Low Carb Cranberry Salsa

This Easy Low Carb Cranberry Salsa needs just 7 ingredients and no cooking is required for a beautiful keto appetizer for the holidays! 

Easy Cranberry Salsa

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got enough to make for Thanksgiving then having to worry about appetizers. I like quick and easy and not needing my oven for appetizers since…

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Christian Radio Station Threatens To Play ‘Good, Good Father’ On Repeat Until Pledge Drive Goal Is Met

NASHVILLE, TN—In a clever bid to increase the volume of pledges in its 60-day-long pledge drive, local Christian radio DJ Lance Madison threatened to play "Good, Good Father" on repeat until the station's goal was met.

The post Christian Radio Station Threatens To Play ‘Good, Good Father’ On Repeat Until Pledge Drive Goal Is Met appeared first on The Babylon Bee.

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The ‘not a cellphone in sight’ meme makes fun of condescending nostalgia

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you’re sure to hear some elderly relative wax-poetic about how kids these days won’t put down their phones. 

If you’re tired of old farts complaining about much better things were back when people were just living in the moment, take solace in this meme. The “not a cellphone in sight” meme pokes fun at tired stereotypes of young people and their screen addictions by pairing the phrase with deep cuts throughout history. 

In this prehistoric party scene, for example, the dinosaurs aren’t taking selfies. They’re having a wholesome fight, interacting face to face.  Read more…

More about Memes, Smartphones, Culture, and Web Culture

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This Is The Real Reason My Marriage Ended

Last Saturday after dropping my kids off with their father, I ran some errands alone. I was relieved to be all by myself — it was glorious, if I’m being honest.

I miss my kids terribly when they are gone, but can’t stand when they are at each other’s throats and telling me to hurry up while running errands. Just because they are teenagers doesn’t mean they behave or make a trip to the store pleasant.

But on this day, I had the afternoon spread out before me with nowhere to go and nothing to do, and before long I was wandering in the home goods section of Target. I heard the whines and cries from two little kids who were sitting in the front of one of those car carts, and it took me right back to my kids’ younger years.

I immediately felt for the mother who was just trying to look at rugs. She was obviously desperate for just one damn minute. And it didn’t seem likely that she’d get it.

But then something wonderful happened: Her husband, who was pushing the kids as she gazed up and down the aisles, reminded those kids what was up.

“You know what? Your mom doesn’t ask for much,” he said. “You can be quiet until we are out of here and let her look around. When we get home we’ll play army and watch movies and it will be fun, okay? For now, you need to be quiet, Mommy doesn’t ask for much.”

That man who was taking one for the team so his wife could enjoy a precious few peaceful moments, probably after getting some staples for her family, like toilet paper and apples, gave me so much clarity about what had led to the demise my own marriage.

My husband and I stopped doing for each other what that man was doing for his wife in the middle of Target. We stopped being a team.

That man probably didn’t want to be lecturing his kids in the middle of the store. I doubt he enjoyed using his energy in that way and probably didn’t want to be walking around Target anymore than his kids, but he did it out of love for his wife.

And it hit me like a cannon ball: For the past two years, I thought I’d known, without question, why my marriage ended.

“We fell out of love, we grew apart,” I’d say. “It happens.”

But it’s funny how, out of nowhere, a stranger can make you stare at your truth square in the face.

My ex-husband and I had stopped rooting for each other. We’d stopped supporting each other. We’d stopped seeing each other. We’d stopped telling the kids to shut it so the other could enjoy something as small as a trip around Target on a Saturday afternoon, or as big as a weekend away with friends without guilt.

We stopped, completely.

Instead, we took our energy — the same energy we could have used to use to show our love — and twisted it and used it against each other.

We started keeping score. We started comparing who was working harder and doing more around the house. We stopped wanting to do things for each other.

Disagreeing became our knee-jerk reaction. We tried to stop, but we couldn’t because somewhere in between feeling like marriage was hard, and becoming completely miserable, we’d fallen out of love and damn, it’s hard to get that back once it’s gone.

Resentment eclipsed compassion, and nastiness was our weapon of choice to get our points across instead of talking rationally.

These are all common complaints in many marriages, I know. But you feel the shift when you head into a downward spiral and not being on each other’s team becomes your new normal, trying to climb out of it feels so wrong and then you soon realize you aren’t the same two people you were when you fell in love.

Even when we’d try to see each other and try to do marriage right, we couldn’t seem to manage it. Our love wasn’t sticking any longer; we didn’t want to do it anymore, but we tried.

Trying turned into going through the motions of our life with zero emotion and passion behind it. And then we didn’t even want to try.

There are couples out there who have what it takes to make it through the rough patches and still take one for the team — their team — whether they want to or not.

And there are couples out there who need to go their separate ways in order to take their life back and be happy because they just can’t be present for each other any longer.

I have regrets about things I did and didn’t do in my marriage, but seeing that couple in Target gave me a crystal clear vision of where I failed my ex-husband and what I want to give and receive in a relationship.

And now, the only thing I can do is grow and evolve from my experience.

The post This Is The Real Reason My Marriage Ended appeared first on Scary Mommy.

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2018 Korea Popular Music Awards Reveals List Of Nominees

The 2018 Korea Popular Music Awards has announced the nominees for this year’s major awards! The upcoming awards show, which will take place on December 20 at the Ilsan KINTEX, is jointly organized by the Korea Singers Association, the Korea Entertainment Producer’s Association, the Recording Industry Association of Korea, the Federation of Korean Music Performers, […]

The post 2018 Korea Popular Music Awards Reveals List Of Nominees appeared first on Soompi.

