Rest In Peace, Little Jack

Jack the chihuahua

I’m not one to post like this, but our little boy Jack passed away yesterday. He was a great dog. He was little so he was skittish but he wasn’t with me or Vera. We got him and Jill around 3 mos after we were married, so he’s been a good boy for almost 17 years. That’s a heck of a run.

You realize he’s lost a step and you think you are ready and prepared for the time to come, but you’re not. Being a part of your life for so many years is not an easy thing to get over. Always there, barking, licking, begging for food. Up until recently he was a crazy breakfast guy…bread, eggs, cereal, all of that.
He didn’t really love dog food too much the last month or so. Who would?

He used to climb up on the couch and just hang out on our laps. He would bark like mad when he heard us coming home. He’s run around so fast his butt would drag. He used to love his girl Jill. He never loved baths or grooming. He was so easy, he peed on his wee wee pad and never ate too much.

The kids got the better of him eventually and he changed a bit. Then he just got a little older. We all do. Then 2.5 years ago his best girl Jilly passed. He was changed by that too. He was steady for the most part until the past month and then the past week or so. He went from 8 to 7 to 6 pounds as of yesterday.

It was time for him to go and we all knew it. Whether we accept it or not.

I know I’m rambling about a dog and I know you’ve heard this 100 times, but do your very best to not yell for no good reason. To take that extra walk, give that extra treat, and offer that extra scratch behind the ears. I guess you can say the same about your family and friends too (you know what I mean). Time goes by quickly. Sometimes in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe that Jack and Jill are not in the house anymore. Such is life for every one of us. Enjoy and make the most of it when you can and for who you can. You don’t get any takebacks.

Rest In Peace, little Jack. Say hi to Jilly for us. It’s time to go home.


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It’s Time To De-Stress


Attempting to be the ultimate professional at work, the best dad that you can be and a perfect role model to your nearest and dearest can take its toll on your mental wellbeing. The pressure that we can put upon ourselves can cause us untold worry and stress. It’s time to make a change and implement strategies that will help us de-stress without the distress.

You may be one of those guys who has reached the highest level of senior management within your industry sector. You might have worked for the same company for over a decade and risen through the ranks. You’re highly regarded in your field and can command the utmost respect from your colleagues and team. However, that doesn’t prevent you from working sixty hour weeks to meet the near-impossible targets being filtered down from above. At the same time, you have little ones at home who you crave to spend more time with. You may give them a kiss goodbye in the morning as you rush out of the door on the way to work and you struggle to get home before their bedtime. This isn’t how it’s meant to be. You don’t want to be a stay-at-home dad by any means, but you do want to see your kids while they are awake on occasion. Surely you can find the time to have breakfast with your little cherubs and be home to read them their favorite story before they head to bed.

In the twenty-first century, our lives have become busier, faster paced and more hectic. The advent of technological advances such as social media, industry-specific software and smartphones has just compounded the fact that we are always busy doing something. To de-stress you need to take a step back, reflect and reassess what it is that you want from your life and chart a course in order to reach your goal. You want to work a forty hour week and spend your weekends with your offspring? You can achieve this. In the meantime, you need to discover ways in which you can de-stress and not allow the pressures of work and family life to get on top of you. Read on to find out how.



It may sound a little ludicrous but taking a fifteen-minute walk outside after a particularly stressful meeting at work can see your hormone levels return to normal and your blood pressure reset to safer levels. When we get stressed, our bodies get tense, our heart pumps faster, cortisol floods into our bloodstream and we can see our blood pressure skyrocket. This involuntary response is not good for our health. We need to limit the effects as much as possible. You may not be able to halt the response to stressful situations, but you can shorten it.

If your boss is being unreasonable about the sales figures for this quarter or if your staff team are less than willing to make the necessary software changes, don’t sit in your swivel chair around the table allowing your stress levels to increase. Excuse yourself and take a walk. This will clear your head, allow you to breathe cleaner and fresher air and encourage you to gain some perspective. Think about your partner, your kids, and the stuff you’ll be getting up to at the weekend. After all, this is just your job, and there are way more important things in life for you to be concerned about.


