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5 Tips for Effective Exaggeration



At the heart of successful animation lie 12 principles. One of these is exaggeration, which refers to the act of taking certain elements and stretching them beyond the realm of normal. All animation requires some sort of exaggeration, even animation that strives to be realistic, because it is exaggeration that makes animation come alive, appeal to audiences, and add comedic relief to otherwise intense scenes. Poorly executed exaggeration, however, can detract rather than add to the appeal and impact of an animated work. As a result, effective exaggeration requires careful work by the traditional animation studio. Following are a few tips for successfully using exaggeration in any animated production.

Exaggerate The Most Important Elements.

The first step in creating effective exaggeration is to choose which elements to exaggerate. The key when making this decision is to remember that exaggerated elements will get the most attention from viewers. Therefore, the element you choose will change the way the viewer understands the scene. As a result, you need to choose the elements that are most important for understanding the scene.

For instance, if you are animating a scene in which a character is sailing, you may decide that the waves’ movements are most important and exaggerate those. On the other hand, you may decide that the character’s reaction is most vital, and, therefore, focus on their facial features. In the first instance, the viewer learns about the environment in which the character is sailing, while in the latter, the viewer learns about the personality of the character. Making the right choice will allow you to create exaggeration that contributes to rather than detracts from your work.

Know What Your Goals Are.

Once you decide which elements to exaggerate, you will need to decide how much exaggeration to use. In order to make this decision, you must have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve with the exaggeration. Exaggeration can be used in a number of different ways. For instance, you can use it to add fluid motions that make the animation look more realistic. On the other hand, you can use it to create caricatured movements that add comedy, or that add personality and appeal.

Each of these goals, however, requires a slightly different use of exaggeration. Take, for instance, the sailor discussed above. If you desire a realistic look, you may choose to slightly exaggerate his facial expressions. However, if you wish to interject humor, you may use extreme exaggeration to give him comedic facial expressions. The right choice will be the one that best contributes to your overall goals for the scene.

Retain The Essence of The Exaggerated Elements.

As soon as you decide to exaggerate an element, you are no longer bound by the strict parameters of reality. However, in order for your exaggeration to retain its appeal, it must still have some connection to reality. If it does not, the object or character being exaggerated will become confusing to viewers, who will no longer be able to mesh what they see on the screen with the basic rules of reality to which they are accustomed.

For instance, say you choose to exaggerate the facial features of the character sailing on the boat. If you remove all identifying elements from the face in order to twist it into a complete caricature of fear or surprise, or delight, you will lose the essence of the character design. The viewer will no longer be able to identify or connect with them. As a result, when exaggerating any animated element, a good rule of thumb is to take what is already there as far as expressions, physical features, or emotions, and exaggerate those elements. By doing so, you increase the appeal of the scene for viewers instead of detracting from it.

Create Balance.

Even though viewers of animation expect to see exaggeration and fantasy, they also want to keep one foot in reality. As a result, another key to effective exaggeration is to create balance within the scene. You can do so by only selecting a few elements in each scene to exaggerate. The rest of the elements must remain more natural and realistic. Doing so will avoid an absurd or disturbing look that will leave viewers confused or dismayed with your work.

For instance, if you exaggerate your sailing character’s facial features, you should refrain from exaggerating their other physical features. If you choose to exaggerate the movement of the waves, you may need to refrain from exaggerating the character’s facial features too. With a balanced scene, you draw the viewer’s attention to the elements they need to see, and keep them grounded enough in reality to enjoy the exaggerated elements.

Keep Your Project Appealing.

Finally, when using exaggeration in your animated production, you will need to maintain appeal. Appeal is a fairly subjective, yet crucial, element to animation. It is what makes even a villain a character the viewers will enjoy watching. Making mistakes in the steps discussed above can result in a loss of appeal. For instance, if you use too much exaggeration, viewers will be less likely to enjoy the animated production.

As a result, the last question you must ask yourself is how the exaggeration contributes to the scene’s overall appeal. It may fit all the criteria above, yet detract from the overall entertainment value. On the other hand, you may find that pushing the boundaries a bit yields a bolder look and greater appeal. As a result, exaggeration, as with any element of animation, requires careful crafting in order to achieve the most powerful and appealing work of art possible.

Exaggeration is an effective way to bring your animation to life, whether you are doing video game animation, advertising animation, or a feature length film. By exaggerating the most important elements, knowing what you want to achieve, retaining the essence of the exaggerated elements, creating balance, and keeping your project appealing can help you to create truly effective exaggeration in your animated art.


Classic Metal and Hard Rock – The Best Shock Rock Bands




-In no particular order

Arthur Brown – Burning Helmet

It’s safe to say that for once Alice Cooper borrowed some ideas from somebody else; case in point, Arthur Brown. Arthur Bown is most well known for the single “Fire” which is vindictive of the Arthur Brown experience. Brown extensively used fire to cause a stir in the audience while the whole band resembled some kind of medieval satanic cult. Brown himself was one of the first to use face paint/makeup to create a stage persona along with the music. His incendiary stage act was so controversial that he was even kicked off a tour with Jimi Hendrix. On one tour Brown descended on the stage wearing a suit and helmet welded from sheet metal that was doused in lighter fluid and set a flame. The band never saw huge success because of an unstable line-up and was therefore unable to gain the notoriety they deserve in the Rock world.

Motley Crue (Early Years 81-85)- Nikki Lights his legs on fire

What most people aren’t aware of when it comes to Motley Crue is the fact that they pretty much started as a shock rock band. Other than being the kings of 80’s rock and metal, Motley Crue started off with elaborate stage antics inspired by Kiss and Alice. During The Too Fast for Love era live performances The Crue aimed to shock and entertain the audience with Fire, Blood, Crazy Hair, ‘Scary’ Makeup, and outrageous outfits.

Nikki Sixx adopted the technique (from Blackie Lawless) of setting his leather pants and boots on fire during live performances which can be seen in the “Live wire” video. Also in “Live Wire”, the Kiss inspired blood dripping from the mouth technique is used by Mr Mars. Crazy thigh high boots, leather and studs, pale-face makeup, and larger-than-life hair were all used to initially shock audiences with such an extreme and wild image. Motley also experimented with the controversy of satanic symbols, not to mention pushing violent and sexual lyrics and imagery into the forefront. Perhaps Motley Crue are not usually paired with other shock rock acts because outrageous androgyny in 81-84 became the norm for the rest of the 80’s with the arrival of other Hair Metal acts. As well, the Crue toned down their image by 87. There always was a fine line between Shock Rock and Glam.

