Monthly Archives: May 2012

Swimsuit Confidence Week with Lands’ End and a Giveaway

WLands End Swimsuit Confidence Dayant to find me at the pool or beach? Let the picture on the right be your guide. At least, it would have been in 2011: floppy sun hat and oversized cover-up. But last winter I dropped a few pounds and more recently I was selected to participate in Lands’ End and SELF Magazine’s 2nd annual Swimsuit Confidence Week.

Swimsuit Confidence Week spurs dialog to help women of all shapes and sizes feel confident and beautiful so they can enjoy all summer has to offer.

Um, okay, beautiful might be a stretch. In my mid-40’s, I think more about acceptance- the faded stretch marks, scars, freckles, wrinkles, and skin that while not sagging, just isn’t as taut as it used to be. These are the chapters and footnotes in the story of me.

I’m still here living my story, aware of what a privilege it is to doing so.

Painfully aware.

So though it’s tempting to consider an eye lift, a boob lift or whatever surgery helps disguise the effects of gravity and aging, can’t we just celebrate the joy of being alive and work to be our healthiest selves instead of pretending we’re still 25?

That said, I’d love to wake up Freaky-Friday style inside my 20-something-year-old body. I know from old photos that I wasn’t as fat as I thought, plus my hair was fuller and skin clearer. I would ban all thoughts of bodily insecurity (and maybe exercise a bit more).

I wasn’t exactly a shrinking violet back then. I mean, I spent a summer as an intern at a dolphin cognition research facility in Hawaii and went to work in a bathing suit. Every Day. But I generally had a negative body image from junior high school on up.


Earlier this year one of my friends proclaimed that while committed to healthy living, she refused to spend any more time obsessing over her body.

I appreciate her sentiment. Like many of my mid-life peers, I’ve wasted days (weeks?) over the course of my lifetime worrying about my weight, the size of my ____ (fill in any one of numerous body parts). Enough of that thinking, let’s move on to something more affirmative, more productive.

It’s no longer a battle to fit into skinny jeans or a size 0 (Seriously, what the hell is a size 0, anyway? Who made that up?), it’s about being healthy and staying fit so that 20 years from now I can not only hang out at the pool with my grandkids, but swim and splash alongside them.

Lands End Swimsuit Confidence

Lands End Self magazine Swimsuit confidence week

Okay, I doubt I’ll be posing like that anywhere but on our deck. I’ll probably look more like this:

Swimsuit Confidence Week 2012 Lands' End SELF Magazine

I can’t see much without my glasses and it’s hard to lose the floppy hat. I’m trying to protect my aging and ever sensitive skin. That summer in Hawaii followed by a summer in Israel, not to mention the fact that people slathered themselves in tanning oil, not sunscreen, when I was a kid, means I got all the sun my face ever needs.

Boost your swimsuit confidence with a new swimsuit compliments of Lands’ End!

To enter:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog sharing a tip to boost swimsuit confidence or letting me know what bathing suit you’d pick if you win. Comment by 11:00 PM CST on May 29, 2012 for a basic entry. US addresses only. No purchase necessary to win, but the winner must be 18 years of age. The prize has a retail value of roughly up to $150.

You can also have up to four optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook and come back to let me know.

4. Subscribe to our newsletter, Progress Notes. We send updates every now and then featuring favorite tidbits from the blog as well as tips on home product finds and giveaways. Come back to let me know.

5. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs.

6. Follow @RenovatorKim on Twitter.

Winner will be chosen and notified by June 2, 2012 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response if received, a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be fulfilled by the Lands’ End PR team.

Lands’ End will also be hosting giveaways Twitter this week. Search the #LandsEnd hastag to play along. And check out the Swimsuit Sweeps on the Lands’ End Facebook Page.

Our model, Kim, is wearing a Women’s Petite Beach Living Princess  Tankini Top in Riviera Rose and the Beach Living Floral Swim Mini in Riviera Rose Floral. Lands’ End swimsuits come in a wide variety of sizes to fit bodies from small to tall, from A to DD and even mastectomy suits. Lands’ End swimsuit specialists are available for online chat and phone calls to help you find the right suit. Customer reviews of items listed on the site also help you pin down your selection.

Lands’ End provided me with the swimsuit of my choice to facilitate my participation in Swimsuit Confidence Week.

Big Week of Bloggy Fun Ahead

bob the builder or Hitler youth tattoo?

I thought a Bob the Builder tat would be a fun way to mark my blogaversary, but it looks more like Bob the Hitler Youth Guard. Crud.

