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What Happened When I Lived According To The Pinterest Popular Page


Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has earned a reputation as a site for Mormon housewives, mommy bloggers, and basic white girls. I am a woman of color with a full-time job, I spend less than 30 minutes getting ready in the morning, and I still like Pinterest. Characterizations of the site as a “

, which is essentially a collage of white girls with impossibly great hair, superhuman nail art skills, and apparently enough free time to create a tidy basket of “postpartum supplies” for “every bathroom” in the house. Suddenly I could see where Pinterest got its reputation.

As someone who has defended the site but doesn’t really love Mason jars (though I do own a glue gun), I wondered what would happen if I tried to live according to the stereotype. Would it even be possible? Would it just be a series of Pinterest fails? Would living by the example of a site accused of putting too much pressure on women make me more or less happy?

The pins I used had been repinned anywhere from 300 to 20,000 times and were all similar in style to other popular pins. I did these activities during traditional nonworking, noncommuting hours (so never between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays), plus two full weekend days.

I’ve never bothered with contouring, because there are very few occasions when I need to look like a Kardashian. Plus, as a biracial woman, it’s hard enough for me to find foundation that matches my skin tone, let alone makeup that

, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I asked my husband what he thought; he stared at me for a long time and then said, “To be honest… I’m not sure I see the difference.” Then: “I mean, your cheekbones look more defined, but that’s really it.” I have no idea if this means I did it right or I did it wrong.

From one angle, I looked sculpted. From another angle, I looked dirty. Then the light hit me just right, and realized I look like a white girl who decided to go as me for Halloween and made the poor decision to darken her skin with makeup.

) perfectly, but after gluing on a few glass stones, I noticed they were sliding around. A lot. I pressed a few back into place, but then more started to fall. After a few more minutes of playing Whack-a-Mole with the stones, I decided to see how a glue gun would fare. It worked perfectly, so I have no idea why I had to buy “industrial-strength” glue for the project. Getting the ribbon tied around the tops turned out to be the most difficult part, but after 45 minutes and three different types of ribbon, the jars were done. I wasn’t entirely sold on how they looked up close, but from far away and with a candle burning, I guess they were sort of pretty. For a fire hazard.

When I started this project, a friend asked me if I was going to make a Mason jar salad; I said yes, and we proceeded to complain about how ridiculous the concept seemed. Haven’t we reached peak Mason jar yet? But after reading through the tutorial (which comes from

I like packing big salads for lunch, but the only plastic container I’ve found big enough to hold them isn’t very easy to transport to and from an office. It (along with the dressing container) takes up a ton of space in my bag (and an office fridge) and adds to the long list of shit I miserably schlep across town and back each day. Plus the plastic containers get ratty really quickly. In that context, the Mason jar is surprisingly sensible.

, I installed a tension rod in the cabinet under my kitchen sink; it quickly became apparent that the rod could support no more than three bottles, and one of them had to be small. I tried repeatedly to hang a fourth bottle, but the rod just kept falling. Finally I realized it wasn’t going to happen and left it with just three hanging. Sure, having a bunch of bottles sitting below in the cabinet sort of defeats the purpose of the hack, but I was determined to make it work. As I lay on the couch, scrolling through the Pinterest app looking for my next pin — my first relaxing moment in a day filled with Pinterest projects — I heard the tension rod and the three bottles come crashing down.

loose — probably because I only used one bobby pin (as instructed). I was afraid if I moved my head, the hairstyle was going to collapse. This did not jibe with my habit of gesticulating wildly while I talk.

How does one do an upside-down Dutch braid without being able to see what she’s doing? I’ve never been tempted to wax my own bikini line, but the fact that I could at least position mirrors strategically to help me see what I’m doing makes me confident the experience would be 99% less frustrating than this braid was.

On the day I was supposed to spot clean sofas and rugs (which: no), clean out the fridge, and sweep and mop the floors, Eric did the floors because I was busy making dinner. He also cleaned out the fridge the day before. Is having your husband do chores the Pinterest way to do them? I’m not sure. The only thing I found mentioning husbands on the popular page was one pin with ideas/tips for making your husband’s lunches for the week.