W.A.S.P. – Torture Rack

WASP, just like Motley Crue came from the sunset strip glam metal movement. Considering the fact the members of WASP and Crue played together in a band at some point (Sister), it comes as no surprise to see the similarities of these two bands in their early days. WASP is of course synonymous with the shock rock genre. They mixed Alice Cooper’s horror show with aggressive but catchy heavy metal tunes. Blackie is known for using raw meat in his performance and throwing it into the audience, as well as eating live worms on stage (although this was before WASP), dangerous fire use, and blood to get a reaction out of the audience.

WASP’s most well known ‘gimmick’ was the use of the torture rack in which they hung a naked woman and proceeded to mutilate her body (all showmanship of course). Randy Piper borrows some ideas from Ace Frehley’s bag of tricks with his smoking guitar. Stage antics considered, WASP got much of their shock rock credit from the PMRC’s filthy fifteen with the violent and sexual lyrics/image in songs such as Animal (Fuck Like A Beast).

Other techniques include: Chainsaw cod piece, pyro, and exploding cod piece (fireworks)

Alice Cooper – Beheading Himself

Credited as the godfather of Shock Rock, Alice Cooper was every parent’s worst nightmare in the 60’s and 70’s. Alice Cooper is a full on Macbeth Rock and Roll play. He coined pretty much every technique that has ever been used by any Shock Rock acts to follow. Snakes, makeup, guillotines, nooses, blood, thigh high boots, straight-jackets, etc… Alice Cooper explored the fears of Americans by experimenting with imagery and lyrics. Alice’s is one of the first to make concept albums. His lyrics ranged from tales inspiring youth rebellion to the clinically insane.

Alice Cooper’s wild stage shows inspired gossip and fear to spread among conservative America. One of the most prominent incidents during a live performance was the fiasco of a live chicken being ripped to shreds by a hostile Toronto crowd. Newspapers and media empowered the eerie Alice Cooper aura with reports of Alice beheading himself night after night. Alice Cooper is a combination of Bloody Tragedies, Houdini, and Rock and Roll.

Lizzy Borden

Here is another shock rock band that was yet again influenced by Kiss and Alice Cooper. The band’s name is inspired from a woman accused and acquitted of murder in the 19th century. Clearly borrowing from Alice Cooper, the lead singer is also named Lizzy Borden. The band’s music was pure metal influenced from bands such as Maiden (especially vocally), Sabbath, Priest, Kiss, and Alice Cooper. They are most well known for their video “Me Against The World” which showcases their outrageous glam androgyny used to shock audiences. In the early days they borrowed many tricks from Alice Cooper lyrically and visually including hacking up a woman on stage with an axe. In the 80s Lizzy Borden was an example of a heavier Glam metal band that garnered a huge underground following.

Kiss – Gene Simmons breathing Fire

Kiss is recognized as another pioneer in the Shock Rock genre. Alice Cooper was yet another influence on Kiss very early on. Kiss started as a Glam Rock band but after seeing Alice Cooper decided they would have 4 Alice Cooper’s on stage and drastically changed their image. Of course we are all well aware of Gene Simmons breathing fire and spitting blood. Kiss became one of the major targets of religious and parental organizations as well as influencing decades of bands to follow. Their stage show is constantly cited as one of the biggest around and Kiss is considered entertainment both musically and visually. Ace Frehley plays guitar with smoke spewing from his pickups, while Gene Simmons flies to the highest peak in an arena (with wires of course).

Their face paint and outfits are synonymous with Hard Rock and Heavy Metal style. Although their antics may seem more like pure entertainment versus shock value it’s important to consider the impact they had in the 70’s. The make-up never came off till the 80’s so Kiss surrounded themselves with controversy and mysticism that garnered the band even more attention. The band caused a stir with their sexual lyrics and their logo was accused of being racist (The SS in the word Kiss looked similar to the Nazi SS symbol). Like most/all shock rock bands, presently, Kiss’ antics are more just a simple form of entertainment and hardly shock most audiences but they continue to thrive due to great music.

King Diamond

King Diamond is Gene Simmons’ Demon meets Alice Cooper. Originating from Denmark, the band came to prominence in the 80’s with their blend of Heavy Metal Riffing and ghostly falsetto vocals. Diamond created a satanic stage persona in the vein of previous shock rock pioneers but unlike the rest was not using Satanism only for shock value. Diamond follows LaVeyan Satanism which he considers more of a philosophy than a religion.

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12 Incredible Uses of Green Tea That You Probably Did Not Know




Recipes and homemade tricks with green tea

In addition to its excellent properties, the uses of green tea are not limited to its preparation as an infusion. You can find out about many other green tea applications, through a variety of tricks and homemade recipes, which will be very useful. Know them.

Tea bath

Eye relief

Mouth cleaning

Tea bags


Preparation of Fish and Meat

Refrigerator freshener

Cleaning the Kitchen Table

Rust Prevention

Carpet cleaning

Against mosquitoes

Plant food

Uses of green tea

Camellia Sinensis is a plant with extraordinary properties that can have other uses besides being an infusion, such as:

Tea bath

can in different ways, such as putting a handful of green tea leaves in a mesh bag, tying well and submerging them in hot water.

You can also use tea bags already used; this will give a revitalizing and purifying effect.

Eye relief

With a used tea bag (moist and warm) that reaches to cover each eyelid, it can calm down and refresh the tired eyes; this should be between five and ten minutes a day.

Mouth cleaning

Gargling with green tea helps fight bad breath and kills bacteria that settle in the mouth.

The natural fluoride of tea also helps to strengthen the enamel of the teeth and prevents conditions such as gingivitis. It is not necessary to use the first infusion for this use; You can enjoy the first two for the palate and boil the leaves for the third time for oral cleaning.

Tea bags

In the east, what as Niagara? Old green tea leaves – to make aromatic bags. For maintenance, it is recommended to refresh the bags outdoors once a week. The subtle aroma of tea promotes relaxation and helps to sleep.


Be it in the form of a bar, cone or as an essential oil; green tea has a delicate and pleasant aroma that promotes harmony and concentration. It should not be confused with the fat of the tea tree, which is indicated for other uses, as it is rem, disinfectant.

Preparation of Fish and Meat

If it with tea before frying, the strong odor of the fish is reduced, in addition to eliminating the bacteria. There is the reason why Japanese people drink tea with sushi or sashimi, raw fish.

Also, when cooking pork in tea – including the leaves – the level of fats and cholesterol in the meat is reduced.

Refrigerator freshener

A bag of green tea leaves – helps to eliminate the bad odors that sometimes occur in refrigerators.

However, the refrigerator is not a right place to store tea for consumption, since its delicate aroma can with the smells of other foods.

Cleaning the Kitchen Table

A common problem of the wood on which we cut the food is that, especially with meat and fish, it is difficult to eliminate the smell, which persists even after washing the board with soap and water.

