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Technology And Espresso Machines

Technology And Espresso Machines

The popularity of espresso has exploded since the beginning of the new millennium. Back in the day, asking for an espresso at your local coffee shop would do get you a kick in the mouth from the guy behind the counter and awkward glances from other customers.

These days, coffee shops capable of delivering a shot of espresso can be found in book stores, local grocery markets, farmers markets, mall kiosks, or even Cineplex’s, although it is hard to imagine wanting to be wired while you are watching a movie.

Technology has allowed for the private consumer to experience the wonders of espresso at home. They are smaller and more attractive in a home kitchen setting. (The machines, not the people.) These are easy to operate machines. Are they easier to operate than coffeehouse machines? That is probably a better question for a hangover “barista”, a term just as inaccurate and stupid as “mixologist”.

You can just as easily become a parent. A shot of espresso is the culmination of pushing roughly 1.5 ounces of warm or hot water through a small filter containing a measured amount of finely ground coffee with the density of a critical mass. If everything goes well, the result will be a thick, brown liquid with a small head of  foam comparable to getting a beer from the tap at the bar.

Espresso is different from coffee due to the amount of water and pressure pumped through it. Other factors go in to the process of making a shot of espresso, as well. The water’s temperature, pressure, as well as the integrity of the grounds used (espresso grinds are ground to a much finer consistency than typical coffee grounds); and also how tightly the coffee is packed.

This makes the consistency of espresso thicker because its content does not have the same sort of time to develop a thinner liquid. Concentrating these several types of beans into a single blend creates a deeper, richer blend than traditional coffee offers. By brewing a more condensed product, one would think the caffeine content from espresso would be higher, which is true, however, due to the shot glass it is served in, espresso has less caffeine than a cup of coffee based on sheer volume.

By the way, if you are the sort of guy who actually orders espresso, your potential fellow customers thank you for staying home.

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Cultural food - from Asia to South America

Cultural food – from Asia to South America

The latest phase that’s coming around is all in thanks to the food frenzy over Asian food also known as the “Asian Invasion”. It’s not just simple Chinese food anymore. There’s a big boost in Thai restaurants and food fare as of late. Also, people have been going crazy for Japanese style tempura dishes and sushi.  Don’t be surprised if you stop along the road to fill up on gas and see sushi in the deli case inside the gas station. It’s spreading everywhere across the planet.

Sushi isn’t all just about the fish. You can have it raw or cooked, but it’s half all about the fish, and the other half is about the rice. It’s got to have the right consistency to blend in with not just the molding of the sushi roll, but the flavor it enhances the experience with. Enter into the picture, rice cookers.

You’ll want to take a look at some rice cooker reviews mainly this one if you’re looking to cook up more than just a cup or two of rice. Take the Buffalo Rice Cooker for instance. It has 5-10 cup capabilities when you’re putting together a meal that requires more than a little bit.

If you’re looking for smaller amounts you’ll see in these reviews of the best, there are rice cookers to take whatever size you need on. Not only that, it can put out for you at the consistency you require. They aren’t just for white rice either, but it handles everything from couscous to porridge as well these are among a line of best ones out. They have cookers that handle brown rice, as well as wild and heavy grain rice as well.

You can go beyond just the Asian foods though. There are many cultural foods from other countries that you can delve into easily with using a rice cooker in your kitchen. Take South American and Latino spanish rice recipes. Not only that, you don’t have to cook the rice separately, you can cook it all together in the cooker at once. That’s nice to be so efficient.

You’ll find rice cookers that prepare above and beyond rice too, some work on soups and stews while others can do cakes even! Then there’s the gadgets that might catch your eyes, such as timers, delayed cooking, sauté, browning and even slow cooker functions.

All it takes is a few minutes to browse and see what tickles your fancy. The prices range from low to higher ends depending on what you’re looking for, small or large, simple or high tech. Either way, going into buying a rice cooker, you’ll want to be prepared and get exactly what you want out of it, and maybe find you want even more.

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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Travelling With A Beard

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Travelling With A Beard

If you have  a beard you are probably already aware that there are pros and cons of sporting a beard whilst travelling.

To keep your beard looking its best it is best to invest in a beard trimmer. This will allow you to keep your beard neat and trimmed with the minimum of hassle, although you may need to take a travel plug adapter if you are planning to travel abroad. Beard trimmers can be light and portable and you can minimise which attachments you pack to help keep your luggage lighter.

