Saturday, May 22, 2021

How to Maintain a Long Lasting Friendship

Just because the majority of us have friends does not mean that we are being the best friend that we can possibly be. As in many other roles, being a good friend takes time and effort, and it is something that we should all continue to practice each day. Every relationship is unique, but there are a few steps to being a true friend that seem to translate well across the board. If you notice that something has been left off the list, please leave a comment at the end with your advice on how to be a true friend.

Listen to What Is Being Said

It sounds so easy, but so many people have difficulty just listening to their friends. One of the ultimate signs of respect is just showing your friend that his life was important enough for you to listen. I cannot think of much worse than unloading a whole story to my friends only to have them ask me basic questions afterwards indicating they never heard me in the first place. Valuing a friend means taking the time to hear what they have to say. Hear your friend's questions, and take the time to ask follow up questions to make the picture more clear. By the end of the conversation, your friend will feel better knowing that you care enough to know what is going on in his life.

Be Loyal Regardless of the Situation

Nobody likes a back-stabbing friend...nobody. Do not become a person that smiles in your friend's face and then talks badly about them when they are not around. Not only does this have the potential to blow up in your face later, but it also shows other people that you cannot be trusted.

Being a true friend means that you are there whenever your friend may need help. No matter how much time has passed between conversations, a true friend is one that will be there immediately if called upon in an emergency.

Sacrifice for the Good of Others

Good friends know that there will be times when they need to set aside their own personal gain for the benefit of their friends. There will be moments where you may feel like celebrating but your friend just needs to stay in and vent over a problem at hand. Knowing when to sacrifice the moment in order to be there for a friend is a huge part of taking a friendship to another level.

There will be nights when it looks like you may be able to get a full night's rest, but instead you end up consoling a friend over the phone for hours. Sure it can be hard, but it's worth it months later when your friend thanks you for what you did for them. Or better yet, when they are there to return the favor when you are in a time of need.

Offer Advice Without Being Demanding

Try not to just sit there in silence when your friends need you. Be a reference point for them. You may have knowledge of certain subjects that they are unfamiliar with, or you may have already dealt with certain issues that they are going through now. Give your friends some food for thought and then let them make the ultimate decision on their own.

Just remember that there is a fine line between giving someone advice and telling them what they should or should not do with their lives. Give your friend some possible options and then respect them enough to let them make a decision with that knowledge.

Be Supportive During Good and Bad Times

As a friend, this was always one of my favorite things to do. Support does not just mean offer financial help. It also means to be there mentally and emotionally for the people you love. If you know that your friend has an important race coming up, make it a point to be there to cheer them on. Have a friend making a presentation? See if you can be in the audience so they can have a familiar face to look out upon during their speech. Overall, just remember the little things that your friends are involved in, and see what you can do to help them out.

Keep in Touch When Possible

It may seem like friends are supposed to talk to each other every day, but I have found exactly the opposite as I have gotten older. My closest friends and I talk sporadically over the phone and by computer, but we never seem to miss a beat. We have learned how to communicate with each other without smothering each other in the process. We respect each other's space and right to grow as individuals without feeling like extra space could tear our friendship apart.

What advice would you give others on maintaining a long lasting, positive friendship? Feel free to leave your words of wisdom in the comments below, or share them on Twitter!

Random Acts of Kindness: A List of Ways to Pay It Forward

Random Acts of Kindness Day
(February 17) and Pay It Forward Day (last Thursday in April) are two unofficial holidays in which people are encouraged to do simple acts of kindness for their community, family, friends, and people in general. Ultimately, the thought behind each holiday is that one small good deed can leave a lasting positive effect on the rest of society, and that the good deed can in turn lead to the spread of other good deeds throughout the world.

Although there are two specific days set aside to celebrate this concept, the idea of performing random acts of kindness is something that can be done on any day throughout the year. The acts are also something that can be done to help other people or society in general. The number of ways to help others is endless, but here is a list of acts of kindness and pay it forward ideas that can get you started.

Defining Kindness and Giving

According to Wikipedia, the definitions for "random acts of kindness" and "paying it forward" are as follows:

  • Random Acts of Kindness: A selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people.
  • Pay It Forward: The concept of asking that a good deed be repaid by having it done to others instead.