Green tea is beneficial in these cases: once used the wood can be rubbed with wet and leave a layer of leaves for a few minutes. Then the leaves are removed and rinsed with water. On the other hand, the tea liquor also serves to clean kitchen tables and other utensils.

Rust Prevention

One of the secrets of oriental cooks is to rub pan and pans with to prevent oxidation of cooking utensils since the tannin in the tea sticks to the steel creating a thin protective film on the surface.

Carpet cleaning

Since tea can absorb unpleasant odors, we can use to deodorize and remove bacteria from carpets.

Before vacuuming, sprinkle the surface with jasmine green tea leaves and let it rest for a few minutes. All you have to do next is vacuum normally.

Against mosquitoes

Burnt tea leaves scare away mosquitoes, what you can do is put some dried leaves in an incense burner and light them to smoke for a few minutes.

Plant food

The tea used is an excellent fertilizer for all types of plants, since it has valuable organic nutrients. Even if we use sachets, we can bury them between the pots.

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Derren Brown vs David Blaine




On Friday the 11th of September 2009 a 2 hour special magic was shown on Channel 4 in the UK. First up was Derren Brown explaining how he Predicted the lottery and this was followed by David Blaine performing What Is Magic. The next day a new conversational topic was born:

Who’s the best magician David Blaine or Derren Brown?

Both DB-UK & DB-USA started off as close-up magicians and both got their big break by demonstrating card magic. Derren performed Smoke and David performing a myriad of card tricks including; Ambitious Card and 2 Card Monte respectfully. Ironically neither is considered ‘a magician’ any more David Blaine is more of an endurance artist and Derren is a Psychological Illusionist.

So what makes a good magician?

Identity / Brand Having a strong Identity in magic is one of the main keys to success, Houdini was the Escapologist, Paul Daniels was the cheeky close-up magician, David Copperfield the Illusionist, Penn & Teller the aggressive revealers of magic. David Blaine Became the Street Magician who could levitate and through a deck of cards through a window. Derren brown became the mind reader who could control people’s decisions to the extent he would risk his life in the Russian Revolution challenge. Both Derren and David have established a good, strong consistent identity:-Derren: sophisticated, cheeky, playful, intelligent, mischievous David: Mysterious, deep, troubled, calm, spiritual.

Result: Draw

Tricks performed David Blaine’s most talked about trick was card through window. Even now around 10 years after it first aired on TV, magicians still get asked how he achieved the feat. Just like Michael Jackson did not invent the Moonwalk; David Blaine did not invent the idea for this trick or even the method, but it is still widely known by the public as, David Blaine’s ‘Card Through Window’. Derren Brown has performed more tricks on TV than David, has had more Television series broadcast and has had about the same amount of 1 off TV specials. He also performs a stage show annually throughout the UK. For some strange reason, people talk about how Amazing Derren was but they don’t pick out a specific memorable trick. So although Derren wins the battle for quantity David Bliane gets more talk time after his shows.

Result: David Blaine

Entertainment Value After David Blaine started doing endurance tests his entertainment value was significantly reduced. He seemed to master staying in the one place for a very long time without doing anything. Derren performs a branch of magic referred to in the business as Mentalism. Mentalism is often thought of as boring but Derren incorporates humour to break up the act.

Result: Derren Brown

Originality David Blaine has taken many effects not original to his own and has incorporated them into his act with his performance style

Likewise, Derren has incorporated many of other people’s effects but Derren can take an effect like the sympathetic silks – a trick with 2 handkerchiefs with a knot and somehow convert it into a mind reading effect.

Result: Derren

Likeability factor Possibly the most important weapon in a magicians arsenal is the likeability factor. If the audience doesn’t like the magician, they will not care for his tricks. It was the main downfall of Paul Daniels. In the magic world he’s unbelievably highly respected; but, it almost seems cool to dislike him. People generally say he became annoying but it’s more a case of familiarity breeds contempt.

David Blaine has never really been a likeable character because he is so distant and the eye on the hand stunt with Eamonn Holmes was a PR nightmare. However, with recent voiceovers during his series about his childhood and coming back to his roots in the street magic. His likeability factor has grown considerably. On the other hand, Derren’s popularity has taken a dip recently. With the 3rd most number of complaints with his Russian Revolution stunt, his baffling explanation of the lottery prediction and his failure to have his audience stuck to their chairs has lowered his likeability factor. This however, will not bother Derren in the slightest as he goes out of his way in his publications to offend certain groups of people.

This is a hard decision because until recently Derren has been more popular but at the time of writing this the pendulum has swung in favour of…

Result: David Blaine

Over all Result: Draw

As I’ve never been one to sit on the fence and I’m a massively biased Derren Brown fan, I’ve decided to create another category)

Technical Ability

This should have no bearing on the overall decision but it would be unfair not to mention it. The magic fraternity looks upon ones skill with a deck of cards as the Jedi Knights look upon ones skill with the light sabre. So although both are strong with the force Derren is awarded a higher degree of respect in the magic world

David Blaine performs with methods that do not rely on complex digital dexterity and often many magicians can replicate his tricks. However, Derren Brown performs several tricks that rely on complex card manipulation that magicians cannot replicate easily.

Result: Derren

Final Result: Derren 3 David 2 Winner Derren Brown

In the true definition of who is a best magician, David Blaine would win because he makes people believe in magic. However, if people investigate David’s tricks, they will discover his methods. Derren Brown has started “revealing” the methods of how tricks are done. His aim is to educate people that if we put our minds to anything it can be achieved. If people investigate this… they will find out it’s true. This essay is an opinion essay, the facts may be incorrect and it’s largely biased and subjective. I hope you enjoyed reading it but if you are going to quote any part of it, please think carefully and do the proper research.

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Why Learn Trick Photography and Special Effects




Photography is more than just snapping pictures, it is a recognized art form that harnesses the creative expression of the photographer. While anyone can take a picture, only someone who understands the tools and resources available to the photographer can get the most out of their work.

In fact, learning about trick photography and special effects can not only increase your repertoire in terms of your knowledge base, it can also expand your talents and raise your skill levels when it comes to photography. Today, there is a new eBook available that will teach you all the basics of expanding your photographic skills by incorporating proven and powerful techniques. This new eBook is appropriately titled, “Trick Photography and Special Effects” by Evan Sharboneau

What is “Trick Photography and Special Effects”?

