Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Things I've Googled Lately

Sometimes I have morbid thoughts. Off and on over the years I've thought to myself, "If I disappeared today, and someone got onto my phone/computer and looked through my Google history...how utterly mortified would I be?"

I mean, obviously I'd be missing, potentially kidnapped, and I'd rather the police be thorough and search every possible avenue for clues to my disappearance, but I digress.

So, I looked through my Google history, and I realized that while I don't really have many 'embarrassing' searches, I do have some kind of random ones that would probably raise an eyebrow or two. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of them and also explain myself.

At least that way if something happens to me and someone looks through my search history, they can also read this blog for my justifications as well.

Can you substitute baking soda for baking powder?

I bake a lot and I've learned how to tweak just about any recipe, but I really had no idea if I could do this or not. I ran out of baking powder when I was wanting to make a waffle for dinner, but I have a huge box of baking soda so I really wanted to know what would happen if I just swapped it out. Apparently you can substitute, but you also need to increase the acidity in order for baking soda to work. So, if you mix 2 parts cream of tartar with 1 part baking soda, you have homemade baking powder.

Can I mail food through the post office?

Obviously I know that you can mail nonperishable storebought food, but I was specifically trying to find out if I could mail homemade candy through the mail. Then I realized that people mail homemade cookies and jam and such, so that's where my Googling ended.

How do you delete fake followers on Instagram?

I recently decided to go ahead and make my Instagram public, but I wanted to know if there was a way to delete followers just in case. My search led me into learning that you can't delete fake followers, but you can block them, and then they'll disappear from your followers list. Perfect.

What do blocked Instagram followers see?

I wanted to know just in case I want to block someone someday who isn't a fake follower. Just being proactive, here.

Hard reset Garmin Vivoactive HR

Self-explanatory: I needed to know how to hard reset my Garmin sport watch. It locked up and none of the buttons nor the touchscreen were working. I got it fixed, in case you were wondering.

Flower tattoo Scandinavian cat black and white

Sometimes I just throw all the descriptive words I can think of into the Google photo search bar, and this was one of those times. I'm sure you can figure out what type of photos I was looking for - I need new ink!

Under the Dome cancelled?

I'd been waiting and waiting for the 4th season of Under the Dome on Amazon Prime, and then Isaiah told me the show was cancelled. I could not recollect that fact, so I turned to Google to find out 1) if he was lying to me (he wasn't) and 2) why it was cancelled (the show totally jumped the shark, which I already knew, and they lost a lot of viewers).

Ladies hands up let me see you shake your stuff

I was looking for song lyrics, I promise. There's this song I used to jam out to in my car when I was in college and I couldn't for the life of me remember the rest of the lyrics or the singer, so that's what I had to work with. It ended up being "Ladies" by Sarai. I cannot remember why I ever liked her, other than that one song is a smidge catchy. This was, however, the first time I'd ever watched the video. If I didn't know better I would think it was a parody.

What is zentangle?

This. This is zentangle. I get it and I don't.

Cable front vs cable back

I'm trying to teach myself cable knitting and I wasn't sure what the difference was.

Hannibal pig guy

Trying to remember who one of the characters was since it had been so long since we watched Season 2. Just finished Season 3, the last season...they ended it decently, I think.

John Daly drink

We were out to eat the other night at a restaurant WITH A FULL BAR (all caps because I am incensed) and they told me they "cannot make a Long Island Iced Tea but we can make you a John Daly - it's similar!" First of all, when you have a FULL BAR, how do you not have the ability to make a Long Island? Second of all, a John Daly tastes nothing like a Long Island, which is why I ended up Googling it to figure out what exactly was in it. For the record, it's lemonade, iced tea, and a little bit of vodka. Basically an Arnold Palmer with a tiny splash of booze. Not even close, dude. I'm still irrationally upset about this because THEY HAVE A FULL BAR.

Meme little girl shrug

I was trying to convince Isaiah that we could kidnap a few of the kittens from the animal shelter before their new owners come to claim them and when the animal control officer asks if we know where they went, we could make that face. He hadn't seen the meme so I had to find it. I still think it would work.