A Small Act Can Start a Movement

  • If you live in the same area as your fellow coworkers or students, find a way to start carpooling in order to save gas and help the environment.
  • Start a recycling program at your home, business or school. Take it a step further and donate any earnings received to a charity of your choice
  • Help deliver food to people in need by joining a Meals on Wheels chapter in your area.
  • Prevent daily food waste by learning how to compost. As an added bonus, offer up some of your compost to neighbors during planting season.
  • Donate a few dollars to your alma mater (elementary school, high school, or college) as a way of showing appreciation for where you are today. Or, donate your time to help improve the campus at your alma mater.
  • Look into becoming a host family for a foreign exchange student.

  • If you enjoy raising children and can provide a stable home environment, become a foster parent/family.
  • Help keep your neighborhood safe from drugs and other crimes by starting a neighborhood watch program.
  • Tune in to Life Is Good Radio and take a moment to dance with the people you love the most.
  • Create a new journal documenting what good deeds you have done for others as well as what other people have done for you. Take it a step further by publishing the journal as a blog so others can learn from your experiences.
  • Take a class on grant-writing at your local community college, and then use this new skill to assist local service organizations in securing new grant funding.
  • Sit down and find a cause you are passionate about. Find a friend who is passionate about the same thing, and then do something to help champion that cause!

  • If you have long hair, consider donating some of it after your haircut in order to make wigs for cancer patients.
  • Host a dance marathon for your next birthday party or special event and give part of the proceeds to the charity of your choice.
  • Continue to shop in smaller, local stores and spread the word about them around town.
  • Host a potluck food day at your job in order to build community among your coworkers.
  • If you are familiar with some of your neighbors, organize a block party to celebrate your community and bring your neighborhood closer together.
  • The next time you are going out on a weekend, offer to be the designated driver or volunteer to pay for the taxi ride home for your friends. Better yet, offer to pay for the taxi ride for someone you don't know.
  • Offer your job knowledge and expertise by becoming a mentor to a younger or less experienced employee at your job.

  • Make a blog post thanking everyone who has helped you get to where you are in life today.
  • Randomly send flowers to someone on a day that is not a holiday or birthday.
  • Spend quality time with your parents or grandparents, and ask them to share stories of experiences they had while growing up. If you have a chance, find a way to record these stories in audio or writing in order to preserve them.
  • If your family has spread out over time, find a way to organize a family reunion in order to bring everyone back together.
  • Strike up a conversation every day with someone that you do not already know.
  • Take a moment out of each day to smile at someone else.

Save the Dates

Although we should be making attempts at helping each other and doing acts of kindness each day, there are a few special days and weeks of celebration set aside for doing good deeds.

Random Acts of Kindness Day: February 17
Random Acts of Kindness Week: Second full week of February
Pay It Forward Day: Last Thursday in April
World Kindness Day: November 13

What other ways can you think of to spread kindness in the community? Share your ideas in the comments below, or keep the conversation going on Twitter!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Must-Have Gift Ideas for Newbie Drivers

Do you know someone who just became a new driver? Remember what it was like to start driving on your own for the first time? If you could go back in time, what are some things you would want for your first car?

This short gift guide was made especially for people who just got their license and/or first car. The suggestions below are a great way to congratulate your new driver for their achievement while also reminding them to be safe on the road. The prices vary for each item, and there are a few that may even bring about some laughs. They are all guaranteed to be useful, and you may even find yourself buying a few items for your own car.

Enjoy the gift guide and feel free to offer any suggestions you may have at the end of the page.

ResQMe Car Escape Tool

Unfortunately, there are times when we may need to exit our vehicle quickly due to accident or emergency. If the door is jammed or windows nonoperational, it can be a hopeless and very scary feeling. The ResQMe escape tool is made to smash out a car's side windows with a mere 12 pounds of force. In certain situations, this can be the difference in life and death.

The tool is also able to cut through seat belts if needed, and is small enough to hang from a key-chain. The tool has been trusted by policemen, firemen, and EMTs for years. Don't let your new driver leave home without one either!

Jump-N-Carry Jump Starter

I can tell you firsthand that having a dead battery in the winter, or any season, is no fun. Trying to find someone to help jump your car is even less fun. And depending on your set of jumper cables, actually jumping the car can be the worst.

The Jump-N-Carry is portable enough to carry in your own car. It carries a charge long enough for you to feel secure that it will work if needed. It also allows you to give your own car a charge without having to track down another motorist willing to help out. And if it happens to be dark outside, the jump starter also comes with a built in flashlight.

