Let’s get a few things out of the way, yes?

1) Yes, I’m alive.

2) No, I haven’t given up on TINAH, despite having not posted, pinned, Instagrammed or Facebooked a single damn thing in well over a month.

3) Yes, I’m sorry about that.

4) No, I won’t give you a back rub to prove my sincerity, so you can put away the essential oils and that Sade album because it won’t be happening no matter how much I enjoy essential oils or Sade.

5) Yes, I let the holidays have their way with me and that’s partly to blame for my recent absence. Even though we’re well into February I still feel as if I’ve been hit by a motor vehicle called a truck! It occurred to me when I was home in California, whilst starring longingly into a bowl of linguine and clams, that Shonda Rhimes didn’t write off Katherine Heigl from television all those years ago for me to not eat carbohydrates during my week off for Christmas. She did it to make the world a better place; a place where one can enjoy the food of his ancestors without having to disclose how many sticks of butter he put in the cream sauce or whether or not he peeled the casings from the logs of dried salami before ingesting them. I’m good 51 weeks out of the year, you guyz! I’m so good, in fact, that on December 23rd I gave in, put on my eatin’ poncho and let my carnal desires run wild in an attempt to celebrate the sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior, Ms. Rhimes, black Jesus, and exalt the self-control I practice throughout the other 358 days of the year. It was, to put it simply and without any hyperbole, a religious experience of the highest order, like how that Brazilian guy must’ve felt when a bunch of other dudes started saying to him, “Oh hey, Pope.” I come from a family of boisterous spaghetti heads who believe the nutritional pyramid consists of only three food groups (Grains [pasta] Vegetables [garlic] and Anchovies [anchovies]), and they enjoy cured meat almost as much as they do original sin. Gorging yourself on delicacies in an Italian family like mine means taking your life in your own hands. They’re also game hunters, too, and I’ve never been one to turn down homemade elk sausage. It was a marathon of family, feasts, and farts, y’all, and I’m still recovering from it.

6) No, all that still didn’t stop me from polishing off a tin of those Danish butter cookies.

7) Yes, you should buy stock in Royal Dansk because I actually ate 3.

8) No, I don’t really have anything new or exciting to report. How boring, you must be thinking. Why do I even read this dumb blog, you’re probably pondering. It’s a wonder you even have a job considering your list of employable skills is shorter than a casting call for ‘Willow :The Musical’, I’m now thinking. The sad, cold truth is that I am employed and work has been busy. Unfortunately that hasn’t left me with a free second to think about let alone accomplish some of my own projects. But I’m not going to whine about it! No. I am an adult! And being an adult means sacrificing your dreams and aspirations to earn money and convince those around you that you’re successful and happy. I don’t enjoy coming home every night to a lonely pair of staple pliers lying on my kitchen counter. I know I won’t be reupholstering anything tomorrow or this weekend or the even the weekend after that! It’s infuriating! I saw on Twitter the other day someone wrote, “Remember, you have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé!” and I wanted to punch whoever thought of that in their dumb neck because that is not true nor is it helpful. I do not have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé. Beyoncé is in the Illuminati and everyone knows the Illuminati controls space and time. In one day she can shoot five music videos and record nine albums. I, however, can eat lunch and squeak out an email or two if I’m lucky. There are plenty of things I have to do which Beyoncé doesn’t that fill up my day faster than hers. Beyoncé doesn’t have to do her laundry. Beyoncé doesn’t have to walk her dog three times a day. Beyoncé doesn’t have to plan her meals for the week and make them all on a Sunday so when Monday morning rolls around and she’s running late she has one less thing to worry about. Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé UGH! I wish I could pack up and move somewhere new, like the French countryside where no one knows my name or my backstory, to open a small chocolate shop and spend my days winning over the townsfolk with the sugary confections I make from my grandmother’s mystical recipes and my nights would be filled with dancing along the riverbank with a handsome gypsy man and listening to drunk Judy Dench espousing life lessons! What a dream that would be!

9) Yes, I watched Chocolat over the Christmas break AND I STILL LOVE IT. I recommend you do the same. It’s just so good.

10) No, I don’t think I’ll ever do something as impulsive as move to France in pursuit whimsy and passion, but it’s fun to think about.

