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X Marks the Spot

13 Jun

Geocaching is modern day treasure hunting. The outdoor recreational activity can provide plenty of fun and entertainment for those who are looking for something new and interesting to partake in.

Firstly, treasure seekers typically use GPS through their mobile devices or a receiver in order to locate geocaches. Caches contain hidden treasures and a log to keep records of geocachers and the date the found the cache. If a treasure is removed, a new treasure of equal or more value must replace it. The goal is to trade items. You take something with you and leave something behind, like leaving your mark.

Caches are generally contained in pill bottles, military ammunition boxes, Tupperware and/or other storage containers. Little trinkets await whoever finds them.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis It's always fun to find random objects in caches.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
It’s always fun to find random objects in caches.

The coolest aspect of geocaching is that you’re finding something that someone else—someone you’ve never met but are now connected with—has left behind. You make your mark by entering your name or team name in a log with the date you found the cache.

There are caches everywhere and all over to find. It’s truly fascinating to look through the cache and examine the wondrous objects left behind by others for you to find. Bakersfield has several caches that you can find.

I suggest using this website http://www.geocaching.com/ to get started and learn more. To find others interested in geocaching with you, visit this page.  If you have a Smartphone, you can download the app by Groundspeak Inc. for $9.99 and it has great features and functions to aid your quest. It will show nearby caches, track your progress with interactive maps or compass view and more.

Geocaching can be thrilling and adventurous. It can also challenge you with obscure clues and messages left by others. It’s definitely a fun way to enjoy your day or evening if you’re tight on money and need something to do with friends. Best of luck, treasure seekers!

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What to do when Bakersfield turns up the Heat

13 Jun

The Bakersfield heat has been known to drench its residents in sweat and give an overwhelming sense of desperation to escape. With the summer approaching quickly, all you will want to do is douse yourself with these three ways to beat the heat.

1. Just Keep Swimming

photo by: Athena Skapinakis

Hanging pool side with friends is an excellent way to beat the heat in Bakersfield.

In this town, the struggle is real. As the sun beats down upon you, it’s a true wonder that the sun hasn’t melted you yet. You need SPF 45 just to stay alive. The best way to beat the heat in Bakersfield is to cannonball right into your pool if you have one. If you don’t have a swimming pool to call your own, you may have to find a friend that does or venture out to Buena Vista Lake. It’s a short drive away and the parking fee is cheap if you’d like to take a group of friends out for a good time.

You can check out BV Lake’s facebook page here

2. Scream for Ice Cream

Image by flickr.com Everyone loves ice cream on a hot day.

Image by flickr.com
Everyone loves ice cream on a hot day.

There are so many places you can get your ice cream fix around Bakersfield. One of my favorite choices is your neighborhood’s local ice cream man or the ‘La Rosa Man’ who sells those delectable Mexican popsicles. If you’d rather not wait around for either men and don’t have their pop-by schedules memorized you can head down to Dewar’s, Cold Stone’s, Baskin Robbins, RiteAid or a Sno Shack nearest you. Nothing cools you down like icy yumminess.

For a list of various ice cream places in Bakersfield, click here

3. Netflix, the AC and the wardrobe

Image by: Netflix.com Netflix is a wonderful way to relax, beat the heat and bond with others.

Image by: Netflix.com
Netflix is a wonderful way to relax, stay out of the heat and bond with others.

Power your air conditioner on, throw on some light and breathable comfies and plop yourself how you see fit on your couch. Netflix’s streaming plan is only $7.99 month (and another $7.99 if you’re interested in the DVD plan as well). The instant streaming can offer a wide variety of movies and tv shows. You can find some real treasures with independent films, foreign films and the plethora of tv shows that Netflix has to offer. It’s all very easy to use, and it’s ideal for those days you don’t feel like wandering outside your house to get fried by the Bakersfield sun.

Click this link to sign up for your own Netflix account.

The 27th Annual Jazz Festival

24 May

Jazz Festival

About that Snow Cone Life

13 May

 

Bakersfield is a city known to experience massive heat waves and make you sweat. The heat isn’t something you can just shake out easily, especially if you don’t own a pool. Ice cream and frozen yogurt are two repetitive options that may not always do the trick in keeping you cool.

 

Photo courtesy of: flickr.com Sno Shacks are easily recognizable because of their cozy-looking blue structure.

Image by: flickr.com
Sno Shacks are easily recognizable because of their cozy-looking blue structure.

Luckily, Sno Shacks open their small windows during the summer and provide deliciously icy treats packed with syrupy goodness. With an arsenal of flavors, Sno Shack can match any palate and any preference. Blue coconut and Tiger’s blood are my personal favorite flavors that I can’t get enough of. Even when I am on the go, there’s always a Sno Shack that I can sneak off to in between classes or while I’m running errands.

