• Cruising in the City? The Pros and Cons of Cruising on a Cruiser

    Trying to get around the city on a cruiser-type bicycle may sound like a good idea at first, but may turn out to be challengingRead More

    Learn More
  • How to throw a tea party

    A party, to your neighbors, might mean a spot of mudwrestling, eating out at Waffle House or simply inviting each other over to watch NASCAR,Read More

    Learn More

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Cruising in the City? The Pros and Cons of Cruising on a Cruiser


Trying to get around the city on a cruiser-type bicycle may sound like a good idea at first, but may turn out to be challenging especially for beginners. Here’s our take on this issue, along with our recommendation.

You see, cruiser bikes were once all the rage in America. Back in the 1930s to 1950s, they were the most popular kind of bicycle that everyone and their mother rode. These bikes with a single-speed drivetrain, heavy weight, and balloon tires were durable, sturdy, and very extremely stylish when they came out. After all, Schwinn made their bones with the cruiser back during the pre-war and most especially the post-war era. Paperboys, couriers, and messengers were commonly seen on these bikes due to their strong construction, reliability for moderate distances, and their penchant for paved roads.

All went well until the birth of the newer forerunners of the today’s BMX bike – sales plummeted and consigned the once-reliable cruiser to the annals of history as it faced obsolescence and dwindling profits. Except for one area: the beach. Cruisers reinvented themselves as the perfect mode of transportation for those who lived by the sea, thus leading to a renaissance of sorts throughout the late 60s and 70s. Consequently, the rebirth of these once-obsolete bicycles has given birth to low-rider models, prized for their retro chic, style and grace.

It’s tempting to use these big bikes on the city roads, that much is for sure; we’ll take a look at whether it’s actually a good idea, and weigh out the good and the bad. Let’s get started right quickly.

The Lowdown on Beach Cruising on City Roads

If your commute is less than two or three miles, then cruising on a beach cruiser in the city isn’t such a bad idea as some may make it out to be. After all, you’re riding in comfort, class, and style, and riding on these big bikes will definitely make you a head turner. Nothing screams style as much as riding to work on a classic Schwinn three-speed, and will get you anywhere that a BMX will do, provided that you aren’t in any hurry to get to where you’re going. Plus, the extra energy you expend in maneuvering does shave off oodles and oodles of calories; an excellent bonus to make the relative heaviness worth your while!

Why You SHOULDN’T Even Think About It

Despite their stylish, retro, and hipster vibe, beach cruisers are often far too heavy for newbies who struggle to control them, and eventually frustrate them for being rather cumbersome, slow, and inefficient they would seem. This is especially true if said newbie has only ridden BMX models. Furthermore, if you live in a hilly area with plenty of inclines, you will totally abhor having to expend so much power negotiating them. If that wasn’t enough, despite their style, cruisers just aren’t designed aerodynamically to suit those who want to use one on a daily basis. Your daily commute will be a tiring and frustrating affair, especially if you need to get to places quickly.

Slow Ride, Take it Easy: the Cruiser Motto

In summary, beach cruisers are perfect rides for those who want the style, comfort, and durability that they offer in paved roads and flat terrain. It’s not a bike for the speed demons and the daredevils; but if you’re a laid-back type of rider, in a laid-back type of town for distances not more than several miles, then you can’t go wrong with one. In the end, it’s your reason for wanting to ride one in the first place. In the words of the cruising anthem by Foghat, “Slow Ride”…slow ride, take it easy. Slow riding on a cruiser can be a magnificent thing.

How to throw a tea party


A party, to your neighbors, might mean a spot of mudwrestling, eating out at Waffle House or simply inviting each other over to watch NASCAR, sink a few beers and chowing down some fried okra and other vittles. While all of that is good, honest fun, there is a time and a place to show the more refined side of your character. If you really want to make an impression, you’ll have to come up with something a bit less raucous. Let’s say your daughter’s folks in law are visiting from Nantucket or somewhere, and you don’t want to often their uptight sensibilities. You still want to make them feel at home, however, so why not show them just how hospitable you can be, by throwing a tea party for them?

