I am Jordan Reid. I created Ramshackle Glam to follow my experiments in the spheres of fashion, beauty, entertaining, and home décor. In the years since, Ramshackle Glam has been featured in publications including Time Magazine, Cosmopolitan, the New York Observer, The Huffington Post, and Lonny.
A shot of my lovely friend from our off-the-cuff collaboration yesterday
You may have noticed that when Francesca and I get together, we frequently do little photo shoots. Not for any especially good reason; just because we enjoy them – putting together a concept, finding a location, picking the right time of day for the lighting effect we’re after. I enjoy the whole process; unlike creating photos for this site, our shoots in no way feel like “work.” You may also have noticed that over the years, I have appeared in these shoots – or any shoots, for that matter – less, and less, and less.
I wonder sometimes whether it’s from insecurity – and of course it is, I suppose, more than I’d like to admit – but it’s also that my interests with regards to photography, and “aesthetics” more generally, have undergone a fairly dramatic shift these past few years.
My managers, by the way, were right in a business sense – witness the fact that DKNY is no longer exactly clamoring to hire me to design capsule collections, haha – but they were also trying to point my career – and me – in a direction that it simply wasn’t ever going to be able to go.
I am not a model. I enjoy being in front of the camera in some situations – hosting shows, for example, which feels more like play than perfection – and will pull it together for some nice pics for a client post or some such…but when it comes to “maintaining a consistent, on-brand aesthetic”?
I think my “brand,” if I have one at all, is pretty damn inconsistent, and oftentimes not very pretty at all.
And that is okay. Of course it is. But having spent years laser-focused on *my aesthetic* – all that panic to be whatever my managers told me to be so that I’d be able to keep the machine clicking along through massive industry shifts that moved the needle far, far away from the place where I’d started – I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy the process of just…creating. Art for art’s sake.
You know, I used to draw all the time; I have notebook upon notebook full of sketches dating all the way back to childhood. I used to take a set of watercolors to the park and paint the people sitting on the benches; tote my camera around just in case I saw something beautiful, and wanted to hold onto it.
I’m realizing, I suppose, that this is something I want to bring back into my life: Just a little bit of art. For no other reason that the fact that it feels good.
…Aren’t I fortunate that I have a muse?
P.S. If you’re curious what I was wearing while Francesca floated around like an ethereal angel…
I’ve been writing and talking a lot these past few weeks about vulnerability. Authenticity. And the realizations I’ve had about myself as a result of all this writing and talking have been pretty fucking humbling.
So. Because I cannot write or talk about anything else, I’m going to tell you what happened.
I have realized, as I said in that post a couple of weeks ago, that while it is extremely easy for me to be open, it is not easy for me to be authentic – to show the people in my life the *real* me, in all its complicated unprettiness. I know how people want me to act, and so that’s what I do. And if I deviate from this performance – if I’m in a bad mood, or depressed – I apologize, and then I fix it.
Because, of course, I am frightened that if I stray from the script, the people I love will leave me.
I have spent my life firmly believing that I can only be loved conditionally. I have chosen man after man who loved me, sure, but who also needed me in very concrete, logistical, and often financial ways. I told myself that I was helping them because I loved them, but the truth is I was also helping them so that I could keep them. Because if all I have to give someone is me, that’s clearly not going to be enough.
And then I fell in love. I know you probably don’t believe me; that’s okay. I wouldn’t believe me, either. But I was in love, so much so that it poured out of me in waves. I told everyone, because I had to. I told the Internet, even though I knew better. It felt like I’d been awake for years, and was finally, finally allowed to sleep.
It felt like I finally had a reason for everything that happened; something I could point to and say This is why.
It felt so good.
I talked to my therapist about this at length, of course. I told her how I had this knee-jerk desire to send him posts I’d written on various topics, so we could skip ahead towards understanding each other better. I’m better at writing about things than I am at talking – I always have been – and I didn’t want to mess anything up with inelegant words. Stop, she said. Do not do that. Let him learn about you from you; not from your tidy little gift boxes of stories.
And so I made a decision: For perhaps the very first time in my life, I would come out of the gate, very simply, as myself. I would not perform. Because I didn’t want to do that anymore, and because I believed that with this man, I could finally, finally stop acting.
I did it. I stopped.
And he left me.
So suddenly, and so cruelly, that it felt very literally – viscerally – like I’d been hit in the face.
