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Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Once upon a time, a reader stumbled upon beautiful pictures of faraway lands. There were ornate castles on hilltops with towers and spires that touched the sky. There were fortresses surrounded by moats and drawbridges to keep the residents safe. There was a castle built over a river and another perched like a bird, high above the sea. They saw a photograph of one of the seven wonders of the world and read how it was a romantic tribute to lost love. The reader longed to visit these magnificent sites, but for now, they would have to use their imagination to travel to these enticing destinations.

If you long to see magical castles that look like they were pulled from the pages of a fairy tale, we have hand-picked 15 for you. Because, once in awhile, in the middle of an ordinary day, fairy tales do come true. Happily ever after is out there — where will you find yours?

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

    Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s called the “Fairy Tale” castle because it is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom.

    2. Chateau de Chenonceau, France

    Chenonceau France

      Chenonceau boasts five arches spanning over the Cher river in France. Called the “Ladies Castle” because it was built and later improved upon by queens of France.

      3. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

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      Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

        One of thirteen small monasteries or “tiger’s lairs” where the Guru Rinpoche, also known as the “Second Buddha” of Bhutan, is said to have meditated.

        4. Notre Dame Cathedral, France

        Notre Dame France

          The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is the setting for the story The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.

          5. Blarney Castle, Ireland

          Blarney Castle Ireland

            This historic castle is most famous for its stone, which has the traditional power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it.

            6. Chateau de Chambord, France

            Chateau de Chambord, France

              Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley and was never completed.

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              7. Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

              Dunrobin Castle Scotland

                The Castle of the Earldom of Sutherland — one of the seven ancient earldoms of Scotland.

                8. The Swallow’s Nest Castle, Ukraine

                Swallow's Nest Castle, Ukraine

                  The neo-Gothic Swallow’s Nest castle was built by a German noble in 1912 and perches 130 feet above the Black Sea near Yalta in southern Ukraine.

                  9. Bodiam Castle, England

                  Bodiam Castle, England

                    Bodiam Castle was built from 1385 and is surrounded on all sides by a moat.

                    10. Eltz Castle, Germany

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                    Eltz Castle, Germany

                      The Eltz Castle is surrounded on three sides by a river and is still owned by the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago.

                      11. Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                      Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                        The Alcazar of Segovia is built upon a large rock promontory, which is shaped like the bow of a ship. This castle is also said to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle.

                        12. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                        Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                          One of the most recognized castles in Scotland and most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands.

                          13. Corvin Castle, Romania

                          Corvin Castle, Romania

                            The castle has a well 30 meters deep. Legend says that the fountain was dug by 12 Turkish prisoners, promised liberty if they reached water. However, when they did just that 15 years later, their captors did not keep their promise.

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                            14. Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                            Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                              According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world.

                              15. Taj Mahal, India

                              Taj Mahal, India

                                One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three, Mumtaz Mahal.

                                These are just a few of the fairytale destinations the world has to offer. If you could leave today, where would you go first?

                                Featured photo credit: Phil Dolby via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                                7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                                Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                                1. Exercise Daily

                                It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                                If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                                Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                                If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                                2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                                Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                                One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                                This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                                3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                                Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                                Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                                Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                                4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                                Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                                The basic nutritional advice includes:

                                • Eat unprocessed foods
                                • Eat more veggies
                                • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                                • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                                Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                                  5. Watch Out for Travel

                                  Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                                  This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                                  If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                                  6. Start Slow

                                  Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                                  If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                                  7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                                  Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                                  My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                                  If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                                  I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                                  Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                                  More Tips on Getting in Shape

                                  Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

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