First of all, you’ll have to round up the porchmonkeys and the rugrats and arrange for them to go somewhere they won’t get in the way. Even well-behaved children can be an unwanted distraction at a tea party – you never know what kind of gossip they’re going to pick up on, to later blab to all of their friends’ moms and dads. So, round up Betty Lou, Mary Ellen, Jethro and Cletus, and have one of their older cousins drive them out to the creek for the day. They’ll be out of the way for the whole day if they have some rocks to jump off of.

Alternatively, if you really can’t get rid of the kids, or if your guests are bringing kids over, you might want to consider holding your tea party outdoors. If you have a decent-sized yard, you can move your truck out onto the driveway or the road in front of your house. In the space where the truck was, you could set up an outdoor paddling pool for all the kids to play in. You won’t have complete peace and quiet, but you’ll be able to keep your eye on them. Not only that, but they won’t be able to hear any of the nasty things being said about their relatives who aren’t present.

If you’re going to have your tea party outdoors, be sure to hold it at a time of year when the weather outside isn’t too hot or cold in the afternoon. You’ll also need to be careful to avoid certain times such as Easter or July 4th weekend, unless you’re planning to have an Independence-style tea party (in which case, there won’t be much tea drinking going on!)

If you’re having it indoors, be sure to thoroughly clean your home. If you’ve never really cleaned the carpet or curtains before, take a look here to find out how. Make sure everything’s spick and span, ready for the critical gaze of your guests. They’re bound to find something that’s not to their taste, but they wouldn’t be truly happy if it was any other way.

Send out real invites, don’t just call people or send texts or mass emails. The traditional way is the proper way. Buy some fancy envelopes and have one of the young ones go out and deliver them.

Next up, make sure you choose an appropriate outfit. Something brightly colored or flowery will usually do the trick. Choose a matching hat. Wear nice shoes. Make sure that you wouldn’t look out of place in church – you don’t want to look like you’ve just staggered home from the bar in your stilettoes.

Prepare some little gifts and trinkets that people can take home with them. Candles, small ceramics, quotes from the gospel all make great gifts. Have a variety of nibbles on hand, including fresh fruit, cakes, buns, artisanal nuts and chocolates. Try to accommodate any fussy eaters so they don’t feel like they’re being party poopers for not eating any of the delicious food.

If you don’t have any real teacups and saucers, you might want to borrow these or try to pick some up from a charity store. As for the tea itself, you can’t get classier than Earl Grey. Remember to add milk, just like the British do. Raise your pinky finger while lightly sipping, to show you know what you’re doing.

How to become an actor

How to become an actor

The big and small screens are so much a part of our lives these days that many might feel they couldn’t survive without them. This is a time in which people demand instant satisfaction – we’re no longer willing to read books, as there in usually no ‘instant payout’ of fun or emotion, it takes too much effort, or it’s too difficult. Nor are we content in studying, or learning new skills. We don’t really want to talk to the people around us, either – families and friends can spend hours in each other’s company, oblivious to what is going on in the others’ lives, as each of us stares at our own screen. We don’t have to put in any effort or thought – we just get spoon-fed entertainment.

As a result of this, major magazines often feature storylines from soap operas on their front pages, as if the events had really happened. When a popular character from a TV series is killed off, there is a national outpouring of grief or anger. Kids and ‘grown-ups’ engage in celebrity worship. They list actors as their heroes, rather than scientists who are making life-saving breakthroughs, volunteers who risk their lives to protect the rights of minorities, families who take in abandoned children and so on. We are more concerned with who is dating who, what dress so-and-so wore and where some millionaire has been photographed on a yacht.

