BATHROOM VANITY

I write a wildly popular and critically acclaimed blog that is beloved by nearly every man, woman and literate baby on the planet. You know this. I know this. Your mom knows this. What your mom also knows is that, from time to time, I let things slip through the cracks. I apologize for that. On occasion, I have been known to, erm, forget to update you all on what I’ve been up to. Sometimes I work in secret. Listen, pals, I agree: that’s a terrible habit to have when you’re a DIY blogger who makes a six-figure living writing instructional how-to’s for anonymous people to disparage over the Internet. I blame my parents. Truthfully, I point the finger at them for a lot of things that have gone wrong in my life–missed opportunities, failed relationships, bootcut jeans–and I could go into why they are responsible for all that stuff but that would be long and bitter and not becoming of me. The simple fact is they are not here to defend themselves. They live across the country and this is my blog and I can do what I want, so if I’ve done something to offend you just shake your fists at the heavens and yell through clenched teeth, “DAMN YOU, EVAN’S MOM AND DAD! DAMN YOU FOR ALWAYS BEING THERE FOR HIM! MAY LUCIFER HAVE MERCY ON YOUR ROTTEN, WELL-INTENTIONED AND SOULS!”

Feel better? I do.

So, yea, occasionally I do secret things and occasionally I don’t write them down. But, like you, I’m only half-human. I can only keep so many secrets to myself before bursting at my cyborg seams! Now that Gone Girl is out and I’ve been asked by 1) friends 2) family and 3) random passers-by on the street (who try to tell me I don’t need to yell to be heard) to not let any spoilers slip I’m at max capacity, kittens. I have to let something out! It’s bad enough I walk around pretending like I didn’t listen to the free U2 album a few 18 times or that I’m not all in when it comes to Viola Davis teaching law students how to be ninja assassins or that I’m never THIS CLOSE to having cookie dough for breakfast every morning or that when I finally get my wits about me and make a cup of coffee I’m not just standing at the counter, staring longingly at that tight tube of butter, flour and chocolate, while softly weeping into my scrambled egg whites. I’m so tired of carrying the weight of the world on my narrow, slightly hunched shoulders, you guyz!

So here’s my secret: I’ve been working on my bathroom. I’ve been working on a lot of things, actually–my temper, my communication skillz, my anger when the coffee lady gives me skim milk WHEN CLEARLY I ASKED FOR HALF-AND-HALF, my temper–but my bathroom is getting most of the attention. I’ve been in my apartment for over two years now, which coincidentally is 20 years shy of my age (and not 30 as my birth certificate would have you believe), and I’m getting more than a little fed up with it. The apartment itself is fantastic. I know this and you and your mom better know this. But, as is human nature, after a lengthy period of monogamy you want to ruin the good thing you have by seeing someone younger and sexier. That’s where I’m at with my place. I love it, but when spend your days like I do, working inside other people’s luxury high-rise sky buckets, how can you come home to your own place and not want to make a few dozen changes here and there at the very least?

I started with the bathroom because it’s the most egregious room in the apartment. Most bathrooms of rental properties are terrible. You know what? No. All. All bathrooms. And kitchens, too! THE WORST. That’s just, like, the 7th Universal Law of Man. And if you don’t believe me then I assume you think yours are *pretty nice? Well, I find that kind of ignorance adorable, my little aardvarks, like someone pushing hard on a door marked ‘pull’. You can try to deny it but being a renter (or a first-time homeowner) means you have a shitty wash closet and an even shittier counter top.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s get acquainted with my bathroom, WHICH I CALL MISS JACKSON BECAUSE IT’S NASTY:

CUTE, RIGHT????? Like you in college this was an experimental phase for my bathroom, circa last year. I did what I thought was my best at the time, but even MUR decals and some half-mirror bulbs can’t hide that heinous, generic, store-bought, sloth-turd, slithering succubus of light AKA the Hollywood vanity fixture.

Here’s another shot from even earlier, when I first moved in:

EL OH EL I just love this picture. I put a task lamp on the sink and I’m wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. I WAS SUCH THE COMEDIAN BACK IN THE DAY. No but really 2012 was a year I erased from my mind.

Now, if this were a hearing and I the prosecutor, at this point I would rest, confident that I made my case against rental bathrooms on the whole, but more specifically my own nest of toilet horror. The defense, however, would counter by asserting that questionable styling and misguided decor decisions are to blame, not my bathroom vanity, and that charges should be downgraded from second-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter of my eyes. As the prosecutor I would agree so I would take my two index fingers and tap them repeatedly in a half-hearted attempt at applause, as it is a fair point to make, but then I would present this piece of evidence, highlighting the culprit:

Ignoring for a moment the frightening man-monster I artfully drew, you can see without a doubt the light fixture and medicine cabinet are, in fact, giant assholes. At this point the judge would bang her gavel, the courtroom would erupt in cheers, I would lean over the bar, high-five my students whom I made work on the case for free and then Shonda Rhimes and I would walk hand-in-hand out of the building to a Hall & Oates song. The end. Roll credits, ABC.

But seriously. Something needed to be done. So I got my hammer, took my neighbor’s screwdriver without asking and set off dismantling the tentacled man-monster:

This was me feeling optimistic and grand about the whole endeavor, as you can tell by the fact that I hadn’t yet removed the Hollywood fixture’s mounting plate. (More on that in a second.) An unforeseen causality during the demo was my super-stellar MUR decals. They bit the dust along with the vanity, but other than that so far, so good. I can see what I’m working with and everything seems right with the world. OH JOYOUS DAY!

