2010 Essentials

December 30, 2010 at 7:49 am (Uncategorized)

At the end of the year I usually find myself with a “Thank goodness that’s finally over!” type of feeling, but as 2010 draws to a close I’m actually sad to see it go.  2010 was a pretty good year.  I quit my job, I acquired two great new roommates, I collected an impressive array of SillyBandz…not too shabby 2010, not too shabby.  There were lots of things that I really dug in 2010, and they deserve some recognition.  Here they are…

Love is Not What You Need by Sad Brad Smith I very much dig this album by local boy done good Brad Smith.  It’s heartbreaking, it’s funny, it’s lovely, it’s a staple on my iPod.  “Tombs” and “Everyone Knows I’m Still in Love With You” are my two favorite tracks on the album.  For any non-Chicagoans who might be reading, you may have caught Sad Brad Smith’s music in the movie Up in the Air, where his song “Help Yourself” underscored a pivotal scene for George Clooney’s character.

Betty’s Kitchen Betty, of Betty’s Kitchen fame, at first glance seems like someone that’d I’d have no trouble mocking.  She’s a folksy blonde retiree whose husband films YouTube videos of her making casseroles and other dishes that are chock full of processed foods and cheese product.  She wears puffy satin shirts while she cooks and she talks about how she uses fat free sour cream to save calories after smothering a chicken cutlet in swiss cheese and gravy.  Despite all of this, or perhaps because of all of this, I adore Betty.  Though her recipes may not be the most health conscious, Betty has an earnest desire to nourish her family and help others do the same, and the best way she knows how is by making cheesy casseroles that might potentially stop their hearts from pumping.  Betty is a retired math professor who looks far too young and slim given her age and eating habits, so maybe Betty will have the last laugh.

Smarty Pig Interest rates are dire as hell these days, which makes it a lousy time to try to save money, but Smarty Pig tries to ease the burden a bit.  Their 1.75% APY is one of the better rates you’ll find, and they let you establish savings goals so that you can have sub-accounts and set timelines to determine how aggressively you’ll need to save money to reach the goals.  They also have a friendly Twitter presence that offers assistance and the occasional gift card giveaway.

CTA Bus Tracker by Text  I am a simple woman with a simple cell phone.  Fancy apps (which I still assume refers to appetizers when I hear it) for your smart phone are wasted on me, so I was tickled pink when the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority, for you out-of-towners) started offering a way to track the arrival of your bus by text message.  It makes it much easier to decide whether it’s worth waiting for a bus or finding alternate transportation, particularly during these chilly Chicago winters.  Well played, CTA.

PS I Made This Despite being born to a woman who can sew, knit, crochet, and do just about any craft under the sun, I have no skill when it comes to this type of endeavor.  I salivate over the creations on this do-it-yourself site, and hope that one day my latent crafting skills will kick in.


1 Comment

  1. Ellen Wohlberg said,

    Good post, good post. As evidenced by the fact that I am sitting here exploring SmartyPig while listening to Sad Brad Smith.

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