August 21, 2019 // Archive

Date based archive
21 Aug

Bordeaux vintners facing declining sales are trying to appeal to younger drinkers by promoting lighter white and rosé wines as the French are drinking less of the clarets that made the region famous.

For centuries Bordeaux has been renowned for its medium- and full-bodied reds, but young French people are joining the global trend of favouring rosé, white and sparkling wines.

French connoisseurs once sniffed at rosé as a cheap tipple tolerated only during summer holidays in the south of France, but it has gained respectability thanks to a worldwide craze for blush wines that began in the United States a decade ago.

Breaking with Gallic tradition, young French people now tend to drink more wine as a pre-dinner apéritif rather than with meals, preferring easy-drinking rosés and whites to more complex reds, seen as better when paired with red meat or cheese.

Louise Descamps, 28, an assistant television producer, said: “It’s a change in lifestyle from our parents’ generation. They used to drink mainly red wine at dinner, but we tend to drink more at bars or parties. My friends and I drink more rosé or white. I still enjoy reds from time to time, but only ever with dinner.”

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21 Aug

Justin Hoffman’s relief from post-traumatic stress disorder began with the hiccups. 

Not the cute and happy kind, but chronic hiccups that had to be treated with morphine and Thorazine in the emergency room. When he mentioned this to a colleague in the treatment industry, that doctor suggested ketamine as a possible treatment. When Hoffman received a dose of ketamine not only did the hiccups stop, but he experienced something unexpected. 

“I felt like the PTSD that I had been walking around with was gone,” said Hoffman. 

The experience led to Hoffman partnering with board-certified anesthesiologist Henry Liang to found Klarity Life, a treatment program that will be opening in Las Vegas this fall. The program consists of two aspects. At The House at Klarity Life, Hoffman, the program director, utilizes holistic therapies to facilitate healing in a luxurious setting where clients have private rooms and meals prepared by a private chef. Dr. Liang, the medical director at The Clinic at Klarity Life, gives patients NAD+ and ketamine infusions, as well as supplements, which allows a virtually painless detox.

Hoffman, nephew of the 1960’s counterculture icon Abbie Hoffman, was familiar with the benefits of nontraditional treatments. After spending 20 years hooked on opioids and trying over 30 rehab programs, he got sober with the help of plant-based medicine. That was six years ago, and since then he has worked to help other people achieve lasting sobriety by combining plant-based medicine with strict aftercare that includes nutrition, exercise and spiritual exploration. 

“It made sense to open a safe, beautiful place, to teach other people the things that worked for me: like yoga, cryogenic therapy, nature, Qigong,” Hoffman said. “I started to watch the success rate for treating addiction rise from 30 percent with just plant-based medicine to 70 percent with aftercare.” 

Hoffman had built a business and life around helping other people get sober using plant-based medicine, but when he tried ketamine for the first time he realized that it was an even more powerful tool for helping to treat addiction. 

NAD+, a component of vitamin B3 (niacin), has long been used to treat withdrawal symptoms. Justin and Dr. Liang realized that the combination of NAD+ and ketamine, coupled with Hoffman’s rigorous aftercare program, would give people with substance use disorder the best chance of lasting sobriety. 

“It clicked in my head that this is the best choice for addicts, even better than plant-based medicine,” he said.

The program facilitates healing by pairing The Clinic’s NAD+ and ketamine infusions and supplements with The House’s holistic aftercare regimen of clean eating, therapy, exercise and spiritual restoration. The infusions offer virtually painless detox as well as alleviate depression and PTSD symptoms; the aftercare teaches people how to live a full life without relying on drugs or alcohol. 

“With this place, I cover all the bases: nutrition, spirituality and recovery,” Hoffman said. “After 30 rehabs and their protocols, I realized how archaic they are. They’re giving meds to cover symptoms. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a laceration of throat. We don’t want to put a Band-Aid on anything.”

One of the most appealing parts of Klarity Life is that it offers clients nearly painless detox from almost any drug. Using infusions and supplement management in the first 24-72 hours, people who are dependent can detox without feeling severely ill. By day three to four of infusions, people are typically feeling great, Hoffman said. Infusions continue for eight to ten days, and for the rest of their stay clients focus on learning to live healthy, rewarding lives in recovery. 

“We have you feeling good right away,” Hoffman said. “The rest of the time we’re working on healthy substitutes for what you’ve been doing in the past.”

As part of this, Hoffman exposes clients to an array of treatment modalities, from 12 step programs to SMART recovery. By sampling an array of recovery resources, clients can connect with the resources that work best for them. 

“We want to expose them to all different types of therapy,” Hoffman said. “I want to embrace anything that is saving someone’s life. I’ve lost too many people to say my way is the only way.”