On one day, there were mutual professions of true love, concrete plans for the future, just as it had been practically from the moment we met. We knew we were acting crazy; we laughed at ourselves for how hard and fast we’d fallen. We also just knew.
His ex-wife asked for him back. He’s going to give it a try, just to see if it can work. He doesn’t think it will. He loves me. He doesn’t love her. It’s too complicated for him to explain any more fully; I need to trust him.
Hours later, we talk on the phone, for two minutes. He says he has made his decision. A 7.1 earthquake hits at the moment I hang up, which makes for a lovely metaphor: The earth rolling under my feet, as I wonder whether what I’m feeling is even real.
More texts. More promises that he loves me; he just has to see; he’s so scared he’ll find out he was wrong, and it’ll be too late; I’ll be gone.
It’s Saturday night, and I’m woken up by a phone call. He has to tell me something important.
He’s been lying. He’s not going back to his ex. He just doesn’t love me. He’s been lying.
He “does this sometimes.”
I am terrified to write about this, of course. I know what’s coming: You’re so stupid. You weren’t really in love. You’re almost forty years old, how could you act like this?
You. You. You.
So let me save you the trouble: I am embarrassed, and humbled in a way that I don’t know I’ve ever been. I know that I did nothing “wrong.” I know it’s “not about me.” I know that the way this man treated me was far, far beyond the scope of how human beings should treat other human beings. But I also know that I played a role in this, because of course I did.
I created chaos, once again. I distracted myself, once again. I ran full-speed towards the beautiful feelings so that I could put as much distance as possible between myself and the bad ones.
I also want him back. Isn’t that awful? I want him to come to me crying, begging, with some crazy explanation – a gun was being held to his head, perhaps. I want this to make sense.
I live in LA now, which means that I hear the words “the universe is trying to tell you something” more than I’d like. But god damn if I didn’t get the message this time. And here is what the universe is telling me – in the most crushing way possible, because apparently that’s how I need to hear it if it’s going to get through.
I have to stop running. I have to sit in my ugly, sad, shameful feelings, and I have to pick them apart, bit by bit, so I can see what’s inside. I have to learn how to be with myself, by myself. I simply have to stop looking for solutions to sadness – to loneliness, to fear – that aren’t right there in my own little brain and body and heart.
I’ve said all this before; I know I have. I’m embarrassed to be saying these things again. I know that I may not even get it right this time; this lesson is not being learned as neatly as I’d like it to be.
But here it is. Here I am. Broken, and putting the pieces back together. All by myself. Again.
One more thing.
When I got that first text – the one that hit me in the face – here is what I did. I picked up the phone and called Francesca. I walked straight out the door with her talking to me, telling me to breathe, and straight over to my neighbor Margo’s house. I told her I needed to stay there, and she said, “stay.”
Later that night – after the earthquake – Margo and me and her three daughters curled up together on the couch. I don’t remember what we watched. I remember her youngest gave me a beaded necklace – one I’m wearing still – and that we made friendship bracelets from rainbow string.
On that couch, with those women, I was held.
I am not alone. I am loved. I am lucky.
I have said all this before; I am ashamed I can so easily forget my own words. And so I’ll say them again, and again, and again, and then, one day, I will believe that they’re true.
Sometimes I read older posts of mine, and I can’t remember having written them; it’s the oddest thing. I remember the feelings, of course, but then I read the words, and it’s like they were typed out by someone else. Someone who understood me intensely, yes, but certainly not me.
That’s been happening a lot these past few days: I’m looking for a recipe, or a reference, and I happen across one of these older posts…and it feels less like a memory than like a letter from a friend, telling me everything will be okay.
One of the major things I miss about living close to my friend Erin is our little (and big) projects. We were just constantly deciding that we wanted to try things, and then doing them. All by ourselves. And they usually worked out! (I’d venture that our success rate has far more to do with Erin than with me, but I’m happy to bask in the residual glory.)
We (OK, again, mostly Erin, BUT I HELPED) completely transformed her hallway bathroom…for less than $700. Which I know doesn’t sound possible. So let me walk you through what we did.
Here’s the before. It’s not terrible, just…dated. The clamshell sink, the wall color, the fixtures – none of it was quite Erin’s style. The only thing she decided to keep was the floor, simply because it was pretty nondescript, and because replacing a floor is a whooooole ‘nother ball of wax.
Aaaand here’s the after.
