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10 Things You Need to Know About Cuba

10 Things You Need to Know About Cuba

UPDATE: On June 4, 2019, the US State Department implemented additional travel restrictions on Cuba travel for US citizens. Group educational and cultural trips are banned alongside cruise ships, yachts, and private planes. Despite this news, please note that commercial airline flights remain unaffected, and Ker & Downey’s Support for the Cuban People programs are still permitted. Ker & Downey has been partnering with travelers to create their own journeys to Cuba since August 2015. Recent policy changes on American travel to the country have stirred up questions about traveling to Cuba and the future of visiting a place that is so close but was once too far out of reach for many. The good news: Cuba is not out of reach with Ker & Downey. What Do the Policy Changes Mean? In short, the style of travel offered by Ker & Downey and our in-country partners is not impacted, for the time being. The changes will impact self-planners, group tours, cruise ship passengers, yacht charters, and private plane travelers the most. Arranging a journey on your own that avoids
Alyssa Hiller: 3 Things To Do In Koh Samui

Alyssa Hiller: 3 Things To Do In Koh Samui

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island after Phuket, known for its palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and dense, mountainous rainforest. And, some of the most colorful sunsets we ever did see (purples and pinks and golds – oh my!). The most popular areas to stay in Koh Samui are Chaweng and Lamai in the east of the island. On the upside, they offer the most nightlife; on the downside, the respective beaches can get quite crowded with tourists. If you’re looking for calmer, quieter environments, look into Bophut or Maenam. We stayed at a stunning beachside resort in Chaweng. While the nightlife is not as crazy as Phuket’s, there are three major hot spots in Chaweng Beach: Green Mango strip, Soi Reggae and ARK Bar. Even if you’re not looking to party, they’re at least worth the people watching. But, be advised, ladies: Hold onto your men… The famous (or infamous) Green Mango strip comes alive at night with pubs, dance bars and go-go bars. For the latter, you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into at the onset by way of
Santiago Chile: Uncorked

Santiago Chile: Uncorked

Nature’s beauty paired with great wine and food makes Chile’s wine country a memorable destination. I had the pleasure of traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile, a few years ago.  While in Santiago, I was fortunate to find Uncorked Wine Tours which gave us an unforgettable experience. We had a great time in Buenos Aires, taking several walking tours and enjoying the wine, the steaks, and, most of all, the pizza!  Yes, Argentine pizza!  If you are a pizza lover and have not had Argentine pizza, I strongly suggest you do so! Wine Country Excursion After a few days in Buenos Aires, we took a flight to Santiago. Unlike Buenos Aires, which is a fabulous city to walk around, Santiago tends to be more spread out, so we decided it would be best to book a couple tours, including a visit to wine country.  We were really fortunate to learn about Uncorked Wine Tours, which is highly-rated on TripAdvisor. Uncorked Wine Tours is a wine-tourism agency with nine years of experience.  With Uncorked, we scheduled a trip to
Daniel Giusti: No Challenge Unconquerable

Daniel Giusti: No Challenge Unconquerable

Once head chef at one of the world’s top restaurants, he’s transforming America’s school lunch line. Who would’ve guessed that something as wholesome and Italian as Aunt Zia’s pasta sauce would be the catalyst for a life of challenges met head on, and crushed one by one? Well, that’s where the story of Daniel Giusti’s meteoric rise in the culinary world began, believe it or not. The First Self-Imposed Challenge Giusti began setting goals for himself early on that sprang from his curiosity. He grew up in a big, Italian family that loved eating and no doubt excelled at cooking. One who absolutely did was Aunt Zia Rosa. As the family sat gathered around the table one Sunday eating dinner, Giusti decided to deconstruct his auntie’s recipe. He failed, and it might be the only thing he didn’t nail, culinarily-speaking, his entire life. It was however, that failure that sparked a desire in him not only for cooking but accepting all challenges head-on. From that moment he became the guy who looks at a million hurdles and says “no problemo.”
Dianne Whelan: Adventurer, Storyteller

