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Thanksgiving Survival Guide

11/9/2015 12:48 PM


Thanksgiving is just around the corner, whether you like it or not. For most of us, Thanksgiving is a relatively harmless holiday that is focused mainly on eating, seeing family, and shopping. That said, Thanksgiving involves traveling home to see family, which can be an extremely touchy situation. Not for the first day or two, but after spending 48 hours with the same people, patience from all parties may run a little thin.


Fear not, readers. There are a few tricks that can help you survive the may lay. Remember that Thanksgiving is only once a year, and you are going to have to see a majority of these same people at Christmas. Keep these tips in mind as Turkey Day approaches:


1. Pack a Flask – Not to sound obtrusive, but a little loose juice will go a long way in keeping the peace. Especially for those families that don’t hit the sauce until 5:00. Keeping a personal stash will keep your bones warm and your attitude where it needs to be. Careful, though. Remember that silence is golden; don’t be too public about it, as Cousin Eddie may want a few too many pulls.


2. Pepcid – As with any family holiday, eating is a MAJOR part of the visit. More than likely any sort of diet or portion control is getting thrown out the window. Take a magic white pill prior to hammering down at the dinner table to avoid any sort of indigestion or heartburn. There’s nothing like a 2AM wake up call thanks to dinner, dessert, and dinner.


3. Phone Charger – Yeah, you know, the one thing that you normally forget? DON’T forget your phone charger. This is important for a couple reasons: first, you’ll need some sort of online outlet while the parades are on. Second, you may need to talk (text) your other friends off the ledge who are going through the same Thankgiving/family experience. Worst-case scenario is running out of charge mid-afternoon.


4. Get a Good Book – Yeah, this may be a stretch, but finding a quiet corner to enjoy some fiction isn’t the worst thing. It’s a nice break from the normal grind, and is a perfect excuse to excuse yourself when you need some peace and quiet.


5. Running Shoes – Another great option for when you need a break…lace ‘em up and go get a few miles in. You’ll get a first hand view of the old neighborhood, and do some good for your waistline. There’s no time like the present.


Lastly, for some extra credit, bring a good attitude. Repeating your personal current events story to every distant relative gets tedious, but this is your family. They love you, and not because they are legally obligated to do so. Be a hero while you are there…baste the turkey. Chop some firewood. Help with the dishes. They’ll remember it when they are shopping for your Christmas gifts on

Posted By Onward Reserve

Cold Weather Cocktails

10/22/2015 2:36 PM


Has anyone else noticed that the temperature is not as summer-friendly? Cold weather is becoming more prevalent, much to the chagrin of us here in the South. With bundling up to step outside, the piercing winds, and the short days, the warmer days of spring can’t come soon enough…but it’s a long way off. Besides an electric blanket, spirits are a foolproof way to keep you toasty. These cold weather cocktails will be sure to warm you up and help this cold weather pass.


1. Hot Toddy: Since all the ingredients are readily available in most kitchens or wet bars, this is a favorite during the colder months. The honey and the lemon add sweetness to the tea and bourbon. Coat the bottom of a mug or Irish coffee glass with honey. Add 1 oz of bourbon (can be substituted with rum or brandy) and the juice of a lemon quarter. Pour one cup of steaming hot tea into the glass and stir.


2. Irish Coffee: The popularity of Irish coffee could rival Guinness. Combining stiff Irish whiskey with hot black coffee hits the nail on the head. Fresh whipped cream turns this concoction into an excellent cold weather treat. Pour 2 ½ ounces of strong hot coffee, 1 ½ ounces of good Irish whiskey, and one teaspoon of brown sugar into a mug or Irish coffee glass. Stir well. Float the whipped cream on top and serve.


3. Rusty Nail: This is the ultimate Scotch cocktail for Scotch lovers. Use your Scotch of choice - either a blend or single malt will work. Pour 1 ½ ounces of Scotch and ¾ ounce of Drambuie into an old-fashioned glass over ice. Stir well. Garnish with a lemon twist.


