A shot of me that Gawker ran in a (VERY understandably) snarky article back in the day.

(“Meet the Harvard Grad Seduced By Microcelebrity!” The shame.)

So here’s what I’ve been thinking. Remember how when I started Ramshackle Glam back in 2009 – when I was living in a fourth-floor walkup on the non-fancy side of the Upper East Side and technically unemployed and doing things like shucking corn on my floor (a floor that definitely had a hole in it that the landlord was definitely disinterested in fixing)? The whole concept behind the site, as I conceived of it, was “Hey, here are a bunch of things I love and want to do. I don’t really know how to do them. I’m going to give them a shot anyway.”

I think it’s time to get back to the old roots a bit.

It’s weird, you know: I’ve gotten used to my life as it’s been these past few years. I’ve gotten…comfortable, in certain ways. Not anxiety-free, obbbviously – but there are certain side-benefits that come with being one half of a two-income household comprised of two actual adults. You can, for example, go to pumpkin patches and buy the stupidly overpriced pumpkins, and be annoyed about it, but also, you know…deal. At least in theory, you get to split all those Major Life Stressors (money/sex/house/child-rearing/etc) down the middle. If you fall, there’s someone there to catch you.

In theory.

Family photo. #killedit

Anyway, at the pumpkin patch this weekend, I told my kids that no, they could not buy pumpkins. (We already have two sitting on our fireplace, lest you think me a Pumpkin Scrooge.) I said that they could each have one of those stumpy little gourd-things, because the stumpy little gourd-things were $2 and the pumpkins started at $45, and that’s just the way it was going to go.

I’m not sure they even skipped a beat. They went straight to the gourd basket, and commenced all sorts of drama over which gourd to pick…and eventually decided that the green and orange ones CLEARLY had the advantage over the white and yellow ones, and made their selections. And then they held them all the way home. …And then they slept with them. With the gourds. In their beds.

If we’re talking about a price-per-minute-of-enjoyment situation, those gourds cost me about .005 cents apiece.

It’s more than just realizing that I can simplify financially, though – it’s bigger than that. When I was planning my son’s birthday party, did I send out an adorable e-vite with thematic photos and custom typeface? No. I sent an email to my friends telling them what time to show up at my house. Francesca asked if she should bring food. Cupcakes, please. Shannon wanted to know if I needed balloons. Sure do, thank you thank you. Alisa (another Alisa; I have many friends named Alisa) asked me what a seven-year-old might want, and instead of being all Oh no, you don’t need to get him anything!, thereby commencing a back and forth that would end in her getting him something anyway, I sent her an Amazon link to an Imaginext car, and was done with it.


It feels so good.

I was thinking about all this the other night, while I made my son’s annual Spooky Birthday Cake. I baked the cake, and dug out my decorating supplies from various boxes…and then discovered, at 9:45PM, that I had about half of the things I needed if I was going to make the cake he and I had decided on. Rolling pin to smooth out the fondant? Nope. Food coloring? Like three drops. Sugar? Ah…no. (That last one was a little rough, considering that you very much do need powdered sugar when you’re making a fondant cake, but such is life.)

So I rolled out the fondant using a massive cylindrical container of mosquito repellent sticks (really). I decided that flour and powdered sugar look more or less the same, so should probably function more or less the same way in certain situations. And because I did not have the wherewithal (or talented support system, a.k.a. Erin and Alisa) to hand-craft witches’ fingers out of marzipan, I cut up a disgusting bloody rubber hand that I found in our Halloween Box, and coated it with strawberry jelly so it’d be even disgusting-er.

(He’s seven. Disgusting is, like, #lifegoals.)

eyeball cake with fingers scary halloween

eyeball cake with fingers scary halloween

Is this cake my finest work? Nope.

But I carried it out into a room filled with people who feel like they landed in my life by magic. Who harmonized on the last note of Happy Birthday like actual angels. Who tickled my daughter and helped my son build a Lego Batmobile, and who cannonballed into the pool and jumped on the trampoline and made me laugh harder than I’ve laughed in god knows how long…and then washed the dishes before they left.