"Isaiah, Angi...do you know where those two kittens went?"

I guess that's about it for my interesting Google searches lately. Not too bad I guess, if the extent of the excitement is "Hannibal pig guy" and a super-white girl "rapper".

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gear Review: Marmot Kompressor Plus 20L Backpack

This summer, Isaiah and I found ourselves in the market for new small backpacks to take with us when we go on day hikes. We have one small REI pack and an old hunting daypack that Isaiah had before we got married, but we were wanting to try and find hydration packs so we wouldn't have to carry huge water bottles with us every time we head out into the mountains.

After an extensive hunt (have you looked at the price of even small backpacks lately?), we finally found backpacks that met most of the criteria on our list and was also affordable.

Besides needing to look good (what?), we also wanted the packs to have a separate water bladder compartment, a top lid compartment, mesh side pockets, and personally, I like to have a waist strap on my pack to keep it from moving around too much on my back while scrambling up a mountainside. We also didn't want them to be too big, because bigger means heavier. 

We searched for hours. Days. WEEKS, even. It's actually really hard to find a pack that hits all the points on your list and also doesn't cost $100 or more. Finally, we came across one that stood up to scrutiny.

Referring back to our list of must-haves:

1.) A water bladder compartment. This pack separates the water bladder compartment from the rest of the pack with a removable foam pad, and has a small velcro strap that fits through the top of the bladder to hold it upright and keep it from sinking down into the bottom of your pack. It also has a small drainage hole toward the bottom in the back, just in case your water bladder happens to leak or sweat. The drinking tube then fits through a small hole at the top of the pack and you can run it either left or right, depending on which side you like to drink from.

2.) A top lid pocket. Not only does this backpack have the top lid with a zip pocket, the whole thing can actually be stuffed into the lid itself, which makes it ultra packable and small for traveling. At first, I wished the top lid had a little bit more structure to it, since it tends to slide down a bit if you put anything remotely heavy in it (I have my headlamp, sunscreen, bug spray and band-aids/moleskin in there), but I've gotten used to it and it's really not that big of a deal. 

3.) Mesh side pockets. There are actually two of these, one on each side of the pack. They're perfect for anything you like to keep handy on the outside of your pack - energy bars, an extra water bottle, a multi-tool/knife, a cell phone or small camera, etc. Isaiah has even been carrying a compact pair of binoculars while we hike and the side pocket works perfectly for those.

4.) Waist strap. This backpack does have a simple, unpadded adjustable waist strap, and it also has a sternum strap. I don't typically use sternum straps because they cut right across the center of my chest - and as a woman, that doesn't work so well - but Marmot actually did something pretty cool with this backpack. They made the sternum strap adjustable vertically, not just horizontally, so I can slide the strap higher up toward my collarbone if I do want to use it. 

Front of the backpack. Yes, that is a Smokey the Bear keychain!

Internal water bladder pocket. This pack does not come with a water 
bladder but we have these 2-liter Platypus bladders and they work great!

This pack also has a few little extra features that we weren't necessarily expecting but are definitely handy anyway.

1.) Built-in emergency whistle. It's built into the clip that attaches the sternum strap, and while it's probably not the best emergency whistle out there, it's certainly handy to have ready and available just in case.

2.) Trekking pole attachments. We don't usually carry trekking poles on our day hikes, just because we are rarely out for more than 4-5 hours, but the loop attachments are still a nice feature for a small day pack. I currently have a multi-tool clipped to one of mine but will definitely use it for trekking poles next time we go on a longer hike.

Adjustable sternum strap with built-in emergency whistle and waist strap.
Carabiners are mine - they're not included with the pack.

Top bungee loop to strap down trekking poles (I use mine to clip a multi-tool to
my pack if I'm not carrying trekking poles)

Lower loop also for helping to attach trekking poles. This loop could also
be used for an ice axe, small shovel, or any other larger tools you might
want to carry.

Now, for a few of my not-so-favorite things about this backpack. None of them are deal-breakers, obviously, but they're definitely things to consider if you're shopping for a backpack too.

