No Spender December

No Spender December (I know, good rhyming, right?!). Well, it’s about to be a thing in my life. I’ve been told once or twice (or 100 times) that I’m a little OCD about things. These are two results I got from taking those Facebook quizzes, lol.
Anyway, it makes it extremely difficult for me to not completely prepare EVERYTHING for the new baby. From diapers (which I currently have sizes ranging from Newborn-6 thanks to Amazon Prime Day) to the nursery furniture, I find it really difficult to sit and wait around until baby decides to make an appearance in this world to do any sort of preparations. In the Jewish tradition, we don’t have baby showers or do much before the baby actually arrives. I, however, sought out advice from our Rabbi, and as long as I don’t go changing any wallpaper, etc before the baby comes, in order to curb my anxiety I am allowed to purchase a few things.
So we are keeping the gender of baby G #2 a secret from the world, but with my personality, I had to find out. So you all won’t know exactly how much I’m actually buying for baby, but, either way, we are having two separate rooms since big sister Miri is still really a baby herself. So if nothing else, I get to completely decorate a new nursery. I am also a firm believer that every new baby deserves his/her own white onesies to spit up and poop on. It’s so crazy to me to believe that just a year ago we were preparing for little Miri’s arrival. I hadn’t even met her yet, and now I can’t imagine a day without her!
So back to the main focus of this post — No Spender December. Based on my previous history of spending and preparing and buying Miri clothing like she is constantly naked, I have decided that I am going to take a break for the month of December. Aside from necessities (e.g. diapers, wipes, baby food, groceries, etc), I am going to do everything in my power to NOT buy things on Amazon, Gap or make unnecessary trips to Target. And when I do go to Target (for baby food, etc), I will put blinders on, go to the aisle I need and report directly to checkout. No passing go, no collecting $200. That will probably be the hardest thing.
I need to take this time to reflect inwards and really figure out why I feel like I need to buy buy buy all the time. These are not middos (characteristics) I want to pass along to my children, and I think it actually may reflect a lack of emunah (faith in G-d). He is in control, and if I take a break from spending, buying and preparing unnecessarily, it will help me remember that He has a bigger plan for me, and everything will turn out okay in the end. So here’s to forgetting about the gashmius (physicality and materialistic) and returning to the ruchnius (spiritual) side of things for a while. Who’s with me? I may need some serious support this month. RIP, Amazon Prime, RIP.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale — Early Access!

Well, it has been a while since I last posted. I’ve been taking a break from blogging to catch up on life and spend time with the people I love. We’re getting off to a strange-weather summer in Chicago, but with only a few hot and humid days, I can’t complain.

We are now in the 3 Weeks, which is a time period that is the 3 weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av (eve of July 25-26), the day when we remember many tragedies that happened to the Jewish people over time. Many of the tragedies happened on Tisha B’Av itself, and I plan to post more about the day as we get closer.

It is a custom, among many others, that we don’t shop for new things during this period. But if we are going to lose out financially, it is permissible. Please note: I am not a rabbi (BH) or a halachic authority of the like. See this article on Aish.com for more information about the 3 weeks and the 9 days.

NORDSTROM -  Shop the Anniversary Sale through August 2

So here you have it — the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – Early Access. If you’re a Nordstrom Cardholder, you can shop the sale 8 days early. If you’re not a cardholder, you can have a sneak-preview of the sale here.

Here are some of my favorites from the sale so far. The sale opens to the public a week from today — July 17. You’ll want to shop before the prices go back up August 3rd.

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These Zella ‘Live-In’ Leggings are my go-to pair. I’m wearing them under my skirt right now actually! 17% off!

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Now’s the time to get the Hunter Back Zip Rainboot. A Nordstrom exclusive — these boots are $80 off!

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Loving this tznius, Vince Camuto, midi skirt! And only $45 — not too shabby! A great addition to any frum girl’s closet!

