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Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Search is On

So, it’s finally time to move out. I’ve lived with my parents for a bit over a year trying to get my finances in order after my divorce. It seems every time I move, I get more picky. I’ve lived in some kind-of-crappy places, and some pretty decent places, but never anything too fancy (what, something other than Formica counter tops, mismatching appliances, 80’s-style cabinetry exists??) because I can’t afford much besides about the cheapest available. And by cheapest available I mean besides the 400 sq ft studio in gangsta Hilltop.

I think Washington State is one of the most expensive states to live in (I really don’t know how Seattle compares to other large cities).  Our sales tax is one of the highest in the country (9.8% in Tacoma but it varies from county to county. Fun), and we have the highest pay rate per hour at $9.32. This basically means that the apartment choices for someone in who is low on the middle-class list is you don’t get very much for your money.

I’ve checked out 3 places so far, and here is the breakdown…

$700 for 700 sq feet, a tiny-ass washer and dryer, and a kitchen from the 40s that looks like it was repainted about a dozen times. It has built-in cabinetry and no patio storage (dafuq?). At least it comes with a dishwasher, albeit a very small one. Seems almost worth the price considering the location is good, but then they tack on $70 for W/S/G, and I’m like “$770 a month for that place? Uh, no thanks…”

They have the uncanny ability of making the place look good, that’s for sure.

Another place, owned by the same company and right next door, was even more interesting. It was about 540 sq ft, but had all updated maple cabinets and stainless steel appliances. Yeah, I drooled on the carpet a little bit (oops!) But again, no patio storage (or even a patio! Which means bye-bye gas grill) and only on-site laundry, which was like, a mile away or something as this place was on the 3rd floor. Partial view of the bridges and the bay though; very nice. It was $645 but then $80 a month for W/S/G. Ugh. And 540 sq ft is like a tin can. I already downsized to get moved out in the first place. I’m already busting at the seams living in a “studio” aka, my old room. I just need more space!


The 3rd place seems more my style. It’s in an area of town I used to live in. Not the best, but not really the worst area either, and I know it well. It’s $725 for 675 sq ft and was built/updated in the 80’s. Full size washer/dryer, patio storage, very quiet location – and W/S/G is included.  Problem is, they only have around 36 units and not all of them are 1 bedroom. So, it’ll be a test to see if they have one when I’m ready to go!

What about you? Do you rent? How to they compare?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review Wednesday

I’m going to start a “Review Wednesday” weekly blog post, except… today’s not Wednesday and I’m horrible when a schedule is forced on me like that. Okay, so I’ll start a “review when I feel like reviewing day” whatever day that may be. There, that sounds better.

Basically, I’m going to choose something that I’ve bought that I absolutely love and want to share with the world (or my 20 followers. Whichever.) It’ll be kind of like Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen, except I don’t have the support of a professional to back up my claims. It’ll just be my own, personal experience. And I want to point out that no – none of these posts are endorsed by the parent companies and no I’m not getting paid for any of them.

Today’s post will be on the Calphalon Unison nonstick omelette pan set. I got them for a good deal a while ago as my first “real” pan purchase. [I’d started with my mother’s crappy nonstick cookware that was already scratched and no longer nonstick.] So, your first thought is probably “Oh my God, THAT much for 2 lousy nonstick pans?” Yes. However, not everything you cook needs a nonstick surface, and they will last you a very long time. The Unison set is slightly more expensive than the Contemporary set and there’s a reason for that. These pans can brown things.


That’s right. A nonstick pan you can create a maillard reaction in. Not only that, but they are heavy duty. They won’t warp on you, you can put them in the oven, and they cook things very evenly.  They are so nonstick that you don’t even need butter for eggs. I’ve made eggs over-easy that just slide right out of the pan on their own. (And I mean still - after having them for 3+ years already.) It’s crazy, I know.

There is a downside to owning such nice cookware, though. Putting them in the dishwasher is a no-no, even when the company says it’s okay. It’s just bad for the surface. You should also not use anything abrasive to clean or cook it with (no metal utensils, yo!), and never, I mean never, use nonstick spray in a nonstick pan!

I love these pans. They are my go-to for just about everything. They’ve already lasted me a while and I can tell they’ll continue to last for years to come.

Now for a helpful tip:

Did you know that you can season your nonstick cookware? It’s true, I read it online! Seriously though, just like seasoning a cast iron skillet, you can take some canola oil, lightly coat the surface, and stick it in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour to “set”. Let it cool and wipe off the excess oil.
Also, if you had a brain fart one day and accidentally maybe used nonstick spray in your pan, you can effectively clean it out with baking soda and vinegar.

How about you? Do you have any favorite pieces of cookware that you'd love to share?