There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.

Arlen Specter, American lawyer, politician (1930-2012)

+detergent+

This summer has been quite a pleasant one in the mosquito front.  Up until recently, I was one of the lucky few who hadn’t been attacked by these tiny menaces.  I contributed this to my healthier lifestyle, cutting back on junk food and unnecessary added sugars, fats, etc.  Instead of giving up on snacking completely, I now snack on carrots instead of chips, as snacking provides a lot of joy in my life.

This lifestyle has only been successful until August, when my lovely neighbor started flashing these extremely bright lights into my bedroom window at 3:00 a.m. (don’t you just love NYC apartments?)  Thanks to said neighbor, in five minutes, I went from mosquito-free, to a victim of six bites, all by a clearly visible vein.  To avoid getting more bites, I migrated into my living room, but to no avail.  By 4:00 a.m., I now had three more bites.

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Mosquito Love

According to the Smithsonian, there are eight reasons why a person is more susceptible to getting bitten than others.

Bacteria
A 2011 study has shown that certain types and volume of bacteria that naturally live in our skin can affect the frequency of getting bitten.  People with large amounts of a few types of bacteria was more appealing, while bacteria diversity in their skin actually made mosquitoes less attracted to them.  For this reason, there is speculation that ankles and feet are common biting grounds, as these areas naturally have more robust bacteria colonies.

Beer
A 2002 study has discovered that just one 12-ounce bottle of beer makes you a lighthouse to mosquitoes.  Scientists aren’t exactly certain why this is the case, but some suggestions have been because of increased ethanol excretion in sweat, or higher body temperature.  However, neither factor has a definitive correlation to mosquito landings.

Blood
Mosquitoes need our blood to harvest proteins – without it, female mosquitoes cannot lay eggs.  For this reason, a 2004 study has shown that mosquitoes are more attracted to certain blood types than others.  Mosquitoes were attracted to Type A blood individuals the least, followed by Type B blood individuals; mosquitoes were twice as attracted to Type O blood individuals than Type A.  We also have other genes that tell mosquitoes what kind of blood we have – 85 percent of people release this chemical signal through their skin.  Interestingly, mosquitoes are more attracted to people who secrete this information than not, regardless of blood type.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Mosquitoes have a maxillary palp, an organ responsible for detecting CO2; they can lock on their targets that stand as far as 164 feet away.  Larger people, who generally release more CO2, attract more mosquitoes simply because they exhale.  Children are bit less often than adults partly because of this reason.

Color
According to medical entomologist at the University of Florida, James Day, wearing certain colors make you more attractive to mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes can use their vision to locate people who wear striking colors like black, dark blue, or red.

Exercise & Metabolism
Besides CO2, mosquitoes love sweat and high body temperatures.  Not exactly sweat, but what’s in the sweat.  Besides cooling us down, our bodies produce sweat to regulate itself from toxins, like lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia, etc.  People who engage in strenuous exercise are treats for mosquitoes because of lactic acid buildup in their muscles and body heat.  On top of this, there are genes that can influence the amount of uric acid and other chemical substances a person naturally emits, so you can easily become a delicious five course meal to a lucky mosquito.

Genetics
85 percent of the variability between people’s attractiveness to mosquitoes is due to their genes.

Pregnancy
Many studies have shown that pregnant women attract about twice as much mosquitoes as others, possible because of CO2 and body temperature.  Pregnant women exhale about 21 percent more CO2 and are typically 1.26º F warmer than non-pregnant women.

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The Future of Mosquito Bites

Besides looking at people who attract mosquitoes, scientists have turned their attention to those who rarely attract them.  Using the latter’s genetic information, they hope to create an effect mosquito repellent.  Through chromatography, a UK lab has taken apart these people’s chemical secretions.  They have discovered that these individuals excrete a natural repellent that mosquitoes dislike.  Soon, Type O pregnant women who like to wear black with the perfect number of bacterial colonies can exercise without being bitten.

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But for Right Now…

While scientists are working hard to prevent future bites, we aren’t there yet.  So, for any individual who has been bitten, I introduce to you my mom’s unconventional solution: liquid dish detergent.  It seems out of the blue (no pun intended), but dish detergent works like a charm.  We have tried all sorts of solutions like tea tree oil and liquid Pepto Bismol, but nothing works quite as effectively as the thing you use to wash your dishes.

When I get bitten, I’m careful to only use three things only: cold water, soap, and dish detergent.  First, I immediately wash the area with cold water and soap.  I then pat the area dry and apply a layer of dishwashing detergent and let it dry completely, forming a cover over the bite.  If you’re pressed for time, you can just put on the dish detergent and let that dry, but it just feels refreshing to wash your bite in cold water.

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There are probably other solutions out there, but as a person who gets hive sized mosquito bites (even if I don’t touch it), this is the most effective method out there.  Obviously, it isn’t perfect, but it’s cheap and beats going out to by creams and essential oils that you normally don’t keep in your medicine cabinet.

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Click here to explore some dish detergent brands.

IMAGE CREDIT: Shoise

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.

