Launch of Fantastic Community Exercise Program

What I love about the state of Virginia is the sense of community spirit you get, no matter which part of the state you live in. People tend to pull together to support one another and it is exactly what makes me so proud to live in this state. Recently, our local hospital announced their plans to provide free exercise programs to help the community get in shape.

Why Is This Important?

Exercise in necessary to achieve greater health and general wellbeing. Not only is this important for your body, but it is also important for your mind and spirit. It provides various benefits such as helping you to build strength, lose weight, relieve stress and avoid various chronic diseases. It’s a terrific idea for the hospital, because it helps people stay healthy and supports those who are recovering from an illness or surgery.

What Does The Program Provide?

The exercise program is free and open to the general public, so you don’t need to worry about having to be registered at the hospital. The aim for the programs is to help focus on building strength, improving flexibility and balance and managing weight. They are targeting those over the age of 50, or those who are at risk of developing a chronic disease, but anyone can benefit from the program. I know I can!

The program includes cardio classes to target weight loss, metabolism and improve cardiovascular activity. There will also be strength-training classes, which will focus on building muscle with the use of weights or exercise bands. Some examples of classes include Pilates, yoga, aerobics, Zumba and total body conditioning. There are lots of different classes to choose from to suit your needs and fitness levels, so no need to worry or feel intimidated, there are plenty of beginners attending.

My Favorite Class

I had a chance to try out a couple of classes to report back to you and I have to say my favorite class was the elliptical training. This involved using an elliptical trainer, also known as a cross-trainer, and it gave me an impressive workout. I don’t normally use this machine at the gym, so it was a great chance to learn about it and the various benefits it can provide.

The class lasted 45 minutes and it included a warm-up and cool-down. It was great for cardio and I found that it had less of an impact on my joints than the treadmill does. I left it feeling happy and energized, even though it was hard work! It really gets your heart rate up and targets various different muscles, so it provides a good all-round workout for your body. I would recommend this class to everyone and the trainers were really fantastic.

What Can I Do?

Local fitness programs need the help of the community to keep them running. You can start your own or enquire about helping existing programs. I would love to volunteer and offer a bit of my time to help out my community. It’s not just fitness trainers they need, they can always use help when it comes to setting up, cleaning or providing general administrative tasks.

You can also give money to help keep these kinds of programs running, or you can donate gym equipment. Exercise machines such as rowing machines, elliptical trainers and treadmills are more than welcome, either new or used as long as they are in good condition. Other equipment includes things such as mats, weights, jump ropes and gym balls.

Family Walks And Hikes Made Easy

I love outdoor activity and the only thing I love more is going for walks and hikes with family and friends. But for a lot of families with young kids this can be a challenge and tough advanced hikes are certainly out of the question with babies and young toddlers. However, there are plenty of options in our wonderful state of Virginia where young kids will get to experience nature without being overwhelmed. In this post I want to highlight how easy it actually is based on my experience with my sister and her kids.

Last summer I started to talk my sister into joining me again for some outdoor activities. Since she had her two kids we had not done this as regularly as we used to, which is understandable. During that conversation I threw out the wild idea that her kids, both under 3, could join us.

My sister was looking for a new stroller anyway and asked me if I could see which types would be suitable for outdoor and light hiking activities. During my search I found a site called BabyWheels.net which has tons of information about strollers in general. But the site also has a list of the best double strollers for all different types of uses.

This basically helped us narrow things down in order to make sure she would be able to join me at weekends with her two young kids. The first thing we looked at is whether a side by side or tandem stroller would be better suited. For most of walks and light hikes we do there is plenty of space for a side by side model, but this can be a tight squeeze at time. So we focused our attention on a tandem model and she went off and bought a Baby Trend stroller.

The very first weekend that she got the stroller we packed up the kids and went for our first kike; well it was actually more of a walk which included a few nature trails. We had planned to do a trail that would take about 45 minutes, but we ended up extended the walk to 2 hours.