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Setting Up the Thanksgiving Theme for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Inside: The Thanksgiving theme is a good time to talk about what you are thankful for, as well as having fun with turkey crafts and pretend play. Come see how we’ve set up our toddler and preschool classroom! Each year we close our fall units with a Thanksgiving theme. We focus on what we are…

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The post Setting Up the Thanksgiving Theme for Toddlers and Preschoolers appeared first on Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds.

Santa Hat Cinnamon Rolls

Make these adorable cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning for the kiddos! So easy and cute. Santa Hat Cinnamon Rolls 1 8-10 ct package of cinnamon rolls, any brand Red food coloring Mini marshmallows (cut in half) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Open the package of cinnamon rolls and discard the packaging. Carefully unroll each […]

The post Santa Hat Cinnamon Rolls appeared first on Crafty Morning.

New Guidelines Encourage Parents And Schools To Keep Little Kids Active All Day

New exercise guidelines recently released by the Health and Human Services Department urge schools and parents to keep little kids active all throughout the day, every day — and not just during recess or gym class.

The guidelines also encourage all Americans to reach a minimum goal of 2 1/2 hours of exercise per week.

This marks the first time in 10 years the federal government has updated its guidelines for exercise, and for good reason. The Department of Health and Human Services says the benefit of regular exercise reduces the risk of at least eight different cancers, reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, and helps people think more clearly.

The updated guidelines offer suggestions that make it easier for people of all ages to achieve the exercise goal. “Instead of things getting harder and harder and harder and harder, it is actually easier to achieve the recommendations in the physical activity guidelines,” says Dr. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Health and Human Services Department.

Basically, the new guidelines boil down to making simple changes in your everyday life — and your kids’ lives, too. Like taking the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Or parking farther away in a parking lot (if you’re able to) and adding a few extra steps to your walk into the store.

Here are some new suggestions for kids:

Kids ages 6-17 need at least an hour of exercise a day — including jumping rope, which helps strengthen bones.
Toddlers and small children need to keep active throughout the day, getting a minimum of three hours of light, moderate and intense exercise every day.

Parents of toddlers everywhere are like, “UH YEAH, NO SHIT.” Though here’s a little peace of mind: they pretty much take care of that on their own, whether they’re inside or outside. They’re little balls of endless, boundless, exasperating energy — and even if it depletes us completely, it’s good for them!

Since getting the right amount of activity helps kids grow strong bones, maintain the right weight, and learn better — the government is hoping schools take these guidelines into consideration since that’s where kids spend most of their time.

“Part of the answer is to provide kids with high-quality physical education,” says Russell Pate, an exercise expert at the University of South Carolina who helped create the new guidelines. He also suggests schools offer more ways to provide active learning that allows kids to move around in the classroom and stay active.

The Center for Disease Control hopes policies that help keep communities safe will also help, so kids can bike and walk to school safely. “Everyone should have the right to walk or bike in their neighborhood,” says Janet Fulton of the CDC. “Everyone should be able to walk from their homes to the park, or walk to work.”

The post New Guidelines Encourage Parents And Schools To Keep Little Kids Active All Day appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Read more: scarymommy.com

Online Resources for On the Go Relaxation

Online Resources for On the Go RelaxationThis is yet another guest post by: Beth Kelly freelance blogger and writer from Chicago, IL. She’s become passionate about healthcare and technology issues, and how the two can intersect to make life easier for anyone with chronic health issues. You can check out her previous guest post: Healthcare in the Digital Age: How the “Internet of Things” is Changing the Game. In her free time she’s an avid gardener and lover of silent films. You can find her on twitter @bkelly_88.

There are plenty of resources that encourage people to lose weight and get fit, but we often forget that our mental health is just as important as our physical well-being. I can be difficult to tune out the noise and unwind – especially while traveling. These five programs can be streamed from anywhere with an Internet connection, guiding you through exercises, yoga poses and meditation practices to help you better handle your busy life.

Dirty Yoga
This no-nonsense yoga program is designed for active individuals looking for a workout to fit their hectic routines. Taught by one of the most sought after yoga instructors in New York City and created solely to be used online, Dirty Yoga is an easy and effective way to learn to do yoga in your free time. No need to go out early in the morning just to get a spot in an overcrowded studio. Instead, follow along with simplified, clearly explained movements that will help you feel relaxed in no time.
Ballet Beautiful
These stretching and strength training videos inspired by ballet were created by Mary Helen Bowers, the renowned ballerina and fitness expert who prepared Natalie Portman for her role in the movie Black Swan. Through Ballet Beautiful, Bowers guides women through a series of exercises designed to tone and sculpt the body. Her stretching regimen can also help greatly increase flexibility and ease pain and muscle tightness.
Physique 57
It’s not always convenient to go to the gym, even if you’d really like a workout. With Physique 57, you can have the perfect exercise session, whether at home or on the go. For a monthly subscription fee of just $57, you will gain access to a wide variety of videos guiding you through strength training, cardio, and even prenatal routines. All of these workouts are designed to make the body more flexible, while also toning the body to build lean, long muscles. These easy-to-follow resources make staying in shape simple, no matter where you are.
Deepak’s Chopra Meditation
Some days are so chaotic that it can be hard to just find a moment to yourself. Even when you do, kids yelling, dogs barking and cars honking can easily intrude on your solitude, leading to tense muscles. When it seems difficult to turn off the rest of the world and find some quiet time, Deepak’s Chopra Meditation will help you refocus your thoughts on something more positive. These guided meditations will verbally lead you through your relaxing moments, helping to ease pain caused by sore, tight muscles so you can find some inner peace. There are several different meditative experiences available, and because they can be streamed right from the website, it’s easy to access them anywhere.
Do Yoga with Me
If you’re looking for a workout that challenges you on a deeper level, Do Yoga With Me is the perfect fit. Not only are guided meditations available to help you shut off all of those racing thoughts, but you will also find yoga classes that will demand more of your body and help you achieve physical strength you never thought possible. With such an abundance of videos and audio tracks, you are likely to find an experience for any situation, whether you need to fall into a tranquil sleep or get energized for a new day.