1.) Lack of mesh padding (or any padding) on the back panel.  One thing I do wish that Marmot had designed a little differently on this pack is the addition of at least a little bit of padding, preferably with a mesh covering, on the back panel. If you don't have a water bladder inside, the removable foam sheet helps a little bit, but if you do have the bladder inside it lays directly against your back. It's not uncomfortable necessarily, but you can feel it - and since there is no mesh, either, my back tends to get a little bit more sweaty than it normally would if there were any kind of airflow. Instead, it's just rip-stop nylon laying directly on your back, which isn't exactly breathable. The pack description says it's an "airmesh" back panel, but it doesn't really feel a whole lot different than the material that the rest of the pack is made from. It could be better.

2.) Lack of any internal pockets. I love the pockets that this backpack already has - the two mesh side pockets, a small mesh zip pocket on the front of the bag, and the top lid compartment - but I would really appreciate the addition of at least one small internal pocket, either open or zipped. Instead, there's just one big giant compartment inside, which means you can't separate smaller items from bigger ones. I usually carry my coat, a rain shell, an empty dry bag, my backpack rain cover, bear protection (a gun), and a few other smaller items. Because it's just one big compartment on the inside, all those items get mixed up together. Again, not the end of the world, just something to be aware of. I've considered stitching my own pocket onto the inside and if I end up doing that, I'll update this post.

3.) No included rain cover. With more expensive backpacks, a lot of times the manufacturer will include a rain cover that fits the pack perfectly and usually stashes away in its own little pocket on the bag somewhere. We've used these backpacks in light/medium rain before and they seemed to do okay. They weren't soaking wet inside, but in heavy rain for an extended period of time, since they're just nylon, I can't see them being very waterproof. We ended up buying our own rain covers (these, size small) separately. Another option would be to buy a bag liner (or just use a trash compactor bag like we do in our 75L backpacks).

Main internal pocket. 

Overall, though, these backpacks are pretty darn good. And, bonus - I was able to hunt one down online that was in a color I actually liked! So many backpacks are just black or gray, or very stereotypical "girl" colors like purple and hot pink.

One word of advice: Definitely shop around if you're considering buying this backpack. On the Marmot website, they're $59.00 but I was able to find ours on Moosejaw for $47.00 (at the time). I don't see my aqua colored one anymore, but Isaiah bought the gray/red one and it's really nice too.

Let me know if I can answer any more questions about the backpack for you! I'm hoping to do periodic reviews of our favorite (or not-so-favorite) hiking and backpacking/camping gear. I know when we're shopping around for gear it's nice to find extensive reviews that consist of more than just "It's great!" or "It's terrible!", so I'm hoping to help contribute a little bit myself.

Happy hiking!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Casual Friday: Ep. 3

I read this story the other day, and all I have to say is good for them. I didn't watch their t.v. show, but Jim Gaffigan is one of our favorite comedians, and I have all the more respect for him and his wife for making the decision to put their family before fame.

+ I mentioned this on Twitter the other day, but it bears repeating: Why, oh why, do people give their pets their own Instagram accounts? I love animals just as much as the next person, but there's no way I'm ever going to subscribe to a feed full of photos of nothing but someone's pets. I don't even love my own cat enough to sit around all day taking photos of him, editing them, and posting them to social media. It just seems like a lot of work, and I'm not deluded enough to think that people actually care that much about my animal.

Did you know that Cary Elwes wrote a book about the making of The Princess Bride? My sister read and recommended it to me recently, and I'm thinking it may have to be the next addition to my Kindle library.

+ I was browsing Backpacker.com yesterday and stumbled across this article, talking about how much it costs to do a thru-hike. One thing I'd really like to do someday is hike the Pacific Crest Trail - all 2,650 miles of it, from Mexico to Canada. Most people take between five and six months to hike the whole thing, and therein lies my beef with the aforementioned article, and many other articles I've read that basically say the same thing.

