Get Out Of the Rat Race – The Benefits of Being Your Own Boss

 

Self-employment seems like an unrealistic dream to many of us. While we sit in our cubicles at jobs we despise, we long for the lifestyle wherein we can wake up when we want, do what we want, and participate in work that is both profitable and fulfilling. But what if there was another way?

 

Making the Dream a Reality

 

You don’t have to resign yourself to life toiling away in an office or in the aisles of a retail store. Thanks to the advent of the Internet, self-employment is more attainable now than ever before. What’s more, you can even use these opportunities to earn what’s called a passive income. This is the ultimate dream: a literal set-it-and-forget-it means of earning a living. The possibilities have become truly endless. If you can dream it up, the chances are you’ll be able to make a living doing it. So long as you can attract customers to your website or social media channel, you will be an attractive prospect for both customers and potentially online advertisers who want to pay for your popularity.

 

The Internet offers you the opportunity to fill a niche that would have gone completely unrecognized even ten years ago. Do you like to comment on political or current events? You can now earn a living wage doing so on YouTube. Are you a master of painting intricate designs on rocks? You can now sell them to excited buyers on sites like Etsy.

 

Flexibility

 

Not only does becoming your own boss allow you to earn a living doing quite literally whatever you want, it offers you the chance to live the lifestyle that you’ve always dreamed of.

Should you decide to be a freelancer, you can work at whatever hours suit your fancy, totally from home. This benefit applies to almost any career you can think of. You can also base yourself anywhere in the world, whether that be from the comfort of your own home, a coffee shop in town, or in a beach bar with a WiFi connection.

 

As a self-employed individual, you set your own schedule. It goes further than that: you even accept the types of jobs or work that you decide to take on that day.

 

Self-employment offers flexibility. Once you go into business for yourself, gone are the days of asking your boss for the day off so you can attend a much-desired social or family event. The only person that you’re accountable to is yourself and your potential clients or customers. Self-employed individuals tend to be more satisfied with their lives overall. Because they’re in control of their own destiny and even their job security, the worries that come with regular employment melt away – leaving a bright future before them. Freelance Writer Jess Walters

 

The Struggles continue for Pitt as they fall 67-60 to Clemson

After their horrific 106-51 loss to Louisville Tuesday night, I figured the Pitt Panthers would find a way to rebound from that and get a win against the Clemson Tigers, who were in last place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings. A win would’ve ended their 5-game losing streak and at least given them some perspective in finishing their 2016-17 season with pride.

 

Well, it’ll have to happen in their next game as the Panthers lost again. Although it was closer as they fell 67-60 to Clemson, it was a bad loss to a team that was the worst team in the ACC. Well, it’s safe to say that title now belongs to the Panthers who’re now 12-9 overall, but an agonizing 1-7 in the ACC. It’s no question that their NCAA Tournament hopes are done for this year, but don’t think the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) will be a sure thing for Pitt as well. This Pitt team reminds me of those Ralph Willard teams from 1994-1999, which I called the ‘Dark Ages’.  Under Willard, Pitt’s best teams were only able to make 1 NIT in those 5 years. He did have stars in Mark Blount and Vonteego Cummings, but obviously, they didn’t make a difference on those teams. Just like Pitt’s stars aren’t making a difference on this team right now.

 

It’s no secret that seniors Mike Young and Jamel Artis can make things happen, because they’ve done so on several occasions this season and Artis still leads the ACC in scoring with 21.3 PPG and Young 2nd on that list with 20.7, but neither of them have had a 20-point game in the past few weeks. I’ve said it before because it’s obviously no secret: As Young and Artis go, so do the Panthers. Right now, both are going nowhere, and basically, so are the Panthers.

 

In this game, Artis and G Cameron Johnson (more on him later) led Pitt with 16 points, but was only 2-5 from 3-point range. It makes me wonder why he’s not shooting 3-pointers of late. This was the man who had 7 threes in his 43-point night vs. Louisville and 6 threes in the OT win vs. Virginia. Artis also leads the ACC in 3-point shooting at 41%. It makes no sense to me that he’s not using his best weapons to help his team win.

 

And then there’s Young, who had already been struggling because of an injured eye (which I know hasn’t been easy on the kid) but it seems like he’s lost his mo-jo. He’s not as aggressive on both sides of the court and although he did lead Pitt with 8 rebounds, he’s not as aggressive in the paint as he once was.

 

You take these 2 players out of the equation, and what do you have left? Johnson has had a season of inconsistencies as does Jeter and Jones. And junior Ryan Luther is still out with a right foot injury. I should be honest, that kid plays with heart. His absence is hurting Pitt more that they realize.

 

Dressed in their sleek black uniforms, the Panthers did give the Tigers some fight as they exchanged leads with them for most of the first half. Young was showing spark as was Johnson, whom I basically call ‘Mr. First Half.’ but like most of the opponents who walk into the Petersen Events Center, Clemson has a couple of shooters who were getting the job done. F Jaron Blossomgame was on fire as he led all scorers with 25 points with 4 three-pointers and he kept his team in the game, even when they trailed Pitt by as much as 6 points late in the first half.

The Panthers grabbed that lead when they finally decided to start playing some ball. They had trailed 30-28 before Young, Johnson and Artis propelled them to a 36-31 lead. You know, just like the old days, which was basically during their non-conference schedule.

 

I was expecting the Panthers to capitalize on their 5-point lead when they started the second half, but instead they looked like Pitt vs. Louisville Part II.  The Panthers came out flat, missing 12 of 13 shots while Clemson was making everything, turning a 36-31 deficit into a 52-42 lead with over 12 minutes to play. G Chris Jones, Young and Johnson did what they could to get Pitt to 58-53 and again when Pitt trailed 60-57, but the Tigers wouldn’t let the Panthers get too close as they didn’t trail the rest of the second half in-route to the 67-60 victory. Pitt certainly had their chances, but their baskets weren’t falling through the hoop and of course their defense was basically non-existent to the dismay of a near sold-out Petersen Events Center crowd.