Put simply, “Trick Photography and Special Effects” by Evan Sharboneau is the eBook that provides all the information necessary to create stunning, beautiful images and wonderful special effects. This eBook is designed to teach you the basics and provide new techniques in many different areas, including;

• Long Exposure

• Light Painting

• How to Create In-Camera Illusions

• 3D & High Speed Photography

• Bubbles, Smoke and Double Exposure

• HDR & Infrared Photography

• Creating Panoramas & Creative Compositions

• Time Displacement

• Layer Mask, Levitation & Multiplicity Photography

• Invisible Man

• The Harris Shutter and Droste Effect

• Mixing Day & Night and Much, Much More

All of these elements are taught in the “Trick Photography and Special Effects” eBook and more. Plus, the layout of each technique is accompanied by plenty of photographs, graphs and simple text so you can quickly pick them up. The purpose of this eBook is to provide you with the basics and the tools needed to create wonderful photographs and to get the most out of your camera.

How Can You Improve your Photographic Skills and Abilities with this Resource?

There are a number of ways that this eBook can improve the natural skills and talents already inside you. While anyone can become a great photographer, only those who understand and apply the techniques and tricks of this profession can truly excel.

Learn New Techniques: In this eBook, you will learn some of the basic and advanced techniques that can not only improve your skills, but expand the way you view photography. The techniques that are presented here have actually been around for a while, but not that many photographers take advantage of them.

Bolster Your Imagination: If there is any one thing that holds a photographer back, it is the inability to tap into their imagination and come up with a new perspective or way of shooting a particular shot. This eBook can overcome that tendency and help you to release the talents inside you.

The In-Camera Special Effects Techniques

The simple techniques that are presented in this book can provide you with an entirely new perspective on how to shoot simple scenes. You can use many of these techniques to create entirely new types of photographs for your portfolio. What follows are examples of photographic tricks that can be done in camera and without any assistance from editing software such as Photoshop.

Forced perspective shots for example, where two objects of vastly different size can appear to be next to each other is somewhat difficult to realistically achieve unless you know a few tricks. For example;

• Set the aperture to the lowest possible setting as the amount of light entering the camera will positively affect the depth of field, meaning that you’ll achieve a more realistic effect.

Upside Down Reflections can also be difficult to achieve as most people make a few simple mistakes that don’t get the right effect.

• Be sure to focus to on the reflection and not the object when taking the picture.

Also, you can experiment by disrupting the reflection. For example, you can toss a rock into the water if that is the reflecting surface.

A Shadow Heart trick can be performed with a simple ring, an open book and a light source from behind.

• If you set the ring upright in an open book in the crevasse between each side, the light source will create a shadow ring on the paper.

The Unscrewed Light bulb is a great photographic trick that can be performed with a simple, incandescent bulb that is frosted and a small light source behind the bulb itself.

• When you take a photograph of the bulb with a smaller light source, such as an LED or even a small flashlight, behind it, the bulb will appear to be on even though it is unattached to any power source.

Such simple, yet effective tricks are only a small part of the information presented in this book. You can learn a great deal about how to create new types of images from your imagination thanks to the building blocks of information inside this book.

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How to Sculpt a Tear-Drop Shaped Butt




One the questions that my fitness students and clients often ask me is how to tone their butts.

Well, almost any leg exercise will tone your butt. Generally speaking, ballet dancers, sprinters, gymnasts and figure skaters have well-formed butts. That is because they use movements that raise the leg backwards AND turns their foot outwards.

Most butt exercises work the leg going front to rear, like running, cycling, stair climber, leg extension machines, squats and some butt isolators. These types of movements primarily work the big gluteus maximus muscles and the thighs.

To get more of a tear-drop-shaped butt, you have to utilize some of the muscles underneath the glutes. Namely, the periformis muscle, that ROTATES the leg. Look at the difference in the butts of female weight lifters, joggers, long distance runners and cyclists compared to sprinters, figure skaters, ballet dancers, and practitioners of ashtanga yoga and Pilates.

Try the following movements 3 times per week for the next 3 weeks,


Stand about a two feet away from a wall.

Keeping your belt buckle (or navel) and left foot, pointed towards the wall, raise your right leg behind you.

Keep your upper body upright.

Raise your leg as high as you can and hold it. You should feel your glutes (butt muscles) tighten.

Now, rotate your foot outwards so that it is parallel to the ground.

Pull your toes towards you and extend your heel. (Most people do this wrong and extend their toes and never get the effect.)

You should be looking over your shoulder at you extended leg. Do not give in to the temptation to let your supporting foot to turn sideways. Your hips should stay pointed towards the wall.

This is like a martial art side kick. Try holding this for 10-30 seconds at a time and then change legs. Walk around for a minute to loosen up your muscles after working both legs.

Or go to a martial arts club and learn a few kicks. Most kickers have hard butts and narrow waists.


O.K. get over the funny name. You can do this exercise with weight across your shoulders or just without the weight.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and keeping your back straight, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor.

Straighten your legs and then squeeze your butt like you are trying to hold a coin between your butt cheeks. Clench hard for 2-3 seconds.

Squat again. Do 10 to 20 times and then add some weight.

Ensure that you do not raise your heels or take a full squat. (That is a different technique.)

You will probably find that you can only do half of the squats that might normally do. This is normal.

Do this exercise first thing in the morning and you will feel “toned” all day long.


Ice, roller or in-line skating at a good pace cannot help but carve your butt into shape. Use exaggerated skating motions to build the lateral leg and butt muscles.

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How Do You Get Cigarette Smoke Out of a Memory Foam Mattress?




Cigarette smoke stains and odor can ruin a good night of sleep. Before your precious memory foam mattress grows ragged before its time, you should try cleaning it so it stays in top functioning for a long time.

There are a couple of cleaning tricks you should be privy of so that you can do a quick mattress maintenance when you need it. If you only have a problem with the smell of cigarette smoke that has somehow been absorbed by your mattress, try the following tips:

Tip 1: Try Rubbing Alcohol

Here is what you need to do, soak a clean towel in rubbing alcohol and use this to rub the surface of the mattress. It deodorizes and sanitizes your mattress. What is also great about this trick is that the rubbing alcohol dissipates quickly so there is no need for you to allot lengthy drying time.

Tip 2: Try Spritzing Citrus Solution

Mix one cup of lemon juice with four cups of water and pour the mixture in an empty spray bottle. Spray the memory foam mattress with this deodorizing solution. The lemon juice zaps the unwanted smell. Once it has dried completely, vacuum the mattress to get rid of the smell altogether.

If you have trouble with the brownish smoke stains, the following tricks might help:

Tip 1: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Try sprinkling baking soda on the mattress and leave it on for about an hour or so until the stains can easily come off. Rub it gently so it can penetrate deeper. Once the stains have already come off, vacuum the mattress on both sides.

You can also try mixing baking soda with water and apply it on the area affected. Leave the solution on the mattress for the same length of time and vacuum it.

Tip 2: Vinegar Solution

Spray on some vinegar solution. Vinegar can be used to clean appliances and upholsteries. Try mixing one cup of vinegar with four cups of warm water and add a bit of baking soda to the mixture. Spray the mattress with the solution and leave it on for an hour. Once the stains are gone, vacuum away.