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Here are my Sam Edelman bootie picks of the season. I have these in black and without the fringe, but the fringe is a cute touch! Great for the fall and winter seasons! And $60 off at the sale!
I’ll be back with more picks when the sale goes “live” for those without a Nordstrom card. Don’t forget that on top of the Anniversary Sale steals, you can also get 3% cash back with Ebates Coupons and Cash Back ! Happy hunting! And good Shabbos!
Frum Girl photo http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54493-147-5A8CD2EA94FEBD6A655ACB520C8DB520_zpsdgxdsl5v.png

New clothes for Yom Tov? Shop the Nordstrom Half-Yearly!

NORDSTROM -  Shop the Half-Yearly Sale for Men, Women & Kids through May 31It’s here! The Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale! Aside from receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai and officially becoming the Jewish nation, which we commemorate this weekend with the holiday of Shavuot, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! As it is a general, Jewish custom to buy something new for the holidays, I thought I’d share some of my sale favorites with you. Shavuot begins this Motzei Shabbat, and I am really looking forward to my first, married, three-day Yom Tov. It’s a tradition to eat lots of dairy products including cheesecake, lasagna, cakes, chocolate milk, etc, so I hope I still fit into these cute, new clothes next week! Shop now, because at these low prices, things are sure to sell out fast!

My sale section of choice is the shoe department because some of you were asking when the Nordstrom shoes would be on sale. Now’s the time! Here are a few of my picks:

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Sam Edelman ‘Lynn’ Espadrille Flat – almost half off!
BC Footwear 'Up All Night' d'Orsay Flat - 40% off
BC Footwear ‘Up All Night’ d’Orsay Flat – 40% off
MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Olivia' Ballet Flat - hurry because they're almost sold out! Also 40% off!
MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Olivia’ Ballet Flat – hurry because they’re almost sold out! Also 40% off!

And in case you’re traveling anywhere this Shavuot, here are some cute, hostess gift ideas from the Half-Yearly Sale:

Love this cute tea towel. It would brighten up anyone's washing station!
Love this cute tea towel. It would brighten up anyone’s washing station!
For any winey friend -- set of 4 coasters!
For any winey friend — set of 4 coasters!
How appropro! Lots of cake eating this Shavuot!
How appropro! Lots of cake eating this Shavuot!
If you're eating/staying by someone for Shabbos and Shavuos, you might want to get a bit of a nicer gift. I love this bowl, and I think any hostess would too.
If you’re eating/staying by someone for Shabbos AND Shavuos, you might want to get a bit of a nicer gift. I love this bowl, and I think any hostess would too.
I was gifted this Voluspa Crisp Champagne candle a few years ago. It still smells great, and it's visually pretty too!
I was gifted this Voluspa Crisp Champagne candle a few years ago. It still smells great, and it’s visually pretty too! Everyone loves a nice candle. 

I love little trinkets and home goods, so looking through this section was one of my favorite parts of the sale. I’m always looking for creative hostess gifts, and I thought Nordstrom had some really good items this time around. Nordstrom has such high quality goods that I know I’m always getting a good deal when I buy. There were a ton of cute shirts, and some of the dresses from this post made it into the sale as well. This sale only goes until May 31st, so I’d shop before the weekend if I were you. Don’t forget that  Ebates Coupons and Cash Back is offering 6% cash back at Nordstrom right now, including sale items. So make sure to sign up if you aren’t already. Happy shopping and preparing for Yom Tov!

Frum Girl photo http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54493-147-5A8CD2EA94FEBD6A655ACB520C8DB520_zpsdgxdsl5v.png

A big thanks to Nordstrom for being an affiliate of this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Nordstrom 30% off selected items sale — for my birthday!

Nordstrom is offering 30% off selected items until April 27 — which just so happens to be my birthday! I feel like it’s min haShamayim so I wanted to let you all in on this little bday gift to me from my bestie, Nordstrom.

When I went on my Rosh Chodesh shopping spree this past weekend, I ended up spending most of my day in Nordstrom. To say the least, it was glorious. I’m a huge fan. I love their free shipping and free returns, but possibly the best part is that they price match. If you bring them a lower price from a different vendor, they will match the price! That’s customer service right there. And after spending the better part of 3 years in Israel, I’m all about the customer service that Americans have to offer.

