Tag Archives: lifestyle

Visit Your Local Art Gallery

The purpose of this post is to introduce you to some reasons to visit an art gallery.  Many of us either do not know if we are artistic, or assume that we do not have the creative gene.  The cool part is that most of us are artistic but we do not seek ways to bring it out of us.  Anyone can enjoy an art gallery and the following sections will inform you on why you should go soon.

Reason #1: Emotional Art
Most art galleries have at least one piece that really catches your eye and connects with you.  It is worth going to your local art gallery to experience a piece of art that affects your emotions.  It may be an expansive painting of a cabin in the woods- similar to one you spent time at as a child; it may be a sculpture of a parent cradling their baby- similar to the moments of your young adulthood; and it may simply be a beautiful piece with such amazing detail that it shows you the beauty of our surroundings.  No matter who you are, there is likely a piece of art at your local gallery that will emotionally affect you.

Reason #2: Inspiring Art
Going to an art gallery and focusing on the isolated pieces of art forces you to appreciate the beauty in the work.  While there are many artistic pieces that surround us daily, it is easy to overlook them with all of the commotion going on around us.  A painting on a wall in a hallway might get diminished by the rush of people walking by or a nicely sculpted buliding might go unnoticed by the traffic racing along in front of it.  When you go to an art gallery, the pieces are independantly placed to allow you to get immersed in the art in front of you.  Once you recognize the beauty in the art work on the walls in isolation, you start to pick up artistic works in your daily life.  So get out an go to an art gallery so you can learn to appreciate art and start recognizing art throughout your day to make it a better one.

Reason #3: Its Cheap
An art gallery at a major city is typically around $15 to visit.  While this may seem a little steep, it is well worth the money.  A movie is almost as expensive and a sit down lunch often costs about $15.  These are things that people go out and do a ton, which is great, but I think budgeting for a rare art gallery visit would make their week more fulfilling.  The range of pieces at an art gallery are quite diverse and you get exposed to paintings of all kinds, photography, sculptures, and other artifacts.  You can walk through and admire as quickly or slowly as you would like so a visit should fit with almost anyone’s schedule.  With all of the different forms of art, you might even leave inspired to learn how to paint or sculpt.  If you were to pick up a wonderful hobby because of your visit to an art gallery, it would certainly be worth that $15.

Some ideas for those interested in visitng an art gallery:

  • Go with a friend- it is often pretty fun to discuss favorite paintings afterwards or compare personal tastes in art as you go through the gallery.
  • Visit different galleries- exhibits change about every month so can see an entirely different.
  • Visit art galleries on your next trip or vacation.

Get out and see what your local art gallery has to offer and feel free to comment on what your favorite piece was.

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Go Kayaking

This post will introduce you to kayaking and show you how easily you can get started in the water.  Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will be able to recognize kayaking as another way to get outdoors, get some exercise, and see some beautiful parts of the world.  A couple reasons to kayak are:

Reason #1: Scenery
Kayaking connects you with nature unlike anything else.  Being on the water in a natural setting allows you to experience wildlife and nature up close and intimately.  It is almost guaranteed to encounter exotic birds, eagles, hawks, fish, or wildlife in nearby forests while you glide along the water.  Do not be surprised as you paddle your way around a scenic peninsula or investigate an interesting cove if an eagle swoops down and snatches at a fish in the water right beside you.  You would be amazed seeing these dynamic creatures in action and there is no better way to get up close than being on the water in a comfortable and dry kayak.  If you take the time and effort to get into the water in your kayak, you will be pleasantly surprised at the tranquil experience of being immersed in nature.

Reason #2: Its fun
The many aspects of kayaking present you with tasks that will appropriately challenge you as you learn to navigate the water.  Beginning lessons will quickly teach you how to: paddle, balance, edge, and roll to recover from capsizing.  Once you get the hang of kayaking you will be able to fully control your kayak and own your area in the water whenever you go.  There is a lot of freedom in kayaking and being able to paddle around anywhere on a lake can be quite a blast.  If kayaking interests you, the rush from gliding through the water will not disappoint.

While kayaking is a unique activity and certainly a cool one to say you have tried or do regularly, it does not come without its disadvantages.  Obviously you need to live in an area that has lakes, coves, or large bodies of water, and it costs a bit of money to get started.  Before you go out and buy a kayak, a roof-rack to transport it, and reorganize your garage to store it, go to your nearest kayak center at your closest lake and sign up for some beginner lessons.

