A THANKSGIVING GUIDE TO DRINKING

There are drinkers and then there are drinkers. We like to think that we fall in the latter category, and as such maintain a strict drink regime for our Thanksgiving celebrations. The key, as any professional will tell you, is not only in pacing but also in variety. To help you along we have mapped out each step of the process, from first thing in the morning through late night reveling, to keep you happy this holiday.

Morning Prep Work

Bloody Mary

We’re going to start things off pretty simply. It’s first thing in the morning and you’ve got to get that bird in the oven, but first, drink. Bloody Marys are not only boozy, but also nutritious (tomato juice and celery, guys!). Here’s what you need:

1 lemon, juiced
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces tomato juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 drops tabasco sauce
1 pinch celery salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Celery sticks, to garnish

SALT the rim of a tall glass by wetting it first with lemon juice and then dabbing it into a small pile of salt.

ADD ice to the glass.

MIX vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco and celery salt in the glass, stirring thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a celery stick.

Turkey Is in the Oven

Celebration Shooter

You did it! The turkey is in the oven and you’re on schedule to having the food on the table at a reasonable hour. You deserve to celebrate, but don’t over do it quite yet. Whip together this quick shooter, knock it back and continue with your preparations – that table isn’t going to set itself!

Dash of whiskey
Dash of amaretto
Dash of cranberry juice (substitute cranberry sauce to really make things festive)

CHILL a double-shot glass in the freezer for a few minutes.

COMBINE one part whiskey, amaretto and cranberry, as the glass will allow. Shoot it back.

Guests Arrive

Negroni

Alright, it’s game time: People are actually starting to show up. You’ll want to get the party going, but undoubtedly still have tons to do. The Negroni is a classic, a crowd pleaser, and a totally easy drink to make:

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth

PLACE ice in a short glass, or tumbler.

COMBINE all ingredients. Serve.

Turkey Time

Something Red

Once the food hits the table, it’ll be high time for wine time. A meal like this will traditionally call for a red, typically something like a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. However, if you want to try something a little different, consider adding a dry rosé or Lambrusco to the mix.

Dessert

Fortified Wine

Now that we’ve got our wine game on, let’s keep the ball rolling. As Thanksgiving is not a time for holding back, a sweet wine to go with your pumpkin and pecan pies is definitely the move. We would recommend a port or sauternes. But remember, this stuff is super sweet, so short pours are a must.

After Dinner

Fernet and Coke

There will eventually come a time when you physically cannot eat anything else. But you will, of course, still have room to continue drinking. At this point, we recommend a little something to help settle your now gorged self – which is where Fernet comes in. Fernet is an Italian liqueur made from a mix of herbs and is traditionally served as a post-dinner digestif. The taste can be a bit different, but if you mix it up with a little bit of Coca-Cola classic or, if you can get your hands on it, some of that imported Coke made with real cane sugar, you’ll be well on your way to the perfect post-feast beverage.

1 ounce Fernet
½ ounce Tuaca
2 ounces Coca-Cola

MIX Fernet, Tuaca and Coca-Cola in a glass with ice, and stir well.

STRAIN mixture into a separate glass without ice. Serve.

Late Night

Sazerac

Finally, after the dishes are done, the leftovers put away and the overly-chatty great-Aunts departed, you can really get your drink on. At this point, all that should be left are your old college buddies and their respective significant others, so we’ve got two words for you: Party. Time. Finish strong by taking things up a notch with this New Orleans absinthe classic:

1 sugar cube
½ ounce absinthe
2 ounces rye whiskey
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Dash of simple syrup
Dash Angostura bitters

CRUSH the sugar cube at the bottom of short glass or tumbler.

POUR in the absinthe and swirl around the glass so that it coats all sides, then discard anything leftover.

MIX ice, rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters in a separate glass.

STRAIN into tumbler. Serve.

 

BY 

Spice Up the Season

 

Flavorful holiday dishes for every course

(Family Features) Whether this holiday marks your culinary debut or you’re a seasoned chef looking for a fresh take on seasonal favorites, you can take some notes from the pros. Every good chef has an arsenal of tricks and techniques to create amazing dishes every time, and the perfect blend of spices is one of those winning secrets.