New Driver Parking Sign

It took a while, but your new driver finally earned their own parking spot. This parking sign will let the world know who that spot is reserved for. Guaranteed to bring a few laughs unless you're the owner of the car that gets caught "illegally parking" in the spot.

White Fuzzy Car Dice

Although not as popular now as in the past, fuzzy dice are still a great way to christen a new car. They add character, color, and a touch of good luck over the car. For those seeking more than just white dice with black polka dots, they also come in a variety of colors and styles. Pick the ones that showcase your personality and toss them on your rear view mirror!

Accident Report Kit

Hopefully your new driver will never end up in a car accident, but just in case they do this accident kit by J. J. Keller & Associates is a great gift to have. In addition to the accident report that can be filled out before any details are forgotten, it also comes with a disposable camera to record any damage to the cars involved.

The kit is portable enough to fit in your glove compartment, and your insurance company is sure to appreciate the additional details it provides after the accident.

The Driving Book

Even the most experienced drivers know that there are still tons of scenarios new drivers have yet to face after passing their driver's test.

The Driving Book is a great supplement for new drivers to have on hand when they hit the road. The book includes chapters on essential items in the car, maintenance, driving in bad weather, driving in the city/country, driving with pets, and much more.

If you buy any driving book for a novice driver, this should be the one.

Travel Angel Visor Clip

"Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly."

No matter what your religious background is, the message on this travel guardian angel applies. You may find yourself wanting to buy one of these for every driver you know as a gentle reminder that excessive speed can be fatal. The message is simple and reminds us all that cars can be dangerous when driven recklessly.

Car Reverse Backup Radar/Alarm

My sister would have died to have this gift when she was learning how to drive. She is still nervous about backing out of tight spaces in her car. I'm sure many of you know people that feel the same.

This car reverse radar comes with 4 sensors that detect other vehicles, objects, and people in the immediate area. Not only will it prevent car accidents, but it will also keep small children safer around the car. The kit requires simple installation, and allows you to color the sensors to match the color of your car. The benefits of having the unit are priceless.

Are there any items you wish you had when you first received your driver's license? Please feel free to share them in the comments along with why they are so important to you!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How to Deal with Annoying Coworkers

Have you ever worked with someone that has a knack for pushing your buttons? Maybe they have bad habits, an annoying personality, or their work ethic is just plain awful. No matter what the case, you can't wait for the day to be over so you can get away from them.

If this is a familiar feeling for you, then try doing something about it in order to save your sanity. After all, there's nothing worse than having to work eight hours a day with someone that makes you want to grind your teeth.

The following list of suggestions may provide a little bit of relief for you. Who knows, they might even help you press the reset button on your relationship with those co-workers. It's no guarantee, but it's definitely worth a try.

Find a way to ignore them

If you're lucky, you might work in the type of office that allows you to drown out the noise of your annoying coworker. Maybe you could toss on your headphones and listen to soothing music instead of being forced to listen to your nemesis. If not music, see if you can get away with an old-fashioned set of earplugs.

If distracting your eyes isn't a possibility, you might be able to physically ignore the person by moving to a different position in the office. If you work in a village of cubicles, maybe you can find a vacant one that puts more distance between you and your coworker. If you're in an open space environment, a well placed object on or around your desk can prevent you from having to look at the person as well.

Focus on a common goal

If ignoring the person isn't an option, you'll need to start working on how you interact with your coworker during the course of the day. Focus on the teamwork aspect of your job more than how much you dislike the way your teammate behaves. See if you can create a work-based goal that you can exceed together and focus less on the annoyance. You may even find yourself celebrating together at the end.

Find something you have in common

In addition to finding a common work goal, another solution is to find a common interest or hobby outside of work. You may have to dig hard, but even annoying people might enjoy some of the same things you do. Focus on those things and see if it leads to a new perspective on the person. Your common love of the local sports team might just trump how much you dislike working with that teammate.

Embrace their faults

At some point, you may just have to wave the white flag and accept that there is nothing you can do. Sometimes you just have to accept what the other person brings to the table and live with it.

Switch shifts/teams

A more desperate move is to attempt to change teams to get away from the person. Or, if you can't change teams maybe you can at least switch shifts to one that doesn't overlap with your coworker's work schedule. Your stress level may drop significantly just from no longer having to be around the person.