Now some disturbing news…

Nestled inconspicuously behind the cabinet, on the ledge of a steel frame, was a shekel. “A shekel?” you say. “Yes,” I answer. “Hm, a shekel,” you say again. “Stop repeating what I’m saying and just read the post, jerk,” I scold. I found a shekel behind my medicine cabinet. Normally I wouldn’t think twice about finding a piece of currency in an odd place because HEY we all come home from time to time and throw our money around like we’re Scrooge McDuck taking a lap his money vault. However, on the right hand side doorpost to my apartment is what appears to be the outline of a mezuzah which has since been removed. That, along with the shekel I found and more importantly relocated from behind my bathroom wall, can only mean one of two things: 1) I’ve defiled a Jewish tradition meant to protect my apartment and I’m going to die tomorrow or 2) I’ve lifted a Jewish curse on my home and now I’ll live forever. I’m holding out hope for the latter but if there are any Jews who read this blog please don’t hesitate to speak up as my life is on the line. Thank you.

Back to the vanity. So like I said, aside from the curse on my soul, everything was peaches and baby farts up until this point. It was all breezy. I’ll admit I didn’t have a great fix lined up for this project. I went to IKEA and bought a similar fixture for 15 spanks, and while it still had the same shape it lacked beveled edges or garish-looking plastic aluminum and that was enough for me. Then I decided to hack away at the mounting plate of the Hollywood fixture and shit got real. Really real:

What. The. Fuck.

What your human head lenses are seeing is a junction box installed approximately 5 1/2 inches OFF CENTER. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK, OLD-TIMEY PEOPLE WHO BUILT MY APARTMENT? What were they thinking! No doubt this had to do with something obnoxious and asinine like a fire code but all I knew as that a hole slightly to the left of center was not a hole I wanted to tango with.

This ruined my plans for a quick and painless $15 IKEA fixture. Just decimated them. Poof! Gone.

I knew I didn’t want to keep the Hollywood fixture under any circumstance, and that decision meant the wall would have to be patched, even if I didn’t know what was going in its place.

That’s just some spackling paste and a spatula I used to fill in the uneven spots, like the holes where the fixture attached to the wall and the edges where years of paint buildup met the fixture. I let it dry then with a fine grit sandpaper–something like 240–leveled the entire slop bucket out so it was as supple as something that is supple.

Oh, wait! Did I mention this part? I put up a new medicine cabinet. Dur. Hello, Evan.

And how! IKEA. $70. The proportions work so much better than the old one. Fills out the space nicely. Me likey.

Back to the vanity light. Once the spackling paste dried I ran downstairs and stole some paint from my super’s utility closet, rolled it out on a piece of cardboard, huffed a bit and painted over everything so it was all one color:

Not bad, right? WRONG. THAT HOLE IS STILL NOT CENTERED, DUMMY.

What to do, what to do? I looked at a ton of options. A ton. A fuck ton, to be precise, but I couldn’t find anything preassembled that would fit this unique requirement. I decided to take a page from my own book and build one because when the chips are down and it’s the 11th hour that’s the time when you want to forget about reinventing the wheel and rest on your laurels!

Apologies for the shit picture. I’m not Ansel Adams and you’re not an art critic neither!

That’s a variation on the Lindsey Adelman chandelier I (and everyone else) made sometime last year. I won’t go into how I did it because I’ve done that before. You can check out the post I linked to above, or just email me directly if you have any questions. The construction follows the same format as the hanging pendant.

I chose to make my own because the off-centered j-box meant I needed an asymmetrical fixture. This particular fixture, however, with its three sockets feeding into one arm, created some tight spaces to work in, so its important to buy manageable wire gauges to work with. Everyone will tell you to buy 14 gauge–and they’re right!–but if you are creating a fixture like this and you have any more than two sockets running through one arm you will need 18 gauge wire. (Just keep the bulbs at or under 40 watts and you’ll be free from the threat of turning your home into kindling. No promises, though.)

So that’s it! Phase One of the bathroom completed. There are a few more phases to come but I’ll probably be secretive about those, too, until someone shames me into posting about it over social media LIKE SOME OF YOU HAVE BEEN DOING, YOU MONSTERS.

* Should we have a challenge? I love a challenge. All joking aside, if you think your rental bathroom and/or kitchen is decent send me a picture (pre-any work you’ve done to spiff it up, if you can). Prove me wrong. And, no, all you fancy individuals in your turn-key apartments and you exorbitant incomes. You only qualify for this particular contest if your apartment didn’t come with a deadbolt upon move in. How’s that to even the playing field?

PLANTER DIY

I want to start our adventure in the treehouse of honesty because there are no secrets between us. This post barely qualifies as a DIY and I know that. This is actually part of a much larger post about an update to the back patio but I haven’t gotten all that junk organized yet. I also know what a large and ravenous fan base this site has amassed, so rather than leave the hundreds of thousands of you in the dark I’ll give you what I have at the moment. I’m just a simple servant, really, whose actions are dictated by the will of the masses. If you find yourself cackling about the thread-bare nature of this website’s content then I suggest you turn the mirror on yourself and take a cold, hard look at the reflection, you monster, because you pushed me to do this. Furthermore, if in your inevitable state of despair over the lack of a meatier post you choose to flood the TINAH account with emails containing subject lines like, “need moar plz”, “Suspense is killing me!”, “RE can’t breathe you are like air BRB dying” or something less specific, I won’t encourage it but I also won’t stop you.

OK.

Now that I’m free from any legal liability I can remind you of this DIY trellis I once made with medieval decorative death utensils:

Savage beauty.

As far as plant ladders go I’m not mad at it. Somewhere Sandra Lee is on her seventh cocktail and is enjoying this trellis. (Like, she just finished an end-of-summer tablescape for her new book “TablESCAPES” and instead of using sugar water like her producers suggested she used real rum in The Malibu Bay Tease and now she’s ass-over-teakettle after taste-testing one too many and Andrew Cuomo’s locked himself in his study because he knows she gets aggressive when she drinks brown liquor.) So it’s not the trellis:

Vomitfest.

What I abhor is that slop bucket of a planter. IT’S DEFILING MY PEEPERS WITH ITS MEDIOCRITY, YOU GUYZ. It’s got a dumb stupid face and I don’t like it.

