America on the 4th of July: The Freedoms We Have!

As American as apple pie…or maybe as #Merica as requesting “Free Bird” at the bar; there are a lot of things that are unique to being American. This 4th of July we will celebrate the 240th birthday of our nation. We are a special group of individuals. There are many things that we as Americans can do that those living elsewhere can’t. In honor of the 4th of July, let’s explore things that cannot be done in other countries and are uniquely American.

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Baby Names: Have a baby on the way? Want to take a page out of Hollywood’s book and name your child something creative like Apple or SssT (Forrest)? You couldn’t if you live in Denmark. Denmark has very strict rules on what a child can be named or, even how a name can be spelled. The government even has an approved list of about 7000 names parents can pick from.

Ketchup: If you are from Pittsburgh you know there’s only one ketchup, and that’s Heinz. If you go to France there is no ketchup…well, at least not in their cafeterias. The country has banned ketchup of any kind in school cafeterias (expect one day a week) to help preserve french food culture. Here you can put ketchup on anything especially french fries.

Hair: I once had my hair colored a deep red, almost burgundy. I’ve also had it cut super short where it could be spiked in the back. Now I just color it a dark brown. However, if I lived in another country I may not be able to change up my look so much. I definitely wouldn’t be able to dye my hair lilac like or icy blonde like many celebrities are doing now. In North Korea they have select hair styles you can choose from; and in Iran you can’t be business in the front and party in the back since they’ve banned mullets.

Gum: Now, we’ve all been disciplined at least once for chewing gum in school; but what about as an adult? In Singapore chewing gum was once illegal. In the past years they’ve eased up on the rules. You can now chew sugar free gum, but only if you have a prescription.

Travel: How many times have you been planning a trip and had to worry about whether your passport will get you there? Probably not many I would think. The U.S. has the 4th most powerful passport in the world. We can travel to most destinations without needing a travel visa. Afghanistan has the least powerful passport in the world. Citizens from Afghanistan can only travel to 24 countries visa free.

Freedom of Speech/Internet Access: As Americans we are quite proud of our Freedom of Speech and our access to information. Here you can express yourself (within reason, you still can’t yell “bomb” on a plane) without the government knocking down your door for expressing a dissenting opinion. We have uncensored internet assess. An IP address originating from America has access to pretty much any website. In China things are different. Internet censorship in China is huge. In order to control information and to ensure that information and opinions that differ from governments are approved messages, the internet in China is tightly controlled and patrolled.

Things That Are Uniquely American

Displaying the American Flag: Now especially, you cannot drive down the road without seeing an American flag in someone’s yard. In other countries, though, IMG_3882you normally only see it displayed on government buildings. In America, you see the flag everywhere.

Tipping: As a former waitress I find this interesting. Tipping is something that is pretty unique to America; and it confuses the heck out of foreigners (I may have been stiffed a time or two because of this). In many countries like Japan it is actually an insult to tip.

Sweet Tea: Looking at you southern states…

College Sports: Other countries don’t understand how college athletes especially college football players get so much celebrity status in the states. In other countries college sports are looked at as an “extra-curricular activity;” in America college sports get nearly as much coverage and bring in as much revenue pro-sporting events.

Muscle Cars: Need I say more?

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Without sounding too cliche; I am proud to be an American. Our country is special, unique, and influential in many ways. As you celebrate this Fourth take time to remember our history and thank those who have served and helped shaped the country we live in today.

Did we miss anything? What else can you think of that makes America stand out as a country?

Happy 4th of July! 

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Just another Friday at ABG

It’s almost the 4th of the July and that means you probably have a weekend filled with picnics and other outdoor activities. To celebrate in the ABG Capital office, we had a Staff Appreciation Ice Cream Party yesterday! It was a great way help all of our employees get ready for the holiday weekend.

On the ABG Capital blog this week, we featured a post on startups and the insurance needed to protect them. There are many different insurance options available for business owners. Before you pick one, you need to do the proper research and make sure you get a plan that fits all of your business’s needs.

Next week we’ll be sticking with the insurance theme but we’ll be looking at small business health insurance options. You may be small, but you can provide benefits just like the big boys. Although every company’s situation is unique, we’ll offer you some alternatives that are worth exploring.

Now for the most exciting part of the Just another Friday at ABG Capital blog post; your Biggest Losers Challenge updates! We concluded Week 5 of the challenge and things are going great for everyone so far. As you know, each week we have a mini challenge for our participants. This week we ask everyone to do something different to change up their exercise routine. This could be doing some kickboxing, trying a new machine at the gym or doing a Zumba class. What’s a new exercise that you could see yourself trying out? Tell us in the comments section below!

We also have a great 4th of July Survival Guide to help you stay on track with your health and wellness goals, even when you have a weekend of picnics planned. Sticking to these strategies will allow you enjoy your party time while staying healthy.

Plan ahead

When you accept an invitation to a summer barbecue ask the host what will be served and what you can bring. This way, you can make a game plan about which foods you will indulge in. It also gives you the opportunity to bring something healthy. Try one of these simple recipes:


At the party, look at everything that’s being offered first, then just have a few items that look too good to pass up. If potato salad is your thing, take a scoop and enjoy it, and skip the less appealing-to-you macaroni salad. Don’t waste calories on so-so sweets or treats you can get any time of year.

Get a little more protein

Dietary protein helps control appetite, which ultimately keeps weight in check. Look for lean proteins such as grilled chicken breast or shrimp or three-bean salad, which gets an extra make-you-full boost from fiber. Fill about one-quarter of your plate with lean protein.

Pile on the produce

You should be eating nine servings of vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables daily. That’s easy at a barbecue if you focus on summer salads, grilled vegetables, and prepared fruit plates. Load up on naturally low-calorie, low-fat produce; it should take up at least half your plate.

Be smart about alcohol

When drinking alcohol, alternate libations with water. You’ll pace yourself and cut down on all the empty calories and sugar that tend to be in summer cocktails.

Take a seat

Rather than picking and grazing, head over to a picnic table or sit down in the grass when you eat. Practice mindful eating. If you eat something distractedly, it doesn’t register, so you’ll be less satisfied and you’ll reach for more.

Relax a little!

Shooting for all healthy, all the time is a great way to fail. Allow yourself some leeway, and you’re guaranteed to have more fun and feel better. Eighty percent of the time, do 80 percent of the things that are healthy for you. During the other 20 percent, let go a little and enjoy a small portion of your favorite foods.

We even have a great recipe Chips and Dip recipe to share with you. We’re sure that other party-goers will love this treat.

Vegetable Chips & Dip


1 3-pack bag crispy organic hearts of romaineVeggie Chips and Dip

Home on the Range Dressing

2 cups raw cashews

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 cups water (or to taste for desired consistency)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or raw honey

1/3 cup chopped red onion

3 small garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried dill


In a high-speed blender, combine cashews, oil, lemon juice, water, vinegar, agave, onion, garlic, and sal,t and blend until creamy. Add basil and dill and quick-blend until you see little flecks of green. (This creates added flavor for the eyes.) Do not overblend. Serve immediately as a dressing or dip.

Dressing thickens once chilled. Add additional water to thin it out. Makes 35 ounces.

Wash and cut romaine crosswise into thirds. (This will give you 3-inch romaine chips, perfect for dipping.)

Display chips in a large bowl, set out your dressing, and watch guests enjoy a fun salad in disguise as their favorite comfort food.

Thanks for visiting the ABG Capital blog for another Just another Friday at ABG. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!