Thursday, June 26, 2014

Windex is My Insect Killer

Even though a fly has a tiny brain it can process sensory information into an appropriate motor response and make planning movements prior to take off when it first sees a threat. It makes its escape plan in 100 miliseconds. Michael Dickinson, who has been studying the flight of insects for 20 years (yes, you read that right) suggests, "It is best not to swat at the fly's starting position, but rather to aim a bit forward of that to anticipate where the fly is going to jump when it first sees your swatter." (source:

In a nutshell the fly can calulate the threat and position itself for flight quicker than you can move your arm through the air. Our dear and dedicated flight researcher suggests to aim where you anticipate the fly is going to jump. Oh, if Mr. Dickinson could only understand that even though my brain is bigger than the fly's I cannot begin to even anticipate which way the fly will take flight considering it can change its body position and take off faster than my brain can tell my arm which direction to swat.

I'm no rocket scientist but I've got a better method than Mr. Dickinson's method.

Spray the fly with Windex.

The dad from my "Big Fat Greek Wedding" can add this to his list of all the wonderful things Windex can do.

One summer day there were three flies in my house and I had spent hours trying to kill them. I mean, not literally hours in a row but cumulatively the time spent trying to swat them became hours. They were the fast kind of flies too. The kind only Bruce Lee or Aeon Flux might be able to swat or catch in their lashes. Luckily, one of the flies flew onto the window pane and I quickly closed the blinds trapping the fly behind the shades. I squirted Windex through a slat and wet the fly down. It wasn't able to fly away. Then I was able to kill it. After that I was able to kill the other 2 flies and discovered I could spray the flies while they were in mid air. They fell down to the ground giving the opportunity to kill them as well.

The green (food safe) window cleaners do not work. You must use something with ammonia in it. I haven't tried vinegar yet but I don't think it will work since it's natural.

Another option is to buy the electric fly swatter which also works very well. However, with the electric fly swatter you still have to anticipate where the fly is going but you can swing the swatter around like a person who's walked into a spider web and possibly hit it. Be careful not to hit anyone with the swatter though. I haven't personally shocked anyone with it yet. But I imagine it stings.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Birthday Card for Mandy

The card came out nothing like I imagined in my head.  It came out nice, but not what I pictured. I added a birthday cake so it would look like the fairy was blowing out the candles but the cake never really looked like it belonged in the pic. Gluing the tiny candles was sort of a pain in the butt.

I did think of a cute idea. I added tags on the inside that looked like gifts and my family each wrote a birthday wish on the back for my niece.

I know these pictures are bad. I realize looking back on my posts that I need a better camera and a lot of lessons in photography.

front of card

inside of card
back of card
tags inside
birthday wishes we wrote on the back of tags

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lipsticks and Expiration Dates

Experts tell us to toss our makeup after a period of two months to one year depending on the product. It really ticks me off. I mean who are they kidding? How many of us really throw our eye shadows out after six months? I understand the reason is to prevent infections but I have yet to get an infection from makeup (crossing my fingers now that I've said it). I believe if they expect us to throw away our makeup after six months then they should produce products that are smaller and less expensive. I would be more willing to throw it away and buy a new batch. If I'm going to spend a pretty penny on makeup I'm going to get the most out of it and so I do keep makeup a few months past the recommended expiration dates. It's hard to throw away an eye shadow or lipstick that I've only used a few times. Now don't get me wrong I don't keep makeup for years unless it's a color that's discontinued. Then I keep it to use as a guide to find a similar color but I don't apply it to my face. Estee Lauder discontinued my perfect eye shadow seven years ago and I am still on a mission to find it's match. I take the eye shadow with me to makeup counters and just do the color comparision on my arm. Never on my face. I know it sounds gross, but it's really the perfect shade.

In the United States the FDA does not provide regulations for the expiration date for makeup ( but rather the expiration dates are simply "rules of thumb". So we are basically left alone to decide for ourselves or trust the experts. I've seen different guidelines for makeup so I always go with the one that gives me the most amount of time. I'm thankful that lipstick has the longest shelf life of 2-3 years. Since lipstick's longevity is significantly longer than of all the other make-up it is difficult to keep track of when to toss it out. If you're like me and have about 10-15 different shades of lipsticks being used throughout the years it can get very confusing. So I write the dates on the tubes when I start using them so I definitely know when to throw it away.
There's 2 lipsticks in there from 2008, definitely past expiration date. 

To be honest I'm usually running late and when I use a tube for the first time I don't always have the time to write the date immediately. When I finally remember to write the date down I aproximate the date. *Note to self: leave a Sharpie in the bathroom.

Taking into consideration that the shelf life is 2-3 years it is also a good idea to sanitize your lipstick. There are 2 things I do to keep it germ free:
1. Scrape a little off the top with a Q-tip.
2. Fully submerge lipstick in alcohol for 30 seconds

Below is a tube that doesn't have a date. Since I am not sure how old the lipstick is I'm making a larger cut using dental floss. I tried to slice it off at an angle but as you can see it didn't really come out that way. I will use a lip brush to shape it back into a usable form.

Next step is to dip your lipstick in rubbing alcohol. Twist the lipstick to fully expose the entire tube and submerge lipstick for at least 30 seconds. I just use a Dixie cup in the bathroom. I saw Dr. Oz on the "Today Show" affirm this technique (Dr. Oz segment on germy purses).

I usually sanitize my lipstick using the alcohol method every couple of months. If your lipstick has changed color or smells funky that is a definite signal to toss it out. Don't even bother trying to sanitize it.

Another way to get the most out of your lipstick is to blend the colors. I don't always like the shade of my lipstick. Usually the freebies from Lancome or Clinique don't match my skin tone. So I combine the too dark lipsticks with the lighter shades. Have you ever seen those lipstick pallettes with different shades? It's the same concept. I once read in a magazine that Marilyn Monroe used five or seven different shades of lipstick and gloss to achieve the perfect color.

One more word of advice, we all know this but I'm going to say it anyway: NEVER share your make up with anyone, even if it's your own daughter or best friend. The most common infection from sharing lip products is herpes simplex virus. Even though it's not visible it may be on the other person's lips and you can still contract it if they're shedding. A cold sore is no fun, no fun at all, and embarassing. Even if you stop a cold sore in 2 days it still has to go through the drying up and crusty stages. Not worth the trouble. If you can't avoid sharing your lipstick make sure to always scrape off the top and sanitize with alcohol.

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