The Better Places

Three editors — from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland — share their personal travel stories and recommendations about where to go, what to eat, and where to stay. “It’s about great food, hotspots, hotels, bars, design, and culture.”

via The Better Places — Discover

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The Heart and Soul of a Peaceful Life

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”
~Norman Cousins

Is your daily life filled with struggle? Are you prone to feeling stressed, out of sorts, and just plain unhappy?

It is absolutely true that a peaceful life is possible for you. It’s not going to happen by magic, and it might take a while for the changes to settle in. But if you decide to make peace a priority, then you will start to notice that it seeps in everywhere.  Where you once saw disharmony and confusion, you now experience peace and ease.

Openness and Grace

A peaceful life doesn’t mean that challenges and difficulties don’t arise. It is not about creating a perfect life or engineering things to be exactly as you want them to be. After all, how much control do you really have over what happens?

The heart of a peaceful life has everything to do with how you receive what you experience. Circumstances arise, and you have emotional reactions to them. You get laid off, and you feel angry. The love of your life shows up, and you are filled with joy.

Peace comes when you say “Yes!” to the reality of all your experiences with openness and and grace.

When you stand squarely in the possibility of peace, anything can arise, and you – peaceful and accepting – are not disturbed.

Discovering Peace

Are you ripe for a peaceful life? Ponder these, and let your stress melt away.

Live without expectations.

If what you expect doesn’t happen, you are primed for disappointment or frustration. Expectations are in conflict with life and make you resist what is naturally offered to you.

But if you don’t expect anything, you are open to receiving life as it unfolds naturally.  You are in sync with reality.

Recognize when expectations have taken over your thoughts. Reconnect with your longing for a peaceful life, let the filter of expectations go, and take things in exactly as they are.

Don’t take things personally.

If you evaluate everything according to your needs and desires, you are bound to feel hurt. Rarely, are people actually trying to hurt you. The situation has simply triggered an old feeling that you are lacking something.

Explore this feeling to its root by letting go of the story and experiencing the sensations in your body. You will find that underneath the sense that something is unfulfilled in you is an ocean of abundance. Life is always so generous with more love available than you could ever imagine.

Use feeling hurt as an opportunity to explore within, and your relationships will be so much more harmonious.

Feel the pain of judging and criticizing.

Judging and criticizing thoughts are so harsh. By repeating them, we do a kind of violence to ourselves and we feed separation from others.

Rather than trying to stop judging, which may be hard if it is a habit, let yourself feel the effects of these thoughts. When you judge, how do you feel inside? How do others feel? What is the effect on your relationships?

As often as you are aware, feel the pain of judging and criticizing. Then you are in a position to make the intelligent, peaceful choice.

Give up your need to be right.

Arguing your viewpoint brings suffering to your everyday life. If you need to be right, you will see others as wrong. You will react to their opinion and try to change their perspective. Needing to be right is all about resistance.

Instead, bring to mind your desire for peace. Does needing to be right serve? What options do you have besides pushing your point?

Try deep listening to understand the other’s point of view. Lovingly, with an open and generous heart, let others have their way. Decide to be close and connected instead of right.

Peace will pour into your life like a waterfall.

Don’t hide from your feelings.

When feelings are too strong or painful to experience, they go underground and wreak all kinds of havoc on your life. This is the source of addictions, complicated relationship dynamics, and general anxiety and dissatisfaction.

The road to peace is to be kind and friendly toward your emotions. Welcome them like a gracious host, and allow them to be present without acting on them.

Avoiding or indulging your feelings gives rise to endless dramas that are far from peaceful. Instead, simply take your stand as loving awareness and let them be.

Your Peaceful Life

A lovely, peaceful life is available for you. Commit to being aware of your inner life to see how suffering appears. Clarify your understanding of how you turn essentially neutral occurrences into problems. Then turn away from the battle with yourself and the world, and let things be.

You will know the heart and soul of the peaceful life.

Are you doing war with yourself? Have you discovered peace? We’d all love to hear…

 

 

Maintaining Friendships After Marriage

 

Maintaining Friendships After MarriageFriendship dynamics may change after you get married, and especially after you have children. This shift is the result of a combination of factors, including decreased free time and evolving priorities.

Couples often experience tension when it comes to friendships outside of their relationship. Conflict can arise when one person craves social interaction while the other partner desires alone time. Understanding and accepting each other’s differences are key to nurturing the friendship within your own relationship and keeping friendships with others.

Friendships provide support, keep us from feeling lonely, and make us well-rounded people. Encouraging and supportive friends understand that your best-friend is, and should be, your spouse, but no matter how close we are to our spouse and kids, we often desire to have a kinship with others. Here are a few tips for maintaining friendships outside of your relationship.

Balance

Maintaining good friendships takes time and effort. As your life progresses, you must divide that precious time among an ever-growing circle of people, which leaves less time for your friends.

Friends generally tell us what we want to hear and make us feel comfortable, supporting our choices and easily forgiving our short comings. It’s no wonder we run to them seeking advice or calling them in the midst of a crisis or situation. Marriage experts tell us that when we turn toward our friends and away from our spouse, we create emotional distance in our relationships. Make sure you are leaning on your spouse, too.

Friendships provide unique characteristics that are beneficial to our self esteem, but finding a balance is important so that we don’t compromise our relationship. Plan get-togethers that involve your spouse or children. When you need some one-on-one time with your friend, plan in advance. You don’t have the free time that you used to, and while some friends will understand why you’re making fewer appearances, others may not take your preoccupation with your new life as well.

Priorities

As we mature, our priorities change. Major life events, like a wedding or birth, are bound to give us a different perspective on life and make us reconsider what’s important and how we’d like to spend our time. Avoid people who generate negative feelings about your relationship or your spouse and cause division in your relationship. Weed out friendships that have the potential to be toxic to your relationship, such as the control freak, gossiper, and user. Including your single friends on family outings will give them a greater appreciation for the responsibilities involved in being a couple or family. In time, some of your friends will understand why you prefer a quiet dinner over a night at the bar while others will struggle to relate to your new life.

How to Maintain Friendships

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Maintaining your friendships, weeding out bad ones, and cultivating new ones can seem like a juggling act while you try to nurture your relationship. Friendships, like any relationship, take work. This is especially true after marriage and baby when your priorities and free time change. You may not have the luxury of calling up a friend and suggesting an impromptu lunch, but that’s okay. On the flip side, you may find that you don’t have much in common with old friends who did the singles scene with you. With a little coordination and communication, you can keep the friendships that are important to you well into your golden years. It is important for both spouses to have other friendships. Here are a few suggestions:

Set Boundaries

Whether it is a close friend or a family member, boundaries set limits and expectations of the commitment toward your friendship. Tell your friends that you value your friendship and that you care about them. Explain that even though you won’t be able to hang out as often, they are still important to you. Accept that your friend’s lives are and will change too, so what you do to maintain those friendships can set expectations for when their life circumstances change in the future. Finally, don’t use your friends as a place to complain about your spouse. A good rule of thumb is not to saying anything to your friend that you wouldn’t say directly to your spouse.

Make Time

You have mutual interests with your friends, and you need to continue to make those a priority. Talk with your spouse about when you want to spend time with your friends and agree on a plan. You may not be able to do lunch twice a week and spend your Fridays and Saturdays together, but try to arrange regular phone calls and get-togethers. Both of you may find this scheduled time a bit awkward at first, but you have a lot of going on and you need to be a bit “calendar crazy” to make time for what’s important.

Give and Take

When you get together with your friends, resist the urge to monopolize the conversation with stories about how romantic your spouse is or the latest baby drama, especially if your friends aren’t in the same life stage. Your friends want to hear what’s going on, but they also want to talk to you about their life, and they need to get a sense that you still share the interests and experiences that brought you together in the first place. Sometimes you may find it is difficult to connect with old friends when your priorities have changed.

