Mens Interest ~ How to tie a tie.

This will be by first post in my Men’s Interest segment of The Shanty Town. I am very excited to finally be expanding in this direction. I promise to keep this section entirely devoted to Men and the things that interest you. If there is a topic you would like to read about contact me through comments, on Facebook or twitter and I’ll get right on it.  Enjoy.

I’m going to kick off Men’s Interests with a question I get all the time and only one person in the crowd ever seems to know the answer to. How do you tie a tie? Below I’ve provided step by step instructions on two types of knots to cover each mans height and girth.  If you’ve mastered the basics and would like to try more intricate looks click here.

First I’m going to be showing you a tie called The Four in Hand. This is probably the most common way I’ve seen men wearing their ties and it’s also very simple. I recommend this look for tall or medium height men because it is an elongated look and can make a shorter man look dwarfish.


A good tie for shorter men would be The Double Windsor. It has a larger knot so it draws up the length of the tie making your torso seem longer.  It is however a more difficult knot to master but with a little practice you should be tying it with ease.


That’s it really not much to it other than a little practice. Now you will be able to impress your wives and friends with your knowledge of how to properly tie a tie.  I plan to make one Men’s Interest article per week so keep in touch. You can sign up for our newsletter or connect via twitter and Facebook to get updates when new posts are published.   


Beach Bodies Workouts

Oldies but goodies. I’ve got a lot of hits on an earlier article Beach Bodies Workouts so I decided to give it a face lift and bring it to the front of the line.  If you want to see more of my early articles you can use the search bar at the top of the page and I’ve also added an archives tab to the right.  Happy Reading.



1. The Spartacus Challenge.  This routine has really proved its place at the top.  I have completed the workout shown countless times  and can attest to is effectiveness. Be sure to stretch out those muscles while your cooling down or your legs will hate you for a few days!

2. Body Rock.  From every workout available this is still my favorite. While zuzana has stepped to  the side allowing another buff energetic gal to take you through the workouts the quality of the site has remained the same and will always be my go to site. It is perfect for any level and offers recipes and other helpful advice.

3.  All about the six-pack .This is a routine I recently ran across while playing online that I thought was really fun and easy enough even for beginners. This is a quick 12 minute workout all you need is a couch and the will power. This is the routine I have used all along with The Spartacus Challenge and some of Zuzanas routines. Enjoy. 

Women – The quest for the perfect excuse

I get a lot of my ideas for blogs from things I run across online and I’ve noticed a growing trend in articles about women and their growing need and desire to be ‘perfect’.  I will often skim the article and head down to the comment section, where the meat is and see what others who I assume are everyday people like myself have to say.  With those people in mind I’ve written todays blog in the interest of Women – the quest for the perfect excuse.


Women. Ah, where to begin. Men have tried to understand us for centuries with little success. But I wonder do we really even know ourselves?  It seems the people of today have very different and complex ideals of what it means to really be a woman.  Most of us have an image in our minds of course of a stepford wife type who is always just so cleaning the house, cooking and keeping up with the kids. Which is a wonderful fantasy but in today’s world achieving this type of lifestyle can be a bit daunting. Especially since studies show that a majority of the states have both partners working full-time.


I’d like to tell you  Don’t Worry. Just take a minute relax and enjoy a cup of coffee. Here.



Now. Time for the tough love you knew it was coming right? Or did you think this was another one of those clichéd women are treated so badly articles. Some of you might want to stop reading now go ahead, I understand. Not everyone can handle what I have to say.  I’ve compiled a top five list of excuses we use to lie to ourselves everyday to avoid what is to be out new mantra. Say it with me  “Personal Responsibility.”   Thank you dad for that little pearl of wisdom. Personal Responsibility is something we all like to forget about. Lets sweep it under the rug and pile the boxes of “But so and so never helps me.”  “But I work.” “It will just get messy again” “I’m to unorganised.” and my all time favorite “I don’t have time.”


