The Secret to Life (and cleaning white shoes)

One of the greatest struggles in this era is cleaning dirty white shoes.

My white shoes after cleaning

From when I bought them, I tried to keep them as clean as possible as a result of my OCD. However, through everyday use and accidents like spills or people stepping on them, it became increasingly hard to keep them in their original condition. However, after some snooping online, I found the perfect way to clean them. This is a real life saver and something I would love to share with the public.

Items needed:

  1. Baking soda
  2. old toothbrush or soft-bristle brush
  3. bowlIMG_4052.JPG
  4. water
  5. aluminum foil





  1. Wait until 12-1 PM before starting.
  2. Mix equal parts of baking soda and water in a bowl. Note- the consistency should not be so thick that it becomes a soup, but rather it should be a watered-down paste.
  3. cut out a sheet of aluminum foil and place it outside.
  4. place the shoes, baking soda mix, and old toothbrush on the aluminum foil.
  5. Using the old toothbrush, dip it into the mixture and apply it to the shoes. Make sure to put more on the parts that are dirtier until you cannot see the stain. If the area looks very clumpy, that is OK. We’ll get back to that later.
  6. leave your shoes outside for at least 4 hours.
  7. IMG_4060.PNG
    After 4 hours of drying in the sun

    After they dry up, they will look and feel very rough and dusty. That’s OK! Simply brush off any big excesses with a towel or the toothbrush and whack the bottoms of the shoes on a hard surface to get all of the powder off.

    Important- Baking soda is somewhat of a “temporary” technique of cleaning white shoes because it acts like a paint that sticks onto the shoes and therefore will need to be redone every month or half-month. However, they are safer than the risk of permanently damaging your shoes in the washer or through bleaching.







If the Hoodie Fits

I’ve never understood why it is so important to get something in your size until now.

Generally, I like my shirts fitted and my jackets and pants baggy to create a hIMG_3889.JPGip-hop inspired look. By fitted, I mean one size down what I usually wear, so if I want, say, a Tupac Longsleeve,  I would get it in a small and not a medium. I just like the tight fit and how it wraps and molds around the body as opposed to having sleeves overfold from the extra bagginess and the bottom of the shirt drop as low as to my crotch. For my hoodies, I just really like the baggier, but not overbaggy, style, just so it is comfortable enough to wear and provide as much warmth as possible while still looking presentable. For example, because I fall between a Men’s small and a Men’s medium category, I would choose the medium size for my Kung Fu Kenny hoodie.  However, the real problem begins when I step out of my comfort zone.


About a week ago I had my eye on this one nice hoodie. It was not that much- I had a $20 discount and that changed my grand sum of around $50 to just $20. Specifically, it was a Lira Men’s IMG_3890.JPGRose Hoodie. However, there was only one problem: It only came in 2 sizes; XL and XXL. I had visited Tilly’s shops several times to look for a smaller size or a different type of hoodie that I liked, but nothing appealed to me and the smallest size I could still possibly fit was an XL. I asked around to see if my friends had any solutions. The most common one that came up was, “wash it in very hot water and dry the crap out of it.” I was very skeptical about the idea. However, when I tried it, it in fact did shrink! It was absolutely amazing for me to find out that things like these work. However, with everything comes a price.



I am very happy my hoodie actually came out looking decent, although just a tad IMG_3891.JPGbit too large. I, however, did not know that there was a large change that using direct heat like that could ruin the hoodie in a number of ways, including fading, breaking down the material, and having the designs peel off. luckily, this did not happen to me on a major extent, but I do recommend that before anyone tries this they consider the cost. If you believe is worth it, go for it.


Now, I try something a bit odd to shrink my clothes. First, if I am washing the object by itself, I would normally use one or two levels ofIMG_3894.JPG heat down from the maximum. Once finished, I would throw the object into the dryer. However, here is the tricky part: I would set up different times of direct heat and “cooling down” so the damage to my clothes would be minimal. For example, maybe 10 minutes of maximum heat, then 5 of the next lowest heat and 5 of the next and so on. At the end, I would blast it on full heat until the remaining time is finished (Probably just 10-15 mins). Overall, I am happy how my hoodie came out and intend on using this only as a reliable but last choice options.