11) Yes, I consider myself the male Juliette Binoche.

12) No, I’m not sure when the blog will be having it’s 2.0 moment. I’ve been saying it for awhile now on Facebook that TINAH will be getting a facelift–and it will–but it’s too soon to really know when. I gripe about the layout constantly in my own head, but since I’m the only one in there no one else really knows that I do. If any one of you little cuties out there want to take a crack at it I welcome the help! For whatever reason we have a lot of readers in Russia and isn’t Russia just full of computer geniuses? (Hi Russian hackers plz don’t hack me long live Putin!)

13) Yes, I am as disappointed as you are that I’ve been so slack about documenting my goings-on, on here and all the other platforms. I think nowadays we’re in the mindset that, whatever we do, if we aren’t posting it online it isn’t happening. I feel that way a lot of the time! After the holiday break, though, I came back to New York and it was so quiet. The streets were calm, which is very rare during that time of year, or maybe I was calm having just spent a week surrounded by family. I don’t know. I had a few more days to myself before going back to work and in that time I took on a few side projects for friends. It wasn’t anything noteworthy–nothing I had to post online–but that’s why I liked doing them. I had these prefect four days of running around the city, gathering materials, meeting shop owners and craftspeople and I didn’t write any of it down. I got to focus on the one-on-one interactions. I don’t always allow myself to do that very often. It was a nice change of pace.

14) No, I’m not becoming a big softy.

15) Yes, I will punch you in the neck if you call me a big softy.

16) No, I don’t believe this blog is devolving into a masturbatory examination of my insecurities disguised as a funny point/counterpoint list-based inner monologue WHY DO YOU? WELL THEN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONCERN BUT WHEN I WANT YOUR OPINION I WILL ASK FOR IT.

17) Yes, sometimes I think I can be a little hard on my readers and I’m so, so sorry and you’re all so pretty and please please please just love me unconditionally ayyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!11!!111111!

So, that should be it, right? I think I’ve answered all the questions anyone could possibly have. If there’s anything else you know where to find me, you monsters:

Butterfly kisses,



What is the most hot button issue at the moment? ISIS? The US job market? The allegations against Bill Cosby? Obama’s controversial use of his executive power? NO. IF YOU SAID YES TO ANY OF THOSE YOU WOULD BE WRONG AND DUMB. NONE OF THOSE ARE AS IMPORTANT AS THE CORRECT ANSWER WHICH IS HOW SOON AFTER THANKSGIVING CAN WE START CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAZE???

To get to the bottom of this question I had to investigate, partly because I liken the work I do on this site to that of a hard-hitting and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, the primary duty of which is to seek out and report the truth as completely and independently as possible while wearing sexy nerd glasses, but mostly because I had a little too much rosé one night while I was watching Broadcast News and got lonely:

“Give it a week, hon. Everyone needs a chance recharge their batteries before the tree goes up and you start playing Christmas music. Is everything all right?” — my mom

“I think a week is probably good. What are you doing? I’m hearing a lot of clinking in the background? Hello?” — my cousin

“I’d say 3 weeks or so. Not until the 15th. You don’t want to get burnt out before New Years. I’m guessing you’re not coming in tomorrow, yes?” — my coworker

“It’s tradition in my family to get the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving so I’d say just a few days. I’m in full celebration mode by the end of November, for sure. By the way everyone on our floor can hear you weeping.” — my neighbor


From my exhaustive research I found that between one and two weeks after Thanksgiving is generally considered a safe and socially acceptable distance to begin your Yuletide thuggery, but if you’re like me and have no self-control you can instead begin playing Mariah Carey and drinking peppermint lattes in the privacy of your own home while you set your holiday-themed post to publish on the 5th of December (even though you wrote it the Tuesday before you bought your turkey, back in the beginning of November) so as not to appear over eager or mentally questionable. That is how you win at life, little drummer boys and girls.

Now that you’re well in the spirit, below are the steps to ensure you have the best holiday season ever, or at the very least to guarantee you get what you want out of your loved ones without having to send them your Amazon wishlist:

1. Christmas music. That’s all you play from now until the 31st. You shouldn’t have a hard time retiring Beyoncé‘s Platinum Edition for a little while because it only really consisted of one new song and doesn’t she have enough already? BYE FELICIA, HELLO BING.