When life gets hectic, it’s more important than ever to take some time out of your day to relax your body and your mind. These resources will help you strengthen your muscles, release pent up energy and find peace, even on your most chaotic days. To maximize the use and quality of these programs online, make sure you have fast broadband connection, available with providers like Google Fiber or Verizon FiOS, which will help in minimizing any disruptions. This will ensure you get the most out of your relaxation time. While these programs can be very beneficial, always make sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.

Related posts:
Answers to 10 Embarrassing Questions About Exercising
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Stress ? – National Stress Awareness Month (part 3 of 4)
Simple Exercises to Help Reduce Joint and Spinal Pain at Home

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Hailey Baldwin officially changes last name to ‘Bieber’ on Instagram

hailey baldwin

You can call her Mrs. Bieber from now on.

Model Hailey Baldwin, 21, changed Instagram handles to “Hailey Bieber” Friday, making the pair’s marriage Instagram-official.

If that doesn’t do it for you, 24 hours before Justin Bieber called Hailey “wife” on the ‘gram, writing, “my wife is awesome,” on a pic of the pair holding hands and laughing.

View this post on Instagram

My wife is awesome

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on Nov 15, 2018 at 9:43am PST

The two were engaged in July after rekindling their relationship.

Justin says she’s the love of his life. 

“Gods timing really is literally perfect, we got engaged on the seventh day of the seventh month, the number seven is the number of spiritual perfection, it’s true GOOGLE IT!” he wrote on an Instagram pic cuddled up to Hailey.

View this post on Instagram

Was gonna wait a while to say anything but word travels fast, listen plain and simple Hailey I am soooo in love with everything about you! So committed to spending my life getting to know every single part of you loving you patiently and kindLY. I promise to lead our family with honor and integrity letting Jesus through his Holy Spirit guide us in everything we do and every decision we make. My heart is COMPLETELY and FULLY YOURS and I will ALWAYS put you first! You are the love of my life Hailey Baldwin and I wouldn’t want to spend it with anybody else. You make me so much better and we compliment eachother so well!! Can’t wait for the best season of life yet!. It’s funny because now with you everything seems to make sense! The thing I am most excited for is that my little brother and sister get to see another healthy stable marriage and look for the same!!! Gods timing really is literally perfect, we got engaged on the seventh day of the seventh month, the number seven is the number of spiritual perfection, it’s true GOOGLE IT! Isn’t that nuts? By the way I didn’t plan that, anyways My goodness does feel good to have our future secured! WERE GONNA BE BETTER AT 70 BABY HERE WE GO! “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains FAVOR from the Lord!” This is the year of favor!!!!

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on Jul 9, 2018 at 3:14pm PDT

People magazine reported the pair were married back in September, although neither have publically commented about the wedding.

While her Twitter handle still touts, “Hailey Baldwin,” it’s officially safe to say, there’s one less lonely girl.

The post Hailey Baldwin officially changes last name to ‘Bieber’ on Instagram appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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DIY Bath Bombs

DIY Bath Bombs

Bath Bombs make the perfect DIY project for both adults and kids, they can be simple or very complex with a variety of ingredients.

Bath bombs are fun to make and even more fun to use, from relaxing and delicious blends of scents and skin loving ingredients.

DIY Bath Bombs
What you will need

Mold
(I use silicone molds as it makes it easy to remove the bath bomb once it is fully dry)
Citric Acid
(can be found in your local health food store, Amazon or any soap supply company)
Sodium bicarbonate
(can be found in your local groceries store also known as Baking soda)
Coconut oil
(can be found in your local grocery store)
Essential oil, optional
(can be found in your local health food store)
Dropper
(to count the drops of the essential oil, can be found at any craft store)
Skin safe colorants, optional
(can be found in your local craft store, Amazon or any soap supply company)
Witch Hazel
(can be found at a local pharmacy)

Recipe

Citric acid 1/2 cup
Sodium bicarbonate 1 cup
Coconut oil 3 Tbp
Essential oil of your choice
Colorants
Witch Hazel in a spray bottle

Directions

Step one

Mix dry ingredients together, using your hands to break up any little lump until the mixture is nice and smooth.

DIY Bath Bombs

Step Two

Separate in parts according to the number of colours you will be using, I used three. Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil the drops of colours and the scent to each part.

DIY Bath Bombs

Step Tree

Mix all of the ingredients together quickly while spraying the witch hazel careful to not set off the fizz. The consistency should be a little wet, enough to hold it together when pressed, and press the mixture into the mold, set it aside overnight so it fully dries and can be removed from the mold the next day.         

DIY Bath Bombs

Step Four

After fully dried and removed from the mold your bath bombs are ready to be used. Fill a tub with warm water, add your bath bomb, get in and enjoy a nice, relaxing and fun bath.

Don’t forget to follow us on TwitterInstagramPinterest, and Facebook!