Dianne Whelan: Adventurer, Storyteller

Her journey takes us on a great adventure, but her message takes us into a better future. Dianne Whelan is making her solo pilgrimage along The Great Trail, the world’s longest recreational trail, stretching 24,000 km across Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. She has snowshoed dense forests, hiked, biked, skied, and paddled the world’s largest lake during her journey. This incredible undertaking started on Canada Day, July 1st, 2015 from mile 0 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and will end in Victoria, British Columbia. A Journey of Rediscovery Her five-year trek is being documented in the feature film 500 Days in the Wild which tells the stories of the land, people she encounters, and communities along the way. Part documentary, part adventure, the film portrays her journey from dropping out of society to reconnect with the wilds of nature and lost traditions. The film takes us to places that revisit the past, so we might learn how to lead into the future. “I started wondering if maybe everything we needed to know, we had forgotten,”
Patrick Gray & Justin Skeesuck: Pushing to New Heights

Patrick Gray & Justin Skeesuck: Pushing to New Heights

Life is short, live it well. The Way of St. James There is a 500-mile trail that runs through the entirety of northern Spain called the El Camino De Santiago, also known as the ‘Way of St. James.’ Every year, thousands of people from all over the world walk the Camino from varying starting points, including across the border in France (i.e. the ‘French Way’). While their reasons for taking on the arduous 35-day walk are as diverse as their nationalities, they commonly purport to be on a pilgrimage of self-discovery. Many are drawn to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where the remains of Saint James the Great, apostle of Jesus Christ, are said to rest. Others may be struggling with a serious life issue such as divorce, illness or the death of a loved one. They feel the need to disconnect from our hyperactive world, go into the silence of the natural surroundings and rediscover their purpose for being alive. “The Camino structures your life in simplicity,” explains YouTube filmmaker Hank Leukart. “You wake up, you walk –
ClimbStation: Wall Climbing and Treadmill in One

ClimbStation: Wall Climbing and Treadmill in One

Fun and fitness rolled into a single treadwall, now you can safely climb at fitness centers or in the comfort of your home. I’m always searching the Internet for innovative products, something I would love to own.  And, yeah, you might have guessed, most of the products that I stumble upon are well beyond my price range.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t tell you all about them! The Sport of Climbing Remember in our youth, it seemed like we could climb almost anything be it trees, walls, fences, whatever stood in front of us. We gave no thought to dangers or injury. We just did it without any inhibitions. It’s a different story now that we’re boomers. For some of us, boundless energy has been replaced with a daily nap. But physically challenging ourselves shouldn’t stop, we can still build endurance and strength, and climbing might just be the answer for a full body workout. Have you ever noticed those climbing walls at local gyms, or amusement centers, or on your favorite cruise ships? I have … noticed
Mirror: The Nearly Invisible, Interactive Home Gym

Mirror: The Nearly Invisible, Interactive Home Gym

World’s first immersive home fitness system brings live and on-demand fitness workouts into your home. As I clicked through TV channels one evening, something grabbed my attention —a commercial about a sleek looking mirror. But this is no ordinary mirror. Aptly named the “Mirror,” this simple looking glass turns into a boutique gym complete with fitness instructors and classmates right in your home. Wow, imagine that! No more trudging off to the local gym, no more waitlists or sweaty locker rooms, no more paying exorbitant membership fees or waiting for a parking spot. It’s perfect for those of us who want something more convenient.   For months I’ve been contemplating whether to rejoin a gym or invest in a home gym. I prefer a home gym but there’s not much space to accommodate fitness equipment. I haven’t found anything suitable for my needs. Now, I am thrilled to come across this divine solution for my problem. I don’t even need space for clunky exercise equipment. All I need is the space of a yoga mat. Initial cost is $1,500 for
GPS Trackers: Keeping Track of Your Loved Ones

