Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Suck it up!

The highlight of my day today was the arrival of the new member of my family--my Dyson Slim. Man o man, that thing sucks (in the best possible way). Admittedly, I don't have a lot to compare it to considering my last vacuum sucked (in the worst possible way). I was a bit skeptical of the hype, but for the most part the Dyson lived up to its claims. It was fairly easy to assemble (despite the pictoral only instructions...). I was giving it longing glances all day after it arrived this morning at the office. Finally, I was able to try it when I got home. I started with the runner in my hallway. This is the result:


WHERE did that come from???? Crazy. Keep in mind, I don't even have wall to wall. I vacuumed the whole apartment (the cord fits--though barely--through the whole place without changing outlets! Yay!) and emptied the bin. I agree with some of the critics that the emptying of the bin creates dust. I had to use my hands to get it all out too.  If I had dust allergies, I'm sure that would be problematic, HEPA filter or no. The brush bar also had issues--like my old vacuum--with my shag rug. I'll have to resort to vacuuming without the brush bar for that during most cleaning sessions.  Fortunately, that's easy enough to do.



I was relieved that the vacuum was quieter than my last one. The attachments are adequate, though tiny. All in all, I actually can't wait to vacuum again! Did I mention it's cute?


Spread the annoying, crack-like love...

Apparently, according to Variety, Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise is coming to DC. I have NO DOUBT at all that they'll be able to find supremely annoying people to fill the bill. It's one of those shows that is so awful it's good. I don't intentionally watch it, but somehow, it's ALWAYS on, and sucks you in like those Hulu commercials.  The Real Housewives of New Jersey are especially heinous. Just when you thought the series couldn't get any skankier after Atlanta, they up the ante. I particularly love what a positive light the ladies and their families place on Italian Americans. No stereotypes here! Oy. Anyway, if you want to die laughing, check out Scented Glossy Magazines for recaps.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day! Projects...

I hung around here for Memorial Day, and when I say hung around, I mean it. I didn't do a whole lot, despite Leslie's list of activities for me to do (Rolling Thunder, Memorial Day Concert, Parade). I stil have most of today to redeem myself, I suppose! I did, however, get a few things done around the house, including finishing my dresser finally. I also spray painted two Ikea lamps and managed to offload some old stain and paint on a Freecycler. This is good because it saved me a trip to the Hazmat collection site next weekend.

I took about 100 photos of the dresser, but none of them turned out great. As you may recall, I was deciding between spraypainting the feet gold and staining. Well, the stain won out by default because I couldn't actually remove the feet as I thought I could. I also was able to sort of finish the part of the inside of the drawers that showed. At least now it doesn't stand out.


As for the lamps, there's a reason no one ever said that IMpatience is a virtue. I had leftover gold spray paint and thought I'd tackle my old Ikea $15 lamps. But, as you can imagine, having a portion of a can left, covering both lamps was iffy. So, yeah, it didn't. Plus, I sprayed it somewhat unevenly and tried to fix it by...touching it. Um, not a great idea. Anyway, it's not discernable to normal people, but I know it's there! Here's a view.


You can kind of see the silver peeking through (in a place I didn't even notice until the flash exposed it to me). Anyway, moral of the story is to have all the materials you need for a project and take the proper amount of time for it! One of these days I'll actually follow this!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hee hee

I found this when searching for vacuum info. Pretty cute (and quite a popular thing for people to tape...there are a few of them on YouTube!). Enjoy!

My new vacuum

Okay, if I have learned anything about myself, it's that I like to over-analyze purchases. What ends up happening is that I make a spreadsheet, put a bunch of choices in, shop around and around and around and then get overwhelmed and pick something. I started assembling a spreadsheet, and then I found this deal on a Dyson Slim (DC-18) at Macy's and just decided to buy it.  I was not entirely sure how much I wanted to spend on a vacuum...I KNEW I didn't want to spend $500 as Dysons can often be, but I also knew I didn't want to spend another $50-70 on a cheap one that would spew dust around, so I was looking at models ranging from $150 to $250. This model used to retail at $400+ but has been discontinued, though the DC 25 is similar. It got good reviews on Amazon and on Macy's site, and I just jumped on it. It's currently (with the Memorial Day Sale) $249 at Macy's with free shipping. Anyway, I'm hoping this works! It's expected to ship on May 26...I'll keep you posted!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vacuum: RIP

Admittedly, I've been wanting a new vacuum for awhile. Mine just never seemed to quite pick up what it needed to. I got this one, a cheap Dirt Devil, about 6 years ago when I lived in Annapolis. Yesterday, I'm pretty sure it bit the dust, excuse the pun. All of a sudden, it started making a really loud noise, and something smelled like it was burning. I dissembled the vacuum, but didn't see anything that had been sucked into it and stuck or anything. This is where I left off...


