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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hosting A Summer Get-Together

Image Source: Pexels CC0 License

Usually carried out outdoors, hog roasts commonly take place at shows and exhibitions and is a spectacle that is increasingly being employed to make any special occasion such as a birthday party or wedding celebration even more visually impressive.

However, they are also perfect for a garden get-together with family and friends. Party Pony Trailers can supply you with the bar you need and you’re good to go. Below, we will tell you more about this tradition, as well as serving it at your own party.

A cultural practice
The tradition of the hog roast usually entails roasting the pig on a spit, turning it frequently under a flame; or sometimes in a huge purpose-made oven. The practice can be traced back many centuries to Saxon times when people hunted the wild boar and roasted it as part of their Yuletide celebrations. In many old pictures and in literature, you will find mention of roasting a pig or hog as the main attraction of notable events and celebrations. Today, of course, many of us hold barbecues in our back gardens in the summer months and the hog roasting is a way to mark an event in an even more special way.

Part of modernity
These days, not many people have the time, skills, or resources to add a hog roast to their party preparations. And yet it is a popular choice, always a crowd-pleaser. This is why we are increasingly seeing specialist companies being established who will either hire you the equipment required or come and prepare the feast for you at the venue of your choice.

Roasting a whole pig on your own: Preparation
If you want to do the roasting yourself, there's no formula for roasting a hog but just the basics to adhere to. A local hog roast service provider may provide you with the machine, ingredients, and instructions on how to operate and cook it. So we're now assuming you have the meat ready for roasting. You should now ready the machine for roasting.

The next step is to fill up the hog with stuffing, then sew the pig's cavity shut so everything is intact (use rice-stuffing or any recipe of your choice to do this). Most of the time, this is already done by the caterer for you and you will just do the roasting.

The roasting process
The rule of thumb here is to keep the fire slow but steady. Using the instructions provided, you can use a meat or grill thermometer to make sure the heat is between 107 and 121 degrees Celsius or 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that this is the temperature of the fire, so you also have to check the temperature for various parts of the meat to ensure even cooking.

Depending on the size of what you're roasting, the hog should cook on the rotisserie for between 4 to 24 hours. The meat should not be too close to the flame as you risk cooking it too quickly and burning up the skin.

As you can see, this is a skill that’s not easy to master so you may need the expertise of a local few hog roast caterer to do the roasting for you.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Delicate Art Of The Work - Life Balance

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Whether you work for yourself or you are an employee, the pressure that our careers put on our home life is immense, especially during a time of global crisis. Financial pressures, a need to deliver on client briefs and adapting to the world-changing around us all mean more time behind the desk and less time with the family.

Balancing your work and life is incredibly difficult. Even if we aren’t working on something physically, we can often be thinking about a problem we have or a campaign we need to create, and this takes our mind off our children or our partner. This can make your family feel you aren’t mentally or emotionally available, which can lead to issues in our meaningful relationships.

There are some steps we can take to restore the balance and ensure we give enough time to work, our families and ourselves.

If you work from home, it may be time to consider sourcing an office space away from the house. See if there are flexible workplaces near you, which you could use for a day or two in the week or even rent for a few months. This will help you define your working hours from your home hours.

You should set boundaries both within the office and with your family. Work needs to understand that from a specific time in the day, and at weekends, you will be with your family and won’t respond to emails. Your family should also respect that you should only be contacted if there is an emergency at home. Having two phones can help this situation, a personal phone which is switched off at work, and a work phone which you turn off at home.

Using a method like time blocking will also help you to achieve a more productive working day and highlight the hours you are free to dedicate to the family. A time block is a list of jobs you need to get done with an allocated time set to do them. You should prioritise your most important assignments to the hours you know you are more productive. Then fit everything else around that. Stick to the times you have given yourself and don’t be tempted to slot things in when you should be reading a bedtime story to your son.