Jaqueline LealContributor
Born in Brazil, Jaqueline Leal now lives in Toronto, Canada. She is a wife, mother to two amazing children and the founder of JBL Natural Skincare. She handcrafts each item she sells, creating small batches using all natural, vegan ingredients. Using choice oils, butters, and plant infusions, Jaqueline’s creations are sold through her website and in local markets and shops. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Original content © 2018 Super Simple. Not to be reprinted without express written permission. Terms and Conditions.

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Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Get your home spotless, sparkling and fresh this holiday season!

The holiday season is one of our favorite times wherein we get the chance to decorate our humble abode and the idea of hosting house guests for a couple of holiday parties – yes, we can never deny that, aren’t we?

Considering that Christmas is coming too soon and how incredibly hectic the days are in the latter part of November and December, this should proactively prompt us to make our house ready for the holidays.

No one wants to get caught up and get worried about an unkempt house and mother-in-laws noticing dust bunnies in every corner of the house, right?

So, better be prepared and get proactive now. Have your home perfectly presentable this holiday and get this FREE Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist!

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Click HERE to print the checklist.

Size: A4

It’s a lot of work but definitely worth doing!

For more cleaning tipsholiday related checklist and other FREE printables, check SAHM’s House and Home section.

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Read more: stayathomemum.com.au

What To Remember This Time Of Year

“How are you?” Every day, without fail, at least one friend will send me a message to check in. Recently it has been one friend in particular who, if I don’t get to her first, will ask about my mental state. Many people see me as brave and strong. Yes, I am those things. But I also struggle with depression, anxiety, and crippling self-doubt. I am not shy about this. But for my friends who also struggle with these things, they know how important it is to hear a kind voice over the negative ones. They know how important it is to be reminded that we are loved. I know, and my friends know, how dark mental illness can be, so we check on each other. I want to encourage you to check on your people too. Even if you don’t think you need to.

This time of year is hard. By the time Halloween rolls around, there is less sunlight to enjoy, the air is getting colder, and the trees and earth are dropping leaves and turning brown in preparation for growth that will happen in the spring. Winter blues are expected and can be easily managed with distractions, but seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a very real and scary thing.

During the fall and winter months, many people struggle with depression, low energy, moodiness and a loss of interest in well-loved activities. SAD is more than about being in a funk; it can drive people to thoughts of suicide. Get a feel for which of your friends struggle with the changing seasons. They may do a really good job hiding their pain, but it’s important to ask them how they would like to be supported.

And within the dreary seasons of fall and winter is the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year celebrations can be really tough for some people. They are tough for me. I enjoy the decorations (I love the lights), the celebrations of food and friendship around the holidays, but the anticipation of the day being ideal, if not perfect, is too much. And the actual holiday day brings on anxiety and depression that lasts for weeks. While it was my choice to cut toxic family members out of my life, I still feel a tremendous amount of guilt and sadness. I know I have family members missing me, and I miss what could have been.

I am not alone in feeling the strain of relationships. Some of your friends, the marginalized ones especially, may have been banned from dinner tables because of homophobic, transphobic, racist, or xenophobic parents or grandparents. Some friends may be allowed to enter the four walls of such bigotry, but are expected to tolerate it or not show up at all. Even in the best familial situations, being around family can be fucking stressful. Add the stress of the holidays and forget it.

We still have to maintain lives as parents, spouses, friends, and employees yet we also feel inclined to attend the special events at our kids’ schools. We need to make time to go to holiday work parties, participate in Secret Santa gift swaps, or bake three dozen cookies for a cookie exchange. Our calendars get full, our diets are thrown off, and our budgets are under attack this time of year. So is our mental health. For those of us prone to being overwhelmed, the holidays can kind of suck.

I thrive on routine and predictability. When I am able to exercise, even if it is just a walk, I breathe easier. And when I am not expected to be thankful and full of reasons for the season, I am more peaceful and grateful. I may come off as strong, but this time of year is my least favorite. This time of year is the hardest for me. Thanksgiving and Christmas are reminders of painful childhood memories. I am absolutely appreciative of all I have now, but these days are reminders of what was lost and what I will never have.

You likely have friends who are going through similar emotions but won’t say anything because they don’t want to seem like they are complaining. I know in the darkest moments of my depression, I feel like a burden. I feel like I am just adding to other people’s stress by expressing my own. And why would I want to add stress to the stress of the holidays? Why would I want to add stress to what is supposed to be a magical time of year? So I smile and keep telling jokes. I stay productive, but I am struggling. I rely on the friends who see me, who see through my attempts at being okay.

Check on your strong friends, your okay friends, and your sad friends. Check on your marginalized friends. Check on your friends trying to stay sober. Check on the friends who seem to be drinking too much. Check on the friends who have lost family members or friends or children. Check on all your people, even if you don’t think you need to. You do. You are needed. Because in our darkest moments it’s hard to see our true selves, and knowing there is one person who sees us is what keeps us going.

The post What To Remember This Time Of Year appeared first on Scary Mommy.

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Tekashi 6ix9ine reveals tracklist for new album Dummy Boy

Tekashi 6ix9ine is currently without a manager, booking agent, or publicist, but he’s still is moving forward with plans to release a new album this coming Friday, November 23rd.

He’s now revealed the album’s titled — Dummy Boy — along with its 13-song tracklist. Kanye West and Nicki Minaj both appear on two tracks, including one together (“Mama”). Minaj is also featured on the album’s hit lead single, “Fefe”. Other guest contributors include Gunna, Lil Baby, and Bobby Shmurda. See the full tracklist below.

Dummy Boy marks 6ix9ine’s debut studio album and follows the release of his Day69 mixtape, which was released back in February.