GPS Trackers: Keeping Track of Your Loved Ones

Do you know where your loved ones are? Location devices have evolved into smart high-tech monitoring systems with the simplicity of using a phone app. Keeping track of loved ones is serious business these days. Unlike the old days when we grew up with neighbors and friends watching over us, today is very different with safety becoming a real concern. We’ve all heard the stories of missing children, abductions, wandering elders, and lost travelers. We may not be able to have a watchful eye over our loved ones 24/7 but there is a way to check on their whereabouts. GPS tracking enables parents to locate children and elderly loved ones. It’s a great tool for grandparents who watch the grandkids while mom and dad are at work or when the kids come over for summer vacation. It’s perfect for keeping family or friends informed when traveling or going on a big adventure. For families, the wonders of technology have been put to good use with advances in tracking devices, GPS systems, communications, and phone apps. Quality Matters When safety is
Help Relatives With Their Anxieties And Depression

Help Relatives With Their Anxieties And Depression

Do you know a friend or loved one who suffers from fear, anxiety, and depression and do not know what to do?  It can be frustrating to watch someone you know suffer and not be able to help them. Here are six ways to help the person cope in these kinds of situations and the best way to deal with anxiety. 1.Learn as much as you can in managing anxiety and depression: There are many books and information that will educate you on how to deal with fear and anxiety. Share this information with the person who is struggling with their mental health issues. 2. Be understanding and patient with the person struggling with their fears: Dealing with depression and anxiety can be difficult for the person so do not add more problems than what is already there. Do not get into arguments with the person who is having a difficult time with their anxieties. 3. Talk to the person instead of talking at them:  It is important not to lecture the person who is struggling with anxiety and depression.
Dr Stuart McGill: The Exceptional Back Mechanic

Dr Stuart McGill: The Exceptional Back Mechanic

The Problem Everyone I know, at one time or another, seems to have pain issues with their back. I suppose it’s a part of growing older, perhaps softer and flabbier, and certainly a condition exacerbated by chronically poor posture and sedentary lifestyles. The just rewards of prosperity. Or maybe it’s the dozens of golf courses within a driver and 7 iron of my home? That irregular torso twisting can be a bear. Whatever the cause (pick your poison), severe back pain is a universally debilitating disorder that saps the fun out of life while costing the health care system many billions per year in pain medication, physical therapy appointments, and if all else fails, risky surgeries. The Origin When I was younger and a lot more active, I struggled with a painful lower back condition caused by nerve compression called sciatica. In contemplating its origin, I remember foolishly helping a friend carry a sofa up a long, narrow and steep set of stairs. When we finally got to the top, a burning sensation in my lower back radiating down my
Katy Bowman is Breaking the Sedentary Habit

Katy Bowman is Breaking the Sedentary Habit

Teaching people simple movements, she helps stabilize and strengthen the whole body for whole life goals. Katy Bowman is a renowned biomechanist, author, and science communicator. She fuses her scientific knowledge with her passion for movement and creates a perfect prescription to treat today’s pandemic of sedentary lifestyles. Bowman is the founder of the Nutritious Movement, which is designed to help people move and feel better. She develops and provides simple and practical daily changes people can make to become more physically active. A Matter of Movement Our world as we know it is in a crisis. Currently, there is a worldwide trend toward inactive lifestyles  that can lead to an increase in chronic diseases and even early death. The American culture is seemingly fascinated with quick fixes and diet plans, but Katy Bowman argues that it’s less about a quick fix, and more about a paradigm shift when it comes to our body’s movement. In fact, according to Bowman in her book Move Your DNA, “movement, like food, is not optional; that ailment you may be experiencing are simply
Nicholas McCarthy: In Concert with History