 

Image by: flickr.com When you get that unbearably overwhelming hot feeling on a summer day, you can't go wrong with shaved ice.

Image by: flickr.com
When you get that unbearably overwhelming hot feeling on a summer day, you can’t go wrong with shaved ice.

Sno Shack typically has three sizes to choose from and each is affordable in price. It’s a fun experience to mix different flavors or you can indulge in only one favorite flavor. There are some variations of Sno Shack that include other yummy snacks like churros, smoothies, slushies, shakes, coffees and more such as the Sno Biz located on Belle Terrace. Sno Biz offers a sweet twist to the usual snow cone and will let you add a delectable cream sauce atop your shaved ice.

Image by: flickr.com Sno Biz is another shack to visit for shaved ice that also offers a greater variety of other treats.

Image by: flickr.com
Sno Biz is another shack to visit for shaved ice that also offers a greater variety of other treats.

Sno Shacks are located sporadically around Bakersfield, usually in the parking lots of Rite Aid, CVS and gas stations. The Sno Shack I visit the most is at 1107 Calloway. They’re relatively easy to spot. If you’d like to know more locations and their hours of operation, you can click here. Sno Biz is located at 4201 Belle Terrace. For more information on Sno Biz click here.

When I drive through Bakersfield, AC and music blasting to get my mind off the ridiculously hot weather, I see Sno Shack and Sno Biz as blue beacons of hope. I never hesitate to pull over and get myself some shaved ice. I’m about that snow cone life.

 

 

 

 

Wiki’s Wine Dive and Grill

13 May

Home to many chain restaurants, Bakersfield has struggled to make itself stand out in terms of cuisine and dining. However, a new local gourmet restaurant may be just what Bakersfield needs. The city has taken steps in becoming more polished by welcoming Wiki’s Wine Dive and Grill in the southwest.  The dive’s grand opening was April 16 and grew busy quickly.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis

Wiki’s, located in the Grand Island Village at 11350 Ming Avenue (across from the Seven Oaks neighborhood), is expected to bring a more refined and elegant ambiance to Bakersfield. With its sophisticated menu, the restaurant will have delicacies such as lamb, seafood, duck and more. The food prices range from $14 to $35 and the wine is priced from $30 to $500.

According to Amanda Caldwell, 22, a recently hired employee of the winery/restaurant, the atmosphere is inviting, intimate, cozy and warm. She said she can’t wait to continue her work at her new job because “it’s an adrenaline rush.”

“It’s a new classy environment where you can enjoy and learn about fine cuisine as well as fine wines,” said Caldwell as her lips curved into a smile.

Caldwell has been studying wine lists and serving etiquette. As well as practicing how to uncork a wine bottle properly, to prepare herself for opening day. As someone who hopes to one day open up her own winery and restaurant, she said she was excited to learn and gain experience through her new job at Wiki’s.

Maria Kovach, a 65-year-old Bakersfield resident of three years, said that she believes Wiki’s will bring class and help answer the demand for high-end cuisine in Bakersfield.

“[The] unique cuisine and environment will help diversify Bakersfield’s stereotypical western country atmosphere,” Kovach said.

Bakersfield is known best for its Basque food and Buck Owens’s Crystal Palace, an establishment with country roots.

“As Bakersfield’s local populace diversifies and culturally grows, those who already have been exposed to different types of cultures and cuisine more so than Bakersfield residents of the past, restaurants like Wiki’s will be not only welcomed but sought after in Bakersfield to supply the demand of the changing times,” Kovach added as her eyes lit up. Kovach, Italian by descent, explained that because of her Sicilian roots, she is eager to try out the winery.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis A unique fountain fixture made of wine bottles soothes guests on the outside patio.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
A unique fountain fixture made of wine bottles soothes guests on the outside patio.

The restaurant includes a spacious patio and dining area with a fireplace. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling of the restaurant alongside other lighting fixtures – and even a unique fountain – made of wine bottles.

The establishment also features an expansive wine cellar to house more than 200 types of wine sold by the bottle, ranging from high-end domestics to imports from well-known wine-producing regions of the world. There are 25 types of wine by the glasses. There are also 28 brews of beer, 22 by the bottle and six by the draft. Beers include lagers, ales, stouts and porters.

Wiki’s is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Only ten reservations are accepted a day.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Tammy Weidmann enjoys her grilled chicken sandwich.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Tammy Weidmann enjoys her grilled chicken sandwich.

29 Apr
Photo by: Athena Skapinakis The Marketplace is a wonderful environment for friends and family, offering eateries, shopping, entertainment and a fantastic atmosphere.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
The Marketplace is a wonderful environment for friends and family, offering eateries, shopping, entertainment and a fantastic atmosphere.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Jill Miller, 42, holds onto her daughter Sabrina, 3 1/2, protectively as she touches the water of the fountain.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Jill Miller, 42, holds onto her daughter Sabrina, 3 1/2, protectively as she touches the water of the fountain.

