February 7, 2019

{Guest Post} Bug Out Bag Basics

Bug Out Bag Basics: 20 Must-Have Items
Thank you to Jake Haugen, Director of Sales & Marketing at www.ProvidentMetals.com for writing this guest post. I don't know about you, but I love reading about Bug Out information!!

In the event of either a natural or manmade disaster within the region you live, the common response of most people is to “bug out”—e.g., to freak out. Dependent upon the severity of the disaster, this type of reaction might be warranted, and it might be within your best interests to leave your home and brave the elements of the outside world.

If this is the case, you want to ensure that you are prepared for whatever the elements and situation at-hand might bring you. Along with having trusted compatriots around you, it is in your best interest to be prepared by having a “Bug Out Bag” on the ready—a bag that is filled with gear that will allow for survival following the first few days after a disaster.

For those who do not have a Bug Out Bag already prepared, here are 20 must-have items you should have packed and ready.

  1. Water Filtration System
Rather than worrying about how to get your hands on clean water following a natural disaster, you can store a filtration system and avoid all of this, making any water source drinkable.

  1. Water Bottle
In order to take your water with you, you’ll need a reliable, sturdy water bottle that can safely store your water for a later time. If space is a concern, try collapsible bottles or water pouches.


  1. Dried/Canned Food Rations
While the human body can survive for weeks without food, it is important to have food on-hand to ensure you are energized and strong enough to continue on.

  1. Basic Cooking Supplies
If you run out of your rations, you’ll need something to prepare basic food in the wild. A pot or small skillet over a fire can go a long way by helping you properly cook raw food.


  1. Tent or Tarp
A tent—or tarp hung between some trees—is an easy way to protect yourself from the natural elements and keep you safe during inclement weather or while sleeping.   
  1. Sleeping Bag
Whether for comfort or protection, a sleeping bag will ensure that your internal body temperature is protected while you sleep.


  1. Waterproof Jacket and Rain Gear
Once you become wet in the wild, it’s difficult to become dry. By providing yourself with a line of defense, you stand a better chance of braving wet weather.

  1. Extra Pair of Base Clothing
In the unfortunate case that your clothes become wet or soiled, you want to ensure that you have a change of clothes to protect your overall health, staving off conditions like hypothermia.

  1. Cold Weather Gloves
While protecting your hands from the cold, a thick pair of winter gloves can also protect your hands from many simple dangers found in the wild—splinters, broken glass and more.

  1. Headwear
A baseball cap will help to shield your head from exposure to the elements, protect your eyes from the glare of the sun and help keep you safe from ticks (ticks often drop from the trees and bush above). A quality winter hat or beanie can also provide your head with enough protection to keep you warm even in the worst weather.


  1. Flashlight
This is one of the best ways to ensure you have a light source when the world becomes dark. Consider packing two in your bag, and make sure to pack a few sets of batteries.

  1. Matches
If your flashlight(s) fails, matches can still provide you with a basic light source. Further, this is one of the best ways to start a fire either for sight or warmth.


  1. Bandages
Even minor cuts and scrapes can soak up dirt, debris and bacteria that can prove to be harmful to the body. Bandages are a great way to cover cuts and protect yourself and are essential to your bug out bag.

  1. Antibacterial Gel
Applying this onto a bandage before placing it onto a cut is a smart way to stave off unwanted germs from attacking your health.

  1. Tourniquet
In the event of a serious gash or cut, you’ll need more than a bandage. A tourniquet is useful in cutting off circulation to a severed artery/vein by applying compression, giving you a bit more time to properly handle the issue.


  1. Map
A map is the best way to mark landmarks you’ve encountered or to determine where you’re headed; furthermore, a map can be used to highlight areas you should consider visiting for supplies.

  1. Compass
With the aid of your map, you’ll be able to navigate just where it is you’re going, whether you have a destination or not.

  1. Money
Need to bribe someone for goods you might not have packed? Money can go a long way in influencing others. Consider storing a wad of cash for basic bribes and purchases, and carrying some lighter precious metals—such as an American Gold Eagle or Silver Dollars—to keep the attention of others.  

  1. Knife
There are countless ways in which a durable knife can protect you in the wild. Use them to hunt for food or defend yourself against an aggressor. Knives are also useful tools for clearing bush and chopping up small branches for firewood. Additionally, they are valuable to have when you need to dig a hole (better than using your hands) and for first aid to cut up a shirt to use as a makeshift bandage if you don’t have any.

  1. Axe
Similar to a knife, an axe has a variety of purposes that will help you in the wild, from cutting firewood to defending yourself.