This was mainly due to the fact that both kids absolutely loved the environment and they were incredibly easy to manage in the new stroller. Every so often we would stop and let the eldest girl (Lucy) get out and do some exploring and walk for a while. It was a huge amount of fun for all of us. This was made particularly clear when on the way home in the car Lucy requested we do the same again the next day.

Since then, we go every weekend to different places as long as the weather is good. Obviously snow and rain have meant we went for long periods without our little trips, and it’s great to hear Lucy ask when we are going for a walk again. At this stage I really hope that the kids will grow up looking for outdoor activites and all the health benefits that come with it.

Non-Cooking Jobs in Today’s Restaurants

When you enter a restaurant, it may seem like it’s only run by a couple servers, a bartender, and a cook. But the truth is, a restaurant is full of activity, with plenty of people who make it easier for you to dine out. If you’re the kind of person who plans to be around food but don’t want to indulge in any cooking jobs, then you have a number of options at your disposal.

If you’re interested in food services but are not a big fan of cooking, dont worry. You can still get a job in the food service industry. Not everyone has to be the chef or even be trained as one to be a star in the restaurant. You can take many positions outside of the kitchen and still enjoy working the the food service industry.

Dishwasher
Dishwashers have plenty of responsibilities. Aside from dealing with dishes and kitchen utensils, they may even function as a bus person or a waiter/waitress. A dishwasher is basically a starting point for people looking to work in a restaurant.

Waiter/Waitress
Waiters or waitresses will be the first people who take your menu order until the time you leave out a tip. They generally take meal orders, make menu recommendations, and always have a habit of asking how your meal is. Very much like bartenders, they also deploy liquor regulations and must be professionally certified to serve alcohol. Waiters/waitresses may be required to function as bartenders, a bus person, or as host/hostess.

Host/Hostess
Hosts or hostesses are usually people who greet and brings you to your seat as you enter an eatery. Their job is an entry-level position and is ideal for those who aim to be a waiter/waitress or a bartender. There may be times where they’re expected to cater duties as a bus person or even a bouncer.

Bartender
Bartenders are usually found behind a bar serving out beer, cocktails, or wine you’ve ordered. Depending on the eating establishment, the bar may have a social functionality or are simply utilitarian. Regardless of a bar’s operations, bartenders are required to deploy liquor regulations, and may undergo a specific certification.

Bus Person
The primarily responsibility of bus persons is to clear out used tables and glassware from tables. They’re expected to take responsibilities as a bartender, dishwasher, host/hostess, or a waiter/waitress. In a general, a bus person is a starting point for those aiming to be a waiter/waitress, or bartender.

The next time you ask for a menu order and a drink, think about the people involved in a restaurant that make your meal a convenient reality. In a restaurant where you want to work in, it’s a lot bigger than just serving a snack or meal to your family on the dinner table.

If you are interested in working in the kitchen though, one of my favorite sites that dishes all about that is http://culinarydreaming.com

Review of my Hunting Season

So, the Virginia hunting season is over (well, technically it was over a couple of months ago but I’m only writing this now so tough). I miss it already. As anybody who’s reading this blog knows (probably just my friends and family, lol), I’m an avid hunter, and while I understand why there needs to be an offseason for conservation reasons, every year I get bummed out when the hunting season is over.

I’m primarily a bow hunter (although I have hunted with a gun in the past), and this season was reasonably fruitful for me. I only shoot a recurve (no compound bows for me, I don’t like the way they look or feel), so my success rate is probably lower than a lot of other hunters, but I was pleased with the game I managed to kill this year.

I managed to net 2 deer this year – that’s only happened to me one other year in my entire life. Deer hunting is a tricky business, especially using a recurve bow, and most of the time even if I spot a deer I don’t want to take a shot because I’m not sure I can guarantee a kill. I don’t want to shoot a deer and then have it running around bleeding and injured – that seems unnecessarily cruel to me. So when I do take a shot, I try to aim for the typical kill spots, and the deer also has to be close enough so that my unassisted recurve bow can shoot with enough force to penetrate all the way through the animal.