I’m always looking for a cute, casual flat for summer. My feet get pretty hot in stockings in the hot summer months, so I like to make sure that my shoes are 1) COMFY – I won’t wear anything if it’s not comfortable. Unlike most ladies of today, that’s my number one rule. And 2) Breathable. Because who wants stinky feet in the summer? Not this gal. I knew Nordstrom would be able to offer me what I needed. And BH, I found a great pair for this season. This Free People Freeway Espadrille is the perfect shoe for me. I got them in black because it goes with everything, but the espadrilles came in a few different cute colors. Nordstrom had lots of cute flats and sandals for the summer, and many of them were reasonable prices. Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.46.30 PMI’m all about the quality, so if I have to pay a bit more for the shoe to last, I usually go for it. And I can honestly say that more than half of my gigantic shoe collection comes from Nordstrom. They are so good about quality, returns, and really getting a good deal for your money.

NORDSTROM - Shop Women's Sneakers for Spring

I think it’s so important to feel good in what you wear. Dressing tzanua (modestly) doesn’t mean giving up your fashion identity. It takes some longer than others to establish their fashion-selves in the realm of modesty, but once you get the hang of what to look for, you’re all set. I find that I can do really well at Nordstrom. I felt like I was seeing long skirts and high necklines every where I looked the other day. After you know what to look for, it’s about figuring out what styles you like the best.

The whole basis of tzanua is to let your inner-light outshine your physicality. We are all souls that were given bodies in this physical world. Our soul is the most important part of our being, and many people have that backwards in today’s society. With a heavy focus on the body and physicality in the media, as Jews, we strive to make sure that our souls shine through. By dressing modestly we are not supposed to wear sacks with no shape or cloths over our heads. We are meant to dress in a dignified manner, like we are daughters of the King. I mean THE KING — H-shem. We are royalty as His children, and the way we dress reflects that. Your clothing should be a reflection of your neshama (soul) that G-d gave you. So while we do cover up certain parts of our bodies, we dress in a way that makes us proud to say and be who we are because we are doing what H-shem wants. And all fashion aside, that is the most important part.

Now you can Save 30% on select items from top brands in Women’s, Men’s & Kids’ at Nordstrom, through 4/27 only! FREE Shipping. FREE Returns. As always. So whether you want to do a little spring cleaning in your wardrobe, add a pop of color, or buy me a birthday present, you can save until this coming Monday. Of course there are always free shipping and returns, but the extra 30% on select items is only until Monday, 4/27. I’m looking forward to keeping you all posted about the newest deals and frum fashions that Nordstrom has to offer. If you have anything you’d like to see posted about, feel free to comment or send me an email through the contact page. I hope you all like some of the new topics that The Frum Diaries has been covering this week. I’m really excited for this new leg of the journey. I can’t wait for you all to join me.

 Frum Girl photo http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54493-147-5A8CD2EA94FEBD6A655ACB520C8DB520_zpsdgxdsl5v.png

Thank you to Nordstrom for being an affiliate of this post. All opinions, as always, are my own. 

Welcome to Target! — “The Happiest Place on Earth”

I’m proud to announce that I am officially a Target affiliate, meaning that I will have access to all of Target’s greatest deals and newest products, and I will share them with you right here, on The Frum Diaries.

I’ve always kept a special place in my heart for Target, which is why I’m so excited about this new venture. Walking up and down the aisles, always seeing something new and shiny that you “might need”. There really is just nothing like it. And after the latest collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer, I was even prouder to call myself a Target #1 Fan. Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 9.42.58 AM

I’m excited to share with you the new Cartwheel Offer Feed from Target. Cartwheel is a savings tool, available on your desktop, mobile app, or mobile web that allows you to save on the things you already buy at the beloved Target. The feed is refreshed daily and has offers on over 1,000 products — like 15% off women’s dresses! So if you’re looking to spring your wardrobe into the season, Target is always a great go-to. With tons of maxi dresses and mid-length dresses, you can always find a good tznius option at Target. Here are some cute ones that are online right now. And the best part? They’re all under $30. Pardon the lack of tzniut on the models sans faces. I will work on that for the future.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 10.11.15 AM The hem on this first one could totally be let out to be longer or it would be so easy to add some navy fabric to the bottom. Throw on a shell or a simple cardy and you’re good to go! Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 10.25.17 AM This next one is my favorite. I love the ruffles! It’s online only, so visit the link.