These tips should take care of cigarette stains and odors. You can also try them if you are having other mattress cleaning problems as they also work well with molds and coffee stains. Try them and you can prolong the life of your memory foam mattress significantly.

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Complete Wii Balance Board Game List




I took some time to write a simple list about all the Wii games that are compatible with the Wii Balance Board (Wii Fit Board). Most of them are already released, some will be by early next year. I also included a small summery for each of the games.

1.All Star Cheer Squad – basically you have to play a cheerleader who moves up to become the head cheerleader. Start of as the rookie who has to try out for even getting accepted into the squad. The more you play the game the more advanced routines you will learn. You can play career mode or mini game mode style.

2.Academy Of Champions: Soccer – the tile says it all, a game basically for boys who love soccer. This title includes 12 mini games. Or play the story line to battle against a football academy. Try to make your team win the championship.

3. Avatar – the game to the upcoming film Avatar. The film is by James Cameron. The game is an action based adventure game, which takes place at an alien planet. Will be released at the end of November.

4. Daisy Fuentes Pilates – a great workout game not only for all the pilates lovers, but also people in general who want to improve their posture and do some more exercise without going to the gym. This game includes 10 pilates routines. There are 5 pre set routines and 5 customizable ones. The game starts at the level of beginners, but will move up in difficulty to advanced. You can play this game in English or Spanish. The commentator is Daisy Fuentes that will guide you all the way with her great tips in subjects like health and fitness.

5. DanceDance Revolution Hottest Party 3 – a sequel to the DanceDance Revolution games. You can either play with the dance pad or as the title of this article says, with the Wii Balance Board. The game can be played in workout mode, story mode, lesson mode or kids mode. This rhythmic game is the best one until now, because all the previous titles didn’t include the Wii Balance Board. It includes also more than 50 tracks of music.

6. Diva Girls- Divas On Ice – a nice girlie game who want to try out as ice princesses. There is a career mode available, but also mini games. Defiantly a game for girls for the age of 8+.

7. Doctor Fizzwhizzle’s Animal Rescue – a game where you have to advance in stages to rescue animals. An arcade kind of game. You have more than 180 levels to play and can rescue 60 different animals. It includes also a kids mode with quizzes about animals.

8. Don King Boxing – a boxing game where you step into the ring to fight against the greatest boxers in real venues like Madison Square Garden or Boardwalk Hall. See if you can make it to the top – in career mode. This is one of the top rated games of this year. You should try this game, even if you are not too much into boxing. This gives you the workout of a fitness game, but still makes it fun to play. Has a teen rating.

9. EA Sports Active More Workouts – This is the sequel to the EA Sports Active Personal Trainer game that was released about a year ago. One of the highest rated Wii fitness games. You can use the Wii Balance Board, the Wii remote and Nunchuk to play this game. This game adds 35 new exercises that target the whole body. More Workouts is made to be played in the winter as it focuses on warm-weather games like surfing, jet skiing and rafting. It also keeps players motivated with a 6-week-challenge that tracks the players progress.

10. EA Sports Active Personal Trainer – This was probably the most successful game for the Wii Balance Board. You can play sports like running, basket ball, volley ball, roller skating, boxing, baseball, dancing, and many other games. This game includes a rubber resistant band for muscle workouts and a pouch for jogging and running. If you want to play this game with a friend you can get the gear also separately. Sign up for the 30 day challenge with its 20 minute workouts to get into shape. This game will make your living room into a gym without the need of leaving the house.

11. Go Play Circus Star – Go try out to become the greatest circus performer. Play in career mode and play stage-by-stage or play mini games. Most of the games in this title are compatible with the Wii Balance Board. One of three games of the Go Play series.

12. Go Play City Sports – Another one of the Go Play series. Play six street games like stick ball, kickball, street hockey and soccer. In career mode you have to stand up for yourself and become the top athlete of your street. A fun and casual game for the whole family.

13. Go Play Lumberjacks – The last one of the Go Play series. This title takes you to the outdoors where you can play five different event categories. In each one of those categories you compete against three other players. One of the fun games is defiantly the water log game where you have to balance on a log.

14. Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout – Another great fitness title. What makes this game unique it that when you buy it, you get a free one week trial at any Gold Gym. In the game your workout is chosen according to your own fitness level. So you don’t have to worry that you will not be able to keep up. Includes boxing, running, rope jumping and many other sports.

15. Imagine Fashion Party – A game for all the girls who love to live the world of fashion. Includes office mode where you play a designer that get challenged by difficult clients. Or try to be a make-up artist and style your models before they hit the runway. You can even own your own TV show just like the one from Heidi Klum. This game also lets you share pictures through the Wii Wifi connection.

16. Imagine Party Babyz – For all of you who love the cute baby games like baby food throwing, dancing and hula hoop. There are more than 30 fun mini games to play. Or go for the career mode where you are in charge of a daycare center.

17. Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009 – Another one of the popular fitness games for the Wii. This is a boot-camp-style game that focuses on four workout types: weight loss, intervals, hill climb and strength training. Just like in real life the game starts with warm-up, keeps you in your target zone to burn calories and cool-down for stretching. It even has a competitive mode where you play against a friend to find out who can burn more calories. The game is lead by fitness guru Jillian Michaels, that not only guides you through each exercise but also offers lifestyle tips.

18. Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010 – The sequel to the boot-camp style fitness game. It adds on to the other game with a resolutions mode. In this mode you can plan ahead your routines for up to six months. Just like the first game it focuses on cardio like running, bicycle, swing kicks, jumping jacks. Strength training includes exercises like lunge kicks, push-ups, back kicks, sledge swings and many more. It offers very accurate motion tracking to give you a real-life experience. This is a recommended game if you want to get into shape fast.

19. Marble Saga Kororinpa – one of my favorite fun games from all Wii games. It includes more than 100 levels for the Wii Balance Board. Don’t be fooled because I called it fun games. This game will defiantly challenge you while you try to move across the mazes and collect all the orange gems. If you collect also the green gems (one per level) you can unlock more stages at the end. Not only can you choose the difficulty but also different marbles – each with their own strengths. Collect all the stomp-temple-parts and you unlock the ability to design your own mazes at the end. You will play in 7 different worlds, each one with their own characteristics. So after you played the whole game you can even connect via the Wifi to get more advance levels. Check out the leader boards via the Wifi to see you is the best in the game.

20. Mario And Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games – Compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Choose your favorite character from players like Mario, Sonic and Donkey Kong. This game targets primarily the fans of these characters. You have the option to play the game in single player, multiplayer and festival mode. Festival mode means that you go through all the Olympic events to become the greatest Olympic champion. This game includes winter themed games like skiing, hockey, bobsled and figure skating. But you also play dream events that won’t happen in real life like dream snowball fight. You move your character with a combination of the Wii Balance Board, wii remote and nunchuk.