Because of the ketamine treatment, many people feel relief from symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety, all of which can be triggers for relapse. Healing this root cause of addiction, and then building the foundation for a life of healthy habits, is what sets Klarity Life apart, Hoffman said. 

“We’ve been seeing miracles,” he said. 

Klarity Life is a boutique rehab program opening this fall in Las Vegas, offering outpatient NAD+ and ketamine infusion therapy and a holistic approach to health and healing.

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21 Aug

Release Date + Collection Info

When Fenty Beauty launched two years ago, we all fell in love with the Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks and the longwear, light-as-air, cream to powder shimmer formula to highlight, blush, and enhance, in convenient, portable packaging. Two years later, Fenty Beauty is offering a total of 15 colorful shades that let you play, including 5 new shades, ranging from champagne to bordeaux, can be used anywhere on the skin with just a quick swipe.

August 23rd


Products Available

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick, $25.00 (New, Permanent)

Editor’s note: These shades were originally released as part of a large holiday set (last year). There were seven new shades in the holiday set (review here); the two shades that have not released individually are Platinum Pearl and Hibiscus.

  • Cognac Gilded chestnut
  • Beach Bum Radiant peach
  • Pink Lemonade Glimmering pink
  • Champagne Heist Glittering champagne
  • Bordeaux Brat Radiant berry

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick | 5 New Shades for Fall 2019

Fenty Beauty Cognac Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Beach Bum Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Pink Lemonade Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Champagne Heist Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Bordeaux Brat Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick | 5 New Shades for Fall 2019

Fenty Beauty Cognac Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Beach Bum Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Pink Lemonade Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Champagne Heist Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Bordeaux Brat Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

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21 Aug

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In just two weeks, there have been two alleged suicide attempts on the Harbor Bridge. 

Luckily, these individuals were talked down and given a second chance at life but there are still several other people who will not get that same opportunity. 

According to the World Health Organization, around one million people commit suicide throughout the world, each year. 

Andrea Potter with the Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities said suicidal thoughts can be brought on by a variety of things.

“It can be anyone, it can be loss of a job, it could be loss of a family member any kind of loss in general it can happen, it can happen to anybody,” she said.

Potter said there are several signs that friends and family can detect to determine if someone is suicidal, including depression, anxiety, mood swings, hopelessness, isolation, change in appetite, or talking about dying. 

Potter said they do their best to also educate the community to remove the stigma from mental illness. 

“We do things to help prevent it like we have mental health first aid which we do for the community to help family members, to help teachers,” Potter said. 

Project Engineer Nick Manfredini with the new Harbor Bridge said there will also be a barrier on the pedestrian side.

“There’s a 10-foot tall fence with an arch on it. It’s meeting all the codes for a pedestrian bridge,” he said. 

The NCMHID also has a mobile crisis team that is available to attend to people in distress.

“They have people who can go in, assess you, in home or at a facility, wherever you are,” Potter said. 

There are a variety of resources in the Coastal Bend to get mental health help. The psychiatric crisis hotline is 1-888-767-4493. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. For more information, visit or

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21 Aug

You’ll need about 1 strip of bacon for every 2 shrimp.

I highly recommend brining the shrimp first. The brine will help keep the shrimp from drying out in the time it takes for the bacon to cook.

If grilling, I recommend using long, flat skewers which make turning the shrimp on the grill easier. If you don’t have flat skewers, I’ve used two thin bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes beforehand) to the same effect.


For the brine (optional, but recommended):

  • 1/4 cup (Diamond Crystal) kosher salt (if using Morton’s kosher salt, use only 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup ice

For the bacon-wrapped shrimp:

  • 1 pound (12 to 20 count), raw, peeled and deveined shrimp (tail on)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder (less or more to taste)
  • 6 to 10 strips thin bacon, cut in half (half as many pieces of bacon as there are shrimp)


1 Brine the shrimp (optional, but recommended): Whisk the salt, sugar, and water until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add the ice and the shrimp, and let sit for 30 minutes (no longer). Remove the shrimp from the brine.

2 Prepare grill or preheat oven: Prepare grill on high, direct heat (if grilling) or preheat the oven to 400°F. If grilling and using thin bamboo or wood skewers, soak them in water first for 30 minutes.

3 Season the shrimp: Mix together in a small bowl the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, and chipotle powder. Stir the shrimp into the lime chipotle mixture; make sure each piece is well coated.

4 Partially cook the bacon: Spread the bacon pieces out over several layers of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with another layer of paper towel. Microwave on high until the bacon fat begins to melt but the bacon is still somewhat pliable, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

5 Wrap the shrimp with bacon: Working one at a time, wrap a half piece of partially cooked bacon around each piece of shrimp.