In a properly seasoned dish, the spice accents the natural flavors without overpowering them. That’s why it’s a good idea to build your menu around spices and herbs of the highest quality, such as Spice Islands, which crafts and packages spices and herbs from around the world to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible.

Add flavor-rich, seasonal spices to your holiday table with these flavorful recipes for a Traditional Turkey Rub, Cranberry Apple Chutney, Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter and Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes.

From the appetizers to the main dish to dessert, flavorful seasonings can make a good recipe great. Find more ideas for spicing up your holiday menu at SpiceIslands.com.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Yield: 18 mini cheesecakes

  • 18        paper baking cups (2 1/2 inch diameter)
  • 18        gingersnap cookies
  • 12        ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4       cup sugar
  • 1          tablespoon corn starch
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2          eggs
  • 1          cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3       cup light corn syrup
  1. Heat oven to 325° F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Place 1 cookie in each cup.
  2. With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice. Add eggs and mix well. Add pumpkin and corn syrup; beat 1 minute.
  3. Pour filling into liners, dividing evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes until just set.
  4. Chill 1 hour.

Cranberry Apple Chutney

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 cups

  • 1          bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 2          large apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 1/2    cups sugar
  • 2/3       cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3       cup golden raisins
  • 2          teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Minced Garlic
  • 1          teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Allspice
  • 1/4       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1/8       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Cloves
  • 2/3       cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/3       cup cider vinegar
  • 2/3       cup chopped pecans
  1. In large saucepan, combine cranberries, water, apples, sugar, onion, raisins, ginger, garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; cover, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add corn syrup, vinegar and pecans. Cook uncovered 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Serve with roast turkey, pork roast or baked ham.

Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter

Prep time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 1          tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Ginger
  • 1/4       teaspoon Spice Islands Cayenne Pepper
  • 3          pounds (about 7 cups) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2          medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2          small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2          cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2       cup water
  • Thyme Butter:
  • 1/4       cup butter, softened
  • 1/2       teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme
  • 1/2       teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. In large bowl, combine oil, ginger and cayenne pepper. Add squash, apples and onions; toss to coat. Transfer to 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Roast in single layer 35-45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven.
  3. Working in batches, combine squash mixture and one can chicken broth in blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Transfer pureed mixture to large saucepan. Stir in remaining chicken broth and water. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
  4. To make thyme butter: Combine butter, thyme and garlic powder until well blended. Spoon onto wax paper and roll into 3-inch log; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm.
  5. To serve, cut butter into thin slices. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls; top each with slice of butter.

Tip: Puree can be made in advance, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.

Traditional Turkey Rub

Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: rub for 1 turkey (about 15 pounds)

  • 2          teaspoons Spice Islands Crushed Rosemary
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Onion Powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
  • 1/8       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • Spice Islands Ground Black Pepper
  • pure olive oil (optional)
  • 1          turkey
  1. In small bowl, combine rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder and cinnamon. Generously add salt and pepper. Lightly coat turkey with oil, if desired.
  2. Rub all surfaces of turkey with seasoning. Roast according to package directions.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (whole turkey on platter)

SOURCE:
Spice Islands

Five tips for staying on budget and keeping the holidays jolly

Candy cane cache: Maintain your holiday budget through these 5 tips

(BPT) – If you’re one of those savvy consumers already strategizing how to best fund gifts and other expenses this holiday season, you’re not alone. Sixty-five percent of U.S. adults who give holiday presents establish a budget for these purchases, according to a recent Coinstar survey. Yet 85 percent admit they still tend to go over budget when it comes to gift buying, entertainment, travel, decorating and other holiday expenses.

Fortunately, planning ahead can reduce the risk of overspending. Consider how implementing the following ideas can help you stay on task and on budget when it comes to this year’s holiday expenses.