4. Irish Canadian: There is nothing like two blends of whiskey in a cocktail glass to warm you up, quench your thirst, and look as classy as any Martini. 2 parts Canadian Whiskey, 1 part Irish Mist. Pour the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir well, and strain into a cocktail glass.


5. Manhattan: Drinking these will quickly help you feel like you are standing on top of the Empire State building. Combine ¾ ounce of sweet vermouth, 2 ½ ounces of bourbon whiskey, and one dash of Angostura bitters with 2-3 ice cubes in a mixing glass. Stir gently, as you don’t want to bruise the spirits and cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of an orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink – but don’t drop it in.


What’s your cold weather potion?

Posted By Onward Reserve


The older we get, the more irrelevant and obnoxiously fun Halloween becomes. For those with kids, the sheer joy of walking them through the neighborhood and hearing them repeat “trick or treat” over and over is nothing short of perfection. Not to mention the pack-mule levels of candy they bring home.


That isn’t what this article is about. Instead, it’s about dressing up for adult Halloween parties. We’re talking about the kind of party where candy is an afterthought. The kind of party that gives women a chance to up the dial on risqué, and for guys to immortalize their hero. While great, creative costumes can go a long way at a Halloween party, the vast majority have zero clue what to do for a costume.


With that in mind, here are plenty of sure-fire ways to dress for success at your Halloween party:


Best Couple Costume Ideas:


     1. Smokey and the Bandit: This one can go either way, but the key is for the woman to really put a lot of effort into her costume. Smokey equals an officer of the law and the Bandit equals a fast-driving bootlegger in cowboy boots, jeans, and a bandana. This one works great, but you two have to stick around each other, as too many cops together looks like an episode of  “Chips”.


      2. Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone: This is a king of the party move here, especially if you can find a burgundy suit and white dress shoes. Awful tie and mustache required. Girls – ugly skirt suit and a big nasty silk blouse. Study all the lines beforehand and stay classy. Well, don’t. Spit Burgundy lines at will. You have an excuse.


      3. Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan: Since Don and Betty Draper are over, and no one would get the new girl, move on up to some Gatsby action. Guys wear their finest suit, slicked back hair - essentially guys don’t need to change anything from their Don Draper look except not smoking incessantly - and girls wear a flapper dress and a headband. Guys do a lot of power pointing, and girls do a lot of drinking and dancing. Should be a great night.


With the Guys:


1. Ghostbusters: Great idea for three, maybe four guys. Make sure one of the guys is wearing glasses and acts smart. This costume is relatively easy to find at any costume shop, and extra points if you can find a station wagon. Have a fifth wheel? He’s the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man, and he may need to ride on the roof.


2. Duck Dynasty: Excellent idea for you and your boys. All camo, obviously, and fake long beards. The more “Duck Commander” logos the better. Someone has to carry around a blue Tupperware glass. Someone has to wear a toboggan. Someone has to wear an American flag do-rag. Very low on the explanation scale. Mid-range comfort (lose the beard towards the end of the night). That’s a fact, Jack.


3. Walt & Jesse from “Breaking Bad”: Very recognizable, and it still works. Two hazmat-like suits, a couple of gas masks, and one pair of 80’s math teacher glasses. Please leave any meth at home.


Group Affair:


1. Dazed and Confused: Alright, alright, alright. Great option for a bunch of guys and girls. The guys dress up as 70’s-looking stoner high school football players, and the girls dress up in t-shirts that say ‘Seniors’, high jeans shorts, tall socks and running shoes. No one should have to explain him or herself. If so, find another party.


2. Royal Tenenbaums: One of the greatest movies ever deserves to be commemorated on Halloween, and there are a plethora of options. Richie and Margot Tenenbaum (Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow) are the top choices, but remember Ben Stiller and his kids (matching jumpsuits)? Owen Wilson and Bill Murray and Jacque Cousteau wannabes? Just make sure you’ve seen the movie before you agree to this one.


3. Saved By the Bell: This one may take some effort, but who doesn’t like to dress up like 80’s kids? Very low on the explanation scale. Hey, it’s comfortable, you probably already own half of the stuff, and after a few drinks, you are essentially living exactly like they are now: on borrowed fame.