Nicholas McCarthy: In Concert with History

He’s building a legacy of inspiration in challenging others to look at things in a completely different way. Try doing something with one hand. It can be anything in your daily routine. Painfully inept at it, aren’t you? Now sit down in front of a piano with one hand behind your back and play Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata. Exactly. Now imagine being born with one hand, hearing this scrumptious piece played on a piano for the first time, and immediately deciding then and there to learn not only how to play it on the piano but do it in concert for thousands of adoring music aficionados. That’s a pretty unlikely goal, yes? That’s because you’re not Nicholas McCarthy, who did precisely that. The level of confidence that must have taken is gargantuan, but not surprising coming from him. The Epiphany At the tender age of twelve, McCarthy heard his best friend playing this beautiful piece of classical music on the piano and shortly thereafter declared to his parents a lofty future plan to become a concert pianist. They looked at their
Taylor Hagood: Cousin Elvis

Taylor Hagood: Cousin Elvis

I was dating a lady from Long Island. She was making her first ever trip to the South, proper, and after a day or two of measured acclimation for her in Ripley, Mississippi, I decided to take her to Memphis. As we started off, rolling past green cotton fields and winding up into hills ragged in the red-clay way of that part of the state, I set myself in determination. Today would be the day I would visit Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, for the first time. I had been by the house many times since childhood. It was a joke in my family that my grandmother could never keep straight which side of the road the house stood on, depending on which direction we were driving. She may have skipped a few grades and started to college at age sixteen, but directional matters often give her trouble. She would always say she had once seen Elvis pull up to the famous Graceland gate, and I remember stopping there when I was little not that long after he died. The home
Lila Lazarus: Up for the Challenge

Lila Lazarus: Up for the Challenge

Feeling right at home outside her comfort zone, she makes every day a new adventure. Best known as an award-winning health reporter and television news anchor for 30 years in Michigan, Maryland, and Massachusetts, Lila Lazarus spends little time being idle. Outside of the newsroom, she takes on some impressive challenges that most of us only dream about. “I’ve worked to inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle. And I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk or even run the run! I truly have a passion for everything ‘Good Health,’” she says in her Lila’s Good Health blog on the St. Joseph’s Mercy Health System website. A Passion for Challenges Her enthusiasm for adventure and pushing physical limits has taken her to swimming a 5-mile stretch in the Straits of Mackinac to raise funds for Mentor Michigan, a statewide organization that improves the lives of young people by matching them with mentors. Every fall she can be found climbing the magnificent red rock walls and spires of the Grand Canyon, a 48-mile climb. Her many feats have
Emma Sky: Advisor and Confidant to Military Leaders

Emma Sky: Advisor and Confidant to Military Leaders

Despite her anti-war stance, her journey takes her to the frontlines in the shifting sands of the Middle East. It was a “Time of Monsters” in the Middle East, when Emma Sky navigated through the region’s conflicts and complexities during the Arab Spring. She bore witness to how and why dreams of new orders based on rights and justice were shattered in wars and weak states – and demons unleashed upon the world. Now a professor at Yale, she is heralded as a regional expert, helping to bridge gaps between Arab and Western worlds while elevating humanity in the region. Sky chose to live in a world unlike any other. In the swirling of desert sands, she found the land to be magical, ever-changing yet always a tinderbox for war. She tread softly alongside top military leaders and traversed the desert terrain finding it riddled with politics and diplomatic figures of great power and influence. Her journey has intrigue, politics, and edge-of-your seat harrowing tales. Not one to let her morals and ideals take a back seat, her opposition to
Kaitlin Roig: Sandy Hook Teacher and Hero

Kaitlin Roig: Sandy Hook Teacher and Hero

She chose to share her experience with others, in the hope that they too can find light in dark moments. Precipice of Death It was December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis witnessed the horrors unfolding at her workplace. She was a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That Friday started out normally with students looking forward to the weekend leading up to the holidays. Suddenly, the sound of rapid-fire gunshots, screams, and pleadings emanated from outside her classroom. She took immediate action. Without hesitation, she got up, shut and locked the classroom door, and turned off the lights. She knew time was critical and made the decision to hide her fifteen students in the classroom’s tiny bathroom. As the carnage continued, she managed to keep her students calm and quiet. There they stayed in a huddled mass until the SWAT Team arrived and rescued them. Roig-DeBellis is credited for her act of heroism in saving the lives of her six- and seven-year-old students that day. It wasn’t until later that she learned the full extent of
Eric Bandholz: The Original Urban Beardsman