All of this can make the lifestyle and career of a top actor very attractive. For people who have been brought up on a diet of soap operas and stars, rather than science and reflection, it can be almost a natural, inevitable career choice. And so, if you’re one of the billions of people dreaming of making it big on the big screen, to stand even the slightest of chances, you’ll need to be aware of what you’re getting into and how to get ahead.

The first thing you need to do is to appreciate the size of the task you are aiming for. If you want to become a Hollywood A-lister, you’d better chart the steps you’ll take towards that goal. Will you try to take the route of appearing as an extra in TV shows and commercials? Will you try to get unpaid parts in local productions? Will you train as a classical actor and build a career in theater first? As you can imagine, there is no such thing as a lucky break in this most cutthroat of all businesses. You have to make your own luck – mountains of it. You’ll have to sell your soul, ditch your morals, friends, partners and anyone or anything else that is holding you back. Simply getting a bus to LA, waiting tables on Hollywood Boulevard and saying your prayers at night just isn’t going to do it.

Most aspiring actors don’t get jobs in the business. Those that do, end up getting 10-second gigs for toothbrush commercials (take care of your teeth –, which is not enough to pay the bills. Most Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members can’t make a living through acting – yet if you want any chance of landing a well-paid role, you need to be a SAG member. How do you do that? A director needs to take a huge gamble on you. For directors to even know that you exist, you’ll need a top agent and manager. If you can find them, they’ll take around 30-40%, pre-tax, of any earnings you make. That’s why it’s smart to pursue another career path as a backup. Plenty of students try to get acting gigs in their free time. A tiny minority find they have the right look for commercial work once in a while. In the long run, it doesn’t matter when their acting careers fail – they have a reserve skillset which puts a roof over their head and food on the table, plus they have a lot of stories to share with their friends, about the time Rick Salomon didn’t thank them for holding a door open, and the time they were invited to audition for a remake of Mac and Me, which never got off the ground due to financing problems.

The Efficacy of Children’s Nutritional Intervention Programs

Nutritional Intervention Programs

Childhood obesity has become a dangerous epidemic in this country and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 17% of children between the ages of 2-19 are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) that falls in the 95th percentile of his or her age group. Poor eating habits are a major contributing factor to the problem and a lack of education about nutrition is a major component of the problem. Implementing nutritional intervention programs are a good way to help parents make better informed decisions on making crucial nutritional choices for their families. In order to put the proper food on that table, parents must be better educated as to how they know which foods are healthy and which are not. After all, they are the main decision-makers when it comes to putting food on the table. Candy bars, soda, and fast food are not the best choices for healthy eating and this is well-known and accepted by just about anyone. But not all foods or beverages are so up front about their nutritional value at first glance. These programs are designed to help parents navigate through the grocery store with maximum efficacy by teaching them how to read nutritional labels on the foods they buy, understanding how portion control plays a large role in combating obesity, informing them how to identify and prepare meals with fresh ingredients, and teaching them ways to prepare traditional meals that may not always be healthy by substituting certain components with healthier alternatives. The goals and outcomes of these programs are designed to greatly reduce the rate of childhood obesity in this country, by educating parents about their food choices and promoting a greater awareness and attittude toward healthy eating.

There are many programs that currently exist involve community leaders, education centers, schools, and health care centers to carry out interventions that are designed to promote healthy eating and good nutrition. Children who come from low income, working families throughout the United States are at the most risk, so these nutritional programs must focus on four key components that stress an increase in physical activity, nutrition education, healthy eating workshops, field trips for activities that taught children about diet and nutrition, and giving children worksheets to take home to help promote these interventions with their families.