21. Mountain Sports – Another winter themed game that features six full length sports to make your gaming experience more satisfying. These include skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, tobogganing, bobsledding and curling. The goal of the game is to become the champion of the white mountain. Most of the games make use of the Wii Balance Board (5 out of six)

22. My Fitness Coach – This fitness game includes 500 exercises like cardio, flexibility and strength training. You can choose your favorite environment to suit your mood. Also customize your music with styles like Latin music, hip hop, oldies, music from the 80’s,… As you progress the workouts will get more demanding. It also includes a meditation garden to practice stretching and yoga.

23. My Personal Golf Trainer – The only golf game that makes use of the Wii Balance Board. Not yet release thus not much more information available.

24. NewU: Fitness First Personal Trainer – another fitness title that was released in 2009. Just like many of the other fitness based games your own personal virtual trainer guides you through a set of exercises. This game will try to get you in better shape through fitness and healthy living without you ever having to leave the comfort of your own home.

25. Overturn – a wii ware title that you can get through the Wii Shop via the Wifi Connection.

26. Playmobil: Circus – This game combines the playmobil characters with the circus theme to attract primarily the younger players. You can unlock more than 16 circus tricks to impress the crowd. Two multiplayer modes are available: versus, where you compete against a friend and teamwork, where you work together to reach your goal. Play acts with elephants, magician, tame the lion and many more wacky games.

27. Punch Out – The sequel to the popular game of more than 15 years ago. Play against characters like Glass Joe and King Hippo. Most of the names will be familiar if you played the first game. In career mode you will have to win against 13 opponents. Each one has their own characteristics and weaknesses. Boxing games are not only fun games to play but will definitely get you into shape as you use your whole body to play. The Wii Balance Board makes the game even more realistic.

28. Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party – The only title of the Rayman Raving Rabbids series that is compatible with the Wii Balance Board. This game focuses on TV series, ads and TV classics. Play either in story mode where you will go through one week of television with unique tasks and very hilarious challenges. Or play party mode with up to 8 players, four of which can play simultaneously. In all these mini games your overall goal is to help the rabbids destroy the daily TV viewing and thus drive Rayman crazy. Two of the 65+ games are Beestie Boarding (slide down a hill filled with obstacles where the board is a wildebeest) and Garden of Weeden (get rid of all the weeds in the garden by spraying them with poison – apply pressure to the Wii Balance Board to succeed in the challenge). Overall, one of the number one party games.

29. Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip – Shaun White will instruct you to become a great snowboarder. Turn the board so you glide down the mountain just like on a real snowboard. You can enjoy the scenery with the unique camera system and beautiful graphics. Or go for the challenges to compete in snowboarding events. There are four ventures to explore: Alaska, Europe, Japan and Park City.

30. Shaun White Snowboarding World Stage – was just recently released. Is the sequel to the Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip game. This game just like the previous one has the rating 10+. Can you make it in the half-pipe to be better than everybody else? A nice game if you live far away from any snow, but still would like to know how it feels to snowboard.

31. Skate City Heroes – A skating game that takes place in a futuristic city on top of skyscrapers. You have to race between trains, hoover over cars and other crazy moves. The goal of the game is to out-race your opponent with your skills and moves. You need to free a friend and make peace in the city. All these if you can become the skateboarding master. Has a multiplayer mode for up to four players.

32. Skate It – A more realistic skating game where you can customize your own skate park with ramps, rails, benches and many more skate-able objects. The career mode lets you compete in skate venues to become the skater of the year. This is the game for you if you are into skating and the whole skate culture.

33. Ski And Shoot – A biathlon style game that includes original world cup tracks. But you can not only compete in those original sport spots but also play real time biathlon sports icons like Kati Wilhelm and Michael Rosch. Choose from 20 different tracks and more than 15 international locations. As the title says, you will focus on cross country skiing and target shooting.

34. Snowboard Riot – another Wii Ware title that you can get through the Wifi Connect Shopping channel of your wii.

35. Stratosphere Yoga – not much yet known about this title or when it will be released.

36. Super Monkey Ball: Step And Roll – Planned release is in February of 2010. This is a sequel to the popular Super Monkey Ball series. You play a monkey (several different ones to choose one each one with their own strengths) in a giant bubble that has to finish levels and collect bananas on the way.

37. The Biggest Loser – The game to the popular TV show “The Biggest Loser”. Not only for those who want to loose weight but also for those who want to stay in shape and not gain weight. Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels will guide you through exercises, motivate you and stand by you all the way. This title includes more than 88 exercises which target the upper- and lower body, the core and cardio. It also teaches you yoga poses and thus improves your posture. The Wii Balance Board can be used in over 66 exercise. Choose from 4, 8 or 12 week challenges and see if you can stay above the yellow line in weigh-in. To all those above mentioned features it also includes more than 50 healthy recipes and a daily planning calendar.

38. Vertigo – An action game where you have to control a metal ball. Try to keep it from falling off the sides just with the balance of your body. Sounds easy but is in reality very tricky. The game is set in a futuristic environment on top of skyscrapers and tall buildings. It includes 54 levels and has 4 different modes. You can even customize your own ball to give it its unique controls.

39. Walk It Out – an upcoming walking game. This game will be released in January 2010. The more you take steps and walk, the more beautiful your world will become. This game features more than 120 songs which should keep you focused and motivated. The game keeps track of your progress and burned calories with charts and graphs. You can use the Wii Balance Board, the Dance Dance Revolution controller, the wii remote and the nunchuk to play the game. This is a very popular game in Japan, where it is already released.

40. Water Sports – The game focuses on summer themed games like windsurfing, jet skiing, kite surfing and wake boarding. You have different locations to choose from like Australia and South Africa. Do tricks and combine them to get lots of points.

41. We Ski And Snowboard – Choose from 14 courses and from beginner to advanced in this great skiing game. Choose if you want to go skiing or snowboarding. You are in the Happy Ski Resort where you can focus on just casual skiing, competitions or tricks with your snowboard. Explore the surrounding area by helicopter. You can even decide at what day-time you would like to experience skiing: during day, afternoon with its warm light or night under the light of fireworks.

42. We Ski – Again you are in the Happy Ski resort. This game lets you only do skiing but you will for sure enjoy the great two mountains. You can even try black diamond slopes. Just like in the previous game, you can choose the time of the day, and which course you would like to try. Overall a fun game for the whole family.