Beginner lessons will supply you with all of the equipment you need as rentals and include an instructor to teach you effective technique to get you well on your way to having fun on your own.  Beginner lessons vary in length from daily sessons that will have you proficient within a week, or once a week sessions that get you certified by the end of the month.  It is encouraged to search a bit online to find the best package for you and your particular needs.  A typical kayak lesson package in my area costs about $250 for 5 lessons.  Lessons are up to 3 hours in length are done in a fun atmosphere.

Kayaking is a really cool activity to get involved in but it has some upfront costs.  Hopefully this posts lights a fire you and gets you interested in kayaking- whether just trying it for a month, doing it in the summer, or getting lessons on your next vacation.  Whatever the situation, kayaking can be a blast so keep it in mind for something fun to do.  See you out on the water!

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Drive a Manual Transmission Car

Driving your car can be made a little more awesome by choosing to drive one with a manual transmission.  This post is limited to those searching for a new car or could be kept in mind when you eventually get a new one.  The purpose of this post is to get you excited about driving and make it fun again by getting rid of that mindless automatic transmission and get you in control of your car with a manual transmission.

There are a few benefits to driving a car with a manual transmission rather than an automatic, outlined below:

  1. Sticker price on car is cheaper
  2. Greater control of the car
  3. A TON of fun

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  1. Cheaper sticker price.  Manual transmissions will often saveyou $1000 or more initially because they are cheaper for the car-maker to manufacture.  Repair costs are cheaper for manual transmissions as they are simpler than automatics.  When treated properly, a manual transmission can even outlive the car showing their durability.  There is a word of caution as the savings are not like they used to be as automatic transmissions have become equally as fuel efficient.  Some say that you could face costs of replacing the clutch, but since all of this site’s visitors are champs behind the wheel, you do not need to worry about something as silly as that.
  2. Greater control of the car.  Automatic transmissions take away the control you can have over your car.  With a manual, you can control the engine power and torque by shifting basically anytime you want at any speed.  You can downshift to get more power when facing an incline and interact much more closely with the car.  So when Grandma Gertrude is driving at 17mph on the right, drop that sucker down into 2nd, punch the gas, and rip by her in style!
  3. Have more fun.  You are far more engaged when driving a manual transmission.  Remember when driving was a thrill?  When you first got your license and actually had fun behind the wheel?  Well you can get those days back by shifting manually and have an engaging experience behind the wheel.  Downshift in corners, listen to the engine come to life driving off from a stoplight, and become the controller of your car.  Even an old, powerless car comes to life when you can get the engine revving so bring out the inner kid in you and have a ton of fun behind the wheel by driving manually!

Comment below with your fun experiences driving manual or what manual transmission car you are considering getting next.  Enjoy the benefits of driving a manual and your time on the streets will be a lot more fun!

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5 Reasons to Sprint a Hill

This post will introduce you to the world of hill sprints and hopefully demonstrate that doing them can be an all-around great experience! Hill sprints reward you with a sense of triumph upon completion, a great physical workout, and benefit your brain. Anyone can engage in a hill sprint, anytime, and almost anywhere. By hill sprint I mean finding a convenient slope close to your home or work, getting set with a stop watch at the base of it, and running at your appropriate pace up it for the 20-40 seconds it takes to complete. A hill sprint is not specific to just one particular distance or incline either- depending on your physical abilities you can make your way up any sort of slope at any speed you desire.

5 reasons to sprint a hill are:

  1. You feel like a champion at the top
  2. They are quick
  3. Can be done anywhere
  4. They benefit your brain
  5. You notice the benefits right away

