Hobby

I went to a training class at work today and by way of introducing ourselves, they asked participants to talk about a hobby.  I racked my brain for something better to say than just watching YouTube and Netflix which is probably how I spend 90% of my free time.  It’s as valid a way to pass time as anything else, but doesn’t seem hobby-like.   I ended up sharing that I enjoy cooking and doing yoga.

Then I came home to a couple of packages I’d just ordered.  One item was this new watercolor set.  I discovered some watercolor hobbyists on YouTube and decided to dabble in this.  When I was a kid, I took watercolor lessons and even though I didn’t really have the patience for art (and I still don’t), I enjoyed studying objects to try to put them on paper.  And I love color!
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I’m not sure how long this interest will last – for 5 minutes or longer term.  So maybe my other hobby is really just shopping for my maybe-hobbies.

Another Fountain Pen-Friendly Journal

I ordered this journal with the teapot and the PaperBlanks. I’ve been wanting to try this notoriously-popular-amongst-the-fountain-pen-community Clairfontaine paper.

It’s 90 grams per square meter (gsm) which I believe is pretty standard for fountain pen paper; cloth binding, sewn with linen thread. For comparison, I believe standard notebook paper’s gsm is in the 60s. The lines are wide-ruled, like the Paperblanks. I write medium-sized so it suits me just fine.
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The cover is just a thicker paper, maybe card stock, and is soft. I’m perfectly fine with that. More than fine. As long as the paper in it is good, I don’t care too much about the covers because I use these books as journals that stay home.

L.L. Bean Haul

Next stop on my shopping rampage – L.L. Bean. I have been eyeing their Boat and Tote bags for a few years at least. I never got one before this because I always had a current work tote I was using. Even now, I have a perfectly functioning tote that’s been very easy to use and sturdy. So I have no reason to get a Boat & Tote. Except remember the thing about the Kraken? Yeah. I got me 2 totes. One is the medium sized Casco Bay Boat and Tote, in Moonlight Blue, which has pockets and compartments built in it, but is open-top.
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The other is a large sized, long handled Zip-Top Boat and Tote in Peony.
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To give you a sense of how they fit, size-wise:

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In deciding whether to go with the large or medium, I found a YouTube video of a lady who ordered a large to use as a commuter bag, like me. She said it was too big and she exchanged it for the medium. So I went with the medium and it’s perfect. This Casco Bay Boat & Tote didn’t have the option to have longer handles but this is the length I’d go with anyway. I can wear it on the shoulder or straight down holding the handle in my hand and it won’t drag.

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The large is quite big. Too big as a daily commuter bag. However, it’s very handy as a weekender bag or even just to haul more items to and from work if I have more stuff to carry on certain days. The long handle makes it very comfortable to wear because it makes the bag come right at my elbow. On the other hand, if I just carry it in my hand at the handle, the bag touches the ground, by a pretty big margin.

I also got a pair of kids’ capri pants that I figure I can wear to the gym. (I haven’t seen as many good workout pants at the Goodwill store.) They’re cotton and look perfect for yoga without the premium that yoga pants garner.
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The bags are American made. Yay, L.L. Bean! The pants however, China.

So is this it? Maybe now I can put away the Kraken.

More shopping

So shopping is one of those things for me where once I start, I keep on going. It’s a bit problematic for my goal to cut back on shopping. Since my satisfying trips to the Goodwill store, I’ve been on an online shopping rampage of sorts perpetuating my hunger to shop.

I got me a little teapot – short, stout, and pretty small but effective.
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I wanted something I could brew loose leaf teas in and this is what I got. The wire mesh strainer of this teapot is made in China. I think all tea brewing contraptions are made in China, from what I could find. The entire set however is from Japan. I’ve already been using this multiple times a week, but I can see myself using it even more during the winter. It makes individual (for me) portions of tea.

Then I got me some new journals. I’m down to one that I’m currently writing in so I wanted to get some backups and I wanted them to be fountain pen friendly. My current journal isn’t made with a known fountain pen friendly paper but it’s actually pretty good. No bleed through, ghosting, or feathering. I found out about Paperblanks from some fountain pen website or YouTube video and I want to try it. So I got 4.
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These are midi sized (7×5″) which I find to be on the small side. I wouldn’t get them again. I also got a Clairefontaine journal with a soft cover and fabric binding (8×6″).

