Tag Archives: shopping

Must-Have T-shirt

Get this. We all need one for those off days. Not today. I don’t mean today. Today is fine. I’m just saying: be prepared.

Kitchen: What?


Chuck Williams, the 94-year-old founder of Williams Sonoma, was asked by a magazine a couple of years ago what the one thing was that every kitchen should have. Cuisinart food processor? $300 KitchenAid mixer? Sabatier knives? Nope. He went with the, um, potato ricer. Search me. I didn’t know what it was either and I worked there.

So I bought six and gave them away for Christmas.

Basically, it smushes boiled potatoes to make mashed potatoes and does not require you to dislocate your shoulder using an old-school hand mashers.

I will admit that I have never used the one I bought for us. A.) It is heavy, and b.) mashed potatoes take too long to make. However, two people have recently assured me that the gifted ricer makes bad-ass mashed potatoes, so I guess this is a recommendation for the potato ricer. Sort of.

(And please don’t ask me what makes Williams Sonoma’s version “deluxe.” Maybe that’s their tactful way of saying that it’s overweight without hurting its feelings…)

What I’m Glad I Bought

Old news: I left my corporate job at Williams-Sonoma, Inc.. New news: what did I buy on my way out that I do not regret and will not be returning? I know you’re so excited to find out that it’s getting hard to breathe. I know – it’s super exciting isn’t it?

Before we get to that though, let me set things up for you. Due to my (former) employment by a leading purveyor of overpriced, high-end cookware and related tools, our kitchen is stocked with food preparation equipment that no couple with our skills has any business having. R mentions this often.

I do not enjoy cooking. You spend an hour or more in the kitchen producing something that will then be consumed. How is that relaxing, to see your creation getting all chewed up? I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy munching up food other people have created. I’m just saying I don’t get anything out of prepping it myself.

This state of affairs has made for some interesting conflicts with R, as he’s the one who cooks and I’m the one who buys the cooking stuff. It seems like a charming, if illogical division of labor, no? (Just to be clear, I do the cleaning. It’s all fair and square, so just calm down.)

I purchased a ton of stuff on the way out the WSI door. Here’s what’s staying:

  • Calphalon One frying pans. Ooo, baby, are these nice. I love them. I, who would willingly use a whisk as a pastry blender, notice the difference. These are some kick-ass frying pans and you should register for them if you’re getting married or buy them the next time you’re in need of a new set (or just one). Screw Circulon and all the rest of the them. These are totally non-stick and hard as nails. (If you go into one of the Wm-Sonoma stores, they might still have one of the sets of an 8″ pan + a 10″ pan for $70. N/A on the site.)
  • Primo Milk Frother. $20 well-spent, my friend. I am not a coffee snob, but years of shelling out $2.15 to Starbucks for my cafe au lait (which they insist on calling a “misto” for reasons not understood by me) has spoiled me for drinking coffeemaker coffee with cold milk in it. I am not going to invest in an espresso machine just to get steamed milk. Primo is my answer. Milk in mug, froth, microwave, add coffee, done. Just make sure you submerge the frother ring before turning it on. Trust me.
  • Microplane Graters. Grating cheese with these (we have the medium one for hard cheese and the rasp for citrus) is like swimming with floaties. You never knew you could have it so good. Kick your collegiate box grater to the curb with that hippie wall hanging you scored that weekend in Michigan at the truck stop and move on already.

Recession Rec

This guy does not look British or like the kind of guy I’d buy suits from (British ones or otherwise), but that doesn’t affect how much I love his recession plan. Completely rational. My two-pronged plan of simultaneously being very nervous and ignoring it completely hasn’t been working very well for me.

What else do I love? The word “bespoke.” (You have to read the article to get the connection. You can trust me that it’s in there though if you don’t feel like reading the article. Really. Can you be “bespoken”? Like, “I was bespoken but then he interrupted me”? Never mind.)

How do you deal with people’s lack of disposable income?

I’ve got my own little recession plan–everyone needs to make an evaluation of the three little shops that they like, and they need to spend in them. That’s something I’m personally doing. I go to the little restaurants I like, the place I get my glasses. Even though the spirit of the city is shot, if there are things in your neighborhood that you don’t want to see go away, then you have to support them. Otherwise, the big brands will just come sweeping in, and there’ll be nothing left.

I’m going to make a little list of my candidate businesses…. I’ll be right back.

Grace under pressure

I got a package today from Athleta. Check out the opening instructions on the envelope. Am I the only one who finds the wording charming? “Gracefully”? Not just, “Tear along dotted line,” or, “Open with care,” or even, “Do not open with knife.”

I know the comma’s after “open” and not “gracefully,” but I prefer, “To open gracefully, tear along perforation,” to, “To open, gracefully tear along perforations,” as if grace is a gentle suggestion rather than a direction. But I’ll take it either way.

The lovely ladies of Athleta feel that even when opening what is basically a plastic bag in the privacy of my own living room, I will want to do it gracefully – or at least that I ought to do it gracefully. Right they are.

Lower Extremities

boots.jpegWell kids, let’s just say that I’m glad we’re still in pre-NaBloPoMo state ’cause I just missed my second day yesterday. Man. As soon as I started this whole pre-November thing I got swamped at work. Of course. Naturally.

To pay you back, check out these two.

First, Ann Taylor put out these totally comfortable, classy short boots to wear with jeans and to work. I love mine and they’ve just been reduced to $89.99. Get ’em while they’re hot!

Second, speaking of hotness, Newport News has faux fur legwarmers on sale. I prefer to think of them as “boot covers” ’cause I’m just not-’80’s like that.