Climate Change and Christmas

There are some people who escape to Thailand or some other hot tropical country to escape the cold weather at Christmas, and there are others who are hoping for a white Christmas. I can’t remember the last time it really snowed at Christmas. With the present dire state of the world’s climate the possibility of a White Christmas is becoming more remote by the year.

It seems to me that the best way to try and rectify this problem is to invest a little time and effort into making your Christmas celebrations a little more environmentally friendly. Every little bit helps and besides it is the trying that counts as well.

At present the carbon dioxide count in the atmosphere stands at 390 parts per million (ppm). There is no room for maneuver. All new energy efficient factories and homes built and all new fossil fuel power plants constructed are liable to tip the count over 450 ppm in a few years time. 450 ppm is the point at which sea levels rise and temperatures rise with the result of mass flooding, mass extinctions and turn the Amazon rainforest into a desert. It is clear that world leaders are not going to solve this problem so consumers must do so instead.

So here are a few tips for making your Christmas season more green:

1)    Turn off the Christmas lights when you go to bed. Also unplug devices such as stereos, TVs, DVD players and especially microwaves that are on standby when not in use. These devices continue to waste electricity when you are not using them. A good green gift idea is a smart strip that automatically turns devices off when a master device such as a computer or TV is turned off.

2)    Don’t turn the thermostat up too high during the holiday period. It is plain stupid to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the home at winter because the heating is up so high. For every 8 hour period you can drop your thermostat set point by 1 degree you save 1% on your heating bill.

3)    Use recycled paper for wrapping up presents. The wrapping paper is torn off in a hurry and no kid will notice that the paper is recycled. Using recycled paper helps to slow down deforestation.

4)    Consider your carbon output when buying food, drink and presents for the Christmas period. Try to buy as much as possible at one time, also try to go to shops near your home. Internet shopping is another good idea as companies such as Amazon often move products in bulk.

5)    Buy organic vegetables, fruit and meat where possible. Not only does organic produce taste better but it means that its production has not been at the result of poisoning the ground with pesticides and fertilizers.

6)    Try not to waste water. An 8 minute shower uses the same amount of water as a bath. Either install a low flow shower head (another good green present idea for Christmas) or turn the water off while you are soaping yourself. When and if the world temperature rises fresh water supplies will become severely restricted.

It is hoped that you make the effort to try and be more earth friendly this Christmas. The greatest gift you can give to your children is a world that is not wrecked as a result of mindless consumerism now.


Unique Men’s Wedding Bands

Men’s rings used to be nothing more than simple bands that had little or no design. Times have changed and men’s rings are becoming increasingly sophisticated and stylish. Amazing as the changes may be, they have also created new challenges for potential buyers. Issues such as the type of metal, design, and the use of precious and semiprecious stones in the ring always come to mind. To help you, here are some considerations that you can keep in mind to make your task easier:

If you really do not want to take your wedding ring off again and again then you can get ruby engagement rings made of a durable metal with little design and few or no stones in them. The point here is to buy a ring that will allow your man to maintain any kind of activity or work without damaging the ring. If you decide to wear it only when u feel it is necessary, then you can opt for a stylish ring. When shopping for wedding bands, visit a few reputable jewelers to get one that perfectly suits your taste, style and purpose and fits well within your price range. Most shops have a range of vintage style engagement rings you can choose from.

Take time to choose the ring, and if you think you’ve found a good ring, just leave it for a moment and try and look elsewhere. You never know, you could find one that looks much better and is priced much lower compared to what you’ve found. Find jewelry stores online for possible ideas or options. Online jewelry stores facilitate comparison and you can browse through their selection, making the process even more convenient for you. If you decide to make a purchase online, we recommend that you order your ring from a store that is able to provide a guarantee stating the authenticity of the ring and is able to give a 100% money back guarantee if the ring is damaged, defective or of an inferior quality. Shopping for unique men’s wedding bands is not really that complicated, but the changes that have come in recent years mean that you always need to consider some factors, if you really want to get one that looks good and fits perfectly. Some of the tips above will help you, so do not forget them the next time you go to a store to buy an engagement ring.