Relaxing Habits

Some people like a tipple now and again or will reach for a cigarette if they feel their stress levels rising. Try to resist the temptation to do this and hunt for less health-damaging habits in order to find some respite from the pressure. Drinking alcohol can cause all sorts of liver issues as well as increase your risk of heart disease. Smoking is just as damaging with lung cancer and other breathing difficulties caused by the innocent looking white stick threatening to shorten your lifespan.

Instead, chew gum. If gum doesn’t do it for you and you still crave the habitual motion of smoking, investigate the healthier alternative of vape kits at Ecigwizard and no longer pump your body full of tar and other nasties. The need for an innate habit is a useful strategy to take your mind off of the stress you are experiencing. The repetitive motion of chewing gum, vaping or even cracking your knuckles is comforting and can settle your body back into its normal mode.



We need to breathe to live. That’s a given. However, with a more mindful and focused approach to the way in which we breathe, we can control our stress levels. If little Jimmy is being particularly willful one evening and refusing to go to bed without a fight, take some time out and perform some deep breathing exercises. By focusing on your inhalations and exhalations in a more meaningful way, you will find yourself discovering an inner sense of calm.

You could take this a step further and seek out a mindfulness course or enrol in a yoga class. Both of these disciplines promote breathing as an aid to de-stress. Boosting your oxygen levels can help stabilize your hormone levels and keep your blood pressure within a healthy range. It pays to arm yourself with strategies so if you are presented with a sudden stressful situation, you can counteract this quickly and limit its impact.


Find Your Hobby

It may seem simple but finding time for yourself and embarking on a semi-selfish activity just for you can help relieve your stress. Allocating a set amount of time to your hobby each week can give you something to look forward to amongst all of the other stressful stuff going on in your life, whether it’s an hour hitting some balls down at the driving range, an evening at your local book club or a Saturday morning hitting the open road in your sporty little number.

If you love nothing more than whipping up a storm in the kitchen, cook a meal every Sunday for your family. This way, you’ll be doing something that you enjoy and find relaxing while spending time with your nearest and dearest at the same time. Seeking out some quality time for you and your family will act as a natural de-stressing activity. Don’t be insular and try to share your stresses with your partner. Bottling things up can damage your mental wellbeing and cause even more stress in the long run.


Leave The Technology At Work

Staring at a monitor for eight hours a day when sat at your desk at work can cause eye strain, headaches and induce stressful situations. If you’re busy answering reams of emails only to find your messages getting misconstrued or you simply don’t get the responses you need from your colleagues, your blood can begin to boil. Basic admin tasks that need fulfilling when you should be busying yourself with the more integral parts of your company’s vision can be frustrating.

Although the technology you are forced to interact with at work may be out of your control, at home, you can switch off. Social media does nothing but encourage us to compare our lives to those of others we went to school with over a decade ago. Their Holga filtered selfies may exude a lifestyle that you wish to emulate, but it’s all photoshopped and unrealistic imagery that does nothing but stress you out.

Switch off your smartphone, put away the tablet and relinquish the laptop. Grab your partner, give them a kiss and scoop up your kids and squeeze them tight. Swapping technology for human interaction can decrease your stress levels phenomenally. A recent study found that the hormones released when kissing, namely the love chemical oxytocin, counteracted the more sinister stress-inducing cortisol resulting in a more stress-free existence. Kiss more and feel less stressed!


Go Green

You don’t have to be one of those dreadlocked vegan tree huggers to realise the benefits of plants. By keeping one or two pieces of greenery within your home, you’ll be creating a more natural stress-free environment. Bamboo trees and aloe vera plants are great air purifiers and detoxify their environment. This leads to fewer headaches, less sore throats and minimal bugs being spread inside the home, lowering stress levels for the whole family.

Stress is one of life’s bugbears. Whereas a certain level of stress can be motivating and encourage us to perform our roles better, too much stress can be damaging to our health. Striving to find the correct work to home life balance is our ultimate goal. Ensure that you make time for yourself, enjoy the valuable moments you share with your nearest and dearest and have the all-important inbuilt strategies to deal with any stressful situations that may come your way.

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3 Skills That Can Bring You Major Business Success

 Image via Flickr

Anyone working from home as a freelancer, or embarking on their own entrepreneurial venture, needs to be aware that a major part of career success, both in the present moment and in the future, lies in constantly being able to acquire new skills.

