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:

Who are these “Spiritual Gangsters” on the prowl?

The “Spiritual Gangster” athleisure brand caught my attention, as it was created to do.

I first saw the Spiritual Gangster apparel as a walking advertisement worn by the women, most of them white, at the yoga studios I frequent. Apparently, Deepak Chopra also proclaims himself a Spiritual Gangster, along with celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and Katherine Schwarzenegger. There really seemed to be a great spectrum of folks who were a self-proclaimed part of this spiritual gang.

Yet, spiritual people, it would seem, do not need to announce it.

And gangsters, it would seem, would not be interested in yoga.

What was I missing? Further, what does it mean to be a wearer of the SG swag, to proclaim the so-called gospel of gangster threads?

Spiritual Gangster Holdings, Inc. is a private company, founded by yoga enthusiasts. The company purports to be a “a gang of spiritual people who want to make a difference.” They consider themselves spiritual in their dedication to the practice of yoga, and their behavior of banding together to support philanthropic causes, such as Feed the Hungry, from which a portion of their athleisure proceeds are donated, is where the gangster piece derives. 

So, as I distill it, the brand is about being a gang united by yoga and philanthropy. In effect, they are seeking to flip the script on “gangster” and what an intimidating band of people hellbent on a cause can do--for good.

“Spiritual Gangster,” as monikers go, is an oxymoron. To be spiritual can be manifested - or not - in a myriad of ways, most of them peaceful (though I’m sure plenty of jihadists consider themselves deeply spiritual). To be a gangster, in my view, though, commands some measure of perilous arrogance, whether one simply hails from a a rough and tumble territory, or truly makes her business preying upon the lives of those deemed enemies.

As a yogi, I like a good pair of yoga pants that keep my organs from spilling out of place when I’m in downfacing dog. I’m not particular about brands with yoga; I sweat all over them anyway. But the Spiritual Gangster brand continues to give me pause, long after I found out that they sell a $98 sports bra. Because I’m not sure if I’m bold enough in either of my practices -- yoga or do-gooding; spirituality or philanthropy; inwardness and togetherness -- to make the kind of statement that this athleisure wearers everywhere are making.


Perhaps it’s hubris that I lack, or perhaps it’s humility that I want to attain, but I feel both admiration and envy at the yoga gangsters who aren’t afraid to say who they are, of what they strive to be a part.

I think upon the times when Jesus told witnesses to his miracles not to tell anyone what they had seen. But, almost in the same breath, Jesus tells his apostles to be unapologetic about who they are and if any dismiss them, to shake the dust off their feet as they make their swift exit.

Even Peter’s betrayal of Jesus is, at its core, a denial of core identity. Peter denies that he is friends with Jesus. That he was part of his spiritual gang, as it were. 

At the beginning of many a yoga class, the teacher will tell students to set their intention. For the class, for their day, for their lives. I usually say to myself that I hope I’ll not give up and try to complete the whole class.

The next time I’m on the mat, though, I think I’ll modify my intention, perhaps to be both more spiritual and more gangster. Even if no one can tell.

On dressing mannequins

Ann Taylor occupies two floors in Boston’s Faneuil Hall historic shopping plaza. On the second floor, there are narrow shafts for window displays that are only wide enough for my 23 year-old petite body to stand very still. Problems ensue when I am tasked with dressing one of the mannequins (size 2, all of them, because when have you seen a mannequin holding a hamburger?). My managers at Ann Taylor never say, “Oh, Kendra, can you go simply drape this fetching scarf around the neck of a mannequin upstairs?” They never ask, “Could you be a dear and quick like a bunny change out the broche on that one’s blouse up there?” They are prepared to exploit me for their big window dressing asks, like a child with tiny fingers taken out of school to sew sequins onto gowns. Only I am being paid a fair wage. And am not denied an education. (Forget the child labor comparison. I was being hyperbolic.) My managers see that I am scheduled to work and order the full rack of tweed blazers steamed and for the mannequin in the upstairs windows to don the new angora turtleneck and wool pants with no zippers.

Photo by  Fancycrave  on  Unsplash

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

I am a visual assistant at Ann Taylor in the hours before the shop opens. Except I am not assisting anyone, per se, besides the mannequins out of their naked Barbie doll ignominy and into the season’s latest couture. This early shift is an absolute idyll for an introvert. It’s so peaceful up in the window shaft. I get to watch the cobblestone paths of this Boston tourist destination come alive. From the second floor window, I see a queue of New Bostonians preparing for their citizenship swearing in outside of Quincy Market. I observe flocks of pigeons pecking at last night’s stale popcorn. I wrestle the mannequins and watch the sun come up. The best and worst part is: not a soul bothers me.

So when I get stuck in the window, no one can hear me banging. The door to the window shaft has suddenly swung shut and I cannot seem to bump it open. I knock on the window, but no one looks up from below on the cobblestone because it is mainly just pigeons and a hungover security detail. Actually, no. That guy doesn’t work security. He’s a leftover from Cheers last night. No one inside the store can hear me yelling, because it is just the manager and I and she is a volunteer gospel choir director, so she is most likely opening up the cash wrap downstairs and practicing, “I Surrender All” while I am upstairs singing, “Here I Am, Lord!!” and hoping that a merciful god/manager lets me out of here soon. I begin to think about how little air there really is in this window shaft and how sad that I may spend my last Christmas on earth with the Madame Tussaud’s rendering of my junior high nemesis and just as I begin to feel tears pooling, Nestor, the custodian, just happens to be swapping out a broom upstairs and hears my plight. Nestor does not speak much English and my Spanish is mostly garbage, but!! That day, Eso dia! He heard my cry for help and answered the call perfectly. I won’t be spending Christmas as a mannequin in rigor mortis after all. Praises be!