Things I Like

Life lesson #66: IKEA is not for wimps.

In fact, nothing about moving would serve the faint of heart. Whether you’re shlepping 90-pound boxes up three flights of stairs or hoping desperately that the new sofa you just bought will stay securely tied to the roof of your car as you coast along a Brooklyn freeway, when it comes to moving, pantywaists need not apply.

Which is why it’s so fortunate that I am a moving warrior.

Today was my first trip to an IKEA. I mean, I was familiar with the custom: giant warehouse, loads of inexpensive furniture, Swedish sensibility, etc. What I didn’t know is that IKEA is not just a store. It’s an experience.

When you go to IKEA, you’re not just going to walk away with a cheap futon. Oh no, it’s a place where you can find yourself the proud consumer of a streamlined living room and a streamlined view of the world. The IKEA experience includes dining on delacacies in the cafeteria (including Swedish meatballs and a free breakfast during the Memorial Day Weekend Sale!!!) and learning why clearing your own tray is not only better for the wait staff, but better for the world in general.

The only real problem with IKEA is that you want everything. Literally.

Emma and I had roughly two hours to scour the gigantic kingdom for a couch, coffee table, bookshelves and a dresser—the feat was almost too much, even with my loyal parents by our sides. The real challenge, though, turned out to be getting our Swedish treasures home. Fortunately, my dad is a wizard with twine, and we got everything home without a hitch. (Again, literally. We’d already returned the U-Haul trailer we’d rented to get the rest of my crap to New York.)

The only thing left to do was somehow put everything together. Emma and I conquered these bookshelves: (sorry they’re sideways)


But the real victory, my magnum opus, is this:


Go ahead, you can ooh and ah. I’m impressed with me, too.

I BUILT that thing with my BARE HANDS. I don’t know if you’re as excited as I am, but the point is that Ty Pennington better watch his back.

In honor of my last night in my Des Moines home, I’ve decided to make a list of all the things I’ve learned to love about this city:

1. My friends. I’d list you all, but I’d undoubtedly forget someone, and then I’d have to deal with that fall out. No thanks. You know who you are.

2. Everything is about 15 minutes away. As someone facing a 47-minutes commute to work, a 23-minute commute to church, and at least a half-hour subway ride to just about everything else, I’ll miss the quick trips.

3. Prices. Everything in New York is effing expensive. Seriously. Everything.

4. Smash T-shirts. I bought two today. Des Moines-themed sarcasm? Sign me up.

5. Van Dees Ice Cream

6. Just driving around

7. “Landmarks” from my childhood

8. Fourth meal

I feel like there is probably more than that, but for some reason that’s all I can come up with right now. Thanks for the laughs, Iowa. Take care of yourself.

So some of you know that I’ve been planning a surprise anniversary party for my parents’ 25th. (It’s actually in June, but the fam was here for my graduation anyway, and besides, it’s a better surprise this way.) Anyways, the point is it was tonight, and it was awesome.


Even better, I GOT A CAMERA!!! That’s right. My friend Rebekah got me a camera for graduation, and it rules. As you may or may not remember, my other camera met an unfortunate end when it was stolen by hardened criminals*. But I will no longer be sad about that because now I can incorporate more photos into this little blog.

And since I’m moving to New York ON THURSDAY, I have more people to keep updated about my life. Aren’t you as thrilled as I am? I thought so.

Anyways, the point is, tonight I was a good daughter, and now I’m exhausted. Tomorrow is graduation. Here’s hoping I don’t trip and fall on my face in front of thousands of people!!

*people my roommates invited to a house party

Weddings are fun. They just are.

Even the things you think you hate about weddings, you don’t really. Yes, they will always play “Celebration” and “Brick House” and “We Are Family,” but in a way, isn’t that consistency comforting?


You don’t even have to get down about the love thing (if you’re single) as long as you have people to dance with. My housemates and I (sort of) crashed a wedding recently. Shelby (one of the girls) is dating Aaron who was the best man, and they invited the rest of us to the reception (post-dinner. We didn’t know them, after all).

Give me an evening where I can dress up and boogie, and I’m a happy girl. Plus, they served fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. It’s like someone wanted to throw a party with all my favorite things.

The only potentially awkward moment came when the bride and groom did the traditional “dollar dance.” (It’s not as scandalous as it sounds, if you’re unfamiliar. In an attempt to make a little extra cash for their future together, everyone has to pay a dollar or more to dance with the bride or groom for a song or two.)

The awkwardness comes in when you have to explain to the groom why you’re even at his wedding. I know what you’re thinking: Why did I even take part in the dance if I knew it could be weird? Long story short, Emma’s boyfriend talked a big game about how he was going to do the dance, then chickened out, and I had to show him up. Spoiler alert: I did. After calling him a coward, he danced with a stranger. Mission accomplished.

Of course, I couldn’t just trash talk. So I danced with the groom. Fortunately, I’m a master at small talk. Turns out we went to the same high school and had the same major. Score. It also gave me the idea to share some of my masterful small-talking skills. Here are a few sure-fire winners:

1. Location, location, location. “Where are you from?” or “Have you always lived around here?” are open-ended questions that you can always build on. Even if they’re from somewhere you’ve never been, you can ask them to tell you what it’s like. That’s sure to get you through a dance.

2. Take them to school. Find out their major (or job) and ask how they got into that. Ideally, it will be something they’re interested in, so they’ll want to talk about it. Or at least they’ll have an opinion to share.

3. Stall. I know that there’s always a chance you’ll end up with a total dud who will contribute nothing to the conversation. In which case it’s ok to fall back on empty compliments or idle chit-chat about the weather or random objects around you. (“So, where are those gorgeous flower arrangements from? How much did you love that cake?!” Etc.)

Above all else, keep the energy up. If you sound interested, no one will notice that you’re not really talking about anything. Mazal tov!


Today marks the last day of classes I may ever have to take.*

I am currently one class and two final presentations and a couple posts away from life after college. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Commence countdown to commencement. (See what I did there?)


*The only reason why this would not be true would be if I decide to become a professor and have to get my Masters. But for now, that’s the distant future. Let’s try and live in the moment, shall we?

I take back everything I said about winter.

Today was a balmy fifty degrees, and I can hold no grudge against anyone. I drove with the windows DOWN. I didn’t wear my coat INSIDE. (I do this to get slightly overheated before going outside. That way, the bone-chilling cold feels merely refreshing. For about thirty seconds.) I wore a SKIRT sans TIGHTS. (A mistake, actually. I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs.)


The point is, the feud is off. I’m spreading my lightly clad arms in love and acceptance. Provided winter remains at an agreeable temperature. Sounds fair, right?

Also, tomorrow is the dreaded surgery. My goal is to write a blog post whilst under the influence of anesthetic. We’ll see if I remember. I might get distracted by the pudding my wonderful friend Annie bought for me. Anything is possible in this crazy world where winter and I get along.

ALSO, turned in my capstone application today. My interview will either be next Tuesday or Thursday, so I only have a week to sweat whether or not I got the position I want. Here’s hoping!