6 Prep the shrimp for cooking: If you are grilling, thread the shrimp onto skewers.

If you are using the oven, secure each the bacon onto the shrimp with toothpicks. Place the bacon-wrapped shrimp on a foil-lined baking pan. Brush remaining lime chipotle mixture on the outside of the bacon-wrapped shrimp.

7 Grill or bake the shrimp: Grill uncovered for 3 minutes on each side (less or more time depending on the heat of your grill), or bake in the 400°F oven for 8 to 11 minutes, or until the bacon is lightly browned and the shrimp is cooked through.

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21 Aug

Jerez-Xérès-Sherry is the oldest Denomination of Origin in Spain, established in 1935, and its wines and those of the Manzanilla de Sanlúcar DO are today defined as fortified wines (vinos de licor). Both DOs appear to be set for a rehaul as an amendment to allow nonfortified wines into the category has reportedly been passed by the European Commission and will come into effect within a matter of weeks. 

“The legislation has been approved in Brussels now, and we expect it to be completed within the next month,” says Luis “Willy” Pérez of Bodegas Luis Pérez in Jerez, the producer who pushed for the amendment. “It was already approved by the Consejo Regulador and Ministry of Agriculture in Andalucia earlier this year.”

The amendment to the law will permit wines fermented to a minimum of 15% ABV for Fino and Manzanilla, and 17% ABV for Amontillado, Palo Cortado, and Oloroso. These last three will also be classified as sherry and sold within the DO classification, a privilege that had been reserved only for wines fortified by grape spirit until now. 

The Fortified Wines of Jerez and Sanlúcar

The wine regions of Jerez and Sanlúcar have a long-standing tradition of making brandies and spirits. The addition of grape spirit to wines was popularized in the 17th and 18th centuries in order to stabilize the wines for long voyages overseas to the New World, as well as to the growing sherry market in the U.K. 

Although a majority of sherry producers fortify their wines today, fortification is a relatively new method of making these wines; the producers who requested the amendment are seeking to return to more traditional methods of vinification.

Harvesting Pedro Ximenez grapes in Jerez. Photo courtesy of Vinos de Jerez.

Rediscovering Historic Artisanal Sherry Production

Sherry producers have historically achieved high sugar (and ergo high alcohol) levels through a late harvest, or by leaving grapes to partially dehydrate by means of the asoleo (sun-drying) technique. Using this method, winemakers can achieve the same alcohol levels and biological stability as fortified wines without the addition of grape spirit.

“This was actually the traditional way to make wines in Jerez—for sherries and also dry wines,” says Pérez, who makes all his sherries without fortification. “It was because of the associated cost that many sherry producers started fortifying instead. For example, to make our sherry wines, we split our vineyards by soil type, and then into different pagos and parcelas [single vineyards and single lots]. We [individually] harvest each of the 43 grape varieties with a minimum of three different harvest dates. It’s a lot more work than [just] harvesting the entire vineyard together and adding grape spirit.” 

Bodegas Luis Pérez is best known for its La Barajuela line of sherries, each of which is sold as a single vintage (rather than common multivintage solera-produced wines) with 15 different harvest dates. “The first harvests are for acidity, and the last are for sugar—that way we don’t need to acidify or fortify,” explains Pérez. All this extra labor causes a significant hike in production costs, and La Barajuela sherries can reach over $100 retail on the U.S. market. 

All that extra effort is worth it. “There’s a huge difference in these wines,” says Pérez. “It isn’t just about fortifying or not, but if you follow this process, we can make a natural sherry wine without needing to fortify, acidify, or add sulfur—and we can show the different vintages, different soils, and different varieties. It’s really beautiful when you read about these [once common] sherry wines in books written in the early 1900s and can make them in the same way today.”

A Shifting Attitude in Jerez

Although Bodegas Luis Pérez is the only producer that will be directly affected by the amended legislation for now—it is the only winery with a commercial production of sherries made without fortification—the legislation’s ripple effect could spotlight the reinvention now happening in Jerez. 

“At the moment, this way of making sherry is totally under the radar, even for the boutique wine drinker,” says Adam Rieger, a brand manager for the importer and distributor Polaner Selections, based in Mount Kisco, New York, which imports the nonfortified sherries of Bodegas Luis Pérez. “For the smaller, hipster sherry community, though, there’s a real hunger for these wines—and that’s the benefit of being in New York, where there’s a market for this. But what’s important about this legislation is [that] it should hopefully affect the small growers, potentially helping them get more money for their grapes and make their own artisanal sherries, too.”

