New Year, New You



Well the decorations are down, the champagne has been popped and everyone has kissed at the stroke of midnight. Happy New Year and welcome to 2017.

Now the mince pies have disappeared for another year and the party invitations have slowed to a stop and it is time to get back into health and fitness mode. Have you made a new year’s resolution yet?

For many people, January is the time to start thinking new year, new you. All of the promises you didn’t follow through on last year can be forgotten and a fresh start can be made. If you want to make a fresh start this year and begin a journey to  new, healthier you but don’t know where to start, then here are a few places to begin.

Think About Your Diet

Sounds simple. But you need to think about everywhere you went wrong last year and put a plan in place to correct it. It is easy to say your going to start a diet or eat better, but it is possible you have done that unsuccessfully every year to date. Where did you fall down before? Were you too strict and depriving yourself so much has caused major binging? Did you just lack the motivation to actually stick to it? Have a serious chat with yourself and workout where you went wrong, this can help you be successful in the next 12 months.

Think About Your Workouts

Similar to your diet think about what you could have done better and which route you want to go down this year. Maybe you didn’t really know what you were doing in the gym last year and therefore just did the odd bit here and there and never really saw results. Maybe you reached your fitness goals last year and now you need a new plan to maintain them. Maybe your work or personal situation has changed from last year and you need to think of a new regime for fitness that fits around your new circumstances. Figuring all of this out now will help you moving forward.

Set Goals

Once you have worked out what went wrong before, you can start setting goals for the coming year. Start by making them realistic. Keep in mind what went wrong before when it came to your goals, if you tried to achieve too much too quickly, set a more realistic time frame this time around. If you weren’t strict enough with yourself previously, then set mini milestones every few weeks to measure your progress and keep you on track. Try giving yourself something to reward yourself with at the end which is going to keep you motivated. Maybe if you meet your goals you can reward yourself with a holiday at the end, an excuse to wear a bikini and show off your newly achieved bod?

Try Something New

A new year is about trying new things. Think about your health rather than just fitness. Could your health do with improvement? Maybe you need to try adding some supplements to your diet? Maybe you want to try adding fermented foods to your meal plan once a week to boost your immunity? Or maybe you want to stop drinking coffee all together and try green tea instead?

The same goes with fitness. Maybe gym sessions didn’t work for you last year so maybe you want to try mixing it up with some fitness classes instead? Or go running outside instead of going nowhere on a treadmill year round.  

Remember Fitness Can Be Fun


The possibility is that you failed to meet your goals last year in both fitness and nutrition because you simply bored yourself to death. Make it an aim to actually enjoy yourself when it comes to fitness and nutrition this year. This is why trying new things is so important.

If you found that hitting the gym became a miserable, lonely chore then try finding a like minded gym buddy that has similar goals for 2017. Make going to the gym or a fitness session a social event. Having someone relying on you to accompany them will give you a sense of responsibility to keep up with your workouts. Also, it can be a good laugh having someone alongside you.

The same goes for eating. Don’t think the only way to lose weight is by starving yourself on a diet of salad. In today’s online society there are so many websites offering free, healthy and more importantly tasty diet recipes. Use this as an opportunity to broaden your horizons, master some new cooking skills and try exotic ingredients. Also, why not make it social? Throw a dinner party once a month and deliver a menu of the tastiest healthy dishes you have discovered in previous weeks! I’m sure your friends will not only love it, but enjoy the guilt free second helpings knowing everything is low on calories!

Make this year the one that the new you works and sticks! Happy New Year folks!

Note: Images by Pixabay. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Winter Greetings: Bucharest Under Snow

By: Monica Pana

In Bucharest it has been snowing for several days. It’s the joy of children, big or small. And mine, too, of course. Especially because the authorities decided to close schools for a week. So, winter vacation was extended. Yupiii !!!
From what my father told me, and also my grandfather AshiAkira from Japan, snowfalls have always been a blessing for children. Not only for the snowball fights and sledding. But also because we have days off from school.  
And now I present you: Bucharest Under Snow
So, I send you now an Eskimo-kiss 😀 and some photos with a lot of snow.

Note: Photographs by Monica Pana. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Please visit her site, look around!to read more of Monica’s fine work!


Flowers are Fabulous for Your Favorites!


By: Dev Nair
Slightly Edited By: Jonathan Noble

This article provides you details about selecting the best flowers for an anniversary. For different occasions, flowers are the most appropriate gift that one can give. They can be seen in graduations, weddings, funerals and also anniversaries amongst other occasions, such as the New Year.

Life has given all of us lot of reason to celebrate — an anniversary, graduation, Christmas, New Years, a wedding, Mother’s’ day and the list is endless. In all of these occasions, flowers have always been a part of these celebrations. The reason being, flowers are appreciated by all because of its freshness, purity and its beauty. The age-old tradition of giving flowers as a way of displaying affection and expressing feelings has always been magical and appealing.