1. Estimate all of your anticipated holiday expenses, not just gift purchases. Consider costs for decorations, food/alcohol, travel and special events to gain a realistic idea of your projected cash output. If the total is out of reach, consciously decide where to cut back so you’re less likely to spend impulsively. You may have to acknowledge that you’re not able to host a lavish party or buy generous presents for everyone on your list.

2. Reduce your stress by starting your shopping early and taking advantage of sales throughout the year. These strategies will help spread your costs so they don’t all hit at once and reduce your overall holiday spending budget. A full one-third of U.S. adults shop throughout the year, according to Coinstar’s survey, and 27 percent buy the majority of their presents on sale. Only 14 percent are last-minute shoppers. Looking for bargains and unique gift items at stores, at special events and on websites can even be fun when you’re not in a panic.

3. Think of ways to boost your spending power. One method is turning to the spare change you’ve stashed away in a coin jar, in vehicles and around your home. It’s easy to take your change to one of about 20,000 Coinstar kiosks located at grocery stores throughout the country. For many, that’s found money that can be converted into cash or transformed (at no fee) into e-gift cards from popular vendors such as Amazon, Best Buy, Sephora, Lowe’s and Starbucks.

4. Draw names and set gift spending limits for family gift exchanges. As families grow through marriage or children added to the brood, it’s easy to allow spending and gift giving to get out of control. White elephant exchanges can be great for the kids in the family. Have them gift one of their toys or possessions to another child in the family. That will not only be softer on the wallet, but will teach them the power of gifting and reusing.

5. Consider gifts big on thoughtfulness and small in cost. Perhaps a handcrafted work of art, homemade baked goods or a meaningful service such as childcare would mean more to some recipients than a store-bought knickknack, electronic gadget or sweater.

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you go over budget despite your best efforts. You can always make up for it by cutting expenses outside the holiday season when you may face less temptation and pressure to buy.

For more information on how Coinstar works, visit www.coinstar.com.

What Not to Forget on a Cruise

10 Things to Remember to Pack

We all know that sinking feeling when you realize you’ve left something important behind, whether it’s your phone in the car or your wallet at the restaurant you just left. That feeling is much worse when you’re on a cruise and discover that you’ve forgotten something at home. While not every “oops” will upend your cruise, some will, while others can prove to be enough of headache to put a dent in an otherwise great vacation.

From A to Z, we list a few critical things not to forget the next time you cruise.

1. Adapter/converter

If you’re traveling outside of the North American and Caribbean region and will be spending any time at a hotel, you’ll need to bring a power adapter and/or converter with you. It’s an easy item to forget as most cruise ships these days offer both North American and European plug sockets, but hotels do not. We recommend getting an all-in-one world adapter/converter that you just leave in your suitcase all the time; that way you’ll always have it when you need it. (Plus, you can use it on your cruise ship to make use of an additional outlet.)

2. Band-Aids

Unless you’re on a warm-weather cruise and plan on plonking yourself down poolside all day or at the beach in every port, you’ll probably be doing a lot more walking than you expect. Even your most broken-in shoes might start to feel a little rough in destinations like Alaska and Europe where glacier hikes or walking tours are standard fare. Be prepared for the inevitable blister or two with Band-Aids at hand, in whatever bag you carry with you off the ship and some spare ones onboard.

3. Chargers

Don’t waste half a port day chasing down a laptop charger like one Cruise Critic senior editor was forced to do after switching laptop bags and forgetting to move the charger to the new bag. If you’re bringing anything that needs to be charged, make sure to double-check you’ve got the charger for it. There are lots of cruise destinations where getting a replacement charger could be near to impossible. You do not want to be stuck in a picture-perfect setting with no way to take a picture!

4. Emergency contact list

Sure, we’ve all got our contact numbers stored in our cell phones these days, but what if someone else needs to make a call on your behalf and your phone requires a PIN or thumbprint? Or what if the phone is missing or the battery is dead? Having a hard copy of all your emergency contacts in your wallet or stored in your in-cabin safe could turn out to be a lifesaver.

