Monday, August 31, 2009

Thrift stores...mmm...

...there are a lot. You might not notice them initially, but oh goodness they're there. Just waiting for you to enjoy them!

As most of my shopping is done in fits and starts, I'm going to group them by location. And --- there are several of you who will hopefully be joining me on such an adventure sometime soon.

Central Square/Harvard Square/Kendall Square

Goodwill - the characters Clothing here is very hit or miss, but sometimes you can find perfect dresses or cardigans. Their dishware is particularly disorganized, but there are gems hiding in with all of the chipped cast-offs. And teal dinner trays.

Salvation Army - small but sometimes containing treasures; books are 90% of their price, which makes older books cost pennies.

The Garment District - popular for halloween costumes and their dollar-a-pound pile of clothing, this store also has a classier upstairs room with "normal" consignment

Oona's - crazy vintage clothing that is of varying quality; the store owner is all about hats, so if you have a real interest in vintage hats, she'll probably keep on the lookout just for you.

Food on the way: Pinkberry Yogurt, crepes, Wagamama, or Four Burger.

Jamaica Plain

Dame - wonderful independent store selling selected vintage as well as items from local designers.

Boomerangs - large thrift store full of great clothing (J Crew black skirt for $8 and an Ikat dress for $6) as well as furniture and housewares.

Gumshoe - recently closed and reincarnated into 40 South Street! I haven't been back since the re-branding, but here's hoping it's still wonderful.

Food on the way: Ten Tables, Centre Street Cafe, or Fiore (mid-afternoon scone? um, yes!)


Urban Renewal - much like a goodwill

Goodwill - found some lovely green 60s glasses here...I think I will have to have a Mad Men party one of these days

Amvets - haven't been there yet, but it's on my list

Alter Eco - also on my list! someday soon.

Food on the way: bubble tea at Infusions, Herrell's Cafe, and finally, drinks and appetizers at Sunset Grill

Newbury Street

Second Time Around - classy consignment. Some very expensive, some less so..

The Closet - also consignment. Both have great accesories.

(plus numerous other stores, like Filene's, H&M, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, and many other high-end designers)

Food on the way: pizza from Upper Crust (or, really, if I can afford it, L'Espalier. Because that food is amazing).

There are also many thrift stores across the border in New Hampshire, so I'm hoping to take a day trip up there sometime to explore...let me know if you are interested in such a trip!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

on the merits of food processors.

I spent half an hour ooh-ing and aah-ing over the DVD that came with the food processor. I didn't know they sliced things! My mind is blown. I think, however, that food processors are generally more easy to use regularly if you have, say, a dishwasher. Now, I consider myself a fairly good dishwasher (I love doing dishes, actually), but there are so many little parts. It did make light work of an entire package of oreos, though (oreo truffles for the girls to go with their other options of peach sorbet, coffee ice cream, and lemon sorbet in the freezer). I am planning to make this odd frozen banana through food processor ice cream with a tidge of yogurt concocotion that I read about on Apartment Therapy...I'm a bit of a banana hoarder, and I think I have 8 in the freezer right now. Maybe I'll make banana muffins too...although not in my oven. This apartment is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but the interface design of putting a small oven in a corner so you can only access it from one side was downright dangerous. If I had a normal size oven, I'd be able to reach effectively into the oven to get things. Not so with this oven...I'd be burned even worse than my zucchini bread loaf pan scar (which is, alas, probably going to be a permanent reminder of how much I hate oil-spray stuff). Thank goodness there are two full kitchens on each floor. It makes me remember back to my year in Magill and being off the meal plan. That would be one kitchen for 104 students, where here there is one kitchen for, oh, 7-8 students.

I've also been rocking out to audition pieces lately:

Mendelssohn's Nocturne

and John Williams's The Cowboys

Oof. It's been a long summer away from horn...I just find that I don't enjoy playing alone. Well, the good news is that I won't be that way for long!