Where is the Hammam Meskoutine ?

At the so-called Baths of the Damned the rocky cones and columns deposited by mineral hot springs have inspired an Arabic legend of a forbidden wedding procession that was condemned by the heavens and turned into stone. In a picturesque little valley not far from the market town of Guelma in northeastern Algeria is one of the most famous hot-spring resorts in the country. Noted for its dramatic rock formations, the valley has attracted arthritics and curious tourists and pilgrims ever since the days of the Roman Empire.

Legend explains the origin of the name Hammam-Meskoutine, Arabic for “Baths of the Damned.” According to the story, a man once took his own sister as his bride. As the incestuous couple moved up the valley with their wedding procession, the skies suddenly opened and the entire party was struck by a bolt of thunder. This curse from above instantly turned everyone to stone. Even the participants’ billowing robes were frozen in place.

Water surges up from 10 different hot springs in the valley, sending up dense clouds of steam visible from afar. The water is so hot—temperatures are as high as 208° F (98° C)—that visitors can amuse themselves by boiling eggs in the many channels that zigzag over the bedrock.

The water, moreover, is saturated with calcium carbonate, iron, and other dissolved minerals. As the flowing water cools, the minerals are deposited on the surface (mainly in the form of the carbonate rock known as travertine) to make up the fanciful formations at Hammam-Meskoutine.

Approaching the hot springs, visitors first see a series of conical, intricately modeled formations ranging in color from snowy white to rich ocher. (This is the cursed “wedding procession.”) Farther on is a spectacular cathedrallike formation where iridescent geyser pools are edged with multicolored draperies of rock. A thousand rills of boiling water rush across the surface, and steam condenses overhead to fall again in veils of mist.

The mineral-rich, slightly radioactive waters of Hammam-Meskoutine have long been regarded as beneficial to people suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, and other ailments. The Romans built installations here and called the place Aquae Thibilitanae, the “Waters of Thibilis.” (The imposing ruins at the Roman colony of Thibilis can still be seen nearby.) And although most people prefer to use the more modern facilities that have been built in recent years, some of the Roman baths at Hammam-Meskoutine are still in use today.


No one ever really needs bedroom fitted wardrobes. However, if you have one in your bedroom, you will often find your life easier and more convenient. There is nothing magical about a fitted wardrobe. It just offers several incremental improvements over a normal wardrobe, and these add up to make fitted bedroom wardrobes feel so much better.

When you walk into a bedroom with a fitted wardrobe, the first thing you notice is the height of the wardrobe. A normal wardrobe has a gap on top, and that gap picks up dust and cannot be used for storage. For most people, that gap is wasted space. However, bedroom fitted wardrobes stretch all the way up to the ceiling. The gap becomes a covered storage compartment which you can use to store your things. Obviously, you would not want to store anything too heavy, nor would you want to store anything that you need to use often. But that spot is great for packing away your spare blankets and curtain, among other things.

You will also notice that bedroom furniture fitted wardrobes tend to be wider than normal wardrobes. Many designs or models stretch from one wall to another wall. If you are single, you may think that this is too large. That’s fine. You can always pick something a bit smaller. For example, another common alternative is a wardrobe that stretches from one wall to the door of the bedroom, or to the door of the attached bathroom of a master bedroom. Obviously, these larger wardrobes give you more organized storage space.

One advantage of all this added space is the ability to fit a bigger hanging rack for your clothes. A normal wardrobe has just enough space for you to hang up the clothes you wear to your office. That’s assuming you did not buy one of the cheaper (or “modern”) designs which eschew this hanging space. But with bedroom wardrobes fitted wall-to-wall, for example, you can have an extra large hanging space for all your clothes. If you have separate sets of clothes for the different seasons, you need never pack and unpack them from storage ever again. You can now hang them all up together, at the same time.

