What’s in your glass? A list of my favorite and must have booze for your home bar.

Hard day at work? Lost in the desert? Rollin’ down the street smokin’ indo? Sometimes life just calls for a cocktail. There are so many choices out there, and different situations demand different poisons.

While I’m certainly no sommelier, I do have extensive consumption experience. Here are a few of my tried and true favorites that won’t leave you high and dry.

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Vodka:

Whether you’re shooting straight with your Russian neighbor, mixing with tonic or having a martini shaken not stirred, a good vodka is key. Don’t settle for well, look for these options:

Tito’s – A great everyday drinker easy on the head in the morning.

Ketel One – My Bloody Mary mixer.

Belvedere – My #1 go-to vodka. A bit pricey, but worth it.

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Rum:

I can go on forever with this…I’m a rum-drinker and can tell you, you need to be picky. That said, here are my top three choices.

Cruzan #9 or white – Not so common mixing rum from St. Crox B.V.I. Nice change from Captain Morgan or Bacardi.

Koloa White – Once lived on Kauai Island Hawaii and fell in love with this mixer.

Havana Club – Another great distillery that you can not go wrong with anything they have to offer. A little tricky to get from Cuba though.

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Scotch:

If you’re channeling your inner Anchorman, you need to know what Scotch to choose. (Selections based on reliable recommendations).

Balvinie Double Wood – Aged in traditional and sherry oak this single malt burst with a multitude of flavors while staying smooth and mellow.

Macallan – With a variety of styles you can not go wrong with anything this distiller has to offer. The most mature pallet will be pleased.

Glenmorangie 18 – Top of the prestige collection this is a single malt scotch whiskey of serious distinction. Another must have.

Whiskey:

On the rocks, mixed with coke, or neat, you want a a whiskey that will complement the hair on your chest, not one that burns the esophagus.

Jameson Casemates – A unique experiment that came out delicious.

Lead Slingers Whiskey – Nice daily drinker and uber-patriotic.. ‘Merica

Mekhong Whiskey – From the deep jungles of Thailand this is mak mak ling. Taste like a rum but labeled a whiskey. Proceed with caution.

Bourbon:

Like scotch and whiskey, even if it’s not your drink, it never hurts to have a nice bourbon in the home bar. Pick up one of these stand-bys. (Based on reliable recommendations).

Jim Beam Single Barrel – Masterfully made by america’s finest Jim Beam has a spread any bourbon lover can enjoy.

Widow Jane 8yr – Hailing from New York City this craft bourbon is aged to perfection and worth the hunt to find.

Woodford Reserve 1838 Syle White Corn – The use of white corn instead of traditional yellow corn complements additional grains in the whiskey and allows for a sharper whiskey that’s lighter in body with a softer, sweeter, fruit-forward profile

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Tequila:

“You boys like MEXICO!! WoooHoo!!” Lets get south of the boarder silly with some favorites courtesy of the agave.

Gran Patron Platinum – A little on the pricey side but triple – distilled with a long spicy finish makes it way easier to swallow.

Herradura Reposado – Fermenting with naturally occurring airborne yeast and long stents in American Oak barrels really brings out the vanilla and butterscotch flavors while adding some color and unmatched smoothness.

Tapatio Blanco – Double distilled this is a great example of old world style tequila on a budget.

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Beer:

I’m not a huge beer drinker..sorry hipsters. Yet, certain occasions just call for a beer and why settle for Coors Light? Having a few go-to selections will come in handy when you need to grab a 6-pack for a BBQ, a little hair of the dog or something to wash down that burger and onion rings.

Dos XX Lager Especial – A favorite of “The Worlds Most Interesting Man” it’s not hard to understand why. A crisp, light-bodied, malt-flavored beer with a well-balanced finish is very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Any Octoberfest – Or Marzen as “ze Germans” call it. It is a shame this nectar of the gods is seasonal. Born in Munich, it is well worth the flight or at least a trip to your local store.

Gasser – I have only seen this in Austria. This light and refreshing adult beverage will be an internet purchase. A definite anytime beer…even with breakfast…Prost!

