Category Archives: Lifestyle

Glasses of beer

Homebrew Competitions: Consider These 5 Things Before Joining

Glasses of beerHomebrewing has become a popular hobby over the past years. Garages are being turned into mini breweries and new flavors of beer are starting to emerge.

Hop Havoc, a trusted supplier of Galaxy hops, notes that independent beer brewers have multiplied in America alone. There are many competitions happening all over the country that it won’t be difficult to join one. But before you take your chances on your first competition, here are a few tips to help you prepare:

1. Know the Process of the Competition

Most competitions have the same process, which starts with an online registration. Then you’ll need to submit your entries and send or drop them off at the designated drop-off point. The entries are judged, and the results are sent out. This follows a certain timeline, so make sure you’re also familiar with that.

2. Plan Carefully

It’s better to brew early than to brew too close to the submission date. So, make sure you know all the deadlines and all the other timelines of the competition. You should also know the rules for dropping off or sending out entries. Sometimes, entries can get held because the contest rules weren’t followed.

3. Know and Follow the Guidelines

Each competition has its own rules and guidelines, some of which are more complicated than others. Be sure to know what you can and can’t do. This will help you avoid any disappointment from being disqualified just because you missed one simple rule.

4. Start Small

Since it’s your first time to join a competition, it’s best that you start with those that have less than 150 entries. This will help you get used to the practice of competing. In addition, being in small competitions will give your more chances of winning and you need that confidence boost as a newbie.

5. Do Your Research

As with every other endeavor, research is always important. This means knowing what recipes have won before and what styles best fit the competition.

Joining a homebrew competition is one way to test your skills and see if you are as good as you think you are. It’s also a good opportunity to learn new techniques and meet new people who share the same hobby as you. So, get your game on, follow these tips, perfect your brews, and go have fun at your first competition.

3 Reasons Residents and Tourists Love Kansas

​​Bird's eye view of the skywayKnown as The Sunflower State, Kansas is also popular for its Midwestern landscapes and agricultural industry. It is known for harvesting huge quantities of wheat in the US, as indicated by the Kansas Wheat Commission. It’s no surprise that people love living in this state and its major cities that include Overland Park, Lenexa, and Shawnee.

Each city has its own allure that attracts residents and tourists alike. Here’s a detailed look at what each city in Kansas has to offer:

Overland Park

Overland Park is one of the most-developed cities in Kansas. In fact, the growing number of new home construction projects in the city makes more people want to live here.

As a midwestern city, it takes pride in its park, such as the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. This place offers pony rides, a petting zoo, and a view of baby animals for visitors. The park is named after police officer Deanne Rose who was known to love animals.

Lenexa

Not to be overshadowed, Lenexa also has park offerings for its residents and tourists. It is famed for Black Hoof Park and Lake Lenexa, a park that offers walking trails, bird watching activities, and fishing areas for families. The park also has a playground, as well as a picnic area furnished with tables and chairs.

Shawnee

Residents and visitors of Shawnee could go to Wonderscope Children’s Museum, which is an educational establishment. It offers art rooms, gymnasium rooms, vacuum areas, and other science-themed exhibits. Children can build model rockets, roleplay as doctors, and do other science projects.

Kansas is no doubt one of the best states in the Midwest because of its blooming landscapes and big harvests of wheat. Residents and tourists stay for the attractions and amenities offered by the beautiful cities.

Must-Have Equipment for a Novice Fly Angler

a man fishingThere are different techniques of fishing, but fly-fishing tops them in thrill. This fishing technique uses a weighted line, lightweight rod, and an artificial fly. The artificial fly mimics the rhythmic moves of particular fish food with the angler’s help hence baiting the fish.

Fly-fishing is one of the most straightforward techniques a novice angler can master, but it requires practice and concentration. Getting the right equipment from a fishing gear store in Michigan also goes a long way on starting you on the right path. Here are some of the must-have gear for you.

Reel

For a novice angler, a spinning reel is the best choice. It is easy to control when casting and is inexpensive and lightweight. The spinning reel also allows you to catch fish from a boat, pier or the shore. As you gradually hone your fly-fishing skills, you can get a bait casting or trolling reel. If you are fishing in saltwater, ensure your reel is sealed to minimize rust.