Through the hunting season, I also netted a couple of other less exciting animals – a couple of (hunting-permitted) birds and such. Nothing overly exciting. But I am proud of my 2 deer – I know a couple of guys who hunt with guns who only managed a single deer this season, so I suppose it’s something of an achievement to manage two deer with an old school bow and arrow.

I’m currently shooting a Bear Super Kodiak, but I’m seriously considering switching to a takedown recurve just for convenience purposes. It’s quite a hassle to lug around a full bow and all the equipment – I think I want something that can be disassembled and packed in the back of the car with no fuss. A couple of years ago, I was pretty skeptical of takedown recurves, just because I’m an old school guy who likes his equipment simple and straightforward, but nowadays I have to admit that the idea of a bow that can be packed neatly into a box is really appealing.

I’ve been looking up the various bows that are available on the market and the best recurve bow according to this guide is the Martin Saber but I’ve never been particularly partial to Martin as a brand overall. I’m thinking maybe the Buffalo Hoyt – it sounds like a good all-around choice – or maybe the Samick Sage(they have a review here), which seems like it’s really flexible.

Anyways, if anybody has any thoughts on what takedown recurve I should buy, just reach out to me. If you’re reading this, chances are you know where to find me =).

Never forget – Virginia is the best state.

I’m out.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding West Virginia

West Virginia is not missing out on the growing popularity of paddle boarding. In fact, the newest thing is getting a good inflatable standup paddle board or SUP (reviews on this site) so that you don’t have to tote the thing on the outside of your car. Inflatable paddle boards are surprisingly good performers on the water, too. Trust me it’s not like trying to stand up on a water mattress…

Anyway, as temperatures start to rise in our beautiful state, my mind is turning more towards warm weather fun. There are so many rivers and lakes in West Virginia that are great for paddle boarding. And there are more and more places selling them and renting them out near those wonderful lakes and rivers. Though it is perfectly fine to use a paddle board on a river it is probably best to start on still water like a lake. You’ll want to get accustomed to paddling, balancing and steering the board on calm waters before adding the extra complication of the movements of a river pushing you around. Of course like any on-water sport you want to take safety precautions. A personal flotation device should be worn in case you fall in. A whistle attached to that PFD is a good idea. A knife is a good idea – preferably a fixed blade knife like a good hunting knife – for cutting your tether if you get into a bind. And, of course, appropriate clothing for the season so you don’t get hypothermia out there.

Once you’ve brought everything you need together then you are ready to go adventuring. Here are three of many great spots in the state:

1. The New River Gorge National River – the Gorge is a popular spot and has fairly easy as well as quite difficult stretches of river. It is a national park and is literally stunning. On thetripadvisorwebsite users rate for the location itself as almost 5 stars. Imagine adding the thrill of stand up paddle boarding there while in such a mind-blowing location – you’d likely go off the scales in your rating!

2. Summersville Lake – this lake is a great place to learn your skills. It is also perfect if you have a family with kids you want to keep track of. Even better, North American River Runners can rent you boards and teach everyone as well – it’s a perfect fun day or weekend family adventure.

3. The New and Gauley Rivers can be challenging rivers for the more experienced. There are calmer stretches too, so fear not – if you are intimidated there are other options.

If you live in the eastern part of the state you can even head to Chesapeake Bay or Virginia Beach if you want to have some salt water adventures. Many paddle boarders find their sport is a good bridge into out-and-out surfing and they use the paddle to speed themselves up to catch waves instead of paddling with the arms as most surfers do. Good luck and stay safe!

What Pests Are Common in Virginia?

Virginia is for lovers, but it still has its fair share of pests. Nearly 300 varieties populate the state and can ruin your day. Here are some of the main creepy-crawlies you might come across.

• Many consider the American Cockroach to be the most disgusting home invader. They generally live outdoors but sneak inside for food and water. It’s essential to remove these pests from your home, as they are known carriers of cholera, typhoid fever, and a host of viral diseases.

