The National LGBTQ Task Force has launched a groundbreaking income tax preparation guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. The new taxpayer resource is intended to guide LGBTQ people with questions they might want to ask when sitting in front of their tax preparer or program. The first-of-its-kind guide translates complicated income tax form information in a way that is more understandable and accessible for LGBTQ people.
“LGBTQ people are disproportionally more likely to live at or below the poverty line—they are also often the most in need of income tax information and least able to access it. The straight forward information in this guide will empower LGBTQ people to get credits and deductions that lift millions of people out of poverty,” said Meghan Maury, Criminal and Economic Justice Director, National LGBTQ Task Force. “Most LGBTQ people don’t know that you can deduct out of pocket costs for transition-related care including surgery. Many of us also don’t know that you may be able to claim a large credit for adoption related expenses.”
The new publication is part of the organization’s “Queer Our Taxes” effort, a public education and advocacy campaign focused on securing economic justice for LGBTQ people. To learn more about Queer our Taxes, and to download the new taxpayer guide visit: http://queerourtaxes.org/
Let’s face it. Adulting is hard. But much more important than overcoming the Sunday Scaries and using Excel to keep track of just how bad you are at actually sticking to a budget is your health. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of PrEP, but how much do you really know about it? PrEP (pronounced “prep” and commercially known as Truvada) is an abbreviation for pre-exposure prophylaxis and it is an anti-viral treatment approved by the FDA in 2012 that your physician can prescribe to you in daily doses as a method of preventing new HIV infections.
Many people, with good reason, have lauded the development of this treatment as a modern miracle. So we should all be on it, right? Not so fast. From a public policy perspective, it makes a lot of sense to recommend the use of this drug to the masses. After all, HIV-AIDs is a terrible epidemic and there are positive network effects when entire populations become immune or resistant to infections, as with vaccines. But at a personal level, the decision to start PrEP is a bit more complicated. Let’s look at some of the key considerations, questions and implications.
Are there side effects?
PrEP has several known side effects to consider. Some, like headaches, nausea and problems sleeping are minor and tend to wear off. However, there are some potentially life-threatening complications including increased lactic acid in the blood, liver damage, kidney failure and decrease in bone density. In order to guard from all of these, it is mandatory for patients on PrEP to see a physician at least once every 3 months for a full panel of blood tests, according to Truvada.com.
Is PrEP common?
Increasingly so. Anecdotally, I can tell you that I see men on dating and hookup apps advertising their use of PrEP more and more. I also hear friends talk about it and admit to taking it on a fairly regular basis. It’s understandable that there may be some negative stigma associated with a gay man who chooses to take PrEP — it implies some level of promiscuity — but the community has gotten past that issue quickly, due to its important role in public health. In the way of more hard evidence, the following graph shows patient interest in PrEP at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco; it illustrates the same increased use.
Does it protect from other STIs?
No. This is actually a really interesting point to stop and look at a few recently published STI incidence statistics and consider their relation to the increasingly common use of PrEP amongst gay men. A few months ago, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released its annual report on the incidence of several STIs. In 2014, there were increases in the percent of the general population diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis for the first time since 2006. As usual, women and people aged 15-24 are at higher risk than other cohorts, but there are some startling trends in the gay male population over the past few years too.
The graph below, also from the CDC, shows that the rate of syphilis infection amongst gay men is growing much more rapidly than it is in the general population. Add to that the fact that of all men with cases of syphilis, 83 percent of them are gay and you begin to better understand a dangerous unintended consequence of a drug that prevents new HIV infections — many patients on PrEP are having unprotected sex. This is not just an assumption based on the trends. According to Kaiser Permanente, mentioned above, 45 percent of surveyed patients on PrEP reported that they were having more unprotected sex.
Cast in a less alarmist light, consider that all 3 — chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — are bacterial infections that can be cured with antibiotics. So does it really matter if the use of PrEP is positively correlated to rising rates of STIs other than HIV? I mean, they’re curable. It matters. And that’s simply because not all STIs are curable, including herpes, HPV and hepatitis — the latter two of which can be life-threatening. It’s also worth noting that the same CDC report showed that, of the gay men who were diagnosed with syphilis, 51 percent also were infected with HIV. This type of co-infection is common, given that those men were likely engaged in unprotected sex and syphilis can cause open sores, which are more likely to be infected by HIV.
Is there an alternative to PrEP?
