Friday, August 2, 2013

Time For Another Review

On June 24, 2013, a new thrift store opened on Military Highway here in Norfolk: Best Thrift Store, which is partnered with Eggleston Services to solicit, collect and sell household goods in Hampton Roads. The reason for the name of the store is because this location is known as Best Square.

I finally had the chance to check it out this afternoon on my lunch break, because I always enjoy seeing new businesses and finding out what they have to offer. I wasn't impressed.

I believe this store used to be a men's clothing store until a couple years ago. It's something like 21,000 square feet, and this store has been in the making, physically, since November 2012. You'd think that with that much planning and space, this store would be PACKED with with items to purchase.

Not really.

Instead, things were spaced out in the middle of the store and along just one wall. There's so much open floor space there, that it feels empty inside, like they're going out of business instead of just starting. I think a better solution to make the space feel full would be to use some partition walls to limit how much floor space is being used. You know those fake walls used in the pop-up Halloween stores, to divide the front of the store from the back? That's what Best Thrift needs. As they get more merchandise and some displays, they could move those partition walls back and forth as needed. It would give them some storage space to play with, as well as a way to hang some clothing displays up. If you want a perfect example of how a good thrift store does displays, check out the windows at the Hope House Thrift Store in Norfolk. They arrange their on display merchandise either by common color, theme or holiday. It changes on a regular basis and it's eye catching as you pass by there.

Plus, they really didn't have a whole lot of merchandise available to begin with. The racks looked pretty empty. The clothing they did have (I only picked up two long sleeved shirts) looked pretty dated and worn out...think clothing cast offs that other thrift stores really wouldn't want.

The furniture for sale looked dirty, like it had been taken from where it was stored and out right out on sale immediately. I guess they don't think they need to spend a little time and elbow grease on making their displays look nice. Believe me, it would be worth it so you could possibly make what you are trying to make on that furniture. I've gotten stuff for free from Craigslist that looks better than this stuff.

And the shoe "department"....Lord, don't get me started. I figured since I was prowling the entire store (I even took a quick stroll through kids' clothing section), I'd check this part out too.

Avoid the shoe section seriously smells like a cross between feet, unmaintained old leather and the plaque.

The pricing of the items was alright, I can't really criticize that. Two long sleeved shirts for $3 total. Their tags show what the prices are and will be, as time goes on, so if you really wanted something, you could wait for the price to drop. But keep in mind, you run the risk of having someone else come along at buy it before you can.

And last, but not least, of different aspects of Best Thrift to review...the cashiers. I realize they are probably just working part-time to full-time there, making minimum wage and on their feet all day long, but come on...did that chick even have a pulse? Own that job, you've got one, have a good time with it, suggest different items to go with what people have purchased, ask them if they found what they were looking for...don't act like it's a hassle when someone asks for a job application from you!

For the final review, I'd give this only 1 star out of 5, and that's because of the pricing. I won't be headed back to Best Thrift for anything, and the next time I decide to hit a thrift store, it will be Thrift Store USA.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Adding to the Bucket List

The newest items are the first three here.
  • I want to go hang gliding in Kill Devil Hills, NC.
  • I want to see the archelogical dig at the Jamestown Settlement.
  • I want to see KISS in concert, in the make-up: This one is happening in August in Portsmouth. This is a band I figured I'd never get the chance to see.
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there. 
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. Holy crap, I'm still working on this one!!!
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command. I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride. 
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013. 
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC in 2013. 
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). 
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. in 2013. 
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day. I would like to go to Hiroshima as well, but I've heard that Americans are unofficially unwelcomed there, and I don't blame the Japanese people if that's true. 
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. 
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich). 
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor. 
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells. 
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California. 
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere. 
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations). 
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster. 
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it. 
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion in 2013. 
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago. 
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story. 
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California. 
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads: This one is happening in August.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA. 

Update on the Bench

I am wildly happy with the bench! I just finished the staining tonight. I had to go do the edges of the storage lid (not pictured here) and now that part is done.

Just so you know, the cell phone picture I posted here leaves A LOT to be desired, but trust me, it's a gorgeous shade of red now.

I used part of the can of Minwax Wood Finish that Shane had here, in Red Oak. Note to remember: when using red stain, make sure to put plastic down on the cement garage floor, otherwise it will look like a scene from "Dexter."  I tried to be careful, but this shit gets EVERYWHERE. I'm going to pick up some cleaners this weekend to try and remove the crime scene from the garage floor.

I actually lost track of how many coats of stain this is. I'm thinking it's 3-4 coats, depending on each piece of wood. The plywood where the cushion will go took the stain very well, but the arms and legs needed a lot more.

Next parts of this project: polyurethane and install the hinges.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Kind of Struck Out With Two Recipes

I decided to some cooking over the weekend and tried out two new recipes, which I feel like they were kind of strike outs for me.

The first one was Bacon Pancakes. I took a shortcut here and actually made the pancakes from the Aunt Jemima dry box mix. "These bacon pancakes satisfy both the sweet and savory senses. Surprise your family with this breakfast on Saturday or Sunday morning."

While I love bacon and pancakes, I thought it was a bit more work than what was necessary for breakfast. We crumbled the bacon for our pancakes, but I'm thinking, why bother? The next time, I'm just making the bacon as a side and pulling out the ol'waffle maker instead. :)

I saw the recipe for Corn, Tomato, Basil Salad on the Today Show last week. It was being touted as a no-cook, raw salad. The dressing is white wine vinegar and vegetable oil. It should be extremely light, and with the basil, it should be somewhat flavorful.

I totally didn't like this. Even by letting the salad sit in the frig for a couple hours before serving, I thought there was no taste to it. If it weren't for the crunch of the raw corn, I would have thought my mouth was empty.

Shane, on the other hand, liked it as is, but thought it would be better as a topping to another dish. Maybe it would be better on fish or something, but he didn't think it was good as a stand-alone dish.

So I'm going to toss out these two recipes and see what next weekend's cooking projects bring our culinary way.