**RANT BREAK It’s slim pickings out there, my little goat herders. You really only have two options when searching for a planter. Your first option is Home Depot. There are lots of planters to choose from at Home Depot! They have small ones and they have big ones! They have ones with edges and ones without edges!! They come in a great many variety of colors, like orange and green!!! Most are plastic but some are terracotta, which is exotic and also fun!!!! They are very sophisticated and classy and unique AND BY NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SENSED THE IRONY THEN YOU’RE A MONSTER OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. Yes, Home Depot has what you need but they also have what your neighbor needs, too. You will find an affordable planter but it will be dull and boring and look like everyone else’s. Buy one and you will end your own life from being a basic bitch.

What’s the alternative? LUXURY MONEY. That’s right! The other option is taking out a second mortgage and investing that luxury money into a planter from Design With Reach or Modernica or some other fancy place like that. This option gives you a lot of variety and a lot of sophistication and a lot of glamor. Wouldn’t life be easier if we didn’t have a budget hhhnnnnnggggghhhh???? But that’s not reality. Reality is we’re all poor and have to stick to a budget and eat our tuna from the can by bending the lid into a spoon. THOSE ARE FACTS.**

I didn’t like the options I was left with. I could either get another ugly dump trough like the one I had before or spend an entire weekend running around Manhattan in search of a new one only to possibly come up empty. No. Not for El Jefe. I like a challenge but our public transportation system is teeming with rat kings and cockroaches looking to kiss me on my mouth place so instead of taking the train all over town I just went to this local mom & pop shop in my neighborhood called The Container Store.

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For $10 and a few air kisses I got this amazing accessory basket, which looked vaguely like a planter but more importantly like something I could make definitely look like a planter. So I bought it. When the clerk handed me my receipt and thanked me for shopping I said, “OH NO, THE PLEASURE WAS ALL MINE, BETH!” and howled with laughter as I ran out sipping my venti low fat upside down caramel mochaccino.

First order of business was to prime this little dime piece so I could paint it later. Brushed nickel is just fine for your mom but this is not your mom’s website, is it? NO. So stop being a total mom and go buy a spray can of primer, you goon! I used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch ULTRA because I only like to use products that sound INTENSE. I would not recommend using the half-empty can of slop primer you have laying around from one of your last projects. You won’t get as even of a finish with a brush as you will with a spray can so spend the $4 for the spray stuff, will you? I don’t want to have to call you a goon again. It hurts me more than it hurts you.

The longer you leave it the better the bond between the primer and the planter,  so set it aside to dry while you scoot on down to the hardware store again. Like a goon I forgot to mention that you should’ve bought spray paint when you picked up your primer. I went with black for mine because that’s the color of everything on my patio and on this day I was feeling unoriginal and matchy-matchy. Like I said before, I’ll explain what I’m doing on the patio later SO STOP HARASSING ME ABOUT IT. Gawd.

Just like last time, let the paint dry.  And just like last time walk your human legs down to the store while you wait. I intentionally didn’t tell you to pick up top coat while you were picking up spray paint because the Rule of Three suggests that things are inherently funnier when they happen three times. You should be laughing right now. Side-splitting laughter is what should be happening to your entire body at this moment. Maybe even a little pee is coming out, I don’t know.

I think I tweeted about this when it happened but–GUYZ–promise me you’ll pay attention when applying your top coat, mmmm’kay? Your top coat can looks strikingly similar to your primer can:

IMG_5462

I know! You’re thinking BUT, EVAN, THE CAPS ARE TWO DIFFERENT COLORS. YOU’RE A DUM-DUM and you’re right! They are two different colors but if I wanted to be a detective I wouldn’t have used the pages of my Hardy Boys books to make cootie catchers when I was a kid. Keep your eyes peeled on this last step! You don’t want to spray some gray primer on your sleek black basket and have to start the process all over again.

Once you’re primed, painted and properly sealed, it’s time to line the inside of the basket so it can be filled with dirt and plant corpses. The weave of the accessory basket I got is large so I bought a $3 roll of vinyl-coated aluminum; that’s Spanish for screen door material. (You can use chicken wire if the weave of your basket is smaller.)

I’m going to attempt to explain this next step but words and I don’t really get along too well with math. To get a snug fit between your basket and lining measure the bottom of the basket–the length and width. Now measure the height of the walls. Hopefully you’ve picked a basket with even sides. If not, may God have mercy on your soul. The size of the square of material you need to cut for your lining will be:

[(2 x Height) + Bottom Width] by [(2 x Height) + Bottom Length]

Make sense so far? Once you have your rectangle of lining cut, you have to cut into the corners to make them fold up and join together. Measure, from each corner, the length of the height of the basket. Cut a small snip in the liner. That’s your marker. Carefully cut into each marker until it meets the cut  from the opposite marker of the same corner. Finish and you should have some funk-looking thing like this:

How did we do? If you ended up with something resembling an oval go ahead and roll your eyes and say in a loud, sarcastic voice, “THANKS A LOT, EINSTEIN.” It’s fine. I can take it.

If by some miracle you made it out of this step with a piece of aluminum like you see above then the smell of booze probably doesn’t remind you of your childhood. Congratulations to your parents!

Next step. Zip ties. Those you should’ve also picked up at the hardware store and why you didn’t I have no idea. To save myself from having to paint again I got black ties. (If you’re swinging for a chartreuse planter, well, dude, you’re shit out of luck. I would wait to paint your wildly inappropriate colored planter until the very end.)

Jam that freshly cut liner in the basket and with the ends of the zip ties poke holes through the liner’s weave and secure it to the basket’s uprights:

Work the ties all the way around the perimeter of the basket so the liner is super secure!