2. Buy lots of pine scented candles. There’s nothing more luxurious and merry than a house that smells like an expensive forest. Don’t worry if you can’t use them all before the season’s done. Burn them during your next seance.

3. Find a really good gingerbread recipe and make a ton of cookies. It has to be gingerbread, though. See, chances are you’re a terrible cook and will ruin them, but because it’s Christmastime no one can turn down a seasonal treat, even a burnt one. To do so would be like desecrating the baby Jesus and that’s a thing that everyone knows. They have to smile and say thank you irrespective of how it tastes so as not to piss off God. Use this to your advantage. Make some gingerbread, give a box to your super/mail carrier/boyfriend you’re not that into and watch them flail about in the frustrating catch-22 you’ve created for them. Save your year-end tips for something useful, like Candy Crush lives or Twitter followers.

4. Go buy a tree. Fake ones are fine but if you go fake really GO FAKE. Christmas trees should either be real and aromatic and sticky with sap or metallic and shiny and made from some kind of flammable polyester. There is no room this holiday season for a boring reusable spruce from the Kathy Ireland Collection. There is, however, lots of room for a tree from Dirrty By Christina Aguilera For Hot Topic!

5. Invite your friends over to help decorate your tree. Play your Christmas music. Light your candles. Put out your cookies. Enchant those dummies with your festive mise-en-scène so they are tricked into doing all the work for you while you sit on the couch guzzling egg nog and watching The Holiday.

6. Watch The Holiday. 5, maybe 17 times. Cry every goddamn time. Make sure your greedy friends don’t eat all of your delicious cookies because you need a few for when the movie ends and you realize you’ll never end up with Jude Law With Hair or a small English cottage like Kate Winslet’s.

7. Don’t wait for a free Saturday to do your holiday shopping. Take a long lunch one Tuesday when the stores are less crowded and treat yourself to a stress-free experience. Weekend shopping is for poor people and criminals. Weekday afternoon shopping is for the elite! And don’t forget to buy something for yourself while you’re out. You’ve earned it. You made cookies and oversaw the trimming of an actual tree in your actual home.

8. Curl up and watch a holiday special. They always do the trick!

9. But stay away from holiday specials on the Hallmark Channel. If A Charlie Brown Christmas is like a warm glass of mulled wine then whatever’s on Hallmark is like a bladder of Franzia in a dumpster behind a CVS in Scottsdale.

10. Go caroling. This will be a great vocal warm-up for when Maddie Ziegler injures her knee and Sia approaches you about joining her Grammys performance and while on stage she spontaneously lets you sing the second chorus of Chandelier and you KILL IT and you look so fierce in your leotard and wig that the world finally sees what you’ve known all along: That you are a dangerous triple threat.

11. Buy boxes upon boxes of candy canes. Hand them out as you walk up and down the subway platforms and yell “FOUR FOR YOU GLEN COCO! YOU GO, GLEN COCO!” Those who laugh and accept them are the true meaning of Christmas. Become friends with them and never let them leave your sight.

12. Write a letter to Santa and leave it out for someone to see. Be cute about it, almost infantile, to the point where the person who finds it may question whether you are suppressing deep, traumatic childhood memories. Talk about how excited you are for Christmas to come, ask the big guy what kind of milk he likes and mention that you won’t forget to put out some carrots for his reindeer! End your letter by writing “and if I don’t get an iPhone 6 I will kill myself.” Patiently wait for your iPhone 6.

Follow these steps to the letter, my red-nosed creatures, and be ready to receive the bounty that will be your holiday season.

A quick note to all my Jewish readers: I come from a strong Italian Catholic family and I am a product of my upbringing. I don’t know any better. When I was a kid my parents flocked our trees and Christmas morning I woke up to a stocking filled with beef jerky. On Christmas Eve we put red wine in our Diet Cokes and on Christmas Day we made ravioli. This is all to say, I am so far removed from knowing anything about Chanukah that if I attempted to relate to your experience I would undoubtedly commit a hate crime. I’m just a dumb spaghetti head from California living in New York. Please don’t take it personally.


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:


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?


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.


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:


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.


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:


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!


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:






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.


photo 2

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.


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.



**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.


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!