rock climbing extreme sport

Be Prepared Before Participating in Extreme Sports

If you are serious about playing extreme sports, you had better be serious about your training. You cannot responsibly participate without being properly prepared. The result may end in injury and serious setbacks in your physical health.

Extreme Sports is an allure for many that cannot be ignored. It is an itch that must be scratched. Extreme Sports that have become most popular in recent years are rock climbing, trail running, and maybe even the most recent is bicycle motocross. These are action sports that demand mental and physical control.

There is also the more known extreme sport that has made a resurgence. Skateboarding started in the 50’s and restarted in the 70’s. In the 90’s it lost its momentum and has now regained popularity and is experiencing an evolution into high-tech that ensures this sport is here to stay.

As The Bootcamp states in its article Preparing for Extreme Sports: Training for the impossible

“Cardiovascular training is another often neglected aspect of many workout regimens. While HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is often recommended for most athletes, something that drains your energy within 20 minutes isn’t going to be much help when you’re faced with a marathon up ahead. You must condition your muscles and lungs to be prepared for longer excursions and to teach yourself how to efficiently spend your energy. These conditioning exercises must be well thought out prior to embarking on your extreme sport escapade to avoid injury and above all; enjoy your time!”

cardiovascular exerciseTime can be the issue that causes this sensible advice to be ignored. Check out our post on How Do I Improve My Health With No Time Available For Me. In addition, consider getting an in-home gym set. Do your research. Get what fits your body’s needs and your health goals. If you need help in making that choice, call us at AddvantageUSA at 888-601-5527.

Multi Generation Moms helping children

Traditions to Bring the Joy Back into Your Holidays

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Isn’t that what they say? Sometimes in the busyness of the season, we can get away from that sentiment or lose sight of the true meaning of it all. But even if you are feeling like you’ve lost that holiday joy, it’s not too late to reclaim it!

One of the best ways to get it back is to enjoy some holiday traditions together. So whether your traditions are plentiful or whether they are running low, here are some traditions to consider for this holiday season and for many holiday seasons to come.

Decorate Together

For some people, this one is difficult, especially if your children are young and don’t have an eye for spreading out ornaments on the Christmas tree. But what wonderful memories it makes when the family spends time decorating together! Oftentimes, our youngest kids are the ones who enjoy it the most. If they’re taught early on that it isn’t about everything looking perfect, but rather a chance for family to spend time together, laughing and enjoying each other, there’s a good chance that even when they hit those teenage years and always seem to be with their friends, this is a tradition they won’t want to miss. And if you’re the type that has to have things just right, you can always fix things to your liking when the kids are asleep.

Look Beyond Yourselves

There are so many ways to give back during the holiday season. It doesn’t have to involve lots of money. You can go to a local retirement home with your family to visit some elderly. Take cookies that the kids helped you make and give them out after you sing some Christmas carols. Contact a school to find out about a family in need. Bring them a meal and/or get some gifts to make their Christmas special. In the post Giving Jars by Heather Platt, she talks about a tradition they have, “at the beginning of December, we put a jar out for all four of the children.” She goes on to explain how they can earn money throughout the month for their jars by doing various extra chores or by being kind to others, etc. On December 24th, they look to see how much money they have earned and find ways to give it away to those who are less fortunate.

Shopping for Family

Allow the kids to help shop for family Christmas gifts. You’ve probably been thinking about what you would like to get people for months now, but help your children think about your family members and what each person may like. It’s a way to express love but also teaches them how to buy gifts with a certain person in mind. You can go to a store to shop together or shop online with one child at a time.

Yes, the holidays can be stressful, but why not do what you can to enjoy them with lasting traditions your family will treasure for years to come?  At AddvantageUSA we wish you and your family a very Happy Holidays!

Halloween day

4 Tips for a Happy Halloween Night (for adults too)

October has finally arrived, which means Halloween decorations are coming out on houses and fall festivals are popping up everywhere. Candy will practically be thrown at you every place you look, but are you ready for a fun Halloween night?

Consider these four tips to turn Halloween into a night for everyone, not just the kids.

Make it a Party

A party always makes a holiday more fun and is an instant way to involve your adult friends in this night which is often dedicated just to kids. Set up the party at a friend’s house in a neighborhood with houses close together. If you have kids, the trick or treating will be fantastic. If you are kid free, you will still have fun getting to see all of the little tykes coming through with their costumes. You can keep the menu simple with a big soup to share or some of these fun Ghastly Ghoulish Recipes. Everyone can chip in and bring an item so that the host doesn’t have to be responsible for it all.