I have yet to see anybody talk in detail about not only the actual cost of hiking the trail, but the lack of income while you're doing it. Unless you're fortunate enough to be sponsored by some outdoorsy company who wants to pay you to blog about the hike, review gear, etc. then not only are you spending money on the hike itself but you're also not making any money in the meantime. The article does mention that it "depends where you're at in your career" and "unless you get your money through investments or a trust fund, you'll be missing out on at least a few months' worth of income while you're out hiking." Logically, I suppose you could spend a few years saving up the $8,000 or so it takes to do such a long backpacking trip, but I don't know of many careers where you can take half a year off and still have a job when you come back. 

I suppose it's possible that there are some employers that are just that cool - mine certainly isn't. Not to mention, it's not just the cost of the hike itself that you need money for while you're gone. What about your apartment rent/mortgage? Health insurance? Storage for your belongings if you don't have an apartment or house? Life is expensive and most adults can't just drop everything to go be one with nature for half a year.

Or maybe I'm just jealous of those who can...

+ I didn't watch a single second of the Olympics, but I am aware of what happened with Ryan Lochte (how could I not be aware when it's been on the news every second of every minute of every hour of every day?). My friend posted this meme on Facebook the other day and I lost it. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Spotify Sessions, Vol. 1: High School and College Jams

I'm not sure where this particular wild hair came from, but lately I've been in a serious flashback music mood. This is the stuff I listened to in high school and  early college and playing it now brings back all kinds of nostalgia. Long live the late 90's and early 2000's!

Feel free to poke fun at the fact that I was apparently a rather emo young person. But at the same time, I don't know anybody else that knows every single word to Savage Garden's "I Want You"...19 years after the song first dropped.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hiking Harbor Mountain

This weekend, the rain finally decided to take a break for a day or two, so Isaiah and I set off on a hike that neither of us had actually ever done before. We've hiked part of Harbor Mountain a couple of times, but never had time before to go as far as we went on Saturday. (I say "far", but it only ended up being about 5.8 miles out and back once all was said and done.)

Next weekend, we're hoping to actually do the entire Harbor Mountain/Gavan Hill hike from start to finish - we would have done that this weekend, but it's not a loop so you need a vehicle at both ends of the trail and we hadn't planned for that. Soon!

The hike starts at the top of Harbor Mountain Road, at about 2000 feet of elevation. Most people drive to the top, which is fun experience in and of itself...gravel switchbacks with a deep ditch on one side and the mountainside on the other, and barely enough room for two cars to pass each other. If you survive the drive, though, there are some amazing views to be seen on the way up!

Once you get to the top of the road, you hike the trail about 2.5 miles out to the alpine hut, a small wooden shelter built in the early 1990's for hikers to use. It's a great place to stop and look at the views of the surrounding mountains and Mosquito Cove below (which happens to be right next to our house!).

From there, you can either hike back down the way you came or continue on to the Gavan Hill portion of the trail. Next time, we want to keep going on Gavan Hill all the way into town, but due to lack of time (and a vehicle at the other end), we chose to just go another quarter of a mile or so, just so we could hit the first part of the Gavan Hill summit and check out the surrounding views. It was beautiful! It was sort of a foggy/cloudy day and really made us feel like we were hiking straight up into the sky.

Thankfully, there were no bear sightings this trip - just a gigantic pile of scat (bear poo) smack dab in the middle of the trail that was at least a week or two old. I didn't take a picture of that - you're welcome. The only wildlife this time around was an eagle and a couple of ravens, and I was fine with that! Although, every time we go out hiking we hope to spot a mountain goat. They do exist around these parts, but we have yet to see one in person!

Stay tuned for a review of the day pack I'm using!

In the end, it was a little disappointing to not be able to hike Mt. Edgecumbe on Saturday, but it was a beautiful day and a really great consolation hike up Harbor Mountain, and it was nice to finally get outside and into some fresh air without getting rained on. And who can complain about this kind of exercise?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Casual Friday: Ep. 2

Well, good grief. I didn't plan on going an entire week without blogging, but I haven't really had anything to talk about that justified an entire one-subject blog post so here we are.

+ At Kristin's suggestion, I bought this vegetable spiralizer on Amazon, and it has quickly become one of my favorite cheap kitchen gadgets, even though I've only used it once so far. I spiralized some zucchini to serve with chicken the other night; all I did was saute it in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and it was delicious.

