issue #279:  hanging things, a really good hat, and dragons  🔨

Issue #279 - August 5, 2022
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A cozy dose of comfort for your inbox. A weekly newsletter with musings on and recommendations for downtime.

Oh, to daydream here. / Photo: Cameron Ruppert Interiors

Morning ! Hope you're staying cool in the heat wave, or staying dry from the thunderstorms, wherever you are in the world right now. A few housekeeping things:

  • Oops, our email address was broken last week. You can now reply to this email and/or write to us at editorial@girlsnightin.co again. :) 
  • Thanks to all of you, we were able to make a $350 donation to The Loveland Foundation's Therapy Fund last month, which provides financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy nationally. We are proud to continue to support this organization making a real impact and encourage you to donate individually if you have the means.
  • Last week’s edition was about how our readers split up household chores. Don't miss it! A lovely endorsement from fellow newsletter writer Ann Friedman: "What I love is that each of these tips comes with context about the people who are sharing this labor, because what works for one household doesn't necessarily work for another."

Now, onto this week's things. ❤️ 

Photo: Lucie France de Ferriere

This Week's Recommendations

  1. One way to declutter your feed: "I follow a lot of fashion brands on social media. But ever since Instagram has become a nightmare to scroll, all I want to do is follow less brands, more people. As a result, I decided to mass unfollow brands and instead opt into their email lists. Now, I'm no longer bombarded by marketing/shopping content on IG, and I have the option to just mass-delete brands’ emails if I'm not in a shopping mood. As a plus, I'm learning that some brand's emails are actually pretty good—Block Shop Textiles’ lively emails are a recent favorite." -Alisha
  2. Speaking of social feeds: Not Okay on Hulu, starring Zoey Deutch, is queued up for the weekend. The movie is about “a misguided young woman who is desperate for friends and fame and fakes a trip to Paris to update her social media presence.” 👀
  3. Check out SENREVE's Handbag Revival Sale, and shop up to 65% off mint-condition bags and gently handled samples. It's better for the planet (no burning of unsold inventory here!), your wallet, and your next outfit. (We love the satchel and belt bag styles.) Ends 8/11.  Sponsor 
  4. Listen up, fellow nerds: Is anyone else insanely excited to geek out about House of the Dragon this fall?! Our favorite Game of Thrones podcaster (Mallory!) is back with a podcast, House of R, dedicated to breaking down the series. The nearly-2-hour first episode breaking down the trailer (yes, just the trailer) is a good listen. Also not to be missed is the official HotD pod, co-hosted by Jason Concepcion, which has the benefit of hearing from the actors themselves. (Matt Smith <3)
  5. Comfort content: A tour of Sienna Miller’s charming cottage. Very The Holiday vibes.  Very cozy. Very much getting us ready for fall.
  6. Because the world needs more sweet neighborhood bakeries: One of our favorite bakers (and GNI readers), Lucie Franc de Ferriere, is raising money to open up her dream bakery in the East Village. Donate to the cause here, then be sure to ogle some of her gorgeous, petal-topped confections. Good luck, Lucie! 🎂🌸
  7. Step aside, NYT mini crossword: Here's a no-frills, new word game to get into. The rules are not clearly explained. It’s part of the charm. (h/t Read Like The Wind)
  8. 3 quick shopping recs for summer:
    1. Psyched about this inclusivity-minded eyewear company that makes stylish sunglasses for *all* face shapes with different nose bridges, widths, and adjustable frames. (We have a code, ALISHA, for 20% off.)
    2. "After over a year of considering, I finally bought a hat from this brand. The cost is steep, but the quality of craftsmanship plus elegant shape make up for it. Bonus points that they have varying sizes and a sizing guide, which is helpful for someone like me whose small head looks silly in most hats." -Alisha
    3. If you're a millennial who's confused about where to shop these days, may we suggest this forgotten brand??
  9. Lol: Life, summarized. 💇‍♀️

This week's Sponsor:
 

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Images courtesy of Caroline Mullen

Here's How to Be Your Own TaskRabbit

by Caroline Mullen

I grew up with parents who DIYed almost every home improvement project possible, and a dad who never let any task go without a teachable moment. My car’s oil needed changing? We did that ourselves in the driveway, boiling in the sun. The hallway ceiling needed patching? I’d be called in to hand tools over, Grey’s Anatomy style. Like most obstinate teens, I dreaded these projects—and they’d often end in me storming off in a huff—but my dad wanted to make sure I never needed someone (especially not a man!) to perform these tasks for me.

This has left me with a penchant for doing everything myself as an adult, which certainly gets me a lot of “wait, you did that yourself?” questions. To which I always reply, why would I call over a TaskRabbit to mount a floating shelf when I could just do it myself? For example: I needed open shelves in my kitchen, so I custom built them; I wanted bedside sconces where there were no junction boxes, so I mounted plugins and hid the wires with cord covers; I don’t have a Samsung Frame TV, but I wanted a framed TV, so I made one

But I know not everyone grew up with handy parents, so I am passionate about teaching and reminding people (women in particular!) that they can absolutely handle simple home improvement tasks themselves. Say it with me: I am my own TaskRabbit! Good? Good. 

 

Essential Tools & Supplies Everyone Needs

(Yes, even if you’re not a DIYer!)

