4 Quick And Useful Knots To Know For Sailing

When first learning to sail, some of the most essential things to know are the different types of knots and what they are used for. Knots are very useful in many ways, for example you need knots to dock, anchor, and sail your boat. There are many types of helpful knots to learn, however, no need to feel overwhelmed; you can get by with learning only a few essential knots at first. Once you have mastered those you can move on to others.
Four quick and useful knots to start with are the bowline, clove hitch, cleat hitch, and the sheet bend.

Bowline
The bowline is one of the most popular knots used, it is a quick and simple knot that can be tied to a fixed object. You can also tie any two fixed lines together with this knot. Turning the end of your rope into a hoop makes this knot. It tightens under pressure but can also be untied easily when needed.

Clove Hitch
The clove hitch knot, though not as secure as the bowline, is another knot that is quick and simple but extremely useful at the same time. This knot is commonly used when docking, to hang the fenders over the side. The end of the line should be wrapped around the post you are attaching to. The line would then be crossed over it and wrapped again. The wrapped part of the rope is then slightly loosened; the end slipped under, and then just gives it a few pulls to make sure it is strong and secure.

Cleat Hitch
The cleat hitch knot has a variety of uses. Just as the name expresses, a cleat knot is simply a knot that attaches to a cleat to secure your boat. A cleat is a metal object that is typically attached to a dock in which a rope from a boat can be securely attached to. A cleat hitch knot’s uses include docking your boat, anchoring, and towing smaller vessels among a few.

Sheet Bend
A sheet bend knot is used to attach two lines together and is also used when a stronger knot is needed as reinforcement. First making a loop in one of the lines creates this knot with the working part over the standing part. Starting below the loop, feed the second line through the loop. The end is then passed behind the standing part of the first line. Pass the end over and through the loop and pull to tighten.

Although there are several commonly used knots while sailing, these four should get you started and on your way. The more practice you have using them the more comfortable you will be when it’s time to sail.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Car for the Cold Weather

Winter will be here before you know it. Depending on what area of the United States that you live you may encounter frigid temperatures, snow, and ice in the wintertime. Winter weather can be dangerous to drive in and can really do a number on your vehicle. Here are some tips to help you and your car get prepared for this weather:

 

 

  1. Check Your Coolant Levels: It is important to have the proper antifreeze and water mix to prevent the fluids from freezing in your radiator. Test to ensure this mix is accurate and top off fluids if necessary.
  2. Check and Change Oil: Some auto repair shops recommend a different oil viscosity depending on the weather. Check your car manual or with your local mechanic to ensure you have the proper oil for the temperatures in your area.
  3. Check/Change Wiper Fluid: Wiper fluid can freeze on your windshield during the winter months. Change out to a windshield washer formula that is formulated for the winter weather – some include a de-icer to help with ice formations.
  4. Inspect/Replace Tires: It is important to check tire pressure, tire tread and overall condition of your tires. Increase tire pressure if needed and if your tires are a little worse for wear – it may be time to get new ones. If you live in an area that receives a lot of snow, it may be best to get snow tires specifically for the wintertime.
  5. Check Battery: Cold weather can put a strain on your battery. Check all battery cable connections and have your battery tested to ensure it still is working properly.
  6. Keep De-Icer Nearby: During the cold wet weather, oftentimes car locks will freeze. It is important to get a tube of lock de-icer to have on hand. Don’t store it in your vehicle, as it will not be of help when the locks are iced over. It is wise to keep a tube in your purse, jacket pocket, and/or desk at work.
  7. Pack a Cold Weather Kit: Packing a cold weather kit in your car can be helpful if you ever have car trouble in the cold weather. The best items to keep in your emergency kit would be:
    1. Ice Scraper – helps de-ice your windows so you can see to drive
    2. Kitty Litter – can help with traction if you are having problems on the ice, plus it is good to have extra weight in your vehicle
    3. Road Flares – In case of an accident, road flares can help others see your vehicle
    4. Blanket, Extra Coat, Boots, Socks, etc. – It is always good to have extra warm items on hand in case you get stranded
    5. Flashlight with batteries – this will help if it gets dark
    6. Food and Water – something like protein bars, granola bars or nuts would be perfect to have on hand
    7. Tow rope – in case someone needs to tow you.
    8. Jumper cables – in case your car needs a jump
    9. Battery powered cell phone charger – to charge your phone in a hurry if you need to make an emergency call
    10. Snow shovel – Some people like to have a snow shovel in their vehicle. This can be helpful if stuck in the snow.