Make New Friends

If you’ve tried to arrange get-togethers with a friend or two but they seemed annoyed and distant, it’s okay to let those friendships go. Not all friendships last forever. As we progress in life, we naturally pick up new friends and leave old ones. Consider finding new couples to spend time with or a new mom or dad who can relate to where you are right now. Attending a marriage enrichment or parenting class is an ideal way to meet other couples (and gain a lot of knowledge). Whether it’s a faith-based group or hosted by your local community organization, you’re sure to meet other couples with likeminded goals, within an atmosphere that fosters togetherness. It’s great to make friends as a couple.

Conclusion

Getting married and having kids doesn’t have to mean that your friendships will end. They will change, and it will take effort on your part (and your friend’s part) to keep a good friendship together. The important thing is to recognize that friendships, no matter how old or new, are important to all of us.

‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’ Is Truly The Love Story Of Our Time

We are always trying to forget, because forgetting means an escape from the dark and ugly truths that come with love and life.

The first time I watched 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which turns 10 years old today, March 19, I was a heartbroken, overly emotional 18-year-old. I couldn’t handle the thought that in this fictitious world, as written by Charlie Kaufman, one person could choose to erase another from their memory. It depressed my immature, post-breakup self so much that I turned the film off halfway through. I didn’t want to forget, and most important, I couldn’t bear being forgotten.

Most of the things that we all want when we’re in love aren’t actually realistic; rather, it becomes a personalized amalgamation of what we see in movies, listen to in songs, read about in novels. Sure, they include fragments of truth, but wild fantasies of the heart and mind are what take flight from the sometimes disappointing and imperfect realities of life.

Imperfection, imbalance, miscommunication; these are the parts that make and eventually break Joel and Clementine’s relationship in “Eternal Sunshine.” Their opposite natures are what draw them together — she’s impulsive, adventurous, and free-spirited, while he’s taciturn, untrusting and cautious — each missing what the other has to offer.

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Yet if you think about it, we don’t really get to know Joel or Clementine all that well at first. Instead, we enter their story near the end, which is an echo of a beginning. There’s a familiarity that hangs in the Montauk fog when they pass on the beach, one which, of course, resembles their true first meeting, and one we may recognize from our own times of loneliness. As Joel says, we just wish we could meet someone new.

Around the time that I finally watched “Eternal Sunshine” in whole, I also met a girl with a blue streak in her hair. She was wild and impulsive, and she approached me first, of course, because I was the shy, quiet one (or “closed-mouthed” as Clementine calls Joel). We fell in love as quickly as her glitter-shimmered eyelids caught my eye, and it was beautiful, and perfect, and magical. We even watched “Eternal Sunshine” together, and it wasn’t until that third (technically second-and-a-half) viewing that I realized how much we both resembled the film.

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Like Joel and Clem, anyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows that once the honeymoon phase ends, we begin to really see our significant other for who they are, as they do us. The least desirable traits come out, the bad habits and hidden secrets break through the mask of who we want the other to see. This is when irritability strikes, when fights commence, when we become uncomfortable and terrified that someone else is watching us shed our skin and sees the layers we’re not proud that hide underneath. This, among other things, can lead to the decline of a relationship, and it’s so much harder to salvage something when so many pieces have become broken.

Yet sometimes the fights and regretful memories are the only way you really get to know someone. The only way we can really get to know Joel and Clementine is through retracing their steps together with them, witnessing their flaws and mistakes erased along the way. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of Kaufman and director Michel Gondry’s film, and the most revealing about how to save and rebuild a relationship. “Eternal Sunshine” is one of the greatest love stories ever for the simple fact that it urges us to face our faults and to accept that they’re inevitable. Trying to evade hurtful memories or moments of regret only leaves us back where we started.

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Joel and Clem erased each other completely, but there was something that brought them back to the shores of Montauk. It was stronger than the chemicals of the brain, and trumped the technological inventions of man. Similar to Spike Jonze’s “Her,” the capacity of love is something that cannot be contained, regulated, or even understood through modern innovations. Zap away memories or try to love within the finite union of man and computer, and you’ll find yourself still missing and longing for something.

No matter what we try to tell ourselves, or what every other romantic comedy claims, love can become its worst, its ugliest, and its most painful. But once we accept the darkest memories, acknowledge inevitable future mistakes, and cut away the soiled spots to let the beautiful ones shine through, that’s when love is transcended. “Eternal Sunshine” is not about forgetting the bad moments, getting over them with a new lover, or making up and pretending they never existed. Kaufman’s ingenious love story reminds us that we will hurt, we will disappoint one another, and even if we remain in denial and force ourselves to forget, things are likely to repeat themselves.

One of the best moments in “Eternal Sunshine” is the last exchange between Clementine and Joel, where she assures him that he will find flaws in her and that she will get bored and make mistakes. His only response is, “Okay.”

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I recently watched the film again and I absorbed it in a different way than I had the first several times. I was not emotionally opposed to the premise or in the euphoric state of early love; I was watching it after having experienced the darkest and hardest parts of a long relationship. I could, for the first time, understand the pain and frustration of trying to glue all the fallen pieces back together and not knowing how to try to escape the bad memories and regrets — knowing your deepest layers have been revealed.

Nearly two and a half years later, I’m still with the girl with the blue streak (who no longer has colored hair). With her, I experienced that point of accepting each others’ mistakes, of learning to grow with them and not run away with our eyes shut and heads turned in ignorance. It’s only through this, through simply saying “Okay” to one another, that a seeming end can turn into a new, a better, beginning.

 

8 Things Happily Married Couples Do Differently

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People want love in their lives. People need love in their lives. As they walk down the aisle, people believe in “forever,” and they are firmly convinced their own marriages will last.

However, in modern society, divorce is no longer an uncommon event for once-happily married couples; it has become a way of life. In fact, not only are divorces more widely accepted than ever, but today, it isn’t unusual for individuals to be divorced more than once. While we increasingly have the freedom to select (and de-select) a partner without fearing the repercussions of societal stigma, divorce is still one of the most traumatic experiences a person might ever face.

Want to increase the chances of your marriage lasting? Consider these ideas:

1. They have good conflict management skills.

As good as life can be, it will never be perfect. All married couples experience personal challenges which will affect their relationships. The chances are great there will come a time when the things that make you happy (work, money, children) cause serious conflict in your marriage, too.

Whether the conflict manifests as a full-blown relationship meltdown or subtle tension bubbling below the surface, happily married couples address it. They tell their partners how they feel and what they would like, then they listen to what the other person has to say. Happily married couples manage conflict with empathy, open-mindedness and kindness.

2. They treat one another with respect.

As days, months, and years of marriage pass, people start to take their spouses (as well as their best qualities) for granted. As you find yourself falling into this complacency, your partner could someday recognize (in surprise) that you treat your dog with more respect than you treat them. This is a painful realization.

Happily married couples understand their partners want to feel like the king or queen of the castle. They know how to treat royalty; with the honor and respect the partner not only deserves, but that was a promise of the marital union. Not only do happily married couples know how to berespectful, they are respectful–even when they are angry or have been wronged.

3. They support each other in achieving their dreams and overcoming their fears.

Along with shared dreams and challenges, individually, married couples possess unique desires and worries. Happily married couples guarantee the safety of their partners’ hearts by treating those hopes and anxieties with care. While there may come a time when a partner has to express disagreement (for the highest good of the relationship) with something the spouse wants (or with an unhealthy pattern of behavior), as often as they can, happily married couples bolster their spouses.

4. They get on the same page about money.

Many marriages fall apart over money. While people don’t have to share identical philosophies about finances, happily married couples talk about how much money they have, how they prioritize spending and how they will save for a rainy day. They recognize that not arriving at a common ground over money leads to worry, stress, and most certainly the beginning of the end.

5. They allow each partner to have a life independent of the relationship.

Happily married couples know that healthy individuals create a healthy partnership. Part of being a healthy individual is exploring and expressing your own passions without the interference (or forced involvement) of your partner. Nothing will smother the flames of love more quickly than jealousy and possessiveness. Happily married couples recognize the value in allowing each spouse to spend time being “selfish,” which ultimately increases the willingness (and ability) of each to be selfless.

6. They place their friendship as the highest priority in the relationship.

When everything is going wrong in the relationship (or in life), happily married couples draw on the biggest asset they share – friendship. A couple’s friendship is an ever-evolving work in progress, and it changes as people age, as interests change, as children are born, and as the nest becomes empty. Happily married couples constantly cultivate the friendship with their spouse to ensure the roots grow strong and deep, qualities which serve the marriage when it’s forced to weather a storm.