It's still like this now. I am not sure what to do. I need a new one, I guess. I'm not sure what kind to get. I've always had an upright, but I'm thinking canister. I need a vacuum that will:

  • Easily go under my bed with good extensions to use for vacuuming my upholstery and drapes

  • Easily work on both hardwoods and my shag bedroom area rug without damaging either

  • Store in a relatively compact space

  • Keep the damn dust inside of itself

  • Be on the quieter side--the current one hurts my ears.

So, any vacuum recommendations?

London 2009: Food, Glorious Food

One of the best things about travel is sampling local delicacies. Or, in the case of London, the delicacies of the world and home-grown pub food! This trip was no exception.

On our first night, after a city planning lecture in Clerkenwell (that Erin and I had a hard time staying awake for), Emily took us to a pub that won 2009 Town Pub of the Year by the Good Pub Guide, a serious commendation in a nation swarming with pubs! The Jerusalem Tavernis the pub of St. Peter's Brewery, based in Suffolk, East Anglia (I attended school in Norfolk, East Anglia). I enjoyed a delicious "Suffolk Gold," which I chose simply because of the name. After our drink, we went to a "gastropub," whic is a relatively recent invention (as in newer than 10 years!). Essentially, it's a pub with an elevated food selection. This gastropub was the Coach and Horses, and I ate a delicious cottage pie with beef marrow toasts. I had a delicious buttermilk pudding with shortbread and strawberries. All of the food is made fresh (not frozen and microwaved), and the menu varies.

We had most of our breakfasts at Costa in the Embankment tube stop. It was wonderful to have a proper cup with coffee--something that happens less and less in the States. Costa is a chain of coffee shops across Britain, and is faltering, largely due to the spread of Starbucks. Indeed, there was a Starbucks adjacent to the shop we frequented. I had a conversation with an Italian barrista one morning (sparked by his seeing my Italian surname on my card). Next door to Costa was a 24 hour convenience store, also a popular stop for us--for water...or Cadbury!

On Saturday, after going to the Tate Modern, Emily and her husband Kerry took us to the Borough Market, which is one of the most fantastic places in the universe! (And the oldest food market in London.) Fresh foods of all types--from produce to Polish Sausage to artisan chocolates to meat pies! I had a delicious round of fish and chips with a diet coke in a real bottle which we ate on tables beside the Southwark Cathedral on a perfect clear day. It was glorious.







That evening, we had a night out in the Clapham section of London with my British friend Amanda (on the right below, with her friend Candice on the left) who I hadn't seen in 10 years! That was the type of pub outing I remember. I ate a cheese toastie (toasted cheese sandwich) and a nice pint or so of cider.


Of course, one of the wonderful things about London is also the proliferation of great ethnic choices. Erin and I had a great "Indian Tapas" meal at Imli in Soho. It was a pretty good meal and a good deal--we had a "buy one, get one" for a 3 course meal for 23 pounds total.

Emily led us to another ethnic choice, a great Thai restaurant in Bloomsbury called Busaba Eathai. My food there was mediocre (though the other ladies had great food), but the decor and atmosphere made up for it.


We followed this up with a pint at the Fitzroy Tavern in Fitzrovia, a pub that the poet Dylan Thomas  frequented. I'm seen here with a lovely cherry  beer.


Breakfast the day we left was at Monmouth Coffee. Wonderful coffee, wonderful brioche, sitting in a small, uncomfortable hard booth in the tiny space with a strange looking student, not so wonderful!

We had tea and sweets many times, of course. I took a fancy toward flapjacks for some reason. Odd, because I never ate them when I lived there. They're kind of a blondie without chocolate chips--an oaty buttery bar. My favorite tea occasion was at the Victoria and Albert, sitting in the courtyard. I think it's because the pot of Earl Grey and Flapjack was SO needed at that point!

On a last food note, I chose a "low calorie" option on my British Airways flights, and I highly recommend! The main courses were grilled fish or chicken with veggies with sides of fruit, and the snacks were also light...much preferred to the greasy dishes my neighbors were getting!

Stay tuned for additional installments!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

London 2009: Old Place, New Experiences and Things

Hi everyone! I'm back from England, and ready to share some of my trip! I had a good time, and am only suffering from mild jet lag right now.

Though I studied in England for a year in college and visited again in '99, there are still many things I hadn't seen or done. Some were simply because I didn't take the time at the time, like...

Changing of the guard:




Or the Sir John Soane Museum (more on that at some later point!). Or, the historic Hampton Court palace:




While these have been around a long time, there were other things that simply weren't there yet! Like the London Eye...






Or, going to the Tate Modern. There were also several new pedestrian bridges.