On one hand, learning new skills shows potential employers and clients that you’re adaptive, proactive and committed to staying on the cutting edge of your craft.

On the other, learning new skills simply gives you a vastly greater degree of flexibility with regards to the fields you’re able to work in, and how self-sufficient you can be in any business venture. Even if you’re not going to be using a skillset in the course of your normal business life, simply having it makes you much better equipped to interface with professionals in that area as needed.

Without further ado, here are some essential skillsets that every home-based worker should develop.

Learn new languages

Whether it’s learning Spanish or just staying abreast of the best ESL tips, knowing multiple languages is by far one of the best ways of making a positive impression on any future employer, as well as being one of the best ways of opening up shop to the whole world.

Being multilingual allows you to easily do business with companies and individuals from around the world, it allows you stay fully informed about the different developments in your field, globally, and it makes you an asset to any team which requires a high degree of communication and cultural awareness.

In addition to the business specific benefits, research has shown that learning new languages stimulates growth and activity in the brain, and might make it easier to learn future skills going forward.

Learn basic coding

We’re well and truly living in the digital age, and it’s almost become the case that it’s impossible for a business to break even, much less grow and dominate their niche, without a strong and well-focused web presence.

Web experts are in major demand, and those business owners who have an understanding of coding are already well ahead of the competition in the battle for online dominance.

A good basic understanding of web coding is the kind of feather you can put in your cap which will impress virtually all employers. It’ll also give you an access point to working in one of the most lucrative industries currently going, or even just allow you to cut costs with the creation of your own website.

Learn about SEO

If an understanding of coding is a great asset in the digital age, a good working knowledge of SEO is all but essential. For the most part, the ultimate aim of every businesses’ online presence is to rank well on Google and to draw the attention of potential customers. For purely online businesses and services — such as those often provided by solo entrepreneurs — this step is even more vital.

SEO is, for better or worse, the name of the game, and the different SEO techniques out there include everything from knowing how to craft content for the web, to how to research the perfect keywords, appease Google’s algorithm, and deal with your own website’s backlinks and metadata.

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What Music Does For Your Productivity

When working from home it’s quite calming to have music playing in the background. Often times during a busy work from home day having that little noise in the background helps to ease the brain from stress and allow you to focus on being more productive. Most work from home professionals agree that during times of busy workloads they will put a little music on to help encourage their productivity levels. What is it about music that makes you more productive? I don’t know, but I 100% works for me. Every time. Plus, it just feels good, don’t it? You want to feel good…even when you’re trying to get things done! Let do it!

Repetitive Work is More Fun

Often times the mundane task of checking and replying to emails is repetitive. This task is a great example of how music can increase productivity. Having music, without lyrics, playing in the background can often help your brain focus on this boring task. Music increases your productivity naturally with repetitive tasks as it allows your brain to focus on something happy while going through the never ending inbox we all have when we work from home.

Drowns out Background Noise

When working from home, especially during summer break, there may be a lot of background noise. Having music playing in your office area or over headphones that you wear while getting work from home done can increase productivity as it allows you to focus on work without hearing the everyday household noises in the background. Kids in the background can destroy productivity quickly. Allow music to drown that sound out so you can work hard each day.

Calms the Stress Level

Having ambient music playing in the background can really help ease stress. It has been shown that reduced stress levels naturally increases productivity levels. When you work from home, your focus must dead on. Play music in the background when you find yourself experiencing higher than normal stress levels. You will quickly find this ambient music eases the mind and in turn decreases that stress level so that you can get work done efficiently.

With music therapy becoming a popular method to calm ADHD and autistic kids, it’s no wonder that many work from home adults can benefit from using ambient music at home when trying to get work done. When you work towards using music to increase productivity and lower stress levels, you soon find that success in your work at home business is just within reach on a regular basis.

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7 Tips to Preparing for the Holiday Season


‘Tis the holiday season! It’s arriving quickly and you must start to prepare yourself for the hustle and bustle of all those family gatherings, work parties, and get togethers. It’s a jam packed time of the year where people from all over will gather around to celebrate Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. With that comes the need to share my top 7 tips to preparing for the holidays!