Yep, there is. Before there was PrEP, there was PEP, which stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. This treatment is often used for healthcare officials who work with HIV-infected patients and their bodily fluids in case of emergency. It’s also nicknamed “the morning-after pill for HIV.” It is an antiviral regimen, just like PrEP, except that is has to be started within 3 days of the exposure and lasts one month. The same side effects are a concern with PEP, but because the treatment only lasts one month, there is less concern about long-term issues.
So should I be on PrEP?
I don’t have an answer on this one. It is a very personal choice that you should discuss with your physician. The decision I made for myself may not be the right one for you. To get started, consider the information above and ask yourself a few questions. Do you practice unprotected sex and, if so, how often? Are you in a committed relationship? Would you prefer to have peace of mind no matter what? Will taking PrEP change your sexual behavior and are you ok with the potential consequences?
Nate Warden is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post Gay Voices blog and founder of www.ComingOut.Space, an online library of diverse coming out stories.
“Internalized gay ageism,” or the sense that one may feel denigrated or depreciated because of aging in the context of a gay male identity, is associated with negative mental outcomes, according to a new study published in Social Science & Medicine.
Prior research has shown that youth, vigor and physical attractiveness are disproportionately valued in the gay male community, leaving many to experience a sense of “accelerated aging.” This study explores how ageism and homophobia are jointly internalized by gay men, whether these feelings affect their mental health, and whether a sense of “mattering” (the degree to which they feel they are important to others and a significant part of the world around them) offsets any mental health deficits associated with internalized gay ageism.
The study is based on data recently collected from 312 gay-identified men who have been participating in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study since 1984. The men ranged in age from 48 to 78 years (the average age was 61 years) and 61 percent were HIV-negative. Three decades of depressive symptoms data were included in the analysis to help strengthen the direction of the observed findings.
Key findings from the study include:
• Internalized gay ageism can reliably be measured among these men with a new scale that includes agreement/disagreement with statements such as, “Aging is especially hard for me because I am a gay man,” “As I get older, I feel more invisible when I am with other gay men,” and “As I get older I feel pressured to look younger than my age.”
• Internalized gay ageism is differentiated from both perceived ageism and internalized homophobia, meaning it is a stand-alone minority stress construct uniquely informative of the lived experiences of these men.
• Internalized gay ageism is positively associated with current depressive symptoms independent of an array of other factors that also may influence depressive symptoms, including depressive symptom history.
• One’s sense of “mattering” partially explains the association between internalized gay ageism and depressive symptoms.
Aging within the context of a gay male identity merits greater consideration in the development of clinical- and community-based efforts designed to support midlife and older gay men, whose numbers are increasing substantially as part of the aging baby boomer generation. Public health interventions that boost these men’s sense of mattering may offset the damaging effects of internalized gay ageism. Future research with large population-based samples is needed that expands how internalized gay ageism is measured and how it may be associated with other stress processes and health outcomes.
The lead author of the report is Richard G. Wight, a former Williams Institute Visiting Scholar and Researcher in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. In addition to Wight, co-authors of the report are Allen J. LeBlanc, Professor at the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University; Ilan H. Meyer, Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute; and Frederick A. Harig, doctoral student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Because the fitness industry is ever evolving with new trends/tips on how to stay in shape and keep fit, it’s always helpful to know what’s new. Here are some predictions for fitness trends I think are likely to be hot this year.
1. LISS training will make a come back. After years of HIIT or high intensity interval training being the quick fix to get a great workout and a short period of time, LISS or low intensity steady state training will once again become the trend. Why?
Recently a few studies, specifically one from the National Institute of Health, discovered HIIT workouts not only have a long-term negative impact or your joints and bones, they also make us feel bad emotionally. In short, people don’t like doing HIIT workouts. Therefore, it’s time to go back to that workout or piece of exercise equipment that you love and do it work for longer periods of time or increase the resistance or weight associated with it. You will be happy you did.
2. Two-in-one workouts. Long are the days of going to the gym and focusing one just one specific exercise or class like Zumba, boxing, HIIT, TRX or even Barre class. In 2016, you will continue to see a trends toward combining your favorite group classes into one amazing experience. You will do Barre classes paired with boxing and spin class paired with weight training.
I love this trend because it forces your body to do more work and burn more calories because you’re working in different planes of motions while simultaneously using both your cardio respiratory and musculoskeletal systems to produce energy.