The two things we did that made this renovation so affordable:
1. We found the vanity, the light fixtures, and all the accessories at a contractors warehouse called HD Home Supply. If you’ve never been to one (and there are other warehouses that go under different names)…do it. They’re Home Depot-style stores that sell everything from lightbulbs to tiles to kitchen tables, all at a fraction (and I do mean a fraction) of the price.
As an example, I found my own front door there for about $1.5k less than the exact same door cost at Home Depot. The only caveat: You can’t really go to a contractors warehouse wanting something specific; you kind of have to just see what they have, and run with it.
Here’s a breakdown of the pricing for everything Erin bought at HD Home Supply:
Light fixture: $50
2. We did as much work as possible ourselves. Erin’s husband installed the vanity and fixtures, and she and I did the tiling – which ended up inspiring me to do my own tiling project in my own bathroom, because it’s not only totally doable, it’s actually kind of…dare I say?…fun.
Here (for those of you who, like me several months ago, have no idea how one might even begin tiling) is how you tile a bathroom.
First, you remove any existing tiles, spackle any holes, etc. If none of that is an issue, just wipe down the walls and give them a light sanding with rough sandpaper.
The bottommost layer of tiles is the one you’ll have to worry the most about, because if that’s not level, the whole wall will be off. So: Use a level. (And then periodically check in with the level as you continue the tiling process, to make sure all is well.)
Measure the length of the wall, and do a flat-lay of the tiles to determine which tiles will have to be cut, and by how much (use a pencil or wax crayon to mark where you’ll have to make the cuts). We rented a tile saw so we could trim the tiles ourselves – and, OK, tile saws definitely look scary, but wear sturdy gloves, wear eye protection, and go ahead and give it a shot. Once you get the hang of it, it’s fun; I swear. Just don’t cut off any fingers, please.
To stick the tile to the wall, you need to apply Pre-Mixed Thin Set Mortar both to the wall itself, and also to the back side of the tile, using a scraper to make sure you get a thin layer with grooves (as pictured below).
I think it’s vital to let that bottom row dry completely, to make sure that you have a perfectly level foundation upon which to lay the rest of the tile.
To keep the tiles perfectly spaced, buy little plastic thingamajigs that are conveniently called “spacers,” and insert them between the tiles both horizontally and vertically. Like this:
Important note: If you’re tiling an area that’s going to get wet (the inside of a shower, for example), you’re going to need to make adjustments. And these tiles are placed very close together, so Erin and I skipped the grout – but whether or not you need grout is going to depend on the look of your particular project.
Oh my god I LOVE THIS STORY. I’m in San Jose right now, plopped down at Alisa’s dining room table, and I was all “ugh what should I write about today that involves NO FEELINGS WHATSOEVER.”
“Food!” Alisa said. “You haven’t written about food in forever!”
…This is true. So – and this is how I know Alisa is a true friend for the ages – she and I immediately set about figuring out what kind of brilliant recipe we could make right here and now, using ingredients that she already had. We dragged out her (perfectly organized, laminated, ughhhh) recipe binder, and started flipping through…and then we arrived at the Shasta Dip.
At the top of the page, for recipe attribution, Alisa had written “Stranger.” This clearly required elaboration, so Alisa told me the story.
Apparently her best friend’s mom’s neighbor’s friend – whose name we do not know – made the dire mistake of sharing her Top Secret Cheese Dip Recipe with her neighbor. Who then shared it with Alisa’s best friend’s mom. Who then shared it with Alisa’s mom. Who then shared it with…..everybody. Like, everybody. And now everybody Alisa knows – and many, many others that she does not know – makes this unknown woman’s Top Secret Cheese Dip.
Which I think means that it is officially Not A Secret. At all. Which is, on balance, a good thing, because this dip may not look like much…but oh my god it is so delicious. Stranger, if you are out there: Thank you.
What You Do:
In a bowl, mix together the following:
1 lb grated cheddar cheese
4 oz sour cream
1 cup of mayonnaise
11 oz shoepeg corn (Green Giant brand only; this is apparently very important)
2 tsp. chopped jalapeños (from a can)
1/2 small white onion, diced
Serve with Fritos for dipping. (Alisa has instructed me that this is non-optional. To quote, “Do not try serving this with ANYTHING BUT FRITOS.”)
The moral of the story, kids: Don’t share secrets. Or they may end up on RamshackleGlam.com.
Francesca and I have this wonderful thing that we do, wherein she finds joy in helping me spend my money. In other words, she takes me shopping and styles me up, and in the process convinces me to buy things that I never ordinarily would (but then end up adoring).
