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Ultimate Belly Dance Resource Guide: Videos, Music, Costumes, Props and More!

Belly dancing is is a wonderful form of self-expresson and a fun way to stay fit.  There are many benefits that you receive from “the dance”- better posture, feelings of joy, physical strength, and a sense of internal strength, just to name a few.

This belly dance resource guide will give you my highest recommendations in the realm of belly dance. Included are the best in videos, online belly dance classes, music, costumes, props, instruments, tips, performance checklist, and helpful websites. You’ll want to bookmark and share this webpage with your friends who belly dance or who are interested in getting started!

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Gift Guide: Buy American Made, Create Jobs!

Flag Flying
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sam Howzit

I saw an awesome segment on ABC news the other night. It was called “Made in America.” This gist is this:

If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs.

The rallying call is: “ARE YOU IN?” Would you try to buy American-Made products this year at Christmas (and I say beyond) in order to help create jobs for America? I’m in! With so many products made overseas it’s not easy to find American- Made products. So for those of you that “are in,” here is a list of nice products that are Made in the United States.

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Easily Transform Your Winter Blues into Winter Joy!

hibernate

photo by Willow&Monk

Bears do it.

Koi fish do it.

So do frogs, squirrels, and several other animals. So why should you allow yourself to feel bad when you feel it’s effects? What I’m talking about here is hibernation.

Of course, humans don’t hibernate fully, but when the cold and short days of winter come around, many of us feel a physical change. We may want to sleep more. We may want to eat more. We may want to be less active and leave our home less frequently. I had a revelation about this recently. Since this is totally normal and most everyone experiences it, then there is absolutely no reason to feel bad about it!

The way to transform your winter blues is simple. Reconsider these winter changes from a new perspective. Here’s how:

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A Fun Break Involving Small Children

child yoga

photo by LabGP & SigOther

I’ve been watching my 2 year old niece over the last few days while my sister is recovering from giving birth. My niece and my 4 year old son play very nicely together, but at the end of the day I still get a little tired. And on Friday I discovered a great break you can take that involves the kids. So even if you don’t have kids, bookmark this for the next time you have babysitting duty!

The Young Kiddie Yoga Massage Break

Here’s what you do:

1. Stretching. Invite the kids over to join you in some simple stretches on the floor. Show them different stretches and say “Can you do this too?” And then give lots of praise. Do this for 5 minutes or as long as they’ll play along. Try toe touches, child pose, downward dog, upward dog, cat/dog tilts, torso twisting, and arm movements.

2. Play. Next let the kids lead the way with fun stuff like crawling under you, rolling, light wrestling, and lots of laughing. 5-10 minutes.

3. Kiddie Crawling Massage. You lie down on your stomach and invite the kids to walk or crawl all over you. You can rest your eyes while they do this. They will most likely love this opportunity to do something so silly as walk on a grownup. And here’s the best part, you get a little eye rest and a free massage! Feel free to incorporate lots of laughing, sound effects, and even music too.

4. Disclaimer: I’ve only tried this will small kids under 5 years old. Not sure if it would work with older kids, but you can try. Let the kiddies know the ground rules like no pushing, jumping, or walking on your head! 🙂 Be sure that there is nothing they can hurt themselves on if they fall while walking on your back. Crawling is probably the safest way to do it.

Enjoy!

Please Share!

What’s your favorite break to take with the kids? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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8

Life Doesn’t Have to Be Miserable!

belly dancer

photo by DavidDennis

So many of us, myself included, get caught up in life. We move from one thing to another, doing all the things we think we “should” do or have to do. And we never stop to think that there might be another, more pleasurable way, to skin that cat in front of us.

What made me think of this is a belly dancing class I signed up for. It’s completely fun and silly and you know what? It tightens your abs! Who knew you didn’t have to do boring sit-ups in order to get your tummy in shape. That little revelation got me thinking of all the other areas of our life where we just keep doing things the same old way even if it is drudgery because we think life has to be hard. But here’s the news flash: Life Doesn’t Have to Be Miserable! You can increase your enjoyment by making some simple changes.

So here is a listing of some areas that might feel like obligatory hardships followed by some alternatives to consider to make your life more enjoyable.

