Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weekend Getaway to Chicago

Over the July long weekend, Kevin and I took a road trip to Chicago, Illinois. He’d visited once, years ago, and it was my first time. We loved it. We’re trying to make this the Summer of Road Trips because I still have 25,000 KM left on my car lease and only five months to use as much as I can. May as well! That explains the drive to Florida (~5000 KM round trip), the drive to Niagara Falls (~300 KM round trip), this most recent trip to Chicago, IL (~1700 KM round trip) and our upcoming trip to Boston, MA (~1800 KM round trip).

We stayed just outside of Chicago, which saved us big bucks on the hotel costs. My preference is to stay in nice hotels, but we knew we’d only be in the room for sleeping, so we were just looking for something inexpensive and clean. Our hotel was super dated, but very clean, and it came with Wi-Fi, a mini fridge, a microwave, and a free shuttle to and from the subway’s blue line, which went directly downtown – very convenient!

The best purchases of our trip were 2 CityPasses ($84 each) and 2 3-Day CTA passes ($14 each) for the train. We hmmed and hawed for a while about buying the CityPasses because we weren’t sure if it was worth it, but I highly recommend purchasing these! Just being able to skip the admission lines made buying these worth it! And even though we drove, we didn’t want to have to worry about parking and traffic, so took full advantage of the CTA passes too.

The weather was crazy that weekend. Super hot and humid with crazy thunderstorms every day. We were incredibly lucky and missed all of them though! The rain always came when we were inside or on the bus, but I had quite a scare when I checked the weather on my phone before leaving and saw this:
We visited a ton of places so I have lots of photos! I made a collage of Navy Pier because it was pretty easy to group those photos together.
Chicago - Navy Pier
For those who are interested in seeing some more photos (the architecture is stunning), keep reading after the jump!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Craigslist Find: Storage Ottoman

A little while ago I was on the hunt for a coffee table for my apartment. My search led to a pretty sweet, custom-made ottoman with built in storage. Score! $50 later and it was mine.

Storage Ottoman
What I love most about it is how versatile it is. The top is hinged, and has a very spacious storage space inside – I use it for extra throw pillows and blankets.

The colour and height are close to that of my love seat, so if I’m having a lazy TV-watching day (which is pretty much every Sunday), I can push the two pieces together creating a double loveseat chaise. I have been known to sleep out in my living room on this makeshift “chaise” on more than one occasion :)

With the addition of a tray (I got mine for 50% off at Indigo), it could be used as a coffee table/foot rest – this was actually my original intention, but I didn’t like the way it looked in my living room. I think a more petite/slender coffee table would look better in here.

I currently have it pushed up against the wall, opposite my love seat. I use it as extra seating and with the cushions along the back and the one on the side, it’s pretty inviting! People always tend to gravitate toward that seat. I currently have a tray on my ottoman – contents include 10 or so home/health mags, a candle oil diffuser thing, and a plant that I bought from Ikea 2 years ago. Side note: It came in the tiniest little pot and I’ve re-potted it two times! That plant is down right flourishing in my care and I could not be more proud!! 


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

This is by far the most effective method for getting rid of fruit flies that I’ve ever tried! It’s very easy and ridiculously inexpensive.

The old adage is “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. I don’t know who came up with that, but it’s wrong wrong wrong! At least for fruit flies.

Effective Fruit Fly Trap

Here’s how the traps work:
The fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar. They travel down the funnel into the cup, where they get stuck. They’re not able to get back out through the funnel tip. The dish soap breaks the surface tension on the vinegar, so any flies that touch the vinegar immediately fall in and drown within 5 seconds. Those that don’t fall in straight away eventually meet their demise as well. Because this trap kills them very quickly, no breeding takes place, which is why it works so well and fast. I’ve also tried this trap with different kinds of juice, but vinegar works the best.

Here’s what you need:
  1. a plastic cup (I prefer clear ones so I can see how well my trap is working!)
  2. paper
  3. tape (ideally masking because it sticks better than clear)
  4. scissors
  5. dish soap (one drop per cup)
  6. white vinegar (no more than 1/4 cup per trap)

Here’s how you make it:
  1. Create a cone out of the paper. You want the tip of the cone to be about halfway down your cup, so make it as deep as needed. Use the tape to secure the cone.
  2. Cut a very small bit off the end of the tip. The hole should be no wider than the width of a pencil. Put the cone aside for a moment.
  3. Pour vinegar in your cup until it is about 2cm/1 inch high
  4. Pour in 1 drop of dish detergent. Swirl gently but don’t create any bubbles
  5. Put the paper cone in the cup, tip down. Tape the cone to the cup and ensure there are no gaps.
  6. Optional step: Cut away the excess paper above the tape. This will make your trap smaller and more discrete.

That’s it!

Fruit Fly Trap - time lapseTo give you some perspective, the glass above is very small, probably less than 200mL total. This trap is from work.

There is s horrible fruit fly infestation at my work (yuck!) and this works like a charm every. single. time. I place 5 or 6 traps around the different work areas in my end of the building.

Ideal placement of the traps:
  1. You may be tempted to put it right beside your fruit bowl or green bin, but don’t. Between the trap and the fruit/compost, the flies will choose the latter. Put the traps on the other side of the room and you’ll have much better results!
  2. Put the traps where there isn't a lot of people traffic. Maybe on the fridge or on top of the cabinets. Somewhere high and out of the way is ideal.
When and how to replace the traps:
At my work, I change the traps about 2x/week, but we have a lot of flies there. I’ve noticed that the traps are most effective on day 1 and 2, so if you have a lot, you may want to switch out the vinegar 2-3x/week as well. To change the traps, just remove the tape holding the funnel to the cup, pour out the old buggy vinegar (ewww…), rinse the cup, pour in the new vinegar and dish soap, and then re-tape the funnel back on the cup! I reuse the funnels over and over. As long as they don’t get (too) wet, they’re good for many many uses! If you give this trap a try, let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear some feedback.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Instagrams and the Like

My Weekend 7 July 2012.
I haven’t done much blogging lately… been enjoying summer too much to get on the computer!

I think I’ve got to start setting a blogging schedule to get back into the swing of things! I’ve got plenty to write about but haven’t sat down to write it.

Here’s what I was up to this weekend:
1. I’ve made it a habit to go to my parents’ house on Friday nights for BBQ, beer, and the card game Phase 10. We’re all obsessed with it!
2. My parents’ cat, Angel, was lying on his back and using the door threshold as a pillow. Crazy cat.
3. Kev and I enjoying patio season on Saturday afternoon. We sat under an umbrella and it started raining seconds after we got there, but we stayed out and the rain soon passed. It ended up really hot out there!
4. I passed out on Saturday night and woke up feeling overheated – one look down explained why! This little fuzzball is like a radiator and was cozied into my side.
5. On our drive through Milton, we passed this sign and obviously stopped to take a picture!… and maybe pose like a zombie hahah
6. This pretty waterfall was the highlight of our hike through Hilton Falls
7. We started off with the Hilton Falls Trail (4km) then walked the Beaver Meadow Trail (9.5km), which unbeknownst to us, was swarming with mosquitos… might explain why we didn’t see anyone else on that trail!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying this summer as much as I have! I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to Smile
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