• The Bedbug is not just found in sleazy motel rooms off the interstate. They can cling to your clothing and be transferred from a dirty chair to your home. While they don’t generally transmit disease, they do cause skin irritation, so if you suspect bedbugs and experience itching or redness, see a dermatologist.

• Venom from the female Black Widow Spider is highly toxic, so if you’re bitten, you need to obtain medical attention immediately. You can identify the female spider by the orange hourglass shape on the underside of the abdomen.

• One pest that’s actually a friend is the Praying Mantis. They have an enormous appetite and will eat flies, mosquitos, beetles, and other undesirable insects. They have the ability to camouflage themselves, making them a powerful predator. If you see one of these in your garden, leave it alone.

• The Silverfish is most likely to be found in your oven, clothes dryer, kitchen cupboard, or other dark, warm places. You might also find them in your bookshelf munching on the glue that binds books. Certain species will lay anywhere from 2 to 20 eggs a day, so they need to be taken care of swiftly before they become a real problem.

• Few things are more annoying to pets (and many humans) than the incessant buzzing of the Small House Fly. These pesky critters have amazing sensory perception and are very hard to kill. More than just a nuisance, they spread disease such as dysentery and tuberculosis. Once a fly gets into your home, it’s very hard to get rid of. Keeping doors closed and screens properly fitted in windows will cut down on your fly population.

• The Tick, commonly found in forests and open fields, is known for spreading Lyme disease and other illnesses. A bite can be identified by the bull’s eye-shaped mark, however, people are sometimes bitten on the scalp, so the mark can be hidden by hair. General feelings of malaise and fatigue that persist could be a sign you’ve been infected and need medical treatment.

• If you’ve ever been stung by a Yellow Jacket, you probably never forgot it. The good thing about them is they’re large and easy to identify, so if you see one buzzing in the area, move away swiftly. The bad thing is that some people are highly allergic to the sting and can quickly develop anaphylactic shock. If hives appear on your skin following a bite, seek medical attention immediately. Those who’ve had an allergic reaction in the past or are susceptible to allergies in general might want to consider carrying an EpiPen.

• The Squirrel might be a surprise mention, but they can cause a ton of home damage and are very annoying trying to get rid of them or keep them out of your yard. After dealing with a squirrel infestation myself recently, prevention is definitely the best method for dealing with squirrels.

Virginia is beautiful, but it’s known for a host of pesky critters, some merely annoying, and others dangerous. For more information, check out www.insectid.ento.vt.edu/.

Hunting in Virginia – My Favorite Fall Activity

Early settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries depended on wild game all year since there weren’t any food preservation methods available at the time. Wild game were considered a staple food for those who lived in Virginia.

Fall Hunting

Hunting for wild game in the fall has been a long tradition in Virginia since the 17th century when there weren’t any hunting regulations or in the 20th century when bagging numbers were initially enforced. However, hunting game every spring became a management program that began in 1962 as an “experimental season” on public lands in Virginia. Such season was eventually embraced since it was concluded that spring hunting was feasible. Since then, spring hunting became a past time.

Wild Game Research

Due to the successful reintroduction of wild game (and fish), the state’s Department turned to research inquiries on how to effectively manage wild game. The extensive research project involved a long-term study on the reproduction, survival, and impact caused by fall hunting on wild game in Virginia.

By combing efforts with Virginia’s local people, the project was able to look into the impact of fall hunting season on game survival rates.

Huge differences were observed in yearly survival rates that seem to be related to crops, and plants. Survival rates of wild game were a lot higher on years when crops are abundant.

I’ve been enjoying hunting all my life, and I get out as much as I can during the fall. I always try to bring the best gear that I can find so that I can make sure I’m always ready.