Cheryl Wakerhauser, the owner of Bar Vivant in Portland, Oregon, lists 170 sherries on the wine list. She agrees that this new legislation should have a positive effect in bringing a renewed interest to more artisanal production of sherry. “If winemakers are willing to put in the extra time, effort, and learning to make an unfortified wine that can achieve the same alcohol by volume as simply adding neutral spirits,” she says, “that can only further the development and interest in the wines and the region.”

Photo courtesy of Vinos de Jerez.

A Growing Diversity of Nonfortified Wines in Jerez

This artisanal approach is part of a new wave of terroir-focused sherries and wines emerging in Jerez. In recent years, several producers have released single-vineyard offerings, explored ancient clones of the Palomino grape, and rescued other ancient varieties of the region for wine production. 

Although the new legislation will permit nonfortified sherries into the category, it will not affect the growing number of nonfortified wines made in the region. 

Eduardo Ojeda is the co-owner and winemaker at Equipo Navazos in Sanlúcar, where he annually produces 25,000 bottles of nonfortified still wines from multiple regions like Jerez and Sanlúcar, often aged under flor, as in the case of the modern cult favorite La Bota de Florpower. “Wines like Florpower won’t be included with the new change of legislation, because they are under the minimum alcohol requirement of 15 percent,” Ojeda explains. He sells Florpower under the declassified catchall denomination vino de mesa because its flor character simply doesn’t fit with the status quo—it is often rejected by the Consejo Regulador tasting panel. “There’s a lot of discussion about how to communicate [about this new category] of wines, but we need more time and more engagement to do this.”

Although there’s been much press attention and buzz about sherry and nonfortified wines from the region, Ojeda says that the grim reality is that sherry consumption is still on the decline and that the wines lack consumer power. Says Ojeda, “We have an expression in Spanish—‘Mucho ruido y pocos nueces’ [which can be translated loosely as “Much ado about nothing”]—and sherry and our nonfortified wines in Jerez fall into that. We are still only talking of very few bottles really, and [we] need more interest from the general public to grow.”

Swirling Amontillado. Photo courtesy of Vinos de Jerez.

Although sherry production and consumption have been trending downward for the last two decades (sherry production is two-thirds what it was in the early 2000s, and 2018 saw a 6 percent drop in sales compared with the year before, according to the Consejo Regulador), the U.S. is one of the few countries in which sherry imports increased last year, from 1,232,246 liters in 2017 to 1,242,800 liters in 2018.

Rieger of Polaner Selections hopes that the growing category of nonfortified wines from Jerez will offer an opportunity to lure wine consumers to sherry in the future. “These dry wines and vintage wines from Jerez, which have a bit of flor,” he says, “are not so far removed from regular white wines, which I think will begin to get consumers interested in the region. Hopefully they’ll follow the producer—and then start getting into sherry.”

Amanda Barnes is a British wine writer who since 2009 has been based in South America, where she specializes in the wines and regions of Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay and writes the South America Wine Guide. Ever footloose, she is currently on a mission to travel Around the World in 80 Harvests.

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21 Aug

Identity Two

Persona Identity Two Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.48 oz.) is the brand’s second palette, which features a deeper color story with a mix of mattes (five shades) and shimmers (seven shades). The shimmers were lovely; pigmented, smooth and blendable, and easy to work with. The mattes were softer and a little powdery, so there was a bit of fallout with them, but they were pigmented and blendable.


Honest is a pale beige with warm, yellow undertones and a metallic finish. I found that it swatched wildly different than it appeared in the pan; it was so much deeper and darker in the pan that it really threw me when I went to use it! The texture was soft, a smidgen dusty but not prone to fallout, and remained blendable when applied to bare skin. It had nearly opaque pigmentation that stayed on well for eight hours on me.


Kind is a light-medium beige with strong, warm yellow undertones and a matte finish. It had semi-opaque pigmentation that didn’t build up much beyond that as it was on the more powdery side. The eyeshadow had a soft, lightly powdery texture that had a touch of fallout during application. It wore well for eight hours on me before I noticed signs of fading.


Loyal is a light, golden brown with warm undertones and a matte finish. The eyeshadow had opaque color payoff in one layer, which applied well to bare skin with a smooth, even lay down of product that blended out easily along the edges. The texture was soft, a little powdery in the pan, so there was a touch of fallout if I wasn’t careful during application. It lasted for just over eight hours on me before fading visibly.


Independent is a light-medium, bluish-gray with strong, cool undertones and fine pinkish pearl throughout. The consistency was lightly creamy, dense without being thick or too stiff in the pan, and blendable on my skin. It had opaque pigmentation in a single layer, which adhered well to bare skin and stayed on nicely for eight and a half hours before fading noticeably.