+ This video had me absolutely rolling the other day. If you aren't familiar with Christian music over the last decade or so, it might not make a whole lot of sense. If you are, it will make so much sense. I almost choked on my coffee when he got to the bit about John Mark McMillan and the sloppy wet kiss.

+ After weeks on end (literally) of constant rain, I finally broke down and wore one of my flannel shirts yesterday. I guess I figured if southeast Alaska is going to act like summer is not a thing that even exists, I might as well just pull the trigger and start wearing my full autumn wardrobe. It's close enough to September, I guess.

P.S. If you live somewhere with temperatures over 60 and you remember what the sun looks like, I kind of hate you a little bit.

+ Related to the point above, we were supposed to hike (and summit) Mt. Edgecumbe, our local volcano, this last Saturday. A local nonprofit called Sitka Trail Works sponsors two annual group hikes up the mountain, and we would just do the hike solo, but you need a boat to get out to that island. Long story short, the weather was crummy and the seas too choppy so the hike was postponed, and then the weather never got any better so we were just informed that the hike has been completely cancelled, better luck next year. I'm so tired of having our plans ruined by the weather all the time.

Someday I will conquer you.

+ On a lighter note, season 6 of Blue Bloods is on Netflix and season 3 of Hannibal is on Amazon Prime. When life hands you lemons, binge watch Netflix.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Casual Friday: Ep. 1

After much deliberation, I've decided that Friday is going to be my new brain-dump day. It just seems appropriate.

+ I saw an article yesterday called "How to Make Ice Cream Sandwiches." I didn't know one could actually write an entire post about something like that. Here's my abridged version:

Scoop ice cream onto a cookie. Smash down with another cookie. Roll sides in sprinkles, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, etc. Re-freeze. If you couldn't figure that out on your own...let's chat.

+ Have you heard the rumor that the new iPhone 7 might not have a headphone jack; that you'll either have to use Bluetooth headphones or possibly buy an adapter that fits into the power port? I'm not sure how I feel about this.

+ I don't understand the Boomerang app that people are using to post to Instagram...is it even an app? Does anyone really find it enjoyable to watch the same jerky movement over and over?

+ I need a new laptop sometime in the semi-near future. I'm tempted to return to the world of Windows because Macs can just be a huge pain in the butt. The main concern at the moment is that I'd have to repurchase Photoshop and Illustrator, or keep my Macbook just so I can use those two programs.

+ Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas? I'm gonna go with no. Only 134 days, people!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Baking with Protein Powder: Waffles

In thinking about what I might want to write about now that I've made my triumphant return to blogging, I remembered that I used to really enjoy doing a once-a-week random thoughts post. It seems like most people like to do "Thursday Thoughts," but as much as I love a good alliteration, I love to buck popular blogger trends even more. I mean, I have never once bought a single chevron-patterned item or done a twenty-part series on my wedding and honeymoon, so you know I'm serious.

I haven't decided what day of the week I'm going to dedicate to this brain-dump, but in the meantime, I thought I'd throw a quick recipe your way. I recently discovered this and I've already made it twice in the last week, because when a waffle recipe only has 2 grams of carbs, YOU EAT ALL THE WAFFLES.

I've used protein powders to supplement my diet for a few years now, but only recently have I gotten into using it as an actual ingredient in a recipe, rather than just shaking it up with almond milk or tossing it in a smoothie. I've also been making protein angel food cake, but I'll do a separate blog post about that, because it deserves an appropriate amount of attention on its own.

For the waffles, and baking in general, whey protein is the best to use due to the texture and taste. This one is my current favorite - seriously, try the snickerdoodle flavor. I'm sure you could probably use soy, hemp or pea protein, but I haven't tested those to know if they'd be any good.

Anyway, all you have to do is mix:

1 scoop (31g) PEScience whey protein
1 egg white
1 t. baking powder
splash of vanilla extract
1/8-1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk 
(add liquid slowly until batter is the right consistency)

A few minutes later, you'll have the most delicious, golden, crispy waffle with - get this - only 143 calories, 2g carbs, 2g fat, and 28 grams of protein. That's a crazy good carb to protein ratio, and this way you don't even have to feel bad about adding butter and syrup, or whipped cream and berries, or whatever toppings you prefer on your waffle.

