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Giving Thanks for Things that Suck

Giving Thanks for Things that Suck

Photo Source: Emily Henderson

I know, I know…it is Thanksgiving. We are supposed to be super grateful today (and every day). And I am. I really am. But it has occurred to me recently, that some things just suck. And I want to talk about it. Poor timing? Probably. But this blogger needs to strike while the iron is hot write when the idea is fresh in her head. So, sucky things it is.

What is so sucky, you ask?

Sometimes it is a 23 calorie lunch that you paid 15 dollars for. Sometimes it is adult acne. Sometimes it is ill-fitting socks that have a way of slithering down your calves and bunching together uncomfortably in your boots. Sometimes it is a moment – like when you pull the car door handle at the precise moment someone pushes the unlock button. Sometimes it is the movie Sausage Party. And sometimes, it is Donald Trump.

Yup. Sometimes, some things just suck.

If you are anything like me, when things suck you just want to run and hide (in Canada). You want to give up. You want to toss everything in the trash and start over (I’m looking at you ill-fitting socks).

As a well-practiced giver-upper, I am here to tell you there are times when this approach is TOTALLY useful and productive (see Sausage Party reference above).

But there are other times when quitting and moving to Canada is not a great option. Or, quite possibly, it is not an option at all (also…side note…Canada is really cold). Sometimes you have to just deal with the suckiness. The way I see it, you have two options:

  • You can complain about said sucky thing and continue to be miserable.

  • Or you can figure out how to make said sucky thing better. Maybe even great (again. HA! See what I did there?).

I am embarrassed to admit that for the past 5 years, I have adopted the former strategy when it came to our 50 shades of teal kitchen (You thought this was going to be a political post, didn’t you? Nope. This is about my kitchen. Who knew kitchens and president-elects had so much in common?).

I mean, you can’t really blame me for being pessimistic about our kitchen. It has a lot working against it. For instance:

  1. It is basically the size of a walk-in closet, maybe smaller.

  2. There are different shades of teal green tile EVERYWHERE.

  3. There is limited storage (see point 1) so it feels like there is random shit everywhere

  4. The ceiling is low

  5. The light fixture is horrendous

  6. There is very little natural light

  7. The one window we do have is covered with plastic wrap in an attempt to seal it from the Siberian wind that likes to blow through Beijing. So basically, it looks real classy.

  8. The dishwasher barely works and is taking up some very prime real estate.

  9. IT IS NOT OURS! So we can’t really make extensive or permanent changes to it (like setting off a bomb and walking away)

It is, in a word, sucky.



But the thing that is MOST sucky about our kitchen is the feeling I get every time I walk in there I am CONSTANTLY reminded of its flaws. They are many and overwhelming. My coping strategy?  I try to (unsuccessfully) channel Buddha and spend as little time in there as possible.

Do you have a space like this?

If you don’t…F#$&  you!  J/K people! J/K!

But seriously, folks, if you feel entirely at peace with your home and all of its nooks and crannies, I am so envious. I feel like I have multiple problem areas in my home; not just my kitchen. Areas that just don’t function properly. Areas that annoy me to the MOON. Areas that are not remotely pretty.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I think these problem areas are a reality for most people. We are continuously frustrated by our homes and yet we live with them. Why? Why do we do this?

Well, I’m glad you asked because I happen to know EXACTLY why.

We live in and are frustrated by problem areas in our homes because:

  • We don’t know where to start

  • We feel we don’t have to time to make it better

  • We feel we don’t have the money to make it better

  • We tell ourselves, it could be worse

  • We tell ourselves, it is good enough

  • We tell ourselves there are bigger problems in the world to worry about

  • We would rather watch Narcos

  • We lack the resources or expertise or vision to see the potential

  • We think that there is simply NO HOPE for this space.

While I understand these reasons intimately (*ahem* I invented this list!), I feel it is my social obligation to call bullshit on this list of excuses. True, we might not be able to do EVERYTHING to turn it into the space of our dreams, but we can do SOMETHING. Maybe just even ONE thing; one thing that will make your space slightly less frustrating and/or slightly more beautiful to live in.

We can all do that. Every last one of us.

BTW: Feel free to apply this list of excuses to anything you know you should do, but just never seem to (i.e. social activism or exercising or going back to school).

Over the past few weeks, I have been so inspired by all the bloggers who participated in the OneRoom Challenge. (If you don’t what the ORC is, read here and prepare yourself to go down the wormhole of hundreds of beautifully, transformed spaces). Basically, each blogger was given 6 weeks to transform one room in their house. Y’all, the transformations are spectacular! Below  are a few of my favorites.

First this dream laundry room. I mean, I think I would spill things on my clothes on purpose just to hang out in here all day.



Also this adorable little girls room with built-in DIY bunkbeds. Absolute perfection.



Yes, some of these people are legit designers. Yes, they had some financial help (i.e. sponsors) when transforming their spaces. And, no, I am not so delusional as to think that I could achieve such a drastic result in my teeny-tiny, teal, rented kitchen in Beijing. But it was enormously inspiring to watch these rooms go from very ordinary, in some cases even ugly, to downright beautiful. It was just the kick in the butt that I needed to finally do something about my all but forgotten about kitchen.

So over the next few weeks, I am committed to addressing the problem area that is our kitchen. The goal? To add more functionality and more beauty without breaking the bank.

I think I can do this. In fact, I have already started. See?



I know, I know. It doesn’t look like progress. It looks like straight chaos. But I’m going to get there, people. I’m determined.

Are you sick of feeling frustrated by the lack of function or beauty in your home?  Why don’t you join me! We can have our own little mini-ORC (for normal, non-designer people, with very little money or time to invest in complete room overhauls). Seriously. Enough chatter. Let’s do something about our horrible rooms (that we are, ultimately, so extremely grateful to have).

Tune in next week for some updates. And Haaaaappppppeeeee Thanksgiving!

PSA: You are getting old

PSA: You are getting old

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Explanations, Summer and Choosing Happiness