Monthly Archives: February 2014

[Make Your Own] Soy Wax Candles

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Final Product: Lavender Pearberry Soy Wax Candle

“A thousand candles can be lighted from the flame of one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness can be spread without diminishing that of yourself.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 Somewhere between the warm, inviting aromas and the twinkles of light that haphazardly stretch across the room – I’ve fallen in love with candles of all sizes, shapes, colors and scents.  Being a natural pack-rat, I kept most of the empty glassware and converted them into useful, household items like storage for makeup brushes or loose granola or rice from the market.  A few months ago when the Holiday Season was hot on our tails, I got my D-I-Y on and turned some of the empty mason jars into sparkling candles to use with tea lights and I absolutely loved the effect it had on the ambiance of my apartment.  The other week as I was deep in the throws of another internet binge I had another ah-ha! moment for the mason jars.  Instead of using them to house candles, I could literally reuse old glass containers for new candles with handpicked aromas and unique colors; genius!

If you’re like me and you’re a candle fanatic that’s willing to spend over $10 for a gloriously scented Yankee candle.  From Cupcake to Pumpkin, Fresh Rain to Clean Laundry – I swear there’s a candle scent for literally everyone on this planet.  But then I got to thinking, why keep spending an absorbatent amount of money when I could simply make them myself from the old glassware! The great thing about homemade candles is that they make excellent giftables – from stocking stuffers to birthday presents right on down to personalized bridal shower favors; you name it, there’s a great occasion for candles.  And, to boot – it’s an incredibly fun, inexpensive hobby – especially if you have a healthy collection of reusable glassware that you don’t feel like drinking out of.  If not, pop your head into a flea market or vintage store and hunt through their glassware – old glass comes in beautifully opaque colors and all shapes and sizes, perfect for custom candles!

Candle Making Starter Kit from Country Lane

There are many ways to compile a complete candle-making set; my preferred method for most things employs the GTS attitude.  So, after some searching I found a few websites for the individual pieces that go into candle making (e.g. a wick, the metal clips that attach to the bottom of your container, soy wax, color chips  and fragrances).  Hands down, my favorite site to use is  Candle Science – they have any and everything you need to DIY your own candles, including a vast array of delicious scents; finally, aromas like Pumpkin Spice and Candy Cane can be within reach even during Summer!  Or, if you want to go down a little easier path for your first time to make sure you get the essentials,  hunt for a great starter package like this one I found on Amazon from Country Lane.

Soundtrack

Because I’ll be repurposing old objects tonight, I thought getting some Do Lab into my life would be an excellent move; they always inspire me to achieve greater, do more and become the best version of myself – which, with a stellar soundtrack, is more than possible.

So necessary: Pearberry Fragrance Oil + Reusable Glassware I’ve Been Collecting

Purple, Brown, Yellow, Cinnamon Red, Blue, Christmas Green – you name it, you can color it!

Supplies

– 5 Lbs of Soy Wax Flakes (they go fast!)

-Metal Pouring Pot or Coffee Canister

Wicks with metal bottom (individually or as a set)

Mason Jars or Reusable Glassware

-30 ml Candle Fragrance

Double Boiler System

Stirring stick or spoon

Color Dye Chips (Optional and Awesome)

Wick Stickum to set the wicks to the bottom of the glassware (Optional and Awesome)

Candle Thermometer (Optional and Awesome)

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Pre-Tabbed Candle Wicks – uber recommend

My Ghetto-Rig Double Boiler; hey, it works!

Instructions

-Last night, I got to try something new as I set up the double boiler system in my kitchen – but it’s easy as pie and such a good trick: take your large saucepan and fill it with water and set it on the stove; fill your metal can or pouring pot with a few pounds of wax flakes and turn the dial to medium heat. 

-A watched pot never boils, but watched soy wax melts pretty quick so make sure you have your stirring spoon handy.  Before you move on, you’ll want to have all the wax melted and at about 185°

-To add color, wait until the wax has completely melted then add one or two dye chips depending on how rich you prefer your color

-When was is all melted and at the appropriate temperature, add 4mL of fragrance and take off of double boiler – the fragrance will burn off it you heat it! 

Soy Wax as it melts and blends with the Lavender Dye Chip

– To ensure that the soy wax fills the glassware completely, submerge the glass for a minute or two in hot water and bring the temperature closer to that of the wax

– Get your wick out and attach it to the bottom of your glassware

– Once the wax has reached 125°, slowly pour into desired glass and let cool overnight

My first homemade candle!

[Tech Tuesday] 5 Tips and Tricks for the iPhone 5S

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Though I wouldn’t say I have a hard time with being wrong, I certainly enjoy being right a lot more frequently – and when it comes to technology, I’ve always felt that I’ve had a keen eye for the latest and greatest toys and gadgets.  For the last five years in Los Angeles, I’ve bounced between LG and HTC Smart Phones – but have consistently run into problems with the OS restarting, and that’s in addition to my contacts being deleted (on multiple occasions).  For the last two years, I’ve been a had an HTC Rezound and what I once found novel, amazing and innovative was suddenly slow, redundant and poorly integrated – especially when compared to my daily use on my former deactivated iPhone 4s that I was using as a Wirelessly enabled PDA.