Be careful though! This could have a bad effect if management thinks you are being too dramatic or unable to work with people professionally.

Get a new job

This is the absolute worst case scenario, and it's only recommended if the person is creating a horrendous work environment and management is doing nothing to improve the situation. At that point, it may just be time to pack it up and move on. The downfall is there are no guarantees that your new job won't have someone annoying there too!

Have you ever had an annoying coworker? How did you manage to deal with the situation before it drove you crazy? Feel free to share your story in the comments below, or keep the conversation going on Twitter!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipes for Your Next Cookout

For people who come from areas where barbecue does not reign supreme, it may be a shock to discover that there are numerous types of barbecue sauces. If you were to glance at the barbecue sauces available at your local grocery store, you would likely only find basic tomato based sauces. However if you did a web search and spent time researching barbecue techniques and sauces, you would realize that almost every region of the country has its own barbecue sauce recipe.

This uniqueness is what makes barbecue special, and can keep a pulled pork sandwich or rack of ribs from ever getting boring. Fans of barbecue should bookmark this site so that you have a chance to experiment with every type of sauce available. Spread the word if you know of others who enjoy barbecue above all other types of food. And feel free to share your recipe or links to your favorite recipes in the comments section. Let everyone know which sauce you call your favorite.

Kansas City Sweet Sauce Recipes

When you think of traditional barbecue sauce, this is probably what comes to mind. It is the most common sauce in the country, but not necessarily the most popular depending on where you are from.

It's a tomato-based sauce which derives its sweet taste from brown sugar or molasses. Many of the barbecue sauces sold in grocery stores today are based off this style.

Kansas City Rib Sauce - Barbecue Sauce Recipe
This is a rich, thick, tomato based Kansas City style barbecue sauce recipe. Adjust the heat by changing the amount of cayenne.

South Carolina Mustard Sauce Recipes

Carolina Mustard Sauce is distinguished by its beautiful yellow color. Rather than using tomatoes as the base of this sauce, it combines mustard with sugar and vinegar in order to create a unique flavor.

Mustard Based BBQ Sauce Recipe -
This is a great version of the traditional mustard based bbq sauce. Most sauces are ketchup based, but in the South we prefer the mustard variation. You oughta try it at least once.

Memphis Dry Spice Rub Recipes

The beauty in barbecue in Memphis is that it traditionally does not even use sauce to add flavor to it. Rather, most barbecue establishments in Memphis lean towards using a dry spice rub made up of a variety of ingredients.

One of the benefits of the rub is that it can be used on a variety of meats, not just pork and chicken.

Memphis Rub - Barbecue Rub Recipe
In Memphis the Rub is the most important ingredient aside from the meat. Often ribs are served with only a rub and without sauce. This means that this barbecue rub has to provide all the flavor to make Memphis Style Barbecue.

Lexington Dip Recipes

Lexington Dip barbecue sauce boasts a thinner consistency than most people are used to when they think of barbecue sauce.

The sauce is powered by vinegar, pepper, and a hint of tomato sauce for flavor. It definitely packs more heat than some of the sauces mentioned above.

Lexington-Style Bbq Sauce Recipe at
Find the recipe for Lexington-Style Bbq Sauce and other vinegar recipes at Epicurious

Tennessee Whiskey Sauce Recipes

Like the name suggests, the magic in this sauce comes from the splash of whiskey added to the other ingredients. Many types have been used in the past, with Jack Daniels being the most popular.

In addition to the whiskey, the sauce also incorporates brown sugar and molasses to give it a sweet taste.

Tennessee Whiskey Barbecue Sauce Recipe |
Stay true to the Tennessee roots of this sauce and use Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey for this...

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce Recipes

Probably the most unusual sauce of the bunch, Alabama White Sauce is not based on tomatoes or mustard but rather on mayonnaise.

The sauce combines mayo with vinegar and pepper to complement grilled chicken. It is pretty rare, but maybe worth a try the next time you grill chicken.
Alabama White Barbecue Sauce - Barbecue Sauce Recipe
This traditional Alabama Barbecue Sauce uses Mayonnaise as its base rather than tomato sauce, vinegar, or any of the other traditional barbecue sauce bases.

If you'd like to find more sauce and spice rub recipes, check out Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades -- Bastes, Butters, and Glazes, Too. Your food will never be the same!