The crucial methods for making these types of programs work is by bringing the correct information directly to the parents. Many programs only incorporate teachers as the primary educators to teach children about health and wellness through exercise and proper eating habits. But it’s not enough to empower the children to make these choices as they are not the primary decision-makers when it comes to food being purchased and placed on the dinner table. This is the sole responsibility of parents, so developing any program to make them the target audience of the information goes directly to the source. Schools and communities are included as part of the overall intervention, but it begins with the parents at home. Making them aware of the problem and the solutions to fix the issue, which requires participants to be educated on nutrition labels, portion control, food and cooking demonstrations, balanced diet options and alternatives, and learning how to use certain kitchen appliances that can assist in making smarter food choices. Mixers, juicers, even rice cookers can all play a large part in keeping families healthy, so utilizing them in these programs would be beneficial. Websites like offer valuable information to the organizers and planners of these programs when they are designing the curriculum to include appliance instruction to parents as part of the program. Rice cookers, in particular, are relatively simple to learn how to operate and bringing this basic type of kitchen item into the mix can help educate parents more effectively without putting an undue pressure on them to learn how to navigate an expensive and complex culinary utensil. Rice cookers can be purchased without the need to spend a lot of money, making them an ideal choice for assisting low-income families with their weekly menu items by incorporating rice and other grains into a well-balanced diet.

Random and Intentional Acts of Kindness

Random and Intentional Acts of Kindness

Each of us has good intentions when it comes improving our lives and the lives of those of us around us. We all want to help out, pitch in, volunteer, make someone else’s day just a little bit better. But things get in the way, school, work, daily routines, the all too easy decision to put it off until later, saying “next time”. So I decided to take on this project,, I decided I would be conscientious to recognize others through random acts of kindness for one week. I paused briefly, to consider whether this concept was somewhat more than a little self-serving. My first hypothesis made me wonder if this wasn’t, in some way, selfish? I hadn’t planned out what my random acts of kindness would be, then they wouldn’t be random, so I put my concerns aside and decided to revisit them at the end of the week. Would I feel better about all of these things, or some form of guilt that I wasn’t doing these things more often?

But which acts were kindness and which ones were just simple manners? I found myself holding the door for someone on the very first day of my intervention week. I didn’t have to think about it, this act just came naturally to me. Basic politeness dictated that I do it, so I did. This is just how I was raised. The week went on and opportunities to perform my acts of kindness presented themselves almost immediately. Walking past a row of parking meters, I suddenly became more conscious of them, instead of passing them by, I thought to see how much time was left on each of them. I keep some coins in my car for my own parking meters, so I rushed back and grabbed a handful of change and dropped a few quarters and dimes in the meters that were running low or, in more than a few cases, had expired entirely. I may have just saved some poor person a $50 parking ticket! The monetary contributions continued: I left more than the accepted 20% for a waitress, I gave a homeless man a couple dollars, bought donuts for everyone in the office, I got the idea to pay for the person behind me in the Burger King drive-thru. All of these things cost me a small amount of money and I hope the impact they made on someone else’s life was priceless. It certainly felt that way to me. I found myself in a better mood after doing some of these things. I imagined what the reaction would be when someone came running back to their car, worried they had let their meter expire only to find there was extra time on there, or the reaction of the lady behind me who had ordered a #3 meal at the Burger King.

But then I decided money shouldn’t be the only way to help out. So I volunteered at a local animal shelter. Working with animals was a lot more rewarding, and fun, than I had imagined. Those little faces, the wagging tails, the sick ones who just wanted someone to pet them and let them know everything was going to be okay. My friend asked me to help her move. I said, of course. But then I would have done that anyway, this week or any other.

Then I thought about making changes on a larger scale. I live in a suburban neighborhood where noise pollution is a troubling issue for our community. I wondered how I could do my part to minimize the problem. My lawn mower was the place to start. Mine isn’t the only one running loudly and emitting smelly fumes on Saturday mornings so I looked into how I might affect change. I’d heard about electric lawn mowers that exist at this website: Much like the new electric cars, these lawn mowers are quieter and safer for the environment as they don’t release emissions into the air because they don’t run on gasoline. These mowers are battery powered or some use a cord that you plug into a wall outlet. That website was very useful in helping me select a mower that not only fit my budget, but fit my lawn size as well. I went with the cordless battery-powered option and the mower is so quiet, I could cut my grass at night if I wanted, when everyone was asleep, and not bother a soul.

