Monthly Archives: February 2012

What’s the Deal with Men and Their Underwear?

Warning: sponsored content below. Also beware of violent behavior in the video. My husband thought my treatment of his underwear was very aggressive, but I’m sure your opinion will vary.

It’s not that I need everything nice and new and all matchy-matchy in our house now, but after more than three years of living with my parents, we’re making a bit of a fresh start. What better way to start off fresh than with new underwear?

Apparently there’s one in every couple, but in a male/female couple my research indicates it’s almost always the male. The man who cannot part with his ratty old undies. The guy who looks longingly at a limp gray pair of what used to be tighty whiteys and cannot toss them* aside.

“We went through college together,” he sniffed sadly as I ripped the seams apart.


What’s the deal with men and their underpants?


As we were preparing to transition to our new place, I met someone from the Jockey team and shared my vision, my dream that my husband’s old skivvies would get “lost in the move.” Moved by my passion on the topic, the kind soul passed along a gift certificate so that I could set my husband up in style. Well, as noted in the video, I invited my husband to choose the new undies with me, but apparently he would have felt like a traitor to his current stock, so I did it alone.

I went on my virtual shopping trip earlier this week. I was surprised by the variety of styles available for men.

jockey underwear

Uh, no.

Yeah, I skipped the bikinis and thongs, but I didn’t go all tighty whitey, either. My shopping haul included boxer briefs, sporty things, and other styles. Okay, I may have snuck a pair of women’s exercise pants in, too. What? They were on clearance.

Nothing says “fresh start” like new drawers in your new drawers. After I return from the Blissdom conference it’s out with the old and in with the new. I can’t wait.

And tell me, does your partner have an underwear thing, too?


*It? Them? Why do we call a single article of clothing a pair?

 Thanks to Jockey for partnering with me on this very special project.

Revealing More in the Master Bedroom

Here’s the rest of the “master suite.” For the first video I had to move all my piles off to one side so they did not detract from the room’s natural beauty. Once that was over, I had to shift them to the other side of the room, so I could make this video.


(Sort of.)

Anyway, here’s yet another sneak peek into my bedroom.


Closet systems are wonderful! We had several in our previous house. They make the closet space so much more efficient; I highly recommend then. Our closet system was designed and installed by Roger from Fix My Closets. (No relationship to disclose; just a nice small biz worthy of a shout-out.)


The Reluctant Renovator is now on Angie’s List!

shower ceiliing with Kohler water tilesNo, I’m not providing any home services, I’m writing! In the months since we purchased our house I’ve learned quite a few things about making home improvements and repairs, and now I get to share my best gems with Angie’s List members each month. Check out my first post: Tips for hiring a Chicagoland contractor.

So far, we’ve been more about HIY (hire it yourself) than DIY and, frankly, I’m liking it this way. I do hope to make better use of my tool belt and start digging in the dirt in the coming months, but I have to admit that things wouldn’t be looking quite so nice if we had completed major renovation tasks on our own.

Speaking of which, the guy in the photo on Angie’s List is David from Tigele Tile. Though Tigele owner Johann Janoschka, did note that our job was less grand than some of his projects, he and David did a great job. Our master bathroom looks fabulous. So good, in fact, that other tradesmen commented on the expert installation. Typically, tradesmen look at another guy’s work and tell you five ways they could have done it better.

Tigele also tiled our laundry room and kitchen floors. Johann scheduled his work around our other renovations and completed his portions on time.

We did encounter two issues: one was that we did not like the coiled heating element he first installed in the bathroom floor. Luckily, we noticed this in time and talked to Johann about installing a higher end heat mat. It cost us a little bit more money to get the mat, but we were happy to pay as the overall job price was reasonable.

The other issue was that when our plumber came to install the fixtures, we realized the fixture slots were tiled in too closely. Despite the fact that he was in Europe when this happened, I was able to contact Johann and one of his workers made it to our house in time for the plumber to complete his work that same day. (It would have been nice if the plumber mentioned at the time that he wouldn’t drill the tile to install the mounting for the hand spray, but frustratingly, he waited another week to share the news. Ugh. Don’t get me started on our plumber.)

Hmmm. I need to get that on Angie’s List, too, only in the review section.

By the way, you can also catch a bit of home improvement with a side of snark in my monthly post on Aiming Low’s Teach Channel.

Yes, yes, yes, more pics of the fab-o master bath to come. Between the lighting and the mirrors it’s hard to get good shots.

How to Make Oobleck

As I showed off the master bedroom (more to come this week!), I noted that my husband said sleeping on our comfy new Serta mattress set was like “sleeping on oobleck.” That may have left some of you scratching your heads in confusion, so I’m back to explain. Oobleck is a mixture of water and cornstarch in a roughly 1:1.5 ratio.

It’s an odd substance that at once has the properties of a liquid and a solid. It’s really fun to play with.

Take a look.


Oobleck is also a metaphor for life in that sometimes when you jump into a situation (even with the best of intentions) it can feel like you’re running into a brick wall. But if you soften up, relax and ease into things, it works out.

Ever feel like that in a social situation? Like, you show up to your first PTA meeting all eager and rearing to go only to feel like you’re on the outside of a well-established clique? You can walk away from situations like that, or you can keep going back and eventually, you’ll find your comfort spot.

Or perhaps, like Wonder Woman in the video, you’ll find yourself sinking in quicksand, so overwhelmed with volunteer “opportunities” that you won’t see your spouse until your kids graduate from high school.


The Master Bedroom

bedroom wall before renovationSo Hubs walks into the bedroom on Valentine’s Day to find our tripod, camera perched atop aimed directly at our bed. He was curious. Very curious.

“I’m making a video,” I said batting my eyelashes.

He smiled.

“For my blog.”

Such is the lot for the husband of a social media mom.

Let’s hope this sneak peek into my bedroom does not disappoint you as much as it did my dear husband. But before we get to the video, I want to remind you how it looked before our renovation. Take a look at the photo on the right.

And here’s a sense of how it how it looked once we raised the roof and bumped the room out a few feet.

bedroom during renovation

Now you’re ready to appreciate the new look and our fab new bedroom and our cool new mattress, er, sleep system. It can take a week or two to adjust to a new mattress. Had I not known this, I might have freaked out about our fancypants hi-tech bed, wondering if it was a mistake. But by night 7 or so, I adapted to my new bed (and my new bedroom) and now I sleep well.

Check it out!


And just for fun, this is what the wall behind my bed looked like just a few months ago. It’s a pretty amazing transformation, isn’t it? I’m grateful for it every day.


roof line before renovation


What’s that? You want to know more about my oh-so-pink vintage nightie? That will be a post of its own one day. Let’s just say I might not be where I am today without it.


Disclosure: The Serta iComfort System was provided by Serta.

Ramekins- The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

ramekins make a lovely mother's day giftI suggested to my dear husband that ramekins would be a lovely Mother’s Day gift. If I had ramekins, I could finally make, well, whatever it is one bakes up in them. I’d get daring and whip up creme brulee or…something. I can no recall what I longed to bake because he gave them to me for Mother’s Day back in 2005. And look! After I dug them out from a box, I finally removed them from their original packaging.

And I rediscovered my candy thermometer, too. I bought that when I was pregnant with my younger son back in 2000. I recall being at Target, I might have even made a special trip to the store to buy it because I had. To. Have. It. I could no longer live without a candy thermometer.

Yep, it’s still in its original packaging.

I guess it’s time to get cooking.