Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Ever since I watched Food Inc. a few months ago, I’ve been doing almost all my food shopping at Whole Foods. I know it’s more expensive but I feel like I’m doing good things for my health and it reminds me of Wegman’s (sigh).

Image: stephaniesthoughts.wordpress.com

Have you seen Food Inc yet? If not, rent it ASAP.

Anyway I was in a rush today so I grabbed some items at Stop & Shop instead. Being that there were only two lines open with actual cashiers I opted for self-checkout. Oy. I guess I’m used to shopping there with Matt (my professional grocery bagger) because I forgot how frustrating it is to scan and bag the items yourself.

I know it’s never going to be a perfect system, but I find it pretty contradictory that after scanning a few things the robot lady yells, “THE BAGGING AREA IS FULL. PLEASE BAG YOUR ITEMS BEFORE CONTINUING.” I scurry down to bag up some of my stuff and she starts barking, “IF YOU’RE FINISHED SCANNING, PLEASE SELECT FINISH AND PAY. IF YOU’RE FINISHED SCANNING, PLEASE SELECT FINISH AND PAY.” Make up your mind, bitch! Give me more than five seconds to bag my crap, ok?

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Bidder’s Remorse

While chaperoning last weekend I was surprisingly impressed by my students’ attire. I don’t know if it’s where I work or just teenagers in general, but all they wear to school are sweats. I don’t mean jeans and a sweatshirt, I mean leggings and a t-shirt, pajama pants –  they look halfway to homeless.

The young men on our trip looked very nice but let’s be honest, men just wear a suit and they’re done. The girls put together some pretty fabulous and sophisticated outfits that I took note of.  Two girls in particular were wearing these Steve Madden boots in black:

Image: Overstock.com

The boots really look a lot better in person, especially after they’re been broken in a bit.  I scoured the internet for them and finally stumbled upon a gently used pair (in my size!!) on eBay. And I bid. And I lost. The boots are from last season so they are gone for good.

So I looked and looked some more and found these from Naturalizer:

Image: Naturalizer website

What do you think? I like the hardware on these but I’m not crazy about the bottoms or the slightly pebbled look to the leather.  I should also point out that grandmas wear Naturalizer. Now I love my grandmas, but we don’t share shoes. Thoughts?

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Belated Resolution

Now that we’re halfway through February, it’s finally time for me to settle on a resolution. Last year I vowed to eat more vegetables, and while I haven’t been as successful as I hoped, I definitely made some strides.

This year (drumroll, please) I am going to use fewer paper products around the house. That means fewer paper towels, napkins, and plates. Growing up, we used paper plates for pretty much everything except  dinner. The thought of using a real plate for an English muffin or a turkey sandwich seemed INSANE to me. We didn’t own cloth napkins (that I know of) and paper towels were always in abundance. No more!

On a trip to the outlets recently I bought an eight pack of these for $4:

Amazing! I use them to clean up spills on the counter and wipe my hands while I’m cooking. In the few months that we’ve owned them we’ve probably reduced our paper towel use by 70%. Now we only use paper towels for bathroom and biohazard (cleaning a toilet and cleaning up dog puke).

To cut down on paper plates, just use the salad plates that come with standard place settings; they are the perfect size for smaller meals and you can fit a million in the dishwasher. We have the Apilco from Williams Sonoma, but here are some other cute ones:

Williams Sonoma Apilco

Anthropologie's Birdwatcher's Plate

Emile Henry Urban Salad in Sky Blue

Mikasa Swirl White Plate

Finally, napkins. At first it felt a little strange using a fabric napkin with my grilled cheese, but I’m already used to it. Cloth napkins can be very inexpensive and washed a million times. When we’re not entertaining, we reuse them a few times before throwing them in the wash. If you want them to stay stain-free and newer looking longer, buy patterned napkins. They hide a multitude of sins. These are a few Crate and Barrel is now selling:

Marimekko Lepo pattern

Subtle and pretty

Ula Green pattern

Mod and funky

Cecilia Pattern

Fun for summer

While you may have to lay out a few bucks in the beginning, the money you’ll save on plates, towels and napkins is recouped almost immediately. Happy belated New Year!

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In case you missed part one, here you go.

Ohhhh, where to begin. Since realizing that my second Keurig brewer keeps shutting off, I called Keurig no fewer than five times. Every time I was greeted with several automated messages that said, “We’re experiencing longer than usual wait times” blah blah blah. I would wait for five or ten minutes and then have to hang up because, well, I had crap to do!