7. They remember everything is temporary.

Happily married couples understand that everything is temporary and hard times will pass. Through uncertainty and fear, there are lessons in perseverance to learn. Happily married couples look at difficult experiences for those lessons, shift perspective and adapt in concert to make it through…together.

8. They are optimistic, laugh and have fun.

In spite of hardships that will happen, happily married couples look for the joys in life. They believe there is always something to be grateful for, and they look for the gift in each difficult experience. Above all, happily married couples remember the value of keeping a sense of humor, laughing and having fun together

May you find great happiness in your marriage.

 

30 Unique Wedding Ideas

 

  1. A Luxe Reception Lounge

    PHOTO BY AARON YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY

    Give guests a place to mingle between dance breaks by creating a lounge areaat your reception. Fill the space with couches or chairs and plenty of pillows to sink into. It’s the perfect way to keep everyone in on the party even when they’re resting. Really want to wow ’em? Close off the area with curtains to create a VIP vibe.

    > See more reception lounge photos

  2. Reception Ushers

    PHOTO BY BRIAN DORSEY STUDIOS
    You may already be planning to have your ushers escort guests to their ceremony seats, but consider having reception ushers. These “live escort cards” walk guests to their tables for an upscale restaurant experience. Ask your reception venue or caterer if its waitstaff can do this double duty, or assign a few ushers to the job.
  3. Guest Transportation

    PHOTO BY IN DESIGN WEDDINGS

    If you’re planning on shuttling your guests from the ceremony to the reception, make the journey part of the fun by renting some seriously cool mass transportation. Take wedding transportation to new heights with a hot air balloon ride. Or, if it’ll suit your wedding style, get nostalgic with some charming yellow school buses. And for extra flair, customize the ride by playing fun music or decking out the bus with a sign that reads, “Sarah and John’s wedding or bust!”

  4. Preceremony Cocktails

    PHOTO BY ELIZABETH MESSINA PHOTOGRAPHY

    Your guests won’t be expecting any drinks until the reception, so give them a pleasant surprise by setting up a table of light beverages on the way into the ceremony. Just don’t serve anything too strong — think: mimosas or fruit-infused iced teas they can sip before taking their seats (and don’t forget to have nonalcoholic versions too!). Have your caterer or ushers collect any stray glasses to make sure the space is tidy before the processional begins.

  5. Standout Escort Cards

    PHOTO BY KARA PURTELL PHOTOGRAPHY

    Instead of a paper card that’ll get lost or thrown away, upgrade your escort cards to something worth keeping (or eating!). Try personalized cake pops with guests’ names and table numbers written on them in icing (or on a cute tag), or engraved martini glasses that double as favors.

  6. Upgraded Welcome Bags

    PHOTO BY WOODLAND FIELDS PHOTOGRAPHY

    Make your guests feel like VIPs with welcome bags that go beyond a map and a few snacks. Stuff personalized tote bags with mini bottles of bubbly or a six-pack of a local microbrew, a gift certificate to your favorite local coffee shop and an individual “Welcome!” note from you.

  7. Thoughtful (and Useful) Favors

    PHOTO BY LINDSEY HAHN PHOTOGRAPHY

    Keep your guests comfortable all day by thinking ahead. Out of town guests will appreciate a custom scented soap so they don’t have to rely on the standard hotel samples. Planning on dancing until the next morning? Put out baskets of flip-flops (in your wedding colors, of course) so guests can take their shoes off. Having an outdoor reception that might get breezy? Make sure guests keep warm by offering up some cozy pashminas. And for a summer outdoor ceremony in the afternoon, provide a station with spray-on sunscreen and a stack of inexpensive sunglasses.

  8. A DIY Flower Station

    PHOTO BY ALLAN ZEPEDA

    Let guests know that it’s not just the wedding party that’s special to you (it’s everyone!) by letting each one stand out with their own corsage or boutonniere. Ask your florist about setting up a make-your-own-flower station: Put out some sturdy blooms like spray roses or mums, supply lots of colorful ribbons and pins, and add labels with easy-to-follow instructions.

  9. “To-Go” Valet Gifts

    PHOTO BY BRIAN PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY

    Send guests home feeling taken care of by having your valets place small favors or end-of-the-night snacks in guests’ cars before handing over the keys. No valets? Set out baskets of the gifts — such as soft eye masks with notes that say “Sleep tight!” or even hangover kits — for guests to grab on their way out of the reception venue. If you’ve arranged bus or shuttle transportation, have a favor waiting on board for guests.

    Knot Note: Hangover kits (if you’re sending guests home on a shuttle) should include Aspirin — not Tylenol — for safe headache-busting.

  10. Convenient Child Care

    PHOTO BY SHELLY KROEGER PHOTOGRAPHY

    Hire a babysitter (or two) and set her up in a room so your youngest guests have a place to go when they tucker out. If it’s possible, pick a room near your reception location so parents can stop by to check in on the tykes and then return to the party easily. Stock the room with snacks, games and a portable DVD player to keep them entertained, and make sure there’s a soft sofa and blankets for those inevitable naps.

  11. A Bubbly Bar

    PHOTO BY ANNE MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY

    Make toast time delicious by letting guests customize their champagne. Dishes full of fruit purees, lavender sprigs, citrus twists and flavored ice cubes that can be spooned into glasses of bubbly will make the toast that much more fun.

  12. A Memorable Guest Book

    PHOTO BY VUE PHOTOGRAPHY

    Think beyond the typical guest book. One creative idea we love: Create a jigsaw puzzle of your photo and let guests sign each piece. Or put out silver trays with engraving pens so guests can carve a lasting message on a useful keepsake for you.

  13. A (Friends and) Family Tree Seating Chart

    PHOTO BY JULIA NEWMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

    You worked hard on figuring out that seating chart, so get the dinner conversation started by showing guests how they’re connected. Create a sign that shows the relationships between the guests who will be sitting next to each other — it’ll help break the ice for those who haven’t already met.

  14. A First-Dance Confetti Drop

    PHOTO BY EMBRACE LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY

    Your first dance will be one of the highlights of your wedding, so add this extra-special touch to up the entertainment factor (and make for some serious photo ops!). If your song is slow and romantic, have fresh flower petals instead of confetti dropped from the ceiling. Your rental company and florist can work together to make this happen — and don’t forget to make sure the reception waitstaff will be standing by to clean up.

  15. A Video Confessional Booth

    PHOTO BY BRIAN DORSEY STUDIOS

    For a fresh twist on the hot photo booth trend, rent a video booth where guests can record a quick on-screen message for you. Ask your videographer to edit some of the best clips into your wedding video. Then, post your other favorite video “confessions” on your wedding website and encourage guests to check them out in your thank-you notes.

  16. A Hip After-Party

    PHOTO BY CORY RYAN PHOTOGRAPHY

    Instead of just hitting the bar next door when your reception venue closes, plan a true postwedding bash for you and your hardest-partying guests. Book a space with a completely different vibe from your reception (like a relaxed patio bar or a karaoke club to offset a formal ballroom) to keep the party going.

  17. Allover Lighting

    PHOTO BY CLIFF MAUTNER PHOTOGRAPHY
    Revolutionize your venue with creative lighting. Project falling leaves or snow to add drama to a boring, beige wall; add a funky geometric pattern or your monogram to the dance floor; or get basic up-lighting for the perimeter of the room to instantly transform the space. Your guests won’t be able to stop staring (in a good way!).

    > See more reception lighting ideas

  18. A Decked-Out Entryway

    PHOTO BY JARED WILSON PHOTOGRAPHY
    We’re not saying you should spend a gazillion dollars on a 20-foot-tall floral arrangement, but first impressions are important, so take time to think out the entrance to your reception. Add a couple flower arrangements to the escort card table or have your stationer create a stylish seating chart display. A table topped with your engagement photos, your parents’ wedding albums, and any other from-the-family artifacts would make meaningful additions.