Having a beard can help to cover up areas of skin which might have blemishes such as acne or scars. A beard can add a level of gravity and maturity to your appearance and is very fashionable, providing you with a hip look with the minimal of fuss, just think of all the current celebrities who now have a beard. No more razor burn from the daily routine of shaving, with all the associated moisturisers etc you need to keep your skin in good condition. If you are travelling to a cold region your beard can also add a level of protection from the cold, helping to keep you warm.

Having a beard can cause a few problems though, when you are first growing it it can be an incredibly itchy experience. The initial few days of growth can end up making you feel scruffy, whilst you are waiting for your beard to take shape. Another thing to consider is that if you had your passport photo taken whilst clean shaven, you may have difficulty whilst passing through customs. A beard can also make you feel too hot if travelling to sunnier climates, and you need to be aware whilst eating that residuals of food may get caught in your beard-never a good look!

If the above points are enough to put you off sporting a beard you may need to consider a lightweight portable shaver to take on your travels. But the ultimate reason for having or not having a beard is personal preference.

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Tips For Staying Groomed While You Travel

Tips For Staying Groomed While You Travel

The difficulty of travelling is that it can leave you feeling dishevelled, but it is possible to travel lightly whilst taking everything you need to remain presentable, the key is to pack wisely.

You will not want to take lots of luggage with you whilst travelling so try and limit yourself to getting everything into one bag. This may require you to be ruthless about what you do and do not take.

When you are preparing your possessions for a trip the general advice is to write a list. Think about events you will be attending whilst away so that you can pack accordingly. Try and choose clothes that can fold up small but wont require to much in the way of maintenance. Clothes that crease easily will involve you having to do lots of ironing whilst away, so try and choose fabrics that are a bit more durable. Plan your outfits carefully and try and choose outfits that are suitable for a wide range of occasions, so that you can dress up or down as required.

Next think about your toiletries. It is possible to buy travel size essentials such as shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant etc, alternatively buy some small bottles and decant your own products into them. Think minimal, you don’t need to take a wide range of aftershaves, just take your favourite.

If you want to stay neat and groomed remember to pack your shaver. Some models are more portable than others, but if you are travelling abroad you may also need to take a travel plug with you. There is a wide range of body groomers available that can suit all of your body grooming needs, but only pack the attachments that you will need.

If you travel a lot you may also want to consider your hairstyle. Hair styles that require lots of products can be hard to maintain whilst your away so you may want to consider shaving off your hair, this will prevent those notorious bad hair days. A clean shaven head can be very fashionable and save you oodles of time when getting ready for any event as it is a very low maintenance style to maintain.

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Primp And Shampoo Your Dog To Add To Your Style

Primp And Shampoo Your Dog To Add To Your Style

Everyone needs a pamper now and again and that even extends to your pets. It is important to buy the correct products when you decide to give your dog the pamper treatment and there is a vast array of products available that are suitable for your dogs coat. It is best to buy something specifically for your dogs needs as using your own human products could irritate and dry their skin.

Dogs should not be shampooed more frequently than once a week, otherwise you risk upsetting the balance of natural oils present on their skin, leaving them to a dry, dull coat. Whenever trying a new product it is always best to try a patch test first, as dogs, like us can suffer from allergic reactions to some ingredients. Try to look for brands that have more natural ingredients, these may cost a little more, but in the long run will benefit your dog leaving him with a glossy coat and lovely smell.

Dogs come in a variety of sizes, and the size of your dog will indicate how long it may take to wash him. Long haired variety of dogs should have their fur groomed regularly to get rid of dander and any fur knots which may occur. Each dog has their own individual characteristics, and some will take to the pampering treatment more readily than others. It is best to get your dog used to being groomed, washed and having their claws clipped at an early age, so that they don’t get too freaked out by the experience. It is also a good idea to get them used to having their teeth brushed, most dogs are not very keen on this experience but it could save you a fortune in vet bills as dental treatments are very expensive.

When grooming and pampering your dog, try to keep the environment calm and try and make it a fun event. Dogs always respond well to treats, so it may be an idea to incorporate this into his pampering regime. Most dogs love the one on one attention they get from these pampering moments.

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Where Should We Draw The Line With Doggie Fashion?

Where Should We Draw The Line With Doggie Fashion?

There are some very pampered dogs around, and some owners even provide their dog with their own fashion wardrobe. Recent years have seen a growing trend amongst owners to dress their dogs up in outfits that are not function specific.

