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STEPS TO A BETTER YOU IN 2017

Posted On: December 29, 2016

It's time for New Year's resolutions!

I know a lot of you want to get healthier.

 Heck, I’ve had a lot of my friends ask me what do I do to look so GQ? (PRIVATE JOKE) And please, stop choking on your coffee and spitting it all over, it’s so not you!

Seriously though, to get healthier here are some realistic steps to getting healthier.

9 Things to Eliminate in 2017 to Be Healthy

I know many of you are planning on cutting back on the unhealthy things in your life. But that doesn't always mean just junk food or sweets — here’s somethings that might be holding you back from your healthy goals that you should definitely consider eliminating this year.

  1. Negative self-talk: Stop being mean to yourself. Just stop. You are enough! You ARE strong! You're capable. The more you berate and degrade yourself, the harder your year will be; you'll also have a much harder time reaching your healthy goals.
  2. Your scale: Look, measurable goals are great, but the scale can be your evil enemy!f you've been obsessed with the scale and every decimal point on your weight, it's time for that thing to go. In the trash. Remember that numbers absolutely do not define you.
  3. Workouts you hate: Not everyone likes running, and that's OK. Forcing yourself into a workout that you hate won't encourage you to keep working out. There are alternatives to running, really there are!. If you hate bootcamp classes, try barre. Hate barre? Stop doing it! Try yoga. If something's not working, try something else. Keep going until you find something that works, but don’t keep doing a workout you don't like.
  4. Exercising to "fix" or change a part of your body: Working out because you "hate" your body is the worst thing you can do. Exercise makes you feel good — it celebrates your body, makes you feel empowered, and sends a rush of feel-good endorphins through your body. Working out will boost your energy, improve your health, and can change your mood for the better, alongside so many other benefits. Celebrate your body, don't try to "fix" it.
  5. Kale (or that one food you just can't stand): A lot of you hate kale. (Me too) So stop forcing it! You don't need kale to be healthy! Maybe it's not kale, but it's another healthy food you've been forcing yourself to eat under the pretense that it's healthy and you "need it" to be healthy yourself. This just isn't true, and if your diet consists of things you don't love, you're not going to stay on that diet for very long. For a more sustainable diet, experiment more with other healthy foods to find out what you do love. You'll be eating healthier all the time!
  6. Perfectionism: Striving for a goal is great; striving for perfection is unhealthy. Giving yourself unrealistic or unattainable goals is BAD! It’s detrimental to your mental and your physical health. That desire for perfectionism can often be a defense mechanism, when you're either consciously or subconsciously protecting yourself from the judgment of others. Focus that energy on progress, not perfection. You'll have a much better year.
  7. Calorie counting: This year, stop obsessing over calories — especially if it has created a negative relationship with food. Food is fuel, and we need calories to have strong muscles, bones, and a functioning body! There are so many ways to track your food and eat healthy without calorie counting. If you need the data and numbers to stay in control of your healthy eating, try counting macros — you'll have a healthy balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates each day.
  8. Everything that is holding you back: What is keeping you from being your best self and living your best life? Is it an unhealthy relationship, a terrible job that drains you of your energy, or a deep-seated fear? Let. It. Go. Cut the people out who don't support you. Say goodbye to work that doesn't make you feel good — or worse, makes you feel bad. Remove unnecessary obligations that keep you from reaching your physical, mental, and personal goals. This is YOUR time! Replace these things with activities that help you reach your goals, a job that fosters your creativity and empowers you, and relationships with people who build you up.

 

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THE YULE LOG

Posted On: December 22, 2016

The History of the Yule Log

The custom of burning the Yule Log goes back to, and before, medieval times. It was originally a Nordic tradition. Yule is the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe, such as Germany.

The Yule Log was originally an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony. The largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room! The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been carefully stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was considered important that the re-lighting process was carried out by someone with clean hands. Nowadays, of course, most people have central heating so it is very difficult to burn a tree!

In Provence (in France), it is traditional that the whole family helps to cut the log down and that a little bit is burnt each night. If any of the log is left after Twelfth Night, it is kept safe in the house until the next Christmas to protect against lightning! In some parts of Holland, this was also done, but the log had to be stored under a bed! In some eastern European countries, the log was cut down on Christmas Eve morning and lit that evening.

