Staff Contributor

Staff Contributor

THE ROCK FATHER: The Pop Culture & Lifestyle Magazine for Families that Rock.

It's the premiere destination for the best in entertainment for the ENTIRE family, kids and grownups alike. Featuring the latest news and reviews on Music, Movies, TV, Comics, Books, Toys & Games, and lifestyle coverage including Home & Garden, Automotive, Cool Products and more, THE ROCK FATHER has it all...

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy Award-winner BRIAN SETZER will be doing double duty this summer, touring with The STRAY CATS as well kicking off his 2019 "ROCKABILLY RIOT!" Summer Tour. 

The U.S. "ROCKABILLY RIOT!" dates begin August 5 in Lancaster, PA and wrap August 30 in Henderson, NV (see the full itinerary below). Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, March 29 at 10:00 AM, local time. 

The quintessential American dream involves having a house with a beautiful lawn and having man's best friend by your side. Unfortunately, many homeowners find that these two elements don't always go well together. Pups like to dig in the dirt, roll around in the grass, and mark their territory -- all of which can wreak havoc on your lovely landscaping. But the truth is that you don't have to choose between the nice yard and the loyal dog. There's good news for the majority of American households that have at least one pet: your pup and your property can coexist in harmony, as long as you're strategic about the way you landscape. Here are some essential elements you'll want to include in your dog-friendly yard.

Put in Some Pathways

When you're in the design phase of your landscaping, you'll want to include some designated paths and walkways. Not only are they charming to look at and may even increase guest safety, but they're also a good way to let your pet know where they are allowed to go (and where they aren't). If your pet already loves traveling a specific route in your yard, incorporate that into the design. Instead of allowing your dog to disrupt the grass to forge their own path in a specific area, you can make a clearer one for them. This can allow them to satisfy their territorial instincts and explore without damaging your garden. Just make sure that the materials you use won't hurt your pup's paws. Usually, stepping stones, soft ground cover, or cedar gravel will work nicely.

Zone Off Some Areas

You'll want to add some barriers and designate some specific spots in your landscaping. This can allow your garden to flourish and your dog to get the most out of the outdoor space without having to sacrifice too much on either side. Establish one area specifically for your dog to get some exercise, as having an open space to play, run around, or even dig can keep them from disrupting your flower beds or your vegetable garden. You'll also want to make one area for your dog to do their business. The nitrogen found in dog urine can harm your grass, so making an area that's filled with moss or gravel will be ideal for your pooch. You may also want to install some short fences or other kinds of borders to show your dog the areas that are off-limits to them. A dog proof gate and taller fence can also work, especially if you're able to plant flowers around it to give it a softer feel.

Watch Out For Toxic Plants

If you're going to create a dog-friendly yard, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the plants that could cause harm to your pup and be sure to exclude them from your yearly plantings. Lillies, rhododendron, crocus, ivy, daffodils, tulips, chrysanthemum, hosta, and even tomato plants can be toxic to animals. Some wildflowers and wild mushrooms can be poisonous, as well. You'll want to check the toxic plants section of the ASPCA's website to make certain you know which plants are fine to include. Refraining from including toxic varieties in your landscaping can prevent your dog from accidentally ingesting these plants and will keep them safe from harm. If you feel you need to include them in your garden, you'll want to make sure they're in an area that's completely inaccessible to your dog.

Provide Some Shelter

It's a good idea to include some features that can help to protect your dog and to help them stay healthy and relaxed on hot days -- and we don't just mean the traditional dog house.

A dog-friendly water feature can be a nice addition, as this will keep your pup from getting too dehydrated and can provide them with some amusement as they patrol the yard. You may also want to add something that can provide shade, like a large dog house, a pergola, an arbor, an awning, or even a large tree. Dogs can get sunburned or suffer from heat stroke just like humans do, so providing them with a place to cool off is essential. Of course, you'll want your pup to stay inside or only go outside when necessary during times of extreme heat. But since staying active is also important for overall dog health, this can be a good way to ensure your furry friend will get enough exercise but won't suffer from exhaustion.