Dummy Boy Tracklist:
01. Stoopid (feat. Bobby Shmurda)
02. Fefe (feat. Nicki Minaj and Murda Beatz)
03. Tic Toc (feat. Lil Baby)
04. Kika (feat. Tory Lanez)
05. Mama (feat. Nicki Minaj and Kanye West)
06. Waka (feat. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie)
07. Bebe (feat. Anuel AA)
08. Mala (feat. Anuel AA)
09. Feefa (feat. Kanye West)
10. Kanga (feat. Gunna)
11. Tati (feat. DJ SpinKing)
12. Wondo
13. Dummy (feat. Trife Drew)

Instagram Photo

Revisit the video for “Fefe”:

Read more: consequenceofsound.net

DC’s 10 most dazzling holiday sights are feats of technology

holiday sights

Presented by Destination DC

Holiday time brings out the elf in all of us. (Yes, just eating candy and wearing a funny hat totally counts.) But the folks behind some of D.C.’s most intricate and jaw-dropping holiday happenings take the industrious side of #ElfLife to another level. Decked-out evergreens tall as skyscrapers, lights twinkling all over town, boats outfitted like candy canes — everywhere you look, the capitol is teeming with impressive displays of holiday spirit, powered by technology and tremendous care.

1) ZooLights at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Washington.org

Come for more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights, stay for the gingerbread throne(!). This year’s ZooLights festivities at the National Zoo include a life-size gingerbread village for the Cookie Monster in your ranks — don’t eat the exhibit, though. Save your appetite and roast s’mores over fire pits in the Conservation Pavilion. And microbrew fans, save the date: BrewLights will offer tastings from dozens of breweries and free snacks with ticketed admission on November 29.

2) Georgetown Glow

Sam Kittner

Luminescent outdoor art isn’t just a provenance of the desert. Now in its fifth year, Georgetown Glow is the region’s only curated public light exhibition. This year’s collection will include a life-scale representation of a thrift shop in the form of a lantern, titled “Twilight Antiques and Thrift.” Inside, the shop’s shelves will be lined with 500 hand-assembled lanterns, each a reproduction of a D.C.-native object. On the final evening, visitors can take one home for free. Yes, free!

3) National Christmas Tree

Washington.org

In addition to being the nation’s official holiday evergreen (*cough* sorry, Rockefeller Center), DC’s National Christmas Tree may be the only Colorado Spruce with its own first-person Twitter account. This year, 56 schools representing each state and U.S. territory will create an ornament for display. Catch the lighting ceremony on November 28 and nightly musical performances through January 1. You can still leave your own tree up ‘till March, we won’t tell.

4) Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

washington.org

If you prefer taking to the ice while admiring impressive holiday displays, lace up at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, where the action kicks off November 16. Transforming the sculpture garden into an ice rink is quite a feat: The sculpture’s fountain is drained to reveal a concrete base containing freon-filled pipes that keep the ice solid, enabling skating even when it’s 60 degrees. Then Rink Manager John Connor and his crew take 6-8 hours to lay down eight rolls of ice rink paper, making the base of the rink white. Over the next 40 hours, the team repeatedly mists the paper with layer upon layer of hot water, while guarding against leaves and debris, until the ice reaches about 1-inch thick. A small, gas-powered Zamboni, lifted over the lip of the rink, makes about 1,300 rides around the rink each season, cutting the ice down by 1/16 of an inch. The work is worth it though, when the rink radiates with holiday lights and eight illuminated trees in addition to the garden’s perennial large-scale art. If placing anything between your feet and the floor usually ends with you flat on your face, lessons are available. Or safer yet, smile and wave from inside the Pavilion Café.

5) The Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre

washington.org

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a life-size toy going head to head with a giant evil rat in the living room. Now in its 15th year, Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker is a distinctly DC version of the magical Christmas classic. This celebrated production is set in 1882 Georgetown and features George Washington, King George III and other historical figures. The dancing rat soldiers wear British redcoats. How do all those tiny dancers fit underneath Mother Barnum’s skirts? And where can we get a Christmas tree that grows to epic proportions in the middle of the night? Ah, the magic of theater.

6) United States Botanic Garden

washington.org

Those of us who can hardly keep a houseplant alive reserve a special sort of awe for the U.S. Botanic Garden. This year’s annual holiday exhibit, Season’s Greenings: All Aboard!, will feature detailed recreations of iconic train stations from around the country — meticulously constructed mostly from living plants! While admiring a horticultural replica of Union Station, see if you can sneak a few pro tips from the green-thumbed staff.    

7) CityCenterDC Shopping

washington.org

This open-air retail destination the length of several city blocks makes a convincing case for Santa to shop downtown this season. In addition to a 75-foot holiday tree, the center’s pair of 25-foot light-up reindeer are sure to give Rudolph a case of heart-eyed emoji. And all other cookies may be ruined for the big man after a stop at Momofuku’s Milk Bar. The Dream Closet, a three-block overhead installation, returns this year over Palmer Ally, and CityCenter’s tree officially lights up November 24.

8) The Wharf

washington.org

Unless you’re actually sailing aboard one of the entries in the annual Holiday Boat Parade, The Wharf is the place to be to catch the annual marine spectacular on December 1. Eat, shop, ice skate, you name it — the waterfront destination has something for every taste (including a Ben & Jerry’s parlor). To watch the embellished boats go by in style, though, make a reservation at one of the Wharf’s many eateries. Your feet will thank you.