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And I especially love this one because even though its a hi-low hem, the hi in the front is still tzanua. There are plenty more dresses and tops on the site to choose from. These were just some of my personal favorites.

And now, when you spend $25 online, you get free shipping. Now that’s what I’m talking about when I say “happiest place on earth”, besides Israel after Moshiach (Messiah) of course! While the in-store experience is always great, it’s nice to be able to shop from the privacy and comfort of your own home.
I just signed up for Cartwheel, and I already feel more up-to-date on the latest deals that Target has to offer. Happy shopping! Don’t forget that Mother’s Day (and my birthday 😉 ) are just around the corner!
Frum Girl photo http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54493-147-5A8CD2EA94FEBD6A655ACB520C8DB520_zpsdgxdsl5v.png

As an affiliate of Target, I receive a small commission for sales made through my banners. As always, all opinions are my own.

Juleps for everyone!

While on my new discovery kick, I stumbled upon a great new chemical-free, high end, beauty products site called Julep. They’re one of those sites where you can sign up to receive monthly gifts in the mail of sample products. I chose the 3-month option to give it a try, and you get the FIRST MONTH FREE with the code: FREEBOX at checkout. I can’t speak for the quality of the products just yet, but Carly at The College Prepster used the nail drying serum, and I think her taste speaks for itself. They were also featured on the Today show, which I thought was pretty telling as well. I’m actually looking forward to this “monthly gift”, which should be here soon ;). Julep has a great mission statement, and they really strive to connect and empower women through their products.  Check it out for yourself here: https://www.julep.com/rewardsref/index/refer/id/1438772/

I am trying this hand and cuticle stick that was featured on the Today show. I’ll post my review after it arrives!

As a frum girl living in today’s society, I have found that the way I dress and the way I take care of myself affects how I am able to be a Kiddush H-shem. Although it may seem like a very gashmiustik (materialistic) thing to say, I have looked inward and realized that sometimes I need certain material items in order to be a better Jew. While I will continue to strive to be like the Rebbetzin Kanievskys of the world, today, I will simply use what I have access to in order to become better. Iy”H, one day, the world won’t be materialistic anymore, and this won’t even be a discussion. For now, I will do what I can, with the tools I have. I hope my tips and daily living style can help others who may be struggling between the frum and “modern” world as well. xoxo, Frum Girl

 

Frum Girl Answers

You asked, and I’m answering! I don’t know how I ever came to be someone that other frum girls turn to for clothing/shopping advice, but I’m happily on my way to my aspiration of “trendy frum”. First of all, I mainly shop at the same places that I used to shop before I was frum, except I now go into (or browse online) stores with a different eye for style. The main questions I ask myself: 1) Does this need a shell underneath? 2) Is this too tight? 3) Is this long enough? 4) Will I feel cute and stylish after I have tznius-fied this outfit? — After the questions are asked, I can go piece-by-piece and see what works with my body type, and I try to see how many outfits I can think of in my head for one item of clothing. Chances are, if I can only wear the item one way, I won’t get it. I’m on the verge of being a shopaholic, but a girl’s got to draw the line somewhere.

My top 5 stores:

1) Loft

2) J. Crew / Factory

3) Century 21

4) Nordstrom/Rack

5) Gap

You’ll notice that Forever 21 wasn’t in my “top 5” (boy, do I feel like I’m in 5th grade again!) I personally get overwhelmed trying to shop there. While I am proud to say that Louisville has the 2nd largest to 5th Ave, NY Forever 21 in the United States, the only way to get anything accomplished in there, in my opinion, is to be the first shopper in on a Monday morning. And XXI online shopping? Forget it! Let’s just say that sometimes while walking through I can get lucky, but most of the time I am distracted by the rhinestone-studded tank tops that say “gangsta” and “homeless” on them.

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Thank you for plastering “day-off” across your chest…we all really wanted to know!