Jimmy Ray Dean, American country music singer, television host, actor, businessman; creator of the Jimmy Dean sausage brand (1928-2010)

+rejects+

Life is such a comedy, so just spare me the drama

The All-American Rejects, Sweat (2017)

Per usual, Thursday evening was spent attending a concert.  This time, it was the Dashboard Confessional, The All-American Rejects, and The Maine Tour, which was held at the Central Park SummerStage.

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Even before I reached Central Park, it was obvious who was attending.  Lenox Hill natives generally don’t have fuchsia colored hair and multiple piercing when they have their pick of Chloé or Miu Miu.  However, it wasn’t just scene kids there – they were standing side by side Wall Streeters also waiting to relive their childhoods again.  As Tyson pointed out, we weren’t in our teens anymore; we were all 20- and 30-year olds with grown-up jobs, but still ready to have fun.

Besides the performers, a Central Park SummerStage is made up of two things: beer and boxed water.  While there was a tap water stations to refill your bottles and stay hydrated, I feel like you aren’t really at a SummerStage unless you see your fair share of beer and boxed water.

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The Setlist

The event was broken up into three parts, one for each band, with 30-minute breaks in between to change the instruments and backdrop.  The crew’s efficiency was pretty incredible and the show went without a hitch.

Part I: The Maine

  1. Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu
  2. Am I Pretty?
  3. Bad Behavior
  4. How Do You Feel?
  5. Like We Did (Windows Down)
  6. Girls Do What They Want
  7. Ice Cave

Part II: The All-American Rejects

  1. Dirty Little Secret
  2. Stab My Back
  3. My Paper Heart
  4. Swing, Swing
  5. I Wanna
  6. Kids in the Street
  7. Mona Lisa (When the World Comes Down) – acoustic version
  8. Sweat
  9. Move Along
  10. Close Your Eyes
  11. Gives You Hell

Part III: Dashboard Confessional

  1. Vindicated
  2. The Sharp Hint of New Tears
  3. The Good Fight
  4. Saints and Sailors
  5. Remember to Breathe
  6. Love Yourself (Cover, ORIG. Justin Bieber)
  7. Just Like Heaven (Cover, ORIG. The Cure)
  8. Stolen
  9. We Fight
  10. The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
  11. Ghost of a Good Thing
  12. Heart Beat Here
  13. Don’t Wait
  14. Again I Go Unnoticed
  15. Screaming Infidelities
  16. Hands Down

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What I Liked

How my nostalgia bone was tickled.  At times, I wasn’t able to sing along because I couldn’t stop smiling.  I still can’t get over the amazing feeling of unity you feel with the crowd when everyone sings in unison – it’s an incredible high.  And while we physically looked different from 10 years ago, we were still carried the emotions that made listening to these bands so great.

I also really loved the mobility.  After The Maine’s bit ended, people started abandoning their spots, much to my happiness.  I was easily able to move closer to the stage for AAR without catching dirty looks from other people who wanted to get closer as well.

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What I Didn’t Like

The weather.  I felt my sunscreen lotion melting off my face and my backless shirt barely helped cool me down, when the sun was directly on your face and there were tons of people around you.  At times, you wanted to get hit by a water bottle thrown by John because of how refreshing it was.

The venue was a disappointment.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the location and Central Park.  However, word on the street was that the bands couldn’t linger after their sets ended because of rules set in place.  We weren’t able to get pictures with The Maine (especially John) because of this annoying rule.  Though, all was not lost because I did manage to get pictures with Tyson by 5th and 72nd.

I'll keep you my dirty little secret 🖤 Feeling 2005 tonight

A post shared by Elizabeth N. Chi (@elizarie) on

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Overall

Despite the weather, and not being able to see John after the show, it was still a great concert.  I feel like something people don’t recognize about millennials is that we’re notorious for throwbacks.  We just love reminiscing our younger days, and making new memories based off the complicated feelings the past left us.  Like the famous adage “history repeats itself,” millennials are living proof that growth happens, taking our old memories and redefining them in the present.

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Here’s the (nearly) complete Spotify playlist of Thursday’s concert!

I also recorded my nearly all of my favorite songs – my arm did get really tired during AAR’s set.

 

Self-love is the source of all our other loves.

Pierre Corneille, French tragedian; one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists (1606-1684)

“I didn’t know anyone could see it,” Samuel said.  “You know, Lee, I think of my life as a kind of music, not always good music but still having form and melody.  And my life has not been a full orchestra for a long time now.  A single note only – and that note unchanging sorrow.  I’m not alone in my attitude, Lee.  It seems to me that too many of us conceive of a life as ending in defeat.”

John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952, Chapter 24)

+august playlist+

Here’s August’s Top Ten!

Charli XCX, Boys
When I first heard this song, I thought it was a Slushii song because of the video game sound effects.  The vocal and arcade sound effect combo really come together to make a fun song to listen to.
Purchase here on iTunes.

