Wednesday, July 31, 2013

iTunes Genius Playlist: Angie Martinez

Here's another fabulous playlist, care of iTunes' Genius feature. Made possible by my own sick music library, of course. This list is based off of the timeless Angie Martinez/Lil Mo/Sacario 2002 jam, If I Could Go, which has been in my head quite a bit lately. Not complaining!

1. Angie Martinez feat. Lil' Mo and Sacario - If I Could Go

2. Mya - Movin' On

3. Truth Hurts feat. Rakim - Addictive

4. Brandy feat. Ma$e - Top of the World

5. Aaliyah feat. Timbaland - We Need a Resolution

6. Destiny's Child feat. Wyclef Jean - No, No, No (remix)

7. Jazmine Sullivan - Holding You Down (Goin' In Circles)

8. IMX - Stay the Night (super extra bonus points if you know this song OR who IMX is)

9. Sunshine Anderson - Heard It All Before

10. Groove Theory - Tell Me

11. Mya - Best of Me

12. Jermaine Dupri feat Mariah Carey - Sweetheart (whatup 1998?!)

13. Brandy - What About Us?

14. Fabolous - Trade It All (remix)

15. Wyclef Jean feat. Claudette Ortiz - Two Wrongs

16. Aaliyah - Are You That Somebody?

17. Destiny's Child - If You Leave

18. TLC - Kick Your Game

19. Mya - Case of the Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do?)

20. Keyshia Cole - I Should've Cheated

21.  Brandy - Baby

My throwback music library is better than yours. #Fact. #Sawry.

The MVP of this list might be Wyclef/Claudette on Two Wrongs.  It's always amazing to be reminded that that song exists, #AMIRIGHT?

Were any of your old school favorites on this list? I hope it inspired you to re-listen to some of them via YouTube or your own iTunes libraries!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

A Homemade Fruit Fly Trap that Actually Works

Seriously - who else is struggling with fruit flies this season? I swear they're getting more and more ballsy everyday over here. They've started perching along the handle of my refrigerator door, thinking I'm not going to notice them there and that I'm going to just let them right into my food supply. We've tried several different homemade fruit fly traps, but none of them were working to both trap and kill the bugs.

I finally found the solution!!

Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

Here's what you need:

Tape (I used packaging tape)
A 1- or 2-liter plastic bottle
Apple juice
Dish soap
Scissors or a serrated knife
5 fingers to pat yourself on the back afterwards, because this shit is going to work.

Step 1:  Use your knife or scissors to cut the top portion off of the bottle:

Plastic bottle with top cut off, homemade fruit fly trap
Step 2: Pour about 1" of apple juice into the bottom of the bottle. Add a squirt of dish soap and stir:

Plastic bottle with apple juice and dishsoap, homemade fruit fly trap
Step 3: Take the top part of the bottle that you'd removed and flip it upside down. Insert the upside-down top of the bottle into the bottom of the bottle so that the two pieces fit together snugly. Use your tape to secure the two bottle pieces together at the top edge:

Homemade Fruit Fly Trap

Now all you have to do is place this bottle somewhere that fruit flies like to gather in your home. You can make additional traps and place them in different rooms if need be.

So why does this fruit fly trap work?

WELL let me tell you.

The flies are attracted by the smell of the sweet apple juice, so they fly down into the bottle. The dish soap in the liquid breaks the surface tension of the apple juice, preventing the flies from being able to stand on top of the liquid like Jesus. Thus, they sink into the liquid and drown. Another reason this bottle thing works is because I've read that fruit flies aren't great at flying straight up, so once they get into the vertical chamber of the plastic bottle, they're kind of screwed.

Some other techniques I tried that did not work:

- Covered half an empty watermelon with plastic wrap and poked holes into it. This seriously attracted the fruit flies and they did fly into the holes in the plastic. However, there was nothing in the watermelon that would kill the flies, so rather than drowning they just flew around and around inside the watermelon long enough that most of them were eventually able to escape. Fail.