Hair Problems? I Think ‘Knot’

IMG_3760.JPGAs a guy in high school with a greater amount of hair, I constantly have the problem of taking good care of my hair and mold it to how i want my hairstyle to be. I shower twice a day, and each time I use Dove 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner to make my hair softer. However, after using gel, pomade, or some other form of hair product to do my hair, it is either rough and hard or sticky and pungent. I have all kinds of hair product that I have used: Gel, hairspray, pomade, beeswax, and so many others; however, none of them really meet both conditions of being soft and healthy as well as perfectly molded unless it is unnecessarily expensive.


The first time I really had this problem was back in 8th grade. This was the first time I decided to do my hair.  I first started with gel- it was an all-natural, firm hold one. I did not have as much hair as I did now and I used to have my hair in a ‘lion’s mane’ hairdo. I found it exceedingly difficult to keep my hair in it’s place, no matter how much hair gel I used. Another problem was the gel made my hair stiff and hard on the places it got on, creating such an imbalance in my hair. Next, I tried hairspray to fix  my problem. Sure enough, hairspray fixed my problem of not having all the hairs equally how i wanted them to be- but at a cost. The hairspray needed time to dry so I would have to waste five minutes of my day just standing around hoping somehow my hair did not get ruined in the process. I quickIMG_3761.JPGly found a loophole to that by applying hairspray at night and waking up to a nearly-perfect hairdo. Also, hairspray leaves a lot of flakes and dandruff-like particles in my hair. It was equally as unhealthy as it frequently made a lot of my hairs fall out. Lastly, I finally bought some Old Spice pomade, and although it worked great it made my hair and my hands particularly sticky and have a strong odor that a lot of people could not stand after a while. After a period of looking, it appeared that I would just have to settle for second.



Since then, a lot has happened involving my hair. First, I changed my hairstyle to longer hair that I could slick back or nonchalantly leave to the side. Also, when I did decide to do my hair for those special occasions, I discovered something amazing. It wasIMG_3762.JPG coincidental that I had run out of hair gel that day. I was moisturizing my face with lotion, a very important skin care process, when I decided to fix my hair. The excess on my hands and fingers ran across my hair to stick it up and have it hold like the pomade. After careful inspection, I found that regular lotion had a stronger hold then gel, no odors and unnatural stick like the strong pomade, and actually helped my hair become smoother unlike the hairspray.

Every time I decide to do my hair now, I always rely on lotion. It’s amazing multipurpose use for such a cheap object gives the object even more value. It really does help make my hair softer and IMG_3763.JPGit feels more natural to use than any other hair product, giving the same effect as even the best of pomades. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap but effective hair product to use.


There are still some problems from using lotion as a hair product. First, it is generally looked down upon by society, marking the user with labels such as a ‘radical’ or a ‘maverick.’ Also, lotion makes the hair look very shiny, which does look odd at certain times. Lastly, lotion does not hold up the hair that long before the density of it makes your hair collapse and look incredibly flat or as if you just ran up and down 20 flights of stairs, Nevertheless, in my opinion lotion is still the most conventional hair product out there.


17-5 Same Color T-Shirt

I never understood how tedious taking care of white clothes is- until now.

Photo: Your Best Digs February 23, 2017 ©(CC BY 2.0)

I used to only wear darker-colored clothes, such as black, maroon, and navy. Back in those times, I looked down on people who wore white saying they were too overly obsessed with their clothes and appearance. I always hated to do laundry and I found it excruciating to wear any light color because cleaning it would be an absolute pain. However, as I saw my friends get white clothes, I started questioning myself and my ideology on people wearing white clothing. Finally, I decided to get some white clothing of my own. I finally understood how a light color added a new depth to clothing and style. I now own more than 10 pieces of white clothing I wear weekly. Yet as the days progressed, I became more and more obsessed on keeping my white clothes clean because blemishing it was excruciatingly easy. For months, I was left with dirty white clothes, an annoying pain that was always stuck in my head.

Excruciatingly, I used trial and error to try to restore my white clothes to their original selves. I tried washing my shirt with anything to first get rid of the stains- dish soap, a lot of detergent, even 

Photo: profmarilena January 24, 2015 ©(CC BY 2.0)

some spot cleaner. Then finally, I read an online trick of how vinegar removed stains better than all of these combined. I tried doing this and to my surprise, it worked. However, it required a large amount enough to soak in and needed a lot of time to really get out all of the stains. However, as a result my clothes reeked of acid. I needed a way to remove the smell and my white clothes would be amazing again.



