Monday, September 24, 2007

Going Carless: to Car or Not to Car, That is the Question

I got rid of my car this weekend. Well, not really, it's just visiting its grandparents because it has some issues that prevents it from being reinspected in DC. I'm hoping Dad and Philip, whizzes of mechanics that they are, can fix it. If not, I have some decisions to make.


I've considered going carless. Legions of people out there talk of how great it is--for the environment, for their lives, for budget. I've had a car since I was 21, which frankly, in America is a little late. I have my doubts about whether I could do it or not.


My parents think it's NUTS to even think about it. It's as if I suggested I was going to forego clothes or oxygen (though I might have to do the latter if everyone keeps driving like they do...). I think I *could* do it. I have fairly okay access to transit--via metro within a 15-20 minute walk and via the bus down the block. Joining a car share service would expand my options more.


Ask.com has a cool feature where you can now calculate driving directions and distances, by the way--check it out.


Walking distances from my home to:


  • Work--3 miles, 57 minutes

  • Union Station (metro, Amtrak)--1 mile, 20 minutes (that estimate was dead on by the way)

  • Gym--1.3 miles, 27 minutes

  • Safeway--0.9 miles, 17 minutes

Other shopping and services are within a 15-20 minute walk. I have a coffee shop, library, 7-11, and restaurant within a 5 minute walk or so and there is one mini mart with erratic hours a little closer than that.


I'd love to hear opinions from people out in cyberspace--is this something you've tried? Where do you live?

Going Carless: to Car or Not to Car, That is the Question

I got rid of my car this weekend. Well, not really, it's just visiting its grandparents because it has some issues that prevents it from being reinspected in DC. I'm hoping Dad and Philip, whizzes of mechanics that they are, can fix it. If not, I have some decisions to make.


I've considered going carless. Legions of people out there talk of how great it is--for the environment, for their lives, for budget. I've had a car since I was 21, which frankly, in America is a little late. I have my doubts about whether I could do it or not.


My parents think it's NUTS to even think about it. It's as if I suggested I was going to forego clothes or oxygen (though I might have to do the latter if everyone keeps driving like they do...). I think I *could* do it. I have fairly okay access to transit--via metro within a 15-20 minute walk and via the bus down the block. Joining a car share service would expand my options more.


Ask.com has a cool feature where you can now calculate driving directions and distances, by the way--check it out.


Walking distances from my home to:


  • Work--3 miles, 57 minutes

  • Union Station (metro, Amtrak)--1 mile, 20 minutes (that estimate was dead on by the way)

  • Gym--1.3 miles, 27 minutes

  • Safeway--0.9 miles, 17 minutes

Other shopping and services are within a 15-20 minute walk. I have a coffee shop, library, 7-11, and restaurant within a 5 minute walk or so and there is one mini mart with erratic hours a little closer than that.


I'd love to hear opinions from people out in cyberspace--is this something you've tried? Where do you live?

Bargain Weekend!

I went home to Western PA this weekend. My Aunt Jean had a 70th birthday party for my Aunt Shirle who is battling cancer. It was a nice simple affair with some delicious crescent roll-wrapped breakfasty things and great cake.  After driving Shirle home, I implored my mom to stop at the Salvation Army thrift shop. Boy, was I glad I did. I ended up with some great finds:


New_finds


I found the pottery pieces first. I've been envying cool pictures in design magazines of groups of white pottery. It's been trendy, like this from West Elm, but I love how fresh it looks. I spent a whopping $4 on all 3 pieces. One is a Royal Haeger.


I've also been eyeing some white pottery lamps on Ebay...good thing I held out for this gem--4.99! I have to get a shade for it, but it's still a bargain.


And, last but certainly not least, this solid mahogany nightstand for $12.99. I am thinking of either stripping the blonde finish and staining it a dark ebony or painting it black. I've never done the stripping and staining thing so I'm not sure about that.


I rounded out my purchases with a set of 4 juice glasses with oranges on them for my mom at $1.99 and this mod thin scarf for $0.99.


Mod


I'm planning on using it in my hair or on a bag.


Mom and I also went to Marshalls, where I nabbed a set of Ralph Lauren floral pillowcases for $5, and to the Dollar Tree where I got a "pierced porcelain" looking votive.


Dollar_store


I wish they'd had more of them, because I would have bought a few.


Now for the not-so-bargain. I got this alarm clock on ebay. It's very vintage and cute, but c'mon. It was one of those "in the moment" lapse of judgement things...



