Essential Items to Bring on a Long Flight

I recently went on a long flight with some friends and it was quite an experience. The vacation was great, but the flight? Not so much… To say we were unprepared for such a long haul through the skies is an understatement. So the day before our flight back, I took some time to research how to make our flight back more enjoyable. I found a couple of great resources and chose my top 5 favorite ideas.
However, improving one’s mood on these long flights may mean different things for different personalities. Some like to be prepared, some like to be relaxed, and some just like to sleep. No matter the personality type reading this article, there are a few basics that can make long-haul flights a little less daunting to the spirit of travel. After all, travel starts when one gets on the plane! Even long flights can be memorable if done correctly.
1. Noise Control
We’ve all been there: screaming children (whether our own or others)or over enthusiastic passengers who couldn’t care less about who hears their conversations.
Noise cancelling headphones are great for alleviating this issue. Find a model that can be charge via usb. For ease of handling, look for tangle resistant cords and compact carrying cases. For extra ease of mind, it might be wise to pair this purchase with a few ambient noise soundtracks. Think oceanic white noise or even tropical forest sounds.
2. Travel Warmth
Its swell to look good and feel comfort during a flight. We might don our tightest tailored dress or men might want to be comfortable in short shorts and tanks. There is broad spectrum when it comes to preferred flight wardrobes. However, once in flight, in comes the dreaded hour or truth: it gets really cold after a few hours or so of sedentary flight. We don’t want to wear a cardigan everywhere we go, however travel blankets are usually compact and won’t have half the germ content of a airline provided blanket.
3. Neck Pillows
This is one of the worst things about long flights. Neck alignment is important, and will get pretty difficult the long one is on a flight sitting in an upright position. Taking a quality nap means having the proper neck alignment. For those who need to get their naps just right, check out neck pillows that use memory foam or firmer materials for added comfort.
4. Antibacterial Spray
This is a given. People on flights are at the greatest risk at catching a bug. This is because there is literally a matrix of different germs from different geographies on a plane! If you are one of those who gets sick upon travelling, you’ll want to stock up on antibacterial spray for hands. This is good to put on before eating in-flight, and also after using the bathroom. Pair these with vitamins for a mood boost.
5.Reading Materials
All those bookmarked articles and books get the center stage during travel. During long flights you have the opportunity to make every moment count. While sleep will likely overtake the best of us all, it is almost impossible to sleep through the totality of a flight, even if it is only five hours long. Bring at least a couple of books, and maybe a few articles to beat travel boredom.
Huge thanks to the following posts that helped make our long flight home much more enjoyable:

5 Wildlife Species Native to Central Texas

For people that love the outdoors, Texas Hill country has long been an attraction that they wish to visit on a regular basis. When they are out and about, they can see all different types of wildlife that are extremely unusual. It is best that they get out there in a group, rather than try and hike it or travel alone, but there are people that do so alone too. When out and about, it is highly recommended that a person dress for the weather that is going to take place in the area. They should also have a water bottle with them for hydration when they are hiking the trails that proliferate the area. Another great thing to have for protection is sun block. The sun in the Texas Hill country can be very strong, and people can burn easily. Always being safe is another must when they are sightseeing in the area.

Since wildlife is interesting and unique, many people find that this is a highlight of their visit to the area, or if they live there a plus as to what they can enjoy on a regular basis. Here is the list of 10 of the common wildlife species that one can expect to see in the area:

Guadalupe Bass

The guadalupe bass is the state fish of Texas. This type of fish is green in color, and relatively small. They are sought after by fisherman from all over the world. In lives in small streams in the Texas area, but does not live in other parts of the world.

White-Tailed Deer

There are three to four million white-tailed deer in Texas. This makes it one of the most highly deer populated areas in the United States. They eat plants, grass, twigs and fruit. When they are fleeing an enemy, their tails are erect so that the white can be seen. This is how they received their name of the white-tailed deer.


The coyote is another species that people will be able to see in the area. They will want to make sure that they have a pair of binoculars, as well as a camera along with them when they are out and about in the area. It is an exceptional experience to see them up close. They are about the size of a normal German Shepherd. The look bigger than they weigh. Their poundage only comes to between 25 to 40.