 

Here’s some quotes:

 

“It’s amazing that we shot as poorly as we did in the second half and we had a chance to win the game.” -Said Stallings as his Panthers have now lost 6 straight. “We’re disappointed obviously. I think we competed a lot harder and smarter today that we have in previous games. The start of the second half was really our undoing. We are the type of team that can’t have a bad three or four-minute stretch.”-I totally agree.

 

“We’ve both been struggling lately and or records don’t reflect how well some of our guys have been playing.” said Clemson HC Brad Bronwell “Today, I thought we got good production from a bunch of different players certainly our best player Jaron Blossomgame.”

 

Well, the Panthers have 10 games left, and will face 2 of the ACC’s best in North Carolina (1/31) and Duke (2/4) and both are on the road. Whatever it takes for Stallings to motivate Young, Artis and the rest of his team to be ready to play these two great teams must start now, or we may see more losses like this.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

 

www.PittsburghPanthers.com

Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Pitt basketball’s Curtis Aiken named to ACC Legends Class: It’s a tremendous honor, but a unique one. I call it unique because Aiken never played in the ACC, he was a Big East man, but the ACC likes to have this ‘retroactive’ way of honoring great players of their teams, old and new. And Aiken certainly deserves to be in this Class of Legends. Congrats to Mr. Aiken!
  2. Aiken was one of the reasons why I started watching Pitt as a youngster. He was part of one of the greatest teams in school history, along with Charles Smith, Jerome Lane, Sean Miller (who took over at PG when Aiken graduated), Demetrius Gore and HC Paul Evans. Those were some good teams and they were some good times.
  3. Speaking of which, Wednesday was the 29th anniversary of “Send it in Jerome!” Lane dunked a ball so hard at the Fitzgerald Field House that be shattered the backboard. It was awesome and historic.
  4. Speaking of the current team, in the aftermath of that 106-51 disastrous loss to Louisville, I’m thinking Pitt will win Saturday vs. Clemson. Why? Not because the Tigers are in last place in the conference and certainly not because they’re wearing those sharp black uniforms.
  5. My reason is because I feel that it can’t get any worse for Pitt. Losing streaks eventually end and sometimes teams will fall hard enough to bounce back up. Now I’m not saying they have a chance at the NCAA Tournament, but at least a chance to finish strong with 7 weeks left in the season.
  6. If there was one local basketball team that continues to play well, it’s West Virginia, who pulled off another Upset the same night Pitt was destroyed. The Mountaineers beat #2 Kansas 85-69. They should move up in the basketball polls next week.
  7. As for those basketball polls, Defending National Champ Villanova remains #1 in the AP Poll (Kansas in the Coaches Poll, but that will change) WVU is at #18 for now and as for the ranked ACC teams, Florida State is #6, North Carolina is #9, Virginia, Louisville and Notre Dame are #12, #13 and #14, respectively and Duke is #17. And therefore, the ACC is the best conference in College Basketball.
  8. Now onto the NFL in which the Pittsburgh Steelers season ended Sunday after falling to the New England Patriots 36-17 in Foxboro. Thus, the Patriots head to Super Bowl 51, and the Steelers look to 2017.
  9. After listening to Steelers LB Bud Dupree say that they changed their defensive game plan vs. Patriots QB Tom Brady. I got irritated because it didn’t make any sense. Why in the world would DC Keith Butler send Dupree and James Harrison in coverage?? I think the Steelers can act totally ignorant against the Patriots sometimes.
  10. The defense is what needs to improve if the Steelers hope to get to the Super Bowl next year. LB Lawrence Timmons is a free agent, so they need to find a way to re-sign him. Yeah, they have Ryan Shazier, but he can’t patrol the inside all by himself. And I know they re-signed LB Vince Williams this season, but he’s not Lawrence Timmons.
  11. And then there’s the story of QB Ben Roethlisberger who stated that he’s going to use the off season to determine if he’s going to continuing playing football. Since he’s turning 35, I don’t blame him, because he’s not young and he has endured several types of injuries, though none of them were ever season-ending.
  12. But I don’t think he’s ready to retire yet. Especially not in 2017 and especially after that loss to the Patriots. Plus, he knows that the Steelers don’t have a valuable replacement for him at QB. Big Ben wouldn’t do that to them.
  13. As for the Super Bowl, itself, the Patriots will be facing the Atlanta Falcons in 2 weeks and I think it will be a good game. I was very impressed at how the Falcons beat up on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. As we know, the media was salivating and hoping that it would be a Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl and I’m so glad it wasn’t. Thanks Falcons.
  14. The Pro Bowl will be its usual boring game, but at least it’s returned to its traditional AFC vs. NFC format. I mentioned this before, but that other format in which the players were drafted was ridiculous. As for the Steele’s, Big Ben and WR Antonio Brown will not play, no word on RB Le’Veon Bell (who injured his groin in the AFC Title Game) but it appears C Maurkise Pouncey and G David DeCastro will play.
  15. Here’s my prediction for NFL MVP: Falcons QB Matt Ryan. I think he deserves it and look at where he’s led the Falcons. He’s truly rebounded from that rough 2015 and 2015 and got the critics off his back. He’s valuable to the team and the NFL. Of course, Brady will get some votes, but the Steelers Bell should get some too.
  16. As for the NBA, apparently, there’s been a lot of talk about NY Knicks F Carmelo Anthony getting traded and I hope it happens, because Anthony needs to get out of there. Why? Because the Knicks are a joke and they don’t need him to remain a joke.
  17. The latest report is that the Knicks are willing to trade Anthony to the LA Clippers without wanting Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan back. Sounds like a salary dump to me. I’m surprised that OKC isn’t interested, not that they’re lacking any talent right now.
  18. The Cavs Lebron James and owner Dan Gilbert at odds over spending, the Bulls Dwayne Wade calls out his teammates in frustration? What’s going on with the NBA’s stars? I think they all need to take a nap or something.
  19. Pitt football released it’s 2017 schedule and it will indeed be a tough one. In addition to going to Penn State, Pitt will host Oklahoma State, North Carolina and Miami. They also host Youngstown State to start the season. I’m sure that will be sentimental to HC and Youngstown Native Pat Narduzzi.
  20. It appears Serena and Venus Williams are dominating the Australian Open. Here’s hoping the face each other in the final.