Cheat Codes ft. Demi Lovato, No Promises
I don’t know what it is, but there’s a pleasant, chart-topping quality to Demi’s voice.  Like it’s addictive to listen to because her vocals are actually strong and Cheat Codes clearly know how to take advantage of it.
Purchase here on iTunes.

Dua Lipa, New Rules
I honestly became addicted to this song when Dua sings “And if you’re under him, you ain’t over him.”  And attention girls, here are some new rules we’ll now all follow.
Purchase here on iTunes.

Kendrick Lamar ft. Rihanna, LOYALTY.
Truthfully, Kendrick can rap about anything and it’ll always be amazing.  Add Rihanna to the mix and you’ve got a Billboard chart topper for sure.
Purchase here on iTunes.

Linkin Park, Numb
Numb describes hearing Chester’s death.  A piece of mine and thousands of people’s childhoods all died the day Chester left our presence.
Purchase here on iTunes.

Mick Jagger, England Lost
It’s always a treat to listen to Mick’s stuff, whether it’s with The Rolling Stones or his solo work.
Purchase here on iTunes.

Snakehips, Anne-Marie ft. Joey Bada$$, Either Way
This song shows off Anne-Marie’s versatility, from Clean Bandit’s powerhouse vocal, to a chill, laidback summer song.  There’s also an overall night feeling to the song that I associate Snakehips to.
Purchase here on iTunes.

The Maine, Into Your Arms
To prepare for tonight’s Dashboard Confessional, The All-American Rejects, and the Maine Summerstage, I had to listen to some old songs that made me feel young(er) again.
Purchase here on iTunes.

The All-American Rejects, It Ends Tonight
When darkness turns into light it [the wait] ends tonight.
Purchase here on iTunes.

The Warp Zone, Rick and Morty Theme Song Acapella
In honor of Season 3 returning with a bang, cheers to Rick and Morty.

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Here’s August’s Spotify playlist!

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, commonly known as Dr. Seuss, American author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher, artist (1904-1991)

IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia

+you & me+

“And the geography of the thing–the geography of them–was completely and hopelessly wrong.”

Jennifer E. Smith, The Geography of You and Me (2014)

I love rereading books that have captured my heart the first time.  As a romantic, I’m a sucker for teen romance, specifically novels that also have a deeper meaning besides the love story.  This time, Jennifer E. Smith’s The Geography of You and Me is a book that I want to share.

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Interestingly, I discovered this piece back in 2014 while trying to borrow Steve Kluger’s lovely book again at the library.  I was smitten not by the cover, but by the synopsis, which is as follows

Lucy lives on the twenty-fourth floor.  Owen lives in the basement.  It’s fitting, then, that they meet in the middle — stuck between two floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout.  After they’re rescued, Lucy and Owen spend the night wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan.  But once the power is back, so is reality.  Lucy soon moves abroad with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark.  And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and to San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland, Lucy and Owen stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails and phone calls.  But can they — despite the odds — find a way to reunite?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place.  Sometimes, it can be a person.

♓️

Like most, Lucy and Owen’s story began somewhere.  For them, it was in an elevator during a blackout in New York City.  Unlike many, theirs travels thousands of miles across Europe and the United States; Lucy and Owen’s lives quickly diverge after their initial meeting.  They manage to keep in contact despite leading very different lives because both provide something that the other is searching for.  For Lucy, it’s a desire for change from her lonely lifestyle, while Owen seeks something more permanent, like a home.

However, time and distance eventually takes a toll on the two.  While the words aren’t explicit, here, Smith expects her readers to read between the lines, seeing what isn’t being said, as the lines literally become shorter.  Lucy and Owen’s exchanges become shorter and shorter, a reflection of how their physical separation has affected them.

Throughout their interactions, there’s an understanding that the two love each other.  However, it isn’t so explicit to the point that you know how it’ll end.  On one hand, you keep rooting for Lucy and Owen’s happy ending together, but there’s also a sense that this may not happen immediately, if ever.  One thing that we know for certain is that the two have feelings for one another.

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I know that many don’t believe in it, but I’d like to believe that fate exists.  The best love stories contemplate fate by showing character growth and/or sharing the ill-fated tale of star-crossed lovers, not just a transparent love triangle.  There’s something so romantic about the latter because the promise of a happy ending in the next life that couldn’t be achieved in this life just tugs at your heartstrings.  If it’s meant to be, then it’ll eventually be realized, and if not, then it may happen at the next one.

Luckily for them, Lucy and Owen’s story isn’t a tragic one.  Their eventual reunion highlights a popular and romantic theme – love will prevail.  Though they’re quite young, the two manage to get over the long distance “curse”.  They realize that while their physical bodies may be in two separate locations, that doesn’t mean much when their hearts are both in the same place – in the elevator during a blackout in New York City.

♓️

Click here to purchase this novel.

Oh yes, I love to do shoes.  I’m not a fetishist but I love to do shoes.

– Karl Lagerfeld, German fashion designer, artist, and photographer; head designer and creative director of French fashion house Chanel, Italian fashion house Fendi, his own eponymous fashion label (1933-present)

IMAGE CREDIT: BLEND\BUREAUX