 

This winter, make sure you are prepared for any inclement weather by following these tips.

9 Tips for Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress for You

Before purchasing a wedding gown, many brides visit more than one salon – or visit one salon more than once before making a decision. If you are newly engaged and are in the planning stages, here are 9 tips that can help you find your perfect wedding dress.

 

  1. Set a budget: Set a budget and stick to it. Look at your financials and figure out how much you want to spend on your wedding gown and alterations. Don’t try on any wedding dresses that are above the maximum you are able to spend. Too many brides have fallen in love with a dress that is way outside of their budget. They either purchase and are in debt or pass on it and feel like they are settling. If you tell your consultant the max you are willing to spend – not a penny more, she should show you only gowns that are within your budget so that problem can be avoided.
  2. Shop 9-12 months ahead: Some gowns need to be ordered, and it can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year for the gown to be made. Time can vary greatly depending on the dressmaker. It is advised that you shop for and pick out your gown 9-12 months ahead of your big day to avoid any issues. If you have less time, your consultant can pull only dresses that she knows can be ordered in time or show you sample gowns which typically can be taken home same day. One downside to sample gowns is that sizes are typically limited as they are the dresses that people try on in stores. Another downside is that they may have small rips in them, broken zippers, makeup or dirt on them.
  3. Narrow down the fit: Have in mind the style of dress you are looking for. Look online at different styles (mermaid, A-line, ball gown, etc.) and narrow it down, so you can focus on those style dresses at your appointment.
  4. Make bridal salon appointments: Make one or two bridal salon appointments. There aren’t many places that allow walk-ins, so setting an appointment will ensure that you will have a consultant there to focus on helping you.
  5. Select your entourage carefully: Be careful on who you bring to your dress appointment. Bring people along that support you and will encourage you as you are trying on dresses. Don’t bring a long anyone that is highly opinionated or that doesn’t respect your judgment.
  6. Look the part: If you know you want to wear your hair up on your big day, wear your hair up to the bridal salon. Same thing if you know you want to wear your hair down. Putting on some makeup can be helpful too; especially if you know that you want to wear it to your wedding. Being somewhat put together can help give you an image on what you will look like on the day of your wedding.
  7. Bring undergarments and shoes: Bring the shoes that you want to wear on your big day to ensure you get the right length of dress. If you know what undergarments you want to wear under your dress, it would be good to bring those as well. If you don’t have shoes or undergarments yet, most bridal salons sell a selection.
  8. Keep an open mind: It doesn’t hurt to try on something a little out of your comfort zone or a style you are unsure about – you may find you’ll be surprised.

Take pictures: If you are torn between two dresses and want to sleep on the decision, have someone take a few photos of you in each dress that you can look back on later. The bonus of taking photos is you can see how well the dress photographs.

6 Perfect Looks For Your Summer Wedding

If you are planning on having your wedding during the summer months, there are many ways you can design it to reflect the proper summer atmosphere. Since most weddings take place during the summer traditionally, there are many proven ways that have been used to create the perfect summer look.

Choose The Right Venue

With so many different places available to host your wedding, in order for it to look and feel right, you should choose one with both an indoor and outdoor facility. If you live in an area near a body of water, you may want to find one where you could possibly have your ceremony arranged at the waters edge. Make sure the garden areas are equally set up with blooming flowers in all colors.

Wedding Dresses And Bridal Attire

Summer colors are vibrant and outstanding. Your wedding party should be dressed in matching colors of different hues and the pieces should be long and flowing. You may want to skip the tuxedo type groomsmen’s outfits and replace them with light shirts and dress pants. These will seem less constrictive and allow your wedding party to be comfortable in the warmer weather.

Your wedding dress should also be light and airy. Choose one with either an off the shoulder style or sleeveless. Chiffon is a material that is put into many of the summer dresses available. Keeping yourself comfortable on this day is most important. Headpieces could be a simple crown with a short veil or you could have a simple flower piece to place in your hair.

Appetizers And Dinner Choices

You will want to keep your food choices light in order to keep in line with your summer theme. Appetizers should consist of berries, light cheeses and citrus fruits. Instead of having a sit down dinner, you could offer your guests a buffet style.

Venue Decor And Table Settings

Your table settings should be simple with seasonal flowers in them. If you are given a choice of lighting inside, you should keep it in line with the colors you have chosen for your wedding.