Eric Bandholz: The Original Urban Beardsman

Tapping into a neglected niche, he helped transform a stereotype into a formidable community of bearded men. Sometimes, your calling is right under your nose. For one man, this was literal … his beard. It was the first decade of the 21st century and a huge group of individuals still had no real representation or specific products aimed for them. Eric Bandholz would change all that. Yearning to Be Himself It began in a South Carolina elementary school when he started his first venture into business by repacking snacks for classmates. Decades later his business sense evolved into a career as a financial advisor. “I always felt the pressure to conform to a certain look, even though it wasn’t really how I identified as an individual,” he recalls. “When I worked as a financial advisor, I felt like I was living in a shell. Like the real me was hidden away in a cage and could only come out when I was among friends or family.” Little did he know that the facial hair, feeling so natural and “meant to
Matt Rutherford: Because He Can…

Matt Rutherford: Because He Can…

A story about dominating dreams. Oh, and cults, sailing, rehabs, oceanography and record-breaking. But mostly,dominating dreams. The frigid arctic sea was choppy and unpredictable. Astonishingly, there was one single soul bearing the storm. Matt Rutherford, the first man to finish a solo circumnavigation of the Americas, held on to the ropes as the elements tossed his 27-foot boat around like a rag doll. On the port side, a 40-foot glacier loomed above him through the fog. He rushed from one rope to another, checking his ship while trying to stay on it. This was a monster of a journey, ten months and 27,077 miles. “I was beating into the wind all day every day, just pounding,” Matt said. “Forty-one days hard on the wind.” The tip of the boat cut through the frost tipped waves as they absconded the ship. He was always self-motivated and headstrong, not even nature would foil his plans. Nevertheless, he was often certain he’d have to turn back and occasionally he almost did. People called this a suicide mission, what was he thinking? On this
Dave Pallone: An Extraordinary Umpire

Dave Pallone: An Extraordinary Umpire

“Strike!” yells the umpire. Decades ago, this umpire spent his days on the playing field, and his nights living a double life. Today, he is meeting with CEOs, inspiring audiences or receiving recognition for his bravery and cultural importance. He is Dave Pallone, a former Major League Baseball Umpire, and current model of perseverance and self-advocacy. In 2013, Dave Pallone cemented his place in history as one of the inaugural inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Pallone’s fellow inductees in that year included Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Renee Richards, and Olympic skater, Johnny Weir.  At 67 years of age, he would agree that life is nothing if not a set of events ranging from fabulous to horrific. Getting Off the Sidelines Born in Waltham, Massachusetts, Pallone did not grow up with dreams of becoming an umpire. His dream was to play professional baseball. He knew he did not have the talent to make it to the pros, so his dream was sidelined. In the summer of 1970, as he was watching a baseball game
Gary Player: Master of Life

Gary Player: Master of Life

“Eat less, drink lots of water and exercise like crazy. It’s the only chance we have for good health and longevity.” On Thursday, April 11, 2019, an impressively compact and physical athlete, dressed in black from head-to-toe, launched his drive at the first tee at Augusta National Golf Club. The athlete teeing off was legendary golfer, Gary Player. At age 83, there is an inherent physical prowess about him, a prototypical picture of discipline and seriousness. I blinked twice to confirm that it was Player, rather than Jack LaLanne resurrected and transformed into a world-class golfer. As the ball rocketed down the center of the fairway, the only comment forthcoming from the television announcer was: “Remarkable.” The moment was the ceremonial opening of the 83rd Masters tournament, and he was followed on the tee by fellow legend, Jack Nicklaus. Since 2011, three of the greatest golfers of all time have been opening the revered tournament in this same manner. The third, Arnold Palmer, was lost to the world in September 2016. Player, roundly considered the best international golfer in history, has donned the
Paul Tasner: Environmental Entrepreneur

