Special event = new dress. That has always been my thinking.

Sometimes I have dug into my wardrobe, looked at my options and managed to find something “appropriate,” but that’s pretty rare.

Believe me, there is no greater cure for feeling like you don’t have enough clothes than when you have to wash everything that you own by hand.

Right now, I am overseas again and staring down a bag of dirty laundry. I haven’t started yet and the idea exhausts me.

I fault the washing machine. There is something about the convenience of it that has changed our perspective. With the machine doing all the scrubbing for us, we may have shifted our understanding of what “much” is.

It’s not a secret that people in the U.S. consume more than people anywhere else in the world. I think most people know that. But I am certain that the scale, the degree of our consumption must be lost on us.

Let me be clear, I neither wish to decry technological progress, nor romanticize what many of our brethren must do to provide for their basic needs.

I just wish to question our sense of what is indulgent.

I had similar questions about excess and privilege when I heard about the preparations that Jay-Z and Beyoncé made for Blue Ivy. The infant (who won’t remember any of this) has a nursery that is larger the size of many single-family homes (2,200 square feet), a 24-carat solid gold rocking horse and more.

I know Beyoncé and Jay are active in charities and have a right to spend their hard earned cash, but does this mitigate the message?

What does it means to be good stewards of our riches? What are the ethical questions we should be asking ourselves about extravagance?