How to train a crab

laelene Posted in how to guides, lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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I’ve been playing with a variety of crabs of late and it’s fascinating. They’re rather smart creatures and I can almost swear they understand me. I’ve definitely stared into the eyes of some and felt like they could communicate with me. Maybe that’s just how their eyes look, but if you’ve ever tried to stare down a crab you might know what I mean. Sometimes their cunning is shocking. I’ve had them figure out how to climb up and out of cups, planning their escape. I’ve had them (somewhat) calmly crawl on me and learn that I’ll keep picking them up every time they try to leave. I’ve even had them working in teams to try to reach higher out of their temporary home in my cup.

tower of hermit crabs climbing on top of each other

The leaning tower of crabs. Smaller ones love to hitch a ride on larger ones!

clump of hermit crabs crawling on each other climbing up side of paper cup

Hitching a ride or using teamwork to escape?

line of hermit crabs crawling up side of paper cup

One by one, they learn from each other and crawl out.

It all started with some hermit crabs. It was the first day I got to go to the beach by the hotel (Turtle Bay Resort). I went wandering and eventually found a way to get to the beach I’d seen from the breakfast table. At first it was just tons and tons of snails on the rocks. I picked a bunch and was just enjoying the day playing around in the water with them when I noticed much faster movement. It was a hermit crab scuttling by! Once I knew what to look for, it was game over. I spotted so many that I had caught at least 30-something and there was no room in my cup. So I started to take pictures and release them. After all, what I really want are some close-up images of these cool creatures.

hermit crab staring at person holding it in fingers

If you just hold them, they’ll come out and look at you.

The next day, I went to the other side of the resort to check out what else I could find. It turned out to be a gold mine for other crabs. The land ones move far too fast to ever be caught, but the water ones have a tendency to hide and blend with the rocks. Since these rock formations have plenty of pools, it provided an easy microcosm to focus on. I was determined to get a “normal” crab (the kind that walks side to side). I succeeded with that eventually and got a crab that was almost too big for my cup! Now my goal is to get one of those burrowing crabs, which are a lot harder since they’ve got plenty of open beach to run across and even more sand they can dig below to escape.

crab hiding against rock and blending in

The crabs blend in quite well with the rocks!

crab hiding against rock and person pointing finger near it

I see yoooou.

ghost crab in hawaii sitting at entrance of tunnel in sand

My next challenge awaits.

So, how to train a crab:

1. Figure out where they hang out and go sit/squat nearby.

2. Stay still and watch for a bit. Look for an area they’re hiding where it’s enclosed enough for you to chase it.

3. Choose one that isn’t too large (no bigger than your pinky is probably best) and use a clear cup to get close to it. If we’re talking hermit crabs then just pick them up.

4. It takes a bit of back and forth to trick them into running into the cup area or falling into it as they scurry around. Just be careful and use one hand to guide them towards the cup.

5. Once caught, make sure you provide a decently comfortable environment, whether it’s just having enough sea water and not making it too warm or you need some rocks so the crab can sit out of the water too.

6. Keep it in the cup for awhile. Let it calm down and get used to this strange new environment.

7. After the crab is no longer desperately attempting to crawl out of the cup, you can stick your hand in and see if it’ll let you brush it. Move your finger around to guide it where you want to (that’s how I taught a crab that it actually could climb up the cup – of course then it wouldn’t stop climbing up the wall after that).

8. Before you know it, the crab will be totally fine with you touching it and might even crawl around on you! Beware, it’s definitely trying to escape though. If you’re good you’ll get some moments of peace where you can actually stare into its eyes, make that eye contact, and ponder its thoughts.

baby crab sitting on hand with ocean in background

Spending some quality time with my baby pet.

holding crab on hand smiling at it

Another one of my trainees, just chillin’ on my hand.

Hong Kong haul

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Check out the awesome things I acquired in Hong Kong last month – some were gifts, some were free, and some I purchased. I’m very pleased with what I got! You’ll probably want to see some of these in more close-up, so feel free to click on the images to enlarge. 🙂

pandora bracelet and christian dior coin purse with pandora bag

Fancy gifts from the relatives!