Line

Most reels come with lines to save you the hassle of attaching it yourself. The two types of lines best for beginners are the monofilament and braid. The braid is lighter and thinner than the monofilament but is ideal for detecting bites. The monofilament is the perfect choice for novice anglers since it is versatile, gives you more stretch and is forgiving.

Rod

Long rods allow you to cast longer and play your fish better. For small anglers, 5-feet, 6-inch rods are ideal while 6-feet, 6-inch ones are suitable for children. You can get one that can be broken down into two parts for easy transport and fishing on beaches and piers.

While this is not an all-inclusive list, you should start with these essentials. With the right equipment, you will master the art in no time. Get the right gear and start out on this fantastic hobby today.

In Your New Home, Let the Kids Decorate Their Rooms

Happy childIt’s moving day. Although you’ve given the kids lots of tasks, they still bug you about their new rooms. They want to decorate their spaces themselves. But as a parent, you feel that giving your children free reign on the design of their space could ruin the esthetic of the rooms and the way they complement the rest of the new, pristine house.

Your children’s rooms don’t have to be a design battleground, however. It could even be a great opportunity if handled properly. By handing the reigns over to your children, you encourage their creativity and help them build a healthy personal space. Take assurance in the fact that you can impose limits, too. Here are some pointers.

Importance of Personal Space

Dr. Robert Brooks, a physician at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, says giving kids control over their environment makes them feel comfortable. It also helps them own the space — and when children feel that their space is truly theirs, they are more likely to look after it without much prompting.

Moreover, Dr. Sam Wass, a child developmental psychologist, found that decorating is more important to kids than conventional summer activities like watching football matches or riding a bike.

Fill the Rooms with What They Love

Colonial Van Lines, a trusted moving company, suggests decorating the bedrooms with the kids’ favorite colors, characters, and themes. This would make them feel more at ease and help them adjust to the new home. After all, nothing makes a child feel more secure than being surrounded by characters they look up to and things that interest them.

Let Them Pick the Colors

Before you move, take the kids to the hardware store and let them pick the paint for their bedrooms.

These colors, of course, must get your approval. After all, you don’t want to throw the curated color palette of your new home out the window. Once the kids have picked out what they like, choose a toned-down version or a shade or tint that’s close to the house’s palette.

Focus on Fabrics

For some kids, getting a good night’s sleep in a new home is difficult. So, involve them when choosing your home’s fabrics, from the curtains to the beddings. They can choose ones in their favorite color or ones that sport their favorite characters. Either way, they’d be at peace when they’re tucked in a warm blanket they chose for themselves.

Personal space is important for kids. So, if they’re moving to a new home, let them exercise control over their little nooks. They’ll feel more comfortable and claim the rooms as their own. Soon enough, they’ll love the new home as much as you do. If they haven’t already, that is.

4 Reasons You Should Be Convinced That Spending More Alone Time is Good for You

Woman reading bookYou may have been constantly hearing about how important it is for women to spend more time alone, especially if she is in a relationship. Spending time alone proves to be healthy whether you are just strolling around Hatton Garden to look at jewellery shops like Finecraft Jewellery or solo travelling overseas for the first time.

1. You have the time to recharge and reboot

The stressors of daily life will eventually take its toll on your health — emotionally, physically, and mentally. There is no better way to recuperate and reconfigure your mindset than being alone and taking your mind off distractions. It also improved your concentration levels and prolong your attention span because your mind is not all over the place.

2. You value your relationships better

Spending time helps you have better relationships because it helps improve your discernment and judgment as to which bonds are still valuable to your life and which are not contributing positively. You get to realise your worth better and know which relationships you must cut and cultivate.

3. You explore and test your creativity

Being surrounded by people may inspire you, but it can also make you feel pressured to always meet other people’s expectations. Brianna Steinhilber shared on NBC News about the findings from Reed Larson’s research, which emphasises that solitude inspires creativity because it frees you from self-consciousness and societal pressure. It also puts you in a problem-solving mode.

4. You get to know yourself better

It sounds cliche and some may even think this is just a feel-good excuse, but when you spend more time by yourself, you get in touch with your values. It also helps you revisit your intentions and goals. This helps you reassess whether where you are right now will help you become the person you want to be.

You may think that people who say you should spend more time alone just want you to feel better if you are currently with the wrong person or you suddenly find yourself alone and unattached. While it should not be romanticised, because it can also be scary and isolating, you cannot deny that it has benefits on your personal and interpersonal relationships.

