Just Another Dumb Tourist

I’m confident in the water. I grew up as a competitive swimmer before becoming a lifeguard, teacher, and coach. I even spent some time teaching water aerobics. I have no problem hopping into a lake for swim – though I despise leeches, I’ll deal with ripping one off as needed. When it comes to ocean beaches, I’m usually the first one in and the last one out. I love the water and I’m a huge proponent of water safety.

I’ve spent many hours on the beaches of Atlantic Canada, down through to South Carolina and Florida. I thought I knew a thing or two about jellyfish…how to spot them, how to avoid them, etc.

After several summers of sea time on the beautiful beaches of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, I learned how to recognize a mild* jellyfish sting. They look like a long scratch most times (like that from a cat) and while they do burn, they aren’t generally worth making too big of a fuss over.

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Arctic Red jellyfish – the jellies commonly found on the beaches of Prince Edward Island. http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/12209781

So, it turns out I’ve only ever seen White Moon and Arctic Red jellyfish.

Ever the blogger – even especially when on vacation – my sister, Erin, and I had been traipsing around looking for the best insta-worthy photo ops.

Check out this shot. Gorgeous, eh?

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In this picture, I’m concerned about capturing the beautiful blue sky and the gorgeous coastal vista…and I’m completely oblivious to the fact that I’m inches, INCHES away from a Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish.

Take a closer look.

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Total dumb tourist.

As I was approaching the rock outcrop for my photo shoot, I saw a blue plastic water bottle floating in the water. I thought to myself, “what a shame that there’s plastic floating in this beautiful, clear water” and I even considered grabbing it to throw in the trash when I went back to the beach.

I’m not sure what stopped me but I forgot about that plastic for a minute and did a few silly poses for my sister before swimming deeper into the waves for some body surfing time, while Erin retired her photography for some tanning in the hot sun.

It wasn’t until I had dried off later that afternoon when she turned to me and said “I have to tell you something…” Apparently a local had warned her that she wasn’t to go into the water near that spot because of the dangerous nature of those jellyfish. He even said that he was surprised to see “that girl” (me, the idiot) being so cavalier to pose for pictures next to it.

Fortunately, the local resorts actually work to remove this species of jellys when they’re in the high-traffic swimming areas. Obviously, though, nature, “uh, finds a way.”

I was horrified. HORRIFIED. How did I become such a cliche? Me? I’m Ms. Feet-First-First-Time! I’m the one who tells parents not to let their kids use flotation devices when the tide is going out. I’m the most annoying, water-safety woman around. I could not — and still cannot — believe it.

In my only, pathetic defense, the thing REALLY looked like a plastic bottle. In fact, they’re also known as Blue Bottle jellyfish…so…there…

The lesson to be learned is that we are all naive and dumb when we travel to new places. Experience doesn’t always translate. Be aware and be safe. If you’ve never been somewhere, educate yourself and take necessary safety precautions. Take a look around you before you start your instagram photo shoot. Your safety is more important than a funny picture.

Don’t be me. Don’t be just another dumb tourist!

* The irritation of the sting of an Arctic red can be treated easily with the nearby sand. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/securite-safety/animaux-wildlife

Man-of-War Jellyfish, close up pic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/p/portuguese-man-of-war/

 

Design

How to Avoid Sticky Situations with Shelf Paper

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are living the rental life here in Baltimore. That means, despite some of the features being in sore need of updating, we’re limited as to how much improvement we can actually make. Or, for that matter, how much time and how many resources we’re willing to invest.

That being said, the kitchen was in a sad state of affairs when we first arrived. After some major scrubbing, like, BIG TIME elbow grease, the cupboards still weren’t anywhere I wanted my dishes. Ultimately, I thought that the best measure would be to freshen up the cupboard interiors with some thick, clean, fresh, fun, clean, barrier-like, and did I mention clean?, shelf paper.

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If you’ve never tried lining your drawers or shelves, it can be easy to jump into the cutting and peeling and sticking head first. However, if that’s your method, you may soon find yourself in a sticky, rippled, ill-fitting mess.

First, make yourself a template! I cut mine from an empty cereal box. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to fit.

Once you’ve measured and fit your template, you’ll find that most shelf paper has handy-dandy grids on the back to help with cutting nice straight lines.

After cutting out your shelf and drawer pieces in the correct sizes, DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE.

Okay, I just wanted to make sure I had your attention before you got sticker happy and started peeling off the backs of the paper.

Before that oh-so-satisfying-step, you should lay out all the papers in their places just to have a final guarantee that they all fit properly.

Okay, have you done that?

Guess what?

Now, yes, NOW, you can start to peel the stickers.

But, and you’re going to love this part, there’s another trick involved!

If you’re bubble-averse like I am, then this method is a life saver.

I call it “the underneath-er quicker sticker”

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haha No I don’t.

If I did, though, it would be an accurate and effective description. Basically, you want to peel the backing away slowly from below, while applying even pressure to the top and smoothing away bubbles as you go.

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Finally, you can trim any uneven edges with a craft knife but that’s only if you’re a stickler for edges like I am.

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You’re done! You did it! Hooray!

Now for some sweet Befores & Afters

From BLAH to BAM!

Not too shabby, eh?

Hope this is helpful for your shelf lining efforts!

Design

 

Designing a Home Office

 

Although the nature of my profession has always allowed for remote work, I’ve never put the effort into a dedicated home workspace. In the past, whenever I’ve worked from home, I’ve just set up in the dining room – big table, natural light, why not?

Now that I’m working on unpacking and getting set up in our Baltimore row house, I’m going to make the second bedroom an official home office (except I’m going to call it “the library” because I’m a dork). I need it to be conducive to full-time working from home but also still have the capacity for hosting our overnight visitors.

The other challenge is that this home is a rental so I’m not going to be making any long-term investments or permanent changes. Though I wish I could change the wall colour (it’s a hideous pinky beige), the room is otherwise a blank slate.

First and foremost, I need a desk. I’m a fan of rustic, vintage or used when possible, and I try to avoid MDF, veneer, and particle board whenever possible. The real trick is balancing budget with longevity. I think it’s important to be mindful of environmental impact by buying second hand, sustainable, or pieces that won’t need replacing after a short time.

These are a few of the styles that I’m drawn to. (These are NOT affiliate links, just some inspiration that I like.)

 

So, I’m on the hunt! Which of these get your vote?

Do you have any suggestions as to how I should go about choosing?

Leave a link to your favourite recommended desk in the comments below.

Design