As you can see from the previous entry, Matt and I got some musical instruments in the mail today. They came from Musician’s Friend.
I am absolutely sickened by all the packaging waste. My banana shaker and some rhythm sticks could have been shipped in a padded envelope, but instead they were shipped in an unnecessarily large box. The box was the size of about 5 shoeboxes, and the rest was just stuffed with paper. The box that contained my drums is big enough that a 5 year old would enjoy using it as a pretend car. And that was mostly paper stuffing too. Same with the box for the ukulele and mandolin.
Meanwhile, these ridiculous boxes and waste are sitting in our downstairs hallway because we have no use for them or room for them. I suppose Matt can collapse the boxes and we can stick them in the recycling bin.
I just wish companies would make a greater effort when it comes to packaging. At least we can recycle the boxes, I guess…but this certainly doesn’t make me want to be a regular online patron of Musician’s Friend.
Well, I suppose the paper stuffing is better than styrofoam peanuts.Filed under Organic Living/Environment/ETC | Comment (0)
The holidays can often be a time of consumption. This year I’m trying to reduce the amount that we consume.
NO HOLIDAY CARDS. I made an e-card that I’ll be sending out this week. Between envelopes and the fact that half the holiday cards I’d send out would probably ultimately end up in the recycling bin (or worse — the trash!!), it doesn’t seem worth it to me to waste the paper. And if anyone is dead set on having a hard copy of the card I made, they can print it out themselves. I think this will reduce a lot of waste.
This year we are also choosing not to travel. With family in New York and California, I’ve had to travel almost every holiday season since moving from New Jersey in 1997. This year, we’re not even going to New York. We’re staying put, enjoying our time off in Boston, and relaxing.
Matt and I are not exchanging gifts this year. I also told Matt not to get me anything for my birthday in September. There’s nothing that I really want or need right now. Instead of exchanging gifts, we’re just going to out for dinner. Plus, our anniversary is in September, my birthday is in September, and Matt’s birthday is in November. I feel like the last few months of the year we have a lot of reasons to exchange gifts…so, we may as well skip Christmas. We’re still celebrating the holidays, but I don’t really feel like I need anything. I don’t think Matt does, either.Filed under My Life, Organic Living/Environment/ETC | Comment (0)
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to support the MBTA. As a casual rider, I’m coming close to just giving up on it.
I try to do the eco-friendly thing and take public transportation, but the T is making it really, really hard.
Take yesterday for example. I was meeting a friend for sushi in Back Bay. I figured I’d take the bus there and then take the commuter rail home. There’s a bus that goes from 2 blocks to my house and drops off by the Back Bay station. It only takes about 25 minutes, so it’s a nice bus ride…in theory.
Except, yesterday it simply NEVER CAME. After waiting at the bus stop for over 20 minutes in cold weather, I stormed home to take my car. I drove to Back Bay, and got there in 20 minutes. The sushi place validated parking in a garage, so parking only cost me $5.
The bus to Back Bay costs $3.50 because it’s an express bus. The commuter rail home costs $4.75. That comes to $8.25.
To drive to Back Bay and park in said garage? $5 plus $2.50 in round trip tolls. That comes to $7.50. And the added benefit of driving in my car versus taking the T is that I can sing at the top of my lungs without people staring at me like a crazy person.
The T simply isn’t doing anything to entice the casual rider such as myself. It’s expensive and unreliable.
Here’s another example. Matt and I enjoy going to dim sum in Chinatown on the weekends. If we take the commuter rail, it costs $19 for us round trip. If we drive, can park in a lot for $10-$15. AND we don’t run the risk of getting stranded at South Station for hours on end if we happen to miss our commuter rail train going home.
And yes, I do live off the D (Green) Line, but while a lot cheaper (round trip for $2.50) it is not a viable solution. It takes over an hour to go from Woodland to Park Street. According to Google Maps, it’s only 11 miles from Woodland to Park Street. WHY oh WHY does it take over an hour? And as I’ve written before, the rickety old Green Line trains give me motion sickness. A few years ago I threw up in Boston Common because I got sick on the Green Line.
There’s also an express bus that stops right outside of where I work. Coworkers have told me that it’s also unreliable; sometimes it just fails to show up. And this is a FIVE DOLLAR BUS. Why on earth should someone pay that much for a bus that can’t even show up when it’s supposed to? I get that express buses are more expensive, and I’d have little qualms paying extra for the added convenience of getting to my destination quickly, but I can’t bring myself to pay that much money for a sub-par riding experience (i.e, the bus failing to show up).
I think I’m close to giving up on my casual ridership of the T. My “green guilt” and desire to support public transportation caused me to repeatedly take the T for leisure, but I think I’m done. Gas is cheap now, parking garages are less expensive than taking the T from where I live (aside from the green line, but I like to avoid the prospect of vomiting whenever possible), I can get to my destination when I want to, and I don’t have to run the risk of waiting for a bus that may never even arrive.Filed under MBTA, Organic Living/Environment/ETC | Comments (5)
I love a good canvas tote bag. They’re useful in so many different, wonderful ways…
* Groceries! They’re much more eco-friendly than building up a large collection of paper/plastic. You can also fit a lot more in them and they won’t bust open at the bottom.