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The fact of the matter is that I’m a heavy duty phone user with quick paws and a curious mind, and my Droid simply wasn’t cutting it anymore for my everyday inquiries. For all the reasons and times that I defended my Android in all of it’s customizable glory, the truth is that in the five years that I’ve owned a smart phone I’ve never once decided to root my Droid; in retrospect, I did jailbreak an iPhone or two.  So, when I had the chance to upgrade my phone plan early with Verizon two weeks ago I more than jumped at the chance for something different.  Since then, I’ve managed to migrate from an avid Android activist to a full on iPhone enthusiast – equipped with simple screen shots, emoticons and voice commands.

To make the transition as smooth as possible,  I’ve been scavenging the internet in search of the latest, greatest and most amazing tips and tricks for the 5s and, admittedly, I’ve had a blast doing it.  Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite hacks!

5 Tricks + Tips for the iPhone 5s

      1. Camera: Burst Mode 

There are 3 ways to enter ‘Burst Mode’ – press and hold the shutter key, or either of the volume keys on your phone for a succession of snaps,saved as a burst.  The phone will pick the best of the group to display, but you have to option of browsing through all of them.

      2. Slide iMessages Left for Time-Stamp

For a cleaner look, the time-stamp was eliminated from the standard text message view – however, if you want to reveal what time you sent your last message, simply slide the screen to the left.

      3. Enable Airdrop for Easy File Sharing

When you get to your home screen, slide up for the ‘Toggle’ bar and second from bottom you’ll see a line for ‘Airdrop’ –  you can enable this for your contacts, or anyone in the room with an Apple device.  As a bonus, Airdrop works exceptionally well with the Apple TV device – presenting your iPhone screen on whatever device the ATV is plugged in to.

      4. Customized Alert Vibrations

Not that this was in any way necessary (IMO, at least), but with iOS7 we now have the ability to set customized text, email and alert vibrations – that way, even if your phone’s on silent you’ll be aware of important calls, reminders and meetings.   The phone comes with some standard ones – like ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘S.O.S.’, and below this you have the ability to create your own:  SETTINGS > SOUNDS | Select the Alert | VIBRATION | CREATE NEW VIBRATION

      5. Add an Emoji Keyboard

Okay, granted this isn’t anything novel for past iPhone users – but as an Android user, I was completely amped to finally use some emoticons on Twitter, Instagram and in my text messages.  As with all things iPhone, additional keyboards are easy to add.  Go to the App Store to download something that strikes your fancy, then head to: SETTINGS > GENERAL >  KEYBOARD > KEYBOARDS > ADD NEW KEYBOARD

Last, but not least – I leave you with my new favorite late night habit: Fun with Siri.    Back in the day, when Apple updated their Desktop OS – they’d embed bits of code for the heavy duty computer users to discover that came to be known as ‘Easter Eggs‘ In case you’re not aware, Apple Easter Eggs are to adults what Candy Easter Eggs are to little kids – fun, exciting, and hidden in the most amusing locations.  Unfortunately for tried and true Apple computer fanatics like myself, Steve Jobs did away with the Easter Egg back with OS 9. Thankfully, there are still engineers out in Cupertino that held onto the creative, human aspect of the job and it shows in the most amusing of ways – for example, SIRI.  When I was scavenging the interwebs in search of new and awesome things to do with my 5s, I stumbled upon an amazing Reddit thread with some amazing questions for the

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[Track of the Week] Flume x Hermitude – Hyperparadise (GANZ Flip)

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Hermitude - HyperParadise

One of my life mottoes is ‘Never a Dull Moment‘, and this definitely translates over to my taste in music.   There’s nothing I detest more than the hum-drum boredom that comes hand in hand repetition, simplicity and redundancy across a song, album or a career and because of this – I’ve single-handedly ruined songs for myself by overplaying them in an incredibly short amount of time. I feel the pull of non-Western scales and non-Traditional forms of music like Tipper, Culprate and Shpongle; in moderation, I even find dissonance comforting.   As with everything else in my world, layers of complexity compel me to discover about a person – and doubly so for an artist.

When I discovered Flume a few months back, the depths of his talent still escaped me – but now, I find myself impatiently waiting to see new tricks this 22 year old phenom from Australia has in store for the world.  Between his bewitching, glitch infused electronic basslines, poignant lyricists and downtempo soundscapes, Flume continually pushes boundaries blurs the lines between musical genres to create what I think of as Future Music, and sits plush in the middle of a Venn Diagram with Griz and Gramatik on one side and  Emancipator and Bonobo on the other.   Last year, there were two huge releases from Flume – his self titled, debut album as well as the ‘Drop the Game’ EP with Chet Faker.  And thanks to Hypem, I’m finding unreleased mixes hidden deep in the interwebs from back in 2012 that I’m simply falling head over heals with.