I noticed very distinct changes over the course of the week. I found myself to be a bit less anxious socially, I noticed I had become more outgoing. I was more positive, optimistic about my own life and the world around me, I just felt…better. I was in a good mood, not that I was in a bad mood all the time, but doing these things gave me a slight rush. I was contributing in some fashion, in my own way, to the happiness and improvement of others. This was a great feeling and something I didn’t realize I had been lacking. One other thing I recognized was that, yes, my original hypothesis was proven true, I felt somewhat guilty as well. Not because I was doing these things for a week merely as an experiment, it was because I wasn’t doing them the rest of the year.

Beginning in business

Beginning in business

Business is a very tough thing to comprehend if you don’t know the basics. The number of technical terms and jargon involved with creating and starting a business can be overwhelming and may even put some people off if they are not entirely dedicated to their venture. These kind of people are the majority, and just because something is too hard to do they give up on their dream and let it fade away into nothingness. There are these people and there are the others. The others are a breed which are dying out in this modern day and age but they are the people show can see the potential in anything and know that any idea is a good idea if you put enough work in to it. In this article I am going to be giving you one example of a company which has done this and show you that if you think you have even a nougat of an idea sitting there in your head then you should use it, run with it, and hopefully start your multi-million pound business!

The case study we will be looking at today just goes to prove that if you work hard enough at any idea then you can make something out of nothing. I’m sure most people would not consider waffle makers to be something which enough people have an interest in to make a business from. However, if you want it enough then even this can become a viable business and this is shown at The owner of this website saw a gap in the market and took it. Nobody was writing about waffle makers before in such great quantity, and as a result this was something that needed to be done. It was a very simple premise, but after a lot of hard work it began to pay off.

Let me tell you why and how this website works. If you are looking for review about waffle makers then this is the place you will come to. There is simply nowhere on the web that can compare with this website. It has hundreds of reviews on it with every aspect of cooking waffles covered. There are tips and tricks on the best way to cook waffles, clues as to which the best waffle maker is, and if you look hard enough then you may even find some recipes you will not have even considered before! The point is that you would probably have thought that there was not much scope to build a business around waffles but you were wrong. You may need to open your eyes and expand your horizons to see your opportunity and take it.

Now I can’t tell you exactly how the waffle making site makes its money as that would be giving too much away, but lets just go with the basic principle of the more people that visit the site the more money is made. This brings us on to the next point of dedication. This website needs to be updated every day with the latest reviews and titbits of information about waffle cookers and this is a rather large and laborious task. I doubt you will find anyone in this vast and wonderful world who will enjoy writing about waffle makers on a regular basis but as soon as you wave the very attractive money shaped carrot in front of their face then they will most probably change their tune very quickly! Things are the same for any business. You need the have the dedication in place in the initial stages to really reap the benefits of the latter ones. If you don’t put a shift in at the start you won’t be able to take more off at the end!

The moral of the story here is that you get out what you put in. If you work hard without expecting much back at the start then you will get an awful lot more back at the end. Everything has an element of risk and reward and it is up to you to take both. Everything can be a good idea if you put your mind to it, so the sooner you do the better!

Getting into shape for older people

Getting into shape for older people

There’s a lot of information available to help people who want to get their bodies into shape. It seems, however, that the vast majority of it assumes that we’re all relatively young and that our bodies can take certain types of training which can be more difficult for older people to recover from. It doesn’t mean that older people can’t get into shape, or shouldn’t try, it simply means that there is a bigger market for that type of thing among younger people.

Older bodies are different in many ways than younger ones, however, and so it will not do for a 50 year-old to follow a diet and workout regime designed for a 20 year-old. Older people’s bodies need more time to recover from exercise, injure more easily, metabolize slower and don’t process food in the same way.