3d holiday cards, tissue box cover, scarf, hong kong dollars, and red envelopes

More stuff from the relatives, including a tissue box cover, scarf, and red envelopes.

pizza express bag, ovolo hotels go bag, and drawstring bag with slippers inside

Free stuff from the hotel and Pizza Express. Two totes and a drawstring bag with slippers.

collage of black wristlet pouch with three compartments and clear purple pouch for toiletries

The very first items I bought were these pouches. I love the three compartments on the black one and the translucence of the purple one.

collage of chopstick set in box with two pairs of chopsticks and chopstick holders

At Ngong Ping, I got to choose chopsticks and chopstick holders. Panda and I both chose our own chopstick holders so they don’t exactly match! 😛

collage of glass teapot and mini cups set with pack of six blossoming teas

I’ve fancied a glass tea set for awhile and I’ve always wanted to get blossoming teas, so this package was too much to pass up.

collage of hong kong mtr map microfiber cloth

At first I saw generic ones and bought one, but then we found this one with the MTR map, so I immediately exchanged for it.

uniqlo purple down jacket and gray fuzzy hooded jacket

I have officially discovered Uniqlo and looove their jackets. These two are my favs for fall.

navy blue boxers with cat faces

When I saw these while shopping for gifts, I just had to get them for Panda. Smokey will love them!

empty box of flaky almond pastry treats from macau

We got these for our coworkers from Macau, but I forgot to take a picture before they were all devoured.

collage of five 3d cards that pop open to ferris wheels, eiffel tower, ship with sails, and dragon designs

Last but not least are these awesome 3D cards that I got my friends who helped catsit Smokey (and of course I snagged some for myself too).

Our first Halloween

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It’s our first Halloween as homeowners and you can tell by the massive bags of Sour Patch Kids we gave out (along with Rice Krispy Treats too). The Sour Patch Kids were a hit with pretty much ever kid who came to our door. I think we had a total of twenty-some-odd visitors over the course of about half a dozen doorbell rings. A mostly quiet night, but that’s probably partly due to our neighborhood still being new and many condos still standing empty. It wasn’t easy to tell whether people were home and/or living in each unit, plus with our condo style, the doors are down a sidewalk between the walls of our buildings. The other style condos in the area have the front doors all along the front facing the street, so it’s easier for the kids to run from one to the next.

We made sure to turn on our front door light and we lit up fairy lights in one of the windows facing the road. Inside the front door, we lit up the tiny pumpkin I got from my recent HelloFresh box. Panda originally wanted to shine a light on it to cast a shadow like the bat signal, but the shadow was either too small or too blurry, so we decided to light the mini pumpkin instead. Next year we’ll have to make sure we carve a pumpkin and light it up out by the end of our sidewalk to get more people to our door. It also took use some time to hop off the couch and run down the stairs, so maybe we can read books on the stairs or something to be closer to the door.

Overall it was a fun Halloween, not too crazy, but it had its moments (especially at work). Here are some highlights:

laughing girl dressed up as waldo for halloween blending in with whiteboard with red stripes drawn on

This idea for Where’s Waldo sounded much better in our heads, but still provided for some great amusement today.

halloween trio dressed up as lumberjack with axe, shark, and waldo

In no other scenario would you find a lumberjack axing a shark attacking a Waldo. What fun!

mini pumpkin held in the palm of the hand

Fits in the palm of my hand.

light shining on mini pumpkin inside window by door

Our makeshift lighting for the “pumpkin signal” that didn’t quite work.

mini pumpkin inside window by door lit up by lamp

From the outside, I think you get the idea that we’re open for business, right?

cat chewing on bag of candy in basket of halloween candy

Smokey tried to dig in as soon as the kids were gone and the doorbell stopped ringing.


laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Gosh, I meant to share this a month ago right after Chalkfest occurred in Reston, but somehow the time just flew by! There are always a ton of activities happening in the town center and this was one that my company, Canvas, decided to participate in. They got a space for our graphic designer to to add her contribution to the event. Check out what she drew starting the day before the event and a bunch of other chalk art from that day:

chalkfest reston space on ground for professional artist drawing

This is the space for Canvas, right as things were getting started.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of colorful owl in progress

A few hours later, I took a break from work to check in on things. Making good progress!

aerial view of chalkf art drawing of owl for chalkfest reston

As my colleagues were leaving work for the day, they stopped to admire the drawing.

Here are some of the entries from people of all ages and artistic abilities… what’s your fav?

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of woman's portrait chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of festive cultural people and halloween items chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of woman in dress and hat chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of star wars characters

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of dolphins and maze

On the right, the maze was drawn by a 42 (or was it 47?) year old man, which was amusing.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of green and red snake or dragon

Someone went rogue and drew in the pathway, just to make their mark.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of silhouette of girl blowing dandelion chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of alice in wonderland scene

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of rainforest animals

This was one of the professional artist entries. I believe it won first place!