Bedroom fitted furniture is not necessarily suitable for everyone. But they do offer some obvious advantages to many people, so if you have the budget, you should seriously think about getting your own.


Just because your doctor tells you that you have high cholesterol levels doesn’t mean that it’s a death sentence. As long as you are alive and kicking, there’s plenty of things you can do about the situation. It can be very overwhelming to try to overhaul a variety of aspects of your life all at once. That’s why it might be better to start off with simple things while taking care of the most problematic areas first. A lot of people assume that they have to adopt strict eating plans filled with bland and tasteless foods, but in many cases it’s possible to come up with a new diet that you actually enjoy. It’s important to educate yourself on various substitutions and be willing to embrace new possibilities. Here are some helpful tips to get you started on lowering your high cholesterol levels.

Check-in with your doctor – cholesterol can be tricky because you never know exactly where you stand, especially if you haven’t seen your physician in quite some time. This is why you need to stay in touch with your physician as much as possible in order to stay fully informed about your own situation. After all, you won’t know where to go if you don’t know your current situation.

Avoiding saturated fats and trans fats – by now you are probably well aware of these two terms and high cholesterol foods to avoid that they are associated with. The problem is not educating yourself, it’s more how you can avoid these types of foods in a practical way. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to cut them out completely, but at the same time it’s definitely ones they need to be eliminated as quickly as possible. Anything that is high in artificial fat that does not contain nutritional value should get a serious second look. Trans fats which are associated with fast food should be avoided at all costs because they can lower your overall levels of good cholesterol as well.

More fiber in your diet – fiber sometimes gets a bad reputation for being unpleasant to eat. But with a bit of creativity and more education, it can actually serve as a wonderful alternative to high cholesterol foods in your regular diet. No one says that you have to fill every meal of the day with fiber alternatives, but you can get off to a great start with a nice big bowl of fresh oatmeal for breakfast.

Fish instead of meat – you are still free to enjoy red meat on occasion, but it’s definitely time to look for alternatives. Who knows, you might even find dishes that you enjoy just as much as a big juicy steak. Fish is a great alternative because it boosts levels of good cholesterol in your system while providing your body with other benefits as well. Best of all, it is absolutely delicious in a variety of dishes and can accommodate many cooking styles.

Get active again – if you want to avoid having to deal with complications associated with cholesterol medication or severe limiting your diet, you can improve your situation with the addition of daily exercise. You can start off with walking if you haven’t been active in quite a while, and pretty soon you may find your endurance levels improving to handle more intensive types of activity. Exercise is great for your body and it will help you to balance things out while lowering cholesterol in time.


Training Your Dog To Walk On The Leash

Dogs have a knack at being a handful when you try to teach them an important skill. One of the biggest sources of frustration for many dog owners is teaching your dog how to (properly) walk on a leash. Puppies are not born with this skill, and if not taught at a young age, they will not develop the skill as an adult dog until you teach them.

Instead of being pulled, tugged, and stopping to sniff things at your dog’s whim, simple techniques will help you regain control of the situation. This is a crucial skill your dog must learn. If you continue letting your dog or puppy pull at the lead, he will think he is the boss of you, the alpha of the pack. If this doesn’t phase you, know that this attitude can result in unintended consquences where your dog feels he needs to defend you, his timid owner.

If you are starting out with a puppy, the following technique can be used without any training aids. When puppies start out on the right foot with training, it is easily engrained in them. If you have an older, adult dog, it can be harder to get through to them so go out and buy a dog training collar. I recommend starting with a prong collar. They are easy to use and give your dog the feedback he needs. If you try this collar and are facing a lot of resistance after weeks of training, you can upgrade to dog shock collars, which should be selected with the help of a professional.