Black-Capped Vireo

The black-capped vireo is nesting in the area from April through July. After that, they migrate to Mexico. They always return on a regular basis year after year to nest again. Their lifespan is only 5 to 6 years. They are a small bird that only gets to be four to five inches in length.

San Marcos Salamander

In the clear, spring water is where the San Marcos Salamander resides. It feeds off of snails, tiny aquatic life and insects. This is another species that is on the endangered list.

The wildlife that people can see when they live in the Texas Hill country or when they are visiting is remarkable. There are many reasons to carry a camera with them at all times. Having a pair of binoculars is also a good idea. There are so many wonderful aspects of the Texas Hill country, and seeing it in person is an experience that many people never forget, and they want to visit again and again to recapture the feelings that they have when they are in the area.

Guitar Strumming Techniques

I’ve been trying to teach myself to play guitar for a while now… It’s been a slow progression, but I’m finally able to play some basic songs, and it feels wonderful!

I’m not great by any stretch, but after I learned a few stroke techniques and some scales/arpeggios, I’ve found that I can play (basic, slightly out of tune) recognizable songs!  It’s pretty awesome.  I use UltimateGuitar to find all the tabs I want to play… If you play guitar, you’ve no doubt heard of it!

Of course, the best way to learn is to get mentored by someone who knows what they’re doing.  I got some lessons from a guitarist in Austin, TX. If you live in the area and are looking for guitar lessons in Austin, schedule a session with him, you won’t regret it!

Guitar strumming may seem like a basic part of playing guitar, but the basic techniques involved can be used  in unique ways to make even the dullest chord progression come to life. This article will discuss the most basic techniques involved in guitar strumming and provide some basic strumming patterns you can use to learn the techniques. Learning these techniques is important, as they can be put together in all kinds of interesting ways to create an endless variety of strum patterns.

Down Strokes

The easiest strumming technique to learn is the down stroke. This involves moving the pick in a downward direction across the strings and is usually the most natural way of strumming for beginners. Down strokes can be used to  create a variety of interesting patterns and provide a steady chugging pattern.

You can practice a simple strumming pattern by counting out 4 steady down strokes and tapping your foot every time you strum. Once you reach 4 strums, go back to 1 and repeat the pattern. This is a 4/4 rhythm, which means there are 4 beats in every measure, with a strum on every beat. Remember to keep a steady rhythm, and start slowly.

v     v     v     v

Up Strokes

The opposite of a down stroke, an up stroke is simply beginning with the pick underneath the guitar strings and moving upward across them. Most strumming patterns involve a mix of down and up strokes, but getting used to up strokes can be a little difficult at first. This makes it useful to practice an all-up-stroke pattern to get the hang of them.

Try repeating the same 4/4 pattern above, but with all up strokes instead of down strokes. Don’t worry so much about the rhythm at first; just focus on getting used to playing up strokes.

^     ^     ^     ^

Alternating Strokes

This is how most guitar strumming patterns are: a mixture of both up and down strokes. Because the guitar’s strings are struck in a different order with up strokes, it can provide a different sound to alternate strokes rather than just using all down strokes. It can also make your strumming faster, as no movement is wasted and sound is produced on both up and down movements.

Because alternating strokes can be difficult at first, start with the basic 4/4 rhythm and play a down stroke on the first beat, up on the second beat, down on the third beat, and back up on the fourth beat. Take it slowly at first.

v     ^     v     ^

Eighth Notes & Emphasis

Those are the 2 basic strumming strokes, but so far all of the patterns have been very basic. A way to make a strumming pattern more interesting is to strum both on and in between every beat. These are called eighth notes, as they cut each beat of a 4/4 rhythm in half.

To play this more complicated rhythm, say the word “and” between every beat. So instead of counting “1 2 3 4”, count “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and”. Whenever you say a number, play a down stroke. And whenever you say the word “and”, play an up stroke. You can see that this squeezes two strokes into the time where there was just one beat before.

Emphasis is important here. In most rock and pop strumming patterns, the “down beat”, or the in-between strums, are emphasized. This means you should emphasize all of your up strokes, the ones you play when you say the word “and”.

v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^

Once you get this timing down, you can mix it up by mixing and matching emphasis on different beats. This is one way guitarists add variety to the rhythms they can play.