NEVER Use These Themes:

• Harry Potter anything. What are you, eight years old?

• Twilight Series. What are you, twelve years old?

• Jersey Shore. Done and done.

• Anything political. It hasn’t worked since Bill & Monica.

• Anything shirtless. Seriously.

Posted By Onward Reserve


It’s unfortunate, but when speaking about Men’s Grooming, we barely scratch the surface about foot care. Since we are now ankle deep in sockless weather, let’s dig a little deeper into the fine practice that so many of us enjoy: going sockless.


One can make the argument that the only acceptable time to wear socks is when working out or on the golf course. Loafers and boat shoes with socks are a faux pas that is sure to garner endless ridicule. Especially if they are black socks. Going sockless when wearing pants has gained popularity and acceptance over the past few years, whether in casual or business settings.


Going sockless is an art that looks great, but it demands attention. It is very comfortable, and gives off a laissez faire, laid-back attitude. It’s a cool look for guys, but you have to own it. Not everyone is on board.


There are tricks to achieving the right sockless look, specifically focusing on hygiene for both your feet and your footwear. Here we go:


   1. Wash your feet thoroughly. This goes way past soap, guys. When you go sockless, your feet sweat, and bacteria thrives in warm moisture. While showering, use a good antibacterial soap with a washcloth or your girlfriend’s loofa on any rough patches and in between your toes. Scrub liberally. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.


   2. Use foot powder. Keep your shoes fresh and dry by sprinkling some foot powder inside your shoes before and after wearing. Not enough powder to cake up, but enough to remove the odor. Think of this as ‘salting’ your shoes.


   3. Shoe storage. Take care of your shoes and use cedar shoetrees. They allow your recently worn shoes to contract and dry out into their ideal shape. Opt for the unfinished cedar, as it will properly draw the moisture out of the leather.


   4. Break them in. It is dangerous to go sockless with a pair of shoes straight out of the box. They need to be broken in, and doing so while donning socks is the safest way to go. Doing it sockless could leave your feet looking like the victim of a shark attack.


   5. Fake it. Can’t get on board with going sockless? Give it time… Until then, there are a couple ways to fake it. First, you can line your shoes with terry-cloth insoles. These are washable so you can mitigate the odor after a couple wears. Second, wear sock liners like these Gekks, which are minimal socks that can’t be seen when you are wearing shoes. They will absorb sweat and provide a little padding.


Practice these tricks and going sockless will be second nature.

Posted By Onward Reserve

The Best Hunting Dogs

8/20/2015 11:01 AM



Not only are dog’s man’s best friends, they also make excellent hunting companions. Egyptians used greyhounds to track gazelles in ancient times. Since then, scores of canines have been bred to track down and sniff out prey so skillfully that it’ll be impossible to go home empty handed.


There are quite a few factors that go into the desirability of a hunting dog. Whether it’s the size, how its been trained, the target prey, or the terrain, each plays into the type of dog that’ll become your best field partner. The characteristics of a good hunting dog often match those that families look for in pets. They tend to be obedient, easily trained, loyal and healthy, as well as good with people and other animals (since they usually prefer to run in packs).


Naming the ‘best’ hunting dogs is like cussing in church. There are some very well recognized breeds for specific, or general, hunting but this list is not meant to offend anyone as everyone has favorites. Dogs become a beloved member of the family and require copious amounts of love and attention. The old saying ‘you get out of it what you put into it’ is 100% true with hunting dogs. They take work to train, but their eagerness to please will show results for many years to come.


English Springer Spaniel: While Spaniels may not come to mind when speaking of hunting dogs, the English Springer Spaniel showcases all the qualities for a top hunting breed. They are perfect as gundogs or bird dogs. These medium-sized canines get their name from their talent for flushing, or springing, birds out of hiding for their masters to shoot.


While smaller than typical gundogs – 40 to 50 pounds and about 20 inches tall – the English Springer Spaniels make up for their small size in spunk. Their strong legs and high energy level make them ideal for long days on the hunt, and their dense, short undercoat covered by a long topcoat, can effectively withstand any weather and climate condition.