5. ID

Sadly, we’ve read horror stories of people showing up to cruise ports without their passports, birth certificates or required visas and getting turned away. If it’s the last thing you do before you walk out your door, always check to make sure you’ve got all the identification and paperwork that is required for every step of your trip. Whether its passports, birth certificates (only an option on closed loop cruise sailings out of a U.S. port) or visas for countries you’ll be visiting, forgetting any one of these could leave you stranded while your cruise ship sails away. For an extra layer of security, keep copies of all of these (as well as your travel insurance policy) in a separate location from the originals.

6. Medications

Other than a handful of over-the-counter remedies (cold pills, pain relievers and seasickness treatments) sold at inflated prices, cruise ships carry only a limited supply of prescription medications, and these are given out only in emergencies. If you take any kind of medicine on a daily basis, be it prescription, vitamin or something else, it’s imperative you bring enough with you to last your entire cruise — and even a few days longer just in case some type of travel delay prevents you from getting home on time. Even though most cruise ships do carry pills for seasickness prevention either in the sundries shop or in the medical center, if you’re prone to seasickness you shouldn’t forget to bring your own supply as well.

7. Sweater

Even on warm-weather cruises you’re likely to run into unexpected chilly air, particularly in public areas of your cruise ship where the A/C is often set to “blast.” Plus, you never known when Mexico or the Caribbean will be hit by a cold spell. Forgetting to bring a pullover, cardigan, sweatshirt or sweater could result in spending extra money on an over-priced piece of clothing you never wear again.

8. Snack bars/packs

Going to be off your cruise ship for an entire day? Bussing it out to a remote shore expedition locale where there might not be any convenience stores? It’s never a bad idea to have a snack with you when getting off the ship as you don’t always know if you’ll be able to get something to eat if you need it. (This is especially essentially if you’ve got kids in tow or have issues with low blood sugar.) But taking food off a cruise ship is always a no-no unless it’s a prepackaged, sealed snack bar or snack pack style. Since these types of snack foods are rarely sold on cruise ships, don’t forget to throw a handful into your luggage when packing.

9. Tampons & pads

Ladies, listen up! Don’t forget to bring your preferred brand of tampons and pads when you cruise. Whether you’re due for your period or not, it’s always a good idea to have a stash on hand, particularly if your cruise sailing includes lots of sea days or visits exotic locations where sanitary products might not be readily available.

10. Ziploc bags

You can use Ziploc bags for practically anything, from an impromptu protector for your phone from the sand and water if you’re hanging on the beach to something to throw your wet bathing suit into if you’ve got the time to change after snorkeling. They’re also great if you want to grab some food from the buffet for a late-night snack in your room or for storing a sandwich if you don’t want to give up your prime lounger by the pool at lunch time.

Can “Useless” Things Be Valuable?

Call us sentimental, but there’s something about holding onto so-called “useless” things that brings us a surprising amount of joy. Some things, like your high school playbills or a flower from your first date, have no purpose but you simply can’t bear to part with them. There’s nothing wrong with keeping small, treasured items; that’s why they’re called keepsakes, after all. But what are we supposed to do with them all? We tapped our organization expert – Marie Kondo – to help us find the value of having a little bit of (well-organized) clutter…

From Marie Kondo

“I’m not sure this will be of any use. But just looking at it makes me happy. It’s enough just to have it!” Usually a client will say this while holding up some random item that seems to have no conceivable purpose, such as a scrap of cloth or a broken brooch.

If it makes you happy, then the right choice is to keep it confidently, regardless of what anyone else says. Even if you keep it in a box, you’ll still enjoy taking it out to look at it. But if you’re going to keep it anyway, then why not get the most out of it? Things that seem senseless to others, things that only you could ever love – these are precisely the things you should display.

In general, there are four ways to use such items for decorating your home: place them on something (miniatures, stuffed animals, etc.); hang them (keychains, hair ties, etc.); pin or paste them up (postcards, wrapping paper, etc.); or use them as wraps or covers (anything pliable like scraps of cloth, towels, etc.).