 

 

Please e-mail Ray at Ray@ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

Update Your Look With Today’s Latest Fashion Accessories

 

Fashion is all about you and what you want to say about yourself. While it can be very rewarding and exciting, people often don’t know what to do about fashion. Read on for some great tips so you can start incorporating fashion into your life now.

The best fashion tip you can get is to be yourself when it comes to what to wear. People have different opinions about what is fashionable, and you may aspire to be something you’re not. The truth is, no matter what your style, you are always in fashion when you remain true to yourself.

You are going to want to talk to your friends and coworkers about how you dress. They can help you figure out what you are doing that works, and what you might want to change about how you dress. Since they see you every day, they can be the ones you go to for advice.

The purse you carry should complement any other bags you plan to carry. If you have a briefcase, you want it to match your purse. You should only ever have a maximum of two bags on you at the same time.

If you have patches of gray in your hair, consider using a semipermanent dye. The gray will appear to be the same color as the rest of your hair and will last about two months. While you can’t really lighten your hair with this tactic, you can choose to darken your locks if you want.

How to apply your makeup depends on where you are going. For example, if you are going for an interview, keep your makeup looking natural and highlight your best feature. For instance, if you have beautiful eyes, wear a soft color that enhances the color of your eyes. If your best feature is your cheekbones, add a little color to the apple of your cheeks.

Complement your style with a wonderful smile. If you walk around looking sad, then it will not matter what you are wearing. A truly fashionable person knows the importance of sporting a beautiful set of pearly whites. You should smile whenever you can. It will make you feel better and keep you looking fashionable.

Don’t make fashion impulse buys. When you buy on impulse, you often make bad choices. The clothing may not fit as well as you hoped, or it doesn’t truly work with anything in your closet. Before making the buy ask yourself if you really need it, and if you have items that can compliment it.

If you are going to go somewhere in the world of fashion, you need to understand that fashion is not all about the right outfits. Your makeup is just as important as the clothes that you wear. Finding the right makeup style and accessorizing properly can bring your fashion to a whole new world.

Look at people at malls, school, work, or anywhere to see what people are dressing like. This will be a good way for you to figure out if you really need to improve your fashion sense, or if you are perfectly fine and you look good the way you dress already.

When considering fashion for yourself, be sure to take into consideration what type of cuts look best on your body type. This is important because there are vastly different body types, and certain cuts look better on some than others. Find something that accentuates your best features and makes you feel comfortable.

Invest in the basics. Every wardrobe should have a few key pieces. The little black dress is a classic for good reason. A well-fitted white blouse is versatile and flattering. A tailored suit is perfect for serious business. These items are ones you shouldn’t be afraid to spend a little extra on, as they are timeless classics that last beyond the changing fashion trends.

When you are choosing a jacket for a very important upcoming event, you need to make sure that you find the jacket with the right sleeve length. If your coat is too long or too short people will notice. Your shirt cuff should show about half an inch or so. This is a key that you must always keep in mind.

Although it may have been popular years ago, wearing clothing that does not match is not in style anymore. Whether you are wearing jeans and a top, a suit, or a skirt and shirt, be sure the top and bottom match. The same goes for the accessories you choose to wear.

Showing a little skin never hurt anyone, but make sure that you are not showing entirely too much. When you go overboard and leave very little to the imagination, that is not considered sexy. It is a good idea to wear a backless dress or a semi-sheer top, but a see-through shirt with nothing under is tasteless.

Don’t buy clothes that don’t fit you, vowing to yourself that you’ll “get into them.” While it’s an admirable goal, it rarely works out that way. The vast majority of women never do “get into them,” and just end up wasting money on sometimes expensive clothing. Lose weight first; then go shopping.

Quilted fabrics are expected to be in style this winter and fall. Quilting is not just for blazers or jackets, but for skirts, tops and fashion accessories too. It is important to keep the quilted fabric to a minimum, because it is bulky and can make you look heavier than you really are.

Shop at your local resale shops and garage sales. Being fashionable does not mean spending a thousand dollars on an outfit. You can use pieces that are no longer in style and create a new style by putting them together. With all the big-box stores out there you can do this to be original.

Fashion doesn’t need to overwhelm you. It can seem complicated on some days, and many people who look good make it even tougher for you to comprehend. However, everyone is different, and fashion is your own personal expression. Continue to learn about fashion and remember this advice.

Become Your Own Fashion Diva – Great Ideas For You!

 

Incorporating better fashion in your life only takes a simple commitment and dedication to trying harder. Many people want to, but the time is just not there it seems. However, you can do simple things to help you bring fashion into your life, so remember the helpful tips you’re about to read.

When choosing accessories, stick to one large, statement piece. Dangling earrings, a big necklace, and a chunky bracelet give the eyes nowhere to rest. If you want the focus to be on your necklace, wear studs in your ears. If you don eye-catching earrings, skip the necklace altogether to avoid looking too “busy.”

A simple black blazer is a fantastic addition to any wardrobe. You can use it to dress up almost any outfit. Then, you can remove it if you change to a more casual venue. The color will also match virtually anything in your closet, from jeans to business casual blouses and slacks.

Don’t be afraid to go up a size if it means achieving the perfect fit. It can be quite distressing when you try on your usual size only to find it doesn’t fit. Don’t fret! Sizes vary from designer to designer and brand to brand, so it is perfectly okay to go up a size from your usual size.

Only buy clothes that are flattering to your figure. Do not think that you must have every fashion trend that is available, even if it does not look good on you. No matter how trendy an item is, if it is not flattering to your figure, don’t consider buying it.

To sweep hair from your shoulders, try a casual up-do. Long hair can get in your way on a busy day. When you’re out of time, put your hair up in a bun!