The original version of ‘Hyperparadise’ is from Hermitude, an Australian group with roots in both hip-hop and electronica, and came out back  in ’12.

Between the tropical sound of the steel drums,  a wobbling deep house bass line and seductive breakdown – it’s easy to see why Flume chose this track to chop up and break down in a way only he knows how.  

Finally, GANZ got his little fingers on the single during a remix competition and crafted what I firmly believe is one of the best songs of the past year.  His rework of Flume’s remix embellishes all the glitches I love, and infuses it with a trip-hop sound meant for bumping at loud volumes.

[Oh, Snap] San Diego Dreamin’

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It’s always a good time when my LA friends decide to uproot themselves for the weekend to take our antics to a new location; and this weekend – we ventured down to San Diego for some dancing, sunshine and what my friends and I now like to call ‘Mansioning’

(verb: when you go on a nice vacation and simply marinate in the moment + your happiness!).

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I spent the long, Valentine’s Day weekend with my boyfriend and a dozen of my closest friends. We frolicked, we drank, we ate (a partial liquid diet) – but mostly, we geeked out on how much we mean to each other and both our individual and combined potential.  Out of the group, I’m one of the only people that holds a ‘traditional’ (e.g. non-freelance, non-contracted) job with a Monday through Friday, 9-5 schedule.  One friend is a location scout, a few are musicians, then there’s a real estate agent, a makeup artist, a business consultant, a farmer, etc etc – and I can’t discount myself, because I’m still in the process of converting my hobbies and passions into my persuasions like the rest of the group.   Every time we get together, I walk away inspired and reminded of who I am and who my support system is.  And I couldn’t think  of a better way to spend Valentine’s weekend than with a group of people that simply radiate love.

Seal of Approval

Postin’

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My boo + I

Sunset on the SD Harbor

Punch Bowls @ Craft + Commerce
It’s What’s for Dinner

[The Audiofiles] Lightning In A Bottle Is Cruising to Central Cali

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Of all the magical experiences that 2013 had to offer, hands down – my weekend away at Lightning in a Bottle was hands down the best five days of the year.  From the creatively costumed concert go-ers to dance and yoga workshops, right on down to the live musical acts, live art and live entertainment – Lightning in a Bottle expertly tantalizes each and every one of the senses and left me both searching and yearning for more out of myself, my life and the community I surround myself with.

Between last year’s fiasco with the outlying community of Riverside County and a desire to please their loyal fans up and down the coast of California, The Do Lab knew that they had to switch something up about the location.  When the festival was still in it’s early years, it was held in the Santa Barbara mountains and over the last four years has been bouncing between locations around Southern California.  The weekend deserved a location as unique as the culture it emanates, and with it’s new location in the Central Coast – that’s exactly what it’s getting.  This year, Lightning in a Bottle is migrating up to the San Antonio Recreation Area in Monterey County and I couldn’t be more excited.  Not only is it equidistant from the amazing music communities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the new venue boasts more space than at the Live Oak Campground in Santa Barbara and the Lake Skinner Recreation Area in Temecula.  To boot, rain permitting we’ll be able to frolic in the lakes of the recreation area in the sweet heat of Memorial Day weekend; a stark contrast from last year when my friends and I got to tell folks to ‘Nama-stay off the lake!’ while trying to stay out of the immense Summer sun.

During the day, your mind is opened in so many directions with the plethora of enigmatic speakers and workshops.  They’re on everything from urban foraging, sustainability, sexuality, your infinite potential, inter-species communication and much, much more.  last year, speakers for the weekend included visionaries like Alex and Allison Grey, John Perkins and the author of one of my favorite books ‘Breaking Open The Head’ Daniel Pinchbeck;  workshops ranged from ritual movement, hooping, sacred dance and slacklining.  Scattered throughout the festival grounds are amazing, living works of art that evolve with the weekend with phenomenal artists from across the country and some of the most fun I had was routinely stopping by my favorites to see how they’re coming along.

As the sun starts going down, the beats begin to pick up and the community truly comes alive – spinning fire, gathering to admire live art and dancing to the infectious, underground sounds that are throbbing through the epic sound systems of the three main stages (the Woogie, Bamboo and Lightning) or one of two smaller stages at the Lumi Lounge and the Temple.  Each stage boasted a different assortment of acts, community and culture – at the Bamboo stage, you could get your grime on with gLAdiator, Griz, Kastle, Andreniline and the mud people (like, really though), the Lightning stage held the more theatrical productions like Emancipator and Nicolas Jaar and last but certainly not least, the Woogie got you to boogie with deep house DJs like Lee Burridge, Pumpkin and Marques Wyatt.

I went to Lightning in a Bottle with an open mind and no expectations; what I left with was an enhanced world view, self confidence and an amazing support system of friends new and old.

With a little something for everyone, this is an experience that I truly want all of my friends to be part of.  Tickets for this amazing five day experience go on 24 hour discounted sale on 2/18, and on 2/19 they’ll go on sale for full value.  Make sure to get yours quickly, this is one weekend not to be missed!