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Volleyball Fan? Here’s How it Started

Volleyball can trace its birth to Holyoke, Massachusetts and a local YMCA. In 1895, an instructor named William G. Morgan had the brainchild of creating a game that entailed limited physical contact (in comparison to other sports such as basketball), and brought together the best qualities of tennis, baseball, basketball, and handball. Originally known as Mintonette, it took its current name from the volley action of the ball over the net. The first official game took place at Springfield College in 1896.

From these humble beginnings, the activity spread relatively quickly around the world as the YMCA brought it to Asia, the Caribbean, Canada, and South America. The NCAA was enlisted to nail down rules and further bring awareness and legitimacy to the sport. The offensive play style of the set and spike was invented in the Philippines in 1916. Following this, other rules such as the number of points per game, the number of hits per side allowed (three), and the nature of back row attacks were put into place. Brooklyn, New York held the YMCA National Championships in 1922, which brought together 27 teams from 11 states.

Today Volleyball is an Olympic sport that attracts millions of fans globally. This infographic looks at the history of volleyball and how it has progressed from its humble beginnings to today.


Top photo: elfidomx/Flickr

Understanding Australian Wine

Australia is on the rise as a producer and exporter of fine wine. This large, southern hemisphere nation experiences seasons opposite to those in the United States and includes more than 50 designated grape-growing regions with varying conditions and climates. The large variety and high quality of wines produced in Australia have helped the country rise to fourth place on the list of exporters worldwide. Since the 1960s the Australian wine industry has blossomed, achieving critical acclaim and recognition around the world.


Aussie vineyards tend to be clustered around its most populated areas in the southeastern and southwestern coasts. This by no means indicates that their expanse or variety is limited, however; almost 400,000 acres of land across four of the nation’s seven states are devoted to vineyards that collectively produce over a million tons of wine grapes of almost every type. Production has boomed in the last ten years, with more than twice as much output compared with a decade ago. As the industry has grown in size and stature, its approach to winemaking has shifted. Whereas most Aussie varieties used to be made with a blend of grapes from different regions, the industry today tends to focus more on regional specialties.


Chardonnay and Shiraz are currently the most popular varieties from Down Under, but others including Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot, Grenache, and Semillon, are current standouts among the field of Australian wines. Varying soil types and weather conditions across the wine-growing regions make the growing of many different kinds of grapes possible, including sparkling varieties in cooler, coastal climes and Muscats in the warmer inland regions. As this country’s viniculture has gained respect worldwide, the focus on fine wines with at least an 85 percent concentration of grapes from a specific area has increased. The narrower the geographic area designated on the wine’s label, the higher the price.

Notable Varieties

It’s not surprising that Shiraz, having been grown in Australia for almost 200 years, is one of its finest products. Penfolds Grange, a blend of grapes from a number of regions including Barossa, is the premier Aussie Shiraz.

While there are over 1,000 small family wineries in Australia offering many unique and high-quality wines, the best vintages tend to come from the large producers. Tyrell’s, for example, offers some of the country’s most distinguished wines. Their star is their Vat 1 Semillon, dry with notes of buttered toast and honey.

Australia is also known for its dessert wines, known as “stickies” in local lingo. Two standouts in this category include the Muscat and Tokay from northeastern Victoria.

This industry’s accomplishments seem all the more spectacular when considering the fact that the country in which it’s based has not one native variety of grape. As the profile of Australian wine continues to rise, it should be on every oenophile’s radar.

Top photo: otavio_fonseca/Flickr

How to Make the Perfect Cheese Plate

A cheese plate can make or break any at-home happy hour. Whether you’re entertaining family or friends, everyone loves a well-rounded cheese plate with unique flavors and perfect accompaniments. But creating the perfect cheese plate is harder than it may seem. Mix the wrong stinky cheese with a fruity wine and havoc will reign. In order to learn How to Make a Cheese Plate, follow the instructions below.


  • Breads: Make sure to include different types of breads such as a sliced baguette, bread sticks, and crackers.
  • Condiments: The condiments can vary from vegetables, preservatives (honey is delicious), or tangy mustards.
  • Meats and Nuts: A good mixture of salty meats (such as salami), pistachios, and dried fruits can really add flavor to your cheese plate.