* Going to the LIBRARY! You can fit lots of books in them.
* For a day around town. You can fit books in there, a CD player for the hopelessly outdated like me, a pocketbook, a granola bar, a bottled water, etc.
* Picnics! They make a nice alternative to a picnic basket. You can fit all sorts of things in a tote bag.
* Camping. You can fit groceries, plates, etc in them.
* Overnight trips. Just going away for the evening? Stuff your belongings in a nice canvas tote.
* An alternative to a gym bag.
TOTE BAGS! Yes, tote bags. I recommend them to all.Filed under Organic Living/Environment/ETC, Uncategorized | Comments (4)
I seriously love Russo’s in Watertown. They have the absolute best produce at reasonable prices. I went there yesterday and again today. I got cameo apples, brown pears, green pears, blackberries, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, coffee cake, orange juice, ham, bread, and more.
It gets really swamped there on the weekends, but luckily they have more parking available in the back. I also enjoy their baked goods very much. Delicious. They also have a really nice salad bar. Very different than the salad bars you see at your everyday Shaw’s/Star/Stop’n'Shop supermarkets. Everything is fresh and yummy. Their cheese selection is delightful. They also have a variety of Italian snacks and organic goodies.
One day I really need to try their homemade pasta. It looks fantastic. I do plan to veer away from the baccala. Baccala scares me.
I could spend hours upon hours at Russo’s. I hate food shopping, and I especially hate crowded grocery stores. But for Russo’s, ahhh Russo’s…I’ll brave the crowds and the parking lots, just to leave with bags of berries, peppers, pomaceous fruit, cheese, and some sort of baked treat.
If something were to happen between Matt and I, I think I’d marry Russo’s. Hmm. Marrying a supermarket. Is that totally sick? :-|Filed under Greater Boston (General), New England, Organic Living/Environment/ETC | Comments (8)
I just had a fantastic salad and I wanted to share it with all of my fabulous blog readers. Now you, yourself, can make a salad much like what I just ate.
Here is how I made it:
Annie’s Natural Basil & Garlic Vinegarette
Chopped up apples (mine were ones I picked at Russell Orchards in Ipswich!
Bleu cheese crumbles (I got mine from Russo’s in Watertown! Gorgonzola or shredded gouda would work as well.)
Trader Joe’s brand croutons (a word of advices…cut up the croutons before putting them in your salad. They taste good, but are way too large and somewhat cumbersome to eat)
Anyway, that is the salad I had for dinner. It was delicious. I also enjoy nuts in a salad like this, as opposed to croutons. Raisins would work too and apples could be replaced with pears. Next time I’m going to shred gouda instead of bleu cheese. I also plan to experiment with different kinds of vinagrettes, but Annie’s Naturals (not to be confused with Annie’s Mac & Chz, which also has some tasty products!) is the brand I intend to stick with.Filed under My Life, New England, Organic Living/Environment/ETC, Uncategorized | Comment (1)
I was at work. It was about 1:30 and I was hungry. I had nothing to pack for lunch, unfortunately…so I needed to go grab something to eat. I didn’t want to spend much money, so I drove over to Dunkin’ Donuts for a bagel.
“I’ll have a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese,” I said.
“The machine we use to toast things is broken,” said the woman behind the counter.
My first thought was, “Yuck! No way, then, man!” Dunkin’ Donuts bagels are actually decent, but frankly, they need to be toasted, especially since by 1:45 it’s unlikely that they’re fresh.
Annoyed, I put my orange juice back in the fridge and found some pizza place on Main Street to get food from. (It wasn’t as cheap as the bagel I wanted, but only $3.51!) Driving back to work, I had a thought, “I am a food snob.” And I thought of all the things I am snobby about, food-wise.
1) Bagels. Bagel BOP in Hillsborough, NJ has some of the best bagels. We used to go there all the time. Of course, there’s also good bagel places in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, etc. California has the worst bagels. They have a chain there called Noah’s and it’s gross! I was horrified the first time I bit into a Noah’s bagel. “What IS this?” I thought to myself. Dunkin’ Donuts will suffice when toasted, but I would really like to find a better option. There’s gotta be something…I live in Newton for god’s sake, there has to be at least one really real good bagel place. :-) If anyone can recommend something, please do.
2. Pizza. I love a slice of New York pizza. Grand Avenue Pizza in Astoria, NY is fantastic…as is Aldo’s Pizza off the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach. For Boston-area pizza, I like Napoli in Watertown Square; it’s as New York as possible. For Neopolitan Pizza, Sweet Tomatoes gets the KrissyInBoston seal of approval. ;-) With its thin crispy crust and fresh, fabulous tomatoes…Sweet Tomatoes has won over my heart.
