Monday, January 11, 2021

Things I Like Lately: Stationery, Kitchen Goods, and Slippers

As I mentioned in my 2020 year-end shopping reflections, I'm currently trying to have a low-spending, low-shopping few months when it comes to clothes, shoes, and accessories. At the moment, I'm very focused on the impending end of my student loan repayment journey, which will hopefully be in mid-August if all goes according to plan. In the absence of being able to safely travel or go out to dine at restaurants, fashion-related shopping is my biggest discretionary expense, so that's why I'm so focused on trying to keep that spending category down for now! 

This doesn't mean I'll completely stop shopping for things that are fun or a bit indulgent, however. I also don't think I'll completely eliminate shopping for my closet until August. I'm satisfied as long as I'm just shopping noticeably less than usual in that area. Here are a few, mostly non-fashion things I've been looking at so far in the new year. 

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Stationery: I recently decided to order my first ever set of washi tapes and stickers from Yoseka Stationery (a small stationery shop local to me, though I've unfortunately never had a chance to visit in person due to COVID-19). I mainly want to use them to decorate my five-year Hobonichi Techo - ordered last September - which I've been using as a sort of hybrid memory book and "a line a day"-type journal. I'll probably also use the stickers and washi tape to add more color to my bullet journal-slash-planner, which I currently keep in a dot-grid Leuchtturm1917 notebook, handwriting in all the dates and weekly planner layouts myself. 

I've only just started playing around with my new washi tapes and stickers. One observation so far is that an A6-sized notebook - like my five-year Hobonichi - is maybe a little small to allow much room for showing off washi tapes wider than ~15 mm or so, at least for long-winded writers like me! I'm still able to use the ~15 mm tapes as small, colorful accents on the pages, but can't use full lines of them to separate off each one-year section on each page. 

Ooh, and the "print-on stickers" I bought are particularly fun! Here's a quick video clip from one of Yoseka Stationery's Instagram posts that shows you how to use them. I've tried a few of these stickers now, and they're really easy to use. 

Kitchen Things: Even though K and I have cooked basically every single meal at home since March 12, 2020, our kitchen is only moderately better-stocked when it comes to cookware, tools, utensils, small appliances and the like when compared to my kitchen when I was a law student. The only big sets of additions to our kitchen since I graduated law school have been (1) when I was inspired to start baking in 2018, buying myself a hand mixer and a set of mixing bowls and (2) when I finally decided to buy a few additional odds and ends for the kitchen last year, after thinking about them for a good long time. We have very limited storage space, so any new item - even if it's relatively small - needs to be carefully considered. 

Over the year-end holidays, a lot of people I follow on Twitter and Instagram made standing rib roasts as a special holiday meal, and it inspired me to want to try cooking one myself. Partially for that purpose - to sear the outside of the roast - I decided we should buy our first cast iron skillet, a Lodge Chef's Collection 12-inch pre-seasoned skillet. K and I still mostly use non-stick cookware like we each did in law school, our new Lodge is our first ever cast iron skillet. I also selected a better instant-read thermometer, the Thermoworks Thermopop recommended by Wirecutter. (Previously, we only had a dinky, cheap-y analog meat thermometer I picked up at the grocery store while I was in law school. It didn't register the temperature quickly enough and may not have been especially accurate either.) 

Unrelated to making a standing rib roast, I also decided to get some silicone-tipped kitchen tongs. We have and frequently use a pair of plastic (nylon?) kitchen tongs I randomly picked up from HomeGoods back when I was in law school, but that material has certain... limitations. They're made entirely out of plastic and are a bit too light to pick up and turn heavier pieces of food. And, er, the plastic material can start to melt if it comes into continuous contact for too long with the surface of a pan on the stove while something is cooking. (We need silicone-tipped tongs instead of metal ones because of all our nonstick cookware.) 

Fashion Things: This is a spoiler for my month-end shopping reflection post, but I've now made what I think should be my only purchase for my closet this month, a pair of discounted Ugg "Scuffette II" sequined slippers (also on sale for ~$70 here and here; limited sizes remaining and I think they might sell out by the end of the month). Before I bought them, I was concerned I might not get much use out of shearling-lined slippers, as it tends to be a bit warm and stuffy in our apartment much of the time, even when we don't run the heater. But I've actually been wearing these often, they're not too warm for my apartment and the rainbow sequins are really fun and bring some joy to my monotonous work-from-home days! 

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