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Category Archives: Neighborhood Envy

The “New Roof” Game

As a resident expert on neighborhood envy and the lengths people will go to just to “keep up,” we can’t forget about the “new roof” phenomenon. In addition to Christmas lights and landscaping, new roofs are one of the biggest ways the neighbors try to keep up with one another, and even show one another up, at times.


Keep up with the Joneses through a new roof

Getting New Roofs Around the Neighborhood

If you’re in or near the Midwest, you probably know what we’re talking about. Especially for our fellow neighbors who are also in tornado valley, or so it seems. Last spring we had a massive hail storm. Skylights were broken, gutters dented, and some people even had to replace car windshields. And with a massive hail storm came roof replacement. The funny thing to me is that there is a process that takes place in order for the whole neighborhood to get a new roof. It goes something like this:

1. All neighbors come outside after the hail has passed to evaluate the size of the hail. They gasp.

2. One or two wise neighbors realize that they probably just had storm damage to their property.

3. One of those neighbors gets on the ball, and calls their insurance agent ASAP to get a claims team out to the house to evaluate.

4. Claims team comes to the house, determines that the home indeed got storm damage. Cuts check.

5. On-the-ball home owner gets quotes and settles on a roofing company.Roofing materials begin being delivered.

6. Surrounding neighbors begin to wonder what’s going on with the new roof down the street.

7. Roofing company pulls up, spends the whole day atop the roof and sticks a sign in the yard.

8. Other neighbors wise up and realize they too could most likely get a new roof because of the storm.

9. Neighbors call their insurance companies, soon the number of roofing signs down the street double.

10. A few months later, the last straggling neighbors also call their agents. By the time it’s over, nearly everyone on the street has a new roof.

Insurance Companies Don’t Like Neighborhood Envy

I imagine that insurance companies don’t like neighborhood envy. It’s a domino effect – you see one neighbor gets a new roof and then realize you could probably get a new roof, too. But at least everyone doesn’t hate that game; I’m sure roofing companies have a heyday.


Removing Unsightly Driveway Stains

Your yard is perfectly manicured, and your house’s paint looks like perfection. Don’t let unsightly driveway stains ruin your home’s curb appeal. If you’re tired of your driveway looking shabby, consider trying to remove the stains so that your house looks like the best on the block.


Enhance your curb appeal by cleaning up oil stains

Removing Oil Stains from the Driveway

Whether it’s your own car leaking oil, or one of your guest’s, make sure that you try to get oil stains removed as soon as possible. Several tips for removing oil stains will include kitty litter, but this mainly gets the oil to rise from the surface. You can try covering the kitty litter with newspaper to get even more oil removed, or scrubbing the area with oven cleaner after using kitty litter. If kitty litter doesn’t work, you can also try scrubbing the area with gasoline or Ultra Dawn dish soap.

Or, if none of those easy tips are working, check out this video by professional Eric Stromer from HGTV that explains how to create a scrub to remove oil from your driveway.

It may seem like a pain, but your house will look much better with the oil stains removed. Be a good neighbor and help keep your neighborhood looking nice!

Christmas Light Competition: Ditto

I know it’s still summer but I had to share this photo. Now this is a funny way of getting around neighborhood envy. And it goes to show that some like to compete light-for-light, while others take a creative approach and play along:


One house has obviously gone all out with their Christmas lights. They not only have icicle lights hanging from the entire perimeter of the house, but they have pre-lit deer, Christmas trees and other iconic Christmas lights in their yard. Their neighbor must have known it was coming, as they carefully constructed a “Ditto” sign with an arrow pointing toward the bright house. I have a feeling this wasn’t the first year that the house on the left has gone all out. At least they spread the Christmas cheer so that their neighbors eventually did play along. Happy Holidays!

Neighborhood Envy – The Lawn & Landscape

Has anyone else noticed one of the best ways to spur neighborhood envy is in the lawn and landscape arena? I mean even in the heat of summer, and it’s been a hot one this year, neighbors scurry to keep their lawns looking nice. They want to get rid of the brown grass and make sure the flowers look bright and perky. And while some of the anal ones really could be concerned about the roots and the soil for the long-term effects of their turf management – most are out to either keep up with the neighbors, or make their house look nicer than the others on the street.


Impress the neighbors by treating your lawn like a golf course

Keeping the Grass in Tip-Top Shape

One great way I’ve noticed that neighbors keep the friendly competition around the neighborhood going is to pretend your grass is actually a golf course. Get out there and make sure it’s perfectly mowed, edged and watered every week. If you’re really into it, you can even take some time to learn about lawn striping, and mowing lawn patterns. Mow in fun directions for an appealing, eye-catching presentation. You’ll have the other neighbors beating the heat and working on their yards in no time.