Then, I realized my flaw during my laundry process after spot cleaning with vinegar- I was using hot water. After seeing an ad that promoted cold water because it uses less water and energy to wash my clothes, I wanted to try it because of the California drought making water more expensive than other areas. Amazingly, after I used cold water to wash my white clothes, they did not have that horrible odor of vinegar, but

Photo: vagabondblogger August 5, 2010©(CC BY 2.0)

instead smelled like my detergent. Additionally, using cold water prevents clothes, especially cotton, from shrinking and making it uncomfortable. Air drying with cool air seals the prevention of permanent shrinkage for those items that just fit perfectly.




Now, every time I wash my white clothes, I remember to give it a little vinegar bath to wash out all of the

Photo: DSC03102 June 24, 22013 ©(CC BY 2.0)

unneeded blemishes and let the vinegar soak in for a good five to ten minutes, depending on the soilage.  Lastly, I would wash it with a regular amount of detergent on tap cold water and air dry it for about two hours. Air drying takes longer to dry clothes because of the lack of heat. Finally, my white clothes are clean and new again.

No Chill: How to have a Cold Drink Without Pesky Ice Cubes

I have never realized how good it feels to drink chilled water without constantly having to deal with the ice.


6337849563_f688da3932_o (2).jpg
Photo: Antoni BCN November 1,2011©[CC BY-SA 2.0)

Every day this happens to me: I come home from the gym or a basketball game craving for some ice-cold refreshing water to quench my thirst. I fill a glass of water and place some ice cubes in so it can be chilled. However, every time I drink water I always have to slowly sip because the ice constantly bumps into my lip and continues to make it numb or irritate me enough that I have to delay my drinking just for it to submerge into the depths of my cup again. Every time. So every day as I came home hot, sweaty, thirsty, desiring for something to relieve me of my ailments the heat has caused me, I always consistently run into the same problem. How can I get a drink if every 5 seconds I have to take a dramatic pause to not afflict myself of frostbite.


I lived in a 24/7
nightmare for several years until I stumbled upon something that completely changed my perspective on my chilled drinks. As long as something touching the

Photo Brook Ferry August 15, 2011©[CC BY-SA 2.0]

water was cold, the water would be cold! It led me to nights of innovating with frozen peas, carrots, tomatoes, and apples. Although they all helped chilling my drink, they still gave an unnecessary taste to the perfect liquid that would ever touch man’s lips. Somehow, I had to come up with a way to chill your drink without giving it flavor or taste, my largest challenge for years.



There were several conditions that needed to be met to make it the perfect substitute for ice cubes. Did it chill water? Did it allow

Photo Mix Sensations August 20, 2010©[CC BY-SA 2.0]

for continuous drinking while the water is cold? Is it cheap? Is it efficient? And finally, on a Sunday morning by complete accident, I discovered my answer.






The night before I stayed up late to finish some pesky homework that needed to be done. I took a sip of water and unknowingly placed it in my fridge along with the leftover foods from dinner. After I woke up for a few hours or so, the temperature was blazing as the sun branded our backs. I went in for a drink and when I opened the fridge, lo and behold, my cup was still there. I took a drink from it. It was completely cold! I retested this by placing an empty cup in the refrigerator. When I used it, all

Photo Terhi January 19, 2013©[CC BY-SA 2.0]
of the contents were perfectly chilled and did not serve as an obstacle to my thirst. At long last, I came upon two conclusions: Pre-chill multiple cups in the refrigerator to have it instantly chill the refreshment or to pre- chill the drink itself. Never again will ice distract me from quenching my thirst, ever.

No iPhone 7? No Problem


I never realized how harmful it is to have your phone water damaged.


Only recently, I noticed these blotches on my phone, each of different shades. I never had any problem with my phone in the past. Upon discovering the cause of 

Photo: Kelth Rowley March 3, 2009©(CC BY-SA 2.0)

these spots was water damage, I also continued to learn how water damage can short circuit the motherboard of the phone and ultimately make that $500 phone worthless. Luckily, my phone was not severely damaged, except for the still-present dots on my phone. Although all my fears and concerns about my phone were put to rest, I still only had one question: How on Earth was my phone water damaged?