What's your favorite type of barbecue sauce? Leave a comment down below, or hit me up on Twitter!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Things to Avoid Doing Before, During, and After Your Next Flight

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were around 15,631,000 flights that they handled in 2016. You can probably guarantee that number has escalated since then, and will continue to grow larger with each passing year.

So with at least 15 million flights being handled, can you even imagine how many passengers are flowing through airports every year?

With that being said, there are certain things that every air passenger should avoid in order to make a flight comfortable for the pilot, attendants, and other occupants of the plane. These may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised how often they still happen.

These are just a few things to shy away from before, during, and after your flight. If you know of others, please feel free to share them in the Comments section below.

Things to Avoid Before Boarding Your Next Flight

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Flying can be a stressful situation for some passengers for a variety of reasons. Air travel can also be the preferred method for people to get to their vacation destinations. For those reasons, it's not surprising that people sometimes use alcohol as a way to loosen up or calm themselves down during a flight.

Drinking alcohol shouldn't be considered as a problem. Drinking too much alcohol is the issue.

If you're a traveler and you aren't sure what your drinking limits are, then you probably don't need to be drinking in the first place. You place yourself and your fellow passengers at risk of some very uncomfortable situations. Try not to become one of the passengers in the video below:

Things to Avoid During Your Next Flight

Trying to Open the Door in Mid-Flight

It sounds crazy, but apparently this has occurred on a few flights. Whether it be due to medication, alcohol, or panic attacks, it's just not a good idea to attempt opening the door to a plane after it's been sealed shut.

According to an article by National Geographic, it isn't even possible for the door to open as long as the cabin has been properly pressurized. The air pressure inside the cabin of the plane should be greater than the pressure outside of the plane, and this causes the door to be pushed outwards against the seal of the plane. In order to open the door, a person would have to pull the door inwards first and this isn't very likely.

Getting Too Comfortable While in the Air

Airlines are all about finding new ways to make their passengers more comfortable, but sometimes people take it to new extremes. There is a fine line in being cozy and being rude towards other travelers.

One of the most common annoyances would probably be placing bare feet all over the cabin (on the tray table, on the seat back, in between seats). Another would be reclining the seat with total disregard for the person behind you.

Unfortunately, there is a long list of other behaviors that rude passengers display in the air. You can find plenty of real world examples over on Passenger Shaming.

Things to Avoid After Your Flight

Racing Out of Your Seat When the Seat-belt Light Goes Off

Everyone wants to get off a plane once it reaches its destination. It's a pretty small space for so many people to be seated, so it's only natural.

However, we have all been in a situation where passengers dart out of their seats as soon as the "Fasten Seat-belt" sign blinks off. They head as far up the aisle as possible and then just sit there. Usually the door to the plane isn't even open yet.

Ultimately, it probably takes just as long to get off the plane as it would have if everyone had disembarked in an orderly fashion. Not to mention, if it's a final destination everyone will probably need to wait at Baggage Claim anyway.

Airline travel significantly speeds up the travel time for one destination to another. However, it also leaves us in close contact with lots of people we don't know at all. Keep this in mind the next time you fly, and try to be as considerate as possible.

What do airline passengers do that drives you crazy? Have you encountered one of the above situations? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below, or keep the conversation going on Twitter!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Opening with the Blogging A to Z Challenge

The Blogging A to Z Challenge is an annual blogging event that takes place during the month of April.

During the month, writers post each day (except for Sundays) with a topic that corresponds with a letter of the alphabet. For example: April 1 (Airplanes), April 2 (Blueberries), etc.

In addition to creating posts, writers are also encouraged to visit other blogs participating in the Challenge. You can find a list of those blogs here in case you'd like to visit them in your spare time.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get a jump on creating new content, and that's why I'm using it as the starting point for Slappy Walker. I won't be posting on any specific theme because the blog is truly based on writing "anything about everything". So expect some random topics over the course of April as I march from A to Z. Hopefully there is something that comes up that connects with you.

Due to the way the days of the week fall this month, my first post will be published on April 1. Please join me on the journey, and thank you for being a part of Slappy Walker!

Have you ever participated in the Blogging A to Z Challenge? Feel free to leave any tips or suggestions in the comments below. 

Also, check out the official site of the A to Z Challenge in case you're thinking about participating or just want to learn more about it!