Clock_2


I tested the alarm--it works, though I doubt it would get me out of bed. And the ticking would probably drive me bonkers, so as ugly as my digital is, I guess I'll keep on using it!

Bargain Weekend!

I went home to Western PA this weekend. My Aunt Jean had a 70th birthday party for my Aunt Shirle who is battling cancer. It was a nice simple affair with some delicious crescent roll-wrapped breakfasty things and great cake.  After driving Shirle home, I implored my mom to stop at the Salvation Army thrift shop. Boy, was I glad I did. I ended up with some great finds:


New_finds


I found the pottery pieces first. I've been envying cool pictures in design magazines of groups of white pottery. It's been trendy, like this from West Elm, but I love how fresh it looks. I spent a whopping $4 on all 3 pieces. One is a Royal Haeger.


I've also been eyeing some white pottery lamps on Ebay...good thing I held out for this gem--4.99! I have to get a shade for it, but it's still a bargain.


And, last but certainly not least, this solid mahogany nightstand for $12.99. I am thinking of either stripping the blonde finish and staining it a dark ebony or painting it black. I've never done the stripping and staining thing so I'm not sure about that.


I rounded out my purchases with a set of 4 juice glasses with oranges on them for my mom at $1.99 and this mod thin scarf for $0.99.


Mod


I'm planning on using it in my hair or on a bag.


Mom and I also went to Marshalls, where I nabbed a set of Ralph Lauren floral pillowcases for $5, and to the Dollar Tree where I got a "pierced porcelain" looking votive.


Dollar_store


I wish they'd had more of them, because I would have bought a few.


Now for the not-so-bargain. I got this alarm clock on ebay. It's very vintage and cute, but c'mon. It was one of those "in the moment" lapse of judgement things...



Clock_2


I tested the alarm--it works, though I doubt it would get me out of bed. And the ticking would probably drive me bonkers, so as ugly as my digital is, I guess I'll keep on using it!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Organizational Idea: Filing Clips

I was at the National Building Museum gift shop and saw some fun binder clips with things like "File" and "To Do" printed on them, like these. I liked the concept, but didn't really need a bunch of binder clips like that. Heck, I had so many binder clips at home that I didn't use. But, seeing these put a lightbulb above my head. It seemed like a good solution for my constant paper problem.


I tended to have piles of papers around often...and it drove me nuts. I'd put my bills in a paper sorter, and they would fall all over the place. I'd have a pile of things to file (I'm perpetually putting that off) as well as action items that needed me to do something with them. I decided to make my own giant binder clips, with labels printed on my labelmaker: "To Do," "To File," and "To Pay." Here's what the individual clip looks like (wee bit fuzzy...):


P9160201_2


I use these to contain my papers, and pin them with silver pushpins on the inside of my coat closet door. Of course, this would work just as well on a wall or bulletin board...but for me, the closet door works well.


Hangers


The best part is that it gives me a self-contained limit to how long I can allow the filing to pile up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beets

Beetsandoranges


I made fresh beets for the first time today. They were a delivery from the Greengrocer. I was surprised at how "earthy" they tasted compared to canned (that wasn't my word...I got it from a cookbook). Roasted them and tossed them with slices of juicy orange. Delish!


Oh, and I also sauteed the leafy tops with some onion and olive oil...rather good.

Beets

Beetsandoranges


I made fresh beets for the first time today. They were a delivery from the Greengrocer. I was surprised at how "earthy" they tasted compared to canned (that wasn't my word...I got it from a cookbook). Roasted them and tossed them with slices of juicy orange. Delish!


Oh, and I also sauteed the leafy tops with some onion and olive oil...rather good.

Commuter Sentences: Rainy Tuesday

Blurredumbrellas_2I took the Circulator today and discovered that it's the cheapest way to travel. Because it's only $1, and transfers to other buses are free, I can get home for a buck, including the transfer to the D6.  I find it funny that someone who regularly indulges in buying coffee out at like a 1000% markup is being stingy with 35 cents.


Anyway, at the Union Station bus stop waiting for the D6, there was an umbrella salesman. I wish I had a digital recorder so I could share this because I'm sure my writing will not adequately convey this.


"It's GO-ing to RAAIIIN. Buy an umbrellaaaa. Only five dollahs.."


That's totally not getting the inflection in his voice. There was something so funny about it. He was really industrious. Even though no one was walking past, and the only people near him were me and another woman who had been standing there for quite awhile (i.e. clear we weren't interested), he continued to chant and chant and chant. You gotta admire that.

