Hay Pop-in Shop at Nordstrom

What do you know? I am still alive! During a weekend of sanding and staining my deck, the meditative activity inspired me to start this DIY-ish blog again. But before I talk about the deck, I am going to talk about a favorite Danish store called Hay. Nordstrom had been running a Hay “pop-in” shop in their brick-and-mortar stores for a couple of weeks, and I stopped in this morning to see that everything was pad-wrapped and boxed up. Ugh! Missed it. Fortunately, one of the lovely Nordstrom associates offered to help me get some of the Gym Hooks I’d been eyeing, and bonus, they were marked for to $5.97 (some of them were as much as $38 originally). Needless to say, I cleaned up on Gym Hooks. Here they are in all their styled glory.


You can still buy some of the HEAVILY marked down Hay collection at Nordstrom right now. Otherwise, I’m told the rest of the stock is heading to Nordstrom Rack, so be on the lookout for some fantastically designed items. Here are my favorites from the collection that are still available as of this moment, so hurry!


  1. ‘Pinorama – Large’ Cork Shelf – was $62.00 – now $14.97
  2. Wrong for Hay ‘Got This Licked’ Tongue Print Canvas Tote – was $24.00 – now $7.97
  3. ‘Bits and Bobs – Mini’ Trinket Tray & Lid – was $11.00 – now $2.97 (this is very tiny but made of glass)
  4. ‘Bits and Bobs – Large’ Trinket Tray & Lid – was $18.00 – now $3.97 (this is much larger and would be good for jewelry)
  5. Wrong for Hay ‘Tela’ Glass Carafe – was $42.00 – now $9.97 (this is a delicate glass with a texture like something made in a high school ceramics class)
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I Did All Your Christmas Shopping For You

I have thousands and thousands of rules about gift giving, and I am going to tell you about every single one.

First, the gift should be extremely thoughtful. Duh, of course, right? But that’s why you can’t just go off an Amazon wishlist, or even what the person has told you she wanted. Instead, you have to listen all year round for hints as to what he/she is truly wishing for. The goal is to give a gift the person has never seen before, didn’t even know she wanted, and yet—now that it’s unwrapped—can’t imagine life without it ever again.

Second: the goodness of the gift is directly proportional to the difficulty of obtaining it. This means that the best gift is something you made in secret over several months, such as a needlepoint portrait pillow of your best friend’s cat. Failing that, however, you might order it from Australia, or from a bakery in Ohio where the owner speaks pidgin English, or at the very least, off Etsy. The gifts in my gift guide generally break this rule, as they are mostly easily obtainable, and many of them qualify for Amazon Prime shipping. (The links below are not, however, affiliate ones.) A corollary to this rule, though: price does NOT count toward the difficulty quotient. Extravagantly expensive gifts mean you’re throwing money at the problem, and that’s just vulgar.

Third: the gift should ideally be under $50. Ideally, it should be something that was originally exorbitantly priced, but you miraculously managed to get for a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost. The reason for this is a two-parter: (a) it’s no good to make the other person feel uncomfortable by spending far more on him than he did on your gift, and (b) a tight budgetary framework inspires creativity. This rule can of course be broken on any whim, but it is only broken once in this list, and even then you can easily get a less expensive version.

As you can probably imagine, my fervor for explaining these rules is only increasing, so I must stop somewhere, or else we’ll spend all night discussing grosgrain ribbon and the abomination that is the gift bag. So, on to the gift guides.

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Guts and Nuts and Bolts

Spoiler alert: we have been living with the new, completed bathroom for several months now. It is transcendent, resplendent.

But when I left off we were putting in the plumbing. We decided to put the thermostat and on/off valve on the wall opposite the showerhead. That way, you can open the door and turn on the shower without having to get wet. Nice, right?

This is what the plumbing looks like in order to achieve this effect.

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Expect the Unexpected

As I’ve learned in 8 years owning a 50-year-old house, nothing will ever go quite as you expected. Even when your contractor lives next door to you and has remodeled dozens of bathrooms built by the same builder in your neighborhood (including his own). Even when you thoroughly explain all your ideas beforehand and show him the exact fixtures you picked out. Even though the time it would take was estimated at 5 days, I multiplied the estimate by 2 and made sure I had no relatives coming to visit or other schedule squeezes.

When I last left off, we had left the shower pan for the contractor to remove, and he was able to pull it out with an enormous crowbar. But even he was surprised to see this…

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Tore Up From The Floor Up

Finally. First I had major, major surgery. Then the shower tile went out of stock, and more had to be made back in old Brazil. Then our contractor was booked up. But we demolished the bathroom down to the studs the weekend before last, and it’s finally coming together.

Our house was built in 1963, back when asbestos was still popular and my dad had a glow-in-the-dark watch where the numbers were painted with radium. Yeah! I felt fine about any asbestos risk, until I saw a label that said “fireproof” on the back of a piece of sheetrock. But I looked up United States Gypsum and read these marvelous words:

USG primarily made plasters, paints, drywall (although none of their drywall products contained asbestos)…

Theoretically the old joint compound or texture could contain asbestos, but it was all really well sealed under layers of paint. We wore respirators. And it was the drywall that was really the main source of dust. Everyone’s risk aversion is different, so I would never tell someone else what to do, but I felt comfortable doing it.

Actually, comfortable is not quite the right word. Dirty, dusty, and disgusting are far better descriptors.

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