Passionate is a muted, medium-dark red-copper with warm undertones and a matte finish. It had rich pigmentation that applied well to bare skin with a smooth, even lay down of color that blended out with ease. The consistency was soft, finely-milled, and silky without being too powdery. It wore well for eight hours on me before I noticed any fading.


Unique is a bright, sunshine yellow-leaning gold with strong, warm undertones and a metallic finish. The eyeshadow had opaque color payoff in one pass, which was easy to pick up with a brush as the texture wasn’t too firmly nor too loosely pressed in the pan. It applied evenly, blended out without difficulty, and stayed on well for eight and a half hours before fading a bit.


Driven is a rich, emerald green with neutral-to-warm undertones and cooler, emerald green shimmer that gave it a more pearl-like finish. The texture was soft and smooth to the touch without being powdery, and the color adhered evenly and “melted” onto my lid for a seamless look. It had opaque pigmentation that wore beautifully for eight and a half hours on me before showing signs of fading.


Confident is a medium-dark plum with subtle,w arm undertones and a pearly sheen. It had rich pigmentation with a smooth, lightly creamy texture that was blendable and easy to work with but wasn’t too thin or powdery either. The eyeshadow lasted nicely for eight and a half hours on me before fading visibly.


Empowered is a light-medium red with warm undertones and a pearly sheen. It had opaque color payoff in one layer, which applied evenly and smoothly on my skin and blended out well along the edges. The texture was soft, smooth, and lightly creamy so it wasn’t powdery at all but still picked up easily with my brush. It stayed on well for eight and a half hours on me before fading noticeably.


Resilient is a light-medium bronze with warm undertones and a metallic finish. The eyeshadow was intensely pigmented with a smooth, lightly creamy texture that was denser without being thick or heavy when applied to my lid. It wore nicely for eight and a half hours before fading visibly.


Brave is a deep brown with neutral-to-cool undertones and a matte finish. It had good pigmentation with a soft, silky texture that was a smidgen dusty in the pan but didn’t prove to result in fallout during application. I noticed that it seemed prone to deepening slightly when applied to bare skin, and it wasn’t as blendable as it could have been, though certainly workable. It lasted well for eight hours on me before fading noticeably.


Limitless is a deep black with neutral-to-cool undertones and a mostly matte finish. It had nearly opaque color payoff in a single layer, which was easily built up to full coverage with less than half of a layer more. The consistency was more velvety, almost cream-like in that way, despite being a little thinner overall. The eyeshadow blended out nicely and wore well for eight hours before fading a bit.

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21 Aug
Mental Illness Signs in Returning Students

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Many students might be excited about heading back to school.

But others could really be struggling.

Especially those heading into high school.

“There’s always going to be that natural anxiety when starting up, especially if you’re starting high school or middle school,” said Mallory Kloucek with NAMI SD.

Health experts say symptoms of mental illness often arise in middle and high school age kids. “Our kids are showing symptoms as young as 8 years old. The average is around 14,” explain Kloucek.

Symptoms of mental illness can be anything from over-sleeping or over-eating, to lack of energy and just general loss of interest, according to Kloucek. If symptoms aren’t treated, they’re not going to go away.

“That gap between symptoms beginning and treatment actually begins is 8 to 10 years, which is not good. You’re going 10 years without getting any mental health treatment,” says Kloucek.

Jordan Stone says she first started dealing with anxiety in high school.

“I was kind of just shaking all the time because of anxiety. When I have panic attacks or when I get very nervous my hands will shake, or my entire body. I was always nervous. I always felt like I was standing on the edge of a giant cliff,” Stone said.

Left untreated for many years, her anxiety developed into depression. Stone had to deal with the symptoms of both.

She finally got help when she was in college.

“Once you seek out help and once you’re really honest with yourself and with those around you, you can find a lot of help and start to feel normal again,” according to the NAMI volunteer.

Part of feeling normal was once again doing the things that made Jordan happy, especially walking and journaling.

“It doesn’t have to be very long, 5 or 10 minutes of just going for a walk.”

“If I couldn’t write it onto a piece of paper it shouldn’t be happening in my head either.”

Jordan says she wants those struggling to know they’re not alone.

“My first thing that I tell kids, adults, anybody that will honestly listen to it, is that they are not alone. Not one person is the only one who’s feeling that way. There is this statistic that one in five people will experience one type of mental health condition, and so that’s twenty percent of the world feeling that way also,” says Stone.

She says the first step to getting better is speaking up about how you’re feeling.

For those struggling, you can do exactly what Jordan did: talk to a school counselor, call the helpline center or NAMI, or reach out to a doctor.

