24 March 2009

Enjoy the Ride

"Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven't tried before."

~Mae West

I will always try anything once. {And in this case, I will definitely go back for seconds!}

I have been seeking inspiration of late. Perhaps it is because the drab colors of the March sky out my window are dragging me down and the incessant rain is dampening my spirit. Whatever the reason, I have been seeking out bright colors and odd combinations to wake my creative soul up.

Last weekend, I went on a rare trip to Minneapolis to visit a dear friend. Selfishly, I chose to visit her because I really needed to go to IKEA to pick up two glass towers that I had my eye on for my upcoming gallery exhibit and the cost of shipping them was more than twice what they cost. So it was worth a 4 hour drive in a blinding snowstorm to get there. But staying with my friend Kari and sharing some great conversation did wonders for my dampened spirit as well. (Thank you, friend!)

Have you ever been to IKEA? I had heard about it in a mythological sense, but never been. I thought that perhaps it could not even be remotely like the hype. Now that I have been, I can tell you that it is exactly like the hype. Let me just begin by saying that when you go to IKEA you will need to spend a good amount of your day there. It is not set up like other stores where you can quickly find the candle aisle or the lightbulbs or the bath towels. IKEA is like Disneyworld for creative and trendy adults with a lot of time on their hands but not a lot of money in their pockets. I have found my personal mecca.

The day we went there were hordes of people. Throngs. Huddled masses yearning to be stylish. It was also their "Seize the Days" event and they served a yummy breakfast. For free. So everyone with an appetite was there. Especially if they had a brood of young whippersnappers in bulky strollers. I? Would never think of dragging my little ones to someplace like this. Although they are old enough now to probably enjoy it. Pretty clever to get them all in for a free breakfast of cheap eggs and coffee and then unleash them on the merchandise. I highly doubt that anyone who came for the free nosh left without buying at least one item. In fact, I didn't see one person without a cart or bag. And the checkout lines were like checking in for a cross-continental flight. We missed the free breakfast, bought a lunch of scrumptious buffalo chicken wrap sandwiches for a 10:30 am lunch and actually sat still enjoying a rousing conversation that had us losing track of time. Needless to say, we spent good portion of our day there.

When you get there you will find a sunshine yellow bag, a royal blue map and a nubby pencil. And they set you on the winding path through the two-story structure. Every Single. Department. I kid you not. There are big blue dots on the floor with arrows that indicate the direction you have to follow. {I wonder what would happen if you attempted to go against the flow.} Of course, there are "shortcuts"...little doors passing from lighting to florals so that you can bypass the framed art. But really, why would you want to? You are on the ride, just enjoy it.

I was intrigued by the use of color and pattern and placement at IKEA. You just know that someone gets paid to place that daisy in the vase on the sparkling countertop in the spotless kitchen with the ultra-cool hanging bike rack complete with bike. How do I get a job like that? I really wish that I had brought a camera along. I guess that means I will just have to go back. Those Swedes have it all figured out. They have clean lines, graphic details, color that pops your eyes out and incredibly artsy design on everyday items from plastic bag corrals to kitchen faucets. So much eye candy. So little time. Keep moving or you might get run over by a clique of similarly dressed college girls out to grab the latest in apartment bling.

You proceed to travel through the different lands -- much like Fantasyland or Adverntureland or Tomorrowland in Disneyworld -- where you can satisfy your voyeuristic tendencies and peek into the homes of the invisibly hip. I imagine that the workers at IKEA actually live there and never have to leave, never want to leave. After all, they do serve a yummy breakfast. It reminded me of a doll house, albeit lifesized. I always wanted one of those (take note mom and dad). If I had had one as a kid I think my calling in life would have been crystal clear at an early age. {Instead I find it now at 40 on the other side of that hill.} You can walk into these carefully appointed little vignettes and see that every single thing in the 792 square foot apartment can be purchased in this very store. From the flooring and the rugs right up to the lighting fixtures and wall hangings. Everything has a price tag on it. Even that little silver knob on the wall for your hat. It's only $2? Got to grab one of those.