    > See more reception decor photos

  19. A Showstopping Ceremony Exit

    PHOTO BY BRANDY J PHOTOGRAPHY
    If you play it right, your ceremony exit will be one of the most heavily photographed moments of your wedding — so forget the rose petals and birdseed. Jazz up your exit by passing out small bags of colorful confetti, paper airplanes, mini beach balls, or even lavender buds for everyone to toss your way. Even better: Stage your own mini parade by passing out parasols and noisemakers for your guests to escort you to your getaway car.

    > Get 150+ more wedding transportation ideas

  20. Unexpected Wedding Music

    PHOTO BY JEN DISNEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Sure, a string quartet is nice, but you’ll blow guests away with a jazz trio or a Spanish guitar player. To get the party going during the cocktail hour, look into hiring a mariachi band, a bluegrass group, or even a barbershop quartet for some seriously memorable melodies.

    > Get more creative wedding music ideas!

  21. A Wedding Dress Change

    PHOTO BY GERTRUDE & MABEL PHOTOGRAPHY
    All eyes will be on you, so it’ll be a huge shocker when you go from a classic wedding dress for the ceremony to a shorter, flirtier dress at the reception. Whether it’s a cocktail dress you bought (but couldn’t find an excuse to wear) or a sparkly, white dress that’s just too short for the aisle, have fun with it! If you honestly can’t imagine changing out of your wedding dress, make other changes: Let down your hair, switch your shoes, or add a few new pieces of jewelry.

    > Search short wedding dress photos

  22. Cocktails Served Differently

    PHOTO BY JEN HUANG PHOTOGRAPHY
    Grab guests’ attention as soon as they arrive at the cocktail hour by having drinks and hors d’oeuvres displayed on colorful trays or even placed along the shelves of a makeshift bookcase-turned-bar. Or, have a fleet of waiters standing at the entrance, drink trays in hand, ready to greet guests at the door. The message will be clear: It’s time to par-tay.

    > See more wedding cocktail hour ideas

  23. Extra Signage

    PHOTO BY BEAUTIFUL MESS PHOTOGRAPHY
    If it’s an outdoor wedding, create custom chalkboard signs as pointers for guests (“this way to the cocktail hour” or “wedding this way!”). For a more formal wedding, make beautifully scripted table numbers, monogrammed cocktail napkins, and even bathroom-door labels that read “ladies” and “gents.”

    > See photos of wedding signs from real weddings

  24. A Photo Booth (Rented or Handmade)

    PHOTO BY RIVERBEND STUDIOS
    Having a photo booth is a surefire way to capture memories a photographer might miss. For an extra-special touch, outfit your booth with themed props (snorkel gear and an under-the-sea backdrop for a summer wedding, opera masks and monocles for a formal affair, etc.) to get your guests in the mood; then be sure to send them a copy of their photo in your thank-you note.

    > See creative ways to show off your photos

  25. Wedding Favors With Entertainment Value

    PHOTO BY SARAH DICICCO PHOTOGRAPHY

    Think of your wedding favors as an accessory to your reception. Want a packed dance floor? Distribute kazoos, maracas, or even rally towels for a good time that just won’t quit.

    > Get hundreds of wedding favor ideas

  26. A (Really) Creative Groom’s Cake

    PHOTO BY IMAGES BY AARON REBARCHEK
    How could your guests not take a picture of that? Find the right cake baker and go nuts with your groom’s cake for a unique photo op. We’ve seen everything from elaborate guitars to football stadiums to armadillos to library book cakes. Other non-cake ideas: a table decked out in donuts, an ice cream bar, or a giant Rice Krispies Treat cake.

    > See our top 100 groom’s cake photos

  27. A (Surprise) Choreographed Dance

    PHOTO BY EE PHOTOGRAPHY
    Take a few dance lessons before your wedding, but instead of the standard waltz, kick it up a notch by learning a sultry tango or a high-energy swing routine, and then surprise everyone during your first dance. For an unexpected surprise, get your dad or even your grandpa in on the act. Imagine the looks on your guests’ faces when you and your pops break into a hip-hop routine mid-father-daughter dance. (Bonus points if he can do the worm!)

    > Check out this father-daughter wedding dance video

  28. Killer Midnight Snacks

    PHOTO BY BEE PHOTOGRAPHIE
    Just when everyone thinks the fun is winding down, liven up the party with late-night nibbles that will leave everyone ready for an after-party. Think about it: crinkle French fries, fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk shooters, a fully loaded taco bar, or even a waffle truck!

    > See more wedding dessert ideas

  29. Decked-out Transportation

    PHOTO BY CHRISTINE WEDDING & PORTRAIT DESIGN
    Come up with a transportation plan that’ll get guests talking. Maybe your car-obsessed uncle would be willing to play driver for the night in exchange for showing off his ridiculously cool Mustang. Your oversized clunker from high school might actually look pretty cool decked out with streamers and a “just married” sign. Even your bicycles — tied off with fresh flowers — would create a memorable exit.

    > Get more wedding transportation ideas

  30. Social Media Integration

    PHOTO BY JESSICA MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY

    Start the party long before your wedding day with a brilliant wedding website (computer science degree not required). Get your guests involved with live tweets or an Instagram feed, so you and your guests have a record of the day just as it happened. Upload vlogs (aka video blogs) of your bridal party, poll guests on the reception music, add animated elements, or even create a “wedding guest of the week” spotlight column. Start your web page on (ahem)TheKnot.com or get the souped-up version on WeddingTracker.com ($30, but so worth it!).


    Special thanks to Amy Nichols of Amy Nichols Special Events in San Francisco; Josh Brooks of Fete in New York; Thomas Bui of Thomas Bui Lifestyle in San Diego; Melina Dreyfuss and Dawn Van Dyke of DM Events in New York; Vicki Grafton of My Simple Details in Washington, DC; Emilia Jane of Sweet Emilia Jane in Los Angeles; Kristen Jensen of Sugar Rush Events in San Francisco; Lauren Knuepfer of LK Events in Chicago; Claudine Ursino of La Belle Soiree Event Planning in Seattle; and Claire Weller of Big City Bride in Chicago

30 Things You Should Stop Putting Yourself Through

 

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  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you likeeveryone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.

  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

Winter Weather Backpacking

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Many people love to backpack and camp in the winter. The cold air and the freezing temperatures just give them a different kind of experience. However, backpackers and hikers often aren’t prepared for situations that could arise in these cold conditions. Winter introduces many beautiful scenes, but this solitude makes cold weather backpacking even more challenging and dangerous.

Prepare for the Worst Weather

Before you head out, be sure to check the weather forecast for the area you will be backpacking in. Besides snowy and cold conditions, watch for below freezing temperatures, storms, wind, and cloud cover. Cloudy skies actually make for warmer temperatures, as the clouds keep in the heat. Check with the local rangers or park officials for a more detailed forecast.

Stay Dry and Keep Heat In

Most people who die backpacking in winter die from hypothermia after getting wet, resulting in lower body temperatures. Because of this reason, it is essential to not let snow soak into your clothes and reach your skin. Jeans are the worst at this as they are easily soaked, they keep the moisture in, and they don’t dry quickly. Don’t just bring a rain jacket and expect that to do the job. Remember, it is harder to warm up after getting cold than just staying warm in the first place. Once clothing gets soaked, try any way possible to dry it. At night before going to bed, change into dry clothing and set wet clothes out to dry.

Backpacking Tip:

Warm cold feet through inertia by forcefully swinging your leg back and forth, like a pendulum, to rush blood to your toes.
Layering clothing is also very important in order to trap heat in and insulate your body. However, another mistake many backpackers make is trying to keep in too much body heat. When dress too warmly, your body begins to sweat. Perspiration and moisture will then wet your clothing. Monitor your warmth and remove layers of clothes if you begin to sweat. Avoid clothes that are non-wicking, such as cotton, which don’t let the moisture escape. Instead, wear synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene. Also, always wear a hat and gloves, as these are two areas where most of your body heat escapes.