For days I continued to research the root of my problem to no avail until I came to a life-changing realization while repeating the same mistake that caused my phone’s water damage: Using my phone in the shower. Even though a phone owner does not stick their phone directly under the water (who would?), the heat and water vapor enter the pores of the phone, inevitably leading to the water damage I have now. With my newfound

Photo: Jaysin Trevino January 13, 2009©(CC BY 2.0)

research, I tried not using my phone or even having my phone in the bathroom as I showered. However, it was too hard to do as I craved to use my phone in the shower. What other time is better to use your phone besides when you are warm, relaxed, and at peace? Somehow, I needed a way to tend to both my phone’s and my own fundamentals.



Then, I came across an idea that made me feel so simple minded for not thinking about it earlier. If something could simple cover the phone and not fall off, anyone could use their phone in the showers when they wanted to. However, there were a few standards this miracle item had to meet: Is it completely water repellent? Does it wrap around and stick to the phone? Is it thin enough to still use the phone’s touchscreen functions but still repel water? As I explored for items that met all these requirements, I finally found the Holy Grail of protecting phones in the showers simply in my kitchen cabinet.


A plastic food bag. That was all it took. Plastic is a wonderful all-around go-to item. It is thin but still repels water and is resistant enough to withstand the heat of the shIMG_2866.JPGower (I usually shower on the hottest setting). To make sure this worked, I decided to try it myself. I filled my sink with water and placed two cans of tuna inside a plastic food wrap bag while the water was still running. My average shower takes almost twenty minutes, so for good measure I left the tuna and plastic bag in there for thirty minutes. When I opened it, I was astounded. There was no liquid at all to be found in the plastic bag. In conclusion, plastic bags save the lives of those who use their phones in hot showers.



Why You Don’t Have To Wash The Dishes Anymore

Personally, doing the dishes is the chore I despise of the most. It consumes so much time that cabroken dish.jpgn be better used to do other activities, such as homework or basketball. One night, after 15 minutes of vigorous scrubbing at cheese glued to a plate and an aftermath of cold and clammy hands, I came up with the decision that nobody has to live like this. What if there was an alternative to dishes? What if there was this miracle product that was not only easily disposable, but also cheap? Surely, that would mean my days of wet, slimy, and chunky torture would be over.

Before I implanted my ideas, was it just my lethargy and snobbishness that shaped my perspective on washing dishes? I surely had to ask my friends what theyriot.jpg thought about this before implanting any schemes that would make me prettier than I already was for refusing to wash dishes. My first friend, Tiffany, gave me her views on washing dishes she said, “ I hate washing dishes and I believe that if there was an alternative I would use it immediately.” Likewise, another friend Danny said, “In addition to the unnecessary time used to wash dishes, I hate how water is being wasted when it can be used for something more efficient.” Lastly, my best friend Jessica explained, “Dish washing is a pain and a long chore, especially after a long day of school, activities, and homework.” Seeing that all our perspectives on this hated chore are similar, I began the voyage to discover the alternative to save all of us from the traumatic experience of washing dishes.

Together, my friends and I put our heads together to think of something that will revolutionize eating forever. We made several points on what was necessary to suffice for an alternative to a plate or bowl. First, it had to be easy to use. That meant that the product would easily replace a bowl or plate and perform all of its functions, maybe even better. Also, The alternative had to be easy to throw away. Something that was small and compact and can fit in everyone’s trash can. Lastly, the product had to be easy to convince people to use. Most people are concerned about money, so the main focus on this category was it’s price. The product needed to be cheap to convince many people to use instead of actual bowls or plates. After what seemed like three days of brainstorming, we came up with a final solution.
At last, the final decision was made; plastic food wrap. Plastic food wrap can be used to cover bowls and plates before use so nobody will have to wash dishes or bowls, a large portion of washing the dishes. Plastic wrap is easy to use because it can

Photo: revlax October 18, 2008©(CC BY-SA 2.0)

effortlessly stick to bowls and plates and can be easily picked up and thrown away after use. Furthermore, plastic is waterproof, so putting soup in a bowl will not create a larger mess than simply washing the dishes. Lastly, plastic food wrap is very cheap and can be purchased here. In conclusion, plastic food wrap covering bowls or plates is the ultimate alternative to washing the dishes.