Dress Up

Whether you are a kid or an adult, everyone can have a little fun playing dress up on Halloween. The kids may not need much encouragement to participate, but to make it more fun for everyone, have contests like best dressed, most creative/original, scariest, etc. for kids and adults. Encourage everyone to participate at least to some degree. Even those who are a little shy to jump in can find something to wear like these Darth Vader socks. It doesn’t have to be lavish, but dressing up helps get everyone in the Halloween spirit.

Spike (I mean Spice) it Up

A nice seasonal drink can always add to the fun. Be sure to have kid friendly drinks around, like apple cider or soda, but for the adults, have an adult friendly fall beverage around as well. Try one of these Pumpkin Cocktails or this Apple Cinnamon Fall Sangria for something festive, easy, and delicious.

Stay Safe

Finally, be safe while you’re having fun, especially if you’re taking your kids out to trick or treat through the neighborhood. Make sure everyone in your group knows the rules for safety and fun. Is everyone staying together or is it okay for them to run ahead? What’s the plan if someone gets separated from the group? How do they know which houses to visit and which ones to skip? Do they have on reflectors or lights (maybe glow sticks) so they can be spotted easily by cars driving by or by the adults in your group? Are they allowed to eat the candy before getting back to the house?

Halloween is a holiday that can be fun for all ages, so get ready to enjoy it like you did when you were a kid.

AddvantageUSA hopes you have a happy and safe Halloween this year, whether you are young or old!

Moms and daughter

One More Thing About Why We Love Our Moms

In the never-ending flow of (often superficial) self-help advice, there are innumerable slogans that tell us to “Live today.” “Be in the now.” “Live the Moment.” Somehow, this advice flows right by our mothers – and thank goodness for that.

Unconstrained by “the now”, moms are the most agile of time jumpers. They can recall when Joey’s first basketball team won its first game and Maria’s first role in a grade school play. Moms know how to join their kids in whatever is going on today with what will be happening in their future. Moms know how to look ahead, over the horizon, and plan for a moment that their kids won’t realize for a month, a year, or a long time from now.

So, we may learn one more way to appreciate the mothers in our lives by appreciating them for the ways they live in the past, present, and future all at the same time – especially the future.

When we are young we move from one big event to the next. We arrive at the first day of school, a birthday party, or a holiday without ever realizing that our moms have been thinking, imagining, and planning for the big day long before we do.

Take the first days of school. The kiddos are oblivious until a few days before the big event when, suddenly, they panic because summer freedom is about to disappear. But mom? Beginning somewhere just past the middle of summer, mom was living the first week of school and thinking of all that she needed to do before it arrived. She had a list: clothes, school supplies, lunches and snacks, carpools, and meeting teachers, along with afterschool activities such as sports, cheerleading, music lessons, dance class, math club, science club– all the things that coincide with the first days of school.

Mom begins to look ahead fairly early in the summer and by the time school starts she is doing a magical thing that moms do better than most anyone else –she’s doing two things at once. Mother is there with her kids, being a part of the moment, doing the practical daily chores, encouraging them to live well, do well, be kind, and enjoy themselves. And, at the same time as the kids are settling in to the new routine, mom is thinking about an upcoming birthday party or Halloween costumes.

Now, apply this magic over a whole calendar. When the kids are trick or treating, mom is having a great time. But, she is also planning Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kids will be opening Christmas presents. Mom will be there, heart and soul. But , she also has an eye on the fact that school will start again soon and she has things she wants ready for that. When school starts, Mom is thinking about a Valentine’s dance or Easter.

We do not mean to suggest that any mother does this perfectly, or needs to. Nor are we suggesting that our moms are automatons working for a future that never arrives. Mothers make mistakes, forget things, and experience moments of failure. Moreover, in the midst of it all, moms are also working, achieving personal goals, and enjoying friendship with other adults.

What we are saying is that mothers can teach us a lot if we look at how they observe the past, present, and future as a whole. For mom, time is something organic and elastic, and she uses it to bring together all of the experiences that make her life and her children’s lives as joyful and productive and satisfying as possible at any given moment, on any given day, during any month or year or lifetime.

The gift that mothers have to live in “the now” while at the same time imagining and planning for the future is not just to be appreciated, but also to be celebrated. This is one more thing to love about our moms.