Eat and Drink Right

Drinking melted snow is highly inefficient, so plan on bringing just as much water while winter backpacking as any spring or fall backpacking trip. Warm liquids will warm you up, but cold water works just as well and keeps you hydrated. Frozen water, however, won’t do you any good. Bring plenty of water, but keep it from freezing. This could mean keeping it inside your coat, in your sleeping bag with you, or in the middle of your backpack.

Food is also a very important part of creating body heat. When you digest food, the calories produce energy and heat. This is why whale blubber is eaten in many arctic areas. Army survival courses teach soldiers to eat large chunks of butter to stay warn in winter conditions. For backpacking purposes, you can have olive oil on your pasta or eat oily foods like corn chips to get the same warming effect.

Winter SheltersYou should always bring a winter tent while backpacking in freezing conditions. But even with this, you should still learn to build survival shelters in cold temperatures. Learning how to make some of these simple shelters is smart planning for possible emergencies. If it isn’t snowing or raining, a simple shelter of sticks covered with piles of dry leaves, grass, broken branches, and other plants can insulate you enough from the cold ground. In worse conditions, you can build a shelter using snow blocks. Stomp out blocks using your feet or tools and surround your tent or shelter to block wind and keep heat in. Practice doing this in case of an emergency survival situation. Keep in mind that although temperatures tend to lower at higher elevations, cold air also collects in the bottoms of valleys and other low-lying areas at night and into the morning. Finding a level area, although out of the wind, is best.

Have a Heat Source

Many backpackers get by with no stove in the warmer months, simply eating cold, dry foods, but in winter a cooking stove is essential. Not only can it provide you with warm food and drinks, it can create enough heat to warm your body in freezing conditions. As stated before, melting snow for drinking water is highly inefficient, but with a stove this is a possible solution to getting water.

Always have enough waterproof matches, a lighter, and other methods to start a fire in case your stove doesn’t work. A fire can easily be a lifesaver if you fall into a stream of lake and need to get warm and dry quick. Read our how to Build a Fire article to learn how to make the perfect backpacking campfire.

More Winter Tricks

Apart from these basic principles of staying warm while backpacking and camping in the winter, there are many other little tips and tricks you can learn and use. Fully fluffing up a sleeping bag, for example, makes it more effective in trapping the warm air in. Doing sit-ups in your bag before going to sleep is another technique which gets you a warm start to the night. Some water bottles or canteens can be filled with hot, but not boiling, water and even be kept in the bag with you.

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in The World

In search of most popular sports in the world we can go through one of the few common ways of mapping. In other words we can name or define our search as most watched sport in the world. In such case, we can try to measure the amount of fans around the globe for each type of sport.

There is also another famous option like considering most played sport in the world. In this case we will have much more difficulties. As we have to determine how many people are playing each sport, somehow. Again we have to sharply consider the average amount per country.

Here we are accumulating the analysis that reflects about sports over media, off which people are mostly interested in ( most popular sports in the world ). Mostly we depend on specific data from around the world of 2015.  Regional popularity is considered for greater insight, where the fan base is located around the world.

Most popular sports in the World:

It is better here to proclaim that this list can be changed according to some related parameters. Again we are asking for your favor to believe the mere estimation.

10. American Football

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, football, american obsession, NFL
American Football ; image credit pixabay.com

In other words this game is commonly referred as the national obsession of millions of Americans. Most probably these millions have propelled the sport into the list of most popular sports in the world. Its impact is negligible outside of North America.

Analyzing many estimations from various sources, we conclude of around 400 millionfans around the globe for this particular sport. But the surprise is, nearly half of the total are counted from the United States and Canada.

It is believed that American football was actually evolved from Rugby in the late 19thcentury. Mainly, the sport was seen as a club or collegiate sport. Then, in the year of 1920, everything had just changed after the establishment of NFL.

Generally there are two variants of this popular sport. One is the Canadian Football or the Canadian version. And the other one is well known as the Arena League Football. Mostly players are seen to move between these leagues at times.

Some historic teams: the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steele-rs, San Francisco 49ers

Previously said, most of the teams are from North America. But NFL is arranged every year in England and other countries of Europe via NFL Europe. Recently more and more Australian and African people are getting interested about the game. And still very fewer from the Asia. American Football is now at the 10th in the list of most popular sports in the world.

The sport is played by two teams of eleven players. The rectangular field is 120 yards long and 53.3 yards wide with goalposts at each end. Surprisingly an oval ball, which is carried on hand is known as the football. And the offense attempts to advance with the ball down the field. There are option of either running with the football or passing it through the posts. The offense must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs. If they fail to continue, they have to turn over the ball to the opposing team.

 

 9. Basketball

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, MVP, basketball, most watched, most famous
Basketball ; image credit pixabay.com

Approximated number of fans: 400 million

Regional popularity: America

Basketball developed in America in the late 19th century. Mostly Americans dominated the first century of the sport. Unfortunately the game has slowly spread throughout the world. But still, other countries like Argentina, Lithuania and Australia have developed great talent. They all have become competitive now a days.

Urbanization of the whole globe has strongly affected its growth everywhere. Probably basketball is one of very few sports that can be played in minimal space. And urban environment is always lacking a little more space. With 400+ million spectators around the globe Basketball is now at 9th in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world 2016.

Winning MVP title is considered the most precious in the sport Basketball. Top talents from countries like France (Tony Parker), Germany (Dirk Nowitzki), Canada (Steve Nash) and Spain (Pau and Marc Gasol) are building their career in America. While those who are unable to make it into the American National Basketball Association (may be on the down slope of their career) are attracted to the other international leagues.

Some people claim, Basketball as the 3rd most popular sport in the world with 2-3 billion fans from US, China, Canada and Philippine. But please keep that for later proclamation. Now on, I believe we can go through our present conclusion.

Basketball is played on a rectangular court. There are two teams, each consisting of only five players. Both the team’s objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop. The hoop is 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.0 m) high, mounted to a backboard at each end. During regular play, a team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket. Field goal scores two games only for the shooting team. But if the player is outside the three point line and successfully shoots through the hoop, then it is three point counted. And at the end of the game, the team with the most of the points wins.

 

8. Golf

 Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, popular games, sport, popular sports, most watched, golf

Golf ; image credit pixabay.com

Approximated number of fans: 450 million

Regional popularity: Europe, Asia, America, Canada

It is believed that golf started at the age of 13th century. But it wasn’t solidified as sport then. In Scotland, the sport was promptly banned by King James 2nd before the early 1400’s. People often say, this sport is possibly the only one where its home of origin is still used as a playing ground, the Old Course at St. Andrews has been used for the last 500 years for golfing.

The nature of competition in this game is very much indirect. May be that is another crucial issue for its potential amount of fans. Unlike all the other sports in the list, opponents are never face to face in contest with each other, which creates a lack of conflict or perceived competitiveness among them. In this very sporting arena American players are mostly dominant.

Some famous American golfers: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer

Now a days, a number of Asian countries have begun to catch up.

With more than 450 million fans from Europe, Asia, America and Canada, Golf is number 8 most popular sport in the world.

Golf is a precision club and ball sport. Competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course. They always have to try for the fewest number of strokes. In the rules of Golf, the sport is defined as

“PLAYING A BALL WITH A CLUB FROM THE TEEING GROUND INTO THE HOLE BY A STROKE OR SUCCESSIVE STROKES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES”.

 

7. Baseball

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, baseball, most watched sport, most popular game
Baseball ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

Approximated number of fans: 500 million

Regional popularity: America, Japan

Baseball was basically developed from the game of rounder’s in England. This particular sport has one of the longest-standing codes of play. But you can also notice that the major rules have not changed since 1901. In the year of 1876, the National League (the first formal league) was founded. At that time it was consisted of American teams only.

The game is a direct competition of single players, commonly termed as the batter and pitcher. But this another team game. That’s this game can be considered as a very unique one. Recent times, the sport has developed fans across the world. It has become the leading spectator sport in Japan. Some of the Central and South American countries celebrate this popular sport as their national sport.

All of these countries frequently provide talent to the Major League Baseball. Now a days, Cuba is respected as a world power in this game. They have already won numerous Olympic Gold. On the other hands, the Japanese have won two out of three World baseball Classics.