Commuter Sentences: Rainy Tuesday

Blurredumbrellas_2I took the Circulator today and discovered that it's the cheapest way to travel. Because it's only $1, and transfers to other buses are free, I can get home for a buck, including the transfer to the D6.  I find it funny that someone who regularly indulges in buying coffee out at like a 1000% markup is being stingy with 35 cents.


Anyway, at the Union Station bus stop waiting for the D6, there was an umbrella salesman. I wish I had a digital recorder so I could share this because I'm sure my writing will not adequately convey this.


"It's GO-ing to RAAIIIN. Buy an umbrellaaaa. Only five dollahs.."


That's totally not getting the inflection in his voice. There was something so funny about it. He was really industrious. Even though no one was walking past, and the only people near him were me and another woman who had been standing there for quite awhile (i.e. clear we weren't interested), he continued to chant and chant and chant. You gotta admire that.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Safeway is Crazy Way

Safeway I honestly didn't think it would be possible for me to dislike my grocery shopping experience at Safeway more than I already did. I was mistaken. I went around 7 this evening to pick up a few things. I thought that because I had such low expectations, my experience would exceed them. Again, I was mistaken. I arrived at the Hechinger Plaza Safeway a little after 7 and just arrived home a few minutes ago. I was in line approximately 40 minutes.  And, when I called my parents while in line (might as well multitask right?) their comments were "Boy, where are you? It's LOUD." It seems everyone in NE DC decided to go grocery shopping tonight. Picture it: kids running around, standing up in carts screaming, parents screaming (and not necessarily at kids)...it was chaos. The line was about 6-10 deep (hard to tell from the back of it). And, of course, in all the chaos, I couldn't exactly think about what I wanted to get. I got what was on my list and a few other things, but it took me walking back and forth through the store a trillion times. Okay, here ends my vent fest. There just needs to be a better way. I guess I'll be going back to my alternative grocery methods. Procuring food shouldn't be soooo painful!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Favorite Vintage Finds



I thought I'd share some of my favorite vintage finds that I have in my home. You know those things that you find while browsing at a shop somewhere and debate in your head about....and finally succumb to and you're so glad you did? That's these. (There are also the things you regret buying, but I'll save those for another time). So, here goes...


Collage_4


1. I got this ottoman at Who Knew Retro Mod, a very cool retro furnishings store in Pittsburgh (incidentially, it's in the 16:62 Design Zone, which has quite a few other fun shops). The proprietors sold it to me for $30 because they had it for so long. ...as I was buying the chair in number 6 at the same time.  I cleaned up the vinyl and brass buttons which were tarnished, and it looks great!


2. I bought this antique button when I was studying in England, from a shop called "The Button Lady" in Hampstead. I have it in a tiny frame, and it's very meaningful for me.


3. These cute little bird taper holders are vintage Pigeon Forge pottery that I bought on ebay.


4. This is rather a "former" favorite. I bought a little depression glass ring case when I was about 14 at a shop called The Apple Tree or something like that on Maple Street in my hometown of Greensburg, PA. I decided to put it on a shelf in my bathroom...and that is where the top met its demise. I have kept the shards to hopefully use in some craft project...


5. This lamp is part of a set of boudoir lamps I bought on an impulse when I was buying my coffee table at Miss Pixie's. They don't really fit into my boudoir, but I couldn't resist. Miss Pixie had them on a ebonized sideboard, and I fell in love. Someday, I'll find the perfect place.


6.  I really debated buying this chair. I was on a business trip in Pittsburgh and had to put it in the backseat of my car. I was staying with my parents during the trip, and they thought I was NUTS, but I loved it. I was looking at very similar chairs at Storehouse and Room and Board at the time that would have cost hundreds of dollars more...and would have taken up more of my apartment's precious space.


7. One of a set of small trays from England that I bought on Ebay.


8. I fell in love with this tiny gem when I recently went antiquing with Kim in Fredericksburg, VA. I couldn't get a good picture, but it's an antique measuring tape...and on the tape, one side says "Granola The Finest of All Digestives." I later saw this tape online for over $100...I don't know if it's worth that, but I only paid $19.


9. I bought this set of luncheon plates in Berkeley Springs, WV while on a "girls" weekend with my mom. If you'd described them to me, I never would have thought I'd like them, but I couldn't pass them up!


10. This is one of my purchases from Natalie Silitch's. A vintage French cafe plate. I use it as a candle coaster.


There you have it...what are some of your favorite finds?