Like, for example, these pants. I would never have bought these. I am glad she made me buy them. (The red sweater, on the other hand, is so me I’m kind of surprised I didn’t already own it.)
And now that I’ve written about clothing, because that’s what I default to writing about when what’s going on in my mind is too much, let’s get to the real point of this post.
For those of you who’ve been following on my IG, you may be aware that I’ve been going through it a bit (ok, a lot) these past few days. I’m currently in San Jose because K has the kids for the next couple of days, and being with my girls seemed like a better idea than being alone. And trust me, I know I’m being opaque – but it’s simply because I’m not ready to write about what’s been going on. I will when I can, though.
In the meantime, I love you guys. So many of you have – somewhat incredibly – intuited that I’m dealing with some hard stuff based on…I don’t know…maybe it’s simply that you pay attention. And you care. Which never ceases to stun me; the fact that there are women out there whom I’ve never met, and who care anyway, and who reach out in support just because they can. This support may be virtual, but I want you to know that to me it’s very real. It matters. And it helps so, so much.
Now. Recall the Ikea couch I bought shortly after I moved to LA? The one I was so excited about for a minute, before I realized that the words “white” and “couch” should never, ever go together when a house is inhabited by a) children, b) animals, and c) me?
I knew I wanted to recover it at some point, but I’d always thought of furniture-recovering as a super-intense, insanely expensive undertaking. As evidence, I once tried to have my grandmother’s old wingback armchair recovered, and to say it was an expensive pain would be an understatement, to the point where I abandoned the project entirely.
But I posted about this conundrum on IG a few months back, and a reader wrote in to say that she had the exact same couch, and that she’d had it recovered in faux leather from a company called Comfort Works. I did a little digging, and discovered that they make covers for popular couches from all the major brands (and custom versions, if your couch is more obscurely-sourced), and have bajagillions of different fabric options. In short: they’re disrupting the furniture-recovering industry! Woooo. (I get to say things like “disrupting the furniture-recovering industry” because I lived in Silicon Valley for three years.)
I. Love it. (And disclosure, the product you see here was c/o Comfort Works – but I was crystal-clear that I’d be covering both the pros and the cons so that you guys would be able to draw your own conclusions about whether this is the right move for you.)
How the site works:
You find your couch;
You pick out a bunch of colors and fabrics you like;
You get sent swatches so you can see those colors and fabrics in person before making your selection;
You order your covers, and bask in the glory of having a new couch without having to actually buy a new couch.
Now, those pros and cons.
The covers range in price pretty dramatically, and the faux leather is on the more expensive end of the spectrum…but it’s still way cheaper than buying a new couch, and wayyyyy cheaper than buying a new leather couch, even if you take into account the original price of the sofa itself.
The ordering process legit could not be easier, and there is zero measuring required (thank Jesus, because I specialize in tape measurer fails).
The faux leather is super easy to clean, and doesn’t seem especially prone to scratching – I’ve had the covers on for a couple of months now, and they’re virtually pristine despite the Cat Situation.
You can also order replacement legs for your couch, which is a cool little extra – I hated the flimsy-looking metal legs on my OG couch, and decided to swap them out for a wood midcentury style.
Oh! And there’s an option to have USB ports installed in your new covers. Coooool.
The faux leather is not super-ideal for the warmer months, but that’s just how it goes. And it’s nothing that can’t be solved by the addition of a couple of throw blankets.
The major con, for me: I hadn’t realized that in order to get the new covers on, I would have to partially disassemble the sofa. Because this is not a thing I felt like spending 70+ hours of my life on (ugh, Ikea, ugh), I hired a Taskrabbit, and it was done in two hours, for about forty bucks. #worthit
Also pictured here: the vintage Peruvian Frazada pillows that you’ve heard me rhapsodize about before. They’re from the 1950s, so are all one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces that will appreciate in value over time, and I am obsessed.
More pics below! Would love to hear your thoughts <3
Going to be a bit Grinchy over here for a minute – shocker, I know! – so hold onto your hats. I care about the Fourth of July approximately as much as I care about New Year’s Eve, which is also approximately as much as I care about Ivanka Trump’s thoughts on the ‘male-dominant’ defense industry (which is to say: very close to zero, apart from the potential for mild entertainment via trainwreck).