A note about the liner: it should be given a generous spray of top coat so it doesn’t corrode and rust over time. I did with mine and I did it after I secured the zip ties. You’re probably screaming at the computer WHY ARE WE DOING A TOP COAT AGAIN. WHY DIDN’T YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU WERE DONE WITH THE LINER TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE YOU BIG DUMB GAY MORON and to that I say ANOTHER COAT CAN’T HURT. IT WILL LAST LONGER. I TAKE OFFENSE TO THE WORD BIG. THE REST IS FINE.

Bite your tongue, spray it again, let it dry and you’re pretty much done. Really! You’re standing before a fully operational planting mechanism. Your eyes are melting in their sockets from the beauty of it all.

For filler I used moss as a bed and then threw in some dirt…

…but you can use just dirt or rocks or empty Otter Pop wrappers or whatever else you have in abundance. I don’t know your life.

All that’s left to do is take this new invention from Apple called a screwdriver and affix it to your favorite wall-thing:

This is a huge improvement over those run-of-the-mill plastic ones, am I right?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Accessory basket $10

Rust-Oleum Primer ULTRA Cover $4

Rust-Oleum Spray Paint (matte) $8

Rust-Oleum ULTRA Cover Gloss (clear) $4

Roll of vinyl-coated aluminum $3

Pack of zip ties $2

Dirt (steal it from your neighbors)

Plant (steal that, too)

Total cost: $21

Now go make yourself a cocktail to enjoy as you sit and ogle your new beauty creation. You’ve earned it!

FROM THE EDITOR: SOCIAL MEDIA

September 12, 2014

Hi all,

Just a brief note. Nothing of consequence. No tips. No witticisms. No sage advice. I only want to express my enthusiasm for this totally new method of interacting with human Earth people called social media.

I only mention this because it wasn’t my decision to use any other platform to communicate my alarming talent and devastatingly handsome and not-at-all-recessed chin to the world. In fact I was forced by an evil television network to do it, so it comes as a surprise to me that I’m actually enjoying something I can’t honestly say I thought to do myself.

In truth, I’m having a few shits and a handful of giggles with some of these things and it’s due in no small part to the opportunity it has created for me to talk to the amazing and wonderful womens and mens who take the time to read this blog.

That being said, here’s now a plug. Don’t let that negate the genuine sentiment contained above; that’s just how these things work. It’s a tit for tat kind of environment here at TINAH and I’m feeling very chesty:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Kisses,

Evan (El Jefe)

TINAH HQ, New York

 

P.S. Unforeseen consequence of interaction with social media: HASHTAGS. For whatever reason #loveme and #youmonster have emerged as the most often used. This may be because I’m needy and have a flair for the dramatic, but initial results have come back inconclusive and more testing will need to be done before a diagnosis can be made. In service of trying to find answers I will do my best to limit myself to only these two and I promise not to become a monster myself when they start to dominate all platforms and trend worldwide. Good day.

IN DEFENSE OF A WELL-ORGANIZED MEDICINE CABINET

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This post started as “In Praise Of A Well-Organzied Medicine Cabinet”, but then I thought about it and that just sounds so awful. Writing an entire entry on how to style your dental floss and display your foot scrub is the rantings of an enormous dick nipple, and while I’m not above Goop-ifying my blog from time to time I cannot in all good conscience pass up the opportunity to acknowledge how neurotic I am as a adult human man who buys ceramic trays on which to rest electric razors.

This post will be obnoxious. You will roll your eyes. Twice, if not three times. I know this and I want you to know I know this, which is why I’m playing D this go-around.

Below is a list of slop questions I assume you jerk nuggets would ask. I will do my best to answer them in my typically witty and intelligent fashion while also satisfying your insatiable need to know about how to declutter and style the most important cabinet in your mom’s life.

I invite you to join me in the hysterical laughter:

Q: So confused. What should be in a medicine cabinet?

A: OK, first, your thinly veiled sarcasm is not appreciated and, second, how dare you, sir. Medicine cabinets are for your crazy pills and other day-to-day necessities, like hair product, cologne and, if you’re like me, the copious amounts of condoms you burn through on a weekly basis (obviously). Medicine cabinets are not for your mouthwash bottle collection, that free body scrub you got with your purchase of $50 or more at the Estee Lauder counter, or those large Band Aids you think you might need if you ever get into a motorcycle accident the same day your insurance lapses and the terrorists have destroyed all the hospitals. That stuff should not be in there. If you don’t use a product with any regularity it really has no place, and if you think it does then you’re a hoarder. Go to the Container Store, get one of those dollar shoe boxes, fill it with all that unnecessary junk and put it under the sink. Then go call A&E because your Listerine collection is scary and someone should film you with it.

Q: I may not use everything in my cabinet every day, but things like aspirin and ointment I use once a week or so. What do I do with that stuff, Paltrow?

A: So, while you’re at the Container Store buying your shoe box garbage buckets, pick up some of these fantastic lacquered boxes. They’re great for all the stuff you use occasionally but don’t need every day. I recommend a solid container for this stuff rather than a translucent one. It’ll keep things streamlined and tidy by hiding all those eye-rapey logos, ensuring your secrets will be safe when house guests riffle through your stuff during a dinner party. This way no one but you will know you use butt cream every now and again. (I mean, ointment? What’s that about?)

Q: Putting aspirin in a box is dumb. I don’t want to lift a lid and rummage around for that stuff. You’re dumb. This blog is dumb.

A: You don’t take aspirin every day. If you do, go see a doctor because you probably have a brain tumor and will die soon. I suggest cutting down on the Diet Coke now and giving yourself a shot at reaching 30. Then grow a pair and reconcile the fact that to have a clean, decluttered cabinet you may have to lift a lid or two. It’ll add a few seconds to your pill party, tops. Nothing great was ever achieved by being lazy. Unless you’re Garfield or Terry Kiser.

Q: SUP BRAH. AS A FELLOW BRO HOW U DEAL WID ALL DAH BEARD HAIR THAT GETS ON DAH SHELVES AFTER U SHAVE??? YEET.