Use Natural Pesticides and Fertilizers

Nearly 69% of U.S. homeowners say their lawns could use some improvement, which is perhaps why many of us turn to chemicals to treat our lawns and to keep pests at bay. Unfortunately, the use of many of these products can be extremely harmful to our pets. One recent study found that the use of certain lawn care chemicals directly correlates with the development of lymphoma in animals. Some dog breeds are also more likely to develop bladder cancer if they're exposed to the chemicals found in these lawn care products. Fertilizers and insecticides can be harmful to wildlife in general, so it's recommended that you either opt for an organic product or rely on homemade alternatives. Often, the non-toxic alternatives are fairly easy to make and are just as (if not more) effective than the dangerous products you'll find on the shelf. No matter what you use, make sure to keep your pup out of the yard after it's applied and lock away any products you use on your lawn so your dog won't have access.

Every year, Americans remodel more than 14.2 million bathrooms and 10.2 million kitchens. However, if you really want to improve your quality of life, few things make more of a difference than a happy pet!

Although it may require a bit of extra work, it really is possible to obtain a gorgeous garden and have your canine enjoy it with you. If you keep these tips in mind, you'll be able to "petscape" your yard with ease -- and you might even create a landscape design you love even more than the original setup.

When it comes to taking care of your family, one of the main things you want to do the right way is handling their medical needs. Most people recognize the importance of having a trustworthy doctor, but what about your dentist? Believe it or not, one in five U.S. children go without dental care. Dental care can be regularly looked over when it comes to maintaining overall health, but it's essential for keeping your kids as healthy as they can be.

So how do you find a dentist you can trust to provide the best care possible for your family? Dentistry is considered one of the ten most trusted and ethical professions in the United States, but you want the absolute best for your kids and loved ones; how do you sort through them all? Here are a few things you should consider when selecting a new family dentist.


There's a reason word-of-mouth is one of the most successful forms of marketing out there. Your family and friends are great resources for finding businesses you trust, and that's just as true of dentists and doctors. Talk to any family or close friends living in your area to see what dentists they can recommend near you. Ask them about their experiences, if possible, to get a better idea of if this doctor would be a good fit for you or your kids.


A dentist is only a good one for you if you're able to actually make appointments and get to them on time. Check online or call dentists to see what hours they're able to schedule you for appointments and if they're located near you. You want your dentist to be available when you or your child need care; if the schedules don't line up, you'll find yourself juggling appointments with an already busy schedule.

Get To Know Them

If you really want to know whether a dentist is trustworthy and will get along with you and your family, the best thing you can do is talk to them. Call your dentist before your appointment and get to know them, or set up a time to talk before bringing your kids in for a checkup. This will let you know if you should be scheduling appointments with them regularly or looking elsewhere for your family's dental care.

Overall employment of dentists is projected to grow 19% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual salary for dentists being $158,120 is enticing a lot of younger people to look at dentistry as a career choice. This means that in the coming years, there will likely be more dentist options to sort through when looking for the best possible care for your family. However, by checking your family and friends' recommendations and the dentist's schedule, as well as getting to know the dentist, you can feel confident in knowing you've found a trustworthy dentist to provide care for you and your family for years to come.

A recreational vehicle (RV) is a motor vehicle or trailer that includes living quarters designed for accommodation. According to RVIA, there are as many as 30 million RV enthusiasts, including RV renters across the United States. Motorhomes, camper vans, caravans, fifth-wheel trailers, truck campers, pop-up campers, and more are widely used across the country for RV purposes.

Another popular vehicle for decades is great for recreational purposes, as well: Jeep. In 2018, according to a Statista survey, 2.25% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 owned a Jeep. These vehicles are great for off-roading across muddy terrain as well as commuting to and from corporate office jobs. Recently, RV enthusiasts have been able to transform their Jeeps into powerful vehicles that not only drive well and look cool, but are livable during camping trips and other outdoor excursions.

According to Motor1, the American Fastbacks Badlands Jeep is a perfect Wrangler-based RV.

