Things I’ve Learned From HGTV and The Food Network

Things I’ve Learned From HGTV and The Food Network


I’m not a big TV watcher. I’ve never seen the Voice and I have no interest in Dancing with the Stars. Yes, I realize half of you are thinking you could never be my friend, but I do have a TV addiction. It is called “How to Make Myself Feel Like Crap Because My House Will Never Look Like That and We Are Having Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches on Paper Plates Instead of Herb Encrusted Beef Tenderloin With Gently Whipped Gold Infused Potatoes on Fine China”.

To be honest, I sold my China to buy my kids a swing-set, but that’s a whole other post.

I have learned an awful lot on these channels, though. Let me share some of the most important lessons with you.

1. There is a thing called shiplap and Joanna Gaines loves it.

Joanna Gaines is beautiful, has a great family, and is a very talented designer. She also needs to be on meds to control her addiction to a thing called shiplap. Never heard of it? Go to any house in Waco, Texas and look at the walls. They will be covered in wood strips. This is shiplap. Joanna puts it in kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, ceilings, garages, and probably her soup.

2. Apparently no one on Property Brothers has actually ever seen Property Brothers.

People want a move-in ready house. They can’t afford a house like this. The Brothers take them to a house they can’t afford that is exactly what they want. The people are thrilled until the price is revealed.

Every time – EVERY SINGLE TIME – the people are upset that they would dare show them a perfect house out of their price range. This happens on every show. Number one: This should not be a surprise, people. Number two: The producers should get a new hook, because this little act gets less believable every episode.

3. House prices in California and almost everywhere else except the South are out of control.

Based on the prices on HGTV, my house would be worth $5 million in California, which is approximately $1400 per square foot. A newlywed couple having a $2 million budget for a 900 sq ft house is both disturbing and intriguing to me. I mean…what the hell do they do for a living?

4. Cleaning before a camera crew arrives to film your house is not necessary. In fact, cleaning in general is highly overrated.

People. Ugh. If you are on an episode of Love It or List It or Buying and Selling, clean up your freakin house. For your family’s health and sanity, throw crap away. Organize something. Just one drawer. Is this how you really live or it staged to make the reveal even more impressive? I’m hoping for the latter.

5. Shop at Lowes or Home Depot and talk to strangers.

Listen, if someone asks you what project you are doing, just say you are working on everything and act very friendly. Say you need help and you don’t know what you’re doing. Look desperately charming and slightly confused. Call work immediately and get the week off. Just go with it. It’ll be fabulous.

6. Anything can be done in 6 weeks, max.

An entire house can be completely redone from top to bottom, including electrical and plumbing in 6 weeks. On budget. I have been trying to pick out a paint color for ONE ROOM for the last three years. I just can’t believe this is true, HGTV,  and where in the world do you find crews that will show up everyday and do what they said they would do?!

7. The word “up” is waaaayyyy overused.

My mom clued me into this and now I can’t help but cringe every time I hear this word. In fact, if you want an excuse to day drink, turn on The Food Network and take a drink every time they say the word “up”. You’ll be trashed before 10 a.m. Mix it up, stir it up, shake it up, drink it up, fold it up, roll it up, the list is never ending.

8. Food critics are snobs.

If you give a chef four or five weird ingredients and a time limit, pick apart the dish they make for you like you are a god and the chef is a peon, and say things like the dish has a “touch too much rosemary”, you, dear judge, are a snob. And your fashion choices are ridiculous. Just sayin.

9. Every house over three years old has a major problem and the home owners are gonna be ticked when they find out.

Home owners, listen. Your designer wants to do what you want them to do. They don’t want to use your money to fix your foundation and update your electrical, but they also don’t want your house to fall over or catch on fire. Calm down. You’ll get a mudroom one day.

10. All chefs have lots of friends, tons of pretty dishes, and like to name every ingredient in their creations.

“I can really taste the nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and sugary goodness on my tongue. I’m really savoring the caramel smoothness. The milky creaminess of the ice cream. The floury doughiness of the dough.” I mean, c’mon. You just named every ingredient you used in the recipe before you served it to your 400 close friends in gold-rimmed champagne glasses forged by 18th century monks.

I’ve learned a lot of other things, too: how to zest a lemon, the color choices appropriate for a house on the Historical Register, the fact that permits and licenses for half a million things exist, and the knowledge that I could never be the host of one of these shows.

But I’ll sure eat my ramen noodles in my messy living room and watch.

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