Though they were bred primarily to flush game, the springer spaniel's gentle mouth grip is also well suited for retrieving without inflicting damage. These qualities, combined with an eager-to-please attitude and trainability, make this versatile hunting dog a preferred companion for many outdoor enthusiasts.


Boykin Spaniel: In the early 1900’s, the Boykin Spaniel was ‘born’ from a South Carolina hunter named L. Whitiker Boykin who bred his stray white spaniel with American water spaniels, pointers, retrievers, and springer spaniels. A few generations later a separate breed had been developed.


Boykins are an extremely versatile hunting dog – known for their ability to flush game, track prey, or retrieve. They aren’t the tallest of breeds – 14-18 inches tall and 30 to 40 pounds - They are a favorite of upland hunters, where it’s a lot easier to pull a 40 pound dog into a boat rather than a much larger 75 pound cousin. They are known for their distinctive liver colored coat and hypnotizing eyes, they have a very gentle mouth and are great around families and other dogs.


Brittany: The Brittany is a long-legged, medium-sized - 17 to 20 inches and 30 to 40 pounds - dog known for its smarts, stamina and willingness to be trained to hunt. Named for the French province in which it is believed to have originated, this popular bird-hunting breed has been used for both pointing and retrieving quail, pheasant and grouse since 1894.


These canines are prized for a hearty ability to adapt to conditions on a variety of terrain, such as woods, plains and hills. Curious dogs, they have a tendency to roam, but remain popular due to their size, ability and general good nature.


Coonhound: The coonhound is another dog that makes a hunter's job easier. This breed relies on scent rather than sight to locate prey, hounds generally go after small mammals like raccoons (from which they get their name) or opossums, chasing the animals up trees and barking until their owner arrives. Approximately 2 feet high at the shoulder and blessed with plenty of courage, they're also helpful in hunting large game like deer.


Coonhounds likely originated from breeding two excellent trackers (bloodhounds and foxhounds) together, combining a keen sense of smell with increased speed and stamina. The dog's dense coat also allows the coonhound to tolerate a range of weather conditions, equally adaptable to heat and cold. Their courage and loyalty are immortalized in the beloved children's book "Where the Red Fern Grows," and the coonhound's reputation as a warrior of the hunt is so valued that the American Kennel Club's judging regulations advise that "scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered faults" in evaluating the breed for show.


German Shorthaired Pointer: GSP’s are workhorses. They are known for being very versatile in the field, but work equally well on land and in water. While they're best known as bird dogs, they are skilled trackers of raccoons, opossum and deer. Highly intelligent, the pointers are very obedient and easy to train.


Ranging in size from 55 to 70 pounds and 23 to 25 inches tall at the shoulder, the pointer's athleticism is apparent as it tracks far ahead of the hunter to locate prey. Considered to have the best scenting ability of all the bird dogs, the German shorthaired pointer is another breed that doesn't flush, but freezes and points at tracked prey.


Labrador Retriever: The Labrador Retriever (and Golden Retriever) is a well-rounded hunting companion. Labradors are best known as water dogs because of their moisture-repellent coats and web like feet that help them swim like fish. Retrievers have a very high level of intelligence an excellent temperament, both of which make them ideal for training. These qualities serve as part of the reason that Labradors and Golden Retrievers are consistently ranked as the most popular breeds in the United States.


Retrievers' mouths also have a gentle grip that lets them retrieve and carry prey without damaging it. They have an amazing willingness to please, which lends well to tasks other than retrieving. Labradors also make good trackers and pointers, and they quickly adapt to a wide range of environments.


With a sturdy build and weighing about 55 to 75 pounds, Labradors are true utilitarian dogs, equally at ease gathering quail as they are fetching fallen ducks from an icy pond. Their well roundedness makes them quality hunting dogs in any season.


With any good hunting dog should come a good Veterinarian. Make sure that your dog has his yearly check ups and is up to date on all shots, etc. Ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise and has a good diet, and you’ll have a healthy companion for many years to come.


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Posted By Onward Reserve
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