Backtrack a few weeks: when Keurig sent me my second machine, the rep told me she would email me a shipping label so FedEx could pick up the first one. Six weeks later, no label. So yesterday I receive this email:

Despite our conversation, we no longer require your brewer back for analysis.  However, as proof that your brewer is no longer functioning, please return your K-Cup holder in a padded envelope and mail it to … Please return your K-Cup holder to Keurig as soon as possible for proof of ownership.

Are you freakin’ kidding me? I am supposed to go PURCHASE a padded envelope large enough for a K-Cup holder and then drive over to the post office and PAY to ship it back to you? Seriously? Not April’s fools?  Am I being punked? Ashton?

Well today I finally got through and achieved great success! (I hope) They actually acknowledged that many machines are defective and they are just sending out new ones rather than fixing the old ones. I also brought up the fact that I’m not paying to ship stuff back because their machines are screwed up (when did I get so ballsy???). Voila! Problem solved, don’t have to ship stuff back, should just throw them away. Whew.

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Tonight I made Eli’s Asian Salmon from Barefoot Contessa at Home. It was pretty good! A little salty, but now I can say I’ve made salmon. To make this recipe I needed items like dark sesame oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, chili paste – all sorts of things I don’t have.

As luck would have it we have an H-Mart a few blocks away. H-Mart is a Korean supermarket with all kinds of Asian food and plenty of “American” food as well. It has an amazing produce department that’s fresh and very well-priced. The rest of the food is not quite as economical. Want some Triscuits? They’re twice the price as they are in Stop and Shop.

What does it say? No idea.

Here’s the problem: If you’re in your neighborhood Waldbaums and you want to find dark sesame oil, you head to the Asian food aisle. When you’re in an Asian supermarket you go to, well, you look down the um, uhh, you look for the Korean sign that says… exactly. Fast forward a half hour and I did find everything I needed, but not without the help of several salespeople.

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Polyvore allows you to create outfits and decorate rooms from a huge database of items. If I had my druthers (and dollars) I would wear this to the vineyards.

Visit here to see where everything is from!

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Late to the Party

Now that they’ve been in style for a year and a half, I finally got some skinny jeans and cowboy boots.

Nice, right? I wore them out to dinner last night and felt very trendy.  However, I fully recognize that they’re no longer trendy and will probably be out of style in two months…but that’s how I roll. When I went to the Steve Madden site to snag that photo, I saw something VERY disturbing.

Carrie Prejean?? The gay-hating, sex-tape-making beauty queen?? If there’s one person I DON’T want to emulate, it’s her. Good news is that she has them in black and I bought the brown. Whew!

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Foodie Gift Ideas

If you have a foodie or cook in your life who needs a holiday gift, here are some ideas for every budget.

Under $20 Gift:

A Microplane Rasp Grater is only $14.95 and is perfect for zesting citrus fruits, finely grating cheese and chasing your loved ones around the house (I’m just trying to keep your relationships exciting).

Under $50 Gift:

The Rosle Garlic Press is well worth its $39 price tag. This one kicks the Pampered Chef garlic press’s ASS.

Under $100

A Baker’s Basket – put these everyday, super-useful tools together for one kickass gift!

Tempered glass mixing bowls. $38 for ten, ’nuff said.

Shiny, dishwasher safe, and they make a cool clickity clack noise. All-Clad measuring spoons and cups. ($16-$39)

Parchment paper is invaluable when baking cookies. It prevents the cookies from sticking to the pan and makes clean up a breeze! Recently, there has been buzz about the dangers of using non-stick cookware. The chemicals that are released can cause health issues in pets and people. Stick with stainless steel, copper, enamel, cast-iron, etc. and throw some parchment paper on it instead.

You can’t get your food out of the oven without oven mitts. These are from Williams Sonoma and are available in a bunch of colors and patterns ($9-$12). They are machine washable and pretty durable. I accidentally set one of mine on fire and it’s still going strong! (Just so we’re clear, I don’t RECOMMEND setting your oven mitts on fire.)

Under $200 (someone’s been awfully good…)

Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart Dutch Oven – currently on sale at Williams Sonoma for $184. Smaller sized ovens are available for less. Stove top to oven to fridge to sink to … you get the picture. The enamel coating is a dream to clean it comes in a ton of lovely colors. The only downside is that they are really heavy, so they’re not great for the arthritic or scrawny.

The You-Did-Something-Wrong-and-Need-to-Buy-Back-Someone’s-Love Budget

Hello, handsome. This is the KitchenAid 90th Anniversary Stand Mixer, and it’s a beauty. This sucker is heavy ; it’s best for people who have the room on their counter to leave it there.

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