- Mashed up some blueberries in a glass jar, added some water and a bit of dish soap, covered the jar in plastic wrap and poked holes into it. No idea why, but the flies never even went near this one. I don't get it - who doesn't love soapy blueberries?? Fail.

My only hope is that someone finds this helpful. I've definitely heard some other "fruit fly" rumblings and grumblings around Facebook and Twitter lately, so I'm sure I'm not the only one with the problem. The several dead fruit flies at the bottom of my plastic bottle are the best proof that this trap works better than any others I've tried.  Now go forth and kill those little sons of bitches.

Also, I'm a featured guest blogger over on Much Ado About Somethin' today. Head over to check out all of the nail care and nail polish basics I'm sharing with her readers!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Another Pastel Polish Gone WRONG!

Ughhhh whyyyyy do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep buying pastel polishes?! They always look SO fabulous in their bottles and always look like such ASS on my nails!

I'd like nothing more than to try out one of these Sally Hansen pastels and then be able to write a glowing report about it, so that I could maybe even share the post with Sally Hansen's Facebook or Twitter accounts and have them shower me with blogger love. Unfortunately, I've recently picked up another Sally Hansen pastel polish that looked incredible in the bottle and left basically a streaky mess on my nails.

sally hansen pink blink with silver glitter

Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Pink Blink immediately caught my eye when I saw it last week at London Drugs. I'd never seen the color before, but it was a perfect "baby girl/Barbie" pink color. None of the pictures I've taken of it have really shown the true color well. Every photo I took showed a more washed-out version of the color, making it look much more pale and far less sassy.

crystal silver polish and Pink Blink Sally Hansen polish

However in real life, this pink is very fun and bubble-gummy. I can't even find one single photo on Google that shows the true color of this polish - everyone's looks as washed out as mine does. I can assure you that, in real life, the pink color of this polish was enough to make me say, "Oooh! Gotta have that!"

However, this polish's consistency is just gross. It's disgustingly thick and gloopy, even when applying thin coats. No matter how skilled I've become at applying nail polish, there's nothing I can do with Pink Blink - it looks like a toddler applied it.

first coat of Pink Blink by Sally Hansen
.  first coat  .

Second coat of Pink Blink, by Sally Hansen
.  second coat  .
.  obviously pre-clean up - sorry!!  .

Close up of two coats of Pink Blink by Sally Hansen
.  oogly  .

Pink Blink nail polish with silver glitter accent nails

So I painted all my nails two coats of Pink Blink and then used some of my Love & Beauty Crystal Silver polish to add some accent to my thumb and ring fingers. I can still see streaks in the pink polish but I had no patience for the formula and didn't care to add a third coat of it to try to reduce the streaking.

In the meantime maybe I ought to just use all these pretty-in-the-bottle polishes as home decor instead of nail polishes. They'd look better lined up on a shelf on display than they do on my nails, that's for freaking sure.

Anyone find a pastel polish with a formula that doesn't suck? Please, for the love of God, share it with me!!!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Few Good (Food) Things

While making dinner the other night, Dave cracked an egg into the pan and it was a double-yolk. Pretty cool. Then he cracked another egg into the pan and it, too, was a double-yolk. I thought that was photo-worthy...

2 eggs, double yolks
Then we almost yelped when this happened:

3 eggs, double yolks
.  WHAT DO WE WIN???  .

Grilled cheese sandwiches are WAY better with homemade pesto (left) and mashed avocado (right). Do it:

toast with pesto, toast with mashed avocado

Because I needed to hit a $5 minimum to make a purchase with my debit card a few days ago, I snagged this tea, which has ended up being soooo good - Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile:

Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea, Celestial Seasonings

What is tickling your fancy this week?