43. Wii Fit – The most famous game for the Wii Balance Board. This is the game that got released first with the Board. Part of the title focus on your balance like the Balance Games and Yoga games. Our family’s favorite are the Balance games. You start off with 5 games. The more time you spend exercising and playing the more games you can unlock. The other categories are Strength Training and Aerobics. You can even create a Wii Fit Channel – a mode where you don’t have to put in the DVD to do a daily body test. Each time you do a body test you will be weighed and your balance will be tested. According to that you will get a score that is your Wii Fit Age. Don’t take it too seriously if you are 10 or so years older than your real age. This should just motivate you to do daily exercises and keep in shape.

44. Wii Fit Plus – The just recently released sequel to the Wii Fit game. It combines the two games so you can play both of them from one CD. The difference is that you can now customize your workouts much easier and even decide if you want to do 20, 30 or 40 minute workouts. This game adds six new yoga activities and strength training exercises and 15 new balance games. A very fun game for the whole family not only if you are into fitness and weight loss.

45. Wii Music – Use the Balance Board to play 60+ instruments. But it does not matter if you press buttons at a certain time like in other music games. This is a very casual game, where there is no right or wrong. Just enjoy yourself while playing in a band. You can invite up to 4 people to play with you in your band. And you can even connect with friends through the Wifi connection. Choose your flavor like rock, jazz and Latin.

46. Winter Sports 2 The Ultimate Challenge – a winter themed game where you try out in 18 disciplines from 11 different winter sports. In this game you are in the center of sporting events that are broadcast all over the world. Some of the activities include snowboarding, ice skating, biathlon and ski jumping.

47. World Championship Athletics – Compete in 28 different summer themed sports games. Some of these are: high diving, hurdles and pole vault. See if you can win the gold medal and improve your own personal best.

48. Yoga – just recently released yoga game that focuses not only on yoga itself but also on its unique lifestyle. It lets you choose between story mode, where you start off as a complete yoga beginner and end up as a yoga guru. Training mode, where you can learn new poses. And Routine mode where you customize a workout that puts together several yoga poses. This game is a must if you liked the yoga exercises in the Wii Fit game.

Most of the games are just casual games that you play for fun. Some of them are excellent fitness games like Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. And my pick for the most fun game from the whole list: Marble Saga Kororinpa. In this game you have to balance a marble through a maze and collect colored gems on the way. Might sound boring to you, but when you play it you get really addicted. You can play this game also with the Wii Remote only. (Not less fun!)

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The Skater Lifestyle




What is a skater? A skater is anyone that loves the feeling of freedom they get when skating. Skaters come in all ages with all types of personalities. It can be the boy next door or the punk rocker down the street. It can be the nerd that never leaves his computer except for skating or the group of Goth kids that live in town.

Skaters love the feeling they get when they do an incredible jump perfect every time. They love the thrill of pushing themselves beyond their limits and climbing new heights and reaching new goals.

What types of skaters are there?

There are several different types of skaters and each type requires different equipment. The most common type of skater is the roller skater. This group includes kids and adults of all ages. Usually this type of skating is done at a skating rink and they either wear roller skates or inline skates. You can also purchase outdoor skates that you can wear anywhere.

Another popular type of skater is the ice skater. Ice skating is done by many just for fun in ice rinks located all over the world. However, it is also many professional ice skaters that perform in competitions for metals. Some of these have become quite famous. The performance that a figure skater provides is amazing and takes years of practice and patients. These skaters are to be greatly admired.

Skateboarders are another type of skater that has grown in popularity over the years. Skateboarders make up a unique group of people that love to have fun and spend time together. This type of skating requires skill and a desire for excitement.

Are there stereotypes about skaters?

The answer is yes. Unfortunately, there are many people that have the wrong idea about the skater lifestyle. This is especially true when it comes to skateboarders. Due to the fact that many of them roam the city streets and other areas searching for a place to ride others look at them in a negative way. They describe these skaters as dropouts and trouble makers. Many believe they are throwing away their life and that they have no respect for the law. Others look at them as being dirty and don’t want them in their neighborhood.

However, this is not normally the case. Most skateboarders are good, educated honest people that just enjoy having a lot of fun and socializing with others that enjoy the same things. They love the thrill of skating and take pride in what they do. They spend many hours practicing and learning new tricks and many skateboarders become extremely famous for their abilities as well.

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6 Tips to Being Clutter Free in 2017




It may not be time for spring cleaning yet, but getting a head start on your clutter cleaning could improve your overall emotional, physical, and mental well-being. The beginning of the year is actually the best time to start cleaning because it gives you a clear mental and physical space for 2017. If you’re ready to start your clutter cleaning for the year, here are some easy tips to get your home ready.

15 Minute Rule

It’s important to use time to your advantage when cleaning out clutter. Don’t think about losing a whole day cleaning or spending hours in one room of your house. Instead, block out 15 minute time intervals to clean and focus on accomplishing as much as you can in those time frames. You can do 15 minutes an hour, 15 minutes a day, or 15 minutes a week. The most important thing is to keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed.

Start Small

Trying to tackle everything and jumping from room to room is a quick way to get frustrated and quit. Instead, start with one small space of your choosing and only work in that space until it’s completed. Don’t try to set out to tackle the whole house in one sitting.

No Clutter Zone

Once you’ve cleared out a small area for yourself, designate that as the no clutter zone. No matter what, don’t allow clutter into that space. This space could start out as small as a corner of a room or as large as a whole floor of your house. As you clean, make your zone larger and larger until your whole house is a no clutter zone.

Pile System

A great way to organize is to sort your items into four piles-keep, trash, donate, and maybe. If you’re having trouble making decisions on what pile to place items in you can use a maybe pile, but make sure at the end of the day everything from the maybe pile has been moved into keep, trash or donate. Some helpful things to consider when making decisions about what to let go of are how functional the item is, how much storage space it’s taking up, and why you want to keep it.

Take Clutter Out

If you’re using the pile system, you’re going to start filling up the trash and donate piles. Put these items into boxes or bags and once you fill a bag, immediately take it out of the house. Put it in the dumpster or drive it to the donation center immediately. This will keep you from second guessing yourself and going through and taking things out. If you keep rethinking your decisions, you’ll end up organizing the same things multiple times.

Set Goals

Oftentimes we get discouraged while clutter cleaning, especially if we’ve worked really hard and can’t see a noticeable difference, so it’s important to set small goals in order to feel a sense of accomplishment. Make sure you keep your goals manageable. For example, make cleaning off a countertop a goal. This is usually something you can accomplish in one session and doing so will make you feel a lot more positive about cleaning again the next day.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get your home back on track for 2017. If you have a reasonable amount of clutter your home should be clean in no time, but if you have more clutter than you can handle you may need to involve professional help.