Once you have found time to fit your family and work into your day, you need to take some time for yourself. This could be an hour with your friends at a bar or taking time out in the gym or even just to read a book. You shouldn’t just dedicate every working hour to other people, you will burn out, and this will cause you to be less productive and potentially grow resentful of those that want some of your time.

Making sure you find ways to balance all parts of your life will ensure you have a more rounded lifestyle which will make everything more successful.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Six Ingenious Ways to De-stress Before Bed

Do you always find yourself awake at two in the morning while the world around you is in deep slumber because your mind just doesn’t want to cooperate? If yes, you’re not alone. According to the American Sleep Association, approximately 50 million Americans struggle with a sleep disorder. While there are countless reasons behind this prevalence, stress has been tagged as the main culprit. That is why it’s incredibly essential you find ways to relax before you hit the sheets. Got no idea where to start? Worry not because here are the top six stress management techniques before bed.

1. Stretch Out a Little
Relaxation is the key to good, quality sleep. However, if your stress hormone levels are high, your brain cannot relax and neither can you sleep. The good news, however, is that after any form of physical activity, stress hormone levels take a dip, while the happy, relaxation hormone levels increase. This not only helps you relax but also lifts your spirits. Also, your body becomes tired such that the only thing you want is rest.

In that light, one way to de-stress before hitting the sack is engaging in a physical activity a few hours or a few minutes before bedtime. It doesn’t have to be intense. It can be something as seamless as jogging a few hours before bedtime, or some gentle stretching thirty minutes or an hour before you sleep.

2. Skip the Screens
Using your phone, tablet, or iPad before or while in bed has a direct, negative impact on your sleep. The blue light emitted by these devices suppresses the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. With low melatonin levels, getting your 40 winks becomes super hard.

Skip the screens before bedtime. In fact, don’t go with your phone to your bedroom. Having it on your nightstand even if you’re not using it poses a distraction because a single notification may have you trying to fall asleep again for hours.  In other words, let the bedroom be the bedroom. Don’t have a TV or computer screen in there, and don’t take your phone there with you.

3. Take a Bath
In addition to exercising and leaving your devices out of your bedroom, taking a bath is another very effective sleep management technique before bed. Soaking up in the bathtub or just taking a bath just before you curl up in bed automatically helps your body relax. You can make it even more relaxing by adding some essential oils in your bathing water.

4. Bring in Some Calming Scents
Our sense of smell is directly wired to the brain’s limbic system. This system is the brain’s center for emotional reactions and memory. Essential oils have been proven to directly interact with the cells in this region and when they do, they promote calming and relaxation effects.

This means introducing them to your bedroom, either through essential oil candles or as your favorite form of aromatherapy can be beneficial to your sleep. They promote relaxation by easing brain hyperactivity, and as a result, it becomes easier for you to drift to sleep. The best essential oils for sleep include lavender, vanilla, jasmine, rose, and geranium among many others.

5. Sip Some Chamomile Tea
Nothing is as relaxing as drinking a cup of tea after a hot, essential-oil infused bath while you take in the beautiful scents of your essential oil candle. But note, regular tea contains caffeine so it will only make it harder for you to sleep.

With that said, if you like or must take something before bed, then take a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile has been proven effective in easing anxiety which further promotes relaxation, and consequently a night of beautiful, uninterrupted sleep.

6. Better Your Sleep Conditions
The above de-stressing tips will be incredibly beneficial to your sleep quality. However, while trying them out, remember your sleep conditions also greatly contribute to the quality of your sleep and physical health.

For instance, if you have a thinned out mattress, you’ll not only wake up with body aches but may also have uninterrupted sleep all night. Therefore, while trying out the tips above, don’t forget to invest in quality beddings.

