Weekend Fun: The Lakewood Project / Hard Day’s Night

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post (and the theme of social media for New Year’s Resolutions) for a quick entry on some fun stuff going on in my life. As you probably now, I often blog about fun things to do in the CLE but in the winter I have a hard time getting off my couch and out into the cold. This summer I vowed not to sit inside and hibernate all winter long, and instead promised to find fun things to do.

This weekend B took me to a performance by the Lakewood Project – a local high school orchestra that uses electric string instruments, drums, and other instruments to play everything BUT traditional classical music. The show started with a warning from the director, “This is not your normal concert – we have no rules. We encourage dancing, clapping and anything else that lets you enjoy the music,” which pretty much summed up the entire performance. The group rocked through the first part of the show and was paired with the Beatles cover band, Hard Day’s Night, which started off the second act and then joined the high schoolers for the remainder of the show.

It was an awesome performance. I found myself smiling at the high schoolers, at the fun they (and their friends in the audience) were clearly having, and at their performances. I played violin back in the day and would have LOVED to be part of an ensemble like this in high school! An avid Beatles fan (Across the Universe is one of my favorite movies), I also loved the show Hard Day’s Night put on, including the acts they performed with Lakewood Project. I’ll definitely be checking out the schedule for both the Lakewood Project and Hard Day’s Night and putting their upcoming shows on my calendar!

Some videos of the performance follow – includes some short clips of The Lakewood Project by themselves, and the group with Hard Day’s Night.

Baba O’Reilly Clip: (check out the high schoolers dancing in the front of the stage — I don’t remember the last time I was at a high school orchestra concert and the fellow high schoolers were so excited to be there!)

All You Need is Love:

I Am The Walrus:

Social Media For New Year’s Resolutions – Part Two: Using Social Media to Get More Sleep

*Note* This entry is part two of my blog posts in the 2010 series, Social Media For New Year’s Resolutions, as explained in this post.

Another popular New Year’s Resolution is to get more sleep.* It may seem counter-intuitive that social media can help you get more sleep; after all, doesn’t staying up and playing on the Internet actually prevent you from going to bed and getting that sleep you need? (Especially you – estivator – who commented on my resolution introductory blog post past midnight!) In reality, it may not. A recent study, as highlighted in this University of New Hampshire news release shows that social media use does not affect students’ sleeping habits — so why should it affect yours?

Not only does social media NOT hurt your sleeping habits, but it can actually HELP you get more sleep. Here’s how:

1.  Social media can provide the education you need to get more sleep: If you look carefully, there are plenty of sources of information about what exactly a good night’s sleep is, how to get it, etc. A good resource that I like is The Insomnia Blog, by Dr. Michael Breus, who also has a Twitter Account. Another informative sleep account to check out on Twitter is the Sleep Foundation.

2.  Social media holds you accountable! If you make it a goal for yourself to get more sleep and share this goal with others – wouldn’t you feel like you’re letting them (and not just yourself) down when you reported a failure? Take, for example, what Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post and Cindi Leive from Glamour are doing – they’re taking their New Year’s Resolution to get more sleep to the next level by blogging about it and calling it the Sleep Challenge 2010.

Arianna introduces her challenge on her latest blog post (an excerpt of which I’ve included below):

As women, we make a lot of New Year’s resolutions — “lose 10 pounds” and “finally write that novel” and “lose 10 pounds — seriously.” But this year, the two of us (that’s HuffPost‘s Arianna Huffington and Glamour‘s Cindi Leive) are suggesting you make a New Year’s resolution that could improve the status of all women in this country, starting with you … If you ask us, the next feminist issue is sleep. And in order for women to get ahead in this country, we’re all going to have to lie down and take a nap …

We’re saying no to the zombie side of things and, as of January 4, resolving to get a full night’s sleep every night for a month … Inspired? Then join our one-month sleep challenge. We’ll be blogging on glamour.com and the Huffington Post every Monday and Thursday about how our quest for more sleep is going. You’ll get tips from health experts like Dr. Michael Breus and answers to some of your own personal questions about how to work more sleep into your life.

3.  Social media provides the tools you need to make sure you’re getting a better night’s sleep. I haven’t been able to look too deeply into any of these, but would love to check out:

  • Yawnlog: This site tracks the number of hours you sleep each night and charts your progress for you so you can look at patterns over time (and relate it to how you feel each day/week/etc.). It also lets you log and tag dreams. If you want, you can also use the site to see how many hours your friends are sleeping and what they’re dreaming about too.
  • iPhone Apps: There are so many cool apps for your iPhone (and hopefully soon, Droid!) to help you sleep better. The Sleep Cycle App (via LifeHacker) supposedly can tell how deep of a sleep you’re in so that you’re only awoken from a light slumber, therefore feeling more rested. A Good Night’s Sleep iPhone App (via iPhone Application List) provides a series of sounds and music for you to fall asleep to and also has a feature to “gently awaken users,” to ensure a “gradual, peaceful start to each day.”
  • Another new add-on for your iPhone: Check out the iHome+Sleep: This “social music alarm clock” was just announced at the recent CES. It’s an iPhone app that works with a whole new line of home music players. It has some really cool features, including “Sleep Cards,” which let you set different alarm templates with their own settings, such as certain settings for weekends, etc. Another cool feature for us social media geeks – you can wake up to your favorite RSS feed, or a list of what your Facebook and Twitter friends were doing during the night (thus allowing you to sleep soundly knowing you’re not missing anything!). Another way the iHome+Sleep helps you sleep better? According to Macworld.com, think of the product as “the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, except, you know, for sleeping.” Its unique feature, Sleep Stats, lets the user “view a running record of the times you sleep, naps you record, and average hours of bedtime and per-night sleeping. If you’re find yourself dragging and exhausted every now and then, this might be a great way to help track down a possible reason.”

