Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unemployment: The Budget

Yesterday I figured that even someone who's unemployed needs to do her part for the economy, so I went to a mall. [On my way out of the mall I stopped at Orange Julius and had an old-school Strawberry Julius, which I vaguely regretted when I saw that it contains powdered sugar and dairy creamer (Wikipedia).] As I mentioned earlier, I was in the market for a purse, and had some crazy idea in my head that I'd buy a handbag, even though I somehow made it to age 33 without owning much more than a backpack and a tote bag. I went into Roots and wandered over to the bag section, not even sure where to start. One of the salesgirls came over to ask if she could help, and I confessed that I've never owned a purse. She looked me over and said, "Where do you put your stuff?" I pointed to my coat, out of which my wallet and cell phone were practically hanging with a giant arrow covered in sparkly dollar signs and "ROB ME" Bedazzled across the pocket. She suggested that if I wasn't used to carrying a purse (check!) that I might leave a handbag somewhere, and handed me one of the Roots flat bags. I LOVE IT! My wallet fits perfectly in that zipper pocket on the right, and my cell phone and camera in the pocket on the left.

Speaking of cameras, I'm in the market for a DSLR. Thanks to excellent recommendations from Amy and Elizabeth, I've narrowed it down to three choices:

Nikon D40
Canon Digital Rebel XTi
Olympus Evolt E510

The Nikon is highly recommended by everyone I know who has one, and was initially my first choice. However, the price of the Canon has dropped fairly significantly since I first started looking about a year ago, and I do love my current Canon point-and-shoot. The Olympus package is a bit more expensive, but it comes with 2 lenses and was recently rated Wired magazine's top choice for DSLR. Help! I'm pretty sure the next step is to go to a store and try out all three, but that process interferes with my general impatience now that I've decided to spend the money.

Unemployment: Day 3 continues with the happy surprise that Sirrah!'s first appointment of the day was canceled and she's back home, which means we will probably continue our Beverly Hills, 90210 marathon (we've watched about half a dozen episodes since I got here) with more of Kelly's eating disorder from Season 3. Good times, people. Good times.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unemployment: Day 2

Well, it's after 10:30 a.m. and my accomplishments so far today include consumption of yogurt, granola and coffee, completion of half of the Post's "Canadian Crisscross" crossword puzzle, and petting a big brown dog.

Last night as I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a glass of wine and reading the paper, Greg whispered loudly: "Uh, Sara, how long is your UNEMPLOYED friend going to be staying with us?" Heh.

I'm off to inject my weak American currency into the Canadian economy - will hopefully return with a new leather purse of some sort.

Monday, January 28, 2008


For no particular reason I haven't blogged about this yet, but today I am enjoying my first of five days of unemployment before I start a Brand New Job on February 4. (My friend Larry suggested that starting a BNJ the day after the Super Bowl probably isn't a great idea, and he's right, but I didn't think of that at the time.) Right now I'm in Canada visiting the folks and Sirrah's family. We've enjoyed two fabulous brunches, at the Black Forest Inn and Langdon Hall (both recommended if you're in the area), and today has mostly involved playing with babies and dogs and trudging around in the snow. I expect tomorrow and Wednesday to be more of the same, and Wednesday evening I have a Very Important Date with not one but two of my absolute favourite people in the WHOLE WORLD. It's going to be good times.

At one point this morning I was surfing the internets and eating BBQ Fritos (I know, not exactly HBJ-friendly) and I thought, this is how unemployment should be. I highly recommend it.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Monday's Daily Candy featured a picture so familiar that I did a double-take. It's from a site called Jacaranda, an online boutique that sells "sustainable, handmade items from Mexico and Central and South America." I meant to post the picture, at left, when I first got the email and Kajal reminded me about it today. The resemblance to my pictures of Memphis (below) is uncanny.

For the record, that fabric is ridiculously expensive - 2m x 2m costs $265! My duvet cover, on the other hand? I originally paid $19.99 at Ikea (with pillow shams!), and recently bought a replacement (after an unfortunate laundry incident involving a red rug and poor judgment) on eBay for $24.99 + shipping.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Comfort Food

Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

On Friday I started a loaf of the Almost No-Knead Bread from February's Cook's Illustrated and baked it on Saturday afternoon This recipe adds beer and vinegar as well as a few kneads of the loaf. The crust and texture are both as wonderful as the original, and the flavour is deeper and more complex.

The recipe rightly suggests that the bread is best on the day it's baked, but toasted with Nutella a couple of days later it's still quite delicious.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bargain Hunting

A few weeks ago my roommate, who moonlights at West Elm, texted me to tell me about a big sale happening at the store. I happened by later that day and was quite enamoured by the big, soft throw-pillows that they were practically giving away for free. I picked up one of the Bamboo Cotton Pillow Covers, in Cinnabar, of course, and found a matching pillow form in the 75% off floor section, so the whole thing cost around $10. I pretty much cannot describe how much I love this pillow. It is big and soft and cuddly, and if I thought they wouldn't look ridiculous I would buy 3 more. (Also, I can't believe these are still available and for SO CHEAP, so if you're in the market for the best pillow ever, I highly recommend clicking on over.)