Note: You can also use a whole egg instead of the egg white, which will make the waffle a little bit fluffier, but keep in mind that will increase the calories and fat content a bit (7g fat and closer to 180 calories). I have tried these both ways, and I prefer just the egg white - they seem to turn out just a little bit more crisp.

Let me know if you make these, and if you do, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. They're probably not going to taste exactly the same as if you ate a carb and fat-laden "real" waffle, but they're a dang good substitute and if they weren't good, I wouldn't tell you to make them.

But I am telling you to make them. Now. Seriously. Scram.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mic Check

Well, hello! Is this thing on? Let me start this off by saying: It's weird to be back. I've been very close to opening this thing back up no less than a dozen times, but every time I talk myself out of it. Alas, I am once again finding myself short on human interaction and what better place to turn than the internet, right? It's a little bit like reconnecting with an old friend. It's exciting to have them back in your life, but a little nervewracking because you've changed...they've changed...how exactly is this going to go? Will we be best friends again or will it fizzle and die even quicker than the last time?

Should we start taking bets now??

It's been a long, but very short 18 months (to the day!) since my last post. I wish I could report that something crazy or life-altering has happened, but the truth is, I'm still here just plugging away as usual. There have been some changes here and there, of course, and if you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen most of them.

Isaiah finished his academy training - the longest 12 weeks of both of our lives - and probationary period at the police department last fall so he's a bona fide officer now. His schedule has not always been ideal for either one of us but we're thankful that overtime pays pretty well, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing him in a uniform.

We semi-recently refloored almost our entire house, leaving basically only the bathrooms and laundry room still needing work. We visited my mom in Seattle in early July and while we were there we installed a brand new toilet in her bathroom, which of course has given me major toilet envy. Being an adult still weirds me out sometimes.

We also took a trip to Iceland last month, which was simultaneously nerve wracking and completely thrilling. It was my first time visiting another continent and I've officially been bitten by a giant travel/backpacking bug - it was worth the 4 months of planning it took to make sure we weren't going to die in the wilderness on another continent. We did a lot of sightseeing, but the highlight of the trip by far was the 4 day, 55 km backpacking trip we did in the interior of the country. I've seen a lot of amazing scenery in my life, but even pictures can't fully encompass the beauty of the Laugavegurinn trail. It fully made up for the fact that I slept on the ground and only had one shower in four days.

What else...we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary this March, I turned 33 in June, our cat turned 9 years old in July (wahhh), we finally summited Arrowhead Peak here in Sitka (3,240 feet starting at sea level), and I recently chopped all my hair off, so it's now the shortest it's ever been - including, possibly, when I was a baby.

Those are pretty much the only "big" things that have happened since I stopped blogging. Well, other than Trump and Clinton somehow becoming our two choices for president - a surreal conundrum that I've fondly labeled "The Apocalypse". I have a lot of little things I could talk about but they would have to be in bullet point format and this post would end up being eighteen pages long, so I'll try and just spew a little bit at a time over the next few weeks.

Some housekeeping, though:

1) I updated all my social media icons over there on the side. Feel free to follow me on any one of them, or none of them at all.

My Instagram is private but definitely send me a follow request and I'll approve it. I was just getting too many weirdo strangers following me and you can't delete fake/weirdo followers.

The shopping cart icon is linked to my Etsy shop - it's all crochet/knit goods, if that's your thing. I'm currently on hiatus but I'll be back this fall, date TBD.

Regarding Twitter, follow at your own risk. It's a lot of unpopular political commentary and links to articles by people like Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro. If you love the Constitution, guns and freedom, you'll love my feed. If you don't and you choose to follow anyway...well, I warned you.

2) I kept the same blog title that I had previously, but just a refresher on the backstory: It's because my name is just Angi; not Angela/Angelina/Angelica/etc. It's been the typical response I've always given someone when they ask if my name is short for Angela. "Nope, it's just Angi." 

3) To everyone who used to read this thing, welcome back! Third (fourth? fifth?) time's the charm, right?