Bring Dance Into Your Life

Life, for the lucky ones, is a creative process. Art, dance, music, and literature all combine to make our lives richer, with more value and depth of expression than they would be without the arts. My dad, a lifelong diesel mechanic, read the covers off of books, and took piano lessons when he was 70. He said he had always had to work so much, he never had time to learn. Don’t be like that – learn, today, about the arts. Bring them into your life in small ways, so that you don’t reach the age of 70 never having done what you really wanted. Dance is an excellent art to bring into your life. Most people these days are looking for ways to exercise, so why not take dancing lessons? When you bring dance into your life, you improve your health, get in shape, and explore new ways to express yourself.

Classes

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If you are considering a gym membership, think about dance classes, instead. Really, now – which would you rather do – 500 sit-ups disguised as crunches, or several new swing moves? It can’t be any more embarrassing to miss a step or two in class than it is to throw-up from overexertion on the exercise floor. Dance classes are available in just about any kind of age group you want, and in any style. Dance classes are not limited to little kids taking ballet. Adult, teens, and children can take classes in ballroom dancing, swing, country dancing, Latin dancing, Hip Hop, jazz, and other styles of dancing. Pick out your favorite type of music, your dance shoes, and you’ll find that there are dance classes that get you moving to that kind of music.

Exercise

If you are primarily taking dance lessons for exercise, consider Zoomba. This is an exercise-oriented dance that has helped thousands of people get in shape. But that is not the only type of dancing that gets your heart beating. Western Swing, swing, jazz, and the others all work out your entire body, rather than just one muscle group. You can get your heart rate up with dance as much as with any other exercise, and have fun doing it. And, you usually have a partner.

Date Night

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Couples are turning to dancing for their date night activities. Dance classes are a great way to spend time together, and you’re developing a skill the whole time. Being on the dance floor gives you a more comfortable social setting, and you can still get to know the person you are dating.

Expression

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Free dance is a distant goal for most people. But, you’ll find that on the dance floor, you are able to forget the stresses of the day and get lost in the rhythm and movement – both your own and that of your dance partner. Bringing this art form into your life is a perfect way to share with others while you enjoy the activity for yourself.

Bringing dance into your life is a great way to enrich it. Give it a try.

So How Dangerous Is Surfing Anyway?

Surfing is, perhaps, one of the most surprising of sports. The reason I say that is that it is no longer the sole domain of people with sexy, firm, fit bodies who crave the thrill of danger. Sure, that is out there, and always will be. But surfing today is for just about anybody who wants to get in the water. Even the nemesis of the deep – the shark – isn’t nearly the threat you might think.

A Nice Drive

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If you want to find out just how dangerous sharks are for the surfer, take a drive to the beach. Did you make it safely? That’s how safe you’ll be in the water. Actually, you’ll be safer in the water than you are on the roads. People who drive on roads are far more likely to be injured in auto accidents than peopleS who surf are to be bitten by a shark. There are several reasons for this.

Skills Level

One of the biggest protections for the typical surfer is simply that he or she is not that great. Face it, the sexy, thrill-loving professional surfers who have left surf lessons behind, don’t surf where you will surf. Most of them are in deeper water, or rockier water, or in more secluded areas, where they can get fancy waves with cool names. Those who do surf at the same beaches you frequent will be farther out on the waves than you go. Simply put, if anyone would be shark bait, it would be the daredevils who venture out into the realm of sharks, not people who ride fun boards and boogie boards in small surf. The few shark attacks that have happened are typically deep-water surfers who venture too close to feeding grounds, looking for bigger thrills and more danger.

Safeguards

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Not only is your skills level likely to keep you safer, the surf zones are very closely regulated. You’ll find that there are buoys to demarcate safe areas with no undertow, protecting you from the risk of being pulled into deeper water or near shoals. Besides markers, there are also employees and lifeguards who constantly watch for sharks or any other rare threat that might appear. You have professionals looking out for you. They don’t want anything to happen to their surfers – it’s bad for business!

You can also be proactive with your own safety. Pay attention to barriers, buoys, and markers. Don’t take stupid chances, thinking you’re being daring. If you graduate to higher skills and want to take on dangerous surf, good for you. However, chances are, if you’re afraid of sharks, you’re not in that group of danger seekers. Watch flags, watch waves, and stay within markers, and the only place you’ll see a shark is on your plate, or in an aquarium.

Beginners to Experts

The immense popularity of surfing has made the sport safer than ever. From beginners to experts, the boards are made to fit the individual and be easier to control. So, enjoy the surf, and don’t worry about sharks.