Monkeynaut IPA – Why? Why not. It’s a good beer with an awesome can logo. It’s you’re going to drink beer, you might as well be entertained at the same time.

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Wine:

For you single guys, being able to pick a good bottle to bring over for dinner is a definite plus. And a good husband knows the true value of a good bottle of wine. There are a huge number of good options out there and often a good liquor store will give some great recommendations. In general, avoid screw tops and don’t go for the cheapest bottle on the shelf. Beyond that, check out these no-fail bottles:

Dreaming Tree Crush – Everyday drinker. A California blend with mixed berries and vanilla oak flavors. Great on its own or with dinner, this reasonably-priced red is a favorite in our house.

Francis Coppola Claret – A Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine, blended in the classic Bordeaux style. Flavors of blackberry, cassis and roasted espresso.  This rich red is the perfect pairing with a nice steak dinner.

Archival Ferrer Malbec – A little vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina, the wife and I found this wine on our honeymoon. A hard find but worth the look. You can not go wrong with anything from this part of Argentina.

I’m a red wine drinker…ask your wife for white recommendations.

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Champagne:

The more accurately label for this list would be “Sparkling Wine.” Either way, when you are popping the top and sipping bubbly, you don’t care what it’s called just as long as the party keeps rolling.

Bollinger – the “James Bond champagne.” It’s been featured in 11 of the Bond films to date.

Cordon Negro Brut – A family favorite. Sunday brunch mimosas.

Krug 1975 Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs – For all of you ballers making it rain.

There is the list to church up your home bar, entertain a client at the office or surprise the Mrs. for dinner. I hope you enjoy responsibly. If not, at least take pictures and post them with #codenamedad

Please add your favorites in the comments.

For the difficult finds and imports, I have had success ordering from The Whiskey Exchange.

I will post new finds as time goes on. Until then, Cheers, Prost, Salute, Nastrovia, Skall!

CODE NAME DAD… OUT!

DIY: Plyo Box

DIY: Plyo Box

Cost: About $40

Time: 2-3 Hours

Difficulty: Medium 

Want to get some bounce in your legs? This 3-in-1 Plyo Box is just what the Doctor ordered. 3-in-1 means 3 different heights, 20″ inch, 24″ inch and 28″ inch, in one box. How amazing is that! Made out of 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood ensures durability for even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast. So, put on your favorite gym shoes, grab your power tools and lets get to work.

Materials Needed:

  • (1) 8′ x 4′ x 3/4″ piece of cabinet grade plywood
  • Skilsaw or table saw
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Wood glue
  • Box of 2″ wood screws

Extras:

  • Dremel Tool
  • Sand paper and dowel or PVC
  • Exacto Knife
  • Poster Board
  • Spray Paint

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Step 1: Cut the plywood into the 6 pieces you need. Home Depot or Lowes will do this for you if you do not have your own power tools. Bring this layout so the guys at Home Depot don’t get overloaded with math and Tetris.

  • (2) 28″ x 20″ rectangles
  • (2) 28″ x 22.5″ rectangles
  • (2) 22.5″ x 18.5″ rectangles

Jump box layout

Finished cuts.

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Step 2: Do a test build. Set up all the pieces to ensure everything lines up. Re-measure to ensure correct dimensions. Once you glue and screw there is no going back. I pre-drilled holes in all 4 corners for test build ease. See Step 3 for hole placement.

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Step 3: Glue and Screw. Measure out and drill pilot holes for your screws. I used 1/16″ bit for pilot holes. Mark and drill 3/8″ from edge to match the seam and 1″ in from corner to prevent the screws from colliding. I used a 5/16″ bit for recess but found it unnecessary.

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EXTRA!

Step 4: Make a handle. I recommend doing this before you put everything together. I did not. Here is how. I used the 28″x22.5″ piece as the top of the box and the 22.5″x18.5″ as the side I put the handles on. 6″ from the top, centered 12″ from the side. The handle is 1.5″ wide x 5″ long. Rounding the ends adds 3/4″ to each side. I used a cutting bit with my Dremel or you can use a Skill Saw. I rapped some rough sand paper around 3/4″ pvc pipe to smooth the edges.