Incorporate Some Art

You may want to hire an artist to come in and paint watercolor pictures of your guests. This is a big hit at many weddings.

Bridal Gifts That Fit The Theme

The gifts you give your guests should be made up of flowers and sprigs of berries. Simple and easy to make.

All summer weddings should be kept minimal and light. Flowers are the main ingredient in a beautiful wedding. Try to keep your guests as comfortable as you can even if the temperatures are high. You can find a lot of tips and how to’s online if you do research.

6 Great Tips for Decorating For Your Summer Party

Decorating for your summer party involves more than just putting plates and a tablecloth on a table and making sure everyone has food and beverages to enjoy. It also involves keeping pests away, putting up decorations that coordinate with the event, and setting up an area for games or activities so that everyone has something to do at the party. Fortunately, there are a few tips that you can keep in mind to achieve the best party with friends and family.

1. Plan Ahead 
One of the important things about a summer party is planning ahead. While most parties are held outdoors, you should have a backup plan in the event that it storms or rains. Make a list of the food that you’ll serve and the people you’re going to invite so that you’ll have enough food for everyone to enjoy. Try to keep a pathway open in the yard to prevent guests from feeling like they are only supposed to be in one area.

2. Light The Way 
Consider having your party in the evening because it might be a bit cooler outside for your guests. However, you should have candles on the tables and lights along the pathways so that guests can see where they are walking. You could also use candles that have insect repellent in them to make guests comfortable. Rope lights are a good idea as well as they add a bit of flair to the party and often come in a variety of colors.

3. Tabletops 
The tables are perhaps the easiest to decorate. Using a theme for your party would be the easiest way to decorate. Examples include a luau with pineapples and bright flowers on the tables or a patriotic party for the 4th of July with red, white, and blue decorations. After putting a tablecloth on the table, place your centerpiece before adding decorations on both sides to balance out the table.

4. Use All Of The Space 
Whether your party is inside your house or outside, use the space that you have to its fullest potential. Use an area of the deck for grilling while one area is decorated for dancing or with comfortable seats where guests can talk to each other. Spread the tables and chairs around the space that you have to give guests a bit of freedom instead of keeping everyone piled on top of each other.

5. Disposable Decorations

When you buy decorations for your party, get items that you can throw away at the end of the evening. From plates and cups to balloons and streamers, find as many items as possible that you can toss into a trash bag so that you don’t have to wash or clean anything. However, if you know that you’re going to have another party in the near future, consider getting solid colors or universal designs that can be used again.
6. Create Zones
Section off the yard into zones to make it easier to decorate. One could be for games, one could be for food, and another zone could be for relaxing. Each area can be decorated with balloons and posters in bright colors as well as other decorations that coordinate with the theme of your party.

7 Essential Tips to Vet a Potential Electrician

There are a few electrical jobs that a DIYer with some basic skills can do themselves, such as screwing in a lightbulb. But a layperson really should not go much farther than that. There are many jobs that must only be done by a professional electrician. These include rewiring a room, changing breakers or adding receptacles and making sure that a revamped electrical system is compliant with local codes. But as with any major job, the homeowner needs to vet the electrician before taking them on. Here are seven tips to make sure the electrician is right for the job:

1. Get Recommendations 
As with every contractor, a homeowner should get recommendations from neighbors and coworkers who have used electricians who work in the area. They can also look up online reviews given to certain electricians.

2. Find Out How Much the Job Usually Costs 
The cost of building or renovating a house can vary wildly, but the cost of certain electrical jobs fall within a more narrow range. The homeowner should find out how much the job they want usually costs in their community. Knowing that helps the homeowner know when a bid is suspiciously low or suspiciously high.

3. Interview the Contractor 
If the homeowner has a really big electrical job, they should interview at least three electricians. Questions to ask include the electrician’s rates, whether their work is warrantied and whether they are prompt. The electrician should also be willing to provide references.

4. Make Sure the Electrician Has the Proper Credentials
The electrician needs to be licensed, insured and bonded. The homeowner should check the Better Business Bureau’s website to make sure that the electrician does not have any unresolved complaints against them. The homeowner might even want to know the results of a criminal background check on the electrician.

5. How Far Do They Need to Travel? 
The farther away the electrician’s business is, the higher their travel charges. Whether the homeowner is satisfied with the ratio of the travel charges and the contractor’s hourly rate depends on how big the job is. For example, it’s better if the electrician has a large travel charge and a low rate if they’re taking on a big job.