Tonight I'm taking a bus from Vancouver to Seattle, and tomorrow morning I'll fly out of SeaTac to head back to Massachusetts for a 3-week visit. I'm thrilled to see my family, plusss one of my best friends is getting married so there's going to be a massive friend reunion in my near future. I haven't been back east since February, so I can't wait to squeeze EVERYONE. Hopefully lots of family and friends pictures/stories to come!

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Camping in Garibaldi Provincial Park & Hiking Black Tusk

I've been so excited to share this with you!! The weekend of July 13-14, Dave and I went on a spectacular hiking/camping trip with a group of 9 others from the VOC (Varsity Outdoor Club). We headed about 2 hours north of Vancouver to Garibaldi Provincial Park, where we'd hike to the Black Tusk and camp out in Taylor Meadows.

Vancouver to Garibaldi Provincial Park

The campsite we'd be staying at was about 7.5 km from the Rubble Creek parking lot that we'd park at, so this was notttt car camping. We would be carrying all our gear/clothes/water right on our backs. Dave got our bags all packed and set before we left Vancouver...

Two bags packed for camping/hiking
.  his and hers packs  .

Dave clearly was carrying most of the weight. Some of the things we packed:  sleeping pads, Dave's new tent, walking poles, ice axes, sleeping bags, clothes, water bottles, snacks (Snickers and granola), sandwiches for lunches, macaroni/sausage for dinner, and helmets. You'll just have to keep reading to find out what we needed the helmets for... ;)

Setting off from Rubble Creek parking lot, we headed up a dirt trail that rose fairly gradually until the sound of the Creek disappeared into the background and we were totally surrounded by tall, moss-dripping trees. Several kilometers of switchbacks eventually brought us to a junction in the trail, around the 6km mark.  From this junction, you could head right to make your way down to Garibaldi Lake (a beautiful glacial lake nestled in the middle of Garibaldi Provincial Park). Heading to the left, however, leads you up to Taylor Meadows Campsite and - eventually - the Black Tusk. We took a left at the junction, and after another 1.5km we arrived at the campsite.

We were some of the first people at the Taylor Meadows Campsite that day so our group had our pick of all the tent sites. We set up our tents amongst the viciously swarming mosquitos that inhabit the meadow (Note: DEFINITELY bring bug spray if you head to this site), ate our lunch, tied our food products up in the bear cache (a rope and pulley system that raises all our food bags about 20 ft into the air), dropped some of the surplus weight out of our bags and then set off again to try to summit the Black Tusk.

Tent at Taylor Meadows Campsite, Garibaldi Provincial park
.  our tent  .
.  we didn't bring the bright orange tent fly, in case you wondered why
it looks different than it did before  .
Black Tusk is a steep pinnacle overlooking Garibaldi Lake from the north. Here's a view of it at sunset from the campsite:

View of Black Tusk from Taylor Meadows Campsite

From Taylor Meadows Campsite we hiked steadily upward through a peaceful and stream-scattered mountain meadow...

Hiking through Taylor Meadow

Taylor Meadow, Garibaldi Provincial Park

Hiking towards Black Tusk

Hiking through Taylor Meadows

... which provided continuous beautiful views of Garibaldi Lake and the bountiful mountains to its south, including the impressive Mt. Garibaldi.

View of Garibaldi Lake from Taylor Meadows

The higher we hiked, the fewer trees we had surrounding us, until eventually we were hiking up open terrain as we approached Black Tusk - finally encountering some snow (though still not nearly as much as we had expected):

Approaching Black Tusk

Hiking towards black tusk, garibaldi park
.  me scoping out the scenery  .

We made our way up an open snowy field that eventually turned into an ascent over loose volcanic rocks as we neared the Tusk's base:

Snowy ascent towards the Black Tusk, Garibaldi Provincial Park
At the base of the Tusk, we paused for a snack and to catch our breaths while we admired more views of the turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake below:

View of Garibaldi Lake from base of Black Tusk

The base of the Tusk is where things began to get really exciting and interesting. We made our way carefully along the ridge that crosses in front of the pinnacle, which is little more than a pile of loose volcanic rock. Dave told me to hustle through this part, since there was plenty of loose rock above us as well. I told him I shan't be hustling across ANY of this crazy shit. Would YOU have??