In the UK, the log is called 'The Mock'. The log is dried out and then the bark is taken off it before it comes into the house to be burnt. Also in the UK, barrel makers (or Coopers as barrel makers were traditionally called) gave their customers old logs that they could not use for making barrels for Yule logs.

 

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THE COLORS OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Posted On: December 20, 2016

There are several colors which are traditionally associated with Christmas. We know we see Red, Green and Gold. But why do we have them and what do the colors represent?

Most the colors and their meanings come from the western/northern European traditions and customs, when Christmas is in the middle of winter and it's dark and cold.

Green

Evergreen plants, like Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe have been used for thousands of years to decorate and brighten up buildings during the long dark winter. They also reminded people that spring would come and that winter wouldn't last forever!

The Romans would exchange evergreen branches during January as a sign of good luck. The ancient Egyptians used to bring palm branches into their houses during the mid winter festivals.

In many parts of Europe during the middle ages, Paradise plays were performed, often on Christmas Eve. They told Bible stories to people who couldn't read. The 'Paradise Tree' in the garden of eden in the play was normally a pine tree with red apples tied to it.

Now the most common use of green at Christmas are Christmas Trees.

Red

An early use of red at Christmas were the apples on the paradise tree. They represented the fall of Adam in the plays.

Red is also the color of Holly berries, which is said to represent the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross.

Red is also the color of Bishops robes. These would have been worn by St. Nicholas and then also became Santa's uniform!

Gold

Gold is the color of the Sun and light - both very important in the dark winter. And both red and gold are the colors of fire that you need to keep you warm.

Gold was also one of the presents brought to the baby Jesus by one of the wise men and traditionally it's the color used to show the star that the wise men followed.

Silver is sometimes used instead of (or with) gold. But gold is a 'warmer' color.

White

White is often associated with purity and peace in western cultures. The snow of winter is also very white!

White paper wafers were also sometimes used to decorate paradise trees. The wafers represented the bread eaten during Christian Communion or Mass, when Christians remember that Jesus died for them.

White is used by most churches as the color of Christmas, when the altar is covered with a white cloth (in the Russian Orthodox Church Gold is used for Christmas).

Blue

The color blue is often associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus. In medieval times blue dye and paint was more expensive than gold! So it would only be worn by Royal families and very rich people. Mary was often painted wearing blue to show she was very important.

Blue can also represent the color of the sky and heaven.

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A SURVEYOR SPEAKS FOR THE BOAT

Posted On: December 15, 2016


An independent marine surveyor speaks for the boat.

A marine survey is also a useful tool for buyers when negotiating price based on what repairs or upgrades the boat needs. And finally, insurance and lending companies that need to know the true condition and fair market value of a vessel often require it. Insurance company underwriters carefully read through a marine survey to make a determination as to whether the vessel is a good risk, and may require an owner to address certain deficiencies.

But a good survey is more than just an inventory of the boat's equipment. The surveyor will comment on each section of the inspected boat. Finally, near the end of the survey are the recommendations, arguably the most important part.

Recommendations are just that — issues the surveyor found on the boat that may need to be addressed. It's the "may" part that's important here. Typically, a surveyor will list recommendations in order of importance, often as A, B, or C. A-list recommendations (more properly called must-dos) are the most important ones to pay attention to, and you can be sure your insurance company will — not just for your boat, but for the safety of you and your crew. These are issues that, unaddressed, can cause your boat to sink, burn, become involved in an accident, or cause serious injury

Keep in mind that while surveyors inspect a boat with an eye toward industry safety standards, such as those written by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), they recognize that newer standards were not in place when older boats were built. But some of those standards, like the need for carbon monoxide alarms or proper wiring, are critical enough that insurance underwriters may still require boats to comply with them.

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BOAT BATTERY STORAGE

Posted On: December 06, 2016


Winter Battery Storage

When wet-cell batteries are allowed to discharge, the electrolyte becomes pure water, which will freeze and ruin the battery. If you can, take the battery off your boat and store it somewhere dry and cool (but not freezing). You may have heard that a battery will discharge if left on a concrete floor, but modern batteries make this precaution unnecessary.