Staub cast iron pot

Staub Makes Us Reconsider the Old Fashion Cast Iron Pot

Sometimes, the old fashion way is the best way. This can really be true when it comes to cookware.

These days, many people consider quality cookware to be only stainless steel or hard-anodized non-stick pots and pans. Many think of cast iron pots and pans as old-fashioned. Others have heard cast iron is high maintenance because a cast iron pot requires “seasoning” to have it maintain its smooth and non-stick qualities.

But, there is nothing old-fashioned about the Staub cast iron pot. The hard enamel finish is easy to maintain and does not require seasoning. Many professionals say that Staub makes the finest hard enameled cast iron pots in the world. Their pots will make you reconsider the “lowly” cast iron pot.

First, they are made of heavy iron and plenty of it. A thick iron bottom means the pot will disperse heat evenly. It will also retain heat for a long time, which means you can continue a slow cooking process after you turn off the heat. These pots will also keep food warm for a long time without heat. This means no scorching or burning. You get food that is the perfect temperature.

Then, when you learn more about the Staub hard enamel finish, you realize you are missing out on some great cooking.

  • The interior of all Staub pots are enameled with a matte black finish.
  • High-quality enamel resists thermal shocks and scratching, making care easier.
  • Ideal for searing, roasting and caramelizing food.
  • The enamel has anti-adhesive properties and requires no seasoning before first use.
  • Easy to clean, convenient to use.
  • Cadmium Free / Lead Free / PFOA Free / PTFE Free

Some chefs like the heavy frying pans. Others like the mini coquettes for baking individual starters, side dishes, and personal “mini” meals.

Staub mini coquettes

Our favorite is the 4-quart Universal shown at the top of the page. This is a really versatile pot. It is big, but not too big. It is not too awkward for everyday use. It has enough volume to cook larger dishes, including small roasts and cut poultry. It is the best size and shape for baking casseroles, frying chicken, and searing or braising both meats and vegetables. The tempered glass top lets you see what’s going on inside.

Best of all, Staub is great for dishes that you want to take straight from the oven to the table. The 4-quart Universal pot is perfect for most one-dish meals.

It measures 11 inches in diameter (141/4″ w/handles) and 3 inches in height (6″ w/lid & knob). The diameter of the base is 8 3/4 inches.

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Oven safe to 500 F and broiler safe
  • Suitable for gas, electric, glass, halogen and induction stove tops

The cooks at AddvantageUSA and our customers who like to cook tell us that Staub is a luxury item that gets everyday use. So, we are adding even more Staub products to our inventory. Look for more soon that you can add to your kitchen lineup.

Baroque Silver Dragonfly Earrings, Pendant, Ring, Bracelet

The Incredible Dragonfly in Art and Jewelry

Dragonflies arouse the imagination and dragonfly mythology has inspired art –poetry, paintings, totems, jewelry– in almost every culture and tradition. They are said to be messengers of joy, prosperity, and renewal. The imagination of the dragonfly arises from its unique characteristics, especially the fact that it transitions from one realm, water, to another, air.

The dragonfly begins its life in water. Dragonfly larvae live under the surface, some of them for as long as four years. There they eat almost anything, including tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, and other larvae. When they mature, the dragonflies move their heads above the water’s surface and will spend a few hours up to as much as a day adjusting to breathing air.

Once they can breathe they will crawl to land and begin to dry. As they dry their larval shell begins to crack. Eventually the dragonfly unpacks itself. The long body/tail that has been compressed will unfold like a telescope to the long tube-shaped body. Over this it spreads the familiar four translucent wings. Those wings play with light, or perhaps light plays with the wings. In any event, the effect is a rainbow of color that changes from moment to moment as the dragonfly moves.

With a little imagination on our part we can see the dragonfly as a metaphor of our own activities. We pass from our daily lives, “under water,” into moments of revelation and delight as we travel, daydream, pray, and meditate. You might ask yourself, “how are dragonfly art pieces reminiscent of my own spiritual journey?”



Wearing Dragonfly Jewelry is an old tradition around the world. When you wear dragonfly earrings, are you reminding yourself of the whispers of creativity that arrive when you least expect them? Perhaps, the dragonfly necklace reminds you of the magical feelings in your heart when you have a special insight that was years in the making, something that was percolating inside until it suddenly arrives with a flash of brilliance. It could even be that the dragonfly you wear reminds you of the incredible things that you can do with “wise hands.”Baroque Silver Dragonfly Earrings, Pendant, Ring, Bracelet

If the dragonfly speaks to you, then you know something of this connection. And, if you have never thought of the dragonfly this way, then you may want to give this fascinating creature some thought. You never know how it might inspire you. There are many sites that flit over the top of the dragonfly without considering much about the life it lives.

