List 14: Ways I’ll Know I’ve ‘Made It’

A million years ago I contributed to a now-defunct blog called The Secret Society of List Addicts. This post originally appeared there.

I love Aveda products. love them. But I can hardly justify spending ten dollars on a bottle of shampoo just because I want to fanny around smelling of rosemary and mint. But someday? Someday I will exclusively use Aveda products and impress everyone within smelling-range with my woodsy, rich-girl scent. Constant use of expensive, smelly hair products are just one of the things that will signal that I’ve officially ‘made it.’ A few other ways I’ll know?

I’ll be able to shop at Whole Foods
I can’t actually foresee this happening (because why would I go there when I can go to Sun Foods and buy custard apples and snake beans for $1) but I would love to be able to stroll those fancy aisle on the regular – if I wanted to. To the tune of $45 per bag of groceries.

I’ll own a car that was made in this decade
I loved my 2003 Ford Focus hatchback! Until I had it serviced and the garage gave me a 2012 Volkswagon Passat for a loaner car. You guys. IT HAS A THERMOSTAT IN IT.

I’ll own matching bra and panty sets
instead of pretending that my black bra from Target matches with everything.

I’ll stay in with friends when I travel because I want to
not because the trip is otherwise out of my price range.  I mean, I obviously always want to stay with my friends.  Because they’re awesome.  But it’s always nice to be able to afford a few nights of swanky hotel-ry, right?

My entire closet will be filled with those cedar hangers
I find the mixing of multicolored plastic hangers and wire hangers unethical and jarring to my delicate senses.

How will you know you’ve finally made it?

bra and panty set for sale here



I'll know I've made it when,
my house looks like a page out of a Scandinavian Home Interior magazine. I've always liked there minimalist, but warm designs.

I have cute pj dresses and not t-shirts and mens pj pants.

Matching Underwear sets! OMG I feel your pain!

when my studio is in it's own room and not cluttered in a corner.

And when I have a Hybrid car that I don't have to take a loan out to get.


Creole Wisdom

New cars!?! What is it about them? I have a 2010 after driving a 1992 toyota camry that died on me, but every time I see a new model of a corolla I kind of have to stare. I need to know more about Sun Foods 🙂

I think I'll know I've made it when:
-Travel isn't something I have to plan out months in advance with super sacrificed paychecks
-Getting my nails done every two weeks
-Being able to buy the photography lenses I need and also want
-Shopping at Anthropologie full price and not batting an eye

Someday 🙂


I know I will have made it when I have a writing cottage to call my own. On our huge acreage. With dogs who follow me around. And a massive library.

Savvy Aggarwal

Amazing post once again!
I'll know I've made it when
1)I won't have to say no to a vacation trip with friends just because I can't afford it.
2)I can buy the stuff I want without thinking a thousand times how it will affect my savings.
3) I'll have a swanky apartment of my own.

Kate Tichy

OMG, I have the same cedar hanger wish! I even put a set of 100 on my Amazon wishlist, but none of my family bit. Maybe for my birthday? Does it still count as having "made it" if it's a gift?

Additional frivolous decor item that will signal I have made it: outdoor drapes.


I know I've made it when: I actually love what I'm doing, and I'm not constantly worried if, for example, it's okay for me to replace my transparent undies with the pretty ones I really want, rather than the more economical pair, or if I should hold off until next month. And I'm no longer constantly obsessing about everything– I will feel settled, not that life will be boring or lack adventures, or my to-do lists will disappear, just not like I'm working with fairy-strings.

My frivolous house item is totally a hammock– but like a daybed hammock that is comfortable to work on (on your belly), complete with gauzy canopy and brightly colored kilim pillows. Ha. And a kitchen-aid mixer NOT handed down to me from my mom, after 15 years of daily use (it wheezes above a certain speed now) 🙂

Also, Walgreens has a knock-off Aveda rosemary-mint shampoo called BioInfusions that's slightly less expensive and smells just as marvelous 🙂

Mollie @ Jennings Brae Bank Farm

Fun idea, and I love lists.
1- I have a four-wheel drive vehicle that isn't a farm truck.
2- I can quit my "real job" and join my husband on the farm.
3- When the house is updated to include an actual second bedroom, and perhaps bigger porches!


But…this is why I have so much black underwear! It goes with my black bras! It almost matches, right?

And as an owner of a 1997 Honda Civic, I totally agree about someday owning a semi-recent car. Oh, someday.

Also, I'll know I've made it when I can run my A/C during the sweltering Texas summers and not worry about the bill. That'll be amazing.


LOL! yes, hangers! when I moved internationally and had to re-purchase all the hangers for our closet I was secretly delighted that a bundle of the "fancy" wooden ones were inexplicably the same price as a bundle of the plastic ones. Definitely one of my "made it" items and I would have never thought it would happen.


Oh, gosh. I've been trying to actually separate my sense of achievement from material things… but:

*Hangers! yes! I want the huggable ones sooo badly. At least, with my recent massive closet purge, I have been able to chuck all the icky wire ones….

*I'll WASH my car. Like, ever. Instead of waiting for it to rain.

*Having someone meet me and say they've heard of me as an expert in my field.

P.S. For anyone looking for Hot Lady Underpants, I recently got the prettiest clutch of lace ones from aerie (who knew?! I learned that they're the best from a swanky fashion girl), $26 for 7 pairs, and they go with all lace bras! ta da.

Sarah Von Bargen

I'm telling you: the huggable ones are The Best. It's so gratifying to hang up cardigans and little tanks and not worry they're going to fall off the hanger onto the floor!


