I used to marvel at how flawlessly they would stage a finished room on HGTV. Every pillow was perfectly plumped; every detail from the artwork to the rug was Goldilocks-right. How cool it would be to have someone "stage" my house, I thought. Some design genius would whisk in, fling a few tchotchkes around and make my living room suitable for "House Beautiful." Well, that dream recently came true. You see, I'm trying to sell my house, and one of the services offered by my real estate agent is "staging."
We've heard of the staycation, the workcation and the playcation. And if you're a Swift, there's also bakecation. It all started a couple of months ago, while we watched Mom slide a pan of her gooey caramel rolls into the oven. I mentioned that I really needed to learn how to make bread. Mom mentioned that my brother, Gary, wanted to spend a day with her to also get breaducated.
FARGO — A week or so ago, I was watching "Working Girl," the ultimate '80s workplace comedy starring Melanie Griffith as a working-class secretary who impersonates her yuppie boss to work her way up the corporate ladder. As I watched all the powersuits, pearls and pumps charge down the sidewalks of Manhattan, I could only think of how formal the average American workplace used to be. I mean, women routinely wore prim, long-sleeved dresses and serious suits — complete with pantyhose, slips and enough hair gel to turn a Sasquatch into Brigitte Nielsen.
For 2018, I didn't give up chocolate or Diet Coke or — as my editor can attest — procrastination. Instead, I vowed to surrender something much more tempting. My judge-y pants. In other words, I'm working to shed that state of mind I so easily slip into when summarily dismissing, condemning or judging. I mean my all-too-common practice of taking everyone else's inventory. Of looking at what someone is doing or saying or wearing, and dismissing it based on an uninformed hunch or a gut reaction.
When choosing an exercise buddy, it is essential that you select someone entertaining, motivating and — most importantly — aligned to your own personal belief system about exercise. For instance, when I last had an exercise buddy (in 2005, to be exact), I was careful to recruit a delightful and amusing friend who would not humiliate me in workouts and could be swayed to take the occasional detour through the health club parking lot to go to Dairy Queen instead.
My name is Tammy, and I am a bakecrastinator. There. I said it. That ugly word is out there, and now you know all my deep, dark, chocolate-y secrets. You see, I love to bake. But I also love to put things off to the last minute. Perhaps it is part of my risk-taking nature, in which I like to see if there's a way to make quick bread into mercurial bread.
When it comes to "party-planning," women have a much different perception of it than men do. A woman planning a party for her friends will clean her house from top to bottom, put the nice "guest towels" in the powder room and arrange fresh flowers on the dining room table. She will bake a fancy dessert, buy wine and make pastry-wrapped Brie. She will take the dog to the groomer and clean out the freezer in case a guest helps themselves to ice.
A photo used to be an event. You planned for it. ("Remember to bring Dad's Instamatic. Is there much film left? Did you bring new flashcubes?") You worked for it. ("Now I will drive this single roll of film to the drug store, then wait patiently for a week until it is developed. Only then will I be able to tell if everybody has their eyes open and Ricky gave his sister rabbit ears again.") You valued it. ("Now we will organize photos according to date and occasion in an album, which will be brought out for viewing on special occasions.")
It wasn't so long ago. Nope. It wasn't as long as you might think that we did things that seem completely alien to today's kids. Think about it: Just a couple of decades ago we clipped items out of newspapers, practiced our cursive writing and called telephone operators for the correct time. In fact, in a day when a high-tech device can become obsolete in months, it's easy to understand why young 'uns are completely unfamiliar with words like "Blockbuster," "mix tape" and "Discman."
Imagine that you're a kid again. You want to go hang out at the fun playground, where other kids are making each other laugh, adorable tots are toddling around everywhere, a couple of friends are engaged in a loud yet fascinating spat and someone just put a toupee on a cat. But your parents want you to go to the other playground, which is populated by serious-minded young action planners who wear little blue suits, hand you their business cards and only want to talk about aligning synergies, leveraging, reaching out, drilling down and blue sky-thinking.