NAMI also travels schools state-wide spreading awareness on mental health. For more information, click here.

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21 Aug

If you’re not making weekly progress with your training plan right now, then listen up. Chances are it has nothing to do with the exercises you’re using, or to do with how much time you’re spending in the gym. It has all to do with your exercise execution and overall quality of each rep.


Start focusing less on the what and consider the how instead. What you do in the gym is the tool that will enable you to get bigger, stronger, and leaner. Just like any tool you also need to know how to use it. You might have the sledgehammer, but do you really know how to swing it?



Lift With Intention

The barbell bench press is a tool you can use to build up your pecs, but there’s a difference between just bouncing as much weight off your chest as possible versus lifting with the intention to stimulate maximum muscle growth.


Your muscles are on the inside of your body and have no idea how much is being lifted on the outside—and they don’t care how much you want them to grow no matter how often you whisper sweet nothings to them.


What your muscles do know is what tension is and how much force is being put through them—and that’s about it. This primal muscle knowledge is what ultimately triggers a cascade of events that lead to hypertrophy and muscle growth.


When you are trying to build muscle the load you have on the bar is irrelevant to a degree—that is unless you’re still able to squeeze on every repetition and maintain tension. Very few can truly do this without sacrificing either weight or execution.


Progressive Overload With Perfect Execution

Although progressive overload is important, and you should always be striving for a minor increase in weight or reps each week, doing this at the expense of making every repetition count will produce far from optimal results. Every repetition is an opportunity to get better.


The art of the perfect repetition is something professional coaches and physique athletes often won’t speak about. That’s because the perfect rep is hard to verbalize or film, and quite frankly it is not as interesting as sharing a new exercise or training plan. Perfecting your execution impacts everything and could be the one simple thing holding you back right now.


The weight you use is less important than the tension and force you can get through the target muscle. Therefore, exercise selection is important because the right tool can align you properly to receive the best stimulus for that muscle to grow. This is also why picking just a few of the right tools versus half a dozen exercises with average execution will always achieve superior results.


We all have different limb lengths, leverages, and movement capabilities. Picking just a handful of exercises that feel good to you, no matter anyone else’s opinion, is always a good place to start. Pick exercises that help you ‘find’ and load the muscle optimally. Exercises that position and align you poorly are a sure-fire way to add stress to the wrong areas, leading to inflammation and injury over time.


Stop Adding, Start Deleting

Before you start adding to your routine with the hope that you’ll stumble on a magic exercise or formula, instead think what you can delete. What are you not getting the most of right now? There’s nothing wrong with variety if it can keep you entertained and motivated to train.



Pick just a handful of exercises with the right profile and then consider the quality of every repetition first, before thinking of what you can start adding.


“Employ a quality-first approach before adding unnecessary quantity.”


One of the biggest differences between the elite and the average gym goer is that the elite know how to execute every repetition with the highest level of concentration and intensity.


They know how to make even the lightest of warm-up sets look as hard as possible. They care less about attaining the most impressive numbers only to achieve the most impressive physiques. Success leaves clues.


Consider the Feel

Every exercise will have a different feel to it. While some are better at applying load to the muscle in a shortened and fully contracted position, others are better at loading the lengthened or stretched position.


For this reason you can’t always go by how much of a squeeze you can get on every rep. But if you can’t feel the muscle working and consciously contract it during the set, then it might be an idea to hold auditions for an exercise that will.


A clunky painful feeling is not a feeling that should ever be accepted—a smooth repetition with a good connection is. If there’s something you’re doing right now that doesn’t fit these criteria, then delete it.


This approach goes beyond just performing an exercise with correct technique while limiting injury, and it also goes beyond what many refer to as developing the “mind-muscle connection.”


Very few can physically or mentally make this connection, but if you can get your head around it then it will truly unlock the muscle-building potential of any future exercise or training plan you follow. The information here is probably something you already know, but how often do you think about it and then apply it? Well, now is the time to start.

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21 Aug

Have you noticed that as you age, and you cut yourself or have a wound from another injury, that it seems to take much longer to heal than when you were younger?

Whether it is a cut or a graze or a full-blown wound, you can begin by using an antibacterial silver ointment to protect it from infection and allow the body to begin the recovery without added problems.  This silver ointment will not accelerate any healing but will prevent further infection.

Accelerate Healing with These Natural Remedies

A variety of herbs, supplements, and plants can speed up healing and prevent infection naturally.

  1. Honey

Honey has proven antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities. Honey has been shown to help speed wound healing by numerous mechanisms. It is an ideal dressing for wounds as it fights infection, reduces inflammation, and provides a moist healing environment all in one natural substance. Manuka honey may be the best option. To use, spread a thin layer of raw honey on your bandage before covering the cut.