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Step 5: Add your personal touch! This box was made for my wife who runs Virginia Beach Bootcamps. Print your logo, trace it to the poster board, use the Exacto knife to cut it out and spray paint it on. Blamoo!!!

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There you have it! Your very own Plyo Box ready for extensive use. Warm up, stretch out and get jumping!! As alway, don’t forget to HYDRATE!

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For info on how to make the Slam Ball and Parallettes please click on links. Let me know what you think in the comment section. I hope you liked this tutorial.

CODE NAME DAD OUT… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHECKING OUT: A guide to leaving the country

Expat:

An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing, as an immigrant, in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).

With all the recent talk about leaving the country depending on who is elected president, the question is – how do you go about moving abroad?

Whether your favorite politician didn’t win, someone is after you, or you decide FTW and just want to sit on a beach drinking Mai Tais for the rest of your life, moving abroad might be a viable and/or necessary option.

I have personally visited 23 different countries, staying anywhere from 3 days to 6 months. I was fairly serious about moving to Grand Cayman Island and visited for two months. With all of those miles, I have picked up a few things you want to consider when moving abroad.

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1. Where are you going? There are many web pages on the google machine to learn about your choice of exile (CIA World Factbook ).You can read all about the sandy beaches and how you can live comfortable for $500 a month (Thailand), but you will never really know if you are going to like it unless you have been there. Before selling the family farm, I highly recommend a test run. Visit your new country for a few weeks to 6 months. You can go through all of the integration pains with no strings attached. If you don’t like it, then you can slip out the window while its sleeping never to return. Sleep around, explore the neighborhoods, local food, talk to other expats… This is it! I have found the place for me. What is next?

2.Prepare yourself and expect change. Everything will be difficult and different from what you are accustomed to. Logistics, administration, culture shock, customs, traditions, language and you may face discrimination. Do your homework, read a lot and talk to others who have done it.

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3.Sell everything and travel light. UHAUL and PODS works well in the states, but they do not exist in most countries. Moving a whole house full of goods will cost an arm and a leg and there may not be a guarantee that everything will make it through customs or arrive undamaged. Regulations and customer service are not always the way they should be. Poor nation’s customs tend to have sticky fingers. Expect this and try to avoid at all cost.

 

4.Hoblar the local mak chow???? Learn the local language! Very important for the long haul. Invest in Rosetta Stone or something of the like. It will make life possible — to buy groceries, if you have to go to the hospital, to set up a bank account, get a taxi or even order your favorite drink at the tiki bar. Don’t expect the cashier at the road side coconut stand to know multiple languages. You may think you ordered a hamburger but you get a cooked duck leg with burnt feathers still on it chopped up by a rusty cleaver…trust me. You can also look for highly populated expat locations where your language has been common for a while. This will help if you have to move in a hurry.

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5.Get your documents in order.

Passport – Everyone needs one to travel internationally. Plan on it taking a few weeks to acquire. You can get it expedited to a few days for a few extra bucks.

Visa – Some countries require a visa to be approved before allowing you into their country. Something about not liking illegal immigration or whatever. Just a guess. Minimum of 24 hours to process.

– Student Visa – Spending the last few semesters abroad? You will need a Student Visa and knowledge of local campuses. Once you find out what school you want to attend, they should be able to help you with the visa application. Also, if your younger kids are not citizens, they may need one too if you are not home schooling.

– Work permit – Some countries (ie. Grand Cayman) won’t let you stay past a few months or move there without a work permit. If you plan on staying awhile and are not filthy rich, you might want a way to make money, which makes this a must.

International Drivers license – You can walk or ride a bike, but after a while you may want to venture further. An international drivers license/permit will work in a lot of countries but you may need to get a local one eventually. They should not be difficult if you are a good driver but some countries have different rules of the road and even drive on the opposite side. Yikes.