This is just the beginning. I’ve released the Kraken!

A little addicted

When I decided to curtail my shopping, I got a little hoardy with the last-clothes-I-was-ever-going-to-own! If this is it, then I’m keeping everything – even if there’s a big gaping hole where the sun shouldn’t shine. But then, after I discovered the wonders of the Thrift/Goodwill Store, things have eased up a bit. Well, I haven’t tossed my holey pants yet because they’re still good house pants, but now I feel like I don’t have to put my second tier clothing into my work lineup anymore. Y’know, stuff that is work appropriate, but it’s a little more worn out looking and faded than I’d like to look at work. I wear it anyway because of the last-clothes-I’ll-ever-have mentality, but now, I can finally retire them to weekend lounge wear or even donate it.

This is my haul from the third Goodwill store. Don’t go to a Goodwill store looking for anything specific. Just go in with an open mind and you get what you find. Although one thing they generally always seem to have aside from clothes are nice plates, mugs, and glasses. I should also mention that every store I’ve visited seems to have different pricing, but all within a dollar or so. Today, there was a 25% off everything sale at the location I shopped. I found some really nice work pants with lining (not from China)! I took a day off work in the middle of the week to shop here and surprisingly, there were other people shopping there too in the middle of the day. Granted, most were retirees but some were middle aged.
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This entire haul was $44. It’s my biggest purchase at a Goodwill store yet.
4 pairs of work pants, 1 cardigan, 2 tops, 3 pairs of gym/yoga pants.

Since I had the entire day off work and I was on my own, I spent a good 2 or 3 hours there. Itch scratched. Monster fed and wide awake.

Shopping at Ikea

For years I’ve “stored” a pile of dried foods on the floor between the pantry and the washer/dryer. Oatmeal, rice, rice noodles, dried fruits, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, mung bean noodles, wheat pasta, quinoa, and the list goes on. Like a spillover of stuff from the pantry. It looked like a mountain of stuff. So I’ve been wanting to get a cart of some sort to organize this mountain since last year. I’m okay with disorder to a certain extent but I have my standards too! Said disorder needs to be lifted off the floor.

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And here it is. The Ikea BYGEL. It was between the Raskog or the BYGEL. They’re both small enough to fit in the corner and $30. If I was more diligent about checking Craigslist, I could’ve probably gotten one for much less. I ended up picking the BYGEL because it was slightly larger. Putting it together was a little challenging. Some of the screw holes weren’t drilled properly so the screws only went in part of the way. As long as it can hold my kombu seaweed.

While I was at Ikea, I also picked up more than a dozen kitchen rags.
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I’ve gone through boxes and boxes of virgin paper products to blow my nose. For a while I got recycled tissues but they hurt after blowing through a box in a day. So I’m now using dishrags as snotrags. The handkerchief is coming back! I considered making my own with old t-shirts, but that meant I had to cut my old t-shirts which I couldn’t bring myself to do. They are the most comfortable and have many holes for ventilation during the summer. It took over a decade to get them this soft. So I plan on sewing old shirt buttons on my kerchiefs to differentiate them from kitchen rags. They get washed regularly no matter what but I figured for the kimochi of it, I should keep them separated. What do you think of handkerchiefs? Gross or thumbs up? I used one today and liked it. I felt a little embarrassed whipping it out on the metro but then I got used to it after a while. Today wasn’t a bad allergy day so one kerchief was enough. I will probably keep 2 in my bag and 1 at work at all times and washing each after a day’s use. I blow my nose over 100 times(?) on a bad day. Today it was maybe 30 times. Yes, my nose has killed many many trees. I feel like I should have done this a long time ago. It’s very absorbent by the way. I wonder if people use these for cloth diapering or as burp rags.