Being ‘older’ doesn’t mean you have to fit the stereotype of an old person. In fact, by getting into great shape now, and taking care of yourself now, you vastly increase your chances of making it to be an old person. Even if you’ve never really care about nutrition or working out before, you can definitely start in your 50s, 60s and above. It’s never too late to do it, just make sure you do it the right way.

The first thing to do is to get a full check up on your health, discuss your plans with your doctor and take on board any advice they may have. This is something you should take very seriously as any complications with your health can limit the types of exercise you can safely do. Often, exercises such as running are discouraged. This applies especially to running outdoors on pavement, which can be punishing on the knees at any age. Jogging on grass or a track might be more suitable for seniors.

Whether or not you’re able to cope with running, it’s very important to make cardio a big part of your workout. More than younger people, you really need to make sure that your body is warmed up and that your heart is beating ready for exercise if you are planning to incorporate weight training into your regime. A 15-minute session on something from Home Rower either side of weight training is likely necessary for you to avoid injury. At least one full session per week should be dedicated to cardio – your body doesn’t burn fat as fast as a young person’s body so it’s more difficult to keep it off.

Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol become major concerns when you reach your older years. Avoiding high cholesterol foods is essential to remain healthy. Make sure you drink lots of water and fill your diet with green vegetables, fruit, whole grains, chicken, fish, beans, seeds and nuts. Eat plenty of egg whites if you are going to do weights, limit your consumption of whole eggs. Avoid food with high levels of sugar and sodium. You should get enough of this from your regular diet. If you feel that you’re not eating the right amount or variety of fruit and vegetables, consider taking vitamin supplements. This might be a concern for those who are intending to build muscle.

Snacking is fine, and encouraged as long as you are eating the right snacks – once again, avoid those which are high in sodium and sugars. If you’re building muscle, you should snack a couple of times a day in addition to your regular meals. If you’re just doing cardio and want to snack, then turn your snacks into small meals and reduce your main meals so that, instead of eating three main meals a day and snacking, you just eat five small meals each day. Make sure that you’re burning the calories, though!

A balanced workout is going to give you the best health in the long run. It’s not a great idea to completely ignore weights or cardio. Weights give your whole body strength, which you will gradually lose as you get older, so try to build it while you can. Cardio keeps your heart and lungs fit so that oxygenated blood can reach all parts of your body. Take care of these things now and you’ll be reaping the rewards when people start asking you what the secret to a long life is.

Things healthy families have at home

healthy families

Would you be surprised to learn that most people can get a good idea about the appearance, habits and taste (or lack thereof) of a house’s inhabitants, simply by looking at its contents? Probably not, right? After all, if a house is full of laptops and computer accessories, along with a library of books about topics such as programming, you might begin to assume that the inhabitant is either a practicing or aspiring I.T. professional. If there’s a room upstairs with pink walls and lots of pretty dolls, you may well assume that a little girl lives there. And if there are pizza crusts strewn across the sofa, empty beer cans on the floor, an over-full ashtray and games console controllers tossed carelessly to one side, you might be forgiven for guessing that one of the house’s inhabitants was a bone idle slob.

So what do the contents of your home say about you and your family? More to the point – what do they say about your health? If it’s anything like the sofa scene described above, it tells us that you’re probably overweight and at risk of developing problems with your heart, lungs and liver. So what do healthy people’s houses look like?

You might assume that there would be some kind of home gym equipment and you would be right. Rowers such as those seen at Home Rower are a popular choice, as are elliptical trainers and treadmills. You might also see pull-up bars, dumbbells, exercise mats and exercise balls. On their bookshelves there would no doubt be books about different types of workout – Pilates, Zumba and so on. Healthy people also tend to have an interest in sport, so you might see football boots, tennis rackets, baseball bats and uniforms or a cheerleader’s outfit.