A: To start, please address me as El Jefe or nothing at all, and El Jefe feels you on the residual whiskers. They’re pervasive and insidious and no matter how well you’ve cleaned your razor a stray one will always appear from underneath your toothbrush and cause you to gag. Stop these annoying stubble abortions from collecting on your shelves and hustle your buns over to Muji! They have these beautiful ceramic cups and trays to hold your face mowers and round up all the hair so you won’t have to pull everything out and wipe the cabinet shelves down with a wet rag every other week (or every other month since I know some of you are dirty, dirty little squirrels). If you’re like me and can barely afford the WiFi you’re blogging on you can thrift some vintage double shot glasses. I did and they work great for my tweezers and (sadly) nose clippers.

Q: When will you be posting nudes?

A: Soon, if my readership doesn’t improve.

Q: I don’t collect mouthwash but I do use it. What does that mean in the perverse and suppressive world you live in?

A: Good question! I, too, use mouthwash, not because I find it humbling to be like the commoners, but because I like a crisp set of chompers before I leave for work in the morning. I’m only human! But what makes me a better human? The fact that I don’t want to open my medicine cabinet to a bunch of screaming, metallic labels (read: CAPITALISM). Nope. I don’t want to see that mess. Instead I pour my teeth soap into a small unmarked container, and I do the same with my face wash and toner. Sure, that’s fussy, but I’ve been in some of your bathrooms and I’ve opened your drawers and that gallon jug of hydrogen peroxide makes me think you’re a serial killer.

The moral of the story is if you don’t want people to think you killed and skinned your neighbor go get a couple of these cheap-o bottles from Ricky’s and stop whining. Maybe even have fun with it and decorate them a little or something. I don’t know. Go wild. What do I care?

Q: I can’t with you.

A: That was really more of a statement but ;)

Q: OK, I’ll bite but only because I find your pretension to be an adorable character flaw and you should be pitied, not mocked. What are some things that can class up the traditional medicine cabinet?

A: That may be the kindest thing anyone has ever said to me! Thank you for your words, kitten. This question hits my sweet spot: pomp and circumstance. Medicine cabinets are so…clinical. Traditionally they’re not very stylish or fun at all, so I try to zhuzh it up a little, you know, and have fun with it. I shave with an old timey razor (this one from Baxter of California) because it makes me feel like Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, and  next to it I keep a small hand mirror my Dad carried with him during his service. Years ago I had a framed picture of Whoopi in my medicine cabinet, but that was really just to let my friends know that I knew they were snooping.

Q: I weeded out all the stuff I don’t use daily and I still have, like, 18 thingies of pomade. I have the pre-conditioning paste, the root wax, the mineral relaxer, the detoxifying gel, the gluten-free diary-free hormone-fee stem cell-infused thickening spray, the tea tree glue, the frizz-reducing lotion, the shine-enhancing serum and the top coat. I need them. I NEED THEM ALL TO LEAVE THE HOUSE.

A: Mindy Kaling summed up my thoughts on this in book she wrote that almost no one has read or even heard of. On men’s grooming, she said:

“Kiehl’s for your skin, Bumble and Bumble for your hair. Maybe a comb. That is all you need. and when girls look in your medicine cabinet (which they will obviously do within the first five minutes of them coming to your place), you look all classily self restrained because you only have two beauty products. You’re basically a cowboy.” *

I fully subscribe to this celestial way of thinking. Let’s all be sexy cowboys! You don’t need all that other stuff anyway and with it gone your medicine cabinet will join the ranks among some of the best (mine).

I’m of course only talking to the men. Ladies, I don’t know what to do about you because I’ve never been one of you, but I kind of feel the same. No one needs all that product. Trust in your natural beauty and join the guys. Be lady cowboys.

*Or something like that. I don’t know. Go buy her book and read it for yourself. I’m sure she’s struggling and could use the income.

Q: My mom always said not to have glass in the bathroom. That’s why I have bar soap in a plastic travel container and my cotton balls stay in the drug store bag.

A: You and your mom are complete savages. No glass in the bathroom? YOU WERE RAISED BY WOLVES. Crate & Barrel has some great vessels (yes, vessels) to store your q-tips, cotton pads and swabs and whatever else you might want to drag along your face. Their kitchen section is enormous, which is really the place you should be looking for affordable glass containers. All that bathroom-specific garbage is a snooze and over-priced but something from the pantry can fit nicely and is half the cost.

***

That’s it. I think I’ve squeezed enough blood from this stone. If you’ve gotten this far you can brag to your friends that you’ve read the greatest entry so far into the World Wide Web. If you liked this post, do nothing. If you found this post to be the antithesis of everything good and holy on the planet then please email me for my bank account and routing number. I’ll only stop if you pay me.

You’re welcome and good day.

TINAH ALL UP IN YOUR TV

 

**9/12/14 UPDATE! You’re not imagining things. The link to my heartbreaking, soul-searing, enlightening and uncomfortably sexual interview is no longer live. Something about Al Jazeera America not being able to handle the high volume of traffic created by bedroom eyes or something, but I have put in a request with the top brass to get this fixed. In the meantime, I heard the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is decent and streaming on Hulu. Why not give that a whirl?**

If you follow This Is Not A House on social media* (often referred to as the acronym TINAH, or the more illustrative interpretation Tina!, by industry insiders) you would know I recently had the honor of being included in a report for Al Jazeera America’s “Real Money With Ali Velshi” on the burgeoning trend in housing development called micro-housing; an effort to combat high property costs by offering smaller, more manageable and less expensive apartments ranging from 250 to 350sf for middle to low-income individuals. (So, like, all of us.) Often times these developments integrate the use of common areas, such as kitchens, between the units to maximize each apartment’s living space and as such the movement has garnered the less-than-glamorous qualifier “dorm-style housing”.