  1. Learn to Say No – this is the number one tip I have for you, learn when to say no! Do not overschedule your family by accepting every holiday party invite you receive.
  2. Set Gift Giving Limits – learn to set limits on how much you will spend and who you will purchase gifts for within the family. This is a great discussion to have across the board with all extended family members.
  3. Set time for You – there’s nothing worse than overscheduling yourself for everyone else just to find out you have run yourself into the ground. Be certain to set aside personal time to maintain lower stress levels.
  4. Create a To Do List – many people work best off lists, create an effective to do list that will assist you in staying organized and not neglecting important details of holiday preparation.
  5. Have a Potluck Dinner – this is the solution to a hostess that is getting stressed over having to prepare a feast for the holidays. A potluck dinner can lower stress and bring together unique food options.
  6. Consider a Secret Santa – this is a great way to save money, have the family draw names and become a Secret Santa instead of having every family member purchase for everyone.
  7. Keep it Simple – the holidays are all about connecting with family, learn to keep the events simple and to the point. This allows you all to feel relaxed and truly reconnect during the holiday season.

The key is to learn what limits you must enforce to keep your sanity all the while maintaining true to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with putting your foot down, learning to say no and sticking to a routine that helps you fully enjoy the season!

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5 Ways to Make your Life More Fun


Your life matters. It is a priority to ensure that you are not only making a living to support your household, but having fun in the process. So many are unable to push forward and do something that they are passionate about for an occupation, this means you must work to find fun in other avenues.

Here are 5 things you can do:

  • Shake it Up – if you are stuck in a rut with the same morning and end of night routine, shake it up! Start doing something a little different each day so that you can have fun with the start and end of each day. This will inspire you to have more fun amidst the dreary work schedule you may have.
  • Play Hookey– Take a day. You know you want to. Enjoy yourself and leave the real world behind for a day. Don’t look at your emails either. Just spend the day enjoying yourself!! What are you waiting for? Get out there and be adventurous by taking a day off for no good reason today.
  • Switch Up Date Night – whether you are married or in a long-term relationship, try to switch up your date night. Maybe you have gotten into this mundane routine of date nights week after week, do something spontaneous together to make your life more fun together.
  • Test Drive Cars –there are many car dealerships that will allow you to test drive a car. Head out to your favorite dealer location and test drive some cars. This will give you the need for speed you crave and allow you to have quite a bit of fun, so as long as you don’t ruin the dealerships vehicles in the process. Enjoy!
  • Get Curious – start asking random friends or even strangers questions that you have about them, their thoughts or their dreams. Learn to use your curiosity to engage in some creative conversations that make you laugh, think deeper or just learn more about people in your life.

There are so many ways you can make your life more fun. It’s all about getting creative, thinking outside of the box and learning to make fun a priority in your life. There’s no need to hold back any longer, get out there this weekend and have some fun!

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5 Things To Do On the Weekend To Reset


Why is everyone always so busy? Are we all really busy? I mean truly busy or is it just a lot of “busy work” being done? Is droning away your phone being busy? Living in a society where being busy is glorified, you know you aren’t successful or happy in life unless you are constantly busy, makes for a pretty stressful life. It’s no wonder more and more people are suffering from depression, anxiety and other stress induced illnesses.

You just can’t be busy all the time, can you?

There is a way to keep a balance between the busyness of life and recreational time. I don’t care how busy you feel the need to be and I don’t care what deadline you just have to work on this weekend, give these 5 things a shot and maybe it will make the universe make all the more sense…or something like that.

  • Food, Food, Food – you will hear this over and over again, what you consume will make the difference between how you feel. Think about nutritious food options to enjoy all weekend so that you can detox the body from all of your fast food options devoured during the week. This is a great way to reset your internally body.
  • Feed the Soul – perhaps you have a book that you have been dying to read, or a project around the house that you just haven’t gotten to yet. Take the weekend off, do only things that feed your soul. Whether it’s leisurely activities or a project that you just want to get done; do it!
  • Get Organized – nothing sucks more than having Monday arrive and you have to start rushing around all over again. Consider getting organized on the weekend, this way you will have meals prepared and the house organized in a way that screams “hello, Monday! I am ready for you!”
  • Get Outside – just the simple act of getting some outside air will assist in resetting your mind and soul. Consider taking a brisk walk, go to a corn maze or perhaps just get outside and run with those kids of yours. This will surely help you reset from a busy week.
  • Get Prepared – if you start to use the weekends as a means to prepare for the week ahead you will surely see life as a little less busy than before. Things to prepare for could be setting out clothing for the week, pre-making frozen meals from scratch and perhaps setting up the kid’s lunches for school ahead.

