The reality's not real | Pretty Handy Girl

The reality is that what you see on TV and magazines isn’t real life. We all know this, but do we tend to forget after a while?

I was watching one of those popular HGTV reality shows the other day. This one happened to be filmed in our neighborhood, so I was very familiar with the home that was being renovated. I drove by the house several times while the work was being done and I only saw the show hosts there three times. Those were the few days that filming was being done. The rest of the time (many months of renovating) I never saw the hosts. But, I’m sure you probably already realized this fact. It’s understandable, the celebrity hosts have to record other shows. And there’s no reason for them to stick around and watch joint compound or paint dry.

As you can imagine, I couldn’t wait to see the episode. Before the show aired I ran into the homeowners while walking our dogs. We chatted for a while and I thought they were a super delightful couple. Both polite, kind and fun to talk to. They both shared my love for our neighborhood. When the show finally aired last month, I was dismayed to see this young couple turned into picky, hard-to-please homeowners that fit into the “script” of the show. But, what surprised me most was the final reveal of the “new” value of the improved house. The home was valued above homes almost 1,000 sq feet larger in similar condition in our neighborhood. I shouldn’t have cared much. But, I did.

I’m not sure why I was feeling anger. I’ve known for a long time that reality tv isn’t really reality. Maybe I was angry because I see too many photos and TV shows that portray “real” people living in perfect homes. I think I was angered because the more we watch, the more we read and the more we pin — we begin to forget that what we see isn’t reality. I think we all need a reminder about how unreal “reality” is.

Last year I found myself feeling less and less adequate after pinning hair tutorials, inspiring rooms and home décor ideas. I could barely open a magazine without feeling depressed that my life didn’t resemble what I was seeing. I had to take a few months hiatus from Pinterest. I read less magazines during that time. I felt the need to put blinders on and focus on my life and my home.

With these thoughts still running around my mind, I was very hesitant to share the news that my home is featured in the latest Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen & Bath Makeovers.


I don’t want anyone to look at the pictures and think that we live in a picture perfect home. Quite the contrary.  To prove my point, I took these photos two days before the magazine shoot:


80% of the time, my home office looks similar to this. (Although Handsome Guy may say it looks like this more than I realize.)


At any given moment I can be in the midst of an organization project or getting ready to sell furniture on Craig’s List. Or, more likely, in the middle of a project where I have to leave everything out while I run to pick up the kids from school.


EVERYDAY the kids come home from school, they are met with a similar sight in our mudroom.  With all the clutter on the floor (and mountains of laundry piling up), they think that a few more pairs of shoes on the floor won’t matter. Never mind that they only have to deposit them 6 inches to the left into the shoe storage bench.


But, the truth is that my home never looks like it should be in a magazine, unless:

1. We have company coming.

2. I pick up everything; I clean everything; and I have a fantastic stylist, like Andrea, to decorate…

The Reality Is...

…and a talented photographer, like Brie, who knows what angle to turn her camera and how to light the shot with lighting and reflectors. Plus, how to adjust and color correct the final images on the computer.


I truly believe that if you had a stylist and a professional photographer come to your home, they would make your home look magazine-worthy too!

And just so you know, this is the REAL Pretty Handy Girl doing real laundry in her most comfortable sweats and jeans. And her REAL day old hair in a bun. I lead a truly glamorous life, don’t I?


Now that you know the reality — if you do want to pick up a copy of the latest Better Homes & Gardens Kitchen + Bath Makeovers issue — you will get some ideas on how to pull off a bathroom renovation on a budget:


And take on a kitchen renovation where you can save oodles by doing most of the labor yourself:


Just don’t forget that your home can be just as beautiful when it’s clean, clear of clutter, and you have professionals to make it look good.

The reality's not real | Pretty Handy Girl



60 replies
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  1. Mitzy Hatfield
    Mitzy Hatfield says:

    Hi, your kitchen is lovely.
    I have been researching apron sinks. What is the make and model of your sink and faucet? It is beautiful. Are marble subway tiles a lot is work to maintain? Thanks!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Hi Mitzy, we have a Kohler 30″ cast iron sink and love it. The marble tiles were sealed after installation and I have no issues with them. They still look great over 7 years now.

  2. Holly Walters
    Holly Walters says:

    Thanks, Brittany! We all need to see that we’re not the only ones who struggle with clutter and non-magazine-worthy homes!

  3. Laralee Boyd
    Laralee Boyd says:

    What is the name of the color that you used on the cabinets in your kitchen ? I saw the picture in the magazine – I have been looking for that color !

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