{Guest Post} K9s For Warriors

Thank you to Consumers Advocate for sharing this amazing program K9s For Warriors

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year in the United States. “We take shelter or rescue dogs and turn them into warriors,” says Duval. K9s For Warriors rescues dogs from animal shelters across the United States, particularly local ones including the Alachua County Humane Society, Putnam County Shelter, and Lake City County Shelter.
It takes K9s For Warrior six months to train a dog. They train a total of 120 dogs per year. They rescue most breeds except full-bred Pitbulls, Dobermans, Chow Chows, Rottweilers, or Dalmatians due to insurance restrictions or state sanctions. The service dogs have full public access (with papers) but are not emotional support dogs or pets.
Once the dogs are fully trained, they are ready to be paired with their warrior. As Duval says, “When the dog's healthy, the warrior is healthy.”
As of May 2018, K9s has rescued 870 dogs with 434 dogs becoming service dogs, and the remaining rescues placed for adoption with loving families.
The study found that PTSD symptoms were significantly lower in veterans with service dogs, demonstrating that service dogs are associated with lower PTSD symptoms among war veterans. 

The DoD reported that between 2000 and September 2017, about 173,000 active-duty service members were diagnosed with PTSD in the military health system, with about 139,000 of those being diagnosed following a deployment of 30 days or more.
According to the DoD, PTSD is treatable, and many service members will recover with appropriate treatment. However, many do not." To read the full article click here: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/features/k9s-for-warriors
Also click here for more information on https://www.k9sforwarriors.org/

January 3, 2019

{Guest Post} A New You in the New Year

A New You in the New Year

The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight and exercising. Admirable goals indeed, but often unsustainable with the gung-ho attitude that comes with January 1. This year, make a commitment to yourself by making changes to your lifestyle that won’t get knocked off the calendar come February. Here are a few ideas:

Prioritize your health

Instead of focusing on weight loss and muscle mass, think about the things you do each day that affect your overall well-being. Make a commitment to stick with whole foods, get plenty of sleep, and engage in more physical activity when possible. This doesn’t mean you have to go on a diet or hit the gym.

Keep in mind that your health is also swayed in part by your relationship with your healthcare providers. If you don’t already have a primary care physician, find a doctor and a schedule a wellness exam. Don’t forget your dentist, since your oral health affects everything you do. Poor oral health can diminish your self-confidence and may even play a role in whether you develop cardiovascular disease. If your current dentist doesn’t make you feel comfortable, has an out-of-date office, inconvenient hours, or simply costs too much, don’t be afraid to transition to a provider that can meet your needs. AreaDentist.com is a great resource that can help you make the switch pain-free.

Enhance your career

Your career is part of you. If you aren’t happy at work, you likely won’t be happy at home either. If you find yourself sitting stagnant and going nowhere, it’s time to grab the proverbial bull by the horns. Consider going back to school, which can propel you toward a promotion or career change altogether. If you choose to change professional paths, don’t do so without polishing your skills and refining your resume. Choose a resume style that’s right for your career and level of experience. For example, if you’re transitioning out of service and need a civilian job, a functional resume, which emphasizes your skill set, may be appropriate. If you plan to apply for multiple positions, tailor your cover letter to each; employers can easily tell who’s taken the time to cater their correspondence and who copied text from a template.

Learn about your family history

Who are you and where you do come from? The answer to this question isn’t as simple as it may seem. Invest a few days this year researching your family history. In addition to gaining a better understanding of your lineage, you can also find out information that’s relevant to your health. For example, having your DNA tested can identify whether you have biomarkers that put you at risk of hereditary diseases. Illumina, a global genome research organization, offers more information on inherited diseases and DNA sequencing here.

Make a budget

It doesn’t matter if you make $500 per week $500,000 per year, having a grasp on your spending is the best way to ensure your financial future. Creating a budget isn’t difficult and starts by recording your expenses. This will allow you to identify areas where you can cut back and establish your priorities. Bank of America suggests using an automatic banking transfer and notes that virtually all banking institutes can split your direct deposit.

Spend time with loved ones

Family time is more important than time spent scrolling through your social media accounts or watching TV. And considering the average American parent spends about 40 percent less time with their offspring than previous generations, there is no better time than now to reverse this trend within your own household. Eat dinner with your kids, play games, and make a point to get out of the house together to eliminate distractions. If the kids are old enough, consider becoming involved with local volunteer opportunities, which can improve your mental health and strengthen your bonds.

This year, don’t just make a resolution, make a commitment. By focusing on the things that make you whole and happy, you put yourself in the best position to make 2019 the year you take control of every aspect of your life. And remember, you don’t have to wait until the calendar flips to do any of the above; any day can be the start of a new year.

Image via Pixabay

Thank you to Stephanie Haywood of Mylifeboost.com | shaywood@mylifeboost.com for writing this guest post. Look for more great inspirational posts from her in the future!