  1. Chamomile

The little flower has been used to treat burns, bruises, sciatica, and hemorrhoids, among other things. It’s also a viable treatment for minor cuts and mouth sores, as well as bleeding or infected wounds. Doctors in Germany tested chamomile as a treatment for recent tattoos, which often bleed. Tattoos treated with chamomile extract healed more efficiently than those treated with typical tattoo balms. The flower’s healing properties, according to another human trial, likely come from its flavonoids and essential oils, which scientists have found can penetrate deep into skin. Several other studies on various types of wounds show that chamomile is extremely effective in speeding the rate of healing; it has even been shown to be as effective as hydrocortisone creams. It helps to kick start the body’s natural healing processes and regenerate tissue. Look for tinctures or natural products containing chamomile at your local health foods grocery, or make a compress out of chamomile tea (you can even put the teabags directly on minor cuts).

  1. Aloe Vera

This plant has many healing properties. It is a great treatment for burns, but it can also be good for cuts and scrapes as well; aloe promotes formation of collagen, prevents infection, and more. You can buy creams or gels that contain aloe vera, but my favorite way to use it is straight from the plant. Cut off a tip of the plant and spread the gel-like insides over your cut, then cover with a bandage. Mixed results show that aloe vera should not be used on very deep cuts, so stick to shallow scrapes to be safe.

  1. Zinc

Zinc is essential to wound healing. People who are zinc deficient often show delayed healing rates. Topical application of zinc to a wound can help speed up the process. It is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and it also helps to stimulate the growth and maturation of cells to rebuild the damaged tissue. Look for a zinc ointment meant for wound care at a natural grocery store.

  1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree essential oil is one of the best ways to treat a wound to help prevent infection. It is a great antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Tea tree oil is so effective that it can actively attack and eliminate staph infections such as MRSA. The aborigines of Australia used tea tree leaves to heal skin infections and wounds and burns by crushing tea tree leaves and holding them in place with a mud pack. Thankfully, we can just use tea tree oil applied 3-5 times a day to effectively heal our wounds quickly and efficiently.

When researchers at the Good Shepherd Hospital in Texas tested tea tree oil on patients who had infected cuts, they found the time it took the tea tree group to heal, compared with the control group treated with conventional antibiotics, was strikingly shorter. Applying tea tree oil or tea tree cream directly to your cut twice a day will cut down inflammation.

  1. Garlic

Allicin in garlic has been shown to be as effective as a 1% penicillin solution! It is a great anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal and can help heal almost any wound. Garlic can cause damage to the skin, however, so making sure you don’t leave it on the skin for longer than 20-25 minutes. You can make a mix of 3 crushed garlic cloves and 1 cup of wine, blended, let stand for 2-3 hours and strain. Apply to the wound with a clean cloth 1-2 times a day.

  1. Calendula

This beautiful little flower is considered a vulnerary agent (a substance that promotes healing). This plant is an anti-inflammatory too, and is slightly anti-microbial. It can be used topically to help heal abrasions, skin infections and internal infected mucous membranes. You can buy calendula salves at health food stores, and you can use this to apply to your wounds. For internal infections, make a calendula tea with 1 cup warm water and 1 tbsp. calendula flowers.

  1. Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root is not the same as the sugary white cylinders you can find in the candy section at your grocery store – this plant is actually incredibly healing to wounds inflicted on the body. Marshmallow is great for drawing out toxins and other bacteria found in wounds when used as a poultice, and it can shorten the healing time by drawing out impurities. It can also be used to heal burns and bruises! Creating a poultice with marshmallow and applying it to your wound can speed wound healing.

  1. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is great for helping blood to clot faster at the site of your wound, and disinfects the wound due to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Cayenne pepper will stop wound bleeding in 10-12 seconds, and if the wound is more severe, having the afflicted individual consume an 8-oz. glass of water with 1tsp. cayenne can significantly help too!

  1. Potato

Potatoes can heal wounds? Potatoes have this type of gravitational pull which draws out infections from any type of wound or abscess. Make a raw potato poultice with shredded potatoes and maintain this throughout the day, changing it every 4 hours or so (and rinsing with salt water in between). This will ensure that inflammation is reduced and that there will be no chance of infection! To make a poultice, shred raw potato with a grater, and spread this onto a clean cloth. Apply to the affected area, and cover with gauze and then some saran wrap or other material of choice. Leave overnight and remove in the morning. Clean affected area with salty water, cover with clean dressing and continue until healed.

