This piece is part of How Google Drive Can Make Every Corner of Your Life Easier
Right now, in a Google Doc under the heading “Things I Love,” I have the following list: velvet couch pillows. Leopard accessories. Rosy lip gloss. Pastel crocs. I wish I were joking about that last one, but I’ve lingered over enough targeted ads for those rubber shoes to accept the truth.
The Doc is a catch-all for items I’ve come across during trips to the store, during idle online browsing, or while scrolling social media — less a premeditated shopping list, more a brain dump of things that happen to bring me joy. When I happen across a product that screams “Ashley,” I feel like someone out there knows me, even if that “someone” is just the algorithm. Putting them all in one place feels like collecting vital information about who I am.
Practically speaking, my list is a helpful compass when I’m trying to make a purchasing decision — like a Pinterest board with words instead of pictures. I have a built-in answer when it’s time to update my living room decor (more velvet, please), and I can tell my Grandma what I really want for Christmas when she inevitably asks me about it every August.
More importantly, though, the Doc is also like a mirror. My husband is a neutrals-loving minimalist; ever since we met in 2010, I’ve slowly traded in my loud, colorful aesthetic for his quieter one. Several years into our relationship, I ended up with a dresser full of gray and black shirts, a living room filled with industrial furnishings, and a strange feeling of being bored by and disconnected from my surroundings.
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Sure, I like a modern gray couch as much as the next person. But minimalism just isn’t me. Where my husband is reserved and soft-spoken, I’m whimsical and feminine and fun-loving, and my style expresses those things. Keeping track of things I love might seem materialistic, but it reminds me of what I like, which connects me to who I really am. And there’s a comfort to having a list that’s accessible from anywhere, like a security blanket I can pull up on my phone.
Slowly, under the guidance of my Google Doc, I’ve reintegrated clothes and furniture that make me feel like myself. Last year, after a months-long bout of winter sickness, I decided my living room was just too gray. So I turned on Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten,” rolled my minivan windows down, and scream-sang all the way to World Market.
At home, I unbagged my new jewel-toned couch pillows and pastel-pink napkins with tears in my eyes. My husband couldn’t help but laugh — it’s just like me to make a dramatic experience out of an otherwise mundane moment. But my shopping list, full of colorful, sparkly things, reminds me that I like it that way.