All right - off to lab I go!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

I am not going to be able to go this year. Next year, though, I will be there. No doubt. And I will eat oodles of delicious food...cheese curds, mini-donuts, apple ices, DOLE WHIP!, Sweet Martha's Cookies, turkey sandwhiches, milk, french fries. It's gonna be epic.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

showcase showdown!

The closeted Price Is Right addict now has her own worth $2752.10 to be exact.

It includes a brand new MacBook Pro (ohmigosh so pretty!):

a new alternative down comforter and pillows for my soon-to-be bought bed (that I bought for $80 for a queen size!):

a food processor:

a new classic iPod (happy Christmas/birthday/Christmas/birthday/Christmas/birthday, brother!):

three pairs of super cute flats (the pink ones are in honor of my grandmother, who loved her purple suede shoes and completely utterly approves of my addiction to classy footwear and accessories):

a bathroom trash can (that matches the silly slightly bouncy purple-brown floor that kind of matches the speckly purple industrial carpet):

$17 worth of raspberries. Because they are wonderful. And that's really all I need to think about when filling my farmer's market bag:

some lovely frigoverre jars for storing food:

organic sheets from Target for the new bed:

a couple weeks worth of groceries (thanks Trader Joe's!)

an over-the-showerhead caddy:

hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, vinegar all to make some new all-purpose happy crunchy cleaning spray

lots of lovely co-op items to put in my glass storage jars:

It's a lovely showcase. If it only included that trip to Hawaii. Or Belgium. Or New Zealand.

The other worthwhile mention is that I spent so much money that I had to call my credit card company and do all of the identify theft checks to make sure that yes, it really was me making all of these purchases. Oh yes. Yes it was.

EDIT: My mom's opinion on all of this? "How in the WORLD can you have so much time to find pictures of these things? What a waste!" My answer? Even having a zipcar for the whole day doesn't give you the option to wander around each store looking for varieties and what you want. I had to do research beforehand on the sales and what I would buying. That is the way it is...being an adult and making lists and such. So exciting.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The bed problem.

You know that you have a problem with sleeping when either your uncomfortable bed keeps you awake or your uncertainty about what to do about said bed keeps you awake.

Some things I know:

-I will be in Boston for four-ish more years for sure. (maybe more, but certainly not less)
-I don't have a car, but I do have a Zipcar (not large enough for a mattress, so no matter what it would have to be delivered)
-The space in the bedroom lengthwise is rather small, so I do not want a footboard
-In terms of size, I'm at 80% full, 20% queen, -873% extra long twin

I feel like I have a few options: (prices are for the full size)

1. Ikea bed and frame all the way

Malm Bed - $179

Sultan Fossig Mattress: $429

2. Go to a mattress store and get the steel frame there along with a boxspring and mattress. The one that has the best reviews on Yelp in Boston is the Boston Bed Company. Yet---I still feel like I know nothing about mattresses. They are speaking another language.

However, due to the allergies, I think I'd go for the latex line, which puts a full at $1000 even (with a free frame to go with it)

3. My brother sent me some links from Walmart. I have to be honest, I have never seen a Walmart out here in Boston...

Topolino Full Platform Bed $170

4. Here's where I start to drool. And think, man, the thing I want most in graduate school is a good night's sleep. Recently, Sherry and John at Young House Love (DIY-ers that have fantastic taste and a great blog) wrote about their experience buying an organic mattress.

They found this review site for organic mattresses (prices go up $3400. For a queen! Gulp). But, their top pick was The Savvy Rest Natural Latex Mattress, a veritable bargain at $1999 (for a queen).

I decided to check it out...each bed has three layers, which are customized to your firmness specifications and makes the bed a full 11 inches tall. You have 90 days to exchange the layers if you feel like one is too hard or too soft.

Some sort of boxspring or a foundation is recommended underneath (which would be taken care of if I had the Malm). The mattress is made from organic wool, organic cotton, and natural latex. It is thus naturally flame retardant and great for allergies. And there's a 20 year warranty. A full costs $1849.

