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Today’s popular new year’s resolution and therefore project is a pretty straight forward one.  Many people resolve to learn a new language in the new year.  So today, pick a language you don’t know, or don’t know fluently, and start learning it!  Popular choices are things we can use to understand people within our own communities, so many people choose Spanish or American Sign Language.  Japanese culture is also very popular right now which makes it a popular choice as well.  Some people opt for Cantonese or Mandarin Chinese with the thought in mind that as we’re becoming a more global culture learning languages that are used by a large population could be extremely helpful.  Other people choose to focus on the languages spoken in countries they would most like to visit and learn French or Italian or Greek.  One really interesting approach may be to choose the language your ancestors spoke.  For me that would leave me choosing between German, Irish, and Lithuanian.  How many Americans can say they speak Lithuanian?  That gives it a little extra appeal to me.  My parents both spoke Korean excellently and spent time stationed there in the Army.  If you’re enlisted it may be beneficial to learn the language of countries that we have active and continuing involvement with, such as Arabic or potentially Russian.  Is there a language that could be helpful to you in your career?  Many jobs in communications or customer service oriented fields pay more if you’re bilingual, which may be one extra reason to choose Spanish.  I also know people that like to learn dead languages like Latin, which while it’s not spoken anymore is a foundation for many other languages and can provide a broad understanding of them.  If you really like to get your geek on, consider learning Klingon or perhaps Dothraki. Just for fun.

There are many ways to learn a new language.  Some of the most popular include:

Babbel: Focuses on comprehensive knowledge of vocabulary, with a limited amount of grammar instruction.  Through Babbel you can learn Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.  Babbel offers mobile apps and focuses on learning vocabulary that’s relevant to you, starts off directly with working on your pronunciation, and lets you learn at your own pace while making retention a point.   In addition to a variety of learning exercises, Babbel also offers chat-rooms in the language you are learning, letting users learn through interaction.
BBC Languages: Which includes courses in Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, as well as a guide to Essential Phrases in 40 languages.  This site is aimed at travelers and largely focuses on basic useful phrases, but the courses offered are 12 weeks of learning that language via audio, video, and even common errors.
Busuu: Which advertises that it will teach you to learn a new language in ten minutes a day. Beginners start out with flashcards, and advance to writing and answering questions that native speakers will review.  They offer to help you learn Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
duoLingo: A free website that offers to teach you Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, or Welsh
Living Language:  For those committed to learning a new language you can sign up for online courses.  You get not only vocabulary, but grammar, audio conversations, and notes about culture.  Learning is supplemented by games and puzzles as well as e-tutoring from native speakers.  There is also a free section if you’re not ready to spend money on it yet, which largely consists of PDFs that will build vocabulary in a language you already have a basic knowledge of. Languages offered include American Sign Language, Arabic, Dutch, Dothraki, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Memrise: Which has apps available for both Android and iPhone, and is a great option for visual learners. They offer courses in more than 200 languages, registration is free, and they pride themselves on a three pronged approach to learning: Science, Fun, and Community.  They teach you via use of “mems”, which are mnemonic flashcards that use visuals, imagination, and humor to help you remember vocabulary.  You can even create your own “mems” for other users to learn from.
Rosetta Stone: Software that will teach you the language of your choice at increasing levels of difficulty.  They now also have an option to learn online, as well as mobile apps.
Last but not least: enroll in a class in person.  If you’re already in school, add it in as an elective.  If not, take a look at what your local Community College offers, or see about getting a tutor for a language you are self-learning or  have a basic grasp of.

So. Pick a language you’re interested in learning, and learn at least ten new words for today.  If you’re feeling super motivated, leave a comment written entirely in the language you chose 🙂

Today’s little list of daily tasks are:

Give Yourself a Body Mask:
You can buy one ready-made, like The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay, or you can make your own.  The option I chose to share today was the one I found that went the least crazy with ingredients and will hopefully be an easy and affordable option for you. The entire recipe comes from Delicious Living.  They advertise it as a way to nourish, moisturize, exfoliate, and invigorate your skin to a gorgeous glow. Men, this applies to you too. Being male doesn’t mean you can’t have gorgeous skin.
The recipe makes 1-2 body masks, depending on the size of the body being masked.  To make it you’ll need the petals of 2 organic roses, 1/2 cup of honey, 3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut cream, and 1 cup almond meal.  Here are their instructions:

  1. To make: place rose petals, honey, and cream into a blender; mix on low until uniform. Transfer to a bowl, using a rubber spatula to remove as much as possible from blender. Add almond meal and stir with a fork. Add more cream or almond meal a little at a time as necessary to achieve a spreadable paste.
  2. To use: For best results, take a warm shower or bath to open your pores and lock in the mask’s moisture. Towel dry and apply mask to skin in small, upward motions. Once your body is covered, massage mask in small circular motions, starting with your legs and arms, making your way up to your torso, ending at your heart. Then move to your face, avoiding the eye area. Massage your face lightly, using circular motions. Allow to set on your body for up to 30 minutes and on your face for up to 15 minutes. Shower and rinse well. For maximum benefit, do not use soap to wash off residual oils. Towel dry; mist your face with rose water to close pores.
  3. To store: Prepare this recipe just before using. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container and use within a day or two.

Clean Your Living Room Floor.  That’s it, just the floor.  If you have clutter piled anywhere tackle it and get it put away.  If you have shoes kicked in a corner get them put where they belong on a shoe rack or in a closet or wherever your shoes go when your house is straightened up.  Move your furniture out of the way, and give the floor a good vacuuming or sweeping and mopping, and once everything is clean, put your furniture back, or consider rearranging it if you need a fresh change.  And that’s all you had to do for cleaning today! If you’re feeling energetic and motivated and want to tackle the rest of the living room go for it, but all you have to do today is the floor.  🙂

Do Some Yoga.  If you’ve joined a gym like I keep suggesting, see if they offer Yoga classes and attend one.  If not, see about an independent Yoga studio, or if finances don’t allow for that then do some Yoga at home.  There are a million ways to accomplish it.  There’s an early morning PBS program that does Yoga instruction, at least where I live.  You can also follow along with an instructional Yoga video, do Yoga with the Wii Fit Plus, watch some instructional YouTube videos, or if you’re not very mobile there are even videos available for Seated Yoga or Bed Top Yoga.  I firmly believe EVERYONE should be doing Yoga, that it should be taught from birth, and that it should be prescribed for all illnesses and injuries. It isn’t a magical cure, but there’s nothing in the world that Yoga doesn’t improve.

Today’s Guided Meditation and Subliminal Track are for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.  If you’re on the end of the spectrum that needs to gain weight instead of losing or maintaining then you’ll want to use this Guided Meditation and Subliminal Track instead.

And that’s all you need to do for today!  I will see you all later on Facebook for the Question of the Day! Namaste!

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: 99 Luftballons
Album: Definitive Collection

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