3. Emotional experiences. More and more you will begin to see boutique gyms and fitness events pop up because they provide something greater more than what you get from group fitness class or 45 minutes of a treadmill. Ragnar, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, SoulCycle and Pure Yoga all come to mind when it comes to providing a deeper emotional response.
These experiences allow you to connect with something larger whether it’s working with a group of people to accomplish a goal or connecting to your own frustrations, vulnerabilities, strengths and letting these emotions out through exercises.
4. Try a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture has been around since the 1980s but has been growing in popularity with advent of technology, making it more convenient, accessible and affordable. In short, CSAs are mostly run by local, organic and sustainable farms that allow folks to sign-up for memberships to share in the harvest of their in season crops.
CSAs have become so popular that you can now customize your order with your favorite fruits and veggies, have home deliver or even skip a week or two if you aren’t in the mood for your weekly delivery. CSAs have a myriad of benefits from reduced carbon footprint, supporting local farms, eating naturally grown foods without added hormones, chemicals or pesticides.
– See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/01/22/reinventing-the-wheel/#sthash.YkquvNgb.dpuf
When HIV infects the body, it establishes a key foothold in lymphoid tissue and can persist there, despite potent therapy. But HIV is not dormant in this viral reservoir; the virus continues to replicate, move between tissue compartments and evolve – even when it is undetectable in the blood.
HIV continues to replenish its viral reservoir in lymphoid tissue even when it can no longer be detected in the bloodstream.
This was the conclusion of a new international study – led by Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, and published in Nature – that provides an important new perspective on how HIV stubbornly persists in the body, despite powerful antiretroviral therapy.
Senior and corresponding author Steven Wolinsky, a professor in medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, says:
“We now have a path to a cure. The challenge is to deliver drugs at clinically effective concentrations to where the virus continues to replicate within the patient.”
The HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) weakens the immune system by destroying important white blood cells, called CD4 or T cells, that fight disease and infection.
As the HIV infection worsens, the immune system gets weaker and weaker and the person becomes more prone to opportunistic infection. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the final stage of HIV infection, when the body can no longer fight life-threatening infections.
There is no effective cure for HIV, although the availability of potent antiretroviral therapies means what was once a fatal diagnosis can now be managed as a chronic disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate there are over 1,218,400 Americans aged 13 years and older living with HIV, including 156,300 (12.8%) who are unaware they are infected with the virus.
Nowadays, combinations of powerful antiretroviral drugs can reduce HIV to undetectable levels in the bloodstream of most patients. But the virus can persist in pockets in lymphoid tissue in the body and quickly appears again in the blood when patients stop taking the drugs.
This suggests the virus persists in this reservoir because it either continues to replicate at low levels, it is able to survive in long-lived infected cells – or both.
As nobody had detected viruses with new mutations, and because patients on antiretrovirals do not develop drug resistance when the virus is gone from the bloodstream, it was thought the viral reservoir only contain long-lived HIV-infected cells in a dormant state – and no newly infected cells.
For their study, Prof. Wolinsky and colleagues sequenced viral DNA from infected cells sampled from the lymph nodes and the bloodstream of three HIV-infected patients before and during their first 6 months on antiretroviral therapy.
The results showed that the virus evolved over time – and was therefore replicating – but the mutations did not indicate it was developing drug resistance.
The team then developed a mathematical model to investigate how the virus might evolve during therapy without developing drug resistance.
The model showed that drug-sensitive HIV strains tend to dominate over drug-resistant strains in the presence of low drug concentrations. But the model also showed that as drug concentration rises, this changes and the drug-resistant strains begin to dominate. And at high concentrations, HIV cannot grow at all.
This finding highlights the importance of delivering effective antiretroviral drug concentrations into the lymphoid tissue compartments, note the authors.
Antiretrovirals that penetrate the lymphoid tissue compartments where HIV can persist and replicate will be a prerequisite to the elimination of the viral reservoir and, ultimately, a step toward a cure, they suggest.
Coauthor Angela McLean, professor of mathematical biology at the University of Oxford in the UK, who led the mathematical modeling, concludes:
“The study is exciting because it really changes how we think about what is happening in treated patients. It helps explain why some strategies that tried to clear the reservoir have failed.”
In November 2015, Medical News Today learned of another study that found effectiveness of HIV antiretroviral treatment in adults may be hampered by low levels of vitamin D. That research found that patients with sufficient levels of vitamin D recovered more of their immune function during therapy than patients with vitamin D deficiency.
Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Only one-third of sexually active young adults and less than one-quarter of sexually active high schoolers have been tested for HIV, according to a new report.
While HIV is rare and only about 10,000 teens and young adults are diagnosed with the disease each year, testing is still essential. A full 44 percent of adolescents living with HIV are undiagnosed — the highest percentage of any age group.
“Teens are in a particularly important period of their lives for HIV testing and prevention,” Michelle Van Handel, a health scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of the study told The Huffington Post. And indeed, getting tested early and often sets young adults up life-long safe sex and disease prevention habits.
The report, which was published in the journal Pediatrics in January, analyzed data from two national surveys of high schoolers and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Each asked some version of the following question: “Have you ever been tested for HIV? Do not count tests you may have had as part of a blood donation.”
This last question speaks to a misperception about blood donation being a viable HIV screening strategy. According to Van Handel, people who substitute blood donation for screening in a clinical setting are missing out on a critical part of care: HIV prevention education.
Still, barriers keeping teens from getting tested do exist. Here are a few ways we can address them:
Most teens worry about privacy
Teens and young adults face unique barriers to HIV testing, including lack of access to confidential testing. “If you’re on your parents health insurance coverage you may not feel comfortable having an HIV test that’s going to show up your parents health insurance bill the next month,” Van Handel said.
Although the CDC recommends at least one lifetime HIV screening for Americans between the ages of 13 and 64, and frequent testing for individuals at higher risk for contracting the disease, such as men who have sex with men, many doctors aren’t talking with their teenaged patients about sexual health during primary care visits.
According to a different study, published in Pediatrics in 2003, only 43 percent of female students and 26 percent of male students reported discussing sexually transmitted diseases, HIV or pregnancy during a primary care visit in the previous year.
“Adolescents are more likely to get tested if their physician recommends it,” Van Handel said. Doctors, she said, need to make it clear that HIV testing is a normal part of life.
If you’ve never seen the work of professional stagers—those magical designer/decorators charged with making your house more marketable—prepare to be mystified, enthralled, and maybe a bit scared.
Did we say “scared”? Prepping your home for getting the best offer possible means removing every shred of your personality from rooms, walls, floors, and ceilings so that potential buyers can imagine themselves in your place. Stagers favor neutral walls, simple layouts, and minimal artwork. (No purple living rooms or gallery wall allowed!)
“There’s a big difference between designing for someone’s tastes and remerchandizing a home to appeal to as many people as possible,” says Kathy Burke of Sensational Home Staging in Danville, CA. Getting it right is a critical and enigmatic art. Don’t panic! We got some stagers to reveal their secrets to help you navigate the process.
1. Don’t take it personally
We know you love the way you set up your living room. That eclectic collection of wicker baskets from all your European travels stacked up in the corner? It’s the perfect detail for you—but not for your stager. Not even close.
So here’s the thing: When they tell you what to change (and they absolutely will), don’t be offended. It doesn’t mean they think your style is awful. Not necessarily, anyway.
“It’s not about whether I like something or not,” Burke says. “It’s about how we’re going to present it. I know what photographs well and what looks dated.”
Her favorite clients are the ones who know tough feedback is coming and don’t care: “I walk in and they say, ‘You can’t hurt my feelings. Do whatever you want.’”
2. Toss your stuff, and disconnect emotionally
For many sellers, home staging will be the first time they realize they’re really, actually moving. Family pictures come down, the sofa goes into storage, and suddenly this place you called yours is looking less and less like you.
If you need to do some emotional processing, we understand: It’s hard to put your family home on the market. But don’t subject your stager to your stress. Detach. Chill out. Help the process, don’t hinder or fight it. Keep your eye on the prize: selling your home at the right price, to the right buyers, within the right time frame.
What does that really mean? Try removing as much of your stuff as possible before the stager comes. By tackling spring cleaning you’ll not only accomplish some necessary decluttering before your move, but you’ll also get used to the idea that this is no longer your home.
“We need to make sure that they’re truly ready to sell their house,” says David Peterson of Synergy Staging based in Portland, OR. “That’s a big part of emotionally disconnecting.”
3. Move out (if you can)
Both Peterson and Burke find staging a home vastly easier when it’s vacant. If you can afford to move out when the home goes on the market, do it.
“It’s easier for them, it’s easier on their pets, and it’s easier on the buyer,” Burke says. “We can create one cohesive look and don’t have to blend anything.”