Say Goodbye to: Say Hello to:
Sit-ups and Crunches. Yoga, belly dancing, latin dancing, walking.
Exercising on a Treadmill. Have Fun Exercising! Get outside! Try walking, jogging, tennis, dancing to your favorite music, or other favorite sports. Exercise is allowed to be fun!
Being Serious all the time, especially at work…or at home…or anywhere! Laugh, Smile, & Have Fun. Make a point to include laughter in your day. Make a point to smile. Put a reminder and a mirror at your desk so you don’t forget! Get a joke buddy that you call each day to share a joke or funny story.
Work Til You Drop. Shorter Workdays and Scheduled Play. What you make time for is what gets done, so SCHEDULE in some PLAY time!
Austere Painful Diets. Cheats in Moderation. There are several ways to work this: Eat what you want, but only in moderation. Have one day per week be a complete cheat day where you can eat anything you want with some moderation. One small cheat per day. Keep your diet enjoyable and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Hating Your Body. A lot of women spend their whole life this way. What a waste of time and how unkind! Are there any men who feel this way? Appreciate and Love Your Amazing Body. Get in touch with your body by having a gratitude session devoted just to realizing and being thankful for all the things that different parts of your body do for you everyday. How amazing are our hearts, feet, minds, nervous system, hands, eyes, lymph system, and more?! It’s high time we start to love our bodies! Think of role models who love their body no matter the size and assume that confidence too!
Recurring Arguments. Why, oh, why do I always get into the same arguments? Stop the Argument Cycle! Click here to read more about how to changing your expectations and perspective can change these destructive patterns.
Living a Life of “Shoulds.” I should do this, I should do that. Stop “shoulding” all over yourself. Live the Life of Your Dreams! Plan the life you want today. Click here for an amazing free life goal workbook ! (free excel spreadsheet download). Planning your life is fun. Just take it one step at a time and have fun!
Living in the Empty Part of the Glass. Notice That the Glass is Half Full. Realize that much of what’s there is great. Try for one day to be grateful for every little thing in your day and your life. Watch your happiness soar! And then make it a daily habit!
Telling Your Kids or Your Spouse, “I don’t have time right now. I’ll play later.” Play Today! Even if you are a very busy person, take small breaks to play with your children. Try 15 minutes here and there. Involve them in housework. With your spouse, be sure to set up date-nights on some regular basis. Why not enjoy life? When you look back on your life, you’ll be glad you did!
Working at a Job That Is Not Your Passion. Discover Your Dream Job or Reconnect with the Meaningfulness of Your Current Job. There are times in all of our lives when we need to work at things that are not our passion. That’s ok, but always have your plan in place towards getting your dream job. Barbara Sher writes great books about doing this. Sometimes we lose sight of our love for our job. If that’s the case for you then try to re-discover that meaning in your current job.
Staying in a Bad Relationship Because You’re Afraid to Be Alone. Embrace Your Inner Strength. Don’t live out of fear. Live out of your strength. Know that it is there. Discover how you can be happy on your own. I’m not saying run away simply if you’re bored, but if your relationship is not healthy for you, find support from someone to help you move forward with your life. Move towards the good things you want and deserve.
Letting a Good Relationship Wither from Complacency. Appreciate and Nourish Good Relationships. Think about the good relationships in your life. Ask yourself, “What could I do to care for this relationship more?” And then do it! You know you’re smiling thinking of some things you could do! Let us know what they are!
Being Chronically Exhausted. Discover Maximum Energy! Stop the energy zappers in your life. Get more sleep, cut back on caffeine, get some exercise, cut out excess sugar, meditate, and enjoy life more.
Never Any Time for Yourself. Schedule a ME Day. Try this once per quarter or even once a month. Plan a day or afternoon where you only do things for yourself. Get that massage you’ve been dreaming of for the last 6 months. Maybe ice fishing would be your idea of fun. Whatever it is, do it!
Zombie Mode. No creative expression. Too much TV or video games. Same old, same old. Unleash Your Creativity. OK, maybe you think you have no creative talent, but assume for today that you do. I’m telling you, you have creative talent. Now, go ahead and write that song you’ve dreamed of writing. Practice that dusty guitar. Carve something out of a bar of soap. Go buy a massive canvas and paint a spectacular naive painting. No self-judging, just express yourself and have fun!
SPENDERS: Stop Running Up Your Credit Card Bills. Enjoy the Simple Pleasures in Life. Instead of the heavy burden that comes with an overabundance of possessions, enjoy things that are free for a change. Take in a sunset, a walk in nature, time with friends and family, or low cost entertainment like renting DVD’s. When you feel the urge to buy more and fill up your house, ask yourself, “Do I really need this? What can I do that will make me feel good instead of buying something?”
FRUGAL FANATICS: Stop Denying Yourself. Treat Yourself Every Once in a While. If you always deny yourself, you are always frugal and careful with money, allow yourself a mad money day every once in a while where you buy that one thing or service you consider a true luxury or extravagance. You deserve it!