Let’s start with the first category – items to place on something. While this is pretty straightforward, it can be applied not only to things like ornaments and figurines, which were meant to be displayed in this way, but also to other items. A heap of them placed directly on top of a shelf can look rather messy, so I suggest “framing” them by placing them together on a plate, a tray, a pretty cloth, or in a basket. This not only looks neater but is also easier to clean. Of course, if you actually prefer the more casual look of piling them directly on a shelf, please go ahead. Or use a display case if you have one.

One of my clients took a large corsage and stuck a rhinestone frog brooch in the center so that the frog’s face poked out. She then put this in a space between her brassieres inside a drawer. I’ll never forget the smile on her face when she told me, “It makes me happy just to see his face peeping out whenever I open this drawer.”

For the second category, items that hang, you can use keychains or hair ties as accents in your clothes closet by slipping them over the crooks of your hangers. You can also wrap the necks of hangers with longer things, such as gift-box ribbons or a necklace that you’re tired of wearing. Or you can hang things from wall hooks, the ends of curtain rails, and anywhere else that looks feasible. If the item is too long and awkward-looking, you can cut it or tie it to adjust the length.
If you have so many things to hang that you run out of places, try stringing them together to make a single ornament. One of my clients made a curtain by stringing together cell phone straps of a local mascot she loved, and hung it across the entranceway. While the sight of the mascots’ faces waving in the air looked rather bizarre, the owner declared that it transformed her doorway into
“the entrance to paradise.”

This brings us to the third category, items for pasting and pinning up. Decorating the inside of your closet with posters you have no other place for is standard practice in the KonMari Method. This can inject a thrill into any kind of storage space, including your cupboard walls and closet doors, the back boards of your shelves, and the bottoms of your drawers. You can use cloth, paper, or anything else, as long as it brings you joy.

The final category for decorating your interior with favorite items is things that can be used for wrapping. This includes anything supple, such as leftover scraps of cloth, hand towels, tote bags, and clothes made with beautiful patterns and fabrics that you love but that don’t fit you anymore. Such items can be used to bundle up low-voltage cables that are long and unsightly or as dust covers for household appliances when they’re not in use, such as electric fans in winter. Down quilts that are stored away for the off-season can be rolled up to expel the air inside and kept in a cloth carrying bag. This works just as well as vacuum-sealed storage bags.

By the time you finish, you’ll see something you love everywhere you look.

Hurricane Aid For Residents Of Puerto Rico Remains Unloaded At Ports

As residents of Puerto Rico continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, much of the needed aid sent to the island has yet to make it into their hands. Instead, cargo container after cargo container — holding things like meals, first aid materials, and other items — remain at port because the system in place to move the goods has been equally devastated by the storm. 

Bloomberg reports that despite efforts to ease the transport of emergency materials to the island — such as the recent 10-day waiver of the 1920 Jones Act, which limited the way shipments could be made to Puerto Rico — little in the way of aid has actually reached residents.

Instead of heading to residents in need, the emergency supplies packed into thousands of cargo containers remain untouched near docks, in part because of a lack of workers to unpack them and infrastructure no longer stable enough to transport or house the goods.

“There are plenty of ships and plenty of cargo to come into the island,” Mark Miller, a spokesman for Crowley, an operator of one Puerto Rico dock, tells Bloomberg. “From there, that’s where the supply chain breaks down — getting the goods from the port to the people on the island who need them.”

Not Moving

Trouble transporting the aid comes from a combination of issues on the island: a lack of workers, damaged infrastructure, and a lack of power.

For instance, many of the buildings that would typically be used to house the aid after it is removed from the containers have been damaged and remain without electricity.

Additionally, while Bloomberg notes that trucks sit ready to transport aid, there aren’t drivers available to move them. Instead, many of these people are now caring for their families, cleaning their properties, and abiding by the island’s 7 p.m. curfew.

But even if there were drivers, they likely would run into issues with the island’s infrastructure, as the large trucks used to transport goods across the island are no longer able to navigate unstable, washed out roads or the roads are simply impassable thanks to downed power lines.

Retired army lieutenant general Russel Honore tells Bloomberg that Puerto Rico is in need of assistance from the U.S. military, which could provide ships, aircraft, and trucks that could move the supplies to communities.

