this baby up from a chic apartment building in one of the most desirable areas of Brooklyn. (Was the guy we bought it from wealthy? Put it this way: He had a doorman who was exactly what you would get if you combined Arthur and Lucius and who when we said who we were there to see told us to “knock because of the baby.” You know you’ve made it when you have a doorman who knows your personal life despite living in a 15-story building.)

The guy was nice as can be and had two adorable 6-month-old twins. He was obviously just selling the rack because it was easier than throwing it out, and his lack of concern about money was our thrifty gain.

Lesson #1: Try searching by the names of brands you like. I wasn’t actively searching for a bar cart (even though we would need something like this eventually), but searching for “Crate and Barrel” brought me treasure.

2. Black bookshelves from IKEA
Original price: They’re about $90 each on IKEA currently, but I’m pretty sure they were on sale when my roommates and I bought two of them almost four years ago.
Sold for: $90 for both, including delivery.

I listed these at $40 each, but a woman offered me $70 for them both and I took it. (I am always willing to engage in a reasonable haggle.) When she came to pick them up, though, she only had a small car and they didn’t fit. I offered to drop them off at her house the next day, and she threw in an extra $20. Win-win.

Lesson #2: Craigslist is supposed to be like a community. So if you’re polite an neighborly, you might end up getting more money than you even planned to charge.

3. Leaning bookshelves from Crate & Barrel
Original price: $130 each
Price paid: I’m getting two for about $100 total.

I wanted to find two slim, ladder-style shelves like the ones at the link above, but I wanted white ones. Target had a version for $80 each, but I really wanted to thrift something and I was confident I could find a better price (and quality) with a little patience.

Then yesterday, I found two sellers that were each selling one white leaning shelf from C&B. I contacted them both and offered each $50 (they were asking for $75 and $100 respectively). Both agreed (one of them actually turned out to be a girl from work who is moving to California…small world), and we picked them up on Wednesday.

Lesson #3: Patience is a virtue. (Although Joey might argue that I’m not that patient. He has asked me to please not buy anymore furniture until after we officially move.)

4. Coral rug
Original price: It’s now listed for over $200, but I paid around $90 because it was on sale and I had a coupon.
Sold for: $60

I was honestly starting to think this rug would be my downfall in terms if my Craigslist success. I’ve been trying to sell it for a couple of months, but people are understandably skeptical of purchasing fabric-based goods on Craigslist. So even though we only really used it for about a month, it was hard to convey just how good of condition it was in on a (sometimes sketchy) website.

I lowered my price and renewed my listing last week without much hope it would sell.

And then — here’s where a choir of angels starts singing — I go an email from a woman who wanted to put it in her kid’s playroom. She haggled a bit, and honestly I was nervous she would turn into one of those Craigslist phantoms that says they want your stuff and then just vanishes into the night. But she didn’t. And she even emailed me for follow-up information because her aunt loved the rug and wanted to see more pictures. And she’s coming to get it on Sunday.

AND I’M THRILLED.

Lesson #4: Don’t be afraid to lower your price. The alternative is just donating the item for free, so any gain is still a gain.

Bonus Lesson #5: Take time with your ad. I always try to write them in a business-like-but-friendly voice. I want shoppers to know I’m legit — a real person who probably takes good care of her stuff.

In the same vein, don’t just post crappy photos you snapped in the dark with your phone camera. It’s just like selling an apartment on Craigslist; clean it up, use good lighting, style it a bit. I always try to include one atmosphere shot of the item in my home (another reason why taking photo tours of your home at its best is a good idea.

So those are the big transactions so far. All I have left to sell is our dining room table and chairs, so hopefully we can move those pretty quickly. Our move-in date is most likely going to be the last week of March, but I just need to get the old table unloaded before April 1st. Wish me luck!

What are come of your favorite Craigslist lessons and tricks?

Ughhhh. February, We get it. You’re the worst month ever. You have the worst weather ever. You can dump 30 inches of snow and then encore with freezing rain. We get it.

Now knock it off, okay?

For those of you not enjoying the splendor of this winter nightmarewonderland, here’s what I am staring at as I type this:

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Gorgeous, non? (Answer: Non.)

Soooo anyway, now I’m cold and wet. It’s magical.

You would think having grown up in the Midwest, where this kind of weather is an all-too-common occurrence, I would be used to it.

Spoiler alert: I’m not!

Whatever. I’m over it. (Mostly.)

Anyway. This weekend was good, at least. After traveling so much over the last couple of weeks, the hubs and I finally got to hang out. Yesterday we had a zombie-themed day (quite on accident) when we saw Warm Bodies (hilarious, by the way. You just have to go in expecting ridiculousness. And “forget what you know about zombies”, as my husband hilariously put it. Just try to out all that wizened, scientific knowledge out of your head that you have garnered from The Walking Dead.) and then later, incidentally, watched the “mid-season premiere” (ugh) of TWD.

We also had dinner at my in-laws’. But that wasn’t zombie-themed. (Unfortunately.)

Next weekend, we’re having a couple of people over for dinner, and then it will officially be the end of guests in our current apartment because it will be time to start packing it up. Eeee.

I’m excited and preemptively stressed out at the same time. That’s a thing, right?

So…you wants to come help me bubble wrap things next week? Eh??

I’ve always been one of those people who can’t help but plan ahead.

Sometimes this annoys my husband. He’s worried that my constant planning means it’s impossible for me to ever just enjoy a moment when it finally arrives.

He might be right sometimes.

However, at this point, planning is a crucial part of my personality that I’ll probably never root out completely. And given the amount of peace it gives me to plan, I’ve accepted that.

By that I mean, I’m less of a crazy person when I feel like I have a plan. And with our upcoming move this spring, there’s obviously a lot to figure out.

One of my least favorite parts of living in New York is the moving process. First of all, you better not even dream of looking at an apartment until you are practically getting kicked out of your current place. So while I’ve been keeping tabs on certain neighborhoods and have an idea of how much I’m going to end up spending, I won’t really know where we’ll be living until a week or two before.

I do not like that.

The other thing I hate is that, given the strict timetable, you are forced to move very quickly. (I also hate feeling rushed.)

This wasn’t so much of a problem when we first moved into our current place, but now moving requires transporting several large pieces of furniture and a lot more breakables. I get a little stressed just thinking about it.

Having moved a lot myself in the last five years, I kind of have it down to a science. And I know that one of the biggest parts of moving is getting rid of tons of stuff while both packing and unpacking. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the thought, “Why the heck did I pack this?”)

So, while I cannot do much actual planning for the move, I’ve decided to do as much organizing an stuff purging before March as possible. Starting with every closet.

And hoo-boy, you guys. Did I get rid of a lot of stuff.

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There’s also a giant IKEA bag of stuff on the ground, you just can’t see it.

So…yeah. I needed to do this.

But besides helping me prep for a (hopefully) seamless moving process, it also gave me the opportunity to organize my clothes. Which, I don’t know about you, but I love doing. I seriously get a very similar thrill to what I get when I buy new clothes. I’m a freak.

I also color-coded everything. I’M A FREAK, OKAY?

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I also organized my underwear drawer (with new drawer inserts I picked up from IKEA), but my friend Taylor convinced me it would be indecent to post that photo. Because y’all are a bunch of prudes or something. Or maybe it’s just that I would someday regret broadcasting a photo of my underwear drawer to the internet…whatever.

So anyway. I’m feeling much better about moving my clothes. My next projects are the desk area, the scary dark corner cabinet in our kitchen (everyone has one, right?), and the bedroom as a whole. Should be interesting.