The Essence of a Bedtime Routine
Remember when you were a child and your mum would ensure that at least by 9 pm she had already read you a bedtime story and tucked you in bed? The next morning you would probably wake up at six or seven in the morning without an alarm and what’s more, very energetic! Your mind was so used to relaxing at around 8 or 9 pm, you’d start dozing off on the couch if your mum or dad doesn’t ensure you’re in bed by then. Such is the power of a bedtime routine.

Having a regular sleep routine enables your brain to automatically relax when it’s around bedtime. As a result, it becomes easier for you to sleep. Not only that, you also get quality sleep, enabling you to function at peak levels the next day. With that said, create a regular bedtime routine and if you’ve got no idea where to start, follow our stress management techniques before bed above.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

10 Easy Ways to Have More Energy

Everyone feels a bit lethargic at times. You have lots to do, but you just can’t seem to summon up the energy. A cup of coffee or a quick hit of sugar may perk you up for a little while, but you eventually crash and feel even more fatigued than before. If you find yourself struggling to get up and go, here are some tips to give yourself a quick energy boost.

1. Get the right amount of sleep
It may sound obvious, but the reason you’re feeling tired may be a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation reduces the body’s ability to function correctly and makes you feel lethargic, irritable, and unable to focus. Get at least seven hours of sleep at night, but make sure you set the alarm. Too much sleep can actually be bad for your energy levels. Avoid napping throughout the day and focus on the quality of your sleep over the quantity. Stay away from screens before bed and make your bedroom comfortable and noise-free.

2. Don’t skip breakfast
Eating breakfast fuels your body for the rest of the day. If you don’t eat in the morning, you will feel the effects later. Ensure longer-lasting energy by eating a large, healthy meal when you wake up.

3. Improve your diet
What you eat has a massive impact on how you feel. Whole, nutritious foods give your body the nutrients it needs to function well, while fatty, sugary, or processed meals will deplete your energy levels. Skipping meals or overeating will also have a negative impact.

4. Reduce your workload
If you are overworked, your body will go into overdrive and then start to shut down, leading to fatigue and tiredness. If you are regularly affected by low energy levels, try to lighten your workload. This includes any professional, family, or social obligations.

5. Exercise
Exercise is the best natural energy booster there is. It circulates oxygen around your body and helps you sleep better at night. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day, even a brisk walk around the block, will help you feel more energized.

6. Don’t smoke
Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. Even if you’re only a casual smoker, it can have a considerable impact on your energy levels. Smoking releases hormones that cause insomnia, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

7. Limit alcohol intake
While a glass of wine with lunch is perfectly acceptable, don’t expect to be productive in the afternoon. Drinking alcohol has a sedative effect, making you more likely to nap than get any work done.

8. Drink water
Dehydration reduces the ability of your body to function effectively. Drink eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and alert.

9. Be social
People with stable social connections have better mental and physical health, while social isolation can lead to tiredness and low mood. If you’re feeling sapped, have a quick call with a positive friend to put in a spring in your step.

10. Use caffeine wisely
Caffeine is most people’s go-to solution for low energy, but it should be used carefully. A cup of coffee will increase your alertness for a short while, perfect for those quick tasks you need to finish at the end of the day. But use it sparingly, and not late in the afternoon, or you will struggle to sleep. If caffeine is not your thing, there are plenty of caffeine-free natural energy boosters that you can buy in any health store.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

S'well Traveler Review

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post.