Paul Tasner: Environmental Entrepreneur

Sometimes forced retirement is the impetus needed to accomplish great things. Retirement just wasn’t in the cards for Paul Tasner. He spent 40 years working full time making startups and Fortune 100 companies successful, until one day, he was let go. He was 64-years old. His story is similar to that of others looking forward to retiring on their own terms, only to have it short-circuited for one corporate reason or another. What becomes of all those years of experience, all that know-how, and expertise? Do you set it all aside and start looking for that retirement home in Florida, or be the full-time grandpa? Tasner had other ideas. It was Time to Live His Passion He possessed an extensive background in leadership positions in procurement, manufacturing, packaging, and logistics. No longer gainfully employed, he used those skills as a consultant for a couple of years. During this period, he entertained thoughts of starting his own company. Tasner dreamed of a business that he could be passionate about and he was very passionate about the environment. He saw our land
Crash Hoefler: Pioneer of Sensory Deprivation

Crash Hoefler: Pioneer of Sensory Deprivation

Uplifting, other worldly – take leave of your senses with a mini-vacation for the mind. The Sound of Silence The sound of my heartbeat began to fade. I didn’t know silence could be so loud. But I’ve been waiting for this… Here I am, completely naked as I step into the chamber and slowly submerge my being in the saltwater, only my face was above the perfectly warmed liquid. I do not recall how long it took, but something did happen to me. As my mind transcended the physical world, I began to forget my body. Did I even have one anymore? In the darkness, in the trance, anything is possible because nothing seems to exist. Have you ever heard silence? It’s powerful. I heard it and have one man to thank. He is dedicated to harnessing this power through this experience brought on by his sensory deprivation tank (also called float tank, flotation tank, or sensory attenuation tank). It’s filled with saltwater, devoid of all light, soundproof, and at perfect skin temperature. When a human floats locked inside in
Isabelle Ringnes: Visionary Tech Goddess

Isabelle Ringnes: Visionary Tech Goddess

She’s inspiring women and girls to use technology to shape our world’s future. You may not have noticed it but in 1988 the God of Technology slammed his hammer down in the midst of the Norwegian fjords, sparking a new era for the goddesses of Earth. This is the year Isabelle Ringnes was born in the land of Vikings, and her role for the future would be to put women in their place. Daughter of a Powerful Magnate Ringnes is no stranger to a powerful presence. Her father is the flamboyant restaurateur and real estate king of Norway. He is also a famous art collector, donating millions of Norwegian kroner to build installations around the country. Perhaps it is his confident, forward-thinking habits that rubbed off on Isabelle at a young age. Or perhaps her longing for change and betterment of society developed while observing her father. Whatever the reason, Ringnes was about to shake up the world of men. Self-Discovery in Oslo Never afraid to test her burgeoning talents, Ringnes began discovering her innate skills and putting them to
Enjoying Life Without  Getting Scammed

Enjoying Life Without Getting Scammed

Scammers are Lurking Everywhere We live in a miraculous time of unlimited opportunity with technological advantages the previous generations could only have dreamed of. Even a decade ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the ubiquitous smart phone and high speed, globally connected network would so revolutionize our lives. But with every revolution comes its downsides and risks. Such as: opportunities for peace and quiet are growing scant, our privacy has been seriously compromised, and, our personal information (identity) and financial security are under attack. I suspect the following examples will sound familiar. Every day, I receive at least ten calls from numbers and area codes that I do not recognize, some from as far away as Lithuania. On top of that, I receive several more from “unknown callers” or unfamiliar numbers that appear to be from my local region. And, of course, there are the dozen or so emails I receive nearly every week asking for personal information or money in one form or another. I usually ignore the phone calls, assuming legitimate callers will leave a message. On occasion
Robert Siciliano: Fraud & Security

