Do I have to surrender my backyard to the spiders?

Our lovely Portland, Oregon backyard has transformed into a spidery wonderland during the past year. Spiders are awesome and super important for the environment, but we need our personal space! What can I do to de-spider the back yard, short of spraying with pesticides?


How to de-boring the outside of an above-ground pool

Remember my parent's house in Maui? This summer their home improvement project was to install an above-ground pool — so very much more cost-effective than a below-ground pool, and just as refreshing. Though it may be just as refreshing, an above-ground pool is not just as attractive. So here's how we made the outside of this pool as pleasant as the inside…


So you want to give running a try

No one would have ever called me an athlete. The only times I exercised was when I had to in gym class. But I always admired runners because they seemed so dedicated and driven. I tried giving running a shot half-a-dozen times, and quit a half-a-dozen times. Finally I decided to buckle down and do this. Here's some things I discovered along my journey…


How to use that grody public grill without fear of poisoning your picnic

Public grills get a bad rap. I can definitely see why. They're always coated in the mysterious carbony remains of meals past. There's usually some bird poop on or around them. The ash pile inside is a ghastly reminder that anything — anything — could've been cooked on these rusty little public servants. I promise with just a little work, a public grill can be a totally serviceable cooking option.


Impress your cat with a DIY rainbow deck

Let this cat introduce you to the latest and greatest in deck make-overs. Homie BubblesLeFay uploaded this photo to our Flickr pool and I just had to squeeze more details from her. This is how you can pull off your own rainbow deck re-do:


You are totally planning your first canoe trip right now

Once upon a time, in University, my friends and I sat around our living room, discussing all the things we'd rather be doing than studying for our finals. Somewhere between sky-diving and climbing Mount Everest, portaging came up as an option. Before we knew it, a trip was planned and packed, and we headed out into the Ontario wilderness less than one hour after our last exam. We were rained on, got lost and sidetracked down a disused, flooded snowmobile track, and ate mostly rice flavoured with soup mix in a tortilla with salsa. We came home tired, sore and dirty. And it was completely amazing. In honour of that first trip, here's a guide on everything important you need to know/do to survive your first canoe trip into the wild.