I mentioned in my previous post that I tend to shop online quite a bit these days. I’m fairly good at guesstimating my size, and after a while, I pretty much know my size at each individual store. Sure, I’ve had some annoyances where the medium didn’t fit, and then the large didn’t fit either, and I spend a good two hours trying to return things, but for the most part, I only shop online at stores where I can easily return the item in person. This is key for me! Some people find it easier to put it back in a box, but for me, by the time the label is printed and shlepped to U.P.S, I might as well go to the store, return the item, and possibly even come out with something that works better for me. However, since becoming a more “professional” (obsessive) online shopper, I usually hit my size right on the head, and no returns are necessary. The truth is, is that with most of these stores, if one shirt fits you, most of the other shirts will fit similarly. Of course, there are the occasional “whose arm could fit in this sleeve anyway” tops, but one Loft cardigan is the same as all Loft cardigans. I live in these cardies, and I buy a medium because they have a tendency to stretch. For reference, I could probably get away with a small, but I don’t like sweaters to be tight on “certain areas”. #everygirlproblems. BH, although my landlords probably do not agree, I really try to limit what I am buying. Limits are different for everyone, and like I always say, we all have something we need to work on… I should also mention that I rarely buy things full price or pay for shipping. Ebates has coupon codes for each store, and the stores that I shop at normally have free shipping and lots of sales!

I hope this post has answered your questions! I’m always looking for shopping advice and shopping buddies. But really I should look for a buddy to go to shopaholics anonymous with me… At the end of the day, I always hold on to the fact that clothes are just a physical reality of this world. And no matter how much we love them and think they are so important, our outfits should only be a tznius and beautiful reflection of our neshamas on the inside! We are all daughters of a King, and we should present ourselves as such. Happy shopping y’all, and Shabbat Shalom from the 5 towns! xoxo, Frum Girl

If I Were A Rich (Wo)Man

While I’ve been M.I.A. for the past week or so, I’ve been very busy exploring different Jewish areas in the NY area. Yes, I finally caved and went to Brooklyn for the day. I had a great time on the Boardwalk and exploring the large Pomegranate grocery store and Flatbush. To top off the day, I scored a brand new, velour, weekday robe. I know, I know. Robes are a very “controversial” topic among frum Jews. Some say no, others say yes. Well, I say yes! I wouldn’t wrap my head in a turban and wear it to the grocery store, but they are super comfy, and a great “hang around” item of clothing.

As always, I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping. With work during the week and all of Bergen County stores closed on Sundays, I find that the way I get my shopping done is online. While many of you may think I’m behind the times for just discovering this now, I think the rest of you will thank me! There is a website called Ebates. Basically, you get paid to shop and there is NO CATCH! All you do is sign up (for free), click on your regular stores via the website, shop away, and receive a “Big Fat Check” in the mail every so often! It’s amazing. One of the best parts about Ebates is that they really don’t send you spam emails. I’ve had problems with that in the past, and I’ve been very pleased with Ebates’ level of professionalism. I mean, if you’re going to spend money shopping, you might as well make a little back. You can check it out via the button on my sidebar or by clicking this link: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=OIOlBNjcp64f5krhZMUNkw%3D%3D&eeid=26471. Believe me, you’ll thank me later for this.

ebates account
Look how much I’ve gotten back in just the past few months! I’ve been a member since 2011, but I just got into using Ebates more recently.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to turn anyone into a shopping addict. I just feel that it’s my duty to “love every man as yourself”, and I would want to know about a free treasure chest waiting to be found! It’s become clear to me that we are all here for a reason, and if one of my reasons is to help frum girls like myself be able to do their avodah to H-shem better because they are fulfilled on a more gashmiustik level, then so be it. Gd made material items a part of this world for a reason, and while it is a very high and honorable aspiration to be living solely on a spiritual level, we each have our challenges, and the physical world is a very real part of this game called Life. It’s a challenge every day to connect in a more spiritual way to our Creator, but if we are using the physical world in order to help us get to that higher level we strive for, then we are using the physical aspects of this world in the way they are meant to be used.
Tonight I’m off to a girls’ night where we’ll schmooze, eat parve desserts, play board games and connect based on our mutual love for Judaism and H-shem. I personally can’t wait! Now you know where you can find me! I’ll be the one stuffing extra cake into my purse… Xoxo, Frum Girl

All for a dresser

As I sit in my bed writing this post tonight, I am completely wiped. Mainly because I’ve been running around all weekend, but also because I’ve been to IKEA 3x in the past 24 hours.

