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  • Monday, August 26th, 2013

    House Hunters International: Not Just Fake, but Superfake

    You’ve probably heard stories for years about how fake HGTV’s House Hunters and House Hunters International are. There are plenty of stories online about how the homebuyers have already settled on a house before the cameras start rolling. The producers film them touring two other “reject” homes to make it look like they’re deciding among three options.

    But this story, written by an expat living in Cork, Ireland, takes the cake. The producers arranged for movers to empty her existing apartment so they could get footage of her pretending to see it for the first time.

    That’s right. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t looking for an apartment. She wasn’t even new to Cork! She’d been living there for six damn years.

    How crazy is that?!

    Friday, February 1st, 2013

    HGTV to Go

     

    HGTV to Go app for allows you to watch HGTV shows from your iPhone or iPad

    Yesterday, Robyn commented that she missed watching House Hunters International after getting rid of cable, since there are no viewing options online. It occurs to me that there’s one other way to watch the show (as well as other HGTV faves), if you have an iPhone or iPad: HGTV’s app, HGTV to Go.

    HGTV's To Go app for iPhone and iPad allows you to watch your favorite HGTV shows from your mobile device.

    There aren’t a bazillion episodes available, but it’s a cable-free way to get your fix!

    Thursday, January 31st, 2013

    House Hunters International is Killing Me

    House Hunters International, on HGTV

    I am DYING to have an adventure and watching 36 episodes of House Hunters International every week is not helping matters. Two nights ago, I applied for an interior design job in London for sh*ts and giggles, but I would be happy to land anywhere across the pond. I’m sure they got my resume and thought I was confused, but NO, sirs and madams, I assure you I am quite clear about this. I want to sell all my worldly possessions, pack a few suitcases for the three of us and do something funky and exciting. I want to be able to hop on a train at a moment’s notice and be in any number of exotic destinations by sundown.

    I feel so landlocked here in Texas. This is exacerbating the issue.

    It takes a minimum of four hours to get out of the Lone Star State, and where does that four hours on the road get you? Oklahoma. Now, this is not an Okie-bashing post by any stretch, people. My parents both live in Tulsa and a couple of my favorite people hail from the state, so I don’t mean to disparage the good name of Oklahoma here. But I think we can all agree that exotic, it’s not. It wouldn’t be on anyone’s list of Dreamy Destinations.

    If I want to see something cool stateside, my closest options by car are Big Bend National Park (7 hours’ travel time), Marfa (6.5 hours), and New Orleans (8 hours)–distances that require too much time in the car to make it worthwhile over a weekend. Out of those three options, Big Bend is the only place I’ve never been, so although I would love any excuse to visit the other two, they don’t seem as much in the “adventure” column as Big Bend would.

    Landlocked in Central Texas.

    On the other hand, if we lived somewhere in Europe, we could explore a multitude of different cultures in a few hours. When I turned 30, I took a month’s leave from my job in New York and lived primarily in Paris, from which you can be in Amsterdam in three hours, Luxembourg in two, or London in two and a half. In the time it takes us to get from Austin to New Orleans, we could go from Paris to Edinburgh, Scotland. Now THAT is worth eight hours in transit!

    Gawd, just typing this fills me with yearning and insane wanderlust.

    The view from my hotel balcony in Paris.

    The view from my hotel balcony in Paris.

    Fresh croissants and coffee for breakfast at my Paris hotel.

    Fresh croissants and coffee for breakfast every morning.

    I won’t lie, that month abroad was an experience full of amazingness, but although 29 days of stretching my itty bitty understanding of the French language gave me some funny stories to tell (like accidentally eating horsemeat or mistaking half and half for reduced fat milk and taking a big guzzle), I was mentally exhausted and ready to immerse myself in English again…but I think it would be different now if Jeb and Phoebe and I were there together. We’d have that respite once we returned home from work and school if we ended up somewhere where English wasn’t the predominant language.

    Salvador Dali museum in Paris, France.

    The surreal entry to the Salvador Dali museum in Paris.

     

    Giverny, France

    A gorgeous trip to Giverny to see Monet’s gardens was definitely a highlight.

    Artistic garden exhibit in Loire Valley in France included this one with black umbrellas.

    A unique melding of art and landscape at the International Garden Festival at the chateau in Chaumont-sur-Loire.

    Spandex stretches to create a unique (and pink) ground cover in this exhibit at the International Garden Festival in the Loire Valley in France.

    Spandex stretches to create a unique (and pink!) ground cover in this exhibit at the garden festival.

    *Heavy sigh of longing*

    I had an interesting dream after I sent my resume off for that London job. In this dream, I had taken my car into the dealership for service. While there, I noticed a glittery-pink sports car for sale and gasped in delight. “I have to have it,” I exclaimed. Returning to the same spot after getting a drink of water, a sales guy came up to me and said, “It’s all settled, the car is yours!” I blinked, looked at my Kia Soul and wondered, but…I love my car. Am I ready to part with it? Would the glittery-pink Lexus be better? Jeb looked at me and said, “I’m surprised you’d trade in your car for something used.” Wha? I’d assumed it was shiny and new, but on closer inspection, the paint on the hood was bubbling and peeling.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

    I realize that if I left the awesomeness of Austin, Texas, I would definitely get some great stuff out of an exciting move (glitter! pink! racy!) but life wouldn’t be all shiny and perfect over there (or anywhere). Phoebe wouldn’t be able to see her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents whenever she pleased. Staying in touch with family by phone and Skype would take a lot more effort with those sorts of time zone complications. Learning another language and culture would create its own set of speed bumps. Giving up my business would honestly be devastating in a lot of ways. Trading in Texas for Europe would just a matter of exchanging pros and cons. But it would be SUCH FUN to do it anyway.

    Damn you, House Hunters International!