Those books might be joined by books with nutritional advice and healthy cooking. In the kitchen you’d expect to see one or two fruit bowls, piled high with lots of different types of fresh fruit. There would be a worktop and plenty of utensils for preparing food in the home, rather than relying on microwave meals or food deliveries. If there is a yard, healthy people may well be growing their own vegetables and herbs in it. Their pantry will be full of fresh vegetables. All in all the contents of the kitchen will represent the ingredients which make up a well-balanced diet.

Healthy living isn’t just about food and exercise, though. A healthy body only makes for half a healthy person. Truly healthy people also attend to their minds. You may see difficult crosswords, jigsaws, small engineering projects, Meccano and Lego as children’s toys, circuit boards and jigsaws. There may be a sewing machine with some complicated designs next to it. The house may have a room which has been converted into a woodworking or metalworking shop. There may be a studio for art, photography, sculpture or the like.

There will be a great variety in the types of books they keep, and there will likely be a great number of them, too. You’ll see reference books, instructional books, technical books, classical literature, books about languages, sciences and the humanities. Children with healthy minds devour kids’ stories and their bookshelves may be surprisingly full.

Another feature of healthy people’s homes is that they will be clean, tidy and organized. Everything will be in its place and there will be a good reason that its place is exactly where it is.Regardless of the family’s income, the house will be pleasantly decorated and potential hazards such as loose carpeting on the stairs and exposed power sources will have been eliminated. There will be cleaning utensils and products close to the location in which they should be used – for example, in the kitchen and bathroom.

Finally, there will be an area in which the family comes together, usually the dining area. Healthy families spend time with each other, talk, find solutions to problems and agree on plans and strategies for the future. This usually happens around the breakfast and dinner tables.

So, how does your home match up? Have you found any areas in which you’d like to make changes? If so, go ahead! Improve your home and improve your family’s health at the same time.

Do you have the tools to make it work?

tools to make it work

So, you’ve just moved into your first home, perhaps you’ve even finished decorating and everything is sweet. For now, that is. Because if one thing is for certain, houses love to throw any of a wide variety of problems and challenges at us just when we least expect them. There is, however, no need to panic. With the right tools, you can step up and meet any challenge your new house decides to throw at you. The first step is, well, to get the right tools.

Your toolbox 

Just as with your tools, be prepared to spend money on your toolbox in order to ensure you’re getting a high-quality, durable product that will be a part of your life for years, if not forever. You could, of course, build your own, but if you were capable of doing that, you wouldn’t likely be reading this. Make sure whatever you buy is sturdy enough to protect its contents and survive being carted around and plonked down on hard surfaces. There should be specific places for each tool and plenty of room to add more. Go lightweight if possible as a heavy toolbox full of heavy tools isn’t fun to carry around.

Be discerning 

Don’t buy your tools in a set – different tools suit different people and generic, off-the-shelf tool sets can’t be a good fit for everyone. Remember that purists make their own tools and take this attitude with you when you buy. Be prepared to spend money in the way that a crafts person would spend time and sweat.

You don’t need to buy all of your tools at once. In fact, you’re likely to be happier with each of your tools if you buy them individually. There are some tools that get used much more than others so start off with these:

A claw hammer – used for hammering nails, but more commonly for ripping and bashing during manual demolition jobs. A 16-ounce hammer with a wooden handle will be light enough to use comfortably while being capable of doing its job. It shouldn’t be too much heavier at the head, so you might want to try a few different ones before you buy.

You’ll also need screwdrivers, Flathead and Philips. Buy them in various sizes, always making sure that they are sturdy, especially the fatheads which you might be using for prising as well as screwing.

A crescent wrench will be one of the tools you use the most. Look for steadiness as the jaw opens and closes in addition to ease of adjustment.