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of colorful owl with canvas logo

Woo hoo! The Canvas owl got third!!

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of cat holding light saber riding unicorn over rainbow chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of landscape picture on artist's chair of landscape drawn for chalkfest reston chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of flower design with candle in middle

high score of 8058 in game of threes on ipad

We wandered into the Apple Store for a break and discovered the game of Threes. I’d say we did pretty well.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of octopus holding astronaut bear chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of host rcc

lady walking around reston town center with snake at chalkfest reston

There was a random lady walking around with her snake, which attracted a fair share of folks.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of silhouettes of buildings in dc

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of starry night trampled over rudely by inconsiderate people

It was so sad to see people had trampled all over this and messed it all up! #rude

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of crunch fitness logo

The most adorable bowls

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Since I’ve been volunteering at the Natural History Museum consistently, I decided to check out some of the nearby places that I’ve been meaning to try. A few months ago, I went to get boba at Teaism. Since then, I’ve eaten there, gotten more tea, and shopped around in their store next door. That Teaism Shop is my new weakness. I’ve bought fancy chocolates there and now, these freakin’ adorable bowls. If I keep going, I’m sure I’ll end up with a variety of teas and accessories as well. I love the size of these, which encourage smaller portions. Plus, the little animals are impossibly cute. I’ll definitely be making these my primary bowls of choice from now on.

set of three mini bowls with a pink bunny, yellow monkey, and blue pig designs small bowl with cartoon monkey design inside small yellow bowl with cartoon monkey design on side small yellow bowl with back of cartoon monkey outline on side small bowl with cartoon pig design inside small blue bowl with cartoon pig design on side small blue bowl with back of cartoon pig outline on side small bowl with cartoon bunny design inside small pink bowl with cartoon bunny design on side small pink bowl with back of cartoon bunny outline on side

iPhone 6 in pictures

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I’ve had my iPhone 6 for a week and a half now, but I’m already so used to it that I hardly recognize the iPhone 5. I’m absolutely loving it and I’m so happy with the whole experience. Here are some pics of it, along with a few side by sides with my old iPhone.

iphone 6 white box front of iphone 6 in space gray back of iphone 6 in space gray closeup of camera on iphone 6 in space gray iphone 6 power button on right side of phone iphone 6 volume controls on left side of phone empty open box of iphone 6 iphone 6 earpods and lightning charging cable and plug iphone 6 info cards from box collage of front and back of iphone 6 info card with basic instructions iphone 6 and iphone 5 in respective boxes with lids backs of iphone 6 and iphone 5 in boxes

Tax free weekend scores

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For the first three days of August this year, Virginia stores had tax free promos for school supplies and clothing. It’s an official August Sales Tax Holiday every year in the state, apparently. Panda and I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to go try to find some of the shoes and clothes I’ve been trying to get more of. While initially the plan was to go to Dulles Town Center, we decided to go check out the Leesburg Outlet. That turned out to be a great decision and I found so much stuff that we had no need to shop further after browsing those stores. For the first time ever, I actually enjoyed shopping (and Panda didn’t! It’s like we reversed roles). I guess it was because I went with a purpose: I needed some new flats and jackets.

What a fruitful day! Check out some pics:

girl stretching hands out towards giant hibiscus flower larger than both hands

Wow, I want my own!

charlotte russe black and gold tiger sandals

I was tempted, but they’re not ones I’d get around to wearing much.

shopping bags lined up after trip to outlet

Charlotte Russe, American Eagle, IZOD, J.Crew, and Bass & Co bags lined up. I used the little red Target bag as a purse.

j.crew marley ballet flats in cabernet and black

First stop was J.Crew, where I found these super comfy ballet flats! I’d never bought from this store before and I almost got black patent leather wedges too – also very comfortable. I hope I don’t regret not getting them.

g.h. bass & co shoes elizabeth in fuchsia and sophia in yellow

Next up was a store I was not familiar with – Bass & Co. They had these fun shoes on clearance and I decided to spring for more playful shoes for cheap!

cat sticking face into new shoes enjoying the smell

“Mmmmmm new shoe smell.” (as she stuffs her face in there)

izod jackets mixed media in teal and diamond check fleece in black

As we passed by IZOD, a jacket on the rack outside caught my attention. The teal color is fun and the thermal sleeves are different! I then came across the other style and almost got the blue before trying the black. Who knew golf gear would provide the perfect jackets for me?

american eagle outfitters loose knit sweater jackets

A peek inside AE led to two discoveries of nice, loose sweater jackets.

charlotte russe palmer embossed round toe two strap flats in cam, lace pointy toe ballet flats in black, and blazers in neon orange, purple, and blue

And finally, I spent a good hour in Charlotte Russe trying on jackets and shoes. I had a gift card from a previous return that I needed to use and I found a ton of things I wanted! I now have wonderful black and tan flats to choose from, as well as an assortment of cool blazers.