Robert Siciliano: Fraud & Security

From identity theft to personal safety, surviving in today’s world is a matter of proactive threat protection. Firsthand experience, moral ethics, and acquired knowledge has crafted a message one man calls out to all citizens: Americans must take action to protect themselves from cyber and physical crime. He’s on the frontlines of battling personal and privacy intrusion by educating and empowering his fellow man. He says, “Privacy is an illusion. Privacy doesn’t exist, and it hasn’t existed for quite a long time.” Robert Siciliano is an expert in security awareness, fraud, and personal safety. He carries his message in a unique style, melding boldness and know-how into real-world solutions. Major media outlets, corporate execs, thought leaders, and others have benefited from his insight. These leaders of industry seek his expertise to obtain the blunt truth of his assessment —what they’ve missed in their bubble of perceived safety. His aim is to inform and educate, helping industry leaders as well as the average Joe from becoming a statistic. He says, “There always has been, there is now, and there will always
Crisis Behavior:  Lessons Learned

Crisis Behavior: Lessons Learned

For over 30 years, nearly every business day, I sat at my Merrill Lynch financial advisory desk serving our clients. I was there for them in good times and bad – especially the bad. That’s when people need their financial advisors the most. For a large majority of my career, times were good. In retrospect, my timing looks impeccable. When I was hired by Merrill Lynch in 1983, the Dow Jones Index traded at 1200. The year I retired, 2017, the same index traded at 25,000. Not bad at all. Because the Dow Jones Index tracks a diversified mix of 30 of America’s largest and most stable companies, otherwise known as ‘Blue Chips,’ it is a good indicator of the health of the U.S. and global economies. Can you just imagine if the U.S. Treasury had been smart and optimistic enough to invest a portion of its Social Security trust fund in the American economy, instead of timidly settling for the lowest return available every year (i.e. the three-month treasury bill)? In short, there wouldn’t be a chance of ever
Black Rifle Coffee Company

Black Rifle Coffee Company

“Among the numerous luxuries of the table, coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.” -Benjamin Franklin There’s a special place in my heart for organizations managed by, and employing, veterans of our armed forces. In my opinion, all of us should be grateful for their contributions to our great country, and should give back as a way of saying thanks at each and every opportunity. I am embarrassed to admit, however, that when it comes to my obsession with coffee and my quest for the perfect cup, I tend to set aside my preferences about veterans. I sincerely apologize for that, but I have to be honest. Well, I’m excited to report, I have found the best of both worlds – a veteran-owned company that makes the best coffee I have ever tasted! Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC)is a premium small-batch, roast-to-order, veteran-owned coffee company. BRCC imports their high-quality coffee beans directly from Colombia and Brazil. Then, they personally blend and roast
Coravin: Keeping Wines Fresh Forever

Coravin: Keeping Wines Fresh Forever

How physics, mechanical engineering, nuclear power, and medical devices changed the world of wine. I am not a wine aficionado, to say the least, but I enjoy an occasional glass or two. I must admit, however, that I find it very frustrating that if I don’t finish the bottle in one sitting, or certainly, within 24 hours, I find myself pouring it down the drain! That becomes pretty painful when considering price and quality. A Fine Gadget for Fine Wine When discussing my frustrations with a friend recently, he looked at me like I was a moron and asked “Haven’t you heard about Coravin?” Well, no, I’d never heard of Coravin at that time, but I’ve certainly learned a lot since then. So, what is Coravin? It’s a device that inserts a needle into a bottle of wine, allowing you to enjoy its contents without removing the cork and, more importantly, without spoiling the rest of the bottle. Can you imagine? Every sip will taste as good as the first, you can enjoy multiple bottles at the same time, and
Craft Beer: Top 10 Brewers