Occupied houses present more of a challenge (and take substantially more time): Stagers have to accommodate daily living, as well as risk the homeowner not preserving their layout (or any rented furniture).
Occupied homes can even cost more to stage. “It’s just a lot more work, timewise, when the owners are still living in the place,” Burke says.
“Much of what I’m doing is to appeal to people through photographs,” Burke says. “I hope that photo will touch people and they’ll say, ‘That’s going on my short list.’”
Peterson aims to be the “last person in before the photographers. We want those pictures to look great.”
But no one wants the buyers to be disappointed with the home’s real-life presentation after seeing photos online. So here’s a bonus: If you’re staying in the property, make sure to keep it in tiptop shape.
5. Get your money’s worth
Staging isn’t a last-minute addition before your home officially goes on the market. Stagers work far in advance and can’t always fit in last-minute work. Costs start around $1,250, depending on your state of residence, square footage, and what—if any—furniture you rent, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.
That might seem like a lot of money to spend on a home you’re about to sell, but both Burke and Peterson say staging is an investment with a very high return. “Anything we put in, we want to make sure you’re getting your money back,” Burke says.
6. Stay on schedule
Don’t dillydally on making the recommended changes for your stager, who can’t begin rearranging until you’ve finished renovating. Usually the requested changes are small (new paint, fixing chipped tiles in the bathroom, etc.).
Not finishing small jobs on time can push the entire project back.
“If we get there and a place hasn’t been cleaned, or there’s still a painting crew, we can’t do our jobs. Then we have to charge them a fee, leave, and then reschedule,” Peterson says. “If we’re booked out several weeks, it really makes it hard.” And maybe even more expensive. So get moving.
Gay holidays in Greece can mean a lot of things. Long nights in the amazing gay bars of Athens, sunbathing at Elia Beach in Mykonos (one of the most famous gay beaches in the world), romantic honeymoons on alternative islands, gastronomic experiences and adventurous walks in some of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes of the Mediterranean.
But Greece has something even more important to offer to gay travelers: a distinctive and unique gay scene and mentality, which is different to every other country around the world.
In this guide, we will help you discover some classic information about gay travel in Greece while also revealing a few hidden secrets that will upgrade your trip into a fascinating vacation.
The must-visit places for an organized gay scene: Athens, Thessaloniki and Mykonos
The gay life of Mykonos is widely popular, since this small Greek island is ranked among the best gay destinations in the world, especially for summer holidays.
In Mykonos, you won’t have to go to a gay place to meet other guys, since the island is full of gay travelers like you, who are enjoying this spectacular place.
1 Spend endless hours under the hot sun at the most popular gay beach, Elia.
2 Party and flirt at the upcoming gay beach hot spot of the island, ’JackieO Beach’ at Super Paradise.
3 Check out the most fun gay hotel in Europe, Elysium Hotel.
4 Mykonos Town (or Chora, as Greeks call it) is perfect during the night. Make sure to have a cocktail at JackieO Mykonos Town.
5 For the more naughty ones, rumor has it that the area behind Paraportiani Church is a popular cruising spot – just be careful of the rocks!
6 Don’t forget that the top gay festival, XLSIOR FESTIVAL, takes place in Mykonos every August.
Athens, the vibrant and never sleeping capital of Greece, features the most organized gay scene in the country with gay bars, clubs and restaurants, saunas, shopping areas and several cruising spots.
1 Gazi area (metro station: Kerameikos) and Agias Eirinis Square (metro station: Monastiraki), are the top gay areas in Athens.
2 In Gazi, you can visit Sodade bar – the classic gay bar for many years – or Shamone.
3 Spend some spicy time in the popular saunas of Athens, including Alexander and Flex.
4 When you find yourself in Agias Eirinis Square, make sure to have a coffee at the always crowded ’Rooster’ café/bar.
5 ‘Zappeion’ park close to Syntagma Square and ‘Pedion tou Areos’ park are the best known and crowded cruising areas.
In the north of Greece, the second largest city of the country, Thessaloniki, is gradually gaining a reputation as the gay capital of Balkans. Thessaloniki is a beautiful, romantic and cozy city, with quite an organized gay life.
1 Have fun at the famous gay bar Enola in Valaoritou Street, one of the most vivid neighborhoods of the city.
2 Visit the popular gay cruising bars as well as the famous Splash sauna, located near Vardari area, and especially at Afroditis Street.