A good fashion tip is to learn how to develop your own sense of style. You don’t want to just mimic somebody else and copy their style. Think of what’s important to you such as comfort or flair, and then slowly build on that so that your fashion sense is unique to you.

The basic black dress is essential for any woman’s wardrobe. You can wear this dress for casual occasions by accessorizing it with a pair of comfortable pumps. You can wear the same dress for a more formal occasion if you put up your hair and accessorize with a pearl necklace and earrings.

Use your accessories to add color to your outfit. This is a great tip if you happen to have a large stock of earth tones or blacks and whites. Get a bright-colored tie, purse, or shoes depending on who you are and what fits you. It is a great way to stand out without having to be very brave.

For all kinds of shoe styles, wedged heels are hot. These are great for women who wish to not only look slimmer, but also want to seem taller as well. When you’re getting a pair of heels that are wedged, you have to remember that if they’re too think, they could be impossible to walk in.

It’s ok to mix up prints and colors in your fashion choices. Many people think that layering a print on top of another print is a fashion no-no, but it can work and look extremely stylish. Just make sure that your clothes have classic lines. It’s when you’ve got multiple prints and crazy clothing shapes that the fashion police will take notice.

Wear age appropriate clothing. It’s something some women don’t want to let go of, but there comes a time when a super-short skirt is no longer flattering. Pay attention to how your clothes set you off through all stages of your life, and it will serve you well. The good news is that there are some clothes that look great on older women that younger women can’t pull off, so there is always something fashionable to look forward to.

The most popular colors nowadays for clothing are pastel colors. More specifically, mint green has been making a huge comeback this season. So, if you are into keeping up with the latest styles, purchase a nice mint green dress, pair of heels, purse and use green makeup and nail polish.

Buy the right size clothing. Too many women wear shirts, skirts, and even bras that are too tight. This is very unflattering. Buying clothing that fits right will have you looking your best. It will also allow you to breathe and be comfortable in what you’re wearing. Part of being fashionable is being at ease with your choices.

If you want to look better in any combination of your wardrobe, exercise often. A physique that stands tall with confidence makes any outfit look better. You do not have to have chiseled abs. Even a regular walking regimen of light intervals can make your spine stand up enough to make a difference.

When you purchase sunglasses, look for frames that will coordinate with your summer clothing. You should really need only one or two pairs to get you through the entire season. You can use other accessories to draw attention to yourself, or a particular area. Multiple pairs of shades are unnecessary, and expensive.

Try to match the hairstyle that you choose to your personality. Therefore, make sure how you wear your hair is a good representation of you. For instance, a shoulder-length bob might look good on you if you are a career woman. If, however, you are an on-the-go mom, opt for a style that you can wash and go.

Staying warm and fashionable in the wintertime is difficult, but possible. You just need to find a fine balance between the two. For instance, you could wear long, sleekly-fitted coats with a pair of high-heeled boots. If you decide to go with the look, be sure the fabric touches your calf.

Fashion in your life doesn’t have to be an unclaimed desire. All it takes is personal expression and a little bit of time and dedication. If you want to look your best, you must make it a priority. Remember the tips and advice you’ve read here as you embark on your journey.

Pitt loses its heart and soul in 101-51 debacle to Louisville

 

In times, past I’ve referenced a 1985 hit song by Atlantic Starr, and I believe that after watching this disastrous Pitt loss to Louisville that it applies to this game too.

 

“It’s a fragile situation; it could fall apart at any time
And none would be the wiser, Except you and I… If you’re heat isn’t in it, why can’t you tell me so…”

 

To be honest, there may not be some points of this song that doesn’t apply to Pitt, but metaphorically it does regarding their heart. When a team loses 101-51 in front of their home fans, their heart certainly wasn’t in it. Such is the case with Pitt in this game. And you better believe that this is a fragile situation, but it’s not about to fall apart, it already has.

 

A friend of mine told me that the Panthers season was over after their stunning loss to the Duquesne Dukes back in December (and if I’m correct, I referenced this song after that game too). I didn’t believe him because the season was still young, F Jamel Artis didn’t play because of a suspension, and Pitt underestimated a team that they had beaten for 15 straight seasons. They led by 10, got cocky and then when the Dukes outplayed them, Pitt’s heart went out of the PPG Paints Arena.

 

But in this game, it seemed like the Panthers didn’t bring their hearts to the Petersen Events Center. Whatever heart they had was when they played Miami on Saturday and even then, they got destroyed 72-46. But to lose by 50 points is just an ugly disaster. Despite Pitt showing signs of life after that loss (which includes upsetting nationally-ranked Virginia) I now stand corrected and agree with my friend.

 

This loss is the second worst in school history. Only a 106-13 travesty to Westminster was worse) at one point, it seemed like Louisville was going to score over 110 points, but I guess Head Coach Rick Pitino didn’t want to ‘run’ up the score on Pitt, no? What a nice guy that Pitino is.

 

And speaking of Head Coaches. Apparently, Pitt head man Kevin Stallings couldn’t stomach much more that he decided to leave the game early, as he was ejected by the officials early in the second half. Not exactly sure what happened, but play had stopped, and a red-faced Stallings was about to come after one of the officials the same way Philadelphia Flyers G Ron Hextall ran after Pittsburgh Penguins RW Robbie Brown did in a playoff game back in 1989. If the other officials didn’t intervene, Stallings might’ve decked him. What an example to be in front of his team.

 

Which leads to what I think is wrong with Pitt. We know they’re just kids and there’s a case where they still need to mature, grow and learn, but when a team plays this bad, especially at home, it’s proof that the coach has lost the team. We knew that it would be a rough transition for the kids because all they’ve known is Jaime Dixon, who arguably is the school’s greatest basketball coach. What they were saying was after their 2nd-round loss in the NCAA Tournament that it was time for Dixon to go and for Pitt to find some ‘new blood’ that can bring out the team’s offensive talents, especially in seniors Mike Young and Jamel Artis the team’s top leading scorers.