Hanging In There

0811839974_norm Last night, my commute was...interesting. I left the office late for no really good reason, and decided to go to Trader Joes. I decided this because I really needed groceries and knew if I went home first, I'd never leave. Getting there from my office necessitates either walking 20 minutes or taking the "Circulator" (for non-DC people, it's a bus). I decided on option 2, after having trained in the a.m. TJs wasn't as crazy as it could be. The line, though it was long, moved fairly fast. I took the Circulator back toward home to Union Station and then waited for my D6 bus. Realizing that I'd have to wait 20+ minutes for the next one, I decided to walk the 20 minutes with my 2 heavy bags (though fortunately, I had canvas ones, so I could carry them on my shoulders). I passed the homeless guy who stands near the Exxon by Union Station. I mentioned him here. As I passed, he said "Hang in there! You'll [unintelligible]" I couldn't help but smile. It truly cheered me. I've been tired and down this week, and just feeling less than 100% (okay, less than 75% if I'm being honest), and he raised my spirits. Sometimes, we get inspiration from the most unlikely of places.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Object Yen: Cane-e-licious

After seeing the home of Leigh Batnick of Jezebel over on Design*Sponge, I am majorly loving cane beds.


The Inspiration:


1_2


And various renditions (though not as cool) from...


Ballard Designs....


Mb152_1


Restoration Hardware....


Prod1019025_fall07_2 


Lands End...


Untitled1


And you know my eyes will be peeled from now on!


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Country Time and Singin' the Blues

Well, my big Labor Day trip to Nashville and Memphis is over--hard to believe. I was surprised how much I enjoyed both cities. Liz and I did a lot in our 4 days.


Ryman_2 In Nashville, we went to Bellemeade Plantation, The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and the Grand Ole Opry.  I also walked past the Tennessee state capitol building. I have never been a huge country music fan, but recently, I have been appreciating it more and more. As I told my dad when he said "You never liked country when you were a kid...you'd make fun of me!," it's one of those things that you need more life experience to understand! I walked away with 2 country music CDs at the end of it all. One of the exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame was on Ray Charles, and in a taped interview, he quoted, I think, Duke Ellington, who said "There are only two kinds of music: good and bad," and I am learning more and more how true that is.


Sun_5 In Memphis, we did the "Elvis" thing. We went to Graceland. We also went to Sun Studios, where many famous people got their start--including "the King," Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. It's also where one of my favorite bands U2 recorded Rattle & Hum. At night, we went to B.B. King's blues club. I bought the CD of one of the guys who sang there--he played guitar with his tongue, and so I had to get his music!


Our last morning, we went to the National Civil Rights Museum. This was a bit intense. It's located in the old Lorraine Hotel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. I left feeling a little down, in thinking about how recent all of the events were, Mlksite_7 and how truly, there is so much work to go in achieving equality for all. I was definitely amazed by the courage of all those who were engaged in the fight for civil rights. It's truly inspiring. But, at the same time, the experience of seeing King's assassination spot was sobering...it was a somber end to our fun trip.


Country Time and Singin' the Blues

Well, my big Labor Day trip to Nashville and Memphis is over--hard to believe. I was surprised how much I enjoyed both cities. Liz and I did a lot in our 4 days.


Ryman_2 In Nashville, we went to Bellemeade Plantation, The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and the Grand Ole Opry.  I also walked past the Tennessee state capitol building. I have never been a huge country music fan, but recently, I have been appreciating it more and more. As I told my dad when he said "You never liked country when you were a kid...you'd make fun of me!," it's one of those things that you need more life experience to understand! I walked away with 2 country music CDs at the end of it all. One of the exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame was on Ray Charles, and in a taped interview, he quoted, I think, Duke Ellington, who said "There are only two kinds of music: good and bad," and I am learning more and more how true that is.


Sun_5 In Memphis, we did the "Elvis" thing. We went to Graceland. We also went to Sun Studios, where many famous people got their start--including "the King," Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. It's also where one of my favorite bands U2 recorded Rattle & Hum. At night, we went to B.B. King's blues club. I bought the CD of one of the guys who sang there--he played guitar with his tongue, and so I had to get his music!


Our last morning, we went to the National Civil Rights Museum. This was a bit intense. It's located in the old Lorraine Hotel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. I left feeling a little down, in thinking about how recent all of the events were, Mlksite_7 and how truly, there is so much work to go in achieving equality for all. I was definitely amazed by the courage of all those who were engaged in the fight for civil rights. It's truly inspiring. But, at the same time, the experience of seeing King's assassination spot was sobering...it was a somber end to our fun trip.