3 Thessaloniki is flirty and friendly all around the center, and in the numerous cafés, bars and restaurants you will most probably find guys to flirt with – maybe you are one of them?
4 If you visit Thessaloniki during summer, spend some days in Halkidiki, the nearby peninsula with the paradise-like sandy beaches and the crystal clear waters.
The classic gay favorites: Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos (Zante)
Over the last few years, one of the most beloved destinations for gay travelers in Greece is Crete, an island which many think of as conservative due to its traditional character. However, this is not entirely true, since gay Crete introduces a new way of gay traveling: the gay adventure holiday.
1 In and around the city of Heraklion, you can find a few gay-friendly bars for drinks and socializing. 2 The biggest gay attraction in Crete is the several gay beaches around the island, like Sarantaris, close to the Hersonissos region. 3 The gay-friendly Home Hotel, hosts popular Saturday night parties as well as barbecue gatherings during lazy Sunday noons. 4 When in Crete, spend two or three days at each big city – Chania, Rethimnon, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos.
5 If you consider yourself a luxurious traveler, then have a look at the top luxury hotels in the renowned Elounda Area.
Santorini, one of the most beautiful and romantic islands in the world, is a must-visit destination for any traveler who wants to have an updated travel journal and a hot choice for gay honeymoons. It’s not just the dramatic landscape with the volcano and the steep cliffs but also the overall luxurious and elegant character that emerges from the iconic island.
1 Check out the main gay hot spots in the island: the last section of Vlychada Beach and the gay-friendly bar Tropical in Fira.
2 Choose a luxury Caldera view room/suite/villa in one of the numerous gay-friendly hotels in Santorini.
3 Make sure to enjoy as many sunsets as you can – don’t forget that they are ranked among the most impressive ones in the world!
Zakynthos (or Zante), is a beautiful island in the western parts of Greece, mainly known for the fabulous Navagio beach, with turquoise waters – one of the most famous beaches in the world.
1 Gay life in Zakynthos is not organized, however make sure to stop by the nudist beach of Vrontonero.
2 Try the amazing delicacies of the island, like ‘sartsa (casserole beef), ‘skordostoumbi’ (aubergines blended with large quantities of garlic), and rabbit stew.
Top island hopping choices: Tinos, Mykonos and Paros or Naxos, Ios and Santorini
A great idea when visiting Greece is to plan an island hopping adventure – a combination of stays in a number of islands, which are easy to travel from one to the other by ferry (just make sure to double check the ferry routes and schedules). Particularly in the Cyclades complex, island hopping is a very easy and usual type of traveling.
3 islands for gay couples in love: Folegandros, Milos and Skiathos
Folegandros is one of the most picturesque islands in Greece. What is truly amazing about this magical place is that it always manages to surprise gay couples with its fabulous gay-friendly hotels, which boast impeccable service and excellent staff.
Over the past few years, a significant increase of gay couples who choose Milos for their honeymoon trip or their romantic summer holidays has been noticed, giving more and more people the opportunity to enjoy the mind-blowing beauties of the island.
Let’s change the scenery: Skiathos is an all-green island with amazing beaches – an excellent choice for gay couples who are looking for a true paradise-like destination for their honeymoon.
The luxury resort destinations: Costa Navarino and Porto Heli
Costa Navarino is a newborn resort destination in Messenia, Peloponnese, standing out as a particularly beloved choice for gay travelers in the region. With impressive pools, relaxing spas, excellent hotel restaurants, plenty of wellness and sport options (plus it’s the golf destination of Greece), Costa Navarino will simply amaze you!
Porto Heli is a top-notch area in the Argo-Saronic Gulf in Peloponnese, which is very well-connected with the famous nearby islands of Spetses and Hydra. One of the latest additions is the stunning Nikki Beach Hotel, which presents a modern and luxurious character, transforming the area into an ideal choice for gay travelers.
For more information about Destsetters, visit the official website by clicking here.
They’ve been a vital part of our culture since way before Stonewall, and despite the onslaught of digital connectivity, somehow the world’s tiny bars survive and even thrive, such as Portland’s, Sloan’s Tavern (above), featured in Travel Portland’s guide to gay life in the city.
The adorable Travel Portland Zine, Tiny Bars, reminds us our appreciation of unique social spaces. Usually catering to a loyal group of regulars, these mini bastions of community can be in remote hamlets (where the clientele’s often a mixed bag of LGBT locals) or huge cities (where they tend to serve niche queer types).