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Stepping Onto the Ice for the First Time – What to Expect




While I’ve been skating off and on for over 40 years, competed in numerous events and am now a coach for adult skaters, I remember the very first time I stepped onto the ice. I was just nine years old and was so excited to experience the ice for the first time. Of course, back then I wasn’t doing it for the physical and psychological benefits of the sport. I didn’t know any of that stuff – I just wanted to glide around and have a great time, the way all those figure skaters seemed to have fun on TV. Little did I know that when I took those first wobbly steps, I was beginning a lifetime love affair with the sport of ice skating!

On that first day, I had no idea what to expect. I had roller skated a lot around my neighborhood, but had a feeling that ice skating would be totally different. Because there are so many unknowns when you pick up a new sport or hobby, I’d like to share with you my initial experiences back then, and how much things have changed today for beginners. More importantly, I’d like to share with you what, as a new skater, you can expect when you venture onto the ice for your first time.

I still remember that day, when my mother took me to the ice rink one summer afternoon. We drove up to this big old building with a sign that read, “Ballard Ice Arena” on it, in big blue letters. The ice rink was located in Seattle, Washington, in an older part of the city, so the building had that old vintage look you’d expect from Rocky movies. As we opened the door, I remember looking into a dingy lobby and being unimpressed. It looked so much older on the inside of the building than it was on the outside. Talk about vintage!

I approached the skate counter with my mother by my side to get my first pair of rental skates, and almost started giggling when I was handed these blue and very unattractive skates. They were nothing like the beautiful and glamorous white skates that I imagined. They looked as though they had been through a war–with many gigantic feet!

As I sat down and began lacing up my skating boots, they felt like they were two foreign objects attached to my feet and not like a comfortable pair of sneakers. They pressed my feet in all the wrong places, and they felt pretty heavy for a 9 year old girl. Then, when I stood up for the first time I remember thinking, “How on earth do people walk in these things, let alone skate in them?!”

Slowly, and ever so cautiously, I proceeded to wobble down the hallway to the ice with my ankles trying to balance over the very thin blade, trying not to look like the beginner that I was. I remember how musty the air smelled too, as I advanced to the ice, but yet it had a clean and crisp quality to it, because of the cold temperature. It is still a smell I love, even today, because of all the beautiful memories I associate with it.

Ahhh, finally! There it was! I could see the glimmer of the ice in front of me as I approached.

As I stepped onto the ice… I immediately grabbed the railing to hang on for dear life! Yes, I knew ice was slippery but, wow, it was really slippery! “Whoa,” I thought to myself, “how is this any better than roller skating?” I just stood there for a minute or so to get the feel of things and see how to balance on the ice surface.

As I started to get a better feel for the blades, I slowly began shuffling my feet forward, in a walking-like motion. I was still hanging on to the railing, but as I moved along, I realized that skating forward was very much like moving forward on roller skates. So, I began to push off with one foot a little as I skated. It got easier and easier as I went until I finally could let go of the railing.

While balancing on skates was initially challenging, what was a surprise to me is how easy it was to maneuver. Much easier than roller skates! I could turn in various directions easily and the gliding felt almost effortless. “This is a feeling I could learn to love,” I thought to myself.

But just like the pavement outside, the ice wasn’t completely flat. Because the rink was old and there was a little dripping coming from the ceiling, the moisture froze, and eventually accumulated into bumps on certain parts of the ice, especially around the edge. I remember going over the bumps and it seemed a bit like the moguls on skis-something to be avoided at all costs! Hey, I just learned to balance myself; anything more than that was too much!

After a while though, I got used to the feeling of the ice, and it seemed to get easier the more I relaxed. While falling was still a distinct possibility, I seemed to be able to balance pretty well. So I continued skating for about 45 minutes or so before I had to sit down for a break next to my mom. She asked how I liked it and I told her, “I love it!” My mom was really happy for me, since she found a new activity for her daughter to keep her out of trouble for the summer!

While I rested on the sidelines, I watched slightly older skaters perform all sorts of cool spins and jumps in the middle of the rink. They were amazing! I laughed at myself as I just struggled to stand and skate forward in these contraptions called “ice skates,” and here these kids were practically dancing on the ice! I remember thinking to myself about how much I would love to learn how to do that!

Well, that first experience may have been a long time ago, but I can still relate to new skaters and the challenges of starting in a new sport. Of course, it was different for me as a kid than it is for my adult students. But I have to say that after looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Skating has been a big part of my life and a huge passion. However, a lot has changed in skating and like all sports it has evolved-thank goodness!

One huge change is that ice rinks today don’t tend to be dingy and old, but are typically either stand alone buildings, or are part of a sports complex, or are smaller venues in shopping malls. They’re often maintained well and are beautiful. Back then, it was a different culture. Rinks were often family owned and there was a certain amount of prestige associated with learning to skate in a dingy place and ending up in some big, glamorous competition. It was mostly about competition, and amenities beyond the basics were thought to make you soft. Hey, if you couldn’t skate in some run-down building with just the bare essentials, how could you stand the pressure of a huge crowd in a competition?

The ice was also different. Today, many rinks have more than one sheet of ice and are open all year! There are even some rinks that are outdoors, like one location in Vail, Colorado. I once skated on an outdoor rink in Canada in a park surrounded by a shopping area that was quite lovely, and had a friend who skated at a rink in New York that she said is in a building high above the city! The rink was suspended on one of the floors of the building with windows all around it. That’s a far cry from the rinks 40 years ago.

Today, the ice is often just as beautiful as the rinks. It’s often cleaned every one and a half to two hours in most rinks now so there should be no bumps on the ice and the temperature is maintained so there are no drips from the ceiling creating the obstacle course that I experienced at the old Ballard Ice Rink. And surprisingly, the temperatures in most rinks are fairly warm.

The one thing though that is still questionable is the skating equipment, specifically the rental ice skates.

Some rinks have great rental skates and maintain them well, while others… well… not so much! As a coach, this bothers me because a lot of people get discouraged if the equipment is worn down, because it causes pain for the new skater and they don’t stick long enough with the sport to give it a chance. Often skaters will quit, thinking that it’s their ankles that are the problem, instead of the poor equipment that is not supporting their foot properly. (A little trick to help with that is to bring to ACE bandages to wrap the ankle for support before putting on the skate for extra support.)

The sport has grown so much and the environment in skating rinks has changed a lot so the experience for beginners is much more fulfilling. A lot of rinks even have games and amenities in the lobbies such as snack bars and skating shops. They are quite pleasant today and do a lot more to make the beginner feel welcomed and appreciated.

Ice skating is a wonderful sport and holds something for everyone and people of all ages. I did the majority of my skating as an adult and it kept me fit and in great shape for years. It’s great exercise! But, it’s also a sport that builds character, teaches grace and makes you strong. And, it’s so much fun! I invite people of all ages to give this sport a try and see the difference it makes in your life; physically and psychologically.

Happy skating!

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