Available Hunting and Fishing Grounds

Virginia has plenty of natural areas for game hunting and fishing. The state has over 1 million acres of public land, which is basically 10% of the overall state area. Here are some known places to hunt for wild game:

Pruntytown State Farm (WV)

• Has 1,764 acres of land
• With active beef cattle managed by the state
• Ideal hunting ground for small game, predator hunting, turkey, dove, and deer

Pleasant Creek Wildlife Management Area

• Has 3,030 acres of land
• With active beef cattle managed by the state
• Ideal hunting ground for small game, deer, dove, grouse, waterfowl, and turkey
• Ideal fishing ground for crappie, pike, walleye, bass, and bluegill
• Has 1,750 acres of lake

Nathaniel Mountain Wildlife Management Area

• Has 10,675 acres of land
• Ideal hunting ground for turkey, bear, and deer
• With over 75 camp sites present

Monongahela National Forest – This area is one of my favorites and is ideal for bow hunting. Typically when Im out with my bow, I like to travel light and move fast in the field.

• Has 921,000 acres of land
• With mountain streams for trout fishing
• Warm water species typically found in lakes and ponds
• Ideal hunting ground for turkey and deer

New River Gorge National River

• Has 70,000 acres of land
• Ideal fishing ground for trout and warm water species
• Ideal hunting ground for small game and turkey hunting.

Some are these are in west virginia, but are very close to virginians in the western parts of the state. Some of my favorite areas to hunt in the state can be found here.

Best Archery places in Virginia

Archery is a great past time for people of all ages. It has all the advantages of enjoying the outdoors while giving you the thrill and exhilaration of firing at a target. Whether you hunt with a bow, enjoy shooting at targets, or saw it in a movie and thought it was cool there are some great places throughout Virginia that offer some of the best services and locations to let your arrows fly.

Archery events

With the snow starting to melt and the weather getting warmer and warmer winter is finally over. As spring starts to roll in so to do a number of archery events. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro these events are a great way to enjoy some friendly competition. The Hunt N Shak in Henrico, VA for example has their HNS Archery Spring Open. Come out and see archers of all calibers compete for first place in a variety of classes. This event is great for anyone looking to test their archery chops in competition or if they prefer to cheer from the side lines.

Archery clubs

If competition isn’t really for you then why not join a club. Archery clubs are a great place to meet likeminded people, get some practice in and enjoy this great hobby. Depending on where you are located in Virginia finding a club may be as easy as stopping in at your favorite shooting range and asking around or having to spend hours looking around online. Virginia has a number of different clubs all over that you can join. For example, 3-D Archery at Appleberry Mountain in Schuyler, Blackwater Bowhunters in Wirtz, or New River Bowhunters Club in Galax. These clubs and many others are a perfect place to discuss different brands and bow styles, shooting techniques, get some practice in and even learn some of the tricks from the more experienced archers.

Archery Camps

For the younger crowd that either enjoys archery or is looking to learn more about it there are a number of camps open during the summer that teach the finer points of archery, safety, and can help them improve and grow as archers. Bull Run Park in Centreville for example, offers a number of camps for ages 9 – 15 between late June and late August. While many summer camps offer archery courses the ones at Bull Run Park are exclusively for archery; allowing for a more focused discipline. This is a great way to get the kids out of the house for a few weeks and let them learn and/or grow a wonderful hobby.

Target ranges

Of course when everything is said and done having a great place to shoot is what really matters. There are any number of shooting ranges in and around Virginia, however, be careful as some of these may be more geared towards firearms and might not have adequate facilities for archers. Some good target ranges for archers are; Timber Ridge Shooting Grounds in Concord, Sherwood Archers in Roanoke, Wilcox Bait & Tackle in Newport News are just a few of the many target ranges around Virginia waiting to offer you some of the best and latest programs, ranges, and targets.

Finding Household Items is Easy to Do in Virginia

When moving to Virginia, there is nothing to worry about as all home items you need are there.

When you have just moved in to Virginia and you are not familiar around the place, you might be a bit worried. For instance, you might need some items and you don’t know exactly where to find them. The good news is that Virginia has tons of stores. This is true especially for household related items. Whether you want to buy new appliances and furniture or some cleaning materials, you can do so with ease when you are in the state.