For decades, drivers who love the outdoors have opted for Jeeps over all kinds of reliable vehicles. For camping trips, these drivers could simply throw a tent, sleeping bag, and a cooler in the back and were ready to go for an outdoor adventure. Rather than only using a Jeep to get to campsites, California-based American Fastbacks has turned Jeeps into campsites.

The typical vehicle on the road in the U.S. is a record-high 11.5 years old. Though older Jeeps can be converted into RV, livable vehicles, as well, the Badlands Jeep is anything but typical. This rugged, one-of-a-kind vehicle offers two sleeping areas, which comfortably sleeps four people above and in the rear section of the Jeep. Additionally, it's equipped with a stove top, refrigerator, and a roof-mounted electric hardtop camper, making it easy to relax, get comfortable, and extend your trip wherever you are in the country.

Here are some of the excellent features and what's included with the American Fastbacks Badlands:

  • Custom grill (badger) paint matched

  • Custom floor mats with ABF logo

  • Stock fender with mudflaps

  • Heavy duty spare tire carrier

  • Off-road style powder coated, front and rear bumper

  • Fairlead and LED light with remote control

  • Custom Lester seats with ABF logo

  • 12,000 lb. super winch with synthetic rope

  • Custom electric running boards with light

  • 35" A/T tires high speed balanced

  • AFB 2.5 in. lift with Fox Racing shocks

  • 20" aluminum wheels with five lug sets

Unlike conventional RVs, Jeeps are much smaller -- which is not a bad thing -- and have the ability to explore terrains of all kinds. And considering the average personal vehicle gets about 27 miles to the gallon, this could make your next adventure more environmentally friendly. Outdoor adventurers can't exactly get a large RV up steep mountains or through muddy pieces of land. Jeeps certainly can, allowing campers to set up and explore areas that could never be accessed with traditional RVs.

In addition to the Badlands Jeep, the Action Camper is another all-terrain Jeep Wrangler that is a drop-in camping RV. The Action Camper, equipped with a chemical toilet, kitchen, and plenty of sleeping space, was designed to enable the Jeep to explore terrains of all kinds and simultaneously offer the convenience of RV campers.

Using Jeeps as all-terrain campsites isn't just a random fad for the year, either. In fact, it's becoming an extremely popular trend within the RV community for both seasoned campers and young adventurers, alike.

"The Millennial generation is one that desires the experience of travel, the experience of seeing great things around the country," said Kevin Broom, RVIA spokesperson. "And they enjoy that sense of adventure."

Small businesses, which are defined as organizations with fewer than 500 employees, account for 99.7% of all companies in the United States.

If you're thinking about opening some kind of small business yourself, instead of renting out or buying an expensive office building, you might want to consider a shipping container. Since you'll likely only need an employee or two while you're first starting out, a container is a great area for dozens of business ventures.

There are roughly 17 million shipping containers across the globe, but only 6 million of them are currently in use. That means approximately 11 million shipping containers are just sitting there, unused, and could be utilized for all kinds of purposes -- including opening brand new small businesses.

You're still going to have to work hard, however, but it can be done. According to a U.S. Bank study, 82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems. As long as you're working hard and doing what you enjoy or passionate about, you should be in for a very rewarding and lucrative new adventure! Whether you're just trying to get some freelance writing done or want to open a pop-up shop, there are plenty of ways to get creative with shipping containers and actually earn some serious revenue.

Here are some creative ideas for turning a storage container into a brand new small business:

  • Gift shop -- No matter what item you are thinking about selling, opening up a small retail business is a great way to earn some extra cash if you know what you're doing. Consider setting up your continuer shop in high-traffic areas like tourist attractions and community events. Then, keep your container stocked with quality items and start mingling!

  • Mobile bar -- You'll need to acquire all the necessary permits and licensing, of course, but setting up a mobile bar or tap house can be a cool and fun way to earn more during the weekends. These are great for concerts, festivals, carnivals, parades, and so much more. Shipping containers offer quick and easy for patrons to come up and enjoy a fine beverage.

  • Portable classroom -- Whether you're starting a tutoring business or just teaching a few workshops a few times a month, containers make for great learning environments. The overwhelming reason to utilize portable classrooms is the speed of delivery (35%), following by shifting enrollments (26%), and the relatively inexpensive nature of the classrooms (25%).

