Category Archives: Bathroom

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?

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IN DEFENSE OF A WELL-ORGANIZED MEDICINE CABINET

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.

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.