Great Garden Hacks

Spring is on the way, and gardeners can hardly wait to get their hands dirty. As a gardener, you may have already prepared spaces in your garden for new plants or flower beds. Trees have already been shaped and pruned to allow sunshine through the canopy, and last season’s mulch has done its job of smothering weeds and preserving moisture in the soil. Perennials are starting to peep out of the soil, and bulbs are already blooming. During the planning sessions for your spring garden, keep in mind these great garden hacks. You’ll save time, save money, and the payoff is healthier, happier plants.

Coffee as Fertilizer

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When I started teaching, I was awed by the potted plants in veteran teachers’ classrooms. When I finally got the courage to ask about their green thumbs, every one of them said the secret to their healthy plants was coffee. It acts as fertilizer, stimulating plants just as it stimulates the freshly awakened brain over the morning paper.

When your coffee gets cold, pour the remains onto your plants. Save the grounds, too. In fact, some coffee shops such as Starbuck actually package their used grounds and sell them. Work these grounds into the soil in your garden and they will give your seedlings a jump-start. Regular watering with left over coffee, and mulching with grounds, will make your plants stronger and more vigorous.

Buy Bugs

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Did you know you can buy bugs? Ladybugs eat all kinds of pesky – um – pests. Aphids, especially, do terrible damage to plants every year. Everything from ornamental shrubs to vegetables can be decimated in just a couple of days by aphids. But, ladybugs LOVE aphids. They consider these white, mealy little pests to be the best meal in the whole world. You can buy a container of ladybugs for less than you would spend on chemicals at the nursery, and they will be better for the environment.

Get Worms

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Earthworms are some of the best gardeners on the planet it’s almost like having your own personal lawn services. They burrow through soil, naturally aerating it, and their castings make a terrific fertilizer. In fact, you can buy worm castings from worm farms to fertilize your garden. You can buy earthworms, too, but usually, if you compost your garden, the worms will come on their own.

Some gardeners will even tell you to dig holes in the garden soil, about 10 centimeters apart and 20 centimeters deep, and bury your kitchen scraps. People who don’t want to have a compost bin can still reuse their scraps and enrich the soil enough to bring in earthworms. It helps, too, to keep the soil moist. Deep water at first, and then just moisten the top of the soil, and the worms will have enough moisture to live and multiply.

Planting and maintaining a healthy garden is a labor of love. Watching something that you have planted grow into a beautiful plant is rewarding and satisfying. With a few garden hacks, you can save money and time, and have a healthier garden, too.

5 Of The Craziest Artificial Trees

When most people think of crazy, artificial trees, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the aluminum Christmas trees of the 1950s and early 1960s. These shaggy representations of their natural cousins were often lit by a rotating light beneath that turned them from green to red to blue. That, however, was just the beginning when it comes to crazy trees. Trees, being one of the most graceful and striking works of art in nature, are imitated by humans in many different ways. Blown glass, cast metal, carved wood, paintings, and paper mache’ representations of these natural art forms are a staple in gardens and homes. Here are several of the craziest artificial trees you have ever seen.

Bicycle Tree

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In London, the Bermondsey Square has a tree made out of Bike Tires. This recycling (pun intended) attempt has produced a whirl-i-gig effect with the colorful tires spinning in the breeze, and the iconic pyramid shape successfully carried out in the construction of this striking model. Structures like this are clever and humorous, as well as visually appealing.

Water Bottle Trees

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In Montreal, you can go to the Domison store and see the sculpture called the “Ice Tree.” This is made of over 300 water bottles. The tree hangs from the ceiling, and the light shines through the bottles, making it look like it is carved from ice.

Murano Glass

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In Italy, the city of Venice has erected a breathtaking structure made of over 1000 glass tubes. This 10 foot wide, 28 foot tree weighs over 3 tons, and is completely made of Murano glass. Murano glass is hand-blown by artisans, and is very valuable, coveted by designers and decorators.

CD Tree

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The Chelsea Market, located in New York City, played host to one of the trashiest trees ever made. Constructed by an artist, the gigantic artificial outdoor tree was made from old music CDs and tapes. The tapes were those pulled out of old cassettes. The overall effect is actually quite stunning, “topping the charts,” so to speak, on reflected light and shiny-ness.

Shopping Cart Tree

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For 14 years, Anthony Schmitt has been building shopping cart trees in Santa Monica California. These huge structures are said to symbolize abundance, and the generosity of the giving season. He also wanted to remind everyone of the role of shopping carts in the lives of homeless people, many of whom keep all of their earthly belongings in a shopping cart. His goal is to find beauty in objects that are part of everyday life. The structure of these trees includes giant Christmas balls, and the lighting reflects in a striking manner.

These 5 crazy artificial outdoor trees are just a small sample of the lengths people will go to in recreating nature in unusual ways. These tributes to some of the most majestic elements of nature can be awe-inspiring themselves, and certainly an expression of the creativity of man in response to the inspiration provided by nature.