Stroke Skipping

One last basic technique used to create interesting strumming rhythms is to skip strokes. This is done by keeping a steady strumming motion with your hand, but occasionally letting your hand “glide” over the strings without touching them with the pick. This adds more variety and interest to a rhythm by creating small pauses in the strumming sounds.

v ^ v ^     ^ v ^

Notice that in the pattern above, the 3rd down stroke has been taken out. This means that when you say the number 3, let your hand glide over the strings without playing them. Then resume the pattern like normal by striking the strings on the next up stroke. It can be difficult at first, but if you master the art of not striking the strings, this is the most important part of any strum pattern you will play. Practice is key.

By mastering these basic techniques, you’ll be able to play all kinds of patterns. The techniques are what’s important; don’t stick to the basic patterns shown here once you become more advanced in skill. Even more advanced patterns are built just by re-arranging the building blocks discussed above.

Harmful Effects of Hard Water

More likely than not, the water coming out of every pipe in your home is hard water. Hard water is the is any water containing significant amounts of minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, lime and chalk. This stands in contrast to soft water, which is purified water without significant mineral content. Hard water seems normal and harmless enough—it’s drinkable, and its mineral contents make it taste better than soft water, which only contains sodium ions and a slightly salty flavor. But the minerals in hard water  do more than just add flavor; there’s a growing body of evidence that hard water is harmful in more ways than one—to our clothes, our pipes, our skin, and our hair. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how fit your water is for the jobs you use it on.

With Soap and Clothes
Most of us are so used to hard water that we don’t notice how poorly it interacts with soap. But if you try bathing or washing your hands in soft water, you’ll notice the difference immediately. Soap doesn’t lather or clean nearly as well with hard water as it does with soft water, and this is because the soap must first neutralize the minerals in the hard water before it can start to lather. This means you need more soap to clean the same amount of dirt. At the same time, this neutralization leaves behind the soap scum that we’re all familiar with—that scum isn’t an issue with soft water!

That soap scum can also harm your clothes. Detergents don’t do as good a job cleaning the clothes, which leads you to need to use more detergent than you would need to with soft water. It just isn’t cost effective. Also, the hard minerals and increased use of detergent can dull colors and even damage fabrics.

If you’re looking for a great no-salt water softener in San Marcos, TX, give Clear Water of San Marcos a call, and they will take care of you!

With Plumbing and Other Containers
Potentially even more dangerous is hard water’s effect on plumbing systems. It slowly deposits mineral layers into the pipes, narrowing and even potentially clogging them. At the same time, however, overly soft water can be corrosive and leach lead out of pipes, which can make your water supply very dangerous. Finding a balance between softness and hardness is very important here.

The mineral deposits caused by hard water also show up when hard water is boiled in tea kettles and other containers. In addition to being unsightly, these deposits can make the container walls poorer at conducting heat, causing more heat to be needed and ultimately larger electricity bills. You’ve also undoubtedly seen this buildup on sinks, bath tubs, shower heads, and everywhere else water runs regularly. It’s a nuisance that isn’t a problem with soft water.

With Skin and Hair
Lastly and perhaps most unexpectedly, hard water causes a number of problems to your skin and hair. Because soap doesn’t lather as well with hard water, it creates a layer of scum on top of your skin instead of helping to remove dirt and grime like you’d want it to. It’s the same kind of scum that accumulates all over bathroom and shower fixtures.

This is bad for your skin, however, because of soap’s drying effect. The longer soap stays on it, the more your skin will dry out; with a layer of soap scum on your skin because of hard water, the soap has plenty of time to really damage the skin. This scum, aided by a warm shower’s effect of opening pores, can also get into said pores and cause acne breakouts or even skin infections.

That problematic hard-water induced soap scum is also bad for your hair. can cause hair to look dull and sticky, but most of us wouldn’t know our hair could look better as we’ve never showered in soft water. Shampoos and conditioners very well in soft water, allowing them to really carry out their intended effects of cleaning and strengthening hair. Many experts even believe that this makes hard water the cause of hair thinning and breakage.

