Before & After Renovations

How To Renovate Your House (Without Having Loads of Cash Laying Around)

Aarrrrrrgh

OK, so yesterday's conversation under my bathroom renovation post was a little frustrating - you can read it here, if you're interested - but at it's heart was, I think, a solid question:

How in the world does one afford to renovate a house if, say, one has not found themselves the sudden recipient of a trust fund/inheritance/other random windfall of enormous proportions?

My Looks

(Seeeeriously) Not Your Average Wetsuit

Cynthia Rowley Zodiac Wetsuit (c/o)

Wetsuits are not cute; I speak from vast experience here. I bought my first wetsuit when I was 12 and got my scuba diving certification...and I still have the same one. This would be kind of fun - look at meeee, fitting into my preteen wetsuit! - except it's sort of like still being able to fit into an Ace bandage that happens to be purple, and cover your whole body. You can do it...but that doesn't mean it's necessarily a great idea.

The thing about wetsuits is they're meant to be functional. You don't wear them to be adorable; you wear them to not freeze. And so the best-looking ones I've seen - up until now, at least - are only "cute" because they're not terrible and/or neon. In other words, they are black.

Before & After Renovations

Before And After: Black and White (And Wood and Gold) Bathroom

IT'S DONE.

I love, love, love, LOVE my bathroom. I say "my" bathroom even though it's the bathroom in the hall (as opposed to the master bathroom) because from the time we moved in it was the only bathroom with an actual bath in it - and we all know how I feel about baths. So while it was the kids' primary bathroom, too, I sort of adopted it as my own.

When I set out to renovate this bathroom (before and after pics are below, but you can take a look at what it looked like when we moved in, and then it's first evolution before the major renovation here), I wanted to make sure that it worked for the kids...but I also thought, what the hell: I've always felt like my bathroom is my sanctuary. So if I'm going to put in the work to fix it up, I might as well go ahead and make it everything I've ever dreamed of.

DIARY

An Update, But Not Really

Before I launch back into writing about our (first) bathroom makeover (which is FINALLY finished, and oh my god that took forever) and the best ballet flats out there and, I don't know, chicken, or whatever...I figured I should probably address the elephant in the room.

I don't know if we're going to stay in this house. Or even in this city.

I don't know anything.

DIARY

The Ones Who Catch You

A few years ago - shortly before my daughter was born - a friend of mine told me that she had cancer.

When I say “a friend of mine,” I mean someone I cared about; someone I had special, beautiful memories with. Someone who I thought was smart, and interesting. Someone who’d just had a baby a couple of months earlier, making her diagnosis worse than the worst thing imaginable. 

But by then, we weren’t especially tied into each others’ lives. In the old days we’d mostly been casual, going-out-type friends, and in the years since we’d grown up and out of bars and parties and late nights in the company of dartboards, and we’d emailed only occasionally. When the dust settled it turned out we didn't really have much in common at all, and we lost touch. I didn’t even know what she did for a living, or her partner’s name. 

Decor

That Airstream Life

Awhile back I read a post about a couple who decided to check out of their lives and go ahead and live with their toddler in an Airstream (designed, of course, by Pendleton). They went from town to town, home-schooling their kid and freelancing from their laptops and exploring the country and being adorable and perfect in every way in their adorable, perfect, Pendleton-designed Airstream.

I wanted to be that couple. I fangirled all over their feed. I even briefly fantasized about packing us up and buying a trailer and living the itinerant life. (You know, one designed by Pendleton.)

And then, last week, while visiting Topanga with my two children, I stayed in an Airstream - technically a Silver Streak, but for all intents and purposes identical to an Airstream. And within five minutes of my arrival I realized: Oh. There is no way on the fucking planet that I would live in an Airstream with my children. Because you know what Airstreams are?

Makeup & Beauty

Futureproofing: My (Perhaps Surprising) New Skincare Routine

Summer activities are just some of the many things that can dry out your skin.

You probably know this by now, but skincare is a big deal to me. My skin has always been sensitive and dry and a little problematic, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized more and more how vital it is to not only “treat” my skin, but to actively futureproof it, using products that help prevent problems before they start.

Except there’s one part of my skin I’ve never thought about all that much. You probably haven’t either. I mean, who worries about the skin on their scalp, when it’s all covered by hair, and therefore invisible-ish and such? I certainly never worried about it…until I did. A few months ago, I developed dandruff (like, bad dandruff) for the first time in my life, and it was a seeeeriously unpleasant experience. So after a couple of weeks I decided that nope, this was not acceptable in the slightest, and brought in the official scalpskin experts, Head & Shoulders. I used their products, and loved their products, and later ended up partnering with them - so now I’m going to tell you why I think you should use their products not only for dandruff control, but also for skincare. 

Lifestyle

Why Juneteenth Is More Important Now Than Ever

There are plenty of topics I'm not especially well-versed in, but the fact that I didn't know what "Juneteenth" was until yesterday, when I noticed it on my iPhone calendar and decided to Google it, seems inexcusable. Juneteeth - which is today - isn't just (just?!) a "black holiday," it's a celebration of our national determination - and ongoing commitment - to emancipation and equality, and to giving a voice to those who have spent decades, if not centuries, being silenced. Perhaps more than ever, it deserves the national spotlight. 

I'm reprinting Jamelle Bouie's explanation of the significance of Juneteenth in full below. Required reading, guys. 

The Black American Holiday Everyone Should Celebrate but Doesn’t

Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration of emancipation, it’s a celebration of our commitment to make it real.

Officially, the Emancipation Proclamation freed “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State” where the residents were “in rebellion against the United States.” In practice, it applied only to those slaves who lived near Union lines, where they could make an easy escape or take advantage of the Northern advance.

Eat

Simplify Your Summer

This post is sponsored by Red Baron, but all opinions are my own. 

Remember when summer was relaxing? I do! It was seven years ago, before my first child was born, and subsequently removed from my life even the vaguest whisper of calm. Now what summer means is that I have to do all the stuff I have to do the rest of the year, except now I have two people right there with me all day, and they need me to not do anything except for devote all of my attention to them all of the time. 

And usually it’s more than just two kids, because we are The People With the Pool. I like this fact a whole lot, because it means that I don’t have to leave my house in order to socialize - when it’s 105 degrees out, humans have a tendency to go wherever the water is - but it also means that I have a LOT of children running around my house preeeeetty much every day during the summer. And sometimes the children get overstimulated and crazy and their parents drag them home around midafternoon, but other times they are wonderful and playing together so well that we agree that sure, let’s all have dinner together.