I’m pretty much set with what I want now, so I’ll only need to buy things that really catch my eye. That’s the stage I’m at with dresses too. It feels great to finally have some of the items I’ve been searching stores for, so I no longer have to think about shopping. Today was an anomaly and I actually wasn’t too tired/grumpy from shopping, PLUS I found a bunch of stuff. Usually I get bored an hour in and never even find something I want. I’m so happy to have gotten this all out of the way in one day!

Lightning storm!!

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Ok, I’m a total sucker for lightning. It’s such a wonderful phenomenon and I could stare at a light show for hours (if only the need for sleep didn’t get in the way). Tonight as I was drafting my Love With Food box review, Panda came running in from the kitchen to tell me there was lightning outside. That made me happy, to think a thunderstorm might be rolling its way through.

But when I got outside to look, it was so much better than I could have hoped for. Flash after flash of brilliant light lit up the clouds in the sky. A gentle roll of thunder was barely perceptible in the distance. And boom, boom, boom, the lightning kept coming! It was so quiet and peaceful out – the crickets singing in the night didn’t seem to care about the show overhead. Even Smokey meowed at me to let her out and join me on the porch. Together we enjoyed the warmth of the night, the humidity in the air, and the flashes that lit up our faces.

This is so much better than a fireworks show and I even saw lightning that went up for the first time. Freakin’ amazing. So I dropped everything, got some videos and a picture, and of course put off that review for another day. This is far more exciting to me. Check it out:

lightning behind cloud at night, lighting up parts of cloud in the darkness

lightning storm from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

lightning storm flashes from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Green Festival DC 2014 haul

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This year, Green Festival DC came to the area in the summer rather than the fall, and as usual, Panda and I were there volunteering on Saturday. We’ve fallen into a pattern: I sign up for the 1:30-6 pm shift for the Green Festival Store and he signs up for the 12-4 shift at exhibitor registration. This time around was much different for me in the sense that I went well-prepared to do a bit of spending. I feel like the last two years (see 2013 and 2012), I was more focused on getting samples whereas this year I was ready to discover some great products to purchase for myself.

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The haul!

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SheaTerra always has nice samples of African Black Soap.

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The first purchase was a 24-pack of seaweed snacks, nommers. I even helped the guy sell another box to these ladies.

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I had *just* been talking about getting glass cleaning products, how perfect! So of course I went for this purchase when I saw it.

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I immediately fell in love with this brand and was even happier to discover the bath salts came with their own scoops!! Amazing.

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When a kid offered me this sample, I figured why not? I can certainly try protein powder and see what it’s like.

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At first I passed on this, though I wanted it. Then after getting the Orange Owl products, I rationed that at $10 a pop for those, why not spend the $25 for these? They’re so unique and exactly the sort of thing I want for my home. I opted for the flower set, with Marigold, Calendula, Lavender, and Flax.

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When I saw these free meditation kits being passed out, I was mildly interested. Then I saw the bracelet and I thought it’d be great to meditate with! Not sure about reading all the texts, but I’ll take a peek.

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I noticed people walking around with these sprouts and I sent Panda on a mission to find them when his shift was over. Luckily, they were still available! They’re not trees… 😛

And there you have it! Panda also managed to find a bunch of snacks and even some other random samples. I’m starting to get familiar with many of the vendors who show up year after year, but I also love the new ones that come and go. I love some of the things I found this year and we’d like to try going to Green Festival LA and other cities as well.

Food tour

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One of the things I had to enjoy while out west is the variety of food options. I spent a few hours yesterday enjoying some of my old haunts…

buttercup la one dozen assorted macarons and green tea macaron duo

First stop was my newfound fav macaron shop, Buttercup LA.

blockheads snow cream and macarons

Then it was standing in line for Blockheads (and trying their new watermelon basil flavor as well as the macarons).

gushi's kimchi fried rice

After that, I got my main course over at Gushi’s – my all-time fav: kimchi fried rice.

cha for tea boba tea drinks and crispy chicken appetizer snack

And finally, all the way out to SGV for cha for tea! Love their boba and their crispy chicken.

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