Loose volcanic rock, Black Tusk

I'm so giddy with excitement even writing about this... it was just so exciting to be doing it. Once we crossed the front of the Tusk laterally, it was time to start going UP. 

YUP. Up!!!
Straight up!

This part was a precarious scramble, but all 11 of us agreed that we did want to proceed to try to get to the summit. So we donned our helmets (to keep our precious little heads from being ravaged by any falling rock) and one by one climbed up through this steep crevasse: 

Scramble up Black Tusk
.  that's me in the blue  .
Scramble through crevasse on Black Tusk
.  some background elements to help show the scale of things  .

View of Garibaldi Lake from crevasse on Black Tusk
.  view from the crevasse  .
Once through the crevasse, we scrambled up a steep field of more loose volcanic rock. David took some photos of me tackling this part:

Scramble towards Black Tusk Summit 1

Scramble towards Black Tusk Summit 2

Scramble towards Black Tusk Summit 3

After all that work - about 14km of hiking and a good deal of scrambling - we were rewarded at the summit of Black Tusk by the kind of views that make me so happy to be living in the Pacific Northwest. The views from 2320m (7600 ft):

Panorama from Black Tusk summit
.  click for a larger view  .

Photo at Black Tusk summit
Garibaldi Lake from Black Tusk

summit of Black Tusk

Garibaldi Lake from Black Tusk summit
On our way back down the mountain later in the afternoon, Dave snapped a photo of me in the mountain meadow. Hiking is the only time I don't feel ridiculous having my socks pulled up this far:

Hiking through Mountain Meadows
I was pretty much exhausted by the time we got back to our campsite that evening. After our 8-ish hours of hiking, I had just enough energy to eat our mac 'n cheese/sausage dinner mixture, scarf down a few handfuls of granola, and pass the heck out in our tent (whose exterior promptly became covered in mosquitos).

The next morning we slept till 8AM when our group of 11 slowly began to rouse and emerge from our tents to eat some breakfast. Dave and I split some oatmeal and some cocoa-coffee, a delicious concoction we always enjoy while camping, mixing in hot cocoa mix with our coffee.

The plan for the morning and afternoon would be to pack up our tent sites and head down a different trail towards Garibaldi Lake, where we intended to attempt to swim in the freezing cold glacial waters.

Turquoise water of Garibaldi Lake
Swimming in Garibaldi Lake
Dave was able to get in a lot further than I was - he's in up to his waist, dead-center in the above photo and also somehow managed to go underwater briefly. I could only manage to get my knees wet before I couldn't stand the coldness any longer and had to scramble back out:

Wading into Garibaldi Lake
We all ate a bit of lunch around the lakeside picnic tables before once again packing up and heading off for the parking lot.  The hike back down seemed a lot longer than the hike up... probably because my feet were super sore and I had blisters like this on my ankles:

Blisters from hiking

This entire trip was such an awesome experience. I was proud of myself for summiting that gnarly looking rock, plus I was psyched to have gone camping. I love sleeping out in tents, even if there are crazy swarms of mosquitos everywhere and I never fall asleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time. As a bonus, I met lots of great people in our 11-person party and had plenty of good conversation with people from all over the world.

As another bonus, this was terrific exercise. Our hike clocked in at around 29km round trip, or just about 18 miles, with a total elevation gain of 1740m (over 5700 ft). Not too shabs!

Here's a look at our total trip: 

Trails around Garibaldi Park
.  trail map from  .
.  black labels added by me!  .

Well I hope you made it this far - I know this was a lengthy recap. Have you gone camping or hiking this summer? What's been your favorite place to hike? Any favorite photos from above?

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