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How to Survive (and Thrive) On a Service Industry Salary

If you work in the service industry in general or at McDonald's specifically, or even if you just spend a lot of time futzing around on the internet during work hours (we're not saying that we do), you may be aware of the fuss and schadenfraude circulating around the website McDonald's and Visa launched to help Golden Arches employees manage their money and live a full life on their salaries. Surprisingly, some of its recommendations and advice have attracted scrutiny, like the fact that their sample monthly budget includes a line item for a second income, but not food, or estimates the monthly cost of health insurance at $20. Now, we're not here to quibble over silly little details like that – like the fine folks at McDonald's who we're not attempting to demean in any way, we're more interested in providing a valuable public service. As so many of our friends are in the service industry, we thought we could provide some further wisdom on how to live within the means afforded by this rewarding career. Here are some more handy budget tips:

-Consider picking up a third job. The average full-time workday is eight hours. There are three eight-hour increments in a single day. Coincidence? We think not. Now back to work.

-Even in a fairly affordable city like Providence, rent can eat up a sizable portion of your income. You can subsidize this through subletting space in your own apartment. Don't just think of extra bedrooms. Kitchens, living rooms, closets, bathtubs, laundry hampers – these are all viable options for your coworkers and service industry friends in similar financial situations. Just remember to use the word "cozy" in the Craiglist posting.

-Ask your employer to consider replacing your hourly stipend with a wage based on the level uncontrollable white hot rage you feel towards the general public every minute of every day. Your income could easily increase by a trillion percent.

-McDonald's is switching many of its employees over …   More

Magic and Illusion at Brown's Rockefeller Library

Are you still bummed that your Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail? Turn that frown upside-down, because Brown has you covered. Brown University kicks off the year with some fascinating new exhibits and one of them taps into the realm of magic.

The latest exhibit is called The Art of Illusion: Selections from the H. Adrian Smith Collection of Conjuring and Magicana. Over his lifetime, Smith built up a private collection of books, manuscripts and other objects concerning magic and illusions. His extensive collection was passed along to Brown and now has its own exhibit in the John D. Rockefeller Library. Admission is free for and the general public is welcome to view these fascinating pieces from now until March 26. Visitors must check in with the service desk or call 401-863-2165.    More


Spend Easter at Duck and Bunny

Cute golden chicks, adorable ducklings and big eyed baby bunnies are pretty much the poster children (well, poster animal children) for any sort of Easter celebration... so what better way to spend your egg-centric Easter Sunday than by munching on eggs at the Duck and Bunny?

The Wickenden Street snuggery is trading their regular brunch menu for a three-course prix-fixe offering from 10am-4pm. Expect to see a selection of crêpes and unique egg dishes. If weather allows, soak up some sun while sipping on a sparkling cocktail in the Duck and Bunny’s picturesque back garden.

Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the elusive Easter Bunny. Then again, if you do see a fluffy bunny trying to give chocolate eggs to children, you may have indulged in a little too much Easter brunch booze. 312 Wickenden Street. 270-3300.


The Batman Conundrum

Genre movies have always proven a surprisingly sturdy and effective way to explore the fraying edges of American society – the western and the hardboiled crime flick being two of the best examples. Though they vary in quality from popcorn flicks to prestige pictures, the familiar stories, tropes and character archetypes create an effective and easily relatable framework for filmmakers to ask tough questions and provide social commentary – think of the way The Searchers deals with our country’s ingrained racism and cruelty or Scarface’s funhouse mirror take on the American dream.

These days, the comic book movie seems the genre best suited for such filmic explorations. Indeed, we are living in the Age of the Superhero, not only because these splashy, big budget franchises have become one of Hollywood’s most reliable money makers, but because they have taken on a level of pedigree and complexity that is new and unusual for what have traditionally been popcorn flicks. Big stars and serious actors like Christian Bale and Robert Downey, Jr. are anchoring franchises helmed by critical darlings like Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon. And in between flashy action set pieces, these films are exploring weighty issues and posing difficult questions. In director Zack Snyder’s reimagining of Superman, the titular Man of Steel grapples with arch villains and existential angst alike, just as Nolan’s Batman found Gotham City plagued not just by crime, but post-9/11 dread and paranoia. The comic book genre is capturing the zeitgeist like never before.

Perhaps this is because the narrative framework, origin stories and archetypes of the comic book world are uniquely suited to deal with the complex and often bewildering state of hyper-reality in which we now live. From Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, from Al-Qaeda to the hacker group Anonymous, never before in human civilization have …   More

Year In Review

PVD Voted One of the Best Food Cities in the US

Saveur’s Culinary Travel Awards 2013: Notable Small Dining City

“Maybe once a year if I’m lucky I get to eat somewhere that blows my mind. I just got my taste for 2013.” - Boston Globe’s review of north. They also ran a piece on a culinary tour of Providence.” - Boston Globe’s dining review of north

Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2013 Nominees: Nemo Bolin of Cook & Brown Public House and Benajamin Sukle of The Dorrance

The Daily Meal’s America’s 15 most heavenly Italian restaurants: #11 Al Forno

James Beard Foundation’s 2013 Nominees for Outstanding Bar Program: Cook & Brown Public House, Outstanding Service: Persimmon & Best Chef: Champe Speidel, Prsimmon, Matt Jennings, Farmsted Inc.