Power up 

A cordless drill plus drill bits is a must – not only for saving time, but for giving you power at awkward angles. The best drills have multiple speeds and are reversible. Many people prefer the type whose speed depends on the pressure you apply to the trigger. If you anticipate needing a lot of power, go for one with 18-volt batteries. These can be heavy, however, so if ease of use is more important, a 12-volter should be a good bet.

Another wonderful piece of kit is your miter saw. Choose wisely and it will be able to do an incredibly wide range of jobs that you would otherwise have had to use different tools for. Straight Kerfs is a site which has in-depth information and reviews of the latest saws without favoring any brands.

Other ubiquitous tools you’ll need include a spirit level, tape measure and utility knife. For each of these, find a brand and model that you really like and buy at least a couple of each. You should probably buy a slightly different model spirit level which is suited to be used in spaces that your first choice might struggle in.

You might also need to invest in a sturdy ladder, steps and possibly even a wheelbarrow. Old t-shirts, jeans, work boots and gloves will also come in handy. Be aware of the different types of injuries you could sustain and stock your first aid kit accordingly.

Having the right tools to deal with any problems at home isn’t about polishing them every day and showing them off to visitors. It’s about taking care of them so that they’ll take care of you when it counts.

There’s a Big Wide World Out There and You Should Explore It

Wide World Out

Do you have any idea how many people there are who have never left home?  I don’t mean that they still live with their parents, I mean they haven’t ventured out from their own region of the world. When we lived in the US, I had one or two friends who had never left the state in which they grew up in. Sure, they had traveled from one city to another, perhaps leaving the small town they lived in and ventured into the capital city or some other part of the state for whatever reason. But they hadn’t left the region of the world in which they were born and raised.

This wasn’t for lack of means either. These folks were well off enough to afford a trip abroad for a week or two. Forget leaving the country, they could have taken a road trip to the coast. Flown to New York City or Austin, Texas. No, this wasn’t a money issue. It was a lack of interest issue.

I’ve discovered more people in my time both here and back in the States, who just don’t have any desire to see the rest of the world. I find that strangely disconcerting. Alarming, in fact. Where’s the sense of adventure, the sense of self, the urge to learn about other people and other cultures?

I’ve been all over the world. Faraway places like Lhasa in Tibet. The city of Fez in Morocco. I’ve been to India, Peru, Bolivia. I spent a some time in Xining, China. I’ve been to Jerusalem. I traveled through the Nile Valley and Luxor, Egypt, not the one in Vegas, which someone actually asked me when I told them. The Luxor Hotel was named after the city.

A little wanderlust is good for the mind, body, and soul. How limited are we in our imaginations to refuse to venture out into the world. Where is the curiosity? I’m not saying you have to travel to some far off point of the world, away from civilization and the bare necessities. Fly to Paris. Go to Luxembourg. See some of the landmarks that celebrate the passion and accomplishment of the human spirit. Heck, go see a Broadway show if you’re worried about how the food is going to taste in a foreign country. But you should taste international cuisine, the delicacies of new worlds, flavors you’ll never find anywhere else but in the countries where they are most prevalent. I can’t tell you how many delicious delights I’ve been made aware of through travel, things I wouldn’t even know existed unless I had traveled the world. Coffee, for one, is amazing around the world and not just the beans themselves but the different types of coffee-makers that do so many different things! I used one a steam-powered machine in Morocco that I had to have and I even tracked it down at this website called They knew exactly which kind it was and I was able to find a way to purchase one for my home! This is only the beginning of the wonderful discoveries that exist in the world.

There is a whole wide world of culture and discovery beyond your couch. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t travel to places that were out of my comfort zone. I’m not suggesting you put yourself in some tumultuous region of the world where you’re likely to find yourself in danger, but I am saying you should at least challenge yourself once in awhile.

Leave home. You will learn so much more about who you are, what you are, what you want, why you’re here and, most importantly perhaps, the source of your personal happiness, if you just go look for it. You may be very happy at home, and for that I’m very happy for you.

But how do you really know?