Types of Cheese:

  • Fresh and Mild Cheeses: These cheeses are not aged and very fresh. Examples include Ricotta and Buffalo Milk Mozzarella.
  • Bloomy Rind Cheeses: These molding cheeses are often creamy. The most famous cheese in this category is Brie.
  • Mild Semi-Soft to Semi-Firm Cheeses: These basic cheeses serve as a good foundation for a cracker and fruit combination. Examples include Colby and Monterey Jack.
  • Boldly Flavored Hard Cheeses: This sharp cheese category includes Gouda and Cheddar.
  • Cheese with Dominant Presence: These powerful cheeses can be extremely delicious with the right accompaniment (such as dark chocolate). One of the best examples from this category is Muenster.

How To Make a Cheese Plate
via Cabot Creamery

Top photo: kevinchin5/Flickr

Eye-Opening FAQs: What You Need to Know About Contact Lenses

There’s more that goes into wearing contact lenses than meets the eye. Popular prescribed lenses like Acuvue Oasys by Johnson & Johnson are a convenient solution for everyday use, but it’s natural to have a few questions about this type of vision correction. Here are some answers to those that are most asked.

General Questions

Q: Is a prescription really necessary to purchase contact lenses?

A: Yes, you need to visit an eye doctor and receive an examination before purchasing contact lenses. Although it’s easy to forget, lenses are actually a medical device so a prescription is required in order to receive them.

Q: Is it difficult to get used to the feeling of wearing lenses?

A: Getting used to the sensation of contact lenses on your eyes usually only takes a few days; however, it could take as long as a couple of weeks. If you are still having trouble with your lenses, you should get in touch with your eye doctor as you may need to be prescribed a different type of lens better suited for your eyes.

Q: Can I shower or swim with my contact lenses?

A: No, your lenses should be removed before entering water whether it is a pool, hot tub, or shower.

Insertion and Wear

Q: How often should I change my contact lenses?

A: It really depends on the type of lenses you are using. If you are prescribed daily disposable contact lenses, then they should be discarded and replaced daily. Disposable lenses also come with weekly, biweekly, or monthly schedules. Acuvue Oasys contact lenses are biweekly disposable contact lenses and are an excellent choice for contact lens wearers.

Q: When it comes to daily use, how long can I safely wear contact lenses before it becomes too much of a strain on my eyes?

A: Your lenses can be worn for as long as you are awake and active during a 24 hour period, but keep in mind that they should be removed a few hours before bedtime in order to give your eyes rest and avoid any potential strain. If you experience any discomfort when wearing your lenses during this period you should remove them immediately.

Q: I’m worried that I won’t be able to remove my contact lens. Is it possible for it to actually get stuck in my eye?

A: In a worst case scenario, your lens could get wedged underneath your eyelid if it were to move out of place. Do not worry about losing a lens behind your eye — its anatomy would not allow for that. If you are having extreme difficulty in dislodging a lens, call your eye doctor immediately and they will be able to assist with removal.

Safety and Care

Q: I haven’t been prescribed disposable contact lenses, so I’m wondering what are some things that I should keep in mind when caring for my lenses?

A: Before you do anything, wash your hands! Hand washing and drying with a clean towel is an important first step when handling your lenses. Contact solution is also critical to care. Your lenses should soak in the prescribed solution before insertion and after removal to disinfect them. Aside from following a daily cleaning regimen, you should also replace your lenses by the recommended schedule advised by your eye doctor and never wear contact lenses that are expired.

Q: Is water a good substitute for contact solution?

A: No, water cannot replace your contact solution as it will not disinfect the lenses. Water will actually increase the risk of bacteria that could potentially contaminate the lens, which would then cause infection after insertion. Always use contact solution to rinse, disinfect, and soak your lenses.

Q: Can I keep reusing my contact lens case?

A: Your contact lens case should be replaced about every three months in order to avoid any risk of infection.

While this is a good overview of lens care, these questions and answers just scratch the surface of what goes into being a responsible lens wearer. Use this as a guideline and quick reference, and always consult your eye doctor for any other questions not covered.