 

The players seemed happy because they had a new offense and couldn’t wait to display it on the court, and it has produced some decent results as Artis and Young have scored 30 or more points in several games, in fact Artis scored 43 in the first loss to Louisville. Senior Sheldon Jeter scored 20 in a game, and even junior Ryan Luther scored 20 in a game.

But the issue wasn’t the offense, but the defense. I’ve said before that their offense was like Loyola Marymount’s Run-and Shoot offense from the early 90’s. (although that team was much better than Pitt) the focus was on offense, but not on defense. Here’s an example: Their highest scoring game was a 112-106 win vs. Marshall. In their 88-76 upset of Virginia, it took overtime to get it done.

 

We knew for a fact that as Young and Artis went, so did the Panthers and right now it seems like those young men have lost their heart and soul…and so have the Panthers.

 

Young finished with 12 points (which led the team) and Artis finished with 9. The team shot only 22.5% from the floor and from 3-point range?? 3-22. What about the 3-point masters in Artis and Sophomore Cameron Johnson? Artis was 1-4 and Johnson was 0-4. And to think I compared Artis to the NBA’s Chuck Person. I may have to retract that comparison now.

 

I say this with all Sincerity: Pitt’s best performance was when they led 2-0 to open the game. They stole the ball from Louisville and then Artis hit a jumper that caused the Oakland Zoo crowd to rip up their Pitt News newspapers and toss them in jubilation, a habit that they usually do when Pitt scores their first points. But after the Cardinals tied the game and eventually took the lead, Pitt was about as close to them as Pittsburgh is to Los Angeles.

 

At halftime, it was 51-18. Yeah, it was that bad. I was walking back to my seat and saw Pitt assistant coach Ontario Lett throw his clipboard on his seat in disgust. Apparently, there were no halftime speeches by Stallings, at least not enough to motivate the team.

 

After the game, Stallings had this to say; “That’s about as disappointing of a performance that I could possibly imagine. A lot of things I could say, that I’d like to say, but that was embarrassing.” I totally agree. Stallings also said this “Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to have them prepared to play better, harder and smarter.”

 

Couldn’t agree more, Coach. Now what are you going to do. Your team is now 12-8 and 1-6 in the ACC. How does your team break this 4-game losing streak? We have until Saturday to find out as they put on their black to face Clemson. Let’s hope it’s not because they’re dressing for a funeral, because it appears that their 2016-17 and their NCAA Tournament hopes appear to be as good as dead. But one victory will at least end the losing streak. And then they just need to take it one game at a time. But for that to happen, they need to get their heart back.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

 

Pitt Announces 2017 Football Schedule

The Panthers’ challenging slate features eight postseason teams.

 

PITTSBURGH—Pitt’s 2017 football schedule was unveiled today by the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Panthers’ 12-game slate features eight teams that advanced to the postseason, including four that finished in the Top 25.

 

Pitt will play seven games at Heinz Field. Under Coach Pat Narduzzi, the Panthers went 6-1 at Heinz last season, matching their best home record since the stadium opened in 2001. The home slate highlights:

 

  • Perennial Big 12 contender Oklahoma State, which finished No. 11 in the final polls after a 10-3 season, makes its first visit to Pittsburgh on Sept. 16.
  • A Thursday primetime spotlight will shine on Heinz Field when the Panthers play ACC Coastal Division foe North Carolina on Nov. 9. The game will be nationally televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.
  • In a game that could have Coastal championship implications, Pitt will host Miami on Friday, Nov. 24. The Hurricanes finished last season with a No. 20 Associated Press ranking.

 

  • Atlantic Division opponent NC State will visit Pittsburgh (Oct. 14) for the first time in 30 years. The Panthers also host annual Coastal foe Virginia (Oct. 28).

 

  • Pitt will open the 2017 season against Youngstown State (Sept. 2), which advanced to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) title game last season. Additionally, the Panthers will host Rice on Sept. 30.

 

Pitt will play five road games starting with a Sept. 9 visit to Keystone rival Penn State. The Panthers’ 42-39 triumph last year over the eventual Big Ten champions was hailed as perhaps the most exciting game in the history of the storied series.

 

The balance of the road schedule includes four ACC games: Sept. 23 at Georgia Tech, Oct. 7 at Syracuse, Oct. 21 at Duke and Nov. 18 at 2016 Coastal champ Virginia Tech.

 

Narduzzi has directed Pitt to eight regular-season wins in each of his first two years, something the Panthers had not achieved since 2008-09. In his two seasons as Pitt head coach, he owns a 16-10 overall mark and 11-5 record in the ACC, a league widely considered the nation’s best at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign.

 

“There is always great anticipation from players, coaches and certainly fans when it comes to seeing the new schedule,” Narduzzi said. “With the games finally announced, I can promise you it will be highly visible throughout our practice facility this offseason. We want it to be a constant reminder of the twelve challenges and opportunities we have this fall.”

 

The Panthers’ complete 2017 football schedule: 

 

Sept. 2                      Youngstown State      

Bo Pelini’s Penguins advanced to the 2016 FCS title game.

 

Sept. 9                      at Penn State

A 42-39 victor this past season, Pitt will be seeking its third consecutive win over Penn State.

 

Sept. 16                    Oklahoma State          

The Panthers dropped a 45-38 shootout in Stillwater in 2016.

 

Sept. 23                    at Georgia Tech*        

Pitt has won two consecutive games over the Yellow Jackets on late field goals.

 

Sept. 30                    Rice  

Pitt and Rice meet for the first time since 1951.

 

Oct. 7                        at Syracuse* 

The Panthers and Orange have played every year since 1955.

 

Oct. 14                      NC State*       

This will be the inaugural ACC game between Pitt and NC State and 10th meeting overall. 

 

Oct. 21                      at Duke*        

The Panthers cruised past the Blue Devils, 56-14, at Heinz in 2016. 