Beautify with Flowers and Plants

Okay, so I’m not exactly a green thumb, but in this heat, nobody really can take home that title. But for some reason, neighbors go all out to keep their beautiful, colorful flowers alive. Most flowers are brown and dead, wilted by the heat of summer. Even those flowers that are kept shaded and watered can be struggling to stay alive. But walk through a neighborhood with a little bit of neighborhood envy going on and look to be amazed. All of the sudden, it’s like it’s still springtime and bursts of colorful flowers line the flower beds and porches. Now I don’t know if these neighbors constantly replace their flowers, or if they’ve just all hired master gardeners, but it’s a sight to be seen. And a great way to keep neighborhood envy going.

Wow the Neighbors with Evening Lights

Once neighbors have the lawns mowed, flowers bloomed and the outdoors looking neat and nice, the ones who really want the prize of “best house in the neighborhood” have to find a way to show it off day and night. Some neighbors find a way to take home the “gold” around the neighborhood by lighting their home so that the beautiful landscaping can be shown even with a dark sky. Spotlights, porch lights and even bright lighting effects are all used to bring about a certain “glow” to their home. Lighting the outdoors is like standing on that highest platform and bringing home that cherished metal after beating out everyone else in the neighborhood. It’s a high honor.

Don’t have time to keep up? In the Kansas City area? Consider hiring a professional landscaper instead! Save the time, yet get the results, and be the envy of your neighborhood!

Real Housewives of New Jersey – Now That’s a Christmas Party!

Anyone else a RHWNJ fan? I can’t help it – the drama, the suspense, the huge homes and glitz and glamor – I’m hooked.

I was watching the show the other night about the Gorga’s Christmas party. Wow, talk about extravaganza. The show hinted that Joe & Melissa Gorga spent at least 50Gs to host a one-of-a kind Christmas party. All of the neighbors and friends were invited. The house was decked out with food, lights, sculptures and even a casino. To find a way to “give back” during the holidays, the Gorgas requested each person bring a gift for the children at the hospital. Classy.


Real Housewives of New Jersey - talk about Neighborhood Envy

While we could go into a commentary about the drama that ensued, and how proud we were of Joe & Melissa for handling a crisis situation well, what I wanted to really talk about was the party planning and decor – and how this was a MAJOR victory in the Neighborhood Envy contest! Wow, this party would be hard to compete with. Here are some of my favorite things that would have my head spinning, and have me wondering how I could compete if I lived next door to the Gorgas:

  • Ice sculptures – Sculptures of the Gorgas as you walked into the house, and even ice sculptures inside of the home!
  • Lights – the entire outside of their home was decked-out in beautiful Christmas lights.
  • Live carolers – Amazing singers in their authentic costumes singing Christmas carols.
  • A casino inside of the house – great idea to entertain guests and keep them having fun!
  • Sensational white winter land-themed table decor and serving dishes
  • And I loved the photo backdrop right as you entered the party. Definitely made the party feel “hollywood.”

The only thing I would have added to the Gorga’s Christmas Party was an animated light show. They’ve got the house, the neighborhood, and the audience for it! I bet they could impress their hundreds of guests by a music and light-synchronized Christmas light display! Maybe next year!

Hello, Neighbors.

Hello, Neighbors!

I can’t wait to dive into my blog where we talk about the latest and greatest about living in America. No, I’m not talking about democracy,  beautiful sights and sounds, nor the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest (although those are great, too.) I’m talking about the little green-eyed competition that occurs behind the little white picket fences lining our “American Dream Home” estates – neighborhood envy.

Christmas Light Show

Get the Neighbors Green Eyed

Also known as “Keeping up with the Joneses,” neighborhood envy runs fast through our shrub-lined streets and knocks on every neighbor’s front door. At first we try to shrug it off and be individualistic, soaking in the advice of our pop-cultured American influences that tell us different is good. But as we settle in, transform the homes into “our own” and gauge our “place” in the neighborhood – the green-eyed envy monster begins to invade our minds. We notice the neighbor’s new basketball court, or their gorgeous display of Christmas lights. We drive by slowly to read who put the new roof on the house, or admire the beautiful landscaping in full bloom. The competition begins. And then we realize we need it, too.

There are all kinds of neighborhoods out there, but whether you live in a luxury neighborhood or a standard suburban area, neighbors are always out to observe what’s happening with one another, and try to keep up. And while we can all agree that there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed (keeping up so much so that you foreclose on your house, for one) neighborhood envy can actually be a lot of fun. It can help you keep your house in great shape, ensuring that your property values go up. It also creates a great discussion for you as you adorn your homes with the best lights you can and throw the greatest parties, while attracting attention to your home and sparking relationships with your neighbors. It can be difficult to just have fun these days, and playing up neighborhood envy is one way to bring a little lightheartedness to the world around us.

As a girl next door and fan of a wonderful neighborhood competition, welcome to my blog. We’re here to point out how fun it is to be extreme when adorning the house and have a friendly competition with the neighbors.

Game on!