Home improvements

You know how they say that you can never be too rich or too thin? Well, I think you can never have a closet that is too big. When we moved into our new house this past January, I made it clear to my fiancé that the master bedroom walk-in closet was going to be my exclusive domain. [It’s ok. He got the basement as part of the deal.] Although a walk-in closet represented a significant improvement over what my old condo offered in terms of closet space, I still (seriously) toyed with the idea of using one of our spare bedrooms as a separate dressing room. For entirely too pragmatic reasons, we decided that a computer room would be more practical. Still, the dream of a gigantic closet is never far from my mind.
One of the things that my dream closet would have is an island. You know, like the ones in fancy kitchens? Except this one would be glass-topped, the better to display my jewelry. This is important, because when it comes to jewelry, out of sight is out of mind for me. As it happens, I dislike the usual jewelry “trees” and similar display doodads. For one thing, they take up too much room and I always seem to be knocking them over somehow. The problem has now been compounded by the fact that I no longer have a proper dresser in my bedroom, and hence nowhere to put these things anyway. So, what to do?
Clearly, for the time being, my island solution will have to wait. In the meantime, this is a pretty a nifty storage/space-saving: 
All you need are a framed cork board (I got mine at Winners for $20) and some push pins. Done!

Weekend wrap-up

Yesterday, I was not able to post a “Friday wrap-up” pic but, hey — I’m only a day late.

Here’s my take on Friday night casual. I was on my way to visit Pushkin.

                                                       skirt, H&M; tank, H&M; cardigan, Kersh;
                                                       shoes, Stuart Weitzman; bag, Marc by Marc Jacobs;
                                                       necklace, Banana Republic; sunglasses, Marc by
                                                       Marc Jacobs

He had a haircut last week. A major haircut.

Don’t believe me?

He looked a little down on his luck. Nothing a hug couldn’t fix though.


Forget quantum physics. One of the most difficult concepts for people to grasp is the concept of value.

Don’t believe me? Watch Buy Me or Real Estate Intervention, TV shows that follow property owners through the process of selling their homes. Ninety nine percent of them will come across as deeply delusional individuals (and a large majority as unpleasantly so), even though it is safe to assume that many of them are otherwise nice, regular folks. And if you want some first-hand experience, check out Kijiji.

I’ve used Kijiji a few times in the last year or so, with mixed success, both as a seller and a buyer. One thing I learned real quick was that people don’t understand how “value” works. Each thing has at least 2 values: what it’s worth to the seller (usually a lot), and what it’s worth to a buyer (usually a lot less). For the most part, people tend to over-estimate the value of their own things – after all, they bought them in the first place because they liked them – and under-estimate the depreciation factor. Too many of them have bought into the marketing slogan that you can “invest” by buying certain things, as if every car, gizmo or pair of shoes is a collectible Star Wars action figure or something. It is extremely rare for consumer goods to hold their value over time; a gold Rolex or Hermés bag might be the sort of things that come closest. [As an aside, this is another reason why paying full retail prices for clothes, in particular, is not a savvy proposition.]

People also overestimate the motivation of buyers. That really nice whatever for which you paid a fortune last year? The buyer has lived without and can continue to live without it just fine. Sure, they like it … but if they really, really, desperately wanted it, they would have gone and bought it from the store … just like you. And if they couldn’t afford to pay full retail price, they’re probably not going to want to pay 75% of the price either (for something you’ve been using for a year).

Now, not all sellers are like that. After all, I’ve picked up a few bargains on Kijiji in my time. And not all buyers are reasonable either. As a buyer, you have to do your homework too – first, to protect yourself and, second, to be able to negotiate successfully. You have to be able to recognize a decent price when you see it. Don’t low-ball someone who’s trying to be reasonable on an item you actually want, because you’re running the risk of pissing off the seller away from the bargaining table. Of course, that’s not to say that you should offer more than you’re willing to spend; just be realistic about whether the amount you’re willing to spend is likely to ever come close to the amount the seller is willing to accept. Which means, yeah, if I’m listing an authentic Coach bag for $160, $80 will get you exactly nothing. Oy vey!