Authentic vintage boutiques

If you wish to buy new furniture with a vintage touch, then you can find some stores that sell authentic vintage items. They might be a bit pricey, but compared to some other states around the US, these items are already a great buy. In fact, you might have fancied about antique items a long time ago. This time, you can make it a reality.

Discount stores

If you are on a tight budget as you have just moved in, you can check out some discount stores. Here, you can find almost all items cheaper than in any other regular store. These items are surplus items. It means that they are already over stock. The store has already reached their quota in terms of sales and so they can sell the remaining items at a low price. Go ahead and check them out as it will help you save a lot.

A store for everything cheap

There are stores where you can find brand new items of lower quality, but at a much cheaper price. However, there are stores where you can find high quality and branded items on discount. If you fancy buying clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch, H & M or Esprit, then go to this kind of store. They gather almost all items from discount stores around the state. For instance, Esprit is on a surplus sale, then they will buy the items and stock them in their store. Through this, you won’t have to search around malls just to get huge discount. Everything in this store can be bought at a much lower price.

One-stop shop for household needs

If you want a store where you can just buy everything instantly, then go to a one-stop shop. For instance, you have a clogged sink, you might need some items to unclog it. You can buy a plunger or a metal wire hanger. You might also need salt and baking soda to soften the clogged items. You don’t have to go to many places to buy these items. Some stores just have them all in one go. Thus, you can go back and start unclogging the sink right away. For more tips on how to unclog a sink, visit this site.

Virginia is definitely a haven for those who wanted to keep their homes feel like a home. Whether you want new appliances or just buy some cleaning materials, these stores have everything for you. The best part is that there are a lot of stores to choose from.

Tips When Searching for the Best Contractor in Virginia

There are certain rules observed in Virginia when hiring a contractor. Thus, you need to be aware of them to avoid problems.

There are a lot of reasons for hiring a contractor in Virginia. You might need one to remodel your house. You might also need them for other projects that involve plumbing, roofing and electricity. You might also need sub-contractors for smaller projects at home such as painting or repair. The good thing is that there are tons of choices in Virginia. A lot of them have proven track records already and can be trusted when it comes to the tasks assigned to them. However, the problem is that since there are a lot of them to choose from, it is not easy to seal the deal. Thus, you need to make sure that you properly choose the people to do the job.

Check the contractor’s license

In Virginia, it is a must that only licensed contractors are hired especially for major projects. For instance, if you need someone to do a complete bathroom remodel, you need a contractor who can assure you that the job will be done well. If the event that the contractor cannot do the job right or has given you a dishonest service, you can be repaid for loss or damages. However, if you hired someone who has no license, you cannot avail of this government protection. Though licensed contractors are pricier, it is still worth it in the end.

Put everything into writing

In Virginia, it is required by law that any agreement with a contractor must be put into writing. The contract is binding. Both the contractor and you must hold your end of the deal. Otherwise, you will have to pay for the penalties stated by law. The contract must be as detailed as possible. It should include the start and finish date. It should also include the specific tasks that must be finished within the given time. The payment scheme should also be a part of the contract. Go through the contract again before signing it. Of course, you must have a lawyer who will review the said contract. As much as possible, do not agree on anything orally as it is not binding under the state’s law.

Conduct an interview and background check

It is also a must that you interview the contractor and find out if he can really do the job. You can also check references to validate his claims. Doing proper research will help you avoid problems later on. It also goes without saying that bidding must take place so you can get the best possible deal.

Give your personal suggestions right from the start

Make sure that if you have special requests, you will state it right from the start. For instance, if you need the job to be over on a closer date, the contractor must be aware of it. If you need a painting job to be done as soon as possible, you can recommend airless paint sprayers. You can go here for more details. By using the said sprayers, repainting can be done soon. Another example is when you need the lawn to be perfect. Aside from hiring a contractor to do the landscape, you must also hire someone to trim the grasses using the best self propelled lawn mowers. You may check out more of these lawn mowers for different options.

It takes time to find the right contractor, but it can be very rewarding in the end.