Items such as dog winter coats or waterproofs for short haired or elderly dogs are functional and would not raise an eyebrow in the park, no more than a blanket on a horse would. However there are now a large selection of doggy outfitters that cater for more extravagant and eye catching outfits for dogs. Tee shirts and baseball caps for dogs are very popular amongst owners along with colour co-ordinated outfits for pooch and owner.

Medium dog Breeds have an excellent selection of outfits to choose from including Fancy Dress items such as dinosaurs and sailors uniforms. some outfits are more suited to photo opportunities rather than for wearing to the park but a talk with the staff at your pet outfitters will help you choose the best item of apparel for your dog. Hypoallergenic breeds of dogs are ideal for dressing up due to their low shedding characteristics and minimal amount of dander (flakes of skin) loss.

Different varieties of dogs have different characteristics and some will tolerate being outfitted whilst others will not. A good rule of thumb when assessing whether your pet is suitable for a costume is to simply try your pet out with a basic item of doggy clothing in conjunction with your pets favourite treat. If your dog is happy in his outfit and is not showing any signs of distress or discomfort then you can proceed with more fancy outfits.

Many folks disapprove of dressing pets up in costumes believing it anthropomorphises animals and is confusing for them. However animal welfare societies, such as the RSPCA have commissioned studies into this and have come to the conclusion that it is harmless if the pet is comfortable in his/her outfit, is able to toilet correctly, and shows no signs of distress.

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becoming-teacher

Living and Teaching In the Lone Star State

By Ellen Wilson

If you love kids and you’re interested in an adventure in the U.S., you might consider living and teaching in the Lone Star state.

The Texas Education Agency reports that shortages in the field mean teachers in certain subject areas are in high demand and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the need for 53,000 high school teachers and 188,000 grade school teachers by the year 2022.

Becoming a teacher in the Lone Star state is different than becoming an educator in many other areas of the U.S. Because there is no specific teacher education program in the state, you’ll first need a bachelor’s degree in your chosen subject area.

Then, you’ll go through an education preparation program. If you’re earning a degree in Texas, you can often fulfill this requirement at the same school. If you earned your bachelor’s degree elsewhere, find out more about the education prep program at the state’s website.

After you’ve completed the program, you’ll take a certification test in your subject area, for a particular range of grade levels. When you’ve passed the certification exam, you must still complete another step to become eligible to teach.

As in many other U.S. states, educators in the Lone Star state must complete a state registration process that includes a background check and fingerprinting. When you’re approved for registration, you’re eligible for entry-level teaching positions in Texas.

A teacher in Texas is paid a base minimum salary, mandated by the state legislature. The state legislates a base rate that is keyed to years of experience teaching in Texas. Certified teachers with no experience must be paid a minimum of $27,320. The rate rises as you gain experience so that, when you have 20 years’ teaching experience, your minimum salary will be $44,270.

In most districts, this base is supplemented, usually based on your certification and education, so that you earn a more competitive salary. For example, teachers who hold a master’s degree earn more and those with education beyond the master’s level earn even greater supplements. If your area of certification is one in high demand, you may also earn more.

The supplemented rate varies from district to district. For example, if you’re a first-year teacher in Dallas, you’ll earn $45,100, while a beginning teacher in Lubbock will earn $37,750. Newly-minted teachers in Fort Worth earn $50,544, while in Planto, they earn $49, 442.

In rural districts and smaller districts, you’ll earn less, but you’ll also find the cost of living to be much less than in larger Texas districts.

In any case, salaries for teachers in Texas, like those in many U.S. states, don’t equate to those earned by people in other fields who have similar education.

Legislators in the state recognize that attracting quality candidates to teach children who’ll be entering a very different world, by the time they graduate, probably means they should pay a higher salary. Some state lawmakers are pushing for education reforms that include better pay for teachers, so base rates are likely to increase in the next few years.

debt

Giving Education A Helping Hand

Student loans have always been one of the biggest enemies of students as they assess their financial situations. Worse yet is that for many families, the parents take on the brunt of the force that comes from these massive student loans. Education is fantastic; this much has been pounded into our heads every since we were in elementary school, but what we weren’t taught was how expensive it is. Many students are finding out that they have no way to pay off their student loans and having to take deferment on their loans. In some situations, this is really the only option, but it should be highly avoided at all costs.

With that said, there is a smart way to go about student loan deferment, but there’s also a not-smart way to go about it; I highly suggest taking the smart way. Applying for loan forgiveness is a great way to lessen the brunt of the payments, but this really only happens if you find yourself unemployed. Refinancing your student loans is another option. This is when you renegotiate your payment plans with the school so it can fit better for you. More times than not this to minimize your payments and stretch them out over a long period of time; this is very common in low-income households. However, the total amount of interest you will end up paying will increase by doing this rather than just dealing with the slightly larger payments. No matter what decision you go with, I highly suggest getting some advice.