We suggest you start by thinking of the literal activities of this fascinating creature that is so much more than a “bug.” The Smithsonian has a good page where you can begin to learn more about the incredible dragonfly.

Pouf from AddvantageUSA

What’s the Difference between a Pouf, an Ottoman, and a Hassock?

Until recently, most of us probably didn’t know the difference between a pouf and a puff. Today, poufs are an essential fashion item for many home decorators. The pouf may have a funny name, but it is useful because it (1) is versatile, (2) comes in shapes and sizes to fit almost any space, and (3) has as many colors, textures, patterns, and weaves as there are upholstery fabrics.pouf

Pouf is defined by the British Dictionary as “a large solid cushion, usually cylindrical or cubic in shape, used as a seat.” It is derived from the French word, “pouffe,” which has the same meaning.pouf

Poufs have great utility. As chairs, they can be easily moved around a room to add an extra seat wherever needed. Placed in front of your favorite sofa or chair, they also make a great footrest. They are also used as tabletops, especially if you keep a flat wood surface handy. Simply lay the wood on top to make a serving table.

poufBecause they are ordinarily much smaller than an upholstered chair, poufs make good accent pieces for your home furnishings. Select a bright color combination, and they will light up your room. On the other hand, with the right muted color a pouf will blend perfectly with your décor, and you will only notice it when you need it.

Now, back to our first question. What is the difference between a Pouf, an Ottoman, a Hassock, and a footstool? First, the typical footstool is made of wood. Though it may be used much like a pouf, the footstool is designed as a short step to reach up in cabinets and closets.  It is not really meant to be a comfortable place to sit.ottoman

The typical ottoman is a low seat made with wooden legs, a wooden box frame, and a cushioned top. Unlike the soft pillowy look of a pouf, the ottoman tends to look like what we might call “real furniture.” It is harder to make it blend. You would not put one in a corner and forget about it when it was not in use.

The hassock is more similar to the pouf than is the ottoman. However, the hassock was originally conceived as a kneeler or footstool. The true hassock, then, is shorter and smaller than a pouf. Over the course of time the word hassock has become more often associated with the utility of a pouf, and often the words can be used interchangeably to describe the same thing.

Take a look at the AddvantageUSA selection of poufs. See if the pouf would be right for your den, entertainment room, or kid’s bedroom. While you are at it, you might also want to take a look at earlier posts about color. These may help you choose the perfect poufs for your home.

National Ice Cream Month

Let’s Celebrate National Ice Cream Month

We are a people who love to celebrate. Give us an excuse, and we will celebrate just about anything, especially if it has to do with food. Search the internet, and you can probably find a day to celebrate your favorite food with others who adore it as much as you do.

Take July alone, and you will find a long list of wonderful foods that have been given a day in their honor. National Chocolate Day, Sugar Cookie Day, Tapioca Pudding Day, National Caviar Day, Junk Food Day, National Lasagna Day, and National Cheesecake Day are just a few that are celebrated in July. But one that can’t be overlooked is National Ice Cream Day. It’s such a favorite that it doesn’t stop with just the day, but rather the whole month of July is known as National Ice Cream Month.

This wonderful celebration started back in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan declared the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day and the whole month as National Ice Cream Month. Ice cream is such a beloved treat that the International Dairy Foods Association claims, “About 10.3 percent of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation’s dairy industry.”

You can enjoy it at your favorite local ice cream shop, buy it at the local grocery store, or better yet, experiment with making it right in the comfort of your own home. You may want to start with the basic flavors, but don’t be afraid to get creative and try mixing it up with different flavors and toppings. Check out Kristin Appenbrink’s post, 30 Must-Try Ice Cream Recipes for National Ice Cream Day, for a variety of combinations, some of which you probably wouldn’t think of on your own. You may even stumble across some recipes that will trick your pickiest little eater into eating some healthy ingredients hidden in this delectable treat.

So don’t miss out on all of the fun this month! Make sure you are taking time to enjoy this creamy and cool treat in all its greatness. And, visit AddvantageUSA to learn more about the ice cream makers we offer, and find the one that will help you make ice cream you can enjoy all year-long.