For different occasions, flowers are the most appropriate gift that one can give. They can be seen in graduations, weddings, funerals and also anniversaries amongst other occasions. However, there is a trick here. You just can’t pick up any flower to give to your dear one. It represents and expresses different things and you must be aware of these things so as to find the right flower for every occasion.

Every year occasions such as your birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, New Years, etc. will fall on the same day. Gradually as years pass due to the busy schedule, one may tend to forget the dates of the special occasions and because of these feelings are often hurt. However, with improvement in technology there is a way to avoid this problem. It can be in the form of an online flower shop.

Many such shops offer a tool that will remind you when any special occasion is coming up and will leave you plenty of spare time to decide on how you plan to spend the day and what special gift you plan to give. This would mean that you never miss those special days and thereby bring a smile on the face of those who mean a lot to you.

It has been observed that gifting flowers can never go wrong. When confused about the choice of the other person it is best to give a bouquet of flower. Once you receive a reminder about the approaching occasion, you can take the help of an online florist and find out about the different options that will be available for you. There will be bouquets in different range that will be available to suit your budget as well occasion.

An anniversary, for example, is a time to renew your vows again and it is best to gift red roses as red roses signify love for each other. There are other options available as well. You can choose from the vast options that are available on-line. The options available with an online florist are much more than that available in case of local florists.

The best part about selecting flowers online is apart from the varieties with regard to the flowers and the arrangements you also get to order the same from the comfort of your home. Also, such online stores have additional features as well. You can add a great message and include other items such as chocolates, cakes, soft toys or any other gift items.

Most of the online florist provides you with the option of selecting any specific time when you wish to get the flowers delivered. It includes midnight delivery option also. The payment option is very simple and you can use your debit card, credit card or net banking services to pay.

It is important to remember that your anniversary, or Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, etc. is going to be one big special day. By utilizing the service of an online flower shop you will have the chance to ensure that this occasion becomes all the more special.

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Some very light editing done to tie article in with the New Year theme.

Start the New Year Off Cleaner and Healthier


By: Harshad Jethra
Slightly Edited By: Jonathan Noble

Most of us are invariably conscious about cleanliness. A clean environment is a productive environment, it helps one work better. It is also healthier, so why not start the New Year off cleanly?

When the office environment is sparkling clean, it really helps keep the morale high. One feels better, more comfortable being in there. You feel free to interact with your colleagues, really feel at home.

Within a home environment, cleanliness is equally important. In fact, it is a shade more important than we may initially presume.

Cleaner homes are healthier homes, goes the old saying. A clean home really goes a long way in ensuring that people staying within are healthier, and in a way, one is less prone to catching an infection.

In fact, if one is slightly unwell, a clean home would ensure a much higher chance of recovering sooner. One would invariably come to realize that in a clean home environment, chances of catching a cold or flu are much lesser. One must always make a conscious effort to keep the living environment and homes clean.

While kids or seniors are around, this becomes all the more important because kids and seniors are both more likely to catch infections, so cleanliness does matter!

In fact, we would find that kitchens are one of the most ignored sections in a home which would require cleaning. And with the foodstuff around, it is more likely to be a hub for some infection inducing channel. In the same way, refrigerators could come across as a slightly unclean portion of a household which should be cleaned up at regular intervals.

Some of us might be surprised to know that the drawing room furniture and car seats are equally likely to be a source of infection. In fact, if one has pets at home and pets are allowed over on sofas or cars, these areas need to be looked over in much more detail and attention.

These are easy to ignore, but some regular vacuuming would do the trick in most cases than not. In the same way, curtains need to be cleaned up at frequent intervals. Desks and cabinets also need to be cleaned up frequently as they might stay untouched for longer durations at a stretch. But most of the times, some dusting would make sure that the furniture is just fine.

These are just some thoughts to consider as you kick off your New Year … and some ways to start the New Year both cleaner and healthier, thus even happier!

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Some very light editing done to tie article in with the New Year theme.

Specter of the Happy New Year

By: Jonathan Noble

An end in sight but there is a bend, too, to be turned;
While not everything left behind us can be burned,
Yet there is the unknown, frightening yet exciting . . .
Will we meet another street like the one we are on?
Or will it be fresh, clean and serene for us to travel?
We glance at the clock at the crossing of this block
And tremble inside; we cannot abide where we are,
No matter how brightly shines our star;
We will go far in a mere few steps, dear;
Time chimes late into this night as we look for light,
Bright sun newly risen on horizon with anticipation
And hope for better pilgrimage in a much better age;
But we do not know and this shows in our very eyes!
Some won’t make it to the bend; it’ll truly be the end;
Some will go swinging around bringing holiday cheer
Never knowing the Reaper is near;
Yes, sadly, it will be their last year;
Some will round the corner in fear
Of the unknown, asking what seeds have been sown,
And when they are shown, all the fear will disappear
In the brand New Year in which we will hear shouts
Of glee and bitter cries, hellos and sad goodbyes . . .
But it comes, nevertheless, as surely as the sun rises;
So may the New Year bring you cheer, I say this day,
And may blessings fall upon all who are near and dear!