 

Oct. 28                      Virginia*        

Jordan Whitehead’s 59-yard interception return sparked Pitt’s 45-31 win at UVA last year.

 

Nov. 9 (Thurs.)      North Carolina*                                                          

Close games are the rule: the last six games have been decided by an average of 4.2 points. 

 

Nov. 18                     at Virginia Tech*                                                         

Pitt will look to avenge last year’s 39-36 loss to the eventual Coastal champ.

 

Nov. 24 (Fri.)         Miami*                                                                           

The Hurricanes closed last season with five consecutive wins to finish in the Top 25.

 

*ACC game

 

Times and additional television arrangements will be announced at a later date.

Steelers Still Can’t Solve the Patriots as they fall 36-17 in AFC Championship Game

It was easy to think that the Pittsburgh Steelers had a chance to do the one thing that’s been avoiding them the last 15 NFL Seasons: Beating the New England Patriots in an AFC Championship Game. After all, the Steelers were on a 9-game winning streak with their last lost against an excellent Dallas Cowboys team (whom they should’ve beaten) while the Patriots supposedly weren’t tested after having a weaker schedule and playing the feeble AFC North, right. And oh yeah, they beat the Steelers early in the season with QB Landry Jones, not Ben Roethlisberger.

 

Plus, the Steelers were going into the playoffs for the first time with a healthy WR Antonio Brown, RB Le’Veon Bell and C Maurkice Pouncey. Plus, media and fans all felt that if the Steelers would just stick to form, pressure Patriots QB Tom Brady, score touchdowns that everything would be all right, am I correct?

 

Well, that is why you play the game.

 

See, no matter how the players feel, the fans feel and especially the media seems, we all know that the Steelers had to show that they could finally beat the Patriots, but beating the Patriots on the field, in which they were 2-9 in their last 11 games. Well, you can make that 2-10 because the Steelers showed up at Gillette Stadium and got destroyed 36-17 in their latest AFC Championship Game, making it the 3rd time that the Steelers have fallen to these guys in this game. The first two times were in 2001 and 2004, and both games were played at Heinz Field.

 

The Patriots will head to Super Bowl 51 to face the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, while the Steelers head home.

 

Am I disappointed? You bet I am. Because once again, the Steelers wasn’t ready to face a team that still has their number. Why? I have no idea. You’d think they would be motivated enough to play this game, after all, the Super Bowl is at stake, right?  I can think of 2 times in which the Steelers beat Brady and the Patriots (2004, 2011) and it was because they were properly prepared to fight and were excellent in all 3 phases of the game (Offense, Defense, Special Teams) to get the win. Such a case didn’t happen in this game. There was one team in that stadium that was prepared, and that was the Patriots.

 

This is a team that’s been there, done that. This is their 6th straight AFC Championship game, so they know how to display the ‘act like they’ve been here before.’ mentality. Not only do they own the AFC East, they own this game too (despite losing to the Denver Broncos in last year’s game), and they also own the Steelers.

 

This game was no different as the Patriots proved that they’re a team that likes to ‘play to win.’ and they proved that fact when they stormed to an early 10-0 lead. The Patriots even won the coin toss, but didn’t defer, and then went directly into attack mode. Meanwhile, the Steelers were in ‘clumsy way,’ and failed to convert on their first three drives after drops by their receivers and questionable decisions by Big Ben when they were near the first-down marker.

 

In the Divisional Round vs. KC, P Jordan Berry didn’t punt until the second half, in this game he punted three times in the first quarter alone. After the Patriots scored a 17-yard TD to a wide-open Chris Hogan (More on him later) the Steelers finally went to work, unfortunately, it’s was without Bell, who injured his groin late in the first quarter.

 

Bell tried to return in the second quarter but was done the rest of the game. Enter backup RB DeAngelo Williams, who played the first three games of the season for Bell when he was on suspension. Williams took the Patriots by surprise as the gained 34 yards on that drive alone. He also scored the team’s first TD on a 1-yard run. But then last week’s hero K Chris Boswell does something that’s non-Boswell-like and misses the extra point, his first of the season. Thus, the Steelers trailed 10-6. Such a miss would prove costly when Brady and the Patriots would strike again when he (on a flea-flicker) found WR Chris Hogan for a 34-yard TD to extend their lead to 17-6. Now mind you, Brady found Hogan for the first score when he was wide-open in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard score. If you’re wondering who Chris Hogan was, then get in line. The Steelers wondered that so much in this game that they continued to leave him wide-open and he would burn them for 180 yards on nine catches and those two touchdowns.

 

I bet they remember who Hogan is now.

 

Back to the game. The Steelers had an excellent chance to get close to the Patriots as they appeared to score a TD when Big Ben found TE Jesse James who took the ball over the goal line, but reviews showed that he was a foot-short. All the Steelers needed to do was push the ball over the line for the score, right? Wrong. Williams was stopped two times, and then Big Ben missed a leaping Eli Rogers on 3rd down, bringing in Boswell for an anticlimactic 23-yard FG that only closed the Patriots lead to 17-9. The Steelers knew they blew that opportunity as the first half ended.

 

The Steelers received the ball to start the 3rd quarter and continued to do nothing, punting the ball back to the Patriots who stuck it to the Steelers in that quarter by scoring 17 unanswered points. When the smoked cleared, the Patriots led 33-9 at the end of the quarter. Former Steelers RB LeGarrette Blount got the ball and ran it right over the Steelers in route to a 1-yard TD and Brady found WR Julian Edelman for the other score. K Stephen Gostkowski provided the 3 points as the Steelers hearts began to drop.

 

It got even worse for the Steelers when Big Ben threw his first interception of the game, sending the Patriots offense back on the field, but they did the Steelers a favor by settling for another Gostkowski FG, extending their lead to 36-9.

 

The Steelers finally got another TD late in the 4th quarter when Big Ben found WR Colbi Hamilton for a 30-yard TD and added a 2-point conversion, but it was too little, too late as the Steelers fell 36-17 to the Patriots, who were given the Lamar Hunt trophy as champions of the AFC.