I’m gonna pop some tags

I’ve always had a weird thing about wearing secondhand clothes from people I don’t know. I don’t mind if it’s a friend’s or a friend of a friend’s or even Kevin Bacon’s, but if it’s anonymous’ clothes, I feel weird. So I’ve gone in and out of many consignment/secondhand clothes stores and never gotten a thing due to my weird heebiejeebies about it.

Then one day, a friend told me that her stepson only buys secondhand to reduce consumerism. She told me she tries to do the same. I guess that was what convinced me to finally try it. I’ve been trying (not always successfully) to cut back on shopping for clothing items and shoes and stuff but eventually my work clothes start to look worn and lately, I’ve felt like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel in the mornings.

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So yesterday, I started on Craigslist and looked for yardsales and cleaning-out-my-closet type sales. When that didn’t pan out for me (granted I emailed exactly 1 person), I went to the local Goodwill Store. I’ve been to this store before in the past where I walked in and then right back out when my weirdness kicked in. This time, I went through the racks and actually picked out some items and bought 3 tops. They were running a 50% off everything sale too, so I paid a little less than $10 for all three items. I could get used to this thrift store/second-hand shopping!

Bathroom Sink – AGAIN!

The last time we replaced our bathroom faucet was in October of 2013.  And it’s broken again.  We should probably take responsibility for breaking it though because we take the faucet part off monthly to attach a water filter to fill a reservoir for our saltwater fishtank.  It causes a lot of wear and tear on a sink attachment that normally is left alone indefinitely.  So we’re probably going to have to think of another way to fill the reservoir for the fish tank.  In the meantime though, here we are again – in the market for yet another bathroom faucet.  I had no issues with the Moen faucet.  Loved it in fact – it worked nicely.  The plumber liked it.  But eh, what the heck, I’ll give the Grohe faucets a whirl.

 

Option A: Agira23402000

Option B: Bauloop20333000 bauloop

Option C: Parkfield23306000 parkfield

 

I guess it doesn’t really matter since they all look very similar but if anyone has an opinion, share!  I’m not against sticking to the Moen again either.

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Outlet Shopping

We went to Rehoboth Beach to do some post-Thanksgiving shopping this past weekend.  I ended up getting just a bunch of kitchenware.  Glass bowls!  We keep breaking ours.  I didn’t notice any great sales though.  Old Navy was so picked through it was a big mess.  I don’t generally prefer going online for clothes but I think you’d have better luck going online for that store at least.  Maybe because it wasn’t Black Friday and the weather was drizzly and cold, but the crowds were pretty tame.  If anything I thought the mall was rather empty.

 

Tyson’s Corner is awful!

I can’t believe I’m saying this. I feel like I’m betraying the shopping gods. But malls suck. And to be more specific, Tyson’s Corner sucks. The whole little sprawled out development there is AWFUL! I took the metro there to go shopping one weekend and after I got off the metro train, it was a maze trying to navigate myself to the mall. There were limited crosswalks. The roads were wide and they had intersections where pedestrian crosswalks were only on one side of the street. And when the mall was in sight, I still had a massive parking lot to traverse. I mean this town was designed for cars. If you’re on foot, you have to walk very roundabout ways to get around.

So it’s hot. I’m getting blisters on my feet. And people are honking at me. So yeah killed my shopping mood by the time I finally hobbled my blistered feet into Neiman Marcus, because that’s the first store you reach when you’re on foot getting to the Galleria. As soon as I entered, I sat down in the first seat I found, basked in the air conditioning and just caught my breath. Then I went to the makeup counters to get some tissues to wipe my sweaty face. Then I found a nice comfy waiting couch to people watch and sort of find my calm (take a nap) after the stress of getting honked at and yelled at by unsympathetic and unforgiving drivers. Then I asked a nice sales lady for some bandaids. Then I wandered around. And then I left to go to dinner. What a bust. I go shopping at a mall and end up with some tissues and bandaids. (Thank you, Neiman Marcus, your customer service was great.) I won’t be going back to Tyson’s to shop. Yes. I said that. It feels weird that I said that. Actually, no. I love shopping, and that’s precisely why I won’t shop there. It was a disaster. Don’t let the metro stations fool you. That place gets a negative walkscore.