I hope that these ideas prompt you to take a little more enjoyment from life starting today! I’m going to try too! I think I’ll be belly dancing, playing more guitar, and playing with my son some more! How about you?

Please Share!

How do you choose to make life more enjoyable? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

You can Support Life Learning Today by visiting one of my sponsors, making a donation, or making a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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15

How to Avoid the 10 Worst Energy Zappers

jumping jacks

photo by dottorpeni

Do you ever struggle with finding enough energy to get through your day? Maybe you’re energy is being stolen from you and you don’t even realize it. Check out my latest article at Dumb Little Man and use it to do an energy inventory on yourself.

How to Avoid the 10 Worst Energy Zappers

Please Share!

What steals your energy? How do you handle that? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

You can Support Life Learning Today by visiting one of my sponsors, making a donation, or making a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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4

50 Very Simple Ways to Be Romantic

how to be romantic

photo by Heather Garland

Want to show that special someone how much you love him or her? If so, then check out my latest article over at Dumb Little Man that lists 50 fun ideas.

As a side note, I wrote this article on a complete whim and it ended up becoming very popular on Digg. There were lots of comments! Some comments were very funny, some people loved the ideas, and some people took it way too seriously and became amazingly disturbed by the article, which I also thought was funny. The ideas in the article are for fun. Take what you like and leave the rest. 🙂

Check it out for yourself and be sure to let me know your comments below!

50 Very Simple Ways to Be Romantic

Please Share!

What are your favorite and maybe unique ways to show your love? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

You can Support Life Learning Today by visiting one of my sponsors, making a donation, or making a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

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3

It Feels Good

Baby It's Cold Outside

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Life Learning Today programming to bring you a little winter reverie.

I went for a walk today. Cold winter air was biting my cheeks, watering my eyes, and taking my breath away. But I was loving it. You see, that cold crisp air was delivering a steady stream of fond cold weather memories. I’ll share a few fleeting glimpses with you today. I hope it spurs you daydream about your most cherished winter memories the next time you take a step out into the cold.

Cold Air Memories

sledding…running like crazy to be the first one down the hill at the golf course on a snow day when I was 10. And then running back up that hill each time with no thought of it being difficult, but just a singular focus on the next thrill to come.

winter kiss…a first kiss under the bleachers at a night football game. On that night the cold had no power to touch me.

moon in the trees…finishing a cross-country ski workout in college, the sun long since set, breathing heavily in the completely still and frozen air. The moon was rising over the tops of the trees bigger than I’ve ever seen it. What an incredible sense of peace.

cross country skiing at night

starry sky…walking home late at night across campus from a party, the false warmth from alcohol blocking the cold air’s icy fingers from stinging me, reveling in the immense and daunting starry winter sky.

first night boston…ringing in the New Year on First Night in Boston with my brother, sisters, and brother-in-law being totally goofy, pretending that we were a dance troupe called “Liquid Emotion.” We gave many impromptu dance shows over the course of the night to keep warm. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so much in my life as that night.

dance troupe

There are so many more, but I’m hoping that I can turn the reins over to you now to share your favorite cold weather memories. OK, it’s your turn…click on comments to take the reins!

 

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15

20 Fun Things You Can Do with Family on Thanksgiving

Don’t just go for the same old, same old on Thanksgiving, vegging on the couch watching football and parades all day. Instead create some treasured memories with these easy and fun things to do with your family on this special day.

Check out these great ideas over at Dumb Little Man:

20 Fun Things You Can Do with Family on Thanksgiving

family fun

Please Share!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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