Features + The Weekly Edit

The Weekly Edit: When It’s Over

And we’re back.

My Mom and I drove back to Spokane this weekend, where I got the first look at what my eight-month, upper-five-figure remodel hath wrought.  Let’s just say, it isn’t good.  Some things aren’t done.  Several things aren’t done right.  I saw it and cried.  We’ll see where we go from here.  But to think that our former designer sold this to us as a project that would cost half as much and take half as long is just maddening.

We need one of those “disruptive” tech people to start working on disrupting the home construction industry.

Here’s how I will be making it through my week.

This should actually be called, “What I’m Replacing.”  Is it disrespectful to let your dog play fetch with a likeness of the Commander in Chief?  Does that even matter in this day and age?  Some days I think it’s unacceptable, and on other days, I get a certain catharsis from watching her vigorously shake the toy.

Regardless, Avery loves her Trump Toy. It’s durable (I bought the first one before the ’16 election and it just wore out.).  It has good weight for throwing.  And the material is water-resistant, so it never gets soaked with dog saliva.

Where are my ’90s kids at?  I was walking through the Nordstrom Topshop section yesterday and all three of the early-20s sales girls were grooving out to “Only Happy When It Rains.”  Now it’s stuck in my head, and it will never come out.


As soon as I locate it in the pile of suitcases and boxes, I will be wearing this Old Navy Jersey Dress with my LL Bean cargo jacket.  The dress is relaxed and swingy.  Under the jacket, it has more structure.  Add a long necklace, and you’re pulled together, but comfortable, all day.

Also, a plug for the jacket.  Under-$100.  Comes in five colors.  So durable.  One of the best pieces I’ve ever purchased.


Short post this week.  If you need me, I will be repainting and scrubbing things.  And calling contractors, and trying not to be overtaken by my anger.  Nothing makes me crazier than the fact that an entire industry is permitted not to do live up to expectations and cost more and we’re just all cool with it.

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  1. Jessica says:

    The link for the dress goes to a “cozy crew-neck sweater”

    April 29, 2019/Reply
  2. Ruchita says:

    The Old Navy Jersey swing dresses are great. I have multiples of them in the sleeveless style and I’m planning on adding some of the sleeved versions to my wardrobe.

    I love Garbage! I bought their CDs when they came out and I still own them!

    April 29, 2019/Reply
  3. DCAli says:

    Contractors are the reason I drink so much and have wrinkles before my time. Best of luck, get more wine.

    Have you stopped watching HGTV yet? Unsubscribed from all the home blogs? That helps.

    April 29, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Haven’t been able to stomach HGTV for months.

      April 30, 2019/Reply
  4. Christine says:

    I read “an entire industry is permitted not to do live up to expectations and cost more” from my government cubicle and may have snorted a bit too loudly…

    In other -totally unrelated- news, Trader Joe’s new sparkling yuzu coconut water is an awesome afternoon sip, but boy does it burn when it accidentally gets up your nose.

    April 29, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I love their Yuzu hot sauce, I’ll have to try that too.

      April 30, 2019/Reply
  5. Emily Davis says:

    So sorry to hear about your renovation. I just bought a condo in DC and did some minor renovations, and I too find it infuriating that the whole industry is allowed to NOT do what they say and then continue to charge money for their services. Nobel prize to the “disruptor” who revolutionizes this mess!

    April 29, 2019/Reply
  6. Noelle says:

    I feel your pain on remodeling, albeit on a smaller scale. We’re just starting the process of redoing our kitchen and already I am losing my mind. It’s like time and money have no meaning, and we’re all just supposed to be ok with that. Hang in there, and good luck!

    April 29, 2019/Reply
  7. Melissa Malone says:

    I too have experienced the infuriating nonsense of contractors failing to deliver on my already very low expectations (based on previous interactions). We had flooring replaced and they would arrive at 10am and leave by 3pm — calling that a full day of work?? Either these contractors need some serious “disruption” or else I’d like to propose that the rest of us get to adopt their 5 hour work day concept. UGH.

    April 29, 2019/Reply
  8. Clara says:

    Well, just ordered that swing dress is 4 different colors. Thanks for the rec.

    April 29, 2019/Reply
  9. Jenn S. says:

    On your construction woes – I agree; it makes no sense whatsoever that delays and budget-creep are so acceptable in that industry. It makes my project manager brain twitch.

    Yes to Garbage. A colleague happened to hear it on the radio on the way in last week, was humming it, and now I’m in the same boat as you.

    April 30, 2019/Reply
  10. Kathleen says:

    Ouch. I feel your pain, and your anger. It’s just so exhausting to have to make all those phone calls to chase things, and all the while thinking “I thought I was paying someone to make these phone calls for me.”

    April 30, 2019/Reply
  11. Jessica says:

    Here’s the link to the dress! https://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?vid=1&pid=390760142&searchText=jersey+Dress

    April 30, 2019/Reply
  12. MM says:

    LL Bean is having a sale right now – 25% off with code SAVE25. I’ve been eyeing that cargo jacket in mauve for months based on your recommendation…might have to pull the trigger this time!

    April 30, 2019/Reply
    • caitlin says:

      Thanks for the heads up on the code! I’m trying to decide which color… not that I’ll have the occasion to wear it any time soon. High of 87F in DC tomorrow…

      May 2, 2019/Reply
  13. Jenny says:

    We did a gut kitchen renovation on our D.C. rowhouse last year. Everyone told us the contractor we went with was way too expensive, but we went with him because we liked him. A friend/coworker had had him do numerous projects on his house over the years, and he said the same thing that the contractor told us: He’s not the cheapest guy in town, but you’ll be happy with the work.

    And voila, finished on time, precisely on budget, and we were indeed thrilled. We’ve since used him and his guys to do work on our basement and some other stuff around the house.

    All I can tell people about contractors is: Use someone who has a personal reference from someone you trust! That is worth whatever premium you might have to fork over for peace of mind. I’m really sorry your renovation has not gone well. That must be devastating.

    May 1, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It’s more the money and the time. Like if we were here 10%-15% over budget and a month late, I’d be like, “Well, we just won’t use this contractor again.” But we’re 60% over, and 6 months late. Our designer is the root of the problem though. Kyle had DEEPLY unrealistic expectations, and because she wanted the job, she pretended she could meet them. As reality crept in, I started to be like, “Dear, none of this is working” but because she kept telling him it was all working out, he believed the professional.

      Then, a week before the drop dead date to have the house functionally ready, I told the contractor that the designer was telling me to rush ship a vanity (a $400 expense) so it would be here to install by the move in date. He was like, “Why, the bathrooms won’t be done til February” and produced thee email telling her that. We were blown away. Now, we’re trying to finish this on our own in the busy construction season instead of the winter, plan a wedding, and we will never again speak to someone we thought was a friend (but a friend would never screw you over like that).

      May 2, 2019/Reply
      • Jenny says:

        Holy cow, that is…terrible. Just incredibly terrible.

        May 8, 2019/Reply
    • Mary G. says:

      Jenny, May I ask the name of your DC contractor? I am looking for one right now!

      May 3, 2019/Reply
      • Jenny says:

        Glen Sperling with Harmony Remodeling! Glen is pretty much retiring and leaving most of the work to his right hand man henry, who is absolutely wonderful. They have a great crew too.

        May 8, 2019/Reply