6. Ask About Payment Options 
Most electricians are pleased to accept cash, credit or debit. Some take a personal check. The homeowner can pay right after the job is finished or have the electrician send a bill. Tips are always appreciated.

7. Only Call for Electrical Problems 
Some people call electricians when they have problems with their appliances, computer or even their HVAC system. The electrician does not deal with these things. Electricians are also not the people to call during a power outage. That is the bailiwick of the homeowner’s power company.

3 Exotic Cigar Flavors

A famous figure in history once said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”. While this may be true, such words of philosophical practicality and grandeur would still be lost on the hordes of cigar enthusiasts throughout the world. Living in the 21st century has been a wild ride thus far, with pitfalls and victories alike dotting the timeline. Fortunately, one of these many triumphs have come in the form of a perpetually advancing level of technological prowess. Cigar enthusiasts of the 21st century have been rejoicing in the effects these advancements have made for their hobby, as displayed below in this list of exotic cigar flavors.

1. Sometimes, it isn’t merely the flavor of the cigar itself that makes it exotic but the method in which it was crafted. According to a recent article by the New York Times, researchers in Emeryville, CA have created a line of cigars that are imbued with scents made from re-engineered yeast. Flavors such as saffron, vanilla and patchouli have been used with wild abandon throughout history, and with the aid of modern science, cigar fiends can enjoy the smooth exotic tastes of this wide world with every pull. These cigars are a marvel of ingenuity, and would be hard to envision even in the recent past.

2. Sometimes, the exoticism of the cigar comes from it’s very origin. Sometimes the story behind the smoke is like a flavor in itself, allowing the smoker to fall back into time to get a fly’s-eye view of unfolding history. A couple of years ago, residents of Miami were privy to a certain treat: the chance to get their hands on three pre-embargo Cuban cigars. The history behind these cigars is rich and almost controversial, making them a much sought-after piece for any collector worth their salt. In this regard, history became a flavor of its own to these three collector’s gems and would be hard-pressed to replicate.

3. While the previous two examples of exoticism are based in the literal plane, this last addendum stumbles out from the lines and into the realm of abstraction. The Bay Area once again takes home the crown for ingenuity on this one, as San Francisco’s DeLise Desert Cafe caps its menu off with a drink that looks like a chai tea latte but is in fact a confection made from the essence of aged tobacco. It is like the old saying goes, “a cigar in the hand is worth two in the drink.”

There is no foreseeable end to the possibilities available in the world of exotic cigars. There will always be another flavor with another story, and to that end cigar enthusiasts and rest knowing they’re secured.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Storage Company

Your home can no longer accommodate all the items you have. These things are important to you so; you are not willing to dispose of them. The solution to your issue is renting a storage space. Every storage facility varies in features and other factors. Before renting space, consider several factors that will land you an appropriate space for your things.

 

  • Location

Choose a storage facility that is at a convenient location. This determinant is mainly relevant if you frequently need some of the things stored in your space. If the site is not a primary factor, then consider other priorities no matter the location of the facility.

 

  • Value

A price is attached to space you will get in the facility. Therefore, ensure that you get the most out of your money. For example, the space you get should be worth the rent you are paying. Take advantage of special offers and discounts that are available. It is also wise to bargain for favorable terms. Avoid facilities that have hidden charges, which will catch you unaware.

 

  • Storage Amenities

Think about your needs and those of your items. Look for a storage facility that has amenities that will suit your needs. For example, storage facilities ought to have security. It means that among the amenities should be surveillance, fencing, and security personnel among other provisions. Ensure that the facility has resources to cater for all your storage needs.

 

  • Space

Space is the primary reason for renting a storage facility. Consider the number of items that you will be transferring to the facility and evaluate the needed space. It is also wise to factor in the future. You may have additional commodities that will need to be stored in that space. Therefore, choose a spacious rental. Remember that big spaces will require more charges. Think about what is a priority for you. If space is first, the cost should not be a problem. In case you cannot afford the rent for a spacious room, then settle for whatever is within your budget.

 

  • Accessibility

You may have a convenient location of your storage space and suitable amenities with affordable rental charges. Unfortunately, availability is a problem, especially when you need something after-work hours. Not all facilities are accessible around the clock. If you need to visit your store often and spontaneously, ensure you choose a facility that offers 24 hours services. You may want something from the facility yet you cannot get it, regardless of the urgency.