  1. Lavender

The amazing benefits of lavender were accidentally discovered by a French scientist, René, Gattefossé, who was severely burned in a laboratory accident and immersed his hand in a vat of Lavender. He found that this oil promoted hasty tissue regeneration without any scarring! Use lavender essential oil to help promote natural wound healing. Use topically 2-5 times per day by applying 2-4 drops on the wound area. Dilute as required!

  1. Goldenseal

This plant is known for its antiseptic and astringent properties. It can be used for cuts, wounds, infections, bites and stings and is also used internally to help treat sinus infections and inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract. The main components of goldenseal are alkaloids called berberine and hydrastine which help destroy many types of bacterial and viral infections. Use goldenseal ointment on your wounds (found in local health stores), and watch your healing time drastically reduce!

  1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, amongst a million other things it can do, can effectively heal wounds! It has amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties and can even prevent scarring of wounds too! Use coconut oil on your wound to help speed recovery – apply coconut oil under a band aid and re-fresh 2-3 times a day. Watch your cut heal in no time!

  1. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a wonderful astringent that contains procyanidins, resin and flavonoids, all of which make it a very soothing, anti-inflammatory plant. Soaking a cloth in some with hazel and applying it to cuts, bruises and other wounds can significantly reduce swelling and speed up recovery time. Witch hazel can also control bleeding – to help reduce bleeding, apply witch hazel to a fresh wound and wrap it up in gauze.

  1. Juniper Leaves & Berries

Juniper berries, which were also used as a flavoring for gin back in the 17th century, are also very useful in the treatment of inflamed joints and wounds. These berries are very rich in B vitamins and vitamin C, which make them great for speeding up recovery time of cuts, scrapes and other wounds. Juniper berries contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties as well, so they are great for treating numerous wounds or sores like psoriasis, eczema and other skin problems!

  1. Comfrey Root

The genus name for comfrey is Symphytum, which literally means to “unite or knit together.” Comfrey contains a substance called allantoin, which helps cells grow faster, and so it literally improves healing time of broken bones, mends wounds quickly and helps burns heal quickly with little scarring. In fact, comfrey is often called knitbone! Allantoin is also found in the placenta of pregnant women to help the baby grow and develop in a decent amount of time. Use comfrey as a poultice next time you break a bone or get a bruise, cut, scrape or other wound.

  1. Colloidal Silver

It’s true that there are no high-quality studies substantiating silver’s health claims and there are risks of using it that you should be aware of. However, colloidal silver can be a great natural antibiotic if used properly. The antibiotic properties of silver are potent and the risk to human health in terms of toxicity is negligible.

Colloidal silver helps kill bacteria without damaging newly forming skin cells. It does not sting or burn. Other antiseptics sting when applied to a wound because they are killing the surrounding wall tissue cells. Colloidal silver does not harm the surrounding cells or tissue. Some people use a silver spray and sprinkle the colloidal silver over the affected area to help heal wounds faster.

Note that some clinical studies prove that natural silver – particularly colloidal silver – can destroy Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pathogen quickly and effectively. MRSA is a bacterium that can infect surgical wounds. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus – or staph – because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.

  1. Proper Diet

Eat well to promote faster healing. If you want to know how to heal a cut fast, it is important to look at your diet, as your body needs a variety of vitamins and nutrients to support the healing process.  Vitamin C, for example, helps make collagen, stimulates the renewal and growth of skin cells, modulates inflammatory processes, and helps turn on genes that promote wound healing. And protein is in extra high demand when your body needs to rebuild tissue. Make sure to get plenty of vitamin C, E, and A; protein; omega-3 fatty acids; zinc; and antioxidants to support your body.

Top Foods to Heal Wounds

Green leafy vegetables – Kale, broccoli, spinach, and other greens are high in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting.

Clean protein – The body cannot rebuild lost tissue without protein. Add a quality protein powder to your morning smoothies and consume plenty of nuts, seeds, and beans.

Vitamin C – Is essential for manufacturing collagen an essential component of skin and tissues. Increase your intake of vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Zinc – The chemical reactions necessary to rebuild bone requires zinc. To increase your intake of zinc, add pumpkin seeds, and spinach to your diet.

Omega 3 Essential Fats– Essential fats are critical to help rapidly heal wounds. Avocados and fish oil are great to consume.

Foods That Slow Healing

Alcohol – Increases inflammation which does not promote healing.
Sugar and refined grains – Promote inflammation and can slow healing.
Hydrogenated oils – Processed foods contain hydrogenated fats which also promote inflammation and decrease the ability of your body to heal.
Processed foods – May contain chemicals and dyes which can slow wound healing.


When you have a wound, ensure that you have a clean diet, plenty of oxygen and use nature’s healers. It may surprise you how miraculous your self-healing body still is!


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