You have heard it a thousand times I’m sure, “But I do everything and (husband, wife, kids, ect) never do anything!”  This is where I’m going to start. First of all if you are a stay at home anything you have no right to use this excuse or the I don’t have time excuse.  You do. Stop whining you’re just lazy.  And even if they don’t how are you going to justify living in filth because someone else doesn’t help you clean it? If nothing else have enough respect for yourself not to live that way. You don’t want to be in the next season of Hoarders do you?


You work. That’s great! So does the majority of the country and you’re not any better than they are. Why can’t come home and do a load of laundry that takes maybe five minutes? Then you can go sit on the couch until its time to switch it to the dryer! It’s not like we are still using washboards! Every home appliance is designed for you the user to have to put in as little as possible effort. They do the work for you. Your argument is invalid.


It will just get messy again. Yes it will. Why is this even considered a valid excuse?


Your to unorganised you say? Well keep reading or skip on down to the bottom because I’m going to give you a few tips and links to ways you can get and yes stay organised. I’m excited about it are you?


Finally, “I don’t have time.” I hear this excuse all the time and not just for chores for working out, making dinner, and even for doing something nice for yourself. Well, with 168 hours in week I think we can find time for you!


Alright now come here and let me give you a hug. I still like you really. I understand that sometimes things get so piled up that it is overwhelming and you are busy and really no one helps. I know your frustrations but we should not keep using them as excuses to keep ourselves living in a way that makes us unhappy and unhealthy.  So let’s get to work! Here are so tried and proved ways to get those excuses out of our lives and start really living! Your gonna like the results!


No one helps out you say? Heres an idea give the kids a chore list! Most of them even the small ones can help with something even if it’s just putting away their own toys or making their bed. Will it look perfect? probably not but their small and learning and its one less thing you have to do yourself. Check out Age Approriate Chores for Kids.  Another idea after dinner have each family member rinse their own plates and stick them in the dishwasher you can run the load while you watch tv and they will be dry ready to put away the next morning! If you don’t have a dishwasher just the act of rinsing the plate before it dries will save you five or ten minutes of scrubbing in itself.


Pictured: Not Child Abuse.

So you’re a working woman! Like I said before that’s great. Me to! It doesn’t give you a get out of chores free card though. You can do simple things before and after work that take very little time and keep you house fairly clean. I’m not talking Martha Stewart clean but you won’t have to scurry around frantically when someone calls to say they are popping in. Heres a list of chores you can do in under Twenty Minutes!

Unfortunately yes it will get messy again. That’s just the way it is. But once you have your home under control its easier to spend fifteen or twenty minutes a day and keep it company ready.  Being organised hasn’t always been my strong point either. But with a little help it can become a reality. Some of the easiest ways to get started is by going through your entire house and I mean demolish it and get rid of all the trash and everything you don’t want, need, or havent used in the last year. That way once your ready to clean you’ll have a lot less to sort away. Another good way is to make charts and do certain chores on certain days like vacuum every other day and scrub the bathroom twice a week. This is also a great tool if you’re enlisting the help of your kids and lets face it they need to know how to do this stuff.

 Finding time in a day to do everything is hard but you don’t have to fit everything in one day, spread it out and don’t bog yourself down.  This excuse is the one I am most against. We use it for everything and we need to stop.  Check out these sites to learn about Easy Time Management.



At the end of the week your done. You’ve finished first place! congratulations! After you’ve achieved so much its time to reward yourself. Take some time for you and don’t feel guilty about it this is your day. You can take two hours for a massage and facial. Dress to the nines and go out to eat with your family! No dishes and quality time!  You are a strong, beautiful person and you need to stop making excuses and realise that Yes you can be the woman you want to be chances are those around already see you that way.

Eating Organic for less.

  My roommates and I used to say a blessing before our meals the went something like ” May this food nourish our bodies as it failed to do so for our wallets.”  It is no secret that food costs are on the rise especially if you opt for fresh and organic choices but it doesn’t have to. Try out these tips to eating organic for less.