If you find any other cool ways to use social media to help you get a better night’s sleep, let me know.

*Disclaimer: I work for a client in the sleep industry. While they’re not related to any of the services mentioned above, they still lead me to know of and want to stress the importance of a good night’s sleep!

Social Media For New Year’s Resolutions – Part One: Using Social Media for Weight Loss

*Note* This entry is part one of my blog posts in the 2010 series, Social Media For New Year’s Resolutions, as explained in this post.

I’m pretty sure that one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions each year is to lose weight. And while I give kudos to those who are trying to get healthy and better their lives, I can’t stand how crowded the gym gets this time of year! But enough with my rant – if you’re one of those people who uses January 1st as the time of year to get in shape, now that mid-January is here, you may find yourself slacking off. And you may not know – there’s more to getting in shape and losing weight than just diet and exercise. That’s right, in my non-medical view (disclaimer- I am in no means a weight loss/diet/exercise doctor or professional), social media can play a big role in your journey to getting fit.

Losing weight and getting in shape is all about motivation and accountability. Social media can help you with all of that. Here’s how:

  1. Social media is all about sharing. If you’re sharing your progress with people (whether it’s your workout, what you’ve eaten, or how much you weigh) you’re being held accountable and are then more likely to stick with your resolution.
  2. Social media helps you meet and connect with other people. If they’re trying to lose weight also, they can help provide motivation. You can motivate them – they can motivate you and you won’t feel so alone on your journey.
  3. There are so many cool social media tools out there that make counting calories, finding recipes, finding workouts, and everything else associated with weight loss both easier  AND funner! Here are some of my favorite tools, created specially for your journey to getting fit:

Dailymile is one of my favorite exercise-related sites [I’ve raved about it before in this post]. It’s an online community for people to share their fitness habits. I use it to track runs (it lets me map my runs, track them, etc.), ask questions of the community, participate in challenges to motivate myself, find races, see what other people are doing, etc. It also is integrated with Twitter and Facebook so that you can brag about your workouts inspire others. The site is relatively new and they keep coming up with new fun things to add to the site and inspire you. For example, they sent me this training report that sums up all of my 2009 runs. If that’s not motivation to do even better in 2010, I don’t know what is!

Sparkpeople is an online community for people trying to lose weight, get healthy, etc. You can join groups, challenges, find recipes, track your calories and food intake, find new workouts, track your exercises, track different goals, etc. There’s so much you can do here and it’s a great all-in-one tool for someone looking to eat healthier, workout more and lose weight.

Honorable mention – Nike Plus: I used to love my Nike+ – it was a small add-on that I plugged into my iPod and it kept track my runs. When I plugged in my iPod to my computer, it logged my runs for me online in the Nike+ community, which, like Dailymile, has challenges, reports, races, etc. My gripe? The tracking was inaccurate and inconvenient for me. I’m not sure why, but no matter how many times I synced my Nike+ up on a treadmill, it always ended up being a tenth of a mile or so off when I would run outside. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but when I was training for the half marathon, those tenths could add up to be whole miles! Also, I’d have to plug my iPod into my computer to get any data – and that’s not something I do on a regular basis and isn’t convenient for me to do on my phone, at a remote computer, etc. I also found it would lose my workouts every so often, and not let me manually log in anything (like I can do with Dailymile). I know lots of people who love the Nike+ community – so just because it wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean you should give it a go!

Here’s a list of some other sites that people have found helpful – it’s a decent sized list from a few years ago, but many are still around.

In addition to using these sites, I’ve also found that many non-weight loss related social media tools can be helpful anyway. Here’s how:

Twitter: There’s a whole weightloss community on Twitter- just search for them! The most popular that I know of, #Twit2Fit, now has its own Ning site.

Foursquare: Just knowing that I can become the mayor of my gym motivates me to go there more! I’ve just recently joined this location-based social networking site, but I am already determined to log more visits at my gym than at Chipotle.

YouTube: I’ve found SO many exercise videos on YouTube. No kidding, but on some occasions you can find me in my basement doing yoga, per instruction from a YouTube video. Just look – it’s there!

New Year . . . New Blog Posts

It’s that time of year again- New Year’s Resolution time! I’m usually against resolutions- I rarely make them (I can’t think of one year I have) as I am more inclined to believe that you can better