Small and indie online shops
Continuing on my path of owning my follows, I’ve compiled a list of small and independent online shops that I’ve bought things from, have on my wishlist, or followed on Instagram or Twitter. This serves both as a reference for myself and a guide for others who are trying to shift some of their shopping towards smaller businesses and away from Amazon.
Like most people, Sarah Lazarovic covets beautiful things. But rather than giving in to her impulse to spend and acquire, Sarah spent a year painting the objects she wanted to buy instead.
Based on a visual essay that was first published on The Hairpin, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy is a beautiful and witty take on the growing “slow shopping” movement. Sarah is a well-known blogger and illustrator, and she writes brilliantly without preaching or guilt-tripping. Whether she’s trying to justify the purchase of yet another particleboard IKEA home furnishing, debating the pros and cons of leg warmers or calculating the per-day usage cost of big-ticket items, Sarah’s poignant musings will resonate with any reader who’s ever been susceptible to an impulse buy.
I began to define my person by what my person wanted.
I see this too in the overstrong association of self with what you like: constructing an identity from your preferred intellectual properties and universes.
[W]e’ve long thought of shopping as frivolous leisure, when in truth it is real work.
Amen! And exercising patience in waiting for the right item — high quality, right price, not too trendy — is excruciating in a world of instant gratification.
(…this dismissal is also because women and shopping are linked in our society, and women are “responsible for” the home…)
The buyerarchy of needs:
The wanting never goes away altogether, even as you restrict your purchasing: I still lust after items on my wishlist years after adding them. The collector’s urge is strong in me, particularly when it comes to art, one of my exceptions for impulse purchases. I have also found what the author has: that my buying desires have been turned and concentrated on home goods. These I justify as making my house more beautiful and comfortable, my life easier and more efficient — but many are not necessary. (Yet, some are worthwhile: buying a handful of storage crates this year has made my home tidier and nicer to be in.) As with all of life, shopping will be an area of continuous learning and mistakes.
Online estate sales
We decided to just ask people to pay for shipping if they could. We also gave the option at check-out to get free shipping (like before), or even to “pay it forward” (paying double) if they were in a good place financially.
Everyone knows free shipping is terrible, but psychologically no one wants to pay for shipping.
This is an interesting approach for a small business to take: a compromise that trusts their committed customers to share the cost when they can. I also admire Craig Mod who charges (the very expensive true cost of) shipping for his photography books so people recognize the true cost of transporting something from Japan across the world.
Origami face mask 😷
Cool looking! Looks maybe too delicate for me.
Read (part of) The Food Lab
Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that’s perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)—and use a foolproof method that works every time?
As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new—but simple—techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.
This is a tome so I only made it through the first 200ish pages in the three weeks I had it from the library: the breakfast chapter and the tools / supplies sections. There were a few more chapters I wanted to read but much of the book is about meat so I don’t need that info. And lbh, right now I’m basically just cooking breakfast anyway so good thing for me to read.
I failed at his poached and soft-boiled eggs but his fried egg technique and biscuit recipe were both great if annoyingly a little more hassle. He includes sour cream in his biscuits…and laminates the dough. Tender and flaky, not overworked at all.
His kitchen recommendations I want to get, assuming I decide I want to start cooking again:
- 12-15″ carbon steel flat bottomed wok (look for 4-5″ flat area)
- 2.5-3 quart saucier
- 7″ Wusthof hollow ground santoku (his rec for small hands) or MAC Superior 6 1/2″ santoku (budget)
- 1000-1200 grit water stone and fixer
- rice cooker
- stainless steel prep bowls
- fridge thermometer (keep coldest part of fridge at minimum 34, keep whole fridge below 39)
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Floor Pillows and Poufs
Gathre cushion (orange) – West Elm – $191
Made in China. Polyurethane, cotton and polyester.
Retreat pouf (greige kilim kinda pattern) – West Elm – $150
Handmade in India. Wool, cotton and polystyrene.
Wanderer Shag Pouf (kinda beni ourain style) – West Elm – $145
Made in India. Fair trade. Wool and polystyrene.
Could probably find something similar on Etsy from a Moroccan craftsperson 🤔
Poppy ottoman (rainbow Scandinavian kinda style) – Target – $170
Assembled in US. Cotton and wood.
Round Velvet Floor Cushion (teal) – Target – $36
(Wound up getting an ottoman from Article.)