1. Buy in Bulk – Many dry good items are much cheaper bought in bulk and have an amazingly long shelf life if stored properly.  Oatmeal, rice, beans, and flour are all good examples of items to buy in bulk and they are all easily kept.

Beans – Many food experts are of the opinion that dried beans can be kept without losing their nutritional value for up to thirty years.
Flour – The shelf life of flour really depends on what you are using if you use a particular kind not listed here let me know and I will track it down for you. All purpose flour will last in a cabinet sealed for up to eight months and twelve if kept refrigerated. Corn Flour is easily kept for up to a year and once again this is increased with refrigeration.
Rice – Properly sealed and stored, polished white rice will store well for 25 to 30 years after opening it should be used within 18 – 24 months.
Oatmeal – Processed oatmeal has a longer shelf-life than natural oatmeal because enzymes in the grain are destroyed by the heat of steaming and rolling. Processed oatmeal has a shelf life of about 18 months. Natural oatmeal can be stored in an airtight container for months, but once opened, it needs to be used as soon as possible (within weeks) because the enzymes breakdown.

 2. Find a local butcher – You may have to dig around but finding a local butcher and supplier can be a wonderful way to give yourself and your family with fresh organic meat at a fraction of the price. A couple of years ago my family purchased half a cow from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. It was grass-fed, locally butchered, and lasted us through the winter and then some for just a few hundred dollars. Pound for pound we saved money and you can really taste the difference.

3.  Casseroles – Pan dishes are great because you can divide the finished meal into portions to use later. One casserole can feed a family of four two or three times and can be sent to  school or work for a healthy homemade lunch.

4. Grow your own veggies – Starting your own garden may seem like a daunting task but it’s really very simple. There are thousands of articles online to help you get started and with the rise in interest of urban homesteading its easy to find ways to grow in little to no space. Think vertical gardens.

5. Check out your local farmers market – What could be better than supporting your local farmers while eating healthy at a fraction of the cost. Find out where your local farmers market is and take a day to look around. The produce varies with the season and you can usually haggle with the vendors for a price and amount that fits your household and wallet.

6. Raise your own – If its possible raising chickens is a great way to get your own organic eggs and in a pinch meat. Chickens are great composters, bug eaters, and fertilizers. Many areas are now allowing households to keep a limited amount of chickens inside city limits. Another idea is beekeeping if your up to it and I have heard you can get financial help in this area because of their declining numbers in the wild.

What ways do you and your family eat organic for less?

Make Money from Home $$$

Hello Shanty Town readers! Todays blog is all about making money from home. I have found a few websites that are legitimate ways to make a little extra income in your spare time. They are all free to join and easy to use. All of the sites I will be listing are ones I use myself and have received earnings from. 

Cash Crates – Cash crate is an easy to use site that lets you earn money by completing offers (many of them are 100% free) taking surveys, watching videos and even earning a percentage back from websites you may already shop at online. You can also play games for points that you can exchange for prizes and offers. It’s not a huge payout I made $3 in 20 minutes but it can add up especially if you often shop online. Once your account reaches $20 you are given a check for that amount. Join now and you will automatically be credited one dollar!

 You Data – This is my lowest paying site but it pays weekly sending the money earned directly to your paypal account. Basically when you sign up, you answer a few questions about your interests and the site matches you with advertisements that you might be interested in based on your responses. You get paid for each one you watch and each website link you visit.

Hits for Pay –  After you make your free account you receive a $5.00 sign on bonus immediately. Every day or so websites that pay you for your time are sent to your hits for pay inbox on the site. Every website that you view by clicking on the ad link (or button) is a ‘Paid Ad’. While viewing and reading the advertiser website, you must wait up to 60 seconds on the page to be ‘credited’. Each credit that you earn is worth up to 2¢. When you account reaches $25 or more you are paid via paypal between the 15th and 25th of each month.

None of these sites are likely to make you rich but they do add up. I plan on using my extra earnings this month to help fund my new at home business. What are you going to do with yours? If you know of any other good sites I would love to hear about them!

