I read or heard recently a news report that shopping is good for you — it gets you out of the house, gives you exercise and company and a new perspective on things. Of course, in my case that new perspective is “What’s happened to all our money?”, but that’s a minor issue. The point is that you can Learn Things and Gain Experience by shopping. For example: I recently discovered that you can buy duct tape in patterns remarkably similar to some throw pillows I have. And more. Am I the only person around here who didn’t know that duct tape comes in bright neons and animal prints as well as the standard battleship gray? I’m guessing this idea was inspired by more women doing more do-it-yourself jobs around the house. But, honestly, does everything we touch have to be cute and colorful? I realize I’m wandering into dangerous grouchy-old-lady “you-damn-kids-get-outta-my-yard!” territory here, but seems to me that when you need duct tape, having the good ol’ dependable gray workhorse around is best. I’m not sure I’d feel quite confident that zebra stripes are going to do the job. With all due respect to zebras, of course. But we all know that manufacturers and retailers have all sorts of tricks to lure us into buying stuff. Such as this sign my husband and I spotted in a home warehouse-store. It uses all the correct decorating words to grab our attention: “Euro!” “Shaker!” “Espresso!” — a combination of adjectives that only exists in marketing land. I mean, is there such a thing as “Euro Shaker?” I’m doubting it. And Mr. Google agrees with me. Plus, throwing in “espresso” is just silly. Are they talking about Italian roast? French press? A Starbucks doppio? Define your terms, people! But I do like that mirror.
When the going gets tough, the tough clear their calendars, buy plenty of wine and head out to for a weekend near the water. And, boy, you know that things sure get tough a lot. Okay, not really — but us girl friends have to have an excuse to get away every now and then. We’re counting on one of us to retire soon and buy a fabulously big lakehouse with room for all of us, but until then we have to rent our getaways. Luckily, a couple of us are skilled at wading through all the lists of possible rentals and honing on in exactly what we need. Such as this one-level open-plan charmer we hung out at recently. It was a wet weekend so we couldn’t enjoy the inviting back deck and the peaceful view as much as we would have liked, but the interior was so industrial-modern and minimalist-funky that we were fine inside. We loved the brick walls and exposed ductwork and construction details that ran throughout the house. There even were two commercial-style garage doors that opened up to the deck to bring the outside almost completely in. The sleek upscale kitchen had plenty of storage along with stainless appliances and granite countertops. The cabinets sported gorgeous door pulls that carried out what we felt was an urban-loft theme — on a lakeshore surrounded by trees and water. And good friends. And plenty of wine.