Here’s Why You Should Buy a Pickup Truck

people at a pickup truckHave you been thinking of buying a big vehicle? Something that’s not so much of a cliché? There are a lot of SUVs out there that are big and classy, but if you’re looking for strength and adaptability, it’s a pickup truck you’ll want.

Pickup trucks are versatile vehicles. You can slap on 200-watt siren speakers on it, and you’ll have a good first responder system ready. Add a camper shell, and it can protect whatever it is your transporting.

Here are three good reasons why your next vehicle should be a pickup truck.

1. They’re good for all types of terrain.

Surely, you’ve heard of the extreme sport called off-roading. Pickup trucks are meant to go off the road and on to more difficult terrain, rocky or muddy. Or if you live in an area that gets a good amount of snow, these trucks can drive your right through it without a hitch.

2. They can haul stuff.

Do you have a boat or jet ski that you want to bring with you to your next beach trip? Or do you need to haul some timber in from out of the woods? Pickups are your best friend when it comes to hauling heavy equipment. You can even use them as a tow truck for cars in need.

3. They’re good for emergencies.

You could be the neighborhood hero if you had a pickup truck. You can help tow a friend’s car stuck in the snow. You can quickly run injured people to the hospital by putting them in the back that has enough space for the injured and a companion.

There are many types of pickup trucks in the market, and your choice will depend on your intended purpose. These vehicles are also huge investments so choose wisely and learn everything there is to know about how to handle them. If you take care of your truck, your truck will take care of you, too.

Fitting of prescription glasses

Upcoming Trends for Eyewear in 2018

Fitting of prescription glassesWho does not love to stay updated when it comes to fashion? Staying in the style know-how is not just limited to the clothes you wear. You can consider your eyewear as a piece of your outfit. If you have the right eyewear on, you can have a complete outfit. If you want to stay on trend this year, here are some of the upcoming styles for eyewear that will be a big hit in 2018.

Pastel colours

In 2017, the colour ‘Millennial pink’ was a huge thing for any kind of clothing. This year, the pastel theme is staying strong. Ask any optician who orders wholesale eyewear supplies and you will find that more eyewear brands are offering pastel hues in their frames.

Pastels add a touch of colour to the usual boring eyewear without being too strong. These include rose gold, baby blue, and light lavender. These colours will provide a subtle splash of colour if you were to sport a black outfit, for instance.

Thin is in

If you are tired of the thick square frames that have been popular for the longest time, then this is for you. Thin frames, especially the aviator ones, will be making a big impact this year. They have a great design to them and could make a person look more sleek and sophisticated.

Clear as day

If you have been looking for a pair of glasses that has an elegant design and beautiful look, a clear and white frame is an ideal option for you. It is trendy and versatile and can look great for both men and women. Clear and see through are also easy to match with any outfit and provide a smarter, more unique look.

An outfit is truly not complete or up to date if your frames are not updated as well.

Why You Should Have a Japanese Tetsubin Teapot in Your Kitchen

Tea in a glass cupTea brewers and drinkers will attest not only to the beauty of the presentation but the unique tea experience brought by the Japanese cast iron teapot known as tetsubin. Yet how does this simple teapot made of cast iron make a difference and make better tea than the rest?

The Right Materials

Tea is known for being a no-fuss beverage, but getting the best experience not only comes with your favourite tea; the process of getting that delightful taste also needs the right teapot. There are several factors to make the right tea, including the quality and temperature of the water, steeping time, the quality of leaves, and the teapot. Combined with the right brewing method, you’ll have yourself a pure and flavourful tea.

The Secret

So, what are the secrets? One of the best characteristics of a Japanese cast iron teapot is that it can absorb heat evenly, which makes the water warmer for a longer period of time. This allows the flavour and the healthy nutrients of the tea to blend evenly with the water.

Plus, tetsubin is highly recommended for people who suffer from iron deficiency due to its natural characteristic. A study shows that a good amount of iron, minerals and nutrients is infused into the boiling water when using a cast iron teapot. Blend with high-quality leaf tea and the continual use of the same cast iron teapot, avid tea brewers are certain to get that delicious and richly flavoured tea.

Durability

It should not take a rocket scientist to say that tetsubin is more durable than ceramic and clay teapots. Being made of cast iron, your teapot will surely last a lifetime. In fact, most tetsubin teapots retain their shape for generations, so long you take care of them.