The message that “college is expensive” has been shouted throughout the whole education system, luckily, the government has listened. The government wants to make it known how expensive college is well before anyone enrolls anywhere. Furthermore, financial aid is being increased through American Opportunity Tax Credit which provides up to $2,500 per student to go towards tuition and other expenses. You must not forget that tuition is only one part of the expense of college. There are bundles of fees around every corner as well as course materials (like books) that can be be expensive.

College is after all completely optional and there are many occupations and fields where employees are employed right outside of high school. But if you want to pursue a degree, then you better be ready to pay for it. Even though a degree can potentially land you a very solid jump doing something that you love, it won’t be worth anything if you can’t finish school because you can’t pay tuition or the student loans that follow. If this is you then deferring your student loan payments could be the only option for you.

cost-savings

What Will It Take To Live The Good Life?

I’m sure the word “retirement” sounds like something that is far in the distance and doesn’t bother you at all. However, for many, retirement sneaks up on them a lot faster than they expect. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s too early to save for retirement because it isn’t. Just wait until you find out how much money you could have when you finally decide to retire as long as you start saving now. Like they say, “the early bird catches the worm”.

Ideally you should start saving for retirement as early as your 20s. You have probably started working and picking up more hours (depending if you’re a full-time student or not) and are getting consistent paychecks. Putting small percentages of this away towards a retirement fund it easily one of the smartest decisions you can make. It may not seem like a great decision at the time; you’re take money away and putting it somewhere that isn’t very liquid (easy to access) for a time in your life that is way down the road. Don’t worry, you will understand when you retire.

Take a look at how much money you can potentially make if you start saving early. Let’s say you start saving at age 25 and put just a few thousand dollars a year, $3,000. This is only $250 a month which can easily be the amount of money one spends at restaurants for a month (it’s a simple sacrifice). You put this money into a tax-deferred retirement account like a 401k. You do this until you’re 35 and then you stop completely. Yes, you quit putting any money into your 401k and get to reap the full benefits of your paychecks. By the time you are 65 (an ideal age for retirement) you will have nearly half a million dollars! That’s right. A simple $30,000 investment over the span of 10 years just turned into $472,000. Now, imagine if you kept investing all the way up to 65. That’s rough, but you can also start even earlier. By saving right at 20 (it doesn’t have to be $250 a month, it can be less) and saving all the way to 35, you can plan on getting up well over half a million dollars. That’s a lot of dough that seemingly came out of nowhere. This is why saving early is so important.

business

Do You Really Need An Accountant?

If you’re like the majority of people I know then you probably don’t want anything to with math and number crunching. If you’re like this then you are definitely someone who should hire a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) for either your business (if you own one) and/or your taxes. Doing your own taxes definitely has its fair share of advantages, but hiring a CPA can give you access to other resources that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

CPAs, as far as I know, have a very good reputation. They’re personable, sociable, but ultimately they want the best for you and your financial situation. But this is all part of being a CPA; they’re paid to do this. As an accountant, you’re expected to know your way around financial situations, be able to consult, and give advice to your client. Many businesses hire accountants as most business owners have other things to worry about other than crunching numbers, record keeping, and staying up to do date with “boring stuff” like that. From my experience, you can only really gain from hiring an accountant. I’ve heard stories of many business owners who think they have the time and smarts to create budget plans, analyze revenue, expenses, profit margins, etc. They were wrong as they got their numbers wrong and ended up having to pay lots of money. Even though hiring an outsider may not sound like a cheap investment, you will understand that it is when you figure ways that your business can save money.

The same works for taxes. Doing your taxes yourself can save you money as you won’t have to hire anybody, but you run the risk of getting your numbers wrong; not to mention the time it takes to sit down and go through everything. Now, there are some people that do their own taxes and they wouldn’t change it for anything. These people get a strong understanding of the tax code, save money, and actually save time (as long as the taxes are simplified). However, hiring a CPA gives you access to expert advice, ways to save money, and (if your taxes are more complex) can save you a lot of time. It really all depends on what type of person you are. If you don’t trust anyone touching/seeing your financial situation, then you would be better doing it yourself. However, if you’re all about getting the most experienced eyes looking at your taxes, then you should definitely hire a CPA.