Surprisingly, the prices are quite good. Actually, they are ridiculously affordable. I was very impressed and not a little excited to pick up some great deals. I could barely contain my glee and I thank my sweet friend Kari for not referring to me as her country bumpkin friend from Middle-of-Nowhere, WI. IKEA could be poised for world domination if they would just hop on the Target bandwagon and have one in every town over 20,000 {then we would certainly have one here in the middle of nowhere}. Lest you think that I ponied up the dough for one of those fab-u-lous loft dollhouses, guess again. My house normally looks more like a tornado of newspapers, looseleaf, game pieces and shoes whipped through rather than the tidy and coordinated at IKEA. But one should always have dreams.

My advice for your own Swedish design fest? Grab a cart at the beginning even if you think you are just looking. You are not. You are a captive audience on the greatest retail thrill ride ever invented. Go with it. Just be sure to keep your hands on the cart at all times until the ride comes to a complete stop at the check out counter.


"I think the thing to do is
enjoy the ride
while you're on it."
~ Johnny Depp



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Enjoy the day!

8 comments:

Kristin said...

Okay, so jealous! We don't have an IKEA anywhere near me! I spend a ridiculous amount of time on their website sad, sad, sad that 90% of the stuff that I love, they do not ship. Thanks for posting this, it's fun to vicariously IKEA through you!

Jenners said...

I LOVE IKEA! Your description is right on! Our house is probably 50% Ikea stuff. You just can't beat them on style and affordability -- and they make it so easy to get ideas on how to create really cute rooms. But I don't recommend bedding from them -- no sheets will fit and they just aren't comfortable. Enjoyed reading about your first trip to the fantasyland that is Ikea. And it is so true -- you cannot "just run in" and get one thing.

Andrew Thornton said...

I LOVE IKEA! I'm fortunate enough to have one not far away in another part of Brooklyn. A few subway stops and a free shuttle and I'm there! (Mine has excellent views of the Statue of Liberty too!)

It's worth the trip to check out the fabrics and the wallpapers and some of their "limited edition" glass pieces.

candy man said...

Morning Erin;
I to have been down with the post-winter, pre-spring mulch colored existence that is March. Have chosen to update the wardrobe with bright colorful shirts. You know new wrappers for the eye candy. I have stolen/modified your "blessed buck" idea. This morning I was loading up some "goodies" for Art Village south and grabbed a Moonstruck Truffle and nestled it into a box. I decided if somebody had on the same color shirt that they would be struck with a random act of chocolate. Went and got coffee at Emmy J's low and behold the young lady that gave me my life giving juice was wearing the same green as my shirt. With coffee, random act of chocolate completed and a load of goodies in the van off to brighten Rainy's day when she goes over to Art Village south.
As always Erin YOU are an inspiration to many.

TesoriTrovati said...

Kristin, Jenners, Andrew and the CandyMan - thank you for your too kind comments! Let's start an IKEA shopping trip tour to the various locations around the country...I know it is all the same stuff, but the locales would be fantastic (Andrew's has a view of the Statue of Liberty!) You all made me smile today and are my "something good"!
Enjoy the day!
Erin

Lorelei said...

I like your blog. I'm a gonna come back.
IKEA ROCKS!

Proud Mom said...

I have never been to IKEA and now I'm just itching to jump in my car to drive across the border into Canada because that's the closest one to us.

But since I don't have any extra cash, time or space (for everything that I know I couldn't live without), I'll quash my impulse and go grocery shopping, since we have nearly nothing in the house for dinner, let alone lunch. (if your read my 4/3 blog, you'll know why)

Anyways, stop by my blog today (4/4) because I have something for YOU!

Keep the inspiration spilling from your fingertips, Erin. You have a wonderful gift of creating beauty.

Hugs ~ Lisa

Shaiha said...

Ikea is great! I first discovered them when I lived in europe.

And I am new to your blog but I have to say that I am enjoying the view

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