Here’s a funny little change that’s happened over the last year: I’ve just about dropped all pretensions of adorable-happy-homemaker-ness. I invite my neighbor over for dinner, and break out the Chinese takeout and paper plates (when we eat at her house, we do Thai, just to mix it up). I cook only when I want to, and then only what I want to cook – meaning very, very few things that you’ll end up seeing here, because I don’t want to sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over my food to make it photograph-able, and so it doesn’t get photographed. Decorating for holidays other than Christmas? I don’t think so.
Which – if we’re being totally honest here – feels a little sad, because I miss being that person. I do love to cook, and entertain, and…I don’t know, craft festive star jars. I just don’t right now. I wonder if I ever will again.
So, in a throwback back to less complicated (and far more energetic) times, here are a few Fourth of July-related ideas for you. I will not be doing any of these things this year, because I can’t. But still: They represent an attitude towards life that I sincerely hope returns before my next trip around the sun…and even though the sadness is always there, nipping at the edges, looking at these bits and pieces of my past makes me happy. Hopeful, even.
I just ordered a few of these one-of-a-kind pillows for my couch, and think they’re spectacular. They’re made from vintage frazadas – durable wool fabrics hand-woven by the Aymara people, an indigenous nation located in the Andes. They’re dyed using natural pigments created from plants and insects, and are all woven freehand into one-of-a-kind patterns. You can find them transformed into pillows (as shown here), rugs, wall hangings, blankets, and furniture coverings – but if you’re in the market for pillows, you have to check out Moon Water Co.’s selection.
Related: Moon Water is running a dustbag buy-back program, where you can send in your old dust bags for recycling and receive a $10 credit to use on the site.
But at least two new beanbags have come into our lives, and they have built-in storage (!), so in addition to being glorious chairs they are also little housecleaners. (The one in my daughter’s room is Himlayan faux-fur and would totally work in a non-kid space.)
It is July, and I have no business being obsessed with a jacket. And yet. (And because it is July and no one has any business being obsessed with jackets, Woolrich is having a warehouse sale of up to 50% off. Meaning maybe you should get obsessed, too.)
I did not know that coffin-shaped nails were a thing, because obviously I am derelict in my Kardashian-watching duties and also because I am An Old, but now I am alllll about them.
Can I type with them? Or text with them? Or perform any job- or parenting-related functions with them? I cannot. But I do not care, because they are FABULOUS.
On the much-less-cool end of the spectrum: I have become one of those people who wears drugstore reading glasses (Peepers, specifically). I have finally accepted the fact that without them, I can’t really see, but continue to be wholly incapable of keeping track of where my glasses are. These are like twenty bucks each, which means I can pepper them throughout my car, home, and person…and it doesn’t hurt that they’re surprisingly cute.
Aaaaand there you go. My right-this-moment objects of obsession.
I LOVE coffee. I need coffee. Like, in my bones. And if you had told me – as Francesca did – that there was a drink out there capable of making me want to wake up and drink it more than I want to wake up and drink coffee, I would have said you were lying.
(Have I mentioned how much I hate having to admit I was wrong? I hate it.)
Anyway, I was staying over at Francesca’s house and she was all “let me make you this amaaaaaazing drink with unsweetened cacao powder and raw honey!” and I was all “no, I need you to give me my caffeine and stop trying to make me a person who ingests things like unsweetened cacao powder.” But then I – reluctantly, obviously – tried it anyway, and there you go:
I am now a person who ingests things like unsweetened cacao powder. (Reluctantly.)
I haven’t stopped drinking coffee entirely, because I don’t see why a person would do that unless forced to on pain of death, but this drink has officially (and wholly) replaced coffee as my just-woke-up go-to. Why? Because I like it better. (I. KNOW.) Dare I say, it gives me more energy than coffee (!), but a kind of…clean energy, with zero jitters. And it also makes my stomach all calm and settled (which coffee, bless its heart, does not). And it does all these things for hours before I feel the need to make another cup.
And I even like how it tastes! Which is not a thing I can really say about coffee. (Sidenote: The proportions you see here are just how I like *mine* – you can always up the honey and cream if you like your beverages a little lighter and sweeter.)
You should try it.
How To Make It:
In a mug, combine 1 tbsp cacao powder (you can find it at most supermarkets; I buy mine at Trader Joe’s) and 1 tsp raw organic honey with 6-8 oz hot water. Mix until the honey dissolves, then top with a splash of cream or the milk of your choice (coconut milk is especially good). Gloat silently every time you see a colleague drinking coffee, because you know what you are drinking? SOMETHING BETTER.