As the week went on, I grew more and more sick of this graphic, telling me to do things like wash the walls and doors (literally WUT) and insisting I dust my bed before I could crawl into it for the night. I’m fairly certain it was not made for a person who works outside the home. I like the idea of cleaning a little bit each day, but I’d have to modify this one considerably for my own mental health.

, because Harry Potter shit is all over Pinterest, and because what better things does a grown woman have to be doing on a Saturday night? The manicure looked as beautiful and glossy as the sword of Godric Gryffindor. By 4:00 the next day, however, it was peeling off in sheets.

It was similar to the first one, but you layer the polishes differently. It promises to last for two weeks; if it had lasted for two days I would have been impressed. It ended up lasting for about four days before any wear and tear showed, and a few more days with just minor chipping. This discovery was one of the best things that happened to me during my Pinterest week. And…all of 2014.

line, and I ended up doing quite a bit of tweaking after removing the tape, but it looked much better than my previous attempts to freehand a cat-eye. And since I had just discovered so much Scotch tape in my front closet, well…why not put it to good use?

. I figured this look would be slightly more comfortable than a straitjacket, but it actually ended up being really comfy, and it made me look like I gave way more fucks about my outfit than I actually did.

. After several steps and more than a few do-overs, I stepped back and saw that…I had an insane amount of eye makeup on. I didn’t hate it; it was actually really sexy. Though it’s not evident in my selfie, I was wearing more makeup than Liz Taylor as Cleopatra.

; the style looked close to how I wear my hair regularly, but the technique turned out to be completely different. By the time I was done — which took 20 minutes, by the way — my hair was very big and full of secrets. I LOVED it. I put on jeans, a T-shirt, a blazer, a scarf, the bracelet stack, and wedges — all inspired by

This lip cream smelled like caramel and went on like a dream…but it wasn’t as dark as I thought it would be. I was expecting a deep, vampy color. On my skin, it was more of a nice wine hue. It was still bold, but it was a bit of a letdown. (Also a letdown: the fact that it wouldn’t stay on my lips longer than 10 minutes.) But this is a familiar disappointment to any woman of color who has wanted to try a “must-have” makeup product or the latest beauty craze, only to realize it’s not available for her, or doesn’t have quite the same effect with her skin tone or hair type.

It’s always bothered me when (mostly white) women say Pinterest is only for white girls as a way of insulting it. Black women (and women of all races) use and exist on Pinterest. Pinterest is associated with all things stereotypically feminine, but that we only associate things like fashion, beauty, and being a homemaker with

But I realized that while that content exists on Pinterest, you have to go looking for it. During this experiment, I saw far, far fewer brown faces on the “popular” page (and in Pinterest searches that didn’t explicitly mention “black” or “African-American”) than I did white ones. Was it the end of the world? Not really. But it meant I had to disregard a

In an attempt to rock a Pinterest-worthy pony, I used a trick I’ve seen all over Pinterest, where you make two ponytails — the first hidden beneath the second — to give the illusion of a fuller ponytail. I was pretty sure there was no way in hell the second ponytail would actually cover the first. I was wrong.

look like the photo…just not right after I made it. The next day, I re-shot the soup in natural light with a DSLR camera. I didn’t do any fancy editing, and yet it looked so much more appealing this time around.

And all it took was a $500 camera, a $250 lens, and the luxury of being at home during the day, when the natural light was just right for a photo like this. All things most women who work outside the home don’t have.

Of all the popular pins I tried, I found the cleaning and organizing tips were the most useful, because not living in filth is important to me. On the other hand, the beauty, style, and hair pins didn’t feel worth it. Despite all the focus on my appearance, I rarely felt very pretty, likely because I was so stressed about getting everything done.

I think the key to not losing your goddamn mind when surrounded by so much ~pinspiration~ is having clear priorities. Just because a lot of other people (or their pins, Insta photos, and Facebook statuses) imply that something is really important

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/all-we-do-is-pin