Removable Wallpaper: Living Room Design Hack < $100

Removable Wallpaper. The coolest thing since Willy Wonka invented Snozzberry Lickable Wallpaper. I gave it a whirl and you should probably observe my method, given my outstanding record of lifestyle makeovers and other Gucci-grade designs on a TJ Maxx Budget.

First, it’s important to go to Home Depot and roam every aisle like a woman on a mission who does not need help. You will be offered assistance by all manner of friendly orange aproned retail associates, but it’s critical to ignore them until you really can’t find what you’re looking for and suddenly there is not an orange apron in sight for 50 square miles.

You should then yell into the void and see if anyone comes running. You know, could be fun?

When you finally geolocate an aproned assistant, be sure to ask him if they sell removable wallpaper like the website said they did at this location. When he responds, “Ohhh, no! Sorry! We don’t sell ANY wallpaper,” you should match his expression with equal lament, continue roaming around with a womanly rage just bubbling beneath the surface, and then lo! You will find the whole rack of removable wallpaper, right next to the blinds and the vinyl decals of Dora the Explorer & co.

Once you have landed upon your manifest destiny of removable wallpaper, consider a pattern that will probably go out of style in the next 3-6 months. This is my strategy for most things and it always fills me with regret because I pride myself on being able to spot a classic choice but WHO KNEW Chevron was not a pattern you should select as a wrapround arm tattoo?!?

I went with the birch tree pattern. (The prior link is an affiliate link to Amazon, and I now wish I had bought it on Amazon since it was cheaper and Prime-eligible. Wah.) The room I would be using it in has quite a lot of natural light. I don’t know what those two details have to do with one another, the birch and the light, but it seems like a relationship David Bromstad of HGTV would make a point to highlight.

I did not pre-measure the wall height nor check to see if I would have remotely enough removable wallpaper for the project ahead of me since I am allergic to measuring tools. You can understand my sensitivity, obviously. In fact, the very idea of calculating something in advance and thus depriving myself of all the fun and serendipity of discovering I won’t have nearly enough of a supply is just not the life I’m about, friends. Life is a highway, and I? I want to ride it. All the way back to Home Away from Home Depot two more times for more removable wallpaper.

Once I got going with the wallpaper, I found it to be easy enough to apply to the wall. Like a giant reusable sticker for your HydroFlask, the rolling out of the paper itself is easy. I had cleaned the walls in advance and kept scissors and a box cutter handy. The paper pattern was just forgiving enough that the margins were plain gray and overlapping one piece over another still looks like there isn’t a great disturbance in the forest.

As you can see from the heavily curated and professionally staged photos of my living room in various states of splendor, we are all, dog included, living our very best lives like the little woodland nymphs we all believe ourselves to be thanks to the new wall coverings. Magnifique!

Other Removable Wallpaper patterns available on Amazon include:

On Watching Girlhood Fade


I believe in patent leather shoes. Cartoon band-aids. Sleepaway camp. The long, coast after you shed your training wheels and before your first lesson in driver’s ed. 

I have been an agent of Girlhood, splashing around in the 3 ft. level of the pool, fully immersed in the game, crying out and suddenly realizing no one was matching my Marco with a Polo. I glimpsed Girlhood riding off on the horizon for other girls. I was clinging to it, playing school in the basements of my friends, passing notes and trading secrets in our own little huddle.

I remember when everyone’s bathing suits started to change, the filling out and filling in and the tuck and the plunge and I was no kind of ready. My growth spurt was never up, it was only out.

Now, I am watching The Girlchild who lives with me board the growth spurt train. I add an extra bathing suit for her to the online Target cart. She will need two for sleepaway camp. She favorites one; I explain the plunging neckline and how it may not be the most comfortable for her. As if comfort were a major theme of becoming a young woman. I tell her this - all this - will not necessarily be comfortable, but it will be manageable, and I mean it.

She has questions about herself and there is acrylic paint all over her legs. Her dreams are so big and she swings between one and the other and oh, yes, her eyes alight at that other possibility there covered in paint. I am willing her dreams to be as outsized as she will allow them. I am willing her a future unrestricted by jeans size or the number of followers or likes. I will wrestle the world’s measuring stick with my own bare hands if I must. I will hide it from even myself.

The other night we were riding the subway home The Girlchild and I. In my wisdom, I had told her to bring a book in case we were waiting at the station for awhile.