Craft Beer: Top 10 Brewers

I like beer, I like beer a lot.  I can’t tell you why I prefer one beer over another, it’s just my taste buds. So, I will not be able to say that one is hoppy or tastes like grapefruit or whatever.  What I do know, however, is that I enjoy traditional beers, like IPAs and lagers, and get no pleasure from sours or saisons or… In the coming months, you will hear from a Master Cicerone.  A Cicerone, you might ask? Wines have Sommeliers, beers have Cicerones.  As defined by Merriam-Webster, a Cicerone is “a guide who explains the history and chief features of a place to sightseers.”  In the world of beer, a Cicerone is a relatively new designation for those who have demonstrated their knowledge and experience to “ensure that consumers receive the best possible beer and enjoy its flavors to the greatest extent possible.” There are over 7,000 breweries in the United States, and thousands more around the world.  And it seems that a new craft beer joint is opening in your neighborhood every few months.  I’m not complaining, just stating a fact! RateBeer.com is a community of beer enthusiasts dedicated to the pursuit

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Genius Pack: Smart Carry-On for Smart Travelers

No ordinary luggage, this carry-on redefines functionality for the modern traveler. I know, I know, everybody has their own opinion about everything.  But when I see competitors agreeing about a new gizmo or gadget or whatever, I tend to look a bit closer.  And, according to Travel & Leisure and Fodor’s Travel, the Genius Pack G4 is the best carry-on luggage you can find. And, from what I have learned, I couldn’t agree more! One thing that most of us have in common is that we will do just about anything to avoid those annoying, ridiculous, and costly luggage fees charged by virtually every airline company.  Of course, some of these airlines have already changed their policies so that they can assess you for your carry-on, but it’s usually a bit less, and certainly easier to deal with, than checking in your luggage. Carry-On Dream Come True The Genius Pack Carry-On is way ahead of the curve.  Now that the company has released the fourth generation, it seems that they have thought of everything!  Before you watch the video, allow me to

RAINBOW RYDERS – HOT AIR BALLOONS

Taking flight to lofty heights gives the adventurer in all of us an exhilarating new perspective on our world.   In 1970, a young boy named Scott Appleman and his family moved from Los Angeles, California to Albuquerque, New Mexico. In February 1971, the very first world hot air balloon championships would take place in the city where he lived. The 12-year-old seventh-grader became incredibly curious over these hot air balloons that could reach heights of up to 3,000 feet. He decided to ditch his class one day and make his way to the event being held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Fascinated with these huge billowy balloons, he volunteered as a balloon chase crew member and went on his first ride. Captivated by his adventure into the sky, he was hooked. Little did he know this experience would launch him into an amazing career that would lead to world recognition. Winds of Change His family has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. His father owned his own company, a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical service company in Albuquerque.

Pedego Electric Bikes: Hello Fun!

A love of cycling and dislike of hills prompted the co-founding of Pedego Electric Bikes. In 2008, Don DiCostanzo and Terry Sherry were at lunch talking about what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. They were both 50-something serial entrepreneurs who were in between ventures. Best friends since college, they loved cycling but hated hills. They loved the concept of electric bikes but hadn’t found a really great electric bike. Despite having no bicycle industry experience, they decided to create their own. Over lunch, they designed their first bike on a napkin. The first Pedego electric cruiser bike was designed with a nostalgic look reminiscent of 1950s beach cruisers. Overcoming Challenge #1: Manufacturing in China Manufacturing challenges included persuading big-name bicycle components companies to allow Pedego to use their parts. Most were unfamiliar with electric bikes and were reluctant, but DiCostanzo was highly persuasive. Another challenge was finding the perfect factory in China to manufacture the bicycles, eventually they found one. Overcoming Challenge #2: Distributing Electric Bikes In 2009, the first Pedego Comfort Cruiser bikes rolled