Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

HELP! I'm Addicted to HGTV

Hello, my name is Jenee Darden and I'm addicted to Home & Garden Television.

Granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, double vanity sinks, curbside appeal, hardwood floors. Whew, I'm getting excited!

I took my first hit of HGTV about six months ago. It was a cold Sunday night. I was channel surfing while chatting on the phone with my sorority sister Jo. You always remember the ones who got you high the first time. I couldn't find anything good to watch.

Channel 5--nothing. Channel 130- "How Do I Look" re-run. Hmm, what's on TLC? Awww come on. I've seen this "What Not to Wear" episode twice already.

I settled for watching the last half of "Cold Case." Usually I don't watch mystery shows if I missed the beginning, but I was desperate for some entertainment.

Then Jo said, "You gotta see this. Turn to the Home and Garden channel."

"The Home and Garden channel?," I asked. "I'm not turning to the Home and Garden channel. Only old ladies watch the Home and Garden channel."

"Just turn to it. You gotta see this guy decorate this house. He's crazy," she said.

I reluctantly did a search for this HGTV channel to find the dial number because Jo and I don't live in the same city. I pressed 7-4 on my remote control and a young Canadian dude popped on my TV screen, wearing an outfit that looked like something from the "The Breakfast Club." His name is Matthew Finlason and he's a home stager. I couldn't turn away as he arranged lamps on glass table tops to bring attention to the living area's large window. Matthew moved so fast the camera could hardly keep up with him. His method of decorating is frantic and free-spirited. Yet he follows the rules of how to stage a home to draw buyers. I was hooked on this show called "The Stagers."

It gets worse. I kept the dial on 74. Next up was "Property Virgins"(love ya Sandra Rinomato!), then "House Hunters," "My First Place" and "House Hunters International." Why was I slightly obsessed with watching people buy homes?

"Pick number two, number two!," I yelled to the young couple shopping for a home in Ann Arbor. If only they could hear me.

"No they're going to pick number three," Jo said.

"It makes more sense for them to pick number two Jo, " I argued. "They get more bang for their buck because the bedrooms in the second house are bigger."

The couple made their pick. Jo was right.

Hours passed and by the time "My Big Amazing Renovation," came on, it was 1:00 AM. Jo and I called it a night. But this HGTV channel felt good. So good that I tried "Color Splash" the next day. No one can make a room pop with a lime green accent wall like David Bromstad. Don't worry, I didn't start sniffing paint.

A few days later I was happy to see black decorators. I love watching my fly sista, Kim Myles show off her endless talent on "Myles of Style." Lauren Lake is another fly sista bringing flavor to her show "Spice Up My Kitchen."

I thought I could ween myself once the winter/spring TV season started in January. So I tried talking myself out of pressing 74 on my TV remote.
I can watch other channels. There are good shows on TV that don't involve installing
cherry- wood cabinetry. Right?
It was just my luck HGTV then debuted "Dear Genevieve" and I got a bigger buzz. YES! I mean, Lord help me.

It took me a while to recognize my addiction. I knew I had a problem when I watched "My First Place" one night and recognized someone from college buying a home in Denver. I've watched HGTV so much that I'm starting to see people I know. That's not good.

I've done some soul searching on my HGTV craze. Want to know why I really love this channel? I'm a dreamer. When I see people shopping and decorating their homes I think about how one day that will be me. One day I will make enough money to buy that 4-bedroom house with the two-car garage, wrap-around porch and plush backyard where my roses and greens will grow. One day I'll write articles for O Magazine from my home office. My clothes will hang in a spacious walk-in closet with custom shelving built for my shoes and hats. I'll take bubble baths on rainy days in a jet tub that rests under a skylight. And I'll relax to the sound of raindrops dancing against the window.

One day I'll have a husband and we'll spend summers in our London flat or Costa Rica beach house.

Maybe one day someone will yell at their television and tell me to pick house number two.

One day.

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  1. I used to be an HGTV fanatic too. It started for me when I bought my first home. I tried (but mostly failed) to implement some of the ideas I saw on the screen. It did inspire my interest in home decor. I like the London flat and Costa Rican summer home dreams. However, I think my fantasy primary home is more like Mariah Carey's NYC penthouse featured on MTV Cribs.

  2. Wow I'm going to have to check out this HGTV.I love shows that give you ideas on how to decorate. Don't let your addiction keep you from writing in Cocoa Fly.

  3. To Erika: I remember that Cribs. Didn't Mariah have a huge swimming pool in her penthouse? I do remember her walk-in closet.

    To Anonymous: You should check out HGTV. If you don't have cable you can look at some stuff on their website. Don't worry I won't let my addiction stop me from writing Cocoa Fly. I only watch it at night.

  4. I don't remember the pool, but the walk-in closet (which resembled a clothing boutique) and the genie room (with 360 degree view of Manhattan skyline) is what sold me.

  5. If you bought her place today it may come with Nick Cannon :)

  6. I'm a house hunter and buy me fan!

  7. I can understand your dilemma with HGTV. Without cable, I'm able to control the urge. But, I love the before and afters. Oh how I long for the 4 bedroom, walk in closet, kitchen with an island, jacuzzi, gazebo, outdoor bbq, wrap around porch, and the little nook in the bay window upstairs that you can sit in and read a book while it's raining outside. One day, one day.


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