 

Meanwhile, the Steelers are probably now shaking their heads as they know they weren’t properly prepared to play this team. HC Mike Tomlin stated that the Steelers failed collectively and didn’t play the ‘type of ball that they usually play, and Big Ben said that the Steelers needed to play “a near-flawless game, and they didn’t.” Bell stated that he tried to play through the injury but felt that he was holding the team back.

 

I feel that all those reasons were valid. For some reason, the Steelers looked out of sync on offense. This was a team that averaged 30 points a game and could only get nine important points against the Patriots. And yes, they only scored 18 against KC last week, but that was KC. This is the Patriots. Totally different story.

 

I believe in the theory that the things that teams struggle with in the regular season will catch up to them in the postseason and with the Steelers, it was the inexperience with the receivers. Of course, there’s WR Antonio Brown, but you knew he would be double-teamed, which he was as he finished with seven passes for 77 yards and 0 scores. And yes, Hamilton scored a late TD, but he dropped an earlier one, and Sammie Coates was just a disaster, dropping two key passes in the first quarter when the Steelers had a chance. You insert the suspended Martavis Bryant, the injured Markus Wheaton, and TE LaDarius Green, and it probably would be a different story.

 

Bell’s injury was costly, as the Steelers turned into an on-dimensional team. Sure, Williams scored their first TD, but what else did he do after that? Nothing as he finished with only 34 yards. Big Ben himself finished with 314 yards but was 31-47 passing in contrast to the 32/42 and 384 yards passing by Brady who also passed for three touchdowns with no interceptions.

 

But it was the defense what cost the Steelers this game, which shouldn’t be any surprise because they’ve been the team’s Achilles heel all season. Granted, they played above-board during their 9-game winning streak, but they went back to their old ways vs. Brady and the offense by missing tackles and leaving Hogan wide open. Their pass-rush is useful despite rookie DT Jason Hargrave getting to him early in the first quarter. The Problem was, the defense made no adjustments after Hogan burned them for those two scores and it continued to be costly. You can’t play like that and expect to have a chance against the Patriots. The Houston Texans proved it, and now the Steelers proved it too.

 

But overall, it was a good season for the Steelers who started the season 4-5 and finished 11-5 and the AFC North Division. This was a team that didn’t have Bryant for the entire season and lost Wheaton, DE Cam Heyward and eventually Green for the remainder of the season and they still got this far. In my heart of hearts, I figured the best they would do is get to the AFC Championship Game, which they did, but it’s never easy to see them lose this game. But they must now lick their chops and prepare for an off season which I hope means doing whatever it takes to make this team better, especially on defense, because the motto is still the same in football: Defense Wins Championships.

As for 38-year old LB James Harrison, he was asked about his future, and he replied: “I’m not done yet.” I think the Steelers are one-win away from another Super Bowl trip.

 

And they will get their chance to solve the Patriots next year too as they welcome them into Heinz Field. And then who knows, they might face them again in the playoffs, and that will show whether they will have learned from this game. Time will tell.

 

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on Twitter

 

www.PittsburghSteelers.com

Tips For Getting The Proper Amount Of Rest For Building Muscle

People who want to build muscle need to know the best ways to go about accomplishing this difficult task. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, there are proven ways to accomplish your goals and they are contained here. Take a few minutes to read over these ideas and apply them to your own efforts.

A common mistake when working out is focusing on speed rather than technique. No matter the exercise, a steady pace that focuses on technique will offer the best results over repetitions pushed out too quickly. Take all the time you need and make sure you perform the exercises like you should.

Do not skimp on the amount of sleep you get. The process of building and repairing your muscles happens while you sleep, and without adequate recovery, you run the risk of hurting yourself during workouts. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to maximize the benefits of the exercises you perform.

Spread your workouts out so that you are only lifting weights every other day. Spend one day working out your entire body, and then use the next day to rest. Your muscles will grow while you rest, not while you are working out. Even though it might feel like you are doing nothing on your days off, your body is still working hard.

When doing a workout it is important to focus on only one exercise per body part when doing a full-body workout. This will help to ensure that you are maximizing your workout and not risking an injury. This will also help you to focus on your breathing and doing the exercises properly.

You need to know how many calories to eat per day in order to gain the muscle you want to gain. To determine your daily calorie intake you should multiple your weight by 15. The resulting number is the number of calories your body needs to build muscle and burn as much fat as possible.

Make sure you are eating enough food to support new muscle growth. Many people struggle with not eating enough to support the kind of growth they are trying to achieve. If you are trying to lose weight and build muscle at the same time, make sure you are eating protein rich foods to help with muscle growth.

Fill up on carbohydrates after a workout. It has been proven that if you do this, on the days that you are not going to work out, you will be rebuilding your muscles faster. Eating carbs after a workout increases insulin levels, which slows down the rate that your body breaks down protein.

It is difficult to lose weight and build muscle at the same time. You have to have a high-protein diet to support your muscle growth, but reduce your fat intake at the same time. Eat foods that are high in protein and low in fat and refined carbohydrates to reduce weight and gain muscle at the same time.

A great tip for growing muscle that is often overlooked is getting an adequate amount of sleep. Your body heals itself and changes while sleeping. Therefore, if you don’t get enough of it, you aren’t allowing your body the chance to do these things. If you are working out hard, aim for at least eight hours of sleep, if not more.

One of the best ways to get protein transformed into muscle effectively is to drink a protein shake about half an hour to an hour before your workout begins. This gives your body time to absorb the protein, and then it can use it immediately to start building new muscle.

Make sure that you are eating healthy foods every 3 hours. Figure out how many calories you will need to consume every day, and then divide that by six. The number that you get will tell you how many calories you will need to consume while you are eating your meals.

Staying hydrated is essential for the effective building of muscle. If your muscles get dehydrated, they are more prone to injury. Hydration is not only important for building muscle mass, but maintaining it as well, so don’t neglect this important aspect of bodybuilding.