You might already have a number of these things on hand (I’m proud of you <3), but if you’re moving into a new home, hoping to level up your handiness, or just want a refresh from the hand-me-down tools you’ve acquired, these are the absolute must-haves: 

  • Basic Tool Kit: There are just about a million basic tool kits you can find online, most of which will include a hammer, screwdriver, tape measure, wrench, and pair of pliers. I LOVE this set from Character, which is high quality and comes in four gender-neutral colors—no pink-washed “for women” tools here.
  • Cordless Drill: A drill is absolutely essential in my opinion, because without it, you won’t be able to install curtains, mount shelves, or hang heavy art. The starter drill I always recommend is the Black + Decker 20V Max, which comes with several sets of bits and drivers and can handle any regular household task. 
  • A Bubble Level: You can find a level just about anywhere, and they’re essential for making sure frames and shelves are hanging straight on the walls. 
  • Spackle, a Putty Knife, & Sandpaper: After all the DIYs you’ll be inspired to tackle after reading this (right?!) you’ll likely be left with a few holes to patch. I like to use this Dap Drydex Spackling, which reminds me of the purple Elmer’s gluesticks because it goes on pink and dries white so you know when it’s time to sand. You’ll also want an angled putty knife for applying the spackle, and sandpaper to buff it smooth (I recommend 220 grit).  
  • Assorted Nails, Screws, and Drywall Anchors: A variety pack of nails is endlessly useful if you have a habit of decorating and re-decorating your walls, as is a set of drywall screws and drywall anchors for securing heavier items.
  • A good playlist or podcast can help immensely if you tend to get overwhelmed or lose focus during a project. Lately, I’ve been queuing up my own classic rock playlist (which is heavily influenced by what my dad listened to growing up), and my favorite pass-the-time creepy podcast, Lore

 

Yes, You CAN Hang That Shelf!

(Or curtains, or a heavy frame, or…)

You’ll of course want to consult the instructions that come with any given item, but the rules of thumb remain the same, whether it be a shelf, a curtain rod, or a piece of art. This method is intended for drywall, which is what walls in most modern homes are made of, but if you’re unsure if your walls are plaster or drywall, here’s a helpful testing guide. Drywall is inexpensive and easy to drill into (hooray!), but it’s not particularly supportive (boo!), which is where drywall anchors come in. 

Supplies: 

Pencil
Tape measure 
Level 
Cordless drill
Screwdriver
Drywall anchors 
Hammer 
Drywall screws 


How to: 

  1. Mark where you need to insert screws on the wall with a pencil, based on where a shelf bracket or curtain rod needs affixing, or where the frame has hanging hardware. If you need to make more than one hole, use the level to ensure they’re... well, level. A tape measure will come in handy here, too, if you’re hanging multiple things at the same height or a frame’s hanging hardware is a few inches from the top. 
  2. If you have a self-drilling drywall anchor, use your drill or a screwdriver to slowly screw it into the wall, while applying moderate pressure, until it’s completely flush with the wall. Here’s a more in-depth tutorial
  3. If you’re using an expansion drywall anchor, choose a drill bit that’s the same diameter as your drywall anchor (which will be labeled on the package), and slowly drill straight into the wall, being sure to stop if your bit hits something or stalls (we are not trying to mess with the electricity or plumbing here). Once the pilot hole is drilled, carefully press the drywall anchor into the hole with your finger, or gently tap it in with a hammer. Here’s a more in-depth tutorial
  4. Insert the screw into the drywall anchor and tighten it as much as you need with your drill or a screwdriver. Oh yeah baby, you’re basically a contractor now. 

 

Now for Some (Fun) Homework: 

Some favorite follows for inspo

If I haven’t convinced you yet that you can DIY anything, I bet my favorite YouTubers and DIYers can. I spend hours—HOURS—watching videos from these DIYers. Not only have I learned so much, but it’s reinforced for me that virtually any project is achievable. Let me introduce you: 

  • Drew Scott of Lone Fox Home is the most infectiously upbeat YouTuber you’ll ever watch, and he has immaculate taste. He’s done some pretty incredible furniture DIYs, full room makeovers, and just bought a house, so you know the content is gonna be goooood. 
  • DIY with KB is a scientist-turned-interior stylist who’s done some really impressive budget-friendly DIYs, and has super helpful interior design advice on her channel. 
  • The Sorry Girls are three gals from Canada who have built an incredible business doing ambitious DIYs, makeovers, and renovations. They also have a series on their channel that walks you through the basics, like how to patch drywall and how to use a drill
  • DIY Danie has been renovating her farmhouse for over a year, and it’s been incredibly informative (and funny!) to watch her do so. She also completes from-scratch furniture builds and flips.
  • XO, MaCenna has long been a source of decor and DIY inspo for me. She’s more impressive than ever as she’s renovating a cottage in Texas almost entirely by herself.

This Week's Reads

 
  1. How to Recover from Work Stress, According to Science (HBR)
  2. Banned, ignored… adored: How England fought to become women’s Euro 2022 champions (The Athletic) — Even if you're not into sports...it's a great story!
  3. The Age of Algorithmic Anxiety (The New Yorker) — “Interacting online today means being besieged by system-generated recommendations. Do we want what the machines tell us we want?”
  4. The ‘Bobafication’ of American Chain Drinks Is Here (Bon Appétit)
  5. We Shared a Brunch Boy (The Cut) — This article about dating app experiences was a bit cringe-y but we couldn’t stop reading!
  6. Netflix’s lawsuit against the ‘Bridgerton Musical’ could change online fandom (TechCrunch) — The current buzz of our group chats.
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