It all started with a broken dresser. A very nice, antique dresser that has seen it’s better days. After deciding that it was time for a new dresser, I ventured to IKEA with my friend/landlady/seudomother, A, in search for the “perfect” dresser. After all the “mirror, mirror on the wall” shtus, I found a lovely, white-stained dresser that perfectly fit my needs for the time. 2 boxes and 1 strong woman later (A, not me), we were home and gearing up to drill this baby together (again, A, not me). As we opened the box, something seemed wrong. Unfortunately, we had taken one box that was not part of the matching set, and I would need to return it the following day, Sunday.

Okay, so fool me once, shame on you. Like, sure this was annoying, and I wondered the whole night why H-shem would make me go through the annoyance of bringing home the wrong dresser. Having not come to any concrete conclusion, I woke up this morning and went with my newfound bestie, B, back to IKEA. A little background is needed for the rest of the story: basically, everything in Bergen County is annoyingly shut down on Sunday, so the IKEA where I originally made the mistaken purchase was closed; therefore, I shlepped to the IKEA in Elizabeth, which is in the middle of an area that looks similar to District 13 for all you “Hunger Games” fanatics out there. So here B and I are, walking into IKEA for my 2nd time. We get in there, and a nice man looks at us and goes, “You might want to grab a seat, it’s gonna be a while.” Now that is never a good thing to hear someone say, especially when it’s next to the Customer (non)Service department. So after a minute of kvetching, I decided that I would come back later.

After a lovely rest of my day eating kosher popcorn at the mall, (shoutout to Doc Popcorn which is certified by the OU (holla atchu work!) at Jersey Gardens. I was THRILLED! It tasted as delicious as it smelled.), A climbed back in the car with me, and we made attempt number 3 to exchange the infamous dresser. At this point in the evening, the store was basically closed, but I still had to wait in a line at customer service. It was finally my turn. I made my initial pitch to the woman behind the counter, and she went to see what she could do. She came back out and began to explain something about “inventory” and the numbers not matching. I have to admit that by this point I was barely listening because I just couldn’t believe I was hearing not what I wanted to hear. Basically the manager came and said that since I bought the dresser at Paramus, I would need to return it to Paramus. Chas v’shalom, two IKEA stores should share inventory and have good customer service. Anyway, there I was, literally speechless because anything that I would’ve say would not have come out nicely. 3 strikes. And I was out of luck for the night.

Driving home I kept trying to figure out why H-shem would have put me in this position 3 (count it!) 3 times in 24 hours. I’m still not 100% sure of the answer, but I’ve come up with an explanation that will help me sleep tonight: a dresser is simply something that I want in the physical world. I don’t need this dresser. It would just be nice to have something new to make my room look a bit brighter, and the drawers would work. But ever since I started thinking about getting a new dresser, it’s all I’ve been able to think about. And at a time in the year that is so precious, it is clear that I should be concentrating a little bit harder on other things, like my chessed (kindness), mitzvos, and tefilah (prayer). While I have been making quite an effort to work on myself lately, the past couple of days have left my mind a bit preoccupied with this dresser ordeal. Now that I am at home, still dresser-less, it’s occurring to me that maybe H-shem wants me to be focused on my relationship with Him, rather than a dresser in this material world. Somewhat comparable to this new iPhone 6 that is out and distracting the minds of Jews and non-Jews alike, I cannot be distracted from what is important. And what’s important is preparing for Rosh Hashanah, and working to better myself and my relationship with the King.

So while I do plan to try again tomorrow, I’m going to go to sleep with a different mindset tonight. Whether IKEA means “junk”, “huge inconvenience”, or “really annoying” in Swedish, I will continue to roll with the hugs that H-shem is giving me. BH, He is reminding me to adjust my priorities, and with that mindset, iy”H, everything will be alright.