  1. Feel like a champion!There is both a physical and mental challenge when sprinting a hill. While that little bulge in the landscape may seem rather insignificant looking at it from a distance, you will quickly recognize the physical challenge at the halfway point, pumping your arms and legs like a madman while scrambling to the top. There gets a point where your legs lose their juice and the hill seems to get steeper and steeper. The cool part is that you have it inside you to push and get to the top. Pushing yourself and overcoming this little obstacle is an extremely rewarding experience and you will live in triumph for the rest of the day after conquering your hill. Hill sprints can be pretty taxing on the body if you push it too hard so if you are new to them, start slow. The objective is to be able to be faster 4, 6, 8, or however many weeks later, so pushing yourself to the max and burning out or getting injured in the first week does you no good.
  2. Hill sprints are quick. You can easily fit a hill sprint into your busy schedule. Depending on your physical ability, you can do anywhere from 1-10 sets of sprints. You will be able to know how many sets are appropriate for you once starting and if in doubt, error on the cautious side. A typical sprint ranges from 20-40 seconds and if you do more than one set, typically a short, 1-2 minute rest is sufficient. So take a quick jolt over to a nearby hill, sprint your set or two with a couple minutes rest, and feel like a champion for the rest of the day!
  3. Sprints can be done anywhere. Regardless of where you live, you will be able to easily find a suitable place to sprint. If you live on the prairies, you might be limited to a flatter slope but you will still reap the benefits of a good sprint. Once you get into hill sprints, it will be easy to start scoping out cool, new places to sprint anywhere you go. The once boring, inclined street in the city will soon become a new territory that you can conquer.
  4. Hill sprints benefit your brain. Along with providing a great physical workout that you will feel throughout your body, sprinting benefits your brain in many ways. Sprinting has positive effects on the brain through several mechanisms, including neurogenesis, mood enhancement, and endorphin release. Neurogenesis is basically the creation of neurons on the hippocampus, the learning center of the brain. Studies have shown improved mood upon physical exertion, as well as the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals released by the brain in response to pain or stress. These chemicals help minimize the discomfort of exercise and play a role in sense of euphoria felt by some after intense physical exercise.
  5. Benefits are noticed quickly after starting sprinting. It is recommended that you take a stopwatch or a friend with you on your hill sprint. There is nothing better for your development than having a specific metric to measure your progress or a competitor running beside you that you are looking to beat. Once you have started taking note of your times and pushing yourself to beat them, you will get faster and faster. The best part is that you will notice the benefits immediately. After your first hill sprint you will have that sense of triumph, your brain will have released those beneficial chemicals, and your body will begin repairing itself to be faster the next time you line up at the bottom of your hill. Expect to have some more spring in your step walking around or going up stairs after just a week or two of doing sprints. Feel free to comment and explain other benefits you started noticing after doing some sprints.

The following will outline how you can get started hill sprinting:

  • Search for a hill close to your home or work that is convenient for you to access
  • Start with just a single hill sprint at a pace you can handle
  • Give yourself at least one day of rest for your body to recover
  • Start with running your hill twice per week and start timing after 1 or 2 weeks
  • Work up to sprinting 3 times per week or however many times you are comfortable
  • Get a friend or many friends to join you to push each other and have a blast competing
  • Set a 4 or 6 week goal, watch your times drop, and feel stronger and faster along the way!

Hill sprinting has a ton of benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing and can be a ton of fun. So get to the base of your closest hill, run it, and be able to say you hill conquered that beast!  Feel free to post times/progress/experiences in the comments!

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Play a Musical Instrument

Hey folks, this post will hopefully spark you to start playing a musical instrument.

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It is a great hobby to pick up as anyone regardless of age, size, or physical ability can do it.  Whether you are looking for a new challenge, seeking to improve your mood, or simply envision yourself being able to jam like a rockstar, I suggest you start looking into playing a musical instrument.  There is a slew of benefits that go along with learning to play music and it could very well become one of those timeless activities you can engage in for the rest of your life. Benefits include:

  1. Increasing IQ
  2. Relieving stress
  3. Increasing creativity
  4. Improving mood
  5. Having a ton of fun in general

Further research shows additional benefits such as: improving students’ learning rate (Hong Kong University of China Study) and increasing the size of the brain’s cerebral cortex by 30% (MIT study).

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Now that you are armed with the various benefits of playing an instrument, you have to just discover which one to play.  Start thinking about your favorite genre of music and watch some videos of live performances.  Check out the different instruments being used and you will be well on your way to getting that new instrument into your creative hands.

5 of the most common instruments being played today:

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The piano is popular all over the world and used widely in classical and jazz genres.

Blues, country, jazz, or rock- the guitar does it all.

The violin- commonly used in classical, jazz, and rock and roll.

Jazz and classical all day for the saxophone.

Who isn’t interested in hammering away on the drums?

Whether new or used, online or at your local music store, there are tons of ways you can get a musical instrument- so get interested and get playing!  Feel free to post your comments below on what musical instrument you most want to start learning how to play.

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