Not Sponsored: My first S'well insulated water bottle was gifted to me by Aveeno. I was an Aveeno brand ambassador for three years. I was so impressed with S'well, that I started gifting the insulated water bottles to friends. Well here we are in 2020 and S'well has truly expanded you guys. Not only do they have the original bottles, but now they carry travelers, tumblers, roamers, commuters, S'ip bottles, S'ip mugs and S'ip tumblers. Did you know they had all of that? I surely didn't. They also have eat, snack, prep bowls, straws and barware. Well, I just purchased one of their Travelers. Travelers keep drinks cold up to 28 hours and hot for 15 hours (20 oz design)(see chart below for other sizes). They're offered in 12 oz, 16 oz and 20 oz designs. There is an assortment of patterns to choose from. I chose the Onyx Traveler in the 16 oz size. S'well Travelers feature Therma-S’well(R) Technology with triple-layered, vacuum-insulated construction designed to keep beverages colder or hotter, longer than all the rest. They are made from 18/8, food-grade stainless steel with superior construction that allows for refilling and reusing easily to reduce the need for single-use plastic water bottles. A copper wall layer creates a condensation-free exterior that won't sweat on your hands or in your bag. The Traveler features a wide mouth and thick rim for easy drinking. Ice cubes fit effortlessly inside. Ergonomic grip allows for even more on-the-go ease. The Traveler is BPA/BPS-Free and reusable. Hand-wash only. Everything that S'well stated in their description was TRUE. I've really been loving using it and enjoying it. Plus it works really well with my Keurig. For everyday, it is more manageable than their taller original. I had to purchase the commuter lid separately (see below) but it works so well with the traveler (to sip and not spill). This lid comes standard on The Commuter, but The Commuter keeps things cold for 24 hours and hot for 6 hours. The Traveler keeps things hot & cold for several more hours. So you have to decide what you want. I like that the lid snaps close securely. We all should reduce our plastic water bottle usage and this is a great way to do so. I still buy water in plastic bottles because sometimes the water system here in New Orleans is very fragile. They may put you under a boil water advisory (boil your water for 15 minutes). Well when that happens you can't use your filtered water via your refrigerator or tap water. So keeping a case or two handy is necessary. But when that doesn't happen, I keep refilling my S'well Traveler and Original. I just wanted to share how impressed I was with my purchase. Don't hesitate purchasing one.

supersweet(run & buy it) sweet(really good,buy it) bittersweet(ok, issues)not sweet(not good,don't buy this stuff) 
  S'well Traveler is Supersweet


REN Clean Skincare | Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream Review

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post.

Not Sponsored: A reoccurring problem I have is darkness (hyper-pigmentation) on my cheeks from sun exposure. The only products I've found to keep it in check are Murad's Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum and Aveeno's Positively Radiant Targeted Tone Corrector. So when REN came out with their NEW Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream I got really excited. They also gave out (online) free deluxe samples of this cream. I use REN Skincare daily and it has really kept my dry/sensitive/reactive skin in check. This cream is "formulated to work while you sleep to target only dark spots." It's suppose to reduce the look of hyper pigmentation in as little as 7 days. Well ... I took a before picture ... I then used this product for EIGHT (8) days ... and then took an after picture. I saw absolutely no lightening of the dark area on my cheek at all. Nothing. If you click on my Murad or Aveeno review, you can see there was lightening of the skin. Unfortunately not with this cream you guys. And at a whopping price tag, you expect it to work (and work well). This cream is off-white. It applies clear. It has a clinical scent. I experienced no irritation whatsoever. The packaging is great! The cap is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. It has a 100%  recyclable glass jar. REN asked for you to write a review on Sephora's website. I read the reviews and some people said that it did lighten their dark spots and others said it didn't. Try and get a sample before committing to this product.

supersweet(run & buy it) sweet(really good,buy it) bittersweet(ok, issues)not sweet(not good,don't buy this stuff) 
  REN Clean Skincare Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream is Not Sweet

Before vs. After (Used it for 8 days ... 1 extra day)


Your Guide to Staying Healthy While at Home

Since practicing social distancing, many of us may have been dismayed to find that when eschewing going out for drinks, apps and other yummy treats, the pounds haven’t simply fallen away as expected. Instead, we seem to have gained what people are calling the “2020 20”, and it’s no wonder, with everyone at home baking homemade loaves of sourdough, biscuits, cakes and instagramming all their decadent meals. Not to mention, in times of stress and uncertainty, many of us turn to our favorite foods, including the junk food of our childhoods, for nostalgia, to make us feel better.