Saturday, January 22, 2011

Safari #22: The Swapaholics

You bring a bag of gently used items (clothing, accessories, shoes, and housewares, etc) to exchange for other items at little or no cost.  It sounds unbelievable.

The above scenario describes a "swap," where retail therapy, recycling, and charity all come together.  Last Thursday, I attended a clothing swap at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville compliments of the Swapaholics, an group dedicated to inexpensive thrifting and low cost fashionable style.

For $10 (discounted ticket cost) and a small bag of clothes, I walked away with some awesome finds including a puffer vest, pencil skirt, trail running shoes, and a blouse - all in excellent condition.  At the end of the event, all remaining items were donated to charity.

Interested in swapping?  You should be.  Check out the following sites to learn more:

  • Visit the Swapaholics. Follow them on Twitter (@swapaholics) and learn more about their organization and upcoming swaps. 
  • Check out - List items you have and items you want, and get swapping with other users for the cost of shipping.  Pretty cool.
  • Start Local.  If you're not ready to swap on a larger scale, organize a swap of your own with friends.
*Swapaholics logo borrowed from the website. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Safari #21: Axiom Gallery

Some things are definitely worth waiting for - and I've been waiting a long time to visit the Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media in Jamaica Plain.  Located at the Green Street T stop on the Orange Line, Axiom probably isn't what you're expecting in an art gallery.  Its unexpectedness will surprise you.

"Identity Element: Works from the New Axiom Group" highlights the work of 12 new artists including video, audio, photography, and other mixed media.  One of my favorite pieces was a display of clocks -  all wired to a central piece and displaying the same time.  The singular ticking of the second hand across the sea of clocks was both thrilling and somewhat chilling at the same time.

Some quick tips if you're planning to visit:

  • The gallery has limited hours, so plan your visit carefully.  Visit the website to view the schedule.
  • The exhibit openings are fantastic.  Meet the artists and enjoy refreshments (small donations suggested).  Sign up for email notifications to find out when the next installation is scheduled.
  • There are no restrooms.  Plan accordingly.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Safari #20: Harvard Museum of Natural History

Happy New Year safari travelers.  I've been away on vacation and recently returned to town.  I hope you all had wonderful holiday celebrations.  To start off this new year, I'd like to focus on safaris that enrich the mind and soul.  With that said, let's start with the mind.

There is something intriguing about the combination of history and science all in the same place.  If you're not convinced, try visiting The Harvard Museum of Natural History.  The museum gives you a visually stimulating tour of life as it has developed on earth over millions of years.  If you're able to visit the museum, be sure to check out the following displays:

The Botanical Gallery - Every specimen contained within this room is handmade - out of glass.  Created from 1886 through 1936, the nearly 4,400 models were used to teach botany to Harvard students.

The Mineral Gallery - A rare opportunity to view hundreds of natural minerals, gemstones, and meteorites.  If you appreciate the beauty of gemstones, pick three of your favorites and try to find them in the gallery.  If you like amethyst, you have a surprise waiting for you.

The Language of Color -  a stunning display of animals and the natural colors found in nature.  Did you know that the fur on some animals will only reflect blue light?

  • Admission is only $9, and if you're a Massachusetts resident, admission is free on Wednesdays from 3 to 5pm (September through May) and Sundays from 9am to noon (year round).
  • If you're looking for unique gifts, the gift shop offers some great ideas.  In particular, the shop sells plants to grow at home including hydroponic herbs, vegetables, flowers, and fruit.
  • If you're looking to grab something to eat after visiting the museum (remember, no food or drinks are allowed inside), Harvard Square is only a 10 minute walk away.