Final Thoughts
If hard water has so many adverse effects, why is it so ubiquitous and its use so widespread? Ultimately, the answer may be financial. Distilling water is very expensive and demands a lot of labor, and as long as people remain ignorant to the harmful effects of hard water, those in charge of maintaining the water supply have no reason to put in the effort and money to change. There’s no push for change. But there’s an increasingly strong indication that hard water is ill fit for all of the tasks we use it for, and the time to make a push for change may be around the corner.

Learn more about Hard Water:

Box Packing Tips for Moving 

The moving ceremony, glorious though it may be, can be a stressful ordeal. Schedules must be set in stone and adhered to rigidly. The small ones must be kept busy lest they run amuck. Countless rituals must be executed precisely lest the moving gods be angered. Yet there is one ritual that is often overlooked, and that is the glorious packing of the boxes. This is a very important ritual, as it determines whether fate will smile on your precious belongings or leave them to fall into ruin and despair. And while much lore has been written on the moving ceremony, the packing of the boxes is a little-touched subject.

This manuscript will better help prepare you by detailing several easily-overlooked details that are nevertheless extremely important to the box packing ritual. Below are steps that must be executed both before and during the ritual to ensure that the moving gods are appeased.

Gather the Supply Artifacts

The first important yet overlooked task you must undertake is to gather the necessary items for the box packing. It is advised to dedicate an entire quest to finding these artifacts, the most important being the boxes themselves. These must be of top quality and sturdiness; nothing less is worthy of presenting to the moving gods. And there have been several accounts written of where to find said boxes. It is said that those who make a journey to the Wal Mart may be rewarded with their choice of boxes if they arrive between the hours of 11pm and 1am, during the hour of restocking.

It also helps to consider that boxes that are of the same size will stack upon each other much more elegantly. If you happen to find a set of boxes that stack together well, do not pass them up. Once you have found the boxes, you must also find packing tape, bubble wrap, and a notebook. All of these items are essential to the ceremony, and the notebook will come in handy later on.

Discard Unneeded Items

Once you have found all of the supply artifacts, you must begin placing your belongings into the boxes to begin the box packing ritual. As you go through this sacred dance, you must be careful not to be swayed by the pressures of nostalgia and sentimentality. The boxes are most pure if they are not bogged down by items you no longer need; these unneeded items are better sold or donated to charitable causes. Our strength of will, however, is not always up to this task.

Sometimes, the lure of nostalgia is too much to overcome and you must hold onto an item you will never use. If this happens, you must not unpack it once you reach the destination. This is what the construction of basements and attics is for.

The Box Packing and the Naming Ritual

Once your possessions are sorted through, it is time to place them into the boxes. This is something that must not be done thoughtlessly. Begin by packing the items you will use least; this way, they are on the bottom of the box-tower and will not obstruct more important items from being reached. It is essential that the sturdiest of all the boxes are reserved for the heaviest items. This way, their full potential is not wasted. It is also written that the boxes must be filled completely; the items within are what gives a box strength, and it must be strong to withstand being stacked. Also, be sure to properly protect fragile items with the bubble wrap or another suitable protection material.

Then, you must proceed with the box-naming ritual. You must give each box a name based on the items it holds within. This is where the notebook comes in handy; the scribes of old recommend that each box is given a number with notes of its contents written alongside this number in the notebook. You must also add the label “fragile” onto all items that can be broken. Lastly, although it is usually recommended to fill boxes completely, this becomes counter-effective if the box becomes to heavy. If this begins to happen, you must fill the remainder of the box’s space with light items such as the stuffed animals.

The Loading of the Truck

Once your boxes are all in proper order and labeled with precision, it’s time to prepare them for the loading of the truck. This is when your packing tape will be needed. Generosity will be rewarded here as misfortune will befall those who skimp on tape. wrap the boxes, especially the heavy ones, tightly in layers of tape to ensure their journey to the promised land is safe and without interruption. The boxes must be taken care of.

But preparing them for the truck is not the end. They must be placed in the truck in the right way lest the moving gods be angered. It is important to place the heaviest boxes on the bottom to ensure that the lighter ones point upwards towards the heavens. Fragile items must be held in high regard, both figuratively and literally. But this majestic box-tower must not be too tall. Just as Icirrus’ wings melted off as he got too close to the glory of the sun, so the boxes will be crushed by their own weight if they are built up too high. The boxes must remain humble.