3. Beer. Not really food, but it’s caloric and filling enough to qualify in my opinion. I don’t like Bud, Coors, Heinekken, Michelob, Miller, or Corona. Whew. Both California and New England are blessed with a plethora of options for local brews. Some of my local favorites are Harpoon and Magic Hat. This is one of my favorite beers that I can’t get in Mass. though…
Also, Matt brews his own beer which is always a tasty treat.
5. Italian food in general. I love Italian food, but it better be good!
6. Noodle kugel!! My dad makes the best noodle kugel ever. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition in my family to serve noodle kugel…we make the salty kind, not the sweet kind. Unfortunately, I am not spending Thanksgiving with my dad this year so I am going to try my own hand at making the kugel. I’ve never had noodle kugel at a restaurant that I enjoyed. The noodle kugel at Zaftigs does nothing for me, although I do love Zaftigs. They have fantastic potato knishes. Wondering what kugel is? Click here.
7. Vegetables. I think canned veggies are foul. I like them fresh, or high quality frozen veggies will do in the winter.
8. Mashed potatoes. Well, I love mashed potatoes, but they have to be good. Creamy, buttery…and NOT from a box.
9. Dry pasta. I like Ronzoni the best.
10. Orange juice. It can’t be from concentrate. I can’t stand that stuff. I love the fresh squeezed kind, and I do get that on occassion (and it become a battle between Matt and I, who can get more out of the jug?) but it’s expensive. I usually get Tropicana/Newman’s Own, Trader Joe’s/365…but seriously, nothing beats fresh OJ.
11. Chocolate bars. I no longer enjoy Hershey and Nestle as much. I like organic chocolate (it just tastes less sweet and more cocoa-y to me) or ridiculously overpriced fancy chocolate bars. And I like nuts or crisy rice in my chocolate very much. I especially dislike the cheap candy in chocolate Chanukkah gelt or Easter candy. Gross.
So yes, folks, I am a food snob — but only sometimes. And with that said, I’m going to go make some ramen.Filed under Greater Boston (General), My Life, New England, New Jersey, New York, Organic Living/Environment/ETC, Things to do in the Boston Area | Comments (6)
Okay, now Stop ‘n Shop generally does have sub-par produce. However, the one at 700 Pleasant Street in Watertown has downright DISMAL produce. You should have seen these pathetic excuses for onions and peppers I purchased today. It was depressing!!!
I do tend to favor Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but the latter has a pretty bad produce selection as well. (Although their trio of peppers is usually a pretty good bargain and puts the awful Stop ‘n Shop ones to shame!)
As far as produce, Russo’s is la creme de la creme. Their produce is much higher quality than you can get at your local Shaw’s/Star or Stop ‘n Shop. The prices are good, and they have all sorts of good stuff. A nice bakery section featuring your Italian favorites. Pre-made food. Cheese. Pasta. Jellies and jam. Beautiful flowers. Good stuff.
I like to support local farmers too, and I plan to begin scoping out farmer’s markets. I found a website with a list of Massachusetts farmer’s markets. Many of them aren’t at the most convenient of times (weekday mornings/afternoons), but some of them, like the Waltham one, are on Saturdays. I’ll write more about farmer’s markets when I start visiting them regularly.Filed under Greater Boston (General), Organic Living/Environment/ETC | Comment (0)
Litterbugs are a pet peeve of mine. Are people that lazy and disrespectful that they think that it’s acceptable to throw their trash on the ground? Back in April, Matt and I did a Charles River cleanup with WUMB and it was amazing how much litter there was. And of course, all of the hard work that we endured cleaning has been undone already.
But here’s what I’d like to address…it seems that there are two things people throw on the ground and do not consider it to be littering. Cigarette butts and chewed gum. Why do people think that those do not count as litter? For one thing, it’s dangerous to discard a cigarette butt while it’s lit…well, not as dangerous here as it is in California because of the dry grass and brush, but nevertheless, it’s not safe anywhere. And it’s an eyesore. I hate walking around and seeing crushed cigarette butts littered all over the area.
If there’s not a place to put out your ciagrette, like an ashtray or a garbage can…just hang on to it until you find something. The world is not your ashtray, thank you very much.
Okay, and the other disgusting thing that people litter and don’t think it’s really littering: CHEWED GUM! I don’t want to step on some ABC gum…it’s disgusting. Especially when it’s hot, and the chewed gum gets gooey and melty…I accidentally stepped on some chewed gum in Watertown Square the other day, and it was so sticky that it pulled the clog right off my foot when I tried to move.
In the words of Woodsy the Owl, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!”
Thanks! Now enjoy the chilly, rainy day. I’ve never been so excited about this kind of weather, but I am today! Woohoo!Filed under Greater Boston (General), Organic Living/Environment/ETC, Uncategorized | Comment (1)