Wash and thoroughly dry the top of the battery to reduce the potential for self-discharge. Don't leave stored batteries connected to a portable charger. Unless the charger turns off completely — few do — the batteries will suffer damage. However, stored batteries should be brought to full charge once a month, so post a reminder for yourself. If the batteries will be stored aboard because they're too heavy for convenient removal, they must be maintained in a full-charge condition all winter. This requires a charger with a "float" stage and power connection. In lieu of an unattended power connection, a solar panel might be employed to counter self-discharge

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GOING SOLO

Posted On: December 01, 2016

Solo Safety Lesson

As a “seasoned” gentlemen with experience on the water, I’m often asked about the feasibility of solo boating. While I confess that I have also set sail alone multiple times, I always refer them to this article.

If you boat alone, take extra precautions.

By: Mike Baron, U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety division

For many recreational boaters, it’s difficult to beat the sense of freedom and independence that comes with taking a boat out singlehanded and boating alone, especially in the peaceful off-season when vacationers don’t crowd the waterways.

But independence goes hand in hand with a greater risk. With a friend or two on board, if you’re injured or fall in the water, there’s someone there to take the helm, help you back in the boat and radio for assistance if necessary. A lone boater has far fewer resources at his disposal if an accident occurs.

If you boat alone, make safety your primary consideration. Prepare by taking a boating safety course, widely available through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons, state and local agencies, and commercial providers. There are traditional classroom offerings, online versions and instruction on CD-ROM. Check required safety equipment and ensure you know where everything is. In an emergency, you may have only seconds to get essential lifesaving equipment and call for assistance.

Hypothermia is always a consideration. On the occasional warm day in early spring or late fall, while the air temperature is comfortable, the water temperature is going to be much colder. Dress appropriately in layers and wear socks.

Wear quality nonslip footwear, and remember to take a change of dry clothing in a waterproof bag.

As always, but especially when boating alone, wear a life jacket at all times. If you end up in the water, the buoyancy it provides may help you stay with the boat and get back aboard. If you can’t get back on board, a life jacket may keep you alive until help arrives, and the bright color makes you easier to spot in the water. Consider adding a personal locator beacon (PLB), a whistle and a signal mirror to your life jacket for extra safety.

A VHF radio equipped with digital selective calling (DSC) can also save time in the event of a life-threatening emergency, especially if you’re boating offshore. If you have one, be sure it is registered. At the press of a button, a DSC radio sends an automated digital distress alert containing your Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, position and the nature of the distress (if entered) to other DSC-equipped vessels and rescue facilities.

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HIT THE CLASSROOM AND BOAT BETTER

Posted On: November 29, 2016

Winter is A great Time to Get Educated!!

 So you bought that boat. You have been aboard others boats for years, and even helped, but this one is your own. What better way to hone your skills, stay safe, and make everyone’s experience with you better, than preparing for your time on the water now.

While winter white may not put you in the mood for watersports, winter is a great time to prepare for boating season by taking a boating safety course or a specialty skills course such as coastal piloting or how to use a GPS device. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that all recreational boaters take a National Association of Boating Law Administrators–approved boating safety course. The basic NASBLA course provides rules and regulations, emergency procedures and the navigational skills necessary for a beginner. There are many options available to successfully complete a boating safety course, including the traditional classroom course, web-based instruction and a home study course offered in some states.

There are easily accessible classes available for new and experienced boaters alike — and education designed for boaters of every age. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons and many state boating agencies sponsor classes.

For new boaters, basic courses generally have six to 13 lessons and provide a foundation of operational and safety instruction. That includes the boat and required equipment, trip planning, safe boat operations, emergency procedures, state-specific requirements and other water activities such as waterskiing, towed devices and wake sports.

Need help finding a class?

The U.S. Coast Guard website also provides more resources for Boating Safety Courses at uscgboating.org/safety/boating_safety_courses_.aspx.

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CARVING THE TURKEY

Posted On: November 23, 2016

                 

Carving the Perfect Turkey    


Every year, countless families cringe as the annual carve the turkey debate rages on. So in the interest of harmony and Thanksgiving, here's what the pro's say.