Doing a workout on your own is generally not recommended. There are several benefits to having a workout buddy including having a spotter, staying motivated, and most important avoiding boredom. This can be a prior friend, or it can even be someone that you have meet at the gym itself!

You have an overwhelming selection of workout machines or programs for you to try. It is sometimes easy to forget that not all methods are effective for all goals or all athletes. Building muscles it’s easily accomplished when you customize a routine and stick with it. There are many options for building muscles. Do your research and investigate the best workout tools and techniques to get the look that you want. You may even have a workout friend that can help you increase your result.

If you desire to build muscle, one of the most important things to consider is a pre-workout meal. This meal should be filled with protein and carbohydrates, which will give you the energy that you need for your workout. Also, foods that contain these nutrients can help to convert fat to muscle as you lift weights.

When working out to build muscle, do a lot many sets and reps at a medium intensity. For each exercise, you perform, do 10 to 15 repetitions, breaking less than one minute between each set. Lactic acid makes the muscles burn when your exercise is intense, and helps stimulate your muscle’s growth.

Perform each exercise to muscle failure. Muscle failure is when you couldn’t possibly do any more reps because your muscle is so fatigued. While performing an exercise that has three sets, start with a heavy weight and do 15 repetitions, and then do 2 fewer reps each set. Even as you get tired, continue to give each rep your maximum effort.

Take this advice and apply it to your life. Keep your willpower strong and you are sure to get the body that you hope for. As with anything, dramatic results take time, but by following the tips given here on a regular basis, you will get the results you desire.

Kitchen Basics: How To De-bone A Chicken

You’ve probably watched at least one celebrity chef on television and thought, “Hey, I can do that!” Well, until the TV network comes knocking, you can always use your kitchen as a stage to create unforgettable meals. Whether you are new to cooking or an old pro, you can always use some cooking tips. Here are a few to get you started.

If you are cooking for someone important, such as a new boss or for a dinner party, don’t use a new recipe and a new ingredient. Make sure you practice the dish first for your family. Play around with it to make sure it is how you want it.

It is incredibly embarrassing to have lumps in your gravy. It happens to everybody from the beginner cook to the master chef. There is a simple trick you can use to eliminate them. Drain the gravy through a fine strainer and discard the lumps. This technique can be utilized for other sauces or soups too.

Season meats evenly. It is important to season all of the meats you are going to be cooking evenly. Sprinkle the seasoning lightly over the meat like it was snowing down. This will keep the seasoning even and prevent clumping. The taste will be more consistent all through it.

Make sure that the knives you are using are very sharp. Dull knives are not only difficult to cut things with, but they are also very dangerous to use. It is easier to hurt yourself while you are struggling to cut something than if you were using a sharper knife.

Ice water can save the color of your vegetables. Dull washed out vegetables do not look as appealing to eat. If you want bright and vibrant vegetables, then you should plunge them into ice water after blanching them. Vibrantly colored vegetables look much more appetizing in salads and pasta dishes.

Always bring your steaks to room temperature before cooking them. A steak that is still cold in the center will not cook as evenly as one that is brought up to room temperature. Usually taking them out one hour in advance will get them to the proper temperature at the cooking time.

Olive oil is one of the most important investments that you can make during your cooking career. Find a high-quality brand of olive oil and add this ingredient to a variety of different foods. This oil will help bring out the taste in pasta, fish, and meat.

When cooking steak, make sure the pan you are using is really hot so that it sears the outside of the meat and keeps all of the juices inside. This will make your steak taste great, and it won’t be dried out since all of the flavor is still sealed inside of the meat.

Always continue to taste test all of your food as you cook them. Cooking a sauce, and you’re not sure if it needs more salt? Just taste it, and you’ll know right away. Getting into a habit of testing all of your foods will keep you from accidentally over-spicing or under-spicing it.

When cooking, many people forget about proper care for the spices that they use to season their food. All spices should be stored in a cool dark place and never above a stove. The reason for this is because storing spices in areas where there is a lot of heat, light, or humidity will cause them to lose their flavor.

When you are making fish or meat, make sure to sprinkle seasonings equally. You can compare the sprinkling to falling snow. By doing this, you are avoiding clumping. Also, the spices will be spread evenly so that one side of the meat or fish does not have more seasoning than the other.

If you are stuck trying to figure out what to cook for dinner during the week, consider building your meals around themes. “Mexican Monday” could mean burritos or a nice taco salad. How about “Tuscan Tuesday” featuring spaghetti and meatballs or maybe meatball subs? And “Fish Friday” offers lots of options for shrimp, salmon or even tuna. Bring the whole family into the fun by letting the kids pick a theme and help plan the meal that day.

A well-stocked pantry is a cook’s best friend! Never is that truer than when you are faced with the unexpected company, and you have nothing specifically planned to serve. Maintaining a pantry stocked with the basics gives you the flexibility to create easy meals at the last minute. For help in creating a great cook’s pantry, think hard about the items you go back to again and again. You can also find great tips on items for the pantry in most good cookbooks and online at cooking sites.

No matter what kind of cheese you may have in your refrigerator, be sure that air cannot enter it by wrapping it tightly. Air contributes to mold growth on cheese. If your cheese does happen to have a little bit of mold on it, you can still use it by just cutting off the part with mold.

How to ‘un-seize’ melted chocolate. If the chocolate you are melting suddenly gets lumpy or grainy, this means it has ‘seized,’ and it will ruin a recipe. Remove the pan and add 1/2 to 1 tsp of shortening or cooking oil (not butter or margarine). Stir until the mixture becomes smooth again. To prevent seizing, make sure the pan is completely dry before trying to melt chocolate.

To save money and improve your health, cook the recommended portion sizes and plan your meals ahead of time. Meat is one of the most expensive ingredients on your plate. By eating the appropriate portion sizes, you can be sure that your family is getting plenty of vegetables and whole grains.

Cooking can be great fun and a chance for you to show off. Make sure to keep these tips in mind to add to your cooking a bit, and to enhance the skills you already have. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the celebrity chef on a TV network!