Waiting For Space

Another issue affecting the ability to get relief to victims of the storm is the abundance of retailers’ goods sitting on docks.

Bloomberg reports that the storage space used by Crowley is currently housing thousands of containers full of products meant for retailers’ shelves.

The company is trying to get those containers moved in order to make room for aid supplies.

Is Rick Scott Re-Evaluating His Stance on Climate Change Post-Irma?

“Clearly, our environment changes all the time,” the Republican leader said after touring Irma’s devastation. “And whether that’s cycles we’re going through or whether that’s man-made, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one it is.”

It’s good to see Scott pondering those wacky ideas we’ve all heard floating around: Human-caused climate changemore intense hurricanesrising sea levels, etc. Coming to terms with climate change is a journey we all must pursue at our own pace! It’s not urgent or anything.

So what is Scott feeling sure about? Let’s hear it:

This is a catastrophic storm our state has never seen,” he warned on Saturday before Irma hit Florida.

“We ought to go solve problems. I know we have beach renourishment issues. I know we have flood-mitigation issues,” he said in the wake of Irma.

“I’m worried about another hurricane,” he shared with reporters while touring the Florida Keys this week. We feel ya, Scott.

Big ideas! Perhaps a fellow Florida Republican could illuminate their common thread.

“[I]t’s certainly not irresponsible to highlight how this storm was probably fueled — in part — by conditions that were caused by human-induced climate change,” Florida congressman Carlos Curbelo said this week.

In fact, it just might be necessary.

Grady Judd, Would You Please Just STFU Already?

With Hurricane Irma posing an immediate and catastrophic danger to Florida, you’d think local law enforcement would be focused on saving lives and preparing for the worst. But you’re not the Polk County Sheriff’s office, who made it clear on Wednesday that their priority seems to be spooking people from even showing up at emergency shelters in the first place.

Not a week goes by that I have to endure some sort of media blitz from our good ‘ol grand-standing redneck Sheriff, Grady Judd. Whether it be by Tv, radio or social media, our very own Boss Hogg doesn’t know when to just shut the fuck up. Listen, I get the tweets…

Because nothing says “save yourself from this oncoming natural disaster!” quite like announcing that you’ll have police officers running background checks on anyone trying to find refuge from the storm.

Of course, no one wants their child in a shelter next to a Sexual Predator. Personally I think that most of them should castrated or sent North Korea to serve as Un’s personal lady-boys. However, there is a time and a place for your constant, untimely loquaciousness.

And sure, Sheriff Grady Judd insisted that this was all because of “sexual offenders and predators,” but the broader chilling effect for anyone who thinks they might have reason to be locked up (say, for example, the 800,000 people notified yesterday that the program shielding them from deportation was about to be pulled out from beneath their feet) could very well prompt that person to stay home and try to ride out Irma on their own—and get themselves killed in the process.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Carrie Horstman insisted that the tweets were meant as a warning to help save lives, and not deter people from actively seeking shelter.

“I think it is much safer to be in our jail than to expose yourself to a Category 5 storm,” Horstman said. “You are using the phrase, ‘people who are scared to go to jail.’ If you have a warrant, legally you should be in jail. You should turn yourself in and be safe in our jail rather than risk your life waiting out a storm.”

Whether or not the Polk County Sheriff’s Office actually nabs themselves some bad guys during the storm remains to be seen. As does whether or not there’ll be a Polk County left when Irma is done with it. Hopefully, Grady gets hit by some debris… fingers crossed.

How To Help The Victims Of Hurricane Harvey’s Devastating Flooding In Texas

In this Getty photo, Rockport resident Steve Culver comforts his dog, Otis, while telling photographers about the “most terrifying event in his life.” In doing so, he sat outside his hurricane-ravaged home where he and his wife rode out the Category 4 Hurricane Harvey on Friday. Corpus Christi and other Texan communities hold many other similar stories from residents, and further inland in Houston, over 1000 people were rescued from their Harvey-flooded homes. Over the next few days, Texas could see up to 30 more inches of rain before the slow-moving tropical storm departs.