Most successful and popular in America: the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals

There are around 500 million fans in US, Cuba, Japan and Dominican Republic. Baseball is now at 7th in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world.

Baseball is another game played between two teams of nine players. One of the teams are selected for batting and the other for fielding. Both the teams attempt to score more runs than its opponents. The batsman has to hit the ball thrown by the pitcher with a bat. After hitting, he again needs to move counter-clockwise around a series of four bases, named as first, second, third and home plate. When the runner advances around the bases and returns to home plate, a run is scored.

 

6. Table Tennis 

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most popular sport, watched, table tennis, sport ranking
Table Tennis ; image credit http://www.flickr.com

 

Approximated number of fans: 850 million

Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, America

Table Tennis is that sport which is hugely popular in China. And gradually it is gaining acceptance in Europe. The sport is around not more than a century. But it was quickly adopted in mainland Asia.

Like soccer, part of the attraction of the sport is the ease of play and inexpensive equipment. The Chinese have been dominating the international play. Especially for the women. No non-Chinese woman or women team has ever gotten a gold in any international competition since 1992.

Now a time, Table Tennis have almost 850 million fans all-round the globe. Mostly from Asia, specifically China. These huge 850 million fans reassures its minimum 6th position in the most famous sports list ( most popular sports in the world ).

The sport Table Tennis is often called ping pong. The game is played between two or four players. A lightweight ball is hit back and forth using table tennis rackets. Makeshift nets are usually set up on a plank of wood. The simple wooden panel hard table is divided by the net. Except for the initial serve, players have to return the ball before the second bounce towards them, on their side of the table. Again he have to ensure the ball bounces on the opposite side.

 

5. Volleyball

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most watched sport, popular, volleyball
Volleyball ; image credit http://www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 900 million

Regional popularity: Europe, Australia, Asia, America

Volleyball is one of the simplest sport, which is played almost all over the world. All you need to play the game is a ball and a net. You can play it anywhere, grass, cement or sand. The surface is very much negotiable. So, it is well predictable that the simplicity of this sport is mostly responsible for its global popularity. Especially you can feel lucky when you don’t need to worry about the surface selection.

Volleyball was first introduced into the Olympic Games in 1964. One variant of this sport, beach Volleyball was introduced in 1996. One interesting thing about this game is, there is no dominating country for long range of time. Traditionally, Volleyball has been evenly matched over the years. Numerous countries have won medals.

But the beach Volleyball is something, which is more popular in America and Brazil. So, naturally these two countries dominate the particular sporting arena. Recant time, these two have won probably 20 of possible 30 medals together.

Accumulating all the fans around the world, especially from Asia, Europe, Australia and America we can estimate 900 million for the sport. From our present consideration we remark the sport as 5th in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world.

Volleyball is a team sport. Two teams of six players are separated by the net. Grounding the ball on the other team’s court is point. Each team tries to score under some organized rules. The game has been a part of the official program of Summer Olympic Games, started from 1964.

 

4. Tennis

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most popular sport, famous sports, watched most, tennis
Tennis ; image credit http://www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 1 billion

Regional popularity: Europe, Asia, America

Tennis is considered as one of the top ranked sport now a days. The game features solo competition. Historians claim that the sport was originated before the 14th century. King Louis X of France built an indoor Tennis court for himself. Probably it was at the age of early 1400’s.

But the modern rules were introduced into the game at the middle of the 19th century. The game has never been truly dominated by a single person or country. We can easily figure out this by accounting the Number One Ranked player over the last ten years.

Across the Men’s and Women’s tours, 14 different plyers from 8 different countries have been representing the title. May be this is another cause of it’s being that much popular everywhere.

Famous Tennis Stars:
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova

With around one billion fans Tennis is now at no.4 at the top list of most popular sports in the world. And because of the spectators from Asia, Europe and America, Tennis is considered one of the most watched sport in the world.

Usually people play Tennis against a single opponent (singles). Sometimes it is played between two teams of two players each (doubles). A racket strung with cord is used to strike the hollow rubber ball. The ball is usually covered with felt. The opponents are separated by a net. The objective of the game is to play the ball into the opponent’s court in such a way that he/she is unable to return good.

 

3. Field Hockey

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, famous, popular, most watched, hockey, field hockey
Field Hockey ; image credit http://www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 2 billion

Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia

The sport was developed both in Europe and Asia at the age of 3rd century B.C. in the 19th century England, modern rules were introduced into the game. The rules quickly spread out inside the English colonies.

In the mid-20th century, India and Pakistan dominated the sport. But the later part of the decade, Netherlands and Australia were seen to take over as the major force. Field Hockey is often seen as a female dominating sport in North America. Across the other portion of the globe it’s still considered as male-dominated.

Currently Field Hockey is the 3rd most popular sport on earth. According to 2015 statistics, around 2.2 billion fans from Europe, Asia and Africa prove the fabulous popularity of this sport.

Some people often call this sport a family game. Two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball into the opponent’s goal. The ball is actually a puck and it is driven by the hockey stick. Typically the Field Hockey or the Ice Hockey is referred to simply as Hockey in many areas.

Hockey is the National game of Pakistan and at third of most popular sports in the world.

 

2. Cricket

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most watched, cricket, famous, popular most sport
Cricket ; image credit http://www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 2.5 billion

Regional popularity: Asia, Australia, UK, Africa

Thanks to the British Empire, cricket has spread across the globe. References from various sources indicate that it may have been played as far back as the 16th century. But it took a one more century to be fully completed and being codified. It was near around 1700’s.

Cricket is actually popular across through the ex-British colonies. We can name them particularly.

India and neighboring countries, Southern Africa, West Indies, the British Isles and the countries of Australasia.

The game is played with large teams and long range of time, sometimes up to 5 days in length. Previously and mostly matches are usually played by county or national teams. Though there have been some famous clubs across England, India and Australia.

In case of Cricket you can’t determine age old favorites. There is definite ups and downs in this sporting arena. Currently England Australia, India and South Africa can be considered as the top favorites.

The 2.5 billion Cricket fans are spread throughout the globe, mostly in Asia, UK, Australia and Africa. So, undoubtedly Cricket is at the 2nd position in the list of top 10 most popular sports in the world.

Obviously Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams, each consisting of 11 players. A 22-yard rectangular long pitch is taken inside a particular diameter round field. Both the teams take it in turns to bat. The batting team attempts to score runs, while the fielding team tries to defend them within as less runs as possible. Each turn is known as an innings.

Three different formats are played in Cricket.

Test Cricket (5 days), ODIs (1day), and T20 (around 4hrs).

It is believed, after introducing the T20 format, Cricket has gained a lot more popularity across the world as it takes less time with complete entertainment.

 

1. Soccer 

 

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in the World, most popular sport, most watched, famous, soccer
Soccer ; image credit http://www.flickr.com

Approximated number of fans: 3.5 billion

Regional popularity: Europe, Africa, Asia, America

Finally we have tracked down the most popular sport in the world and no surprise it is Soccer. The simplicity combined with the ease of play makes this the most popular game. Another thing to reconsider that this is undoubtedly the most watched sport in the world ( most popular sports in the world ).

Somewhere this sport is known as the Football and somewhere particularly in America it is Soccer. But as we have already stated the Game American Football above, we are using here the term Soccer.

At the prehistoric ages there was a different version of the sport. Just kicking of a ball towards a target. But at the mid-19th century a proper code of rules and regulations was developed in the British Emperor.

The popularity of the game has created an incredibly rabid fan base. Almost every towns are growing their own clubs to call their own pledge allegiance. There is no particular powerful club or International teams. But according to some greater achievements we can declare some as top favorites.

Top favorite International Teams: Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy

Top favorite Club Teams: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, AC Milan etc.

So, Soccer is at the top of most popular sports in the world with almost 3.5 billionspectators or fans. These huge amount of fans are spread out in almost all the countries of Africa, Asia, America and off Corse Europe. There is an association of Soccer which is commonly known as FIFA.

Soccer is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. So many statistics claim that over 250 million players from 200 countries play this game. That’s why this is the most popular sport in the world.