Note: Previously published on noblethemes. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

How Mahayana Buddhists Celebrate New Year


By: Derek Welch

Mahayana Buddhism is the largest branch or sub-division of the Buddhist religion. Compared to the faith’s other forms like the Theravada, Mahayana Buddhists believe that enlightenment can be achieved during an individual’s single or current lifetime. Additionally, not only monks and nuns have the opportunity to achieve it but also of ordinary Buddhists. The goal for everyone is to become bodhisattvas through service and helping others to achieve nirvana as well. 

Mahayana Buddhism is the dominant faith of Northern and Eastern parts of Asia including China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Tibet. Among the key traditions include Zen, Tiantai, Korean Seon, Chinese Chan, Pure Land and Nichiren. Similar with all other cultures and traditions, New Year is a vital celebration for Buddhists although calendar dates for each country/tradition are different. Many Mahayana Buddhists celebrate it on December 31st or January 1 together with the rest of the world while others wait for the first full moon which usually falls mid-January.

Honoring and praying to their deities particularly Buddha is the most important activity for the New Year. On New Year’s Day, every Buddhist visits a nearby temple to light up candles which is considered to bring happiness and good luck for the coming year. Statues of Buddha are also bathed as a show of respect. Religious songs are also offered to the deities. Most Buddhists also meditate and reflect on their life situation in previous years trying to identify some of the faults and wrong decisions they have made in the past. Making things right is often a New Year’s resolution. Buddhists believe that buying new items, cleaning and redecorating the home and giving gifts can bring good luck. Sweets are never absent during feasting and of course, fireworks at midnight.

Holiday celebrations at Japanese Zen temples are rather solemn. Unique ceremonies start at about 5pm on New Year’s Eve where the individual starts to contemplate on his/her previous year’s life events. Again the goal is to “awaken” one’s self and make the necessary goals for next year. After which, the fire ceremony is observed. Buddhists are firm believers of karma or the positive and negative consequences of an individual’s actions. For Buddhists, negative karmas are considered fires in life and are noted to accumulate as time goes by. With the fire ceremony, an individual writes in a piece of paper symbolizing the relinquishment of karma. Afterwards, the paper is tossed in the fire which eventually signifies the reduction of the accumulated negative karma.

After cleaning up karma with fire, celebration and meditation follows at 7:30pm. At around 10:13pm, the bell ringing ceremony starts and will last until midnight or the 12:01am mark. And when New Year finally arrives, it’s the perfect time for merrymaking and feasting.

New Year for Buddhists in Thailand and Tibet

Among the countries with notable New Year celebrations include Thailand and Tibet. In Thailand where New Year is known as “Songkran”, the three-day celebration includes home cleaning, shopping new items, temple and house visits and the exchange of gifts. A unique merrymaking event in the country is the throwing or splashing of water to one another which everyone believes could cleanse sins and negative energies. The Tibetan New Year “Losar” is also celebrated for several days. Among the unique activities include the preparation and offering of special dishes to monks, decorating homes and making them shine with candles or lights, stage fights, dancing and general merrymaking and of course, the use of firecrackers.

In 2017, the New Year is celebrated on January 12th.

Note: Previously published by World Religion News. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Champagne Punch for the New Year!


Champagne Punch for 20

Please with ease for your New Year’s celebration!


8 Quarts champagne
2-6 oz. cans frozen orange juice
1-6 oz. can frozen limeade
2 Quarts soda water
2 Quarts 7-Up
1 Pint apricot brandy

Chill and Mix

Make ice ring (using 7-up or Soda).  Use fresh strawberries or raspberries as trim. 
Serves approximately 20 people.  (100- 4 oz. servings.)

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Breath Breeze Biddings

By: Jonathan Noble

Over the seas and through the valleys blows numinous breeze;

Over mountains grand and great forest stands, band of angels

Whisper sing to bring an extraordinary message from up above

In love expressed from an esoteric pool to school us in serenity;

There is a long song in the air to prepare us for a spiritual affair,

An Immanuel flare to repair the broken, which we dare not miss!

As Father Christmas bids New Year come, then let there be cheer

Among all who are near and dear without any thought of fear . . .

Season’s greetings and happy holy days with shining heart rays!

Note: Previously published on noblethemes. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Merry Christmas from Nubble Light


Located in York, Maine. Nubble Light. It sits just off the coast and was decorated for the holidays. Photo by Christopher O’Keefe.

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Please view more of O’Keefe’s wonderful work at Milford Street!