Caring for a Teapot

To ensure that your tetsubin teapot will last for a long time, you need to make an effort to keep in good shape, which is not really a hard thing to do. For one, while it is still warm, wipe it gently with a clean dry cloth and then let it cool off by itself. Remember not to use any chemical cleaning materials like detergents, but most of all, do not scratch it with scouring pads or other hard materials that can cause a scratch.

Japanese teapots are as steeped in culture and tradition as much as tea is. These teapots have an important place in the Japanese household, and most definitely deserve a spot in your home, as well.

5 Reasons Yoga Will Help You Cope With Stress

Woman doing yogaLet’s face it, we’ve all gotten stressed out for one thing or another and tried to cope with it by either going on an eating, drinking, or even crying binge, or simply packing our bags to spend the weekend somewhere nice and quiet.

The thing is, this is just a reaction to stress. The better way is to teach ourselves to reduce the burden, or even to let it just slide through our being. And that’s where yoga and meditation centres can help, as they promote relaxation – targeting the body, mind, and breathing, which are usually the most affected by stress that leads to health issues.

For the uninitiated, bear in mind yoga is more than just stretching or doing impossible poses. It’s actually a form of exercise that can help loosen up tense muscles in the body. It also goes beyond the physical. As mentioned, it also involves the mind and breathing. Yoga, after all, literally means “union.”

It can be quite confusing for beginners as different types of yoga fit different individuals, so choosing which class to attend may be a difficult proposition. The good news is, just like cross-training, you can incorporate different types of yoga into your regular session to get a more balanced result.

Whatever yoga type you eventually embrace, the more important thing is that you go through the whole exercise on a regular basis. Once you do, you will notice that your stressed-out episodes are getting fewer and far in between.

It’s not because the things (and people!) that are causing stress for you are starting to disappear, but it’s because, through yoga, your whole being has learned to cope with them that eventually, they won’t affect you much, if at all.

Here are the ways yoga helps you cope with stress.

1. Reduces tension and relaxes the body

There are yoga poses that calm the whole body.

2. Slows the mind down

Stress tends to get our mind to go racing in different directions. Yoga will help it to focus on one thing, thereby slowing it down until it relaxes.

3. Makes you breathe easier

When we’re stressed, we tend to breathe shallowly and rapidly, which adds to the tension and stress to your body. Yoga will help you use your diaphragm and lungs to breathe more effectively.

4. Gives you sense of harmony

Yoga will connect your mind and body so that we become more sensitive to what our body really needs and we can then act accordingly.

5. Makes us more conscious of our mind

When we know how our brain reacts to stressful situations, we can teach it to follow the more reasonable path instead of just choosing in panic. This inevitably leads to a calm feeling that everything will turn out okay.

Despite popular belief, yoga is not just for a unique group of people, but also for everyone including the young ones. And it’s not only for dealing with stress but for the whole body’s well-being.

Woman breathing on gloved hands

3 Things You Must Keep Handy During Winter

Woman breathing on gloved handsWhile everyone knows that winter will come, some people don’t prepare enough for it. The best time to gather what you need for the cold months is, of course, before the snow starts falling. It may be that you already have taken some steps to get yourself ready for the season. Still, it’s important to confirm whether you have these three things that will come in handy in the winter.

Get the contact information of a furnace specialist

The one appliance you cannot do without during the cold weather is your furnace. If you’re like most smart homeowners, you’ll have your unit checked and tuned weeks before the cold days begin. Still, anything could go wrong and you never know when you’ll need emergency heating repair in your West Valley home. It’s best to have a reliable contractor you can call to fix a furnace failure urgently.

Get a cold and flu care kit

Among the things you can expect with the arrival of winter are cold and flu. Even if you don’t often get affected by these illnesses, it’s likely a family members does. The best way to get ready for that is by having a strong immune system. Keep supplements that are rich in zinc, garlic, and Vitamin C. Also, get the appropriate medications well in advance in case someone catches the bug.

Prepare Warm clothing

The one thing you want to protect most during winter is your body, and there’s perhaps no better way to do so than by getting the right clothing for the season. A heavy-duty down coat is necessary to keep you warm during the snow and icy winds. Get a pair of thick wool socks and snow boots, too.

The approaching winter calls for sufficient preparation, so you and your loved ones can survive the cold. The best way to do so is by getting the things you’ll need well in advance so nothing catches you by surprise.