In case of Soccer the field is rectangular with a goal post at each end. The objective of the game is to score goal at opponent’s post. Player can use any part of the body except the arms and hands. The goalkeepers are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms. But he would also have to be cautious about the penalty area, commonly known as the D box.

 

Most Famous Sports in the World (Most Watched):

The concept of sports took birth at the ages back around 2000 BC. At that time, probably gymnastics was one of the most popular sports in the world as well as one of the first of its kind. Sports were simple games of endurance and skill in those days. In such prehistoric ages, sports were like some competition for the entertainment of the crowd.

Sometimes games played the role of training grounds too. And we all know, most of these sports had ritualistic meaning to their cultures, some were incredibly violent and deadly. The early Mesoamerican ballgame was one of these kinds.

And now at this very article we will attempt to conclude regarding the most viewed sports around the globe as the most popular sports in the world. We will simply try to determine the number of fans, most definitely which is estimated through participation and media coverage from each corner of this sporting earth. I confess, we are unwillingly relying on the existing data sets to arrive at the most accurate conclusion. But we can still hope that we are getting the result pretty good.

 

Here we are listing the top 10 most popular sports in the world. And this list is developed after well enough web research, also from some authentic related sites. Almost all of these authors have acknowledged that they have taken into account the population of countries. And mostly depended on general surveys or discussions on the internet.

List of top 10 most popular sports in the world:

rank Sport Estimated Fans Regional Popularity
1 Soccer / Association Football 3.5 Billion Europe, Africa, Asia, America.
2 Cricket 2.5 Billion Asia, Australia, UK.
3 Field Hockey 2 Billion Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia.
 4 Tennis 1 Billion Europe, Asia, America.
 5 Volleyball 900 Million Europe, Australia, Asia, America.
 6 Table Tennis 850 Million Europe, Africa, Asia, America.
 7 Baseball 500 Million America, Japan.
 8 Golf 450 Million Europe, Asia, America, Canada.
 9 Basketball 400 Million
 10 American Football 400 Million Europe, Africa, Asia, America, Australia.

In terms of fans, Soccer is clearly the most popular sport in the world. We can easily get the idea every four years, when it’s time for FIFA World Cup. Authentic information about the 2006 World Cup Germany, claims that over 30 billion people at that time watched that tournament. Yes off course, I know the count is surprisingly more than the world’s total population. But the technique is presenting the figure as an accumulated audience, which means people are counted each time they watch more than one game.

 

The model minority is losing patience

MICHAEL WANG, a young Californian, came second in his class of 1,002 students; his ACT score was 36, the maximum possible; he sang at Barack Obama’s inauguration; he got third place in a national piano contest; he was in the top 150 of a national maths competition; he was in several national debating-competition finals. But when it came to his university application he faced a serious disappointment for the first time in his glittering career. He was rejected by six of the seven Ivy League colleges to which he applied.

“I saw people less qualified than me get better offers,” says Mr Wang. “At first I was just angry. Then I decided to turn that anger to productive use.” He wrote to the universities concerned. “I asked: what more could I have done to get into your college? Was it based on race, or what was it based on?” He got vague responses—or none. So he complained to the Department of Education. Nothing came of it. “The department said they needed a smoking gun.”

In May this year Mr Wang joined a group of 64 Asian-American organisations that made a joint complaint to the Department of Education against Harvard, alleging racial discrimination. That follows a lawsuit filed last year against Harvard and the University of North Carolina by a group of Asian-American students making similar charges. The department rejected the claim in July, but another two complaints have since been filed by Asian-Americans, one against Harvard and one against nine other universities.

On October 3rd 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act into law, sweeping away a system that favoured white Europeans over other races. One of its main consequences was the beginning of mass immigration to America from Asia. By most indicators, these incomers have done better than any other ethnic minority group. Indeed, they have long been described as the “model minority”: prosperous, well-educated and quiescent. But there are problems, as a result of which they are becoming somewhat less quiescent than they once were.

Before the 1965 act, the experience of Asian-American immigrants had not been entirely happy. The largest mass lynching in American history, in 1871, in which 17 Chinese were murdered; the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prohibited Chinese immigration; the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans in the second world war, when relatively few German- or Italian-Americans were interned: all were symptoms of a racism that was reserved not just for African-Americans.

Things changed after the war. The Chinese and Indians were seen as allies, and the internment of Japanese came to be seen as wrong. As the civil-rights campaign changed attitudes to race, the new immigration act enabled people to be admitted on the basis of skills and family relationships. Asia’s large population and fast-developing economies have meant an abundant supply of skilled aspirant Americans. In 2013 the numbers of both Chinese and Indian migrants overtook Mexicans for the first time.

Asia being a big place, Asian-Americans are a various lot, who came at different times, for different reasons and with different levels of education and prosperity. The Japanese mostly arrived before the second world war, the Chinese from the 1980s onwards. The Indians and Chinese are on average well educated and prosperous, whereas the (small numbers of) Cambodians, Laotians and Hmong are struggling. The Japanese—the only Asian group mostly born in America and more likely than not to marry a non-Asian—are closer in attitudes and educational level to the American population as a whole. But on average Asian-Americans are unusually well educated, prosperous, married, satisfied with their lot and willing to believe in the American dream: 69% of Asians, compared with 58% of the general public, think that “most people who want to get ahead can make it if they are willing to work hard.”

It is their educational outperformance that is most remarkable: 49% of Asian-Americans have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 28% of the general population. Whereas Asian-Americans make up 5.6% of the population of the United States, according to the complaint to the Department of Education they make up more than 30% of the recent American maths and physics Olympiad teams and Presidential Scholars, and 25-30% of National Merit Scholarships. Among those offered admission in 2013 to New York’s most selective public high schools, Stuyvesant High School and Bronx High School of Science, 75% and 60% respectively were Asian. The Asian population of New York City is 13%. Surging immigration is likely to increase the disparity between Asians and other groups, because recent immigrants are even more highly qualified than earlier cohorts: 61% of recent immigrants from Asia have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 30% of recent non-Asian migrants.

Why do they do so well? Amy Hsin of the City University of New York and Yu Xie of the University of Michigan examined the progress of 6,000 white and Asian children, from toddlers through school, to find an answer. They rejected the idea that Asians were just innately much cleverer than whites: there was an early gap in cognitive abilities, but it declined to insignificance through school. The higher socioeconomic status of Asian parents provided part of the explanation, but only a small part. Their data suggested that Asian outperformance is thanks in large part to hard work. Ms Hsin and Ms Xie’s study showed a sizeable gap in effort between Asian and white children, which grew during their school careers.

When the researchers asked the children about their attitudes to work, two differences emerged between Asian and white children. The Asians were likelier to believe that mathematical ability is learned, not innate; and Asian parents expected more of their children than white ones did. The notion that A- is an “Asian F” is widespread. Another study, by Zurishaddai Garcia of the University of Utah, shows that Asian-American parents are a lot likelier to spend at least 20 minutes a day helping their children with their homework than any other ethnic group.

In “The Asian American Achievement Paradox”, a study based on interviews with young Chinese and Vietnamese in Los Angeles, as well as Mexicans, whites and blacks, Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou argue that it is not just what happens at home that matters. They point to “ethnic capital”—the fact that these groups belong to communities that support education—as part of the explanation.

The Asian-American interviewees recall wearily their parents dangling the PhDs of cousins and neighbours in front of them. Being part of an entrepreneurial society helps. The four-inch-thick Southern California Chinese Yellow Pages, which lists Chinese businesses, offers thousands of listings for Chinese-run SAT prep and tutoring services. Close links to the motherland are also an advantage, to parents at least. Children who rebel may be threatened with being sent to stay with family in China, and they know from relations there that teenagers in America, even Asian ones, get off relatively lightly compared with those in China.

Thanks to such pressures and hard work, many Asian-Americans do end up in top universities—but not as many as their high-school performance would seem to merit. Some Asians allege that the Ivy Leagues have put an implicit limit on the number of Asians they will admit. They point to Asians’ soaring academic achievements and to the work of Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford of Princeton, who looked at the data on admissions and concluded that Asian-Americans need 140 SAT points out of 1,600 more than whites to get a place at a private university, and that blacks need 310 fewer points. Yet in California, where public universities are allowed to use economic but not racial criteria in admissions, 41% of Berkeley’s enrolments in 2014 were Asian-Americans and at the California Institute of Technology 44% were (see chart).