Let me know what you think? I really believe that these simple things will make your weekends be more about what they really are supposed to be…recharging and relaxing. Have a good weekend, people. And stop being so busy!

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Keep Yourself and Your Gear So Fresh with the Rowenta SteamCare Iron and X-Cel Steam Handheld Steamer


Even in today’s super casual world, which is really something to be lamented, you still need to look well-kept. You can’t walk around town or work looking like a hot mess. You can’t smell, you can’t mismatch, and you can’t be a wrinkled up disaster. In other words, even on casual Fridays, you need to look crisp! This is where a good iron still comes in and plays a role in your day-to-day. While there are so many irons around, it can make your head spin, I’ve had great success and pleasure in spiffing my gear up with the Rowenta SteamCare Iron.


Unlike any other iron on the market, the DW3 SteamCare Iron safely and seamlessly removes wrinkles from any type of fabric, no matter how delicate or difficult, without the need for manual thermostat adjustments. Whether ironing cashmere, silk, wool, or polyester, the DW3 SteamCare’s unique Tri-Plate technology delivers professional, failsafe results without the risk of shine or burn. This is such a home run, it really helps even the least experienced ironer (is that a real word?) do a great job without wreaking havoc on their wardrobe.


There are a ton of reasons why I like using this iron. The design, the color, and the functionality all seem to have been really well planned out with the goal of really making improvements to a tool and a task that seems to have been around forever. Here’s a quick list of why I think the Rowenta SteamCare Iron is pretty sweet:

  • One Smart Temperature: Automatically adjusts the iron’s heat settings to remove wrinkles from any fabric, with no manual adjustment necessary
  • Tri-Plate Technology: Ensures 100% safe and efficient ironing on even the most delicate fabrics, such as silk, cashmere, wool, and polyester, without the risk of shine or burn
  • Limescale Removal and Self-Cleaning System: Collects and removes mineral deposits caused by hard water to optimize performance and extend the product’s longevity
  • Microsteam350 Soleplate: 350 fully-activated Microsteam holes deliver optimal steam distribution, while a round shape ensures smooth ironing to prevent creasing
  • Multiple Steam Setting Options: 1600 watts of steam power can be channeled through the iron’s auto-steam, steam burst, or fine mist spray settings to tackle wrinkles on any fabric
  • Burst of Steam: Highly powerful 100-gram steam shot dissolves stubborn and hard-to-reach wrinkles from difficult fabrics
  • Vertical Steam: Versatile product design allows for effortless use in the upright position to remove wrinkles from drapes and hanging garments
  • Precision Tip: Tackles difficult-to-reach wrinkles on pockets, pleats, and collars
  • 8.45 Ounce Water Tank: Provides 20 minutes of uninterrupted high-performance steaming
  • Automatic Shut-Off Safety Feature:  Prevents damage caused by overheating

Pretty impressive list indeed.


As much as I love the Rowenta SteamCare Iron, sometimes I just can’t get it done. To do the job correctly, you need the right setup and a little time and patience. Sadly, there are more than a few times where I’m grabbing a shirt and running out the door. In those instances, Rowenta’s X-Cel Steam Handheld Steamer is the way I go. The steamer is ready in just 45 seconds and delivers unrivaled speed and convenience in wrinkle and crease removal…without the need for an ironing board. Its strong steam output and large metal head remove wrinkles easily on all kinds of fabrics, from the thickest to the most delicate, all the while sanitizing and refreshing as it steams. The kicker – the X-Cel Steam Steamer provides 10 minutes of steam but weighs just 2.2 lbs! It’s just so quick and easy to look good!!


This all really makes for about as easy and foolproof ironing and steaming experience as you could have. Sure, getting wrinkles out of your clothes may not be on your list of top activities for your mornings or weekends, but it’s necessary and you might as well have the best tools at your disposal!

To find out more about the SteamCare Iron and the X-Cel Steam Handheld Steamer, please check out:


Guy and the Blog was provided the product used in this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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