9) Downtown Holiday Market

washington.org

Back for its 13th year, the Downtown Holiday Market continues to be the most efficient place to shop for tough-to-peg party hosts and office secret Santas. Showcasing 58 booths at any given time (and 150 over the course of the season), it’s an ideal one-stop-shop for anyone with a list that needs checking off and a love for supporting indie local vendors. Thrill-seeking procrastinators, consider this your incentive: The market runs through December 23.

10) No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

Washington.org

A week in the desert without running water is… not for everyone. But even diehard Burners have to admit that perusing ‘No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man’ with the option to use an actual restroom is a definite win. On display at Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery through January 21, the exhibit includes Foldhous Art Collective’s towering translucent mushroom caps, each equipped with approximately 1600 serial-addressed LED lights. In addition to being free to enjoy, these ‘shrooms also breathe and grow. Trippy!

Naveen Kumar

Naveen Kumar is a writer and editor covering arts and entertainment, which he uses as an excuse to watch way more TV than some people do in a lifetime. He always greets dogs before humans–those are the rules, he didn’t make them.  

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The post DC’s 10 most dazzling holiday sights are feats of technology appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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#63: True Confidence [Podcast]

Welcome to Episode #63 of the Fight for a Happy Life podcast, “True Confidence.”

The secret to building confidence really isn’t a secret at all. The roots of confidence will always be preparation and experience. But… is that it?

True Confidence
Is it possible to reach an even deeper level of faith in your capabilities… a level beyond confidence?

I say yes!

In this episode, I share my formula to achieve a state of being you might call “true confidence”.

At least, that’s what I call it! 🙂

To LISTEN to, “True Confidence” you can either:

Play the show below. Or download to your device.

Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play Music.

 

To READ along, or if the player won’t play, you’ll find a full transcript down below.

If you’d like to support the show, share this link with a friend or leave a quick review over on iTunes. Thank you!

Oh—and don’t forget to sign up for free email updates so you can get new shows sent to your inbox the minute they’re released.

Thanks for listening! Keep fighting for a happy life! 🙂

True Confidence

TRANSCRIPT

Today on Fight for a Happy Life… confidence. True confidence.

Back again. This is episode #63 of Fight for a Happy Life, the show that believes a little martial arts makes life a whole lot better. My name is Ando and, as always, I am honored that you clicked play to spend a little time together.

The world can be a lonely place, can’t it? I’m not trying to get dark here, but it’s easy to question who you are, what you do, or whether or not anything matters.

Wait, this is getting even darker. What I mean is life is sure a lot more fun and rewarding when you find other people walking on the same path.

I just got back from a little trip to the East Coast and I spent time with Sifu TW Smith, an old friend of this podcast, and I spent some time connecting with new friends down in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Hey! Big shout out to everyone over at Stevens Family Tae Kwon Do.

When you find great people like those fighting the same fights that you’re fighting, you can’t help but feel more confidence that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And when I look at my statistics for the show and I see a couple thousand or sometimes even a few thousand people like you listening in, it absolutely shines a light into the dark corners of my head. So, thank you for being here.

If you ever find yourself feeling alone, I hope that this show will give you more confidence that you’re on the right path, too. And while we’re on the subject of confidence, I want to tell you little story about the roots of my confidence as a martial artist and a human being. So, let me take a sip coffee and I’ll be right back.

Let me tell you about my Taekwondo instructor. His name was Dan, although I never once called him that.

Dan was a big guy. I’d say at least 260 pounds. But he carried it very well. He was barrel chested, but narrow in the hips, so even though he carried few extra pounds around the middle, he was surprisingly agile.

When a big guy can move like a small guy, it can be terrifying. When that same guy has skills, it’s even more terrifying. And when that same guy has a killer instinct and seems to love fighting more than anything, well, you’ve got a problem.

So, as a young green belt, sparring with Dan was definitely a challenge. I remember one night when I was having a really rough time. Dan wasn’t holding back and was sticking it to me. I’m not complaining here, I probably deserved it.

Either way, my ego at the time didn’t see losing as a learning experience. To me, sparring was a competition and I was the one getting punched, kicked, and pushed around…and I didn’t like it.

In one short round of sparring, my emotions ran through denial, anger, frustration and ultimately, disillusionment. He was the better man and there was nothing I could do about it.

But Dan was a good man. He saw what was going on and after we bowed out, he said something to me that changed everything. He said—

“You know, you’re never going to spar anyone tougher than me. So, if you can survive this, you’ll be fine.”

Huh. Now, at first, that might just sound like bragging. I mean, it’s pretty arrogant to declare that he’s the toughest guy I’ll ever spar. But that’s not what he was saying. He was saying that I was tough just because I was sparring with him.

If I had any success, landed one punch, one kick, blocked anything, stayed on my feet, didn’t run away, or fall down, then I’m actually doing pretty good. I mean, if I can survive a physical attack against someone 100 pounds heavier, armed with 20 years of experience, and a killer instinct, well, then the idea of facing someone my size, without skills, even with a killer instinct, should be a much more manageable situation.

Dan’s comment revealed to me the whole purpose of training in the first place. The point of training is to fail in abnormal situations so that you can succeed in normal situations.

The point is to feel overwhelmed in an unlikely circumstance, so that you’ll feel in control in a likely circumstance.

Which means, my ego wasn’t wrong in approaching sparring as a competition I just made the mistake of thinking that I was competing against Dan instead of myself. The fact that I felt angry, frustrated, and defeated was the proof that my head was in the wrong place.

The challenge wasn’t whether or not I could beat Dan, it was whether or not I would let him beat me. That lesson has stuck with me to this day.

Thank you, Dan. God rest your soul.