Racial prejudice of the sort that Jews faced may or may not be part of the problem, but affirmative action certainly is. Top universities tend to admit blacks and Hispanics with lower scores because of their history of disadvantage; and once the legacies, the sports stars, the politically well-connected and the rich people likely to donate new buildings (few of whom tend to be Asian) have been allotted their places, the number for people who are just high achievers is limited. Since the Ivies will not stop giving places to the privileged, because their finances depend on the generosity of the rich, the argument homes in on affirmative action.

Several states have banned the use of race as a criterion for admission to their public institutions and there have been several lawsuits against affirmative action. One, brought by Abigail Fisher (who is white) against the University of Texas, has been ricocheting between the Supreme Court and lower courts for seven years; in June the Supreme Court agreed to hear her appeal. In September, 117 Asian-American outfits under the umbrella of the Asian-American Coalition for Education filed a brief to back Ms Fisher. That case’s outcome will bear on the one brought by the group of Asian students against Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Given that several Supreme Court judges, including John Roberts, the chief justice, are unsympathetic to affirmative action, the court seems quite likely to rule against it.

Too successful by half

For the moment the court has taken the view that universities may take race into account, but racial quotas are not on. The Ivies deny running a racial quota. But in its comment on the Asian groups’ complaint, Harvard defends the use of race as a criterion in admission—“a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions, including on race, transforms the educational experience of students from every background and prepares our graduates for an increasingly pluralistic world”—and describes its admissions process as “holistic”, meaning it takes into account considerations wider than mere test scores.

Many Asian parents think this is wrong. They woke up a long time ago to the need to counter the stereotype of the maths-nerd Asian who does nothing but work, and encouraged their children to diversify—into music, debating, charity work, sports, everything that is supposed to increase students’ chances of admission. But many who have excelled in those areas, including Mr Wang and Irene Liu, a student from Massachusetts with a similarly stellar CV, were rejected by the Ivy League. Ms Liu’s mother, Tricia, says, “I feel angry about it. We came for the American dream: you work hard, you do well. This just doesn’t add up.” Irene has accepted a place at a top Canadian university, and is happy about it. Her mother isn’t: “It breaks my heart that she’s going abroad. If she had gone to Harvard, I could have brought her dumplings.”

Mr Wang doubts that Asians, in reaction, are likely to slack off. Asian parenting, he says, “isn’t getting more relaxed. It’s probably getting stricter, because parents realise they’re going to have to work even harder. Standards are rising for everybody, but they’re rising faster for Asians than for everybody else.” As Arnold Jia, a 14-year-old from Short Hills, New Jersey, points out, the problem becomes circular. “To counter affirmative action we have to work harder than everybody else,” he says. “And that reinforces the stereotype.”

But the Asian-American community is unwilling on the whole to oppose affirmative action. It tends to vote Democratic, and many of its members recall the years when they were a despised, not a model, minority. So those who dislike the way the system works tend to argue for it to be adjusted, not abolished; and some say that Asians should actually support it.

It is true that although Asian-Americans do remarkably well at school and university, and have high average incomes, in the workplace they are under-represented in top jobs. A “bamboo ceiling” seems to apply. Asians do well in the lower and middle levels of companies and professions, but are less visible in the upper echelons. Buck Gee, Janet Wong and Denise Peck, Asian-American executives who put together data from Google, Intel, Hewlett Packard, LinkedIn and Yahoo for a report published by Ascend, an Asian-American organisation, found that 27% of professionals, 19% of managers and 14% of executives were Asian-American (see chart).

A similar effect is visible in the law. In 2014, whereas 11% of law-firm associates were Asian, 3% of partners were. Recruiters at the top firms typically throw out applications from all but the top universities and scan the remainder for their extracurriculars, says Lauren Rivera of Northwestern University. “They’re particularly interested in sports, such as lacrosse, squash and [rowing] crew. When you look at the demographic base of these sports, Asian-Americans are not heavily represented.”

At the very top of the tree, Asian-Americans are nigh-invisible. According to a study ofFortune 500 CEOs by Richard Zweigenhaft of Guilford College, in 2000 eight were Asian-American, and in 2014 ten were, whereas the women’s tally in the same period rose from four to 24. Academia, similarly, is stuffed with Asian-American professors, but among America’s 3,000 colleges there are fewer than ten Asian-American presidents, says Mr Gee.

High-flying Asian-Americans, like the three authors of the Ascend report, suggest that cultural patterns may contribute to the group’s under-representation at the top. “There’s something in the upbringing that makes Asians shy,” says Mr Gee. “Engineers are nerds, but within that self-selected group of nerds, Asians are even more nerdy.” “We’re brought up to be humble,” says Ms Wong. “My parents didn’t want to rock the boat. It’s about being quiet, not making waves, being part of the team. In corporate life, you have to learn to toot your horn.” “There’s a natural order of human relationships in Confucianism,” says Ms Peck. “You don’t argue, you don’t contradict authority.” Asian-Americans are a large, diverse group exposed to a range of influences, but those who do reflect such patterns may be less likely to bid for leadership, even if they are highly qualified. The comparative prominence of South Asians, who are less likely to be told not to “rock the boat”—for instance, Indra Nooyi at PepsiCo and Ajay Banga at MasterCard—is cited as anecdotal evidence.

Mr Gee, Ms Wong and Ms Peck, who run training courses to help Asians get promoted, recommend that they should network harder. But another study suggests that Asians may find getting mentors particularly tough. Researchers at Wharton Business School, Columbia University and New York University wrote an identical e-mail to 6,500 professors, ostensibly from students wanting to meet the academic. White men got notably more responses than other groups; Asian-Americans of both sexes got fewer. Since the Ivies produce a disproportionate number of CEOs, Congressmen and judges, the apparent bias against Asian-Americans at leading universities may also keep Asians out of leadership spots. “The ladder is being pulled away from our feet,” says Tricia Liu. “If we can’t go to the Ivy League universities, how can we get the positions in Wall Street, or Congress, or the Supreme Court?”

As Jerome Karabel’s study of Jews and the Ivy League (“The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton”) shows, it was only when Jews had gained political power that the Ivies stopped discriminating against them. And Asian-Americans are under-represented in politics as well as in business. Only 2.4% of the 113th Congress were Asian-Americans; by one count, fewer than 2% of state legislators are.

Where is Senator Kim?

South Asians, though less numerous than East Asians, are more visible. Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina, and Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, both Indian-Americans, are the only Asian-American governors in the lower 48 (David Ige, a Japanese-American, is governor of Hawaii). The contrasting political traditions of India and China may also be a factor. “We come from the largest democracy in the world,” says Sayu Bhojwani, who runs the New American Leaders project, which helps train immigrants to flourish in politics. “We’re prepared for it in the way that East Asians are not.”

In China, by contrast, “We went through the cultural revolution,” says Chunyan Li, a former employee of the Chinese finance ministry, now a professor of accountancy at Pace University in New York. “There’s a lack of trust in politics.”

Perceptions that Asian-Americans are being treated unfairly, especially in the workplace, may push more of them into politics. Andrew Hahn, a Korean-American partner in Duane Morris, a law firm, says, “I used to be a Twinkie, or maybe a banana—yellow outside, white inside—but once I hit the legal profession, I became a radical.”

College admissions—and the lawsuit against Harvard—may provide a spark to fire Asian-Americans into becoming more assertively political. Many in California were infuriated last year by a bill to rescind the state’s ban on using race in university admissions promoted by a Hispanic state senator. A Change.org petition and 36 organisations, 26 of them Asian-American, opposed the bill, and it was dropped. “There’s a growing community angst,” says Mr Hahn of the belief among Asian-Americans that they are being discriminated against. “What’s next? Law school admissions? Employment?” He organises political fund-raisers, and says that the coffers have opened. “Hedge-fund money, private equity, lawyers. They’re giving huge sums …It took the Jews half a century to get where they are,” he adds. “I hope it doesn’t take us that long.”