All of these displaced residents feel fortunate to tell their stories, for Harvey has already claimed five lives, but these survivors face an unfathomable road ahead. Homes, lives, and memories must be rebuilt, and those who are watching the situation unfold from afar can feel powerless to help.

However, there are many ways that you can assist Harvey victims. Monetary contributions are generally the most effective method of immediate help, so here’s how you can do that (and make other types of contributions):

American Red Cross: Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the organization that’s mobilized to assist coastal communities with supplies and shelter. You may also visit RedCross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to donate a different amount.

Or you can donate to the Red Cross while making an iTunes purchase. Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted a request for everyone to join in the effort.

The Salvation Army: To donate money, you can visit GiveSalvationArmy.org or call 1-800-725-2769. The organization also needs volunteers to deploy into affected areas (details are available here).

The South Texas Blood And Tissue Center: The center is in need of blood donations from those in fit physical condition. All donations must come from those 18 or older or who complete a parental consent form.

SPCA Of Texas: Donate here to help provide food and shelter for pets who are displaced or otherwise affected by this storm.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital: Click here to support the Corpus Christi children’s hospital, which incurred significant costs to transport patients away from danger until the area becomes habitable again.

Catholic Charities: Donate here to provide money that will be used for food and shelter during the immediate phase of this disaster. The organization has also committed to helping rebuilding efforts for those who have lost homes.

How To Prepare For A Hurricane

If you’re familiar with hurricane history, you know that anyone living along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico needs to know how to prepare for massive tropical storms.

And because hurricanes pose a variety of threats — flooding, high winds, storm surges, tornadoes — it is important to prepare in advance and to follow the hurricane safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other emergency management officials.

Before a hurricane

  • Pack an emergency preparedness kit that will meet the needs of you and your family for three days. The kit, of course, will be handy in the wake of any natural or man-made disaster. An emergency preparedness kit needs to include food and water for each member of your family for three days, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first aid kit, can opener, toilet paper, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation. A complete list of recommended items for an emergency kit can be found at Ready.gov, FEMA’s emergency preparedness website.
  • Store emergency supplies in an easy-to-carry plastic storage container or duffel bag, making them easy to grab and go should local emergency management officials order an evacuation.
  • In addition to the essentials in the emergency preparedness kit, pack sleeping bags or blankets, paper towels, books, puzzles, board games and special foods that will make a stay in a shelter more comfortable.
  • Board up windows using 5/8” marine plywood. Using tape on windows won’t prevent them from breaking.
  • Fill the gas tank of your car.
  • Know emergency routes and make transportation arrangements. Identify a place away from home where you can go if you have to leave.
  • Get a supply of cash.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting so that food will last longer should the power go out. Keep the doors closed as much as possible to hold in the cold.
  • Gather and store inside anything that might turn into a missile: lawn furniture, lawn art, garbage cans, tools.
  • Fill your bathtubs — and other large containers — to make sure you have a supply of water for cleaning and flushing toilets. This is in addition to your supply of drinking water.
  • Follow directions regarding evacuation, especially if you live in a mobile home, a high-rise building, on the coast or in a floodplain.

During a hurricane

  • Brace external doors.
  • Close interior doors.
  • Close all curtains and blinds, even if you have plywood over the windows.
  • Wait out the storm in an interior, windowless room or closet on the ground floor.
  • If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles.
  • Listen to news and weather reports.

After a hurricane

  • Check everyone for injuries. Administer first aid, but don’t move anyone seriously injured unless they are at risk for further injury.
  • Be alert to hazards created by hurricane damage such as broken glass and downed power lines.
  • Stay off flooded roads.
  • When returning to your home if you’ve been evacuated, walk carefully around the outside and look for damage such as loose power lines and gas leaks. Do not enter the house if it is still surrounded by floodwaters or if you smell natural gas.
  • Throw out any food that was not kept at proper temperatures or that was exposed to flood waters.
  • Take photographs of damage to your house and the contents to show when filing an insurance claim.