– Resident status, dual citizenship or full citizenship – “Going out for a pack of smokes, I will be back never”. There will be many hoops to jump through to obtain these. If taxes are something you are trying to avoid this might not be your route. You forgo your previous country’s taxes, but now have to pay the local tax man. Also, you lose your emergency exfil via the U.S. Embassy. When your new country goes up in smoke due to a coupe or revolution, Uncle Sam will no longer be able to get you out of town. You are a local now. Good luck.

6.Pets. Meow that you have your paperwork in order, what about Fido and Mr. Whiskers? For our move to Hawaii we took our dog Baxter. Multiple shots, 6 months out with documentation and about a $grand$ later he could fly in without making a 3 month layover in quarantine. Yikes.. or Meow…and that was still within the U.S. Keep that in mind when making the quick get away. The local embassy or country website you are moving to should be able to provide answers to most ,if not all questions, about pet import regulations.

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7.Local laws and crime stats. New country, new government, new rules. In Amsterdam, you can get all the Mary J your burnt out noodle can hot box. In Indonesia, 1 roach blunt is punishable by death. You might want to look into that if that is your thing. Also, making that wrong turn at night into the Rio de Janeiro favelas might have you ending your night in the mortuary. True story for an elderly couple who’s rental car GPS led them astray. Find out the no-go spots and how to stay out of jail.

8.Ouch! I just got bit by a clown fish riding big surf in the lagoon out the front door of my hut in Indonesia. Do they have Obamacare here? NOPE! Better put a tourniquet and salt on that wound. I would start my adventure off with having some sort of vacation insurance . I print out a copy, laminate it (waterproof) and keep it on me at all times. That will get you going for the short term. Where to go for a medical emergency is something you should iron out during your test run. How do I fill my prescription? What if I need a dentist? How do I pay them? Does the beach bar I work for offer employee insurance? Where do I get Insurance or is that a thing in this country? Find out!

9.This Place is Awesome! I want to live here forever! I did everything above. I’m making hundreds of dollars a month at the beach bar. What’s next? Bank account! You need to put that fat stack of pesos somewhere, get a auto loan for that local beater to blend in and a home loan for the palm trees you attach your hammock to on the beach. Plus side, you may get a higher interest return on your savings. Some as high as 7% unlike US banks that offer 0.9% #yeswegetscrewed… Bad side, most overseas banks do not service American clients. And, if the account reaches $10,000 most banks have an agreement with the USA to report your account to the IRS. Shop around, keep the account low and have a good time.

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10.Taxes. If you ever plan on coming back to America then get a tax guy and pay your taxes. I have one and he cost $320 a year, but he has saved me a mint. Worth every penny. I have claimed Expat status before. Rules change, but here is the gist: 330 days outside of the U.S. in one calendar year gets you $96,000 tax-free. After that, it is taxed as normal in whatever bracket. AGAIN… Get a tax guy and make sure. (I am not a tax guy).

11.Land. Know before you go. My buddy had to buy his condo in Thailand all in cash as they do not give out loans to foreigners. Foreigners are also not allowed to own land in some countries. You can marry a local and put it in their name to get around that, provided you don’t already have a spouse. That could get ugly. Foreigners can lease land for 100 years in Mexico, but never own. Same deal. Something to know before you eyeball that perfect beach house or chateau.

There you go. I think I covered the meat and potatoes of moving abroad. Do your homework, get your passport, pack light, stick with the expats, don’t get into trouble, don’t get yourself killed, pay your taxes, have fun, eat, drink and be merry. I hope you find what you are looking for and where you belong on this earth. And remember, sometimes where you were born is where you are meant to be, regardless of the current political leader.

Top 10 Locations to move to abroad:

  1. Singapore
  2. New Zealand
  3. Sweden
  4. Bahrain
  5. Germany
  6. Canada
  7. Australia
  8. Taiwan
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Switzerland

Top 10 cheap locations abroad for retirement or whatever:

  1. Belize
  2. Thailand
  3. Philippines
  4. Nicaragua
  5. Malaysia
  6. Panama
  7. Vietnam
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Colombia
  10. Nepal

CODE NAME DAD…OUT!