The technique is simple; when you are out for your walk, each and every single time your dog pulls ahead of you on the leash, turn in a random direction and go another way. Do this with gusto, our dogs have a strong neck and can handle a little jostling. As you keep practicing, your dog will learn that he needs to pay attention to where you are going, and he will end up connecting that the direction reversal happens when they go ahead of you.

I recommend practicing this 20 minutes each and every day until they are proficient. When you master this stage you can continue to more advanced techniques, including heeling, and sitting when you stop walking. This technique will get the respect aspect of the training learned, which is the hardest part, after this your dog should be eager to please.


Tasty Tips for Cooking with Gas Grills

Cooking up a storm on your barbecue is always a treat, but it takes a lot more work than many people realize. It’s not just about throwing as much food onto the grill as possible and hoping that things turn out okay. You have to put effort into the process right from the beginning and all the way through until each and every piece of barbecue food comes off the grill. It’s all about love and it really shines through with this particular cooking method when you do the best job possible. Here are some simple tips that will make sure your barbecue meal turns out great every time.

Clean equipment – you would be surprised at how many people fire up their gas grills without cleaning them first. It’s absolutely essential that you clean your barbecue from top to bottom and that goes double if you’re using a charcoal grill. You don’t want leftovers from your last meal to get into your food, especially when it consists of burned particles that are utterly unhealthy.

Flavor - while you might get decent results from simply putting certain pieces of meat on your grill, you should always take every opportunity to add your own flavors. Whether it’s with a dry rub or your own secret barbecue sauce, try to marinade meat like chicken and pork for a good amount of time beforehand. Don’t make the rookie mistake of relying on barbecue sauce otherwise your food will taste generic and boring.

Fresh ingredients - far too many people these days rely on frozen barbecue food instead of buying fresh meat and produce from their local grocery store. It might be easier and faster to cook using burgers and chicken wings that come frozen, but there’s no way it’s going to taste as good. Use the best ingredients that you can afford and don’t forget about the wonderful world of vegetables and seafood either.

Side dishes – a barbecue isn’t just about what comes off your grill. It’s about the entire experience which means you have to make sure you have a bit of something for everyone. There should be traditional favorites like potato salad and coleslaw, and there are plenty of side dishes that you can find with multicultural inspirations. Try to come up with a balanced meal where your side dishes complements your meat which can be rather heavy-handed greasy.

Happy Grilling to you and your family!

Tagged with:

The Low-down on Minimalist Running Shoes

Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run brought minimalist running to the mainstream. Now, if you’re a runner on the internet, everywhere you turn you’ll find people who vow never to go back to regular running shoes or their old styles of running. If you’re curious about looking at whether minimalist or barefoot running would work for you, keep reading.

A Guide to Minimalist Running

Sneakers are a relatively new invention which came about with the discovery of vulcanized rubber in the early 1900s. Let’s think back way before that, however, to our hunting ancestors. In order to catch their prey, they had to be able to run fast and for long distances. What did they wear for shoes? Nothing, or at least near nothing. They ran because they had to to survive, and they were not hindered by a lack of padding in their shoes.

With the growing rigidity of our sneakers plus the extra padding in the heel of the shoe, our stride fundamentally changed from that of our ancestors. Ever wonder why runners are constantly injuring themselves? Well, this new stride made them prone to injury in a way that barefoot or minimalist running does not do.

Just so you know, when I say minimalist shoes I mean shoes that are close to the ground, with no support and little or no cushioning. These shoes span all types of running–there are even minimalist trail running shoes!

Minimalist Running Shoe Advantages

This change in stride is marked by what runners and trainers call a “heel strike.” This means that the runner lands on the heel first, with the rest of the foot following quickly after. This jars the hips, knees, and ankles and, in some cases, causes the calf muscle to pull away from the bone (the root of shin splints). Barefoot running or running with minimalist running shoes will force you to alter your stride to a less jarring one, simply because running on bare heels hurts. If you are able to keep this stride, you will be able to run longer distances without fatiguing as it is more efficient.

