The Friendly Toast

Finding the world’s greatest breakfast place is usually my husband’s job when we are on vacation. Breakfast is very important to him, and since we often skip lunch, he wants something substantial and good. This sometimes means an uncomfortably long early morning walk or a dead end when we find the perfect place opens too late. (We’re early risers.) In New Hampshire, we found this nifty place in Portsmouth, The Friendly Toast. It turns out the Portsmouth location is the mother ship as this is a chain now has outposts in Boston (Back Bay) and Cambridge. The menu was eclectic and vegetarian friendly, which is important for us. I had veggie biscuits and gravy for the first time ever.  The decor is pure kitsch to match the menu and the groovy staff. You can check out their decor on their website under “Our Gallery of Goodness.” Highly recommended.

Table Decoration Kitsch galore at The Friendly Toast

Vintage Pineapple Lamp

This may look like a group of grapes, but it is not. It’s a pineapple, a Vintage Pineapple Lamp. Check out eBay if you don’t believe me. I spied this at a thrift store more than a year ago, but I kept my powder dry owing to the $49 price tag. That’s a bit too steep for me for a purely kitsch item. However, I never forgot it, and when one appeared in my eBay feed for $23 about a month before my birthday, I bought it. (Full disclosure: the item cost more than $10 to ship.)

It’s really heavy with a metal base made to look like wood just like the stickers that covered the paneling on a mid-80s Ford Country Squire Wagon. The balls are lucite and strung seemingly by hand with wire around a metal column. The top is plastic and resembles an artificial plant. I rewired it and included a new LED bulb so as not to heat the lucite and damage it. It glows ever so slightly and looks best at night. Lowe’s sells colored LED bulbs around Christmas time, so I may switch it out to a green bulb, which will hide it better amid the cluster of balls.

This version is green and blue, but it also comes in yellow and green, which, frankly, would make it look more like a pineapple and less like grapes. Your taste may vary, but I liked the blue best.

Vintage Pineapple Lamp

Shop Wisely, Shop Used

Limited edition Adidas Campus sneakers found at a consignment shop for $15
Limited edition Adidas Campus sneakers found at a consignment shop for $15

For the past several years, I’ve kept track of every dollar I spend on clothes in a Google sheet. It’s a very nerdy endeavor for a former English major, but it keeps me on track to spend less and to spend wisely. I also have a formula that calculates the  amount of money I spend as a percentage of my after-tax income and the percentage of total purchases spent on items that were already worn. Americans spend a massive amount of money on clothes, and much of those pieces end up in thrift stores and consignment shops where you can find them for a song. Plus keeping track of your spending will keep you on budget and allow you to make goals. This year, my goal is to increase the amount I spend on used items as opposed to new ones and decrease my overall spending. In 2016, I spent 2.92% of my after tax income on clothing/shoes/accessories and 82.79% of money spent was on used items.

Tips for your spreadsheet: Syntax to sum a column based on a criteria. Mine is “used.”

Syntax: =SUMIF(range, criteria, sum_range)

Happy Shopping and Saving…


Old and Functional

IMG_1027I love old things…especially old functional things like dishes and lamps. Really cool old things can be found in two places: vintage stores with knowledgeable proprietors and yard sales. You’ll find the best bargains at yard sales because store owners in the know will price their cool things accordingly. This lamp is a mixture of both. The shade I swapped from another lamp that I purchased in Adamstown, PA. The lamp was purchased at Building Character in Lancaster, PA. It was paired with a white shade of the wrong decade that made it look sad. Old and sad but not old in that cool way we’re looking for. I know a gem when I see it. It was $12.

The miser in me didn’t buy it immediately, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of it to carefully consider it. Regardless, I came back the next day and scooped it up. It had been waiting for so long that the rotting price tag fell off the bottom as I carried it to the register. I dashed to Home Depot for supplies and rewired it immediately carefully cleaning every part with a Magic Eraser and Simple Green. I also picked up an LED bulb, which is essential for preserving your old vintage lampshades. Why? They emit very little heat, and they last a long time.

I spent less than $28 on this lamp, and I use it every day. The pink color reminds me of 50s bathroom tile, and if you look closely, it has a similar texture. The shape reminds me of a seahorse. It makes me smile every time I turn it on.