By virtue of their teeny square footages, invariably they’re intimate, and pretty much guarantee friendly interaction, both social and physical. The kind of place found seemingly on every corner in weird, wonderful Portland.
Patrons say: “Friendly crowd of regulars mostly bears & hot dads. Excellent drinks at incredibly fair prices with great Dj’d music nights. The bartenders are sweet, handsome & friendly. I love Ty’s, check it out when you are in historic Greenwich Village NYC, on beautiful Christopher St.” – giovanni.sorrentino, GayCities
Patrons say: “This is the smallest bar I have ever been into. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. The bartender was friendly as were most the people in the bar. Nice place to just hang for a while and kick back.” – Valleykid, GayCities
Patrons say: “Charming little gay bar with a lot of personality in a tiny place. There appeared to be quite a few regulars at the bar and, though I didn’t enough German to engage in meaningful conversation (the bartender was forgiving), I felt welcome.” – Matthew B., Yelp
Patrons say: “I’ve been going to Pony since they opened the new space and while it is TINY, that kinda makes it fun. The drink beer selection is basic but tasteful and almost everything else is delightfully not. Think Hooters for men who like men amplified and then concentrated in one triangle of Capitol Hill.” – gentihomme, GayCities
Patrons say: “Hole in the Wall Saloon is maybe the last of the cool gay bars in the city. It is bikers, punk and rock and roll friendly. The decoration is insane and if you feel really happy or in the mood you can swing the lights hanging on top of the bar. Bartenders are friendly. Patrons are local and diverse.” – Cristian L., Yelp
Portland is full of weird, wonderful tiny bars, most of which are of the mixed gay straight variety. One such spot is the mixed-crowd watering hole Angelface (above), featured in Travel Portland’s cute Tiny Bar zine.
A tiny bar bonus is that if you bring enough friends, any place becomes your own pop-up gay bar. One place to do exactly this is at the bar of Portland’s fabulous Ace Hotel: Pepe le Moko.
Millions of Americans have made the resolution this New Year to lose weight. But goal setting is the easy part. Staying on the weight loss track and maintaining that weight loss is where the challenges begin.
Here are 10 tips to help you stick with your weight loss resolution this New Year and beyond.
• Drink up: Hunger and thirst can often be confused, so stay hydrated. But remember, beverages are not a place to splurge on a ton of calories. Drink water. For a flavor boost, add fresh fruit slices or mint leaves.
• Snack mindfully: It is all too easy to derail an otherwise flawless diet by binging at snack time. Be mindful of your snacks and make sure they offer nutritional value and are designed to keep you satisfied until your next meal.
• Sleep: Studies show a link between sleep deprivation and excess pounds. While there are many theories as to why this is, at the very least, getting enough sleep will promote clear-headed, healthful choices throughout the day.
• Jumpstart your weight loss: Studies show that early weight loss is a predictor of long-term success. Look for programs that keep you motivated, like Nutrisystem Turbo10, which delivers up to a 10-pound weight loss and up to five inches lost overall in the first month of dieting.
• Eat small: Research suggests that eating smaller, balanced meals throughout the day promotes greater weight loss and maintenance. Schedule meals every two to three hours, six times a day.
• Get moving: Exercise doesn’t have to be daunting. Get started with 10-minute sessions, three times a day. Movement sets your metabolism in motion so make sure it’s a consistent part of your weight loss efforts.
• Eat out, right: Restaurant portions can be monstrous. Set aside half the meal and save it for later. Avoid key menu terms like “breaded,” “fried,” “crispy,” and “smothered.” At buffets, fill your first plate up entirely with greens before moving on to other options.
• Embrace setbacks: Sometimes diets get temporarily thrown off course by a missed workout or a second slice of birthday cake. Rather than throwing in the towel entirely, view the setback for what it really is, a temporary hiccup.
• Be accountable: Keep a food and exercise diary to reinforce good habits. Log food, drinks, activity, weight and more to stay accountable.
• Seek support: Weight loss and maintenance is no cakewalk. Turn to weight loss counselors, dietitians and online communities for support with your weight loss journey. The counselors at Nutrisystem for example, are available seven days a week. For more information, visit Nutrisystem.com.
With the right attitude and the right tools, you can make 2016 the year you finally lose the weight for good.
– See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/01/11/keep-the-pounds-off-this-year/#sthash.I8EJyII6.dpuf