The box-packing ritual is a difficult one, but it is rewarding once you complete a glorious truck full of elegantly packed boxes for the appeasing of the moving gods. If they are pleased, once you reach the promised land, they will reward you by making the unloading of your belongs go by much more smoothly. But, even with all of the lore described above, it can still be a difficult task to complete the box-packing ritual on your own.

If you need assistance with this ritual, there are groups of mercenaries that are willing to provide assistance in return for gold. Of these, many tales have been told of the great accomplishments of the Texas State Movers, a band of moving assistance mercenaries operating out of the regions of Dallas or Fort Worth in the realm of Texas. It is advisable to look them up if you are in the area and planning to begin a moving ceremony.

Deciding If You Should Get Contact Lenses

Earlier this week a friend and I were talking about whether or not she should get contact lenses.  I told her she definitely should, but we did some research to see if they were really a good fit for her.  I had always thought that contacts were a good fit for everyone, but it turns out they might not be!

contact lenses

If you require vision modification and also are asking yourself if contact lenses are a great choice for you, there are a few things you should take right into factor to consider.

Here are some risk factors to bear in mind when deciding whether contact lenses are a good match for you:

Consider your lifestyle. Do you take part in any type of sports? If you jog, do aerobics, or other jarring sporting activities, you will likely discover that glasses frustrating. They will certainly have a tendency to slip and drop off, or you will need to buy a strap to keep them on. Also then, they might mist up when you sweat or sweat might trickle into them. Contact lenses will certainly conserve you all this difficulty. You will certainly have the ability to see clearly and also won’t need to stress over them diminishing. If you play call sports, you could not be able to use glasses, or you may need to invest in eye protections large sufficient to cover them, or perhaps much more pricey, prescription safety and security glasses. If you are a swimmer nevertheless, contact lenses might not be a great choice, as you can lose them if you open your eyes underwater.

Another aspect to bear in mind is maintenance. Glasses will acquire smudges and also will certainly require cleansing periodically to enhance your capacity to look through them, but keeping contact lenses tidy is important not just for your vision, but also for your wellness also. If you do not cleanse your lenses appropriately or frequently enough, you can place on your own at danger for an eye infection that can potentially leave you with a vision loss that can not be dealt with. Making use of non reusable contact lenses could make looking after your lenses much easier, however you still will require to make certain that your hands are spick-and-span just before placing them in, as well as look after them effectively if you take your lenses out as well as put them back in for any type of reason. If you do not assume that you could include any sort of steps to your daily hygiene regimen, then contact lenses may not be the most effective selection.

If you need a tutorial for using your lenses and keeping them clean, check this video out:

Top quality of vision adjustment is one area where contact lenses transcend to glasses no concern who you are. Considering that the lens component of contact lenses sits straight on your eye and covers the understanding part of your eye totally, you will have fixed vision all over, consisting of to the top, base, and sides, whereas with glasses, there is no improvement for your peripheral vision. That could be troublesome for activities like driving, or if the high quality of your vision is essential in your profession.

Speak with your eye care health and wellness professional about your alternatives. They can detail the pros and also disadvantages of wearing glasses or get in touches with, and aid you make the most effective selection for you.  If you need an eye care consultant in the San Marcos, TX area, Blue Moon Optical is a great place to go!

Glasses will certainly acquire smudged and also will certainly require to be cleansed sometimes to maximize your capacity to see via them, yet keeping contact lenses tidy is crucial not just for your vision, however for your wellness. Utilizing disposable contact lenses can make taking treatment of your lenses much easier, but you still will certainly need to make sure that your hands are quite tidy prior to putting them in, as well as take treatment of them effectively if you take your lenses out as well as place them back in for any kind of reason. High quality of vision improvement is one location where contact lenses are remarkable to glasses no concern who you are. Considering that the lens part of contact lenses sits straight on your eye as well as covers the viewing component of your eye completely, you will certainly have remedied vision all about, consisting of to the top, bottom, as well as sides, whereas with glasses, there is no modification for your peripheral vision.