Then, Sherry and John posted their one month update. And raved and raved. My resistance is crumbling. But to make sure--- I emailed them and asked their thoughts on the issue, with the special caveat that I'm a student and don't know where I'll be in four years, etc.... Their answer?

"I say if you can afford it get the organic mattress! Every night we wonder why we put it off so long. You'll use it forever and love that you took the plunge!

Sherry (& John)"

I emailed my mom with the subject "come to jesus buy a mattress talk" with my quandry, and her thoughts were:

"Get a bed frame-metal frame. Get a box spring and mattress-full size. Get a large swath of cool, bright, happy, fun material or a couple of cool materials. Drape the material on the wall. This creates headboard. The End. Amen!"

I love my mom.

I'm still not sure on what to do, but I'm leaning right now at this very moment for the Malm and the Savvy Rest. Am I crazy? Or just thinking that $2000 is totally worth it for good sleep?


Saturday, August 15, 2009

a brave, brave lady...

A very old friend - a lady-pilot, a WASP (women air service pilot) will be recognized...finally...for all of the work she did during World War II flying experimental aircraft. She is quite an amazing woman, and I feel lucky to count myself as her friend. Betty---way to go. I'm so proud.

For more information about WASPs, see here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

blue dress day.

Some days you just feel like wearing a blue dress. And instead of eating dinner, going up to the penthouse and writing some letters to friends. A truly lovely way to spend a Friday night...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TA assignment: Fall 2009

Using phage to make iridium nanowires? Wow. Maybe I should learn how to do that...I have a feeling that it will be a wonderful adventure.

the new place

I was able to meet with the former McCormick GRTs about three weeks ago and get a sense of my new space: I have a combined living room/kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, and two storage closets (not accessible from my apartment, but just around the corner).

Here's the architectural plans:

And my crude powerpoint additions:

One full Saturday and four carloads later, the apartment looked really---well, rough. Here are some photos of what the place looks like right now, after oodles of unpacking and nearly blowing my 40 hours on Pandora in one weekend:

The view from the front door

Looking to my left (fridge and cabinets)

A bit farther towards the window

Keep moving towards the window

Yeah, I'm a plant lady. It's confirmed. And pay no attention to the wonky-looking dying's a calla lily that according to online sources I'm just supposed to let keel over, and then I put it in a dark place for six months, and then bring it out again to grow and blossom.

The desk (notice the cement bricks to make it even near high enough to work on)

Desk (with freesia from Trader Joe's as a house-warming gift to myself)

Looking back towards the kitchen area (the brown door goes into the bedroom)

Looking back towards the kitchen from the window

Taken from the window

Looking into my bedroom (brown thing is the built-in closet)

In my bedroom (taken from the doorway looking towards the window)

Bed! Not so comfortable, but that is how it is sometimes.

Bed plus part of the built-in

Looking at the shoe rack while standing in front of the closet

Looking straight ahead out my bedroom door while standing in front of the closet

Door to the bathroom (sorry about the blurriness) ---the last three pictures were taken in the exact same spot; shoe rack and bed to the right, door straight ahead, and bathroom to the left


Standing next to my bed looking out into the kitchen area

I'm still trying to figure out what and how I will be getting things, but my list does keep growing (the thoughts about how to most advantageously expand my arsenal of cooking supplies keeps me awake at night)

-KitchenAid Mixer (nope, not waiting until I get married to get this one, despite the plethora of suggestions that this is the easiest way to acquire this item)
-Pizza stone
-more cookie sheets and drying racks
-more Pyrex glass containers
-food processor
-air popper (for popcorn and movie nights!)
-rice cooker

Other items include a bed (oy. They let me borrow a twin bed, and while wonderfully nice of them, it's time to buy my own bed), BRAND NEW SHEETS, cause ya'll, I am so done with these faded lavender XL twin sheets, a desk/table, chairs, and most likely a bookcase of some sort. But right now---it's just lovely to be somewhere myself, even if my plants are all scattered on the floor, dishes I need to wash are piled on all of the countertops, and I have a bottle of vodka acting as a door stop. Welcome home.