When Inspirational Turns Aspirational (ie Pinterest Envy)

Pinterest Logo. Familiar?

(This is one of those trying-to-write-something-before-the-baby-wakes-up situations, just so you know.)

I have a passionate love-affair with Pinterest, specifically the Pinterest iPhone app. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, basically it’s bookmarking (like, on the internet) with a social aspect, and instead of bookmarking URLs (you know, links that look like a bunch of blahblahblah: http://www.clvrwebsitenamethatsometimesdropsitsvowls.com, for example), you book mark images, and Pinterest remembers the URL for you, hiding it’s protocol-ugliness from your sensitive eyes. It’s brilliant and fun and flipping addictive.

Pinterest eats entire baby nap-times to sustain itself. True story.

You’ll love Pinterest, I promise. Even if you’re not familar with Pinterest, you’re probably familiar with HGTV, or Food Network, or Martha Stewart, etc. And if you’re mostly staying at home with a kiddo (or kiddos), you might keep something like HGTV on in the background almost constantly. (Embarrassing, but true.) I’m so often inspired by this type of programming, that many days it’s seeing images of these well-designed, sparkly spaces that motivates me to put my cleaning gloves on (again) and scrub my sink. Or declutter my dining room table. (You get the idea.) And yes, quite often I see a fabulously styled space and think “I can do that!” This is where inspiration meets aspiration, and to be clear, I think that’s totally fine. I completely believe in wanting/loving/having gratitude for what you already have, but I don’t see any fault in wanting to improve on it. Who doesn’t want a more functional play-space for their kids, for example?

BUT. But. But sometimes aspirational turns into “desperational” (I made that word up), and that’s where the danger of inspirational content like Pinterest, HGTV and even Ms. Martha Stewart herself lies. It’s so so easy (at least, for me) to fall off of the edge of inspired and aspiring into the mindset of “I-will-literally-DIE-if-I-don’t-repaint-my-living-room!” Silly, right?

Our living room is renter-friendly, generic, ubiquitous off-white, and there’s really nothing wrong with that. Do I know how much better it would look if it were (almost) any other color? You bet your Dear Genevieve watching eyes I do! Do I have, like, 47 different ideas for redecorating it? Why not ask my friend Emily Henderson (Secrets From a Stylist)? (She’d say yes.)

So…Where’s the balance? (That’s pretty much my go-to question, all day, every day.) In my (humble, uneducated) opinion, the styling of a home is icing on the cake. So long as the home serves its primary purpose (a “haven” from the outside world where family can let down their hair and enjoy good times together), then you’re fine. It doesn’t need to be ultra-chic for it to be a place that facilitates family bonding.

And that’s what I remind myself whenever I begin to notice my aspirations turning into envy of other people’s stuff. Pictures of my home will probably never circulate Pinterest, inspiring thousands across the internet to drool on their keyboards, but my family sure is happy. We love playing with Ellie in our renter-white living room, and I’d rather spend more time chasing Ellie around than caring for hard-wood flooring (we’ve got vinyl tiles in our kitchen, GASP!). Sure, I’ll continue making improvements, but the goal will always be to create an environment that my family is happy and excited to come home to. (Vertical blinds and all.)

Can you relate to my Martha Stewart envy? Sharing is caring, so I’d love to hear your decor “vices” in the comments!

Leave a comment


  1. Tom S

     /  November 22, 2011

    I have enjoyed your blogs, vlogs and tweets in the past, but digesting this last article was sort of like swallowing sand. I thought to myself, “ What’s with the phallic symbol?” , “Did she outline this thing?” and “Where are the Cliff notes?”

    Anyway, knowing your prior work, I figured it was me and last night I gave it a second read.
    Nope. I’ll chalk it up to it being November and the kiddo was asleep.

    However your description of your home as being “a place that facilitates family bonding” stuck with me.

    As a guy I always considered home shelter, sort of a fox hole and at best a bunker.
    My ideal house would be cut into the top of a hill, complete with a machine gun turret, overlooking a prairie of nice green grass. One that would afford me a buffer from the elements and a hundred yard kill-zone.

    However, when I married, my wife had other ideas. Yes, pictures on the wall would be nice, and so would table cloths. But did you know that some women actually liked open windows and drapes? My wife was one. It was only because she was so wonderful that I was willing to put up with such holes in my fortifications.

    I knew her way was best. When she passed I really wanted to keep it that way, but being the single parent of a 9 month old I saw too many vulnerabilities. Unfortunately I reverted and had to batten down the hatches, for I was in the eye of the storm.

    Thirteen years have passed and now my bunker looks more like a prize ring. Inside the ring are two contenders, an aging old geezer and an upstart teenage boy looking for a shot at the title. The ever growing clutter continues to cut down on the size of the ring, and favors the contender with the best footwork. (I wonder who that could be)

    The shrinking ring brings the two into ever closer quarters, and quite frankly the one minute rests between rounds is starting to wear on the champ.

    From the corner I hear the words “place that facilitates family bonding”.

    I recognize it as coming from the coach, and it clicks.

    For years I have known what had to be done, I just did not know why.

    This is my line in the sand. This is my boastful prediction that “I will take this round!”

    I will clean house!

    Nods to the corner in appreciation.

    You and Yours have a wonderfull Thanksgiving.
    Tom S.

  2. Teresa S.

     /  December 16, 2011

    Had to chuckle at this one :-p My husband rolls his eyes everytime my hand is on the remote because he know where we’re going….HGTV! I have the same inner battle of wanting to replicate those stylish designs while accepting what I have. The best place I’ve gotten inspiration from was IKEA’s site bc they have alot of ideas for redesigning your space without breaking the bank. In fact I was able to do the project by buying things off Craigslist and pulling out my sewing machine. Fun and quick project…..completed during my daughter’s nap LOL


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