  • Bookstore -- Do you have a large collection of books that are just sitting in your basement? Instead of keeping them and letting dust pile up, consider setting up a book shop out of your new container. It might be tough to convince passersby to purchase new books, but if you advertise your books on social media, the bookworms will surely make their way to you.

  • Clothing retailer -- Containers have plenty of space to open up a nice clothing boutique. Whether you're selling old clothes or are designing and making your own, people love buying new clothing items for affordable prices.

  • Art gallery -- You can buy, sell, trade, or even make all kinds of art pieces from the comfort of a quality shipping container. You probably shouldn't start with pieces in the tens of thousands, but selling a few nice paintings or trading a few cool drawings is a great way to spend your time.

These are only a few ideas for container businesses, but you can get as creative as you want. Don't be one of the 80% of people who don't keep their resolutions! Stop wasting your free time in front of the TV -- it's time to get out there and follow your dreams.

Of the four styles of BBQ this country boasts, Texas BBQ is the most well-known. The famed pit barbeque creates smoked meats so flavorful that side dishes are secondary: one article in The New Yorker stated, "you don't hear a lot of people talking about the piquancy of a restaurant's sauce or the tastiness of its beans; discussions are what a scholar of the culture might call meat-driven."

When you have a product so good that it stands alone -- and is purchased by the pound, even in restaurants -- the urge to change or alter it in any way seems nonexistent. However, when you take into account the popularity of Tex-Mex, a combination of Mexican and southwest U.S. cuisines, the concept of a delicious food mishmash is too good to pass up.

The Birth Of A New Cuisine

Tex-Mex barbeque has become more common in the last few years, mostly due to the presence of new restaurants like Valentina's in Austin and 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio. Esaul Ramos, owner of the latter, stated he simply studied the pit-style way of smoking meats and combined the skill with the foods he grew up eating; tacos, barbacoa, pico de gallo, and nopales all have a place in Tex-Mex barbeque.

At Valentina's, you can enjoy a slice of juicy brisket inside a warm tortilla, and a side dish of rice and beans is as common as coleslaw. The merging of the two cuisines is having quite the cultural impact on the country's biggest state. Since backyard barbeques are popular the nation over, we figured we'd teach you how to throw a Tex-Mex BBQ of your own.

This Pit Is Lit

The most important part of any barbeque is the food selection, and this goes tenfold for Tex-Mex BBQ cuisine.

  • Meats: Texas barbeque relies on three main meats, all smoked over the pit, of course. Sliced beef brisket, German-style sausage, and meaty ribs with a tangy, tomato-based sauce are the staples. The meat is meant to be untouched, while the Tex-Mex influence impacts how it's served and what it's served with.

  • Sides: Classic barbeque sides include macaroni and cheese and potato salad, but savory condiments are heavily favored. Pickled jalapeno peppers, cherry peppers, sliced onions, and dill pickles provide a little extra saltiness to the meal. Add some black bean, corn, and tomato salad for that Tex-Mex flair, or simply serve with rice and beans. As long as you're relying on Mexican fundamentals -- such as peppers, corn, and beans --, your barbeque will have some kick to it.

  • Beverages: Sweet tea is a great non-alcoholic choice, and there are many Texan beers and wines to choose from. Shiner Bock from Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, is a favorite among Texans, as are hearty reds (like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) from Llano Estacado Winery or Caprock Winery -- both are located in the panhandle of Texas and have won numerous awards.

How much you buy depends on how many guests you're expecting; the average party size that requires a caterer is between 100 and 250 people, so keep that in mind if you're trying to throw a neighborhood-wide rager. As much as you might want to smoke and roast the meat yourself, sometimes a professional team is needed. Gather the requisite tables, chairs, and utensils, and you've got a great party on your hands.

You don't need to be from the Lone Star State in order to host a backyard get-together embracing its cultural cuisine and history; if you possess a love of good food, great friends, and want to experience Tex-Mex barbeque for yourself, take matters into your own hands. Once their bellies are full, nobody will care where you're from or where you grew up!


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