A woman sitting across from us was YELL-INGG. I trusted that I would get to hear EVERY-THINGGG that “Bro” kept calling her about even after he (allegedly) hung up and called back. The YELL-ING lady kept repeating it wasn’t her problem (it was) and she was trying already (allegedly), trying to get her $*#!ng card to work but nothing would $*#!ng work 

Meanwhile on the other side of the car the guy with the ear buds and the tattoos lamented on his phone that he couldn’t find Anybody EN-KNEE-BUH-DEE on Facebook anymore.

The Girlchild was reading and thumbing the same page of Percy Jackson. She said it was her first time reading the book, though she had listened to the audio version already. She admitted she was glad which she had, since she knew how to pronounce the brother’s name properly, Chiaron, pronounced “KEER-an.”

It strikes me now that this is one way we navigate the transition of our lives, the transferring from the girlhood train to the one that only women are fit to ride. We look and we listen and we absorb; the world presents itself as a text. It is a mercy and a gift that we then get to write our own chapters, though sometimes casting a different set of characters in a completely distinct setting than the one chosen for us.

I had felt fearful, even as near as the beginning of summer, for The Girlchild to turn the page. Fearful of what she might discover about the cruel world, about her incompetent parents, about her unadulterated self. I am reminded once more that we are reading and writing this text together, riding a rumbling subway, absorbing the input, synthesizing what all will become the story of how this momentum continues, with a denouement that is well beyond our sightline.

I still believe in the sanctity of Girlhood, and she still exists in peeks these days like the fireflies that the Girlchild spent so many summer nights chasing after. (And I hope she always does.)

Review: CreativeLive class - "How to Write a Full-Length Memoir" with Joyce Maynard

I received a free class from CreativeLive in exchange for an honest review. I have taken other self-paced online classes and even have taught a lit-based online course. I enjoy the format of being able to watch and rewatch lessons and to piecemeal my learning where and when it is relevant.

I chose Joyce Maynard’s How to Write a Full-Length Memoir for a number of reasons. I had read her At Home in the World about her love affair with J.D. Salinger and early career and first marriage. I thought it was an excellent memoir, honest and elegant and unapologetic. I have also written a couple of memoir drafts and struggled to make the chapters cohesive. I’m so tremendously glad I chose this class. It was truly more than I expected. The class itself is actually exhaustive learning—I had to take a few days to go through the lessons as they are full of vulnerable stories and practical methods that I’d never used before.

The initial high-level advice about memoir writing Maynard offers isn’t very revolutionary. You can find much of the same advice in Susan Shapiro’s book The Byline Bible on personal essays. I agree with much of the advice, such as not writing to burn someone and not writing about every detail that happens to a person in a season. I just didn’t find it groundbreaking.

The setup works for the digital student but the “audience” setup for the class seemed a little clinical. I wasn’t sure if this was an episode of “The Doctors” with a studio audience watching Dr. Joyce do surgery on their sentences. But once she put the students in the chair next to her, it felt much more intimate. I LOVED the session - Lesson #14 “When you aren’t used to being centre of attention” - with sports journalist Tom Callahan. As a writer, Callahan was working with fascinating material. As a student of memoir, though, Callahan benefited from Maynard helping him find his central theme and throughway for shaping his book.

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Other wonderful high points for me:

  • Very generous analysis of one critical scene in At Home in the World - super gripping and a good scaffolding of how the scene works

  • Lovely and generous live critiques of her students’ work - first sentences shown on a projected screen. Maynard does a great job procuring from the students why the information is important, what the material means, how they can stretch themselves as writers.

  • Helping the students to identify a theme that runs throughout their stories is very actionable and is certainly something I took away from this class as I could see how one susses it out from an ordinary paragraph full of sequential events and other information.

  • The way Maynard shows how she categorized themes for her memoir The Best of Us was an excellent tactical show-and-tell.

The pricepoint for the class, roughly $150, seems more than fair given the material, the rare and intimate looks Maynard offers on her own writing and the coaching she does for several writers in various stages of memoir writing. The course contains 25 live lessons — that’s just over $5/lesson with a master teacher. The added benefit of being able to rewatch the videos makes CreativeLive such an excellent venue and I am considering purchasing Maynard’s Personal Essay course next.

If you’re interested in becoming a CreativeLive affiliate, as well, you can!

You can also take $5 off your first class using the code JOINUS.