Oooh! I like the cedar hangers idea! Very "made it." Simple, luxurious pleasures are the best!

Everytime I go to TJ Maxx which, admittedly, is often, I think about the future when I just buy the freakin' shoes becaue $40 doesn't throw me under the budget bus this week. The day will come!

Oh and when I have a gravy boat, and actually use it 🙂


Ohhhh I am a lover of Aveda too! It is one of my only indulgences. I don't wear makeup or buy a lot of clothes or anything, so I allow myself to spend money on Aveda hair and skin stuff and it is so, so worth it. Especially if you get the ginormous liter bottles of shampoo or conditioner. It seems super expensive when you're buying it, but I swear I've had those bottles last me over a year. Feeling classy in the shower for a whole year=totally worth it.

I know all-fancy-hair-products-all-the-time is not in everyone's budget, but I have a recommendation! Buy a bottle of the sun care hair and body stuff, put it in your refillable travel bottle of choice, and use it at the gym, the pool, and when you travel. It's awesome for getting rid of chlorine and stuff, it smells freaking amazing (citrus-y goodness), and you can use it as bodywash AND shampoo so it's a good multitasker for traveling and stuff. I figure if you can't use the pricey stuff all the time, you might as well use it when you're not in the comfort of your own home to make yourself feel fancy.

Anyway, I will feel I've made it when I can afford to shop at Waitrose regularly (fancy UK grocery store, although some places here are now getting Whole Foods too!) and when I can just decide where I want to travel and go without worrying too much about the cost (I don't think this will EVER happen).


I will have an apartment or house with a yard. That's pretty much it. or maybe a balcony…that's the half-step up, lol.


When I own a hard-top convertible – So fancy! So not practical. Even in LA.
My old Ford Focus broke down about 2 years ago and I did not have enough money to buy the convertible then, so I bought a new (well used, but newer) Ford Focus. Maybe the next car…


My school loans actually moving down toward being paid off.

My clothing is higher end and better quality shoes as well.

Not worrying when bills are due about the hit to my bank account will receive.

Being about to travel abroad.


Yes yes yes to any sort of matching hangers. The other signs for me would be living somewhere where I can paint the walls and owning my own couches and mattress (can you tell I'm still a renter?!


The matching underwear made me laugh. I'm afraid I'm still convinced that a nude or black bra goes with anything but I'm hoping I'll grow out of that soon!


I suppose in a way I have already "made it", but I would love to be able to quit my job. Not asking for much as it hardly pays anything.

$45 for a bag of groceries sounds pretty standard to me, even for the cheapest store around. If that's the price for posh stuff in the states, it's no wonder so many canadians go on grocery pilgrimages!


I love your lists! I´m a secret list maker myself, I just feel that if I let myself go I´d make lists out of lists!
I´m so nowhere near "made it" cause I´m about to start my residency training..But in my mind I think I´d feel like I made it when my everyday clothes look like my super special fancy clothes and the hanger one is def a clear bold made it sign.


Oh the matching underwear. My best friend worked at Victoria's Secret when we were in college and she used to give me the free panties they'd give her for making sales. She felt awful about my holey, fraying Target digs. I envied her impeccable bra selection so much! However, if I have to give up matching underwear to have a job that lets me create my own schedule, so that I can travel whenever I want, I will HAPPILY give them up. ^^


I always said I'd have made it when I got a dishwasher. And now I've got one! So dispite my mish mash of hangers I must be there. I think Waitrose shopping is next in my sights (oh and M&S food hall!)


Oh my gosh I can totally relate to the matching underwear and Aveda products! LOL!! Right now I'm in the midst of getting my house cleaned out so I can sell it and move in with my fiance after we get married into his tiny house…so I'll know I've made it when I'm in his house and the kitchen and bath are remodeled..with a dishwasher..and it feels like my home too instead of his never-been-married-at-50 bachelor pad!


I'll know that I finally made it when:
– I speak 4 foreign languages fluently
– I finally get out of Europe if I travel (ideally regularly 🙂
– I have a small house on a Greek island
– I do daily what I really love doing and I am getting paid for that
– I can decide when I work more and when I work less
– I can (financially) help out my parents and not the other way 'round…etc

I have quite a long list (if I wanna include the smaller things as well,I can write untill tomorrow morning:-) but I already feel much more on the right track than a couple of years ago. And that's something I am really proud of 😀

Lauren Michelle

Probably my top thing is having matching bra and panty sets, as you said. I only have three matching sets right now, and they all came from Target. In fact, one of them is sewn with red thread after the strap came un-stitched. I guess, I'll also know I've made it when I can afford matching bra and panty sets that don't come un-stitched.

The Dame Intl

My mom and I used to say we will have made it when we can afford two ply toilet paper and razor blades instead of disposable razors… How far we have come!


When I can purchase Chanel make up products just because.
When I can lease a luxury vehicle and not feel at all guilty.
When I can book weekend trips across the country without batting an eye.
When I have an outdoor patio.

Sigh. One day…


Definitely matching underwear will be a thing, haha. Glad I'm not the only one who decided one bra matches everything.

I'll also stop feeling the need to yell "dibs" anytime anyone says "anybody want this?" in reference to their old clothes or books or leftover food. I'm not saying I'd give up taking hand me downs and leftovers, but it won't be so compulsive.

To me at the moment, "made it" also means that it won't be such a terrifying thought that I might lose my job tomorrow. I would have enough savings and security for me to be able to laugh it off it I got fired or even quit if I so desired.


Leave a comment