Now, at 295sf, I’ve made no bones about my apartment being small. You know this because you read this site and because I love you and I am not a liar. So while my place may be smaller than most but bigger than some I’m not the authority on dorm-style living, which, in my not-so-humble opinion, would be a misnomer if we’re talking about my PALATIAL stabbin’ cabin, OK? Furthermore, on the list of things I am not, certified to speak on the divisive issue of micro-housing would be right up there at the top. Just below Able To Control His Sweats and Night Farting. Those things I have absolutely no right to talk about. At all. Seriously.

This is all to say that my inclusion in Real Money’s package does not mean I consider myself to be a voice of reason about anything other than designing for a small space. (Or How To Look Uneasy At The Camera While Holding Your Arms Outstretched. As you can see from the video above I do that well, my friends.) What Al Jazeera needed, among the dense and valuable socioeconomic dialogue about micro-housing, was just a breath, the journalistic equivalent of a Kardashian–pretty and hollow. Some eye candy for the viewers. That was me, plain and simple, and I was happy to take that on.

This is how the pitch went when I received a call from the segment producer:

Al Jazeera America: Hello, is this Evan?

Me: This is he. And who may I ask has the pleasure of speaking to him?

AJA: Um, this is Al Jazeera Am–

Me: YES!

AJA: Excuse me?

Me: Yes.

AJA: You don’t even know why I’m calling.

Me: You work for a television station, yes?

AJA: Yes.

Me: Then yes.

[Pause]

AJA: Uh, ok, so we’re doing a segment on micro-housing–a really polarizing issue right now–and I understand you live in a small-ish apartment that you’ve designed yourself and I’m wondering if you’d like to talk about designing for a small space.

Me: I’d love to be the moral compass of your timely and controversial piece.

AJA: Uh, no, no we really just–

Me: Your port in the storm!

AJA: Actually I’d just like to film you texting from your bedside and be done with it.

Me: I can cry on command.

AJA: Thank you but–

Me: Will this get me my SAG card?

AJA: No.

Me: I’m not Equity but I’ll need you to make me Equity.

AJA: So, like, how’s Tuesday?

Me: Hey, hard-hitting news producer! HEY. You and I both know you need some man bacon in this segment.

AJA: I think you have the wrong idea.

Me: SHH-SH-SH! Don’t speak. Just listen. I get it. I understand the power a little T&A has over an audience. I am willing–NAY–offering to give you all you need and more…

AJA: Well, great, thank you.

Me: ..for a price.

AJA: We can’t pay you.

Me: I never work for free.

AJA: We’re a news show. We don’t do that kind of thing.

Me: Fine. Will there be craft service?

AJA: No.

Me: Do I get to keep the clothes?

AJA: You have to wear your own.

Me: So what’s in it for me?

AJA: Some blotting papers.

Me: I. AM. IN. Tell your camera monkeys to only film me from my left side!

[Phone clicks]

Me: ‘Ello?

[Dial tone]

Anyway, that’s how it all went down. The day when a credible news source soiled their good name by giving a little air time to some idiot with a blog has come. Check Hell because it hath frozen over. Enjoy!

*This Is Not A House is now on all social media platforms! Give it a follow! Currently things are a little sparse because I just got my mind grapes together and made all the accounts, but I promise in time they will be robust and well worth the effort to read. Also, wouldn’t it be cool to start communicating in real time instead of me writing a blog entry once a month? Now you can tell me instantaneously how obnoxious you find me! Try it. It will make you feel much better, I promise!

DRESSER UPDATE OR HOW TO RACHAEL LEIGH COOK YOUR FURNITURE

As I mentioned in my previous post my DIY libido has been a little low lately. I look around my apartment and I see a lot of things I want to tackle–bathroom renovation, patio facelift, custom planters, new hallway fixture, new fence, new kitchen cabinets, new doors, NEW EVERYTHING. When you’re a renter like me some of this stuff is realistic and maybe some of it’s not, but all of it is most definitely overwhelming when you can’t to take a step back and break it up into manageable bits. I Want It All Done And I Want It All Done Now is the common M.O. of someone who struggles with patience and rationality and their undeniable lovechild, prioritization. A sane, productive person would look at a mountainous pile of To Do’s and set small achievable goals. Then they’d begin chipping away at it, brick by brick, project by project, until the task is completed, always keeping in mind that the whole is only as great and the sum of its parts. But what do you, the restless, self-doubting, self-sabotaging person, end up doing? Buckle under the enormous pressure to finish everything by planting yourself in bed, hoping to drink red wine and watch Bob’s Burgers but really playing Candy Crush, staining your sheets red and hating yourself for not giving your full attention to Bob’s Burgers.

Of these two types of people, Type A and Type Human Landfill, I will forever be the latter. It’s my birthright. That kind of destructive behavior is never going away.

Here’s an example of the dialogue I have with myself every evening, upon walking in the door from work: 

Smart Evan: Hm, my place looks pretty damn good. Go me! [Grunting] 

Dumb Evan: What are you doing? 

Resourceful Evan: Trying to get this dresser I found on the street through the door! Can you get the other side, Daddy-o? 

Unimaginative Evan: No. 

Sane Evan: [sweating] Whew! That was heavy! I can’t wait to start sanding this down. It’s going to look great over there in the corner.

Stupid Evan: Mother of God.

Rational Evan: What’s that?

Destructive Evan: [stepping into the hallway] I said, there’s a half-painted flower pot over there that should be a fully-painted flower pot.

Rational: Oh, you! I see that but I’m not in a rush, mister man! I’m letting it dry completely before applying a second coat, otherwise it may streak or chip. Duh!

Destructive: I see. And that pile of salvaged wood out by the patio? That must be waiting for a second coat, too?

Rational: No, you silly-ba-nilly! The wood is there for when I start building the fence. But before I can do that I need to get these pots done. And then after the fence I’m going to do this dresser. You are too funny!

Destructive: Ooooh, ok ok ok. Got it got it gooot iiit. Because, like, I didn’t know if you were actually trying to accomplish something or just auditioning for the next season of Hoarders.

Rational: No way, Jose! What’s Hoarders?