In the same way, I remember something mu Kung Fu instructor, Sifu Matt, who you may have seen in a couple of videos, telling me early on in my training that he could tell when someone was a good student because they would laugh in the middle of losing.

I see this myself as a teacher. Some kids and adults tense up when they fall. Or get overwhelmed by strikes. Or get pinned. They tense up and get angry and defeated and frustrated.

But then there are other students who laugh. Or smile. They get up with the spark in their eyes and they say, “What the hell was that?” or “How did you do that?”

They recognize that there’s something they don’t know, there’s something they need to get better at… and it excites them! It makes them want to keep learning and trying.

That is a completely different path than a student who gets frustrated and upset. That guy goes home feeling like a loser. That guy makes excuses. That guy quits.

The other guy, the one who can smile even in defeat, that’s the one who’s going to stick around for a while. They’re going to listen and experiment and come back better. So, I sure hope that’s the kind of student you are!

Dan’s advice that night changed my whole outlook on what I was getting out of class. I wasn’t training to be the best fighter in the room, I was training to figure out how to survive against the best fighter in the room.

Does that make sense? The point of training is to learn and develop, not just repeat old successes. But that development requires partners. Partners who can beat you. It also requires setting up drills where you lose… and lose badly, if possible.

If you want to be winner, you have to be a loser.

Now, I’m not saying that you should be proud of yourself because nothing you do ever works… that’s a problem. What I’m saying is that I want my training to be way harder than any real-life situation will ever be.

I mean, I suppose it’s possible that real-life can throw me into a chaotic nightmare, but that hasn’t happened yet. Which means, as long as I can keep surviving my training, I’m ready for everything else in my real life.

For instance, I recently ran a multiple attacker drill—eight versus one. With weapons. No kidding. Eight people with sticks and knives all attacking at the same time. An unlikely scenario, but a real challenge, wouldn’t you say?

The fact is it’s an impossible challenge! I died multiple times… and quickly. So did everyone else. But that’s the point of the drill.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but years ago, I had a training partner who never understood this kind of training. Even if we set up a drill where it was just two on one or maybe one of the attackers has a knife, he would always say, “Come on, what are the odds that this would ever happen?”

Man, that drove me nuts. I would snap back, “Dude! That’s not the point! The point is to see how much you can handle.”

It’s like lifting weights. When you lift weights, you don’t make estimates of what you think you’ll be lifting in the near future.

“Gee, let’s see… I’m going to the grocery store tonight… I’ll probably fill two bags, maybe each weighing 15 pounds, so I’ll load this bar here at the gym with 30 pounds. Oh, wait, I need a case of water, so I’ll add an extra 24 pounds. Wait a minute, I could make two trips form the car…”

AGH! No, no, no. That’s enough of that. You don’t lift weights thinking of how much you might need to lift, you just lift as much as you can, right? You lift an unlikely amount of weight so that you’ll be able to handle the tasks that are likely to come up in your daily life.

Hopefully, they might even seem easy. That’s the point.

Same with martial arts training. You shouldn’t think, “Well, I never get into fights, so I’ll just stretch. Actually, what are the odds I’ll ever have to do a full split? Forget it. I’ll just play video games tonight.”

Ridiculous, right? I say we should be preparing for all out war. Not just with one drunken idiot in a bar, but against a team of armed assassins. If you can figure out how to survive against a team of armed assassins, then that solo, unarmed, drunken idiot should be much simpler to deal with.

Please note that I said simple there, not easy. I never say easy when it comes to self-defense. I mean, even one drunken idiot can suddenly pull out a knife and stab you in the heart. There’s nothing easy about that. Which is why I don’t want to fight at all… and you shouldn’t, either!

The Secret to True Confidence

So, that’s the reason I feel confident as a martial artist. Not because I’m fast, strong, big, or even tough. I’m none of those things!

It’s because I’ve spent years going out of my way to feel overwhelmed. I’ve purposely put myself in training situations that I can’t win… not all the time, anyway. And because of that, I’ve gained knowledge.

I’ve learned what I can do and what I can’t do. I’ve learned to not take losing personally. I’ve learned that I always have a chance. I’ve learned to keep trying.

So, is setting a goal to be a black belt or earn another black belt worth your time? Sure. But you know what’s even better? Setting a goal to survive against any black belt! Or any person walking the earth. Or any situation on this earth or beyond.

And that starts by gaining experience. The experience of holding your ground in the face of difficult challenges. The experience of failing and not letting your spirit break. The experience of being tough and withstanding discomfort.

It’s a paradox, I suppose, but by setting up training experiences where you can lose, you increase the chances that you’re going to win.

Let me give a quick sidenote for the teachers out there. As I’ve gotten older as a teacher, I’ve come to realize that I really can’t make anybody be good at martial arts. When I was younger, I really thought I could. As a result, my heart has been broken for years by the lackadaisical attitude of most students.

Until I realized that my frustration is no different then being angry at the sky for being blue every day. There’s nothing wrong with the sky. And there’s nothing wrong if most people don’t want to do a deep dive into the world of martial arts training. Or any training for that matter.

Once I accepted that, I changed my focus from technical issues to character issues.

I may not be able to make you fix your punch but I can create a class experience that’s difficult for you. I can make you sweat. I can overwhelm you.

I could push you through discomfort so you realize that you’re braver than you thought. Tougher than you thought. Smarter than you thought.

It was never really about the belt anyway, right? It was always about improving your life by improving yourself.

So, my challenge to you is to find a bigger challenge. If you’re already feeling challenged where you are, great—keep going. Be proud of yourself every time you show up… even when you lose. Especially when you lose.