Providence is featured on Bizarre Food America with Andrew Zimmern

Zagat includes Harry’s Burger Bar on its 50 States 50 Burgers list



Glamour Magazine Hits the Local Music Scene

Fancy a soirée with live music and a dash of glamour? FUZE Iced Tea and Glamour Magazine have teamed up with style blogger Melanie Patterson of to host a special one-night event: Glamour Live Providence! (All devout Glamour Magazine readers are encouraged, nay, ordered to attend!) But this event is not just for those fashionistas who worship style tips and love a good excuse to get dressed up for a party (guilty as charged). If you love local music and free food as much as I do, then this event will definitely satisfy your cravings – gastrointestinal or otherwise. Local band Dylan Sevey and the Gentlemen will be performing alongside DJ Abby Duran. While you're jamming out, be sure to enjoy some complimentary LA style Mexican cuisine from  Mijos Taco Truck. If that's not cool enough, the event is free! But, before you take a trip down to The Spot Underground make sure you RSVP to Join me this Wednesday, August 14th from 7-9pm and be sure to indugle in whatever (this is an 18+ event.) See you there!   More


Finding the Right Spot

I can always tell when the person I’m making plans to meet Downtown doesn't live in Providence, and probably doesn’t spend much time here. The telltale question of a non-city person is this: “Where should I park?”

Not only does this tell me that the person is unfamiliar with the geography of our rendezvous point, and therefore any parking options in the vicinity, but it also betrays a lack of understanding of how parking in a city works. Does this person think I can direct them to a specific spot? Do they think that I have a selection of parking spots on reserve? Are they under the impression that I can predict which spaces will be available at any given point in the day? If you’ve ever tried to park... well, really anywhere ever, then you should recognize that the question “Where should I park?” is fairly open-ended and difficult to answer. On the street. Wherever you can find a spot. Look for a place where there isn’t already a car – park there. Those are really the only answers I can come up with for that question.

I say this not to mock those who are inexperienced with navigating our city streets, but rather to dispel a common misconception about Providence: namely, that it has a parking problem. Providence doesn’t really have a parking problem – or at least not the one you think. (More on that later.)

The “parking problem,” as people often gripe, is that it is difficult – nigh, impossible – to find a place to park Downtown. In fact, it’s what prevents people from coming Downtown more often – or so the common wisdom goes.

Downtown Providence encompasses an area of 0.51 square miles. Within that, there are 1,500 on-street spaces, and an additional 15,000 in lots and garages. That’s roughly one parking spot per every 917 square feet. Now granted, if you’re averse to walking almost 2/10 of a mile from your car to your destination, that might pose a predicament, but for most of the rest of us blessed with two …   More


Race for a Cause

There’s a new race in town. The Inaugural Ocean Road 10K will take place on October 6 and will travel along coastal miles on Ocean Road in Narragansett. A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit the Narragansett Historical Society, a fitting and worthy non-profit organization helping to celebrate Narragansett’s 125th anniversary this year.

On the other side of town, Flames of Hope Celebration Village takes place from October 11–13, and will boast health screenings, healing arts activities, cooking demos, informative lectures, live music, torch procession and lighting and four family-friendly fun runs to choose from – put on by the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation to raise awareness and support.


Going Undercover

The local nonprofit Project Undercover, which provides things like socks, underwear and diapers to needy children, is going to have a good day on Tuesday, September 18. How do we know? Because on that day all three Rhode Island Whole Foods locations (601 North Main St., 261 Waterman St. and 151 Sockanosset Crossroad, Cranston) will donate 5% of the day’s sales to benefit the charity. It's a great opportunity to support a great cause while buying things you already need anyway.   More

Mills Tavern Turns 10

In an industry as fickle as restaurants, longevity is a rare prize. Most restaurants don’t last more than a couple of years – meanwhile, Mills Tavern is celebrating a full decade. Starting this month, the restaurant will mark this milestone with its new Spring Anniversary Menu, reintroducing some of the signature favorites from the past 10 years. Highlights include the “Mills Sandwich,” Hudson Valley foie gras with a black currant buttermilk biscuit and tea braised figs; Open Faced Braised Rabbit Ravioli with wild mushroom truffle cream sauce; and Beef Tartare Over Bulgur Wheat Salad with cornichon emulsion and sunny-side up quail egg.

Be sure to check Mills Taverns’ website for the date of its special anniversary dinner. In the last week of April the restaurant will host a special six-course tasting with wine pairings. Chef Ed Bolus will be in the kitchen with guest chef Jules Ramos of Eleven Forty Nine; Ramos was the first executive chef at Mills. Tickets are $150 per person, with $25 benefiting Festival Ballet.   More

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