Destructive: Yea! You know it’s that show where people can’t stop saving things and it piles up and up and up and eventually they bury themselves alive in their own, like, mausoleum of junk and broken dreams?

Rational: Um….huh?

Destructive: No no no, it’s not a big thing I’m just saying, like, if you need someone to film your submission tape I’m more than happy to do it. We just need a few more paint cans and secondhand wicker dining chairs and you’ll be golden.

Rational: I’m sensing some sarcasm.

Destructive. What? PFFF! Fat chance, Lance! No sarcasm here.

Rational: Ok…

Destructive: I mean, ok, there was a tinsy bit of sarcasm.

Rational: I knew it–

Destructive: –you don’t need any more paint cans or secondhand wicker dining chairs. You have enough already.

Rational: It’s not that bad.

Destructive: Hey, who am I to judge, right? Today I had guacamole and chips for breakfast. Lemme just ask you this: are you really going to get this all done?

Rational: Well, that’s the plan…

Destructive: Because I’m ALL FOR you getting it done, don’t get me wrong…

Rational: …but…

Destructive: …BUUUUUUUT it just seems like, you know, all I see is an apartment full of half finished projects and projects that haven’t even been started and projects that even if you wanted to start you wouldn’t have the room to start because the half finished ones are taking up all the available space.

Rational: I….I can see that, sure.

Destructive: And, you know, I’m just looking out for YOU.

Rational: I…appreciate that.

Destructive: Because, hey, lemme tell you right now buddy it’s not normal to have a shipping palette in your bathroom.

Rational: I AM PLANNING ON BREAKING IT DOWN AND MAKING IT INTO A WALL TREATMENT!!!$%#@

[Pause]

Destructive: Whoa.

Rational: I’m sorry. I’m so stressed. I want to die all of the deaths.

Destructive: Shhhhh. Shh-shh-shhhhh. There there. You don’t need to be stressed.

Rational: I don’t?

Destructive: No. Just sit down. Relax. Drop your bag and lay down on the bed. [Goes into the kitchen]

Rational: Ok.

Destructive: Red or white?

Rational: What?

Destructive: Do you want a glass of wine? To unwind?

Rational: Oh. Sure. Yes, that does sound nice. Red, please.

Destructive: Great. [Returns to the bed] Here you go. Poor baby. You’re so exhausted.

Rational: I really am.

Destructive: Would you like me to turn on the TV, see what’s on?

Rational: That’s perfect.

Destructive: Netflix?

Rational: Mmm, yes.

Destructive: Bob’s Burgers is streaming. Sound good?

Irrational: You’re the best.

And so it’s been going, every night for the past few months. Rational Evan eventually caves and willingly, cooly and numbly falls into the warm, cozy embrace of Destructive Evan’s clutches, or what is commonly referred to in my home as The Cabernet Haze.

It was after this last stretch of The Haze that I realized my creativity boner would need a little Viagra if I was ever going to get back on track and stockpiling old futon frames in the corner of my living room again. What I needed was the movie equivalent of a nerdy girl makeover–low effort, high impact–like when Molly Ringwald pulls back Ally Sheedy’s hair to reveal she has a jaw or when a girl discovers contacts and snags Freddie Prinze Jr. [SIDE NOTE: Try getting that Six Pence None The Richer song out of your head now. I dare you.]

I sat in my bed for a long while, looking around my apartment with a discerning eye, before it jumped out at me as if to say, “HELLO, MORON,” like a stripped sweater in a Where’s Waldo book:

Say what you will about IKEA but this Hemnes dresser has been a stalwart–A STALWART, I TELL YOU. To be unabashedly hyperbolic, it is, without a doubt, the William Wallace of my apartment because for three hundred bucks and half a dozen meatballs no other piece of furniture in this shack is as much of a warrior, OK? (Sorry, Design Within Reach. I’m still available for sponsorship. This post can and will be deleted without hesitation.) But, despite it’s redurlability–that’s durability and reliability (you’re welcome)–I think we can all agree its monochromaticity is a little bit like a wet fart, no? A big brown mess that just kinda runs all over the floor.

Cue Home Depot:

No, this is not the back of an issue of Highlights; the knobs are a different color! What a novel idea, right? I AM A DESIGN GURU.

But seriously–honestly–look at those brass beauties and what a difference they make. Then look in the mirror and tell yourself a well-deserved I Could’ve Done That because you can and you should and it’s ridiculous that for *$20 you can justify having a blog about home design.

Anyway, that’s the show, kids. I hope the heavy fireworks delivered. Knobs. Unscrewing old ones and screwing on new ones. Who would’ve guessed? It may not seem like a lot (and it’s not) but it was what I needed to put that spring back in my step.

*If you can claim you found the knobs were mislabeled the whole abysmally unskilful project can come in under ten bucks, but the money you save you will pay for with your pride. This comes from a trusted source. My pride is worth ten whole dollars.

INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO COLON JAMES LIPTON* INTERVIEWS THIS IS NOT A HOUSE SEMI COLON AN UPDATE SLASH JOHN EDWARDS WANTED TOO MUCH MONEY TO COMMUNICATE WITH THIS VOICE FROM THE DEAD PARENTHESES MY APOLOGIES FOR THE ABSENCE

James Lipton: This evening’s guest has not performed with distinction on stage, nor has he created a dazzling array of portraits in film or on television. He has not been nominated for an Academy Award, a Tony, an Olivier or an Emmy–not even a Golden Globe and they try to get rid of those things like Smarties on Halloween. He will never be ranked in People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People issue. In fact, his career has had very little impact on our cultural landscape or our collective conscious, but in light of Bravo’s wildly successful series “Drunk White Women And The Plastic Surgeons Who Tolerate Them” and their equally popular shows “Bitch, Please!”, “Young, Dumb & Full Of Cum” and the viewer-interactive “Guess Which Underwear I Was Wearing But Am Not Now” production on the 20th season of “Inside The Actors Studio” has been delayed until further notice or until I have agreed to address Andy Cohen as “hunty” in development meetings. Needless to say my current hiatus has forced me to turn my journalistic eye from the talented and famous to the unknown hacks of the Internet.