Different muscles in your legs, feet, and core will also start to develop as a result of the change. The more lean muscle you have, the faster and longer you can run.

Is Minimalist Running for You?

In the end, you should do whatever you’re most comfortable doing while running. Trying something new may help you break down a wall you couldn’t before, however. The only major downside to minimalist running is the transition. You must take it slow, adding only 10% more distance on a week. Once you get past the aches of the new muscles, you’ll may find that this is exactly what you needed.


Buying Non Slip Shoes Online

It is a good thing that our society is so concerned about the working class, unlike the bourgeois times when people working for others were treated as second-rate animals and their safety was mostly neglected. Many safety policies have been implemented in the various companies, one of those being the policy of wearing non slip shoes, which is especially noticeable in food service spheres and sometimes in construction or cruise businesses.

There are, however, several types of non slip shoes and not all are good for the purposes we’ve listed above. If you want to be mopping wet floors you certainly want to avoid buying shoes for skaters, which, although also qualify as “slip resistant” ones, are absolutely worthless for these types of labors. On the other hand, while not a topic of our article, you are looking for slip resistant shoes exactly for the extreme types of sports (like mountain climbing and skateboarding – something we’ve already mentioned) you also want to pick the non slip shoes that are specific to the activity you are planning to do.

Whatever you do there is one thing that needs to be clarified – there are no shoes that are one hundred percent resistant to slippery. If it were to us we would say that a more appropriate name for these shoes would be not “non slip shoes” but “less slip shoes”, as clumsy as it might sound. Common sense tells you that if you are mopping a wet floor and you step on the wet surface your footwear gets wet and that in turn means that it gets slippery. The so called non slip shoes are just better at driving the moisture out from their soles – that’s why the slip resistance.

If you buy the non slip shoes online you do want to check the reviews and the brands that these shoes belong to. Skechers are known to have mixed reviews, some saying that they are good, while others completely scoffing at them, so we personally wouldn’t recommend them. Shoes for crew, on the other hand, is one of the few companies that have concentrated solely on making quality slip resistant types of footwear, and many people have praised the shoes from this company. They even have their own patented SFC (which probably is an abbreviation for Shoes for Crew) technology they like to brag about on their website. There are certainly other brands, but those two were the first ones that came to our mind.

While you might also get concerned about their aesthetic looks we recommend you ignore this part – you are not buying some useless fashion accessory like thigh high boots, after all, so making sure the safety factors are there is your priority.


Chemical peels treatments are very popular choices for those who want professional skin treatment. But did you know that chemical peels have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years? Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used a primitive form of this treatment to improve the skin of kings and nobles.

Now, with the aid of advanced dermatological science, the treatment has evolved and has become more effective and producing immediate results. Home chemical peel treatments are also available for a low cost, but nevertheless effective skin treatment.

Chemical peels for home use usually involve light chemical peel agents. These types of solutions only target the topmost layers of the skin, reducing the risk for complications and making them suitable for home use. Glycolic acid peel products are the usual choices for home treatment.

Compared to professional chemical peel treatments, a home treatment costs significantly less; usually for as low as $150. The advanced treatments can set you back thousands of dollars.

But despite the low costs, chemical peels for home use are still very effective compared to the usual beauty products that most of us purchase.

Home chemical peels:

  1. Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  2. Effectively exfoliates the outer layers of the skin
  3. Reduces age spots
  4. Removes dead skin cells to give your skin a healthy, youthful glow

Since these kinds of peels are of light strength, potential damage to the skin is reduced as well as pain and discomfort. Another advantage is that you can achieve young, healthy looking skin at the comfort of your own home

Chemical peel treatments are indeed very effective for improvement and rejuvenation of the skin. These benefits however, may come with a very high price tag. Fortunately, home chemical peel products like a glycolic acid peel are great alternatives. They give the benefits of professional chemical peel treatments at a fraction of the cost.