Six steps to serving the perfect Thanksgiving bird

by Gerry Brown

Carving, and serving, the perfect turkey

 

Many beautiful Rockwellian Thanksgiving feasts have been spoiled when the golden brown turkey is hacked to pieces by an improperly trained carver. Whether you are looking to improve your technique, confirm that you are doing it right, or getting ready to pass the knife to Junior this year, here's a quick look at the proper way to look good slicing up and giving your family the bird.

 

What you'll need:

 

        a turkey;

        a good, long, sharp knife (an electric carving knife is nice but unnecessary and can often be more trouble than it's worth; if you're just starting out, go with an old fashioned manual model);

        a carving fork;

        an apron;

        a spot to place the meat as it's cut.

 

Step One

A Perfectly Cooked Turkey

Make sure the turkey is done! Sounds simple but several variables can conspire to throw off the pre-cooked time calculations. You want to make sure that you use a real meat thermometer, not one of those pop-up deals. Most times you'll end up with an overdone, dried out turkey and that's a nightmare for carvers. The meat will shred and crumble.

 

Assuming the turkey is stuffed, stick the tip of the thermometer into the stuffed cavity of the turkey. If the turkey is not stuffed, put the thermometer into the thigh pointing toward the body, but make sure it doesn't touch bone. If you are using an instant-read thermometer, don't leave it in while the turkey is roasting. The turkey is done when the thermometer says 160°F in the center of the stuffing or 180°F deep in the thigh; also, the turkey's juices should be clear, not reddish pink when thigh muscle is pierced deeply.

Step Two            

 

The turkey is done. Now take it out of the oven and let it "rest" for 20–30 minutes on the cutting board. Wash and dry your hands and put on your apron if you haven't already. Remove the stuffing from the bird and keep it warm. You are now ready to begin carving. The first thing you'll want to do is remove the leg on one side.

 

Some will tell you to steady the turkey with your big carving fork and use your knife to slice between the leg and the body of the turkey. Others will say to pull the leg gently away from the turkey while you cut with the other hand. Either way, you'll want to use the tip of the knife to probe the area just above thigh to find the joint that connects the leg to the turkey. That's the magic slice point.

 

Once you find the joint, cut it firmly but smoothly. Usually it will cut through with relative ease but if not, check to make sure you are not trying to cut through bone. Once you get the leg off the bone you can cut some meat off the leg. But first separate the thigh from the drumstick by cutting through the joint that connects them. The thigh is simple to carve—just slice the meat parallel to the bone.

 

A lot of people just leave the drumsticks intact because that's the way the kids like them. But if you want to carve them, here's how: hold the drumstick by the small end and rest the big end on the cutting board and slice downward. Don't try to get slices that are too thin. Go for medium-sized pieces.

Step Three

 Before you attempt to carve the breast you need to cut off the wings. Do this in the same way you did the legs. Find the joint near the turkey's body and cut through the magic slice point.

Step Four

Carving A Perfectly Cooked Turkey

Now, this is one of the most crucial and controversial steps. There are two general schools of thought on the best way to carve the breast. Most people like the white breast meat, so this is the step that makes or breaks your carving reputation.

 

There is the traditional method, in which one cuts the breast one slice at a time away from the bird. Another method, sometimes called the "kitchen method" because it is usually done out of view of the guests, involved cutting the entire breast away from the bird and then slicing it into pieces.

 

The traditional method is a little easier and by far the most popular. In the kitchen method you may be able to regulate the thickness of each individual slice a little better, but it should be done by only those who have mastered the traditional method first.

If you're sticking with the traditional method, steady the turkey with your fork and slowly and smoothly carve the turkey breast in downward-slanting slices. Start with a small slice, roughly the diameter of a soda can, and as you cut, the slices will get larger. As you are cutting periodically check to make sure that the slices are even and not thicker on one end or the other. As they come off the bird, stack the slices as neatly as possible on a serving platter. Sliced meat cools fast so serve it quickly or have some piping hot gravy on standby if things cool off.

Step Five

 Repeat step four on the other side of the bird.

Step Six

 Serve it up, say grace, and dig in with the satisfaction of knowing that you are the best carver at the table.

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