And with that, The Actors Studio at Pace University is proud to welcome Evan Pohl.

[Light applause]

Evan Pohl: [Walking on stage] Thank you! Thank you for having me!! [Bends in a ceremonial bow, palms together in front of chest] Thank you!! Hello, Pace University!! How are you tonight?!?

[Silence]

JL: [James Lipton clears his throat] We begin at the beginning.

EP: [Sits] Great, I’m so excited to start!

JL: Where were you born?

EP: California!

JL: What is your father’s name?

EP: Jeff!

JL: And what was his profession?

EP: He was a teacher. Math and Physical Education.

JL: And your mother’s name?

EP: Claire.

JL: Her occupation?

EP: Dental assistant.

JL: [James Lipton squints his eyes, accusingly] And where have you been?

EP: You mean, tonight? I was backstage! Sitting on a milk crate. I asked your producer for a chair but he said I didn’t deserve one…

JL: And he would be right but, no, I mean recently. You haven’t posted to your blog, This Is Not A House, in 4 months. Where have you been?

EP: Oh. Eesh! [Hooks one finger around his neck and pulls the collar dramatically] This is awkward! I thought you were just gonna ask me about my life and stuff and then I’d get to tell you my favorite curse word. I wasn’t really expecting—

JL: Yes, well, your readers weren’t really expecting you to fall off the side of a cliff but you did and now you’re here so let me ask it again: Where. Have You. Been.

EP: I don’t know. I guess I was a little busy?

JL: Busy.

EP: Sort of?

JL: [James Lipton turns to the audience] Students, Mr. Pohl says he was too busy to update his blog for months on end. [Back to Evan] Yet, as you can see, they, along with followers of this blog, are not too busy to give you their undivided attention. Isn’t that correct?

EP: Well, when you say it like that…

JL: I believe I did, Less Handsome Bob Vila. I believe I did.

EP: [swallows hard] I would really—

JL: Let’s cut straight to the meat of it, shall we?

EP: [uneasy] Ok.

JL: You tack some arrows to a fence and call it a garden. You sand some wood and call it a table. You peel some stickers and call it wallpaper.

EP: Um, I think there’s been a little more to it than that.

JL: No. That wasn’t a question. [James Lipton laughs GREGARIOUSLY] Answer me this, Mr. Pohl: you seem to contribute very little yet expect much more in return. In point of fact your absence from this blog shows an embarrassing lack of rigor in your career, wouldn’t you agree?

EP: Not at all!

JL: I believe it was Thoreau who said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” What is your truth, Mr. Pohl?

EP: My…truth.

JL: Let me read some reviews: About your blog The Daily Beast wrote, “a glue gun and some Wi-Fi does not a DIYer make!” Ariana Huffington was quoted as saying, “…this is a place where words and ideas go to die,” and Vulture said, “…[This Is Not A House] is the musings of a drunk baby.” What do you have to say to that?

EP: I would say that’s a little rough.

JL: [James Lipton, again, LAUGHS IN A GREGARIOUS MANNER] One notable author even went so far as to say, “Evan Pohl has no formal literary education. He is so unqualified to be a writer he is the Augusten Burroughs of the Internet.”

EP: Who said that?

JL: Augusten Burroughs.

EP: OK ENOUGH! Enough already! I get it, all right? Yes, I was gone for a bit and yes I didn’t update the blog regularly. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working hard and beating myself up over not posting more often. You see, we had a pretty shitty winter here in New York. It was hard and it was really snow-filled and there is nothing–absolutely nothing–you’d rather do less than hunt for gutter furniture and refinish chairs on your patio when there is a foot of powder outside your window. Then the snow started to melt and work picked up. [Heartfelt now] It was like the spring thaw gave way to the budding seedlings of new opportunities! Suddenly I had other projects on my plate. Before I knew it I had a few clients and I wasn’t just thinking about myself anymore. I was making quantifiable changes in the lives of others! I could see it and I could touch it and I couldn’t deny the fact that the people I was working with liked me. Right then, they liked me! And it gave me…purpose, I suppose. I guess I got a bit addicted to that feeling. As a result, I let a few of my other responsibilities fall by the wayside, and I’m truly sorry for that.

[There is a long pause.]

 

[Longer.]

 

 

[Even longer still.]

 

JL: Cut the shit Sally Field you didn’t update your blog because you came down with a slight case of seasonal affective disorder!

EP: Fine. Maybe.

[James Lipton squints.]

EP: Can we get to the questions from the pretentious French—

JL: —WE END THIS INTERVIEW—[James Lipton calms himself] with the questionnaire, which was employed for 26 glorious years by Bernard Pivot in France. Evan, what is your favorite word?

EP: Dinner.

JL: What is your least favorite word?

EP: Diet.

JL: What turns you on?

EP: When my rent check clears.

JL: What turns you off?

EP: Gym selfies.

JL: What noise or sound do you love?

EP: A dog farting itself awake.

JL: What noise or sound do you hate?

EP: Jackhammers in the morning.

JL: What is your favorite curse word?

EP: Horsefucker.

JL: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

EP: Astronomer.

JL: What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?

EP: Au pair.

JL: Finally, if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

EP: The buffet is on your right.

*This conversation has been fabricated for your (but mostly my) amusement. Any likeness to James Lipton is purely coincidental. James Lipton did not interview me. If James Lipton did interview me I would announce it by hiring a plane and writing it in the sky, not by posting about it on my dumb website, hoping someone happens to see it. I’m not stupid. No one I went to high school reads this. But everyone I went to high school with reads messages made of clouds. If you happen to be James Lipton and do not find this post funny please take it up with my lawyer. His name is Finn and he is a dog.