 

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Jill Miller, 42, keeps a watchful and loving eye on her daughter Sabrina, 3 1/2, as she plays by the fountain at The Marketplace.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Jill Miller, 42, keeps a watchful and loving eye on her daughter Sabrina, 3 1/2, as she plays by the fountain at The Marketplace.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Jill Miller, 42, gazes at the fountain with her 3 1/2-year-old daughter Sabrina.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Jill Miller, 42, gazes at the fountain with her 3 1/2-year-old daughter Sabrina.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Bakersfield’s Marketplace offers lovely landscape design by offering roses underneath an old style lamp.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Bakersfield’s Marketplace offers lovely landscape design by offering roses underneath an old style lamp.

 

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Jessica Sons, 16, and younger sister, Jenny Sons, 11, gaze out into the distance as they eat their frozen yogurt at The Marketplace.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Jessica Sons, 16, and younger sister, Jenny Sons, 11, gaze out into the distance as they eat their frozen yogurt at The Marketplace.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Jessica Sons (middle), enjoys her sixteenth birthday alongside her siblings Jared Sons, 14, and Jenny Sons, 11.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Jessica Sons (middle), enjoys her sixteenth birthday alongside her siblings Jared Sons, 14, and Jenny Sons, 11.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Amanda Caldwell bites into her rainbow sherbet ice cream.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Amanda Caldwell bites into her rainbow sherbet ice cream.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Mary-Kay beauty consultant Dolores Ventura assists Danielle Alcala in matching her color tone for liquid foundation.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Mary-Kay beauty consultant Dolores Ventura assists Danielle Alcala in matching her color tone for liquid foundation.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Katelyn Prosser applies the finishing details of her eye makeup.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Katelyn Prosser applies the finishing details of her eye makeup.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Mary-Kay specialist Dolores Ventura sets up a makeup palette for her guests.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Mary-Kay specialist Dolores Ventura sets up a makeup palette for her guests.

 

When Bakersfield has nice weather, many residents enjoy being outdoors. The Marketplace is a family-friendly atmosphere for eating, shopping and entertainment. For a day with your best girlfriends, hosting a Mary-Kay makeup party may be exactly what you need. There is nothing quite like sharing good company, playing with makeup and making some new purchases to satiate your inner shopaholic.

The Magic’s in the Makeup

29 Apr

“‎Lipstick is really magical. It holds more than a waxy bit of color – it holds the promise of a brilliant smile, a brilliant day, both literally and figuratively.”
― Roberta Gately, author of Lipstick in Afghanistan

Bakersfield can seem repetitive and routine, especially when weekends are almost always spent downtown bar and club hopping. This past weekend my friends and I decided to try something new. Our remedy was to kick off the heels, ditch the club dresses and trade them for a day in.

I called up my friend Dolores Ventura, a Mary-Kay specialist, and setup a makeup party at my house. I hosted the get together in the backyard this past Saturday, April 27. The Bakersfield sun offered a warm and lovely day for the ladies and me as we took our seats.

We spent the afternoon sharing fond memories of our friendship as we learned new makeup techniques to enhance our favorite facial features. Dolores took us step by step on applying the makeup from the palettes she gave us. It was exciting to admire our new looks when everything was put on.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis Dolores Ventura (left) searches for the correct shade of foundation as Danielle Alcala (right) tests out a different shade.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Mary-Kay Consultant Dolores Ventura (left) searches for the correct shade of foundation as Danielle Alcala (right) tests out a different tone.

Photo By: Athena Skapinakis Katelyn Prosser applies Mary-Kay's moonstone eyeshadow to complete her look.

Photo by: Athena Skapinakis
Katelyn Prosser applies Mary-Kay’s moonstone eyeshadow to complete her eye makeup.

The most fun aspect about makeup is the sense of confidence it can bestow. Of course, a woman should always be comfortable in her own skin, but there’s nothing wrong with a sassy shade of lipstick to shake things up every now and then.

Needless to say, we all bought many new products and didn’t feel guilty about our purchases—I do admit to misbehaving with my wallet the most out of my friends.

After the makeup festivities, we took a break to eat the pizza and hot wings we ordered. Days or nights in always require tasty carbs and a little ‘mixology.’ We played a quick game of trivia before calling it a day.   We accomplished several things that day: We applied makeup, we shopped and we had a damn good time being ladies.

To look up a local Mary-Kay beauty consultant and host your own makeup party, you can visit www.marykay.com and search for specialists in your area. You can also contact my Mary-Kay consultant Dolores Ventura at http://www.marykay.com/dolores.ventura/en-US/Pages/default.aspx?lcov=1