The whole thing felt like both a new beginning and a homecoming; a throwback to the way it was, way back when. The party, like the cake, was what I could do with what I had. And it was great.

At the end of the night – and I swear this is true – my son said, Mom. That was the best birthday party EVER. He hadn’t noticed that there were no Pinterest-ed snacks, or favor bags, or even tons and tons of kids. He’d just noticed that we have a village, and that it’d shown up for him.

It just keeps getting better and better, he told me. He was still on the topic of his birthday parties, but he’s a wise one, that kid. I think maybe what he was really talking about was life.

  • Samantha Owens

    Really makes you think of how we all survived and were made to feel special before the dawn of pinterest-perfect! Although, that cake is pinterest-perfect to me 🙂 Happy Birthday indy! He’s so lucky to have you Jordan.

    • jordanreid

      <3 <3 <3

  • Linds

    Not to judge – but relating to the idea of simplification – why do I have a hard time finding your new posts? I found this one through instagram but when I go to your site directly it still shows one from a few weeks ago as the lead post. Now I’m wondering what I’ve missed by just checking your site vs. Instagram.

    • Val

      It might be an issue with cookies (or some such thing, I’m no expert) and the way the page loads in your browser? I have a similar issue – I have this page bookmarked, and when I click the link I often see a post from a few days ago; the latest one almost never loads automatically. So I always refresh the page in my browser when I come here, and then the newest post will load. You could try that?

    • jordanreid

      It is SO frustrating! I’ve tried to look into this a million times, but since it doesn’t seem to happen to everybody, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s going on. …Anyone out there a tech expert with ideas about how to fix this??

      • Jenn

        I have the same issue, but I do a hard refresh (Ctrl R) if there isn’t a new post, and it appears if there is one. I actually have to do this with a few blogs I’ve read for years, I figured it was my ancient laptop. 🙂

        • jordanreid

          makes me feel better that it’s not just me <3

        • jbro

          Don’t we all need a hard refresh sometimes?

          • jordanreid

            lol – tell me about it.

      • ldp

        I believe this is a cookie related issue – if I clear my cookies for your site the issue goes away – which is why the incognito window always works.

    • Tia Link

      I have this problem on my Windows computer but not my iMac. But, I’ve found that if I open ramshackleglam in an “incognito” window on my Windows PC, it has fixed this problem for me everytime!

      • jordanreid

        UGH. I would so love to fix this.

    • Lauren

      i keep having a similar issue with this blog and another that I read and I discovered that by typing in “https://” before the ramshackle URL that autopopulates on my computer makes it work. maybe give that a shot?

  • Jenn

    I love this post but ughhhh that Gawker article took me back to that time period when it was a contest to be the most offensive and/or unaffected human ever on Gawker and Gomi which was the worst too. I participated in those sites back then but haven’t for years so maybe they’ve changed,,,but who tf cares if a Harvard grad is running a blog? Seriously? Ughhhh.

    • jordanreid

      it was so bizarre how that snarky, bitchy attitude towards anything and everything became such a huge part of online interactions for a minute there. gomi still exists, and they still write about me (TEN YEARS LATER), but I could not possibly care less. it’s just so toxic.

  • foursixtwo

    My nephew has a disability, and his mom gives out Amazon links by default when people ask about gifts. This was born of necessity – the disability impacts his manual dexterity, you can’t go by the age recommendations on the box. But it’s an idea I’ve loved so much I’ve started to copy it when my own kids have birthdays. It’s just so much easier for everyone.

    There was a time when I’d also say, “please no gift,” but at some point in my 30s I figured out that people WANT to bring gifts. They feel rude showing up empty-handed, and it’s being a good host to let them bring something. So it might as well be something the child will actually enjoy.

    • jordanreid


  • Donna

    If you are using an Ad Blocker this happens.

  • Donna

    Having an ad blocker causes this too.

  • Class Versus Sass

    that cake looks amazing!

    • jordanreid

      thank you!

  • Cait

    I love reading your blog and the style in which you write! I can relate to this post – simple is better and especially when it comes to kids! So easy to try and compete with the world when our kids just want to be loved.

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