Choosing the Right Non-Denominational Church

The proliferation of churches in recent times has continued to soar at a very high rate. In some parts of the world where Christianity is the dominant religion, there is hardly any street corner without one church denomination or the other. In the midst of this high rate of proliferation of denominational churches, there are still some churches that have remained non-denominational with the sole aim of bringing believers together to fellowship with a true Christian mindset. The large number of churches springing up everyday has made it increasingly hard to identify true non-denominational churches, but there are still certain signs that help identify them wherever they exist. Below are some of the very prominent signs all non-denominational churches are identified with.

No emphasis on membership-one feature all denominational churches are known for is trying to win new converts whenever they hold a special crusade. A non-denominational church won’t try to make you a permanent member as they are not interested in growing their membership. Non-denominational churches are only interested in the spiritual welfare of all believers irrespective of where they worship, as against the practice in most denominational churches where they will try to ensure you become a registered member of their flock. If a church is more interested in your attendance to church activities than your spiritual growth, it can’t be a non-denominational church.

If you are looking for a great non-denominational church in central Texas, give Eikon Church a look – they’re a great place to call your church home!

No emphasis on new places of worship-a non-denominational church needs a place where believers can gather and share the word in one accord and not to have a branch of their church in virtually every street corner in town. If a church lays much emphasis on planting new churches in every street corner, it is not a non-denominational church. This craving for new locations always necessitate monetization of the gospel. Establishing branches requires money, so if the preaching centers more on giving to the church than on soul winning, it is not a non-denominational church.

No general Overseer-having a general overseer is a tradition in all Pentecostal denominations. In non-denominational churches, there is no such thing as a general overseer who is the chief signatory to all church bank accounts, rather you find a committee comprising of church leaders and elders who see to the smooth running of the church.

No special translation of the bible is used-most denominational churches will have a special bible translation approved for the members to make use of. This is not so in non-denominational churches where most popular translations are used. The use of different translations in non-denominational churches is as a result of worshippers coming from different backgrounds and denominations.

No unbiblical doctrines-most denominational churches are known for their unique interpretation of certain portions of the bible, which help shape their doctrines. This is not the case in non-denominational churches where the bible is the only standard. Non-denominational churches will not use philosophies or theologies to explain bible passages to the congregation. Some denominational churches are easily identified by their mode of greetings, some by their mode of dressing, etc. In non-denominational churches, it is purely what the bible says, no additions, no subtractions.

More Reading:

Screen-Printing, embroidery, and more…

Rivercity is a screen printing and embroidery company located in Austin and San Marcos, TX, covering the areas of Austin Sab Marcos, San Antonio, and the surrounding areas. specializes in custom embroidery, custom logos, and screen printed apparel, and offer a wide variety of items for customization, including shirts, pens, bags, drink ware, and more. If you are looking for a sports team uniform, custom t-shirt design, or a corporate gift Rivercity will work with you. Rivercity guarantees the BEST customer service and high quality line merchandise and apparel.

Embroidery is one of the oldest techniques for decorating clothes and other material. You can easily find evidence of its use in the history. If you are planning to learn this technique, here are some pointers to start.

Monogramming allows loyal customers and fans the ability to use, or wear, their products with pride. “Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you,” states Chip Bell. Sports fans everywhere look for monogrammed items to show their spirit for their team.

T-shirt Printing involves using threads of different colors that are sewn onto the fabric or garment as a form of printing. The design to be printed can either be sewn manually or it can be digitized and sewn automatically by a computer controlled system.

There are endless opportunities in terms of custom-made T-Shirts as well as other attire. School sports teams, bands, artists, and others all use customized T-shirts. Customizing T-Shirts is a superb approach to display individuality and showcase anything you want.

With screen printing there are three main types of heat transfers: hot split transfers, cold peel transfers and hot peel transfers. Each specific type requires a special kind of release or transfer paper and heat press treatment. If you own your own screen-printing equipment, you can utilize it to create your own heat transfer designs which you can apply to shirts later. The benefit of this is not having to set up the same design over, you can just pull out the transfer and apply it in literally minutes.

Visit Rivercity at