Like my friend Tracey, I missed my blogaversary. I started Reluctant Renovator just over a year ago, a few nervous weeks before we closed on our house. What a year it’s been! But honestly, I don’t have time for a starry-eyed link-filled year in review post. I’m coming off of nearly two straight weeks of end of year performances, parties and events at night, work deadlines, not to mention a week-long biz trip for the hubs and a couple of local trade shows for me. The next couple of weeks bring a certain child’s 8th grade graduation(!), end of school for two kids, a synagogue retreat, a TV appearance for me(!), more work projects and a chance to be a fly on the wall citizen journalist at the upcoming Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

And let’s not forget a garage sale I very much hope will  take place on June 9– just in time to keep the growing pile of cast-offs from taking over our basement.

{deep, cleansing breath}

Anyway, about that blogaversary. It’s time to par-tay.

Virtually, of course. Hop on the happy train by taking a moment to de-lurk and reassure me that someone (something?) other than spambots frequent this blog.

The fun will continue this week with photos of me in a bathing suit (rawr) and chance for you to win a fab suit for your fine self. I’ll also be hosting other giveaways through the end of the month, so stay tuned!


Bathroom Updates

I’d like to say these bathrooms are the last big projects on our radar, but that would be wishful thinking. We’ve got a ramshackle attached porch (the Chicago fridge) and an even ramshackle-ier garage, not to mention a front stoop with crumbling steps and a whole mess of critters who like to make their home underneath it. (See today’s Facebook update for the latest in Kim vs. Skunk.)

The two bathrooms are almost fully gutted. Hubs has been talking to a host of subcontractors with the goal of acting as the GC for this project. It’s going to save us money, but will take a lot more time and effort. Who knows? There could be some massive screw-up resulting in lots of fingerpointing amongst the crew and that could cost us extra money as well as time.

Uh, yeah, I’m not exactly enthusiastic about this effort. I mean, we started gutting the bathrooms on April 8–more than a month ago. It’s quite likely the renovation of these two small rooms will take as much or more time than our entire Plan A renovation.

On the bright side, our Mother’s Day gathering, indeed the day itself, was wonderful. The gutted bathrooms only posed a problem for one of my nieces.

And, skunk damage aside, we have a front lawn and our window treatments should arrive in the next week or so.

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Happy Mother’s Day!

As a long-time mom, I decided to commemorate this Mother’s Day with a video of things I never expected to say as a parent, including those things (groan) my mom said to me that I swore I would not ever say to my kids. It’s in my DNA, people. I just can’t help myself.


I’m thrilled to be hosting a family gathering with my husband’s family–including his 90-something year-old grandmother (a neatnik who I hope will not have a heart or bladder attack when she goes to use the bathroom and sees it’s completely gutted), his parents, his sister’s family, my parents and my brother’s family.

And, no, that was not a sarcastic “thrilled.” It’s so wonderful to have a home and be able to share our food, our space, and our love.

It’s also nice to host a family gathering without worrying about someone storming out, making a fuss or causing a food fight. Well, we do have a rambunctious lot of kids ages 6-14, but hopefully they’ll be using their manners.

We’ll be serving salad with lettuce straight from our garden, my classic cucumber-tomato extravaganza,  guacamole, a lemon-cucumber-dill salad, a black-bean-roasted corn-avocado deal, lot of chips, grilled hot dogs, chicken sausages and chicken breast.

If the morning’s mild, sunny weather holds, we’ll be in for a great day.

However you celebrate, happy mother’s day!

The By-Gone Bee, Your New Source for Vintage Housewares

By Gone Bee Etsy shopeThis is the kind of thing I think about doing, but makes Hubs go into convulsions, so I’m pleased to that my friend Emily of The Happy Home is doing it instead. She’s just launched an Etsy shop, The By-Gone Bee, that sells vintages housewares and prints. Given that she’ll be scouring the LA area for finds, she’s sure to stock a cool inventory. Who knows? Maybe she’ll even get her own show on HGTV one of these days.

KBIS 2012, Kitchen and Bath Industry Show Top Picks and Trends

Fun, functional, aspirational*–there was so much to see and report on from the 2012 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. I’ll be back with interesting tidbits and kitchen and bath trend reports (not to mention my own reno progress on the two original bathrooms in this house), but for now, I’m going to share a video of my top picks from the show.



And here’s a bit from Kohler introducing the HydroRail, which is definitely a key find. It lets consumers have the luxury of a rainshower head without the mess of tearing up the wall and installing new pipes.



Which of these new products would you like to have? As for me,  I already have a U-Socket on order from ThinkGeek.

*The industry term for cool stuff you can’t afford.