 

Do not dispose essential things to you because you do not have space in your house. Look for a storage facility within your reach and affordability and rent some space. Factor in all your storage needs and choose a facility that will fulfill all of them.

How Cell Phone Companies Increase Your Bill

Cell phone bills are pricey, and because it’s a part of the norm, cell phone providers are milking the growing demand. The dependency on cell phones is a major factor why cell phone bills are ascending. However, we do need to know how cell phone companies raise the bill.

Landline Cutting 
Juggling a cell phone bill and a landline bill is too much. The landline bill is expensive, and since it attracts telemarketers more than loved ones, cutting it makes sense to many. Consequently, cell phone providers know about the decrease in landline use and use it to their advantage. Today’s cell phone plans go by a no-contract monthly amount or a cell phone contract where owners pay a set amount as long as the contract is active.

Emerging Fees 
It seems cell phone companies love to penny pinch by tacking on fees. While there’s a price for different phone bill plans, cell phone companies add fees. The problem is cell phone companies repeatedly add fees. Examples include an activation fee, early termination fee, roaming fee, 911 fee, administrative fee, contract extension fee, phone replacement fee, and a fee for talk/text/data overage. As companies add new fees and change others, there’s no recourse to reduce or eliminate fees thanks to the service agreement and terms of use.

Data Limit 
A large reason data use has limitations is people overuse data. Data includes internet use, video game use, music streaming, and video streaming. Companies offered unlimited data use, but after many people consumed data plans as much as text and talk, companies did a 180. Today, providers offer a certain GB of data and charge a fee for overage. An alternative way to cap data use is to reduce the speed.

Taxes 
A second fee accumulating to high phone bills is taxes. Federal, state, county, and city taxes contribute to the bill’s continued rise. Since sales taxes attach to every purchase, a cell phone bill is no exception. The bill adds taxes because it’s mandatory government fees to keep the city, county, state, and federal services and programs going. As taxes rise, so does the bill.

Ignorance 
It’s outrageous to assume our ignorance contributes to a costly bill, but it’s possible. People often purchase a phone without thorough research “just to fit in” or because “it’s cheap.” Review the phone bill and analyze phone usage in the past three months. Are you really using MOST minutes, text, and/or data given? Are you using international plans? Do you need phone insurance? Additionally, read the fine print. Is that cheap phone plan cheap for a limited time? Can companies add new fees freely without a limit? Be honest and eliminate items not in use. Switch to a lower-paying plan if necessary.

Luckily, there are smaller, inexpensive alternatives the major brands own along with affordable independent providers out there. Since all providers contain pros and cons, use this information as a research strategy to find a great provider meeting your qualifications.

3 Things to Look for When Purchasing Reloading Brass

Reloading brass is like every other product in that there are a lot of things to keep in mind if you want to get a good deal. Every shooter should try to be familiar with the topic because there are so many things that can cause a shortage that forces people to either reload their ammo or stop shooting. That risk combines with the many advantages of reloading to make brass a precious commodity for every shooter.

Pristine Brass

The quality of the brass itself is the most important concern for any shooter that wants to stock up and make their own ammunition. The vast majority of retailers will sell brass that has either been fired only once, or brass that is completely new. Both of them will work, since brass can normally be used many times before it starts to wear out and degrade.

That having been said, it is wise to keep an eye out for manufacturing defects or simple wear and tear. The brass should not be deformed or cracked. Every piece should be examined before reloading, just to be safe, but it is also wise to check it out before buying. If you can’t examine the brass in person, look for reviews and testimonials that prove the retailer has sold quality brass in the past.

Bulk Pricing

Most of the shooters who take up reloading do it so that they can shoot more while spending less money. Most of them buy their brass in bulk to make sure that they have enough, so it is wise to look for bulk pricing to get the best deal possible.

This is especially important for people who do not expect to buy more brass on a regular basis. The brass will eventually wear out, and some of it is likely to get lost instead of being recovered after shooting, but most reloaders can make their supply last for quite some time without any difficulty. The natural choice under those circumstances is to make a single, large purchase for each caliber, and then to restock and make up for losses after that only when good deals present themselves. The first purchase is often the largest, so bulk pricing is more important there than it is for any other.

Exchange Programs

The firearm industry has a fairly strong sense of social responsibility, and that extends to many of the retailers that focus on brass and other reloading supplies. It is common for them to get used brass from police academies and similar organizations in exchange for new ammo, which helps to cut the operating expenses for those services. Many people prefer these retailers because buying from them supports these community programs.