[Aside: I have to confess that I LOVE extra pillows. I love finding ones that match even though they're not from the same place, and I extra-love finding them when they're on sale. The other two in this picture are from Anthropologie, both purchased on sale. The one at the back was also seen on Six Feet Under in Claire's room, which of course validates my taste.]

The other awesome deal I found recently was at Victoria's Secret. I was in SoHo and wandered in to their store there, then remembered that my absolute favourite lipgloss is from VS. It's their own Beauty Rush brand and the colour I love is called "Oatstanding" - in the tube it looks ridiculously red and sparkly but on lips it gives just a hint of colour. It also tastes like oatmeal cookies. I found a bin with a few tubes of it left, and they were marked $7 each or two for $10 - being the good consumer I am, I decided to pick up a couple (spend more to save more, right?). The salesgirl scanned them and said, "$3.79, please." I said, "What?" She repeated the amount: $3.79.

I AM TOTALLY SERIOUS! Somehow these babies were on sale for $1.75 each. I felt like I won the lottery.

Finally, on my way home from the gym today, I stopped by Barnes & Noble and spent a few minutes browsing their post-holiday sale section. I found the Christmas Tree In-A-Box that was featured on Popgadget back in December for 75% off, and with my Barnes & Noble card (an additional 10% off), I paid a whole $3.37 for it. I also found a few other cool and similiarly-discounted Christmas craft kits, which I'll tuck away for next year's Secret Santas and stockings.

I'm pretty convinced at this point that January is the best shopping month. As Bri says, "it's not a sale until it's at least 50% off" - retailers, take note. (Shoppers, too - the J. Crew online sale is an extra 20% off, but just until tomorrow.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sign of the Times

Yesterday when I walked past the local deli, one of the regular pandhandlers, who's in a wheelchair, was out front, holding a cup for money. He seemed to be resting his head in his hand. When I passed, however, I saw what was really going on: He was talking on a cell phone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Problem to Have

Today Mark Morford writes:

Just how the hell did it come to pass and which planets finally aligned and what sort of Kool-Aid has been gulped by the universe that the two white-hot Dem frontrunners, the two brightest lights on the political spectrum for the 2008 presidential election also just so happen to be members of the two most controversial/least represented groups in modern uber-white ultra-patriarchal American snake-oil politics — which is to say, a smart, savvy woman and a smart, savvy black male?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not Photoshopped

Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Top: Memphis, who you all know and love.
Bottom: Grapple, arguably Memphis' arch-nemesis.

Since we moved into BP:LE, Memphis and Grapple have "tolerated" each other, if by "tolerate" you mean "studiously ignore each other for 22 hours/day and spend the other two, preferably when the humans are sleeping, being generally pissy to each other and erupting in loud hissy (albeit harmless) scraps". (For the record: Memphis is usually the instigator.) Grap's cat-mom (aka my roommate) has been away since the beginning of the month and I've been gradually encouraging the two of them to be in the same vicinity so that they can both have pets and such.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, Memphis was sleeping on my bed and Grap came in the room. He hopped up on the bed and I expected the fur to fly, but Memphy barely opened an eye. I'm just glad my camera was handy, because I really love this picture.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why I'm Weird

Kajal recently blogged that she likes being touched, for example, being frisked at the airport. While I knew that I like being touched (as many of you know, I'm particularly fond of hugs - the real ones with chest-on-chest action, none of that lean-in nonsense), it hadn't even occurred to me that I like being frisked at the airport, but I totally do!

Anyway, I mentioned this to Bri who asked me if that's the weirdest thing about me (that I could think of at that exact moment). I thought for a second and came up with something that's probably weirder and definitely grosser: I like blowing my nose (or sneezing) in the shower.

Internet? What's the weirdest/grossest thing YOU like?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

HBJ Update

We at UFF are 7 days into HBJ and things are going swimmingly. I've been to the gym several times (OK, three times, but twice to cycling classes which are like super-concentrated hotbody). I've studiously avoided alcohol, eaten only the healthiest of foods (except maybe at Bri's birthday dinner, which involved copious amounts of cheese) and not eaten any sweets of any kind (we'll pretend I wrote this BEFORE I was seduced by the sweet sweet siren call of a jar of Nutella).

Anyway, I'm down 2.5 lbs as of this morning. Hooray!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

HBJ: Day 1

HBJ is on. Tonight I turned down cream puffs and bourbon.

Remember kids, just say no:

(Although, that extra layer of blubber is kind of handy when the HIGH tomorrow is going to be 24°F/-4°C. It's freakin' freezing here. As Sunny would say, that's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

December 32nd

Hotbody January (henceforth to be referred to as HBJ) starts tomorrow. I granted myself a grace day because I needed bacon to combat my hangover this morning. You know how it goes.

This afternoon K-Dog and I went to see Juno. It was lovely and funny and sweet, and (as many movies do) it made me cry. When the lights came up at the end of the film, the woman next to Dog was also wiping away tears. She said, "I have a friend who always cries at movies, so when I'm with her we have to get extra napkins from the concession stand." Dog replied, "I have a friend like that too," and glanced over at me and my wet sleeve. The woman nodded knowingly and said, "My friend even cried during 'White Chicks.'"


Happy New Year!