New year new you

 Recently, one of my readers posted that they were going to  run a marathon. That, along with myriad of people wanting to lose weight as their new years resolution gave me the idea for todays prompt.  This article is filled with information on all aspects of running/working out from preparation to cool down and a link to my favorite go to work out site. Enjoy.


Your already past the hard part, you’ve made up your mind to lose weight, get in shape, and go for it. Congratulations! Why not set your goals for what you’d like to see in the next month. Wether its increasing your reps from ten to twenty or running that mile in less time, nows your opportunity to plan ahead. Set multiple small goals between now and your big event this will give you boosts of confidence along the way!


Most health care professionals recommend a good stretching before any workout that includes running! Ever wanted to try yoga or palates? Now would be a good time to start. Not only will you limber up your body but its said you’ll gain peace of mind as well. I’m still on the lookout for that perfect routine so if you use a particular site I’d love the link.


Motivation. Feeling a little lackluster? We all go through it, we are pumped up the first few times but then we start to lose interest or procrastinate and pretty soon those weight loss goals are once again next years resolution. Well I say NO MORE! Here are a few tips to keep you on the right path. What keeps you motivated?

  1. Keep a workout log – Workout logs are great because you can accurately measure how far you’ve come since you started your plan. Any spiral bound note-book will do. It’s amazing to look back after a few months at your progress.
  2. The buddy system – Having a partner is a great motivator, having another person working with you can help you push out those few extra reps. They can also spot you during more difficult exercises.
  3. Music – Music is great anytime! Why not make a playlist of songs that really get you pumped up and feeling good. Thats sure to add an extra kick to your routine.
  4. Change up your routine – Changing up your exercises is a great way to get out of a rut. The site link I will give has tons of workouts for the body or you can choose one particular area.


Nutrition. Getting the right nutrition is important all the time but, the right combination can really enhance your workouts. Lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, and whey protein shakes are highly recommended. You should talk to your healthcare provider about any drastic changes and they can help you pinpoint your particular needs. Hydration is very important be sure to drink lots of water.


As with any strenuous activity running can have its hazards. I’ve provided a link from Runners World a website that is completely devoted to runners that offers tips on injury prevention and treatments.,7120,s6-241-285–13413-0,00.html



Cool down. Whew! Are you out of breath yet? Cool down is an essential part of any training that allows your body time to rest, and return to its normal state. This is a good time to take your supplements, drink or eat your protein, and stretch out again to prevent aching muscles later.



Now, the link I promised. My favorite fitness site of all time is it is an amazing site filled with everything fitness that everyone can take something from.  What are your fitness goals for the New Year? 




Beach Bodies Workouts

 Summer is over your probably not going to be in a bikini for another four or five months.  During the cold winter months working out hardly seems worth it but i feel it is one of the most important times to do so. We are bombarded with candy at Halloween and tons of food and sweets  at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Staying fit year round is not only good for you but it will give you a head start next year and you can focus your new years resolutions on something other than diet and exercise. These are some of the workouts that I use. I urge you to join me throughout the winter in keeping our beach bodies strong and healthy. 


1. The Spartacus Challenge.  This routine has been getting a lot of attention lately.  I have completed the workout shown twice and can definitely say that you can feel it afterwords. Be sure to stretch out those muscles while your cooling down or your legs will hate you for a few days!


2. Body Rock.   This site follows one of my favorite fitness instructors Zuzana through new workouts each time.  Her body is amazing and she keeps it that way by doing only the workouts she shares on her site. Dont worry if the routines seem hard she often offers modifications of these steps for beginners. There are food recipes, and other support on the site as well.  This has been my go to page for a quick workout routine for the last couple of years.


3.  All about the six-pack .This is a routine I recently ran across while playing online that I thought was really fun and easy enough even for beginners. This is a quick 12 minute workout all you need is a couch and the will power. This is the routine I will be using along with The Spartacus Challenge and some of Zuzanas routines in the next two weeks. Enjoy.