Because you’re learning something that the people who gave up never figured out. You’re proving to yourself that you can survive. That you can solve problems. And I’ll bet those problems inside your school are far more difficult than any problem you’re going to face outside your school.

That’s the whole reason for showing up. Your dojo is hopefully a safe place to go beyond your normal day. To tap into a deeper level of your commitment, courage, and effort. Like lifting weights, your martial arts training is a chance to do more then you will ever really need to, so that if you do ever need to do something, you’re more than prepared for it.

It’s all about the effort. It’s about going beyond the normal and into the abnormal. The reward for that is confidence and that, my friend, is better than any black belt.

Let’s break this down a little more. The secret to confidence isn’t just doing what you have to do over and over again. For me, the secret is doing more than you have to do over and over again.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the motto of the Boy Scouts of America… Be Prepared. As a young man, I liked that motto. It made sense. It was a cure for anxiety and for incompetence.

But as I grew older, I got the feeling that it didn’t go far enough. Nowadays, my motto, particularly when it comes to martial arts training, has become, Be Over-Prepared. Do more.

The only trick to making that motto work is to recognize that the failure you experience when you put extra stress on yourself is beneficial and not a step backwards.

Meaning if I’m very good at fighting one person at a time, then I feel confident. If I spar two people at a time and get hit more often or get taken down more often, I can’t lose my confidence. I still have to be proud of the successes in my effort.

If I spar eight people at a time and I get hit repeatedly and I end up on the ground getting kicked over and over again and there’s no evidence that I’ve ever trained a day in my life, I still need to see that as a success.

That’s the tricky part. I have to realize that my success was staying on my feet for seven seconds instead of five seconds before I crashed and burned. Or maybe I hit three people instead of just one person. I’m not denying my defeat… I’m just drawing every drop of success out of that defeat that I can.

Now, because I train like that whenever I can, if you ask me to spar one person with no weapon, I’m not just confident, I transcend the very concept of confidence. I’m not worried at all.

It’s not that I possess super human capabilities, it’s not that I’m guaranteed to win, but psychologically, I know I’ve not only succeeded in this situation before, I’ve succeeded in far more difficult situations before. And that sets my mind and my spirit in a very calm, creative state. That state I would call true confidence.

Imagine you’re training for your next belt test. You’ve got butterflies in your stomach, you’ve been cramming as much practice time into your schedule for the last month, you’re worried about that one kick that never feels quite right, but you’re tough. You show up anyway.

Okay. So, you get to the test and your instructor calls you up. Your heart speeds up, your palms are sweaty, you’re wondering why you keep putting yourself through this torture. Then your instructor tells you this, “Today, for your test, I’m only going to ask you to perform one task. I want you to spar my five-year-old nephew, Brandon.”

What? You turn around and sure enough, there’s a five-year-old boy in a tee shirt and shorts sitting on the floor playing with Legos. The instructor stands him up, points him at you, and tells him, “Okay, Brandon, it’s punchy-punch-kick time.”

Now, how does that make you feel? Is there any part of you that is worried about your performance against Brandon?

Would you say that you feel confident in your chances or would you say that your state of mind has transcended confidence?

Isn’t it true that you feel so over-prepared for this task, that you feel free in your body, free in your thinking, and free in your creative spirit?

If you don’t, then I can’t help you. Maybe you should just go bake some cookies. But I think you get what I’m saying here. I don’t want you to just squeak by when you’re confronted with a challenge, I want you to have it so under control that you are free to think about other things.

Again, I don’t want to ever use the term easy when it comes to self-defense, but I do think it’s reasonable to set up training experiences that are so difficult, and so stressful, that a real-life confrontation will seem very clear and simple by comparison. If not physically, at least emotionally.

To be clear, I’m not saying this is the secret formula for never getting stabbed or punched. Hey, I can still be mugged, beaten, and killed like anybody else. But my chances will be better than most people if they’ve never pushed themselves physically and emotionally into situations that are chaotic and dangerous. My chances will always be better if I have been training to build true confidence.

That’s what Dan was telling me right from the beginning.

So, seek confidence, yes… but don’t stop there. I would like you to transcend the very concept of confidence.

I want you to transcend doubt, fear and courage. Ultimately, I don’t want you to think about failure or success at all. The real goal is true confidence.

The real goal is to turn the most difficult tasks into playtime. Brandon plays with Legos. You play with life.

The goal is to move through your world in a state of calm creativity no matter who or what you face. That powerful state only happens two ways, though.

First, if you’re completely indifferent to your health and safety and stop caring about anything. But that’s a dangerous path. If you don’t care about anything, you’ll let people treat you badly and you might stop looking both ways before you cross the street.

If you do care about improving your life and you do care about improving the lives of the people around you, then the second way, the healthy way, is the one for you.

On that path, you don’t just prepare to fight, you over-prepare. You seek out challenges whenever you can. You throw yourself into deep waters. You’re the first to try something new.

Let normal people seek confidence. If they find it, good for them. But remember, you’re not one of them.

You’re not normal. You’re a martial artist.

You’re on a path that the majority of your friends and family think is crazy. Punching, kicking, and choking each other for fun and personal development—that’s not normal. Be we love it anyway!

So, go deeper into the madness. A little martial arts makes life a whole lot better, yes, but a lot of martial arts makes it sublime. Heavenly. Or at least as good as it gets.

So, double down. Dig deeper. Go crazy. That’s where you’re going to find your full power… and that’s where you’re going to find true confidence.

Keep fighting for a happy life!

The post #63: True Confidence [Podcast] appeared first on Sensei Ando.

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