Beard Token Coin

As Tax Day (April 15) approaches, and we’re all still scrambling to file, many of us are letting our daily tasks go – including grooming. It’s good to know that razor stubble won’t be taxed in 2015 — but there was a time when it did.

In 1535, King Henry VIII of England began to tax beards. His main concern was to allow the richest men in the kingdom to use this tax to set them apart from the merely rich. The tax was based on the wearer’s social status and style of beard. The higher the tax, the richer you were. Of course no one’s beard commanded more tax than the king’s himself — except that he didn’t pay taxes…

In an effort to raise money for her army, his daughter Queen Elizabeth I, reintroduced the Beard Tax on any beard with more than two week’s growth, regardless of status. This tax lasted throughout her 45-year reign. Her Beard Tax collectors were vast and swift and left no facial hair unmeasured to return sovereigns to the throne.

But things change. And the western world was beckoning.

In order to keep up with fashionable and modern European style, Russian Tsar Peter the Great imposed a tax on any beard and mustache in order to keep his countrymen clean-shaven. He began the movement by cutting off the beards of all his noblemen himself – at a dinner he held (unbeknownst to them) for this very purpose. In fact, in order to ensure compliance, you had to pay the tax before you even grew the stubble. After you applied for and paid the tax, you received a beard token and then, only then, with beard token in hand, were you legal to have a facial hair. The beard token “coin” had an ample beard and mustache prominently displayed on the front and the beard wearer had to have it on him at all times or face a fine. The beard token was inscribed with two phrases: “the beard tax has been taken” (lit: “Money taken”) and “the beard is a superfluous burden.”

Now many of us grow facial hair because we don’t have time to shave while preparing our own taxes.

Good to know there’s ClearShave 3-in-1 for us all to clean-up after tax season is over.

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Spring fever is everywhere and we’re ready to take off for ANYwhere. Even if it’s just for work.

But whether you’re traveling for work or a fun weekend, your experience is better when you are prepared. After years of packing as a “global executive” for “short-notice” business trips, here are the essentials (concierges, executive airport clubs and personal valets notwithstanding) that you should have to keep things from crashing.

1. Priority Pass
App is free to download; Three membership plans available for additional benefits
Weather delaying your flight? Use the Priority Pass App (in the App Store) and find the nearest airport executive lounge and its amenities. Members of Priority Pass can use more than 700 airport lounges worldwide regardless of airline or class of travel. Pretty cool.

2. Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger
$24.99
Outlet shortage at the airport?  A multi-socket power strip helps share the juice from a single public outlet. Never again forget any electronics in your hotel room because you’ll be plugging all of your electronics into the same place, thus, less likely to leave one behind. (Abroad, you’ll need to use an adapter and a converter though…)

3. J-Pillow
$52.95
Plan to sleep on the flight? Traveling can be a real pain in the neck, but not with this travel pillow. Through a revolutionary design J-Pillow delivers perfect neck alignment and a restful experience, thus, well worth toting it.

4. Hammacher Schlemmer’s The Thinnest Backup Laptop Battery
$99.95
Worried about running out of charge? This slim profile battery weighs less than 1 1/2 lbs yet packs a mighty 13,200 Mah battery for up to 3 1/2 hours extra laptop time – ideal for long, cross-country flights.

5. Mënaji ClearShave 3-in-1 Formula
$10
Noon o’clock shadow and stuck on a plane? No worries. Mënaji’s Clear Shave 3-in-1 gel doesn’t require water and lets you see exactly where you are shaving so you can shave quickly and gently. Post-Shave — botanical extracts serve as a natural toner to prevent ingrown hairs, dehydration and razor burn. Perfect for sensitive skin. Oh, and yep, it’s regulation travel size.

6. Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel Hand Sanitizer in JELLY WRAP™ Carriers
$3 at Walmart
Can’t wash up before you eat? Purell helps travelers stay germ-free with a snappy handle you can’t lose track of.

7. Sharper Image Travel Compression Bags
$9.99
Can’t decide between which shirts and ties to bring? Bring them all! These convenient compression bags increase luggage space by up to 70 percent.

8. Crease Release
$8
Ironing no option? Pack this travel size wrinkle-eliminator. One spritz and your wrinkles are gone, and you’re off to the races!

9. The World’s Smallest Automatic Umbrella
$34.95
Hate unprofessional-looking hoods, raincoats and ponchos? With this item, there’s no reason to ruin your professional image or get wet! At only 8” long, this is the smallest umbrella on the market and can fit in your pocket, but it opens up to a 40″ diameter canopy! Designed by pros, its sturdy construction won’t collapse in a storm. Never get caught unprepared by a sudden downpour again.

And 10.  Patagonia R1 Pullover
$129
Need an extra layer on the plane but don’t want the bulk?
A Patagonia classic, the R1 is breathable, lightweight, and crunches down to nothing to stow away. And in true Patagonia style, it’s design is flattering.

Honorable mention goes out to the B4 YOU BOARD App (Free) that allows you to order food from restaurants in select airports before you arrive and have it waiting for you at your gate so you don’t end up spending $20 on pretzels.

That’s it. Don’t forget your passport.

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Clinical nutritionist Donna Brown, M.S., offers a guide to healthy eating strategies. Look good and feel good this holiday season!

‘Tis the Season! Festive spirits abound, along with holiday parties, family gatherings, company celebrations and goodies galore. The groaning table of treats, favorite comfort foods and boozy drinks that we dream of all year long is back. We give ourselves permission to indulge now and believe we will lose weight in January.

Guys, try something else this year and avoid the Un-Fab Five by re-thinking our excessive tendencies. Try these tips instead:

  1. Use the 90/10 rule: Eat healthy 90% of the time and eat what you crave 10% of the time. This goes a long way in taking a few liberties and complying with a healthier eating plan.
  2. Don’t skip meals the day of the holiday dinner or party or you might as well kiss your self-control good-bye!
  3. Eat a protein snack before the dinner that will provide much needed energy and keep your resolve going until dinner is served. Grab an egg, a small handful of nuts, a cup of vegetable based soup, an apple with nut butter, or a plain Greek yogurt.
  4. Eat low-glycemic foods that will not cause your blood sugar to rise quickly and crash—making you even hungrier! Low glycemic foods include all vegetables plus protein and fat containing foods.
  5. Hydrate properly beforehand to keep up energy, mood, and self-control.
  6. Slow it down! Don’t grab every treat in sight! Retrain yourself to look over the buffet, fill your plate with veggies and lean protein choices first and then take smaller portions of starches and sweets, if at all!  Chew your food! Take two bites of dessert or a favorite food instead of the whole thing and you may feel satisfied.
  7. Weigh yourself in the morning.  Face your weight and keep the number you want to weigh in mind when the dessert tray or the next bottle of beer is passed around.
  8. Scare yourself a bit. Taking off five pounds is no picnic and much harder than passing up the pie!

 

Donna Brown, M.S., is a clinical nutritionist in private practice in Fairfield, CT. The Nutrition Kitchen offers personalized programs for nutrition and aging, healing nutrition, weight management, sports nutrition, food coaching and overall wellness with the goal of feeling healthier and more vibrant into the decades. www.nutritionkitchenusa.com

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