Top photo: lenore-m/Flickr

3 Easy Ways to Update Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Does your home need updating, but you don’t have the budget for a major renovation? There are many ways that you can easily make changes to your home that will make it feel brand new again without spending a fortune. Whether the style of your home is out of date or you just need a change, read on for three easy and relatively inexpensive ways to update your home with a fresh look.

1. Update Your Lighting

The way a room is lit can dramatically change the way being in that space makes you feel. For example, brightly lit spaces give off an open and airy feel, while dimly lit rooms can make you feel cozy and romantic. Try playing with different light bulbs, fixtures, and placements. Floor lamps are a very inexpensive way to change the lighting up in your home. If your budget is slightly larger, you can also consider having recessed lighting or chandeliers installed.

2. Change Your Interior Doors

Interior doors are something that most people rarely think about when giving their homes an update. Oftentimes, homeowners never change the original doors that were installed when they bought their home. Yet an interior door can make a big difference when it comes to the style and feel of your home. Consider switching things up by looking at various interior door styles and colors. You can even mix and match doors throughout your home.

3. Try Removable Wallpaper

Removable wallpaper is all the rage in the interior design world as of late, and it is an extremely easy and affordable way to add extra flare to your home. You can find a huge number of removable wallpaper lines featuring various modern patterns, graphics, and colors. The best part is that these products can be safely removed from your walls and reused. This makes it easier than ever to change the look of your space depending on the season, or even your mood. You could also consider accenting one wall with a funky pattern and leave the rest plain for a fun, modern twist.

Top photo: realestaging/Flickr

Tips for Arranging Wicker Furniture

Wicker furniture is both lightweight and easy to care for. If you frequently move your furniture around to freshen up your space, wicker allows you the pleasure of forgetting how heavy a traditional dining room table or couch can be; and to keep it clean, all you have to do is wipe it down with a warm washcloth. If you’re looking to create a beautiful setting on your patio or sun room, these reasons are precisely why wicker furniture is worth consideration.

Companies like Wicker Paradise have various styles of furniture to choose from and a myriad of colors to suit your tastes and the theme of your overall area. The first thing that you need to decide on is what the focal point of your space will be. This could be a single wall or a section of a sun room where you will create a chic and comfortable seating area. The rest of your decor will stem from that focal point or the primary theme of your space.

wicker living set

When you are placing your wicker furniture pieces, you want to think of an overall theme for your space. This can dictate the style of furniture you will use. For instance, a couch might have a bench cushion if you plan on entertaining friends and family. To create a relaxing atmosphere, consider wicker chairs with pillows from companies like Lane Venture so that you can read, watch television, or listen to music while enjoying your space. You can also arrange the furniture to create a fun statement. This would be ideal for a space where children or teenagers will hang out.

Use the longest wall for the longest piece of furniture. You can expand upon that seating area to create one cohesive space, or break up the room into separate seating areas by placing chairs and a table in a corner of the room that wouldn’t otherwise get a lot of traction. Try to keep a path open to make it easier for everyone to maneuver around the furniture. Plants can be a great finishing touch for a room, as well as a few picture frames or other knick-knacks that can tie into your overall theme or color scheme.

Rose Gold is the New ‘It’ Metal

Rose gold has become the new “it” metal for those who are looking for a trendy, unique spin on a traditional piece of jewelry. This metal has seen an increase in popularity due to its color lending well to a variety of jewelry styles, and it compliments almost every skin tone. Its pretty pastel hue gives a feminine touch to almost every outfit.

This metal is a gold and copper alloy first created in the 19th century in Russia; because of its point of origin, it may also be called “Russian gold.” Rose gold initially gained popularity all over the world during the 1920s by Cartier and their famous trinity band. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for someone who might be looking for an engagement ring out of the norm.

rose gold

Rose, Yellow, or White Gold?

Yellow gold has long been the traditional choice for wedding jewelry, and for good reason since it never really goes out of style. It is hypoallergenic and looks authentic, since it was used during the Art Deco and Edwardian eras.

On the downside, yellow gold doesn’t compliment those with pale or rosy skin as much as a rose or white gold. Yellow gold is also weaker than other metals, and may require more maintenance and care. In order to retain its value, the wearer will likely find themselves keeping a strict regimen of cleaning and polishing.

engagement ringWhite gold consists of silver, gold, and palladium alloy. It may even be an alternative to he more expensive options of platinum. It’s lighter than these metals, but more durable than the average yellow gold. White gold is coated in rhodium in order to brighten it up, which causes some brides and jewelry lovers to be allergic to white gold. And in order to keep that shine, it is suggested that white gold be re-plated once a year.

Rose gold is stronger than others because of the added copper that forms the alloy. Rose also compliments most skin colors, adds a trendy aspect to an engagement ring, and in most cases, is even more affordable than yellow or white gold options.

A Versatile, Contemporary Option

More women are gravitating towards rose gold because it can be worn with both gold and silver, and they never have to think twice before adding other pieces of jewelry to an ensemble. Colored stones and diamonds alike look fabulous in a rose setting, and this option gives you a contemporary spin on a classic piece of jewelry.

Images – Milano Jewelry

Finding the Help You Need to Beat Drug Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction, you know that it is an uphill climb. You’re crawling up a slippery slope that is going to take you down. Substance abuse will destroy your relationships, end your career, and steal your health. You are not alone in this struggle and you should not face it by yourself. A Drug Treatment Center Finder can offer you the solution to win your fight with addiction, helping you to find a facility that will work for you.

Don’t Try to Beat Addiction on Your Own

Substance abuse will take control of your life until you can’t get past a day without turning to the source of your addiction. The cravings will consume you, pushing you to use more of your drug of choice to experience the same results. Attempt to break the cycle on your own and the need for more will push you to start using again. Withdrawal symptoms will make you feel so ill that you will do anything to make the pain stop. Negative influences will lead you astray. You need to allow others to help you find freedom from addiction before it is too late.

Help is Waiting For You

Help is available in the form of treatment centers throughout the state of Washington. With the assistance of a drug rehabilitation center finder, it will be possible to locate a match that will work best for you. Allow representatives to guide you in the right direction to a treatment center that will meet your needs. Whether you prefer a facility that treats only one gender, a Christian-based program, or want a specific location, allow representatives to narrow down the selection, simplifying the process so that you can take that pivotal step forward to take back your life.

Place Yourself in a Positive Environment

Once a drug rehabilitation center finder has connected you with the appropriate facility, you will enter a safe environment where you are removed from all of the negative influences in your life. You will no longer have access to your drug of choice. You will be surrounded by others who are on a similar journey while compassionate staff members tend to your needs. Nourishing food, a peaceful setting, and the support of others will hold you up when you are ready to fall.

Make Yourself the Top Priority

When you choose to enter a drug treatment program, it is your opportunity to put your health at the top of priority list. All other obligations and outside pressures are left at the door. You need to concentrate on getting better. Until drug addiction is behind you, you cannot move forward. Allow yourself to be immersed in an atmosphere of care where everyone has the same goal: to help you achieve a successful recovery from addiction.

Get the Treatment You Need

Every case of addiction is unique. You cannot expect a one size fits all approach to recovery. Staff members will treat you according to your needs, helping you through detoxification — the most difficult stage of recovery when toxins leave your body and you feel ill. Facility employees will do everything possible to make you comfortable through this painful phase, enabling you to move on to the next step. Counseling services will be targeted to treat your form of addiction. You will learn what has lead you down this path, what your trigger factors are, and coping strategies for life’s difficult moments. The main goal is to be able to walk away from drug addiction once your treatment has been completed.

Don’t Waste Another Day

Don’t allow another day to be lost to addiction. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s waiting for you. Turn to to find a comprehensive listing of drug treatment facilities throughout the state of Washington. Click on a city and you will be immediately provided with a list of resources for that city. Click the link to a particular facility to be directed to important information, such as the main area of focus and a phone number. You can also leave your phone number and a representative will contact you. With the click of a mouse on your computer, you can find the drug treatment center that will be best for you. Act now and take charge of your life. Don’t let drug addiction win. You can find freedom when you accept a helping hand.

Top photo: Robin Wirt/Flickr

Home Security That Works

There are many different types of home security, but the only one that offers real peace of mind for your family, and protection for your possessions, is a home monitored system. When you have home security monitoring, your alarms are monitored by professionals day and night throughout the year, and they will send the proper response team, whether it is the police, fire department or emergency medical personnel, to your home within minutes.

What is Home Monitoring?

When your home security system is monitored, there is constant communication between your system and your security provider. When your system receives an emergency signal such as a break-in or fire, it communicates with the central monitoring station where the proper authorities are notified and sent to your home.

You’ll have a system control panel that is the center of a network of sensors on the places of your choosing. This may be windows and doors and may include sensors for motion detectors, tampering, flood, smoke or temperature. When any of these sensors are triggered, they send a message to the monitoring station via your telephone or through a wireless modem.

The monitoring center will immediately phone you to verify that the emergency is not a false alarm. If you or someone alone in your home cannot answer the phone, an emergency response team is sent to your address.

Pre-Existing Systems

If your home already has an alarm system, but it is not monitored, a good home security company can unlock the system and reprogram it to work for their monitoring station. Some home security companies will uninstall the system when the owner moves out, but some just abandon the equipment.

Testing Your System

If you want to test your system, you can inform the monitoring station that you plan to do a test. Then you activate an alarm and the monitoring center will tell you which signal they received, what part of the house it came from, and make sure your panel is sending proper communication signals.

If you accidentally set off a fire or burglar alarm, you’ll be called immediately by the monitoring station. You can tell them it was a false alarm.

Unmonitored burglar alarms may or may not scare away a burglar, just like a fire alarm may or may not wake you up in the middle of the night. Your best option for complete peace of mind is to have a monitored system.

6 Ways to Stay Motivated for Fitness

One of the biggest struggles people have when trying to lose weight or stay in shape is lack of motivation. It’s too easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow” and put it off instead of tackling it head-on today. When it comes to keeping physically active, many people will find literally anything else to do. If you’re one of these individuals, take solace in the fact that there are several methods that can help you keep your focus and build up your determination to work towards a healthier you. Get started on the tips below and before you know it, everything will be falling into place.

1. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology, such as products made by FitBit, can be instrumental in collecting data about your habits. Once this data is compiled into a report, you can see just how your lifestyle is affecting your health. These monitoring devices can be an invaluable tool in keeping you motivated to do more physical activity throughout your day. Even if you take 10 minutes at some point and walk around the block, you could quickly begin to feel the difference.

2. Competitive Websites

There are several websites like that pit your abilities against others. Using a point system, you can strive to outperform others that are in the same shape as yourself. Most of these sites are filled with motivational individuals that can be inspiring and supportive. How many points can you rack up in a day?

3. Apps

Apps are available to monitor everything from food to exercise. As many people cherish their smartphones and tablets, it could seem more like a game to get fit rather than an exercise routine. A large portion of these applications are free to use with the mindset of helping you maintain proper health. Basing results in proven scientific data, you can control every aspect of your activity.

4. City Sports

Enrolling in city leagues can help you stay focused for physical health. Train and play like a professional and aim for being the best there is at that particular sport. Did you know that curling dumbbells can help you maintain control of a bowling ball? This is just one example of how exercise and weight training can affect your lifestyle.

5. Superhero Goal

Ever wondered what it would be like to look like a superhero? Perhaps dressing up as Captain America for Halloween would be something that interests you. Virtually anyone can develop those muscles if they put their mind into the proper training. As you develop physically, you’ll even find mundane tasks to be much easier such as lifting heavy objects at the grocery store.

6. Physical Video Games

Systems such as the XBox Kinect can help you remain entertained while working your body. According to some studies, wearing one-pound weighted gloves while playing tennis on your game console can burn as much as 300 calories within 20 minutes. Of course the actual calorie burn will be determined by your own physique and activity, but the game system can still help you maintain proper health — and have fun!

People like Maisie Lynton keep athletic by committing themselves to sports and competitions. When you’re faced against opposition, it can be a strong motivator to succeed. Many people have a competitive nature, and it’s all about outperforming others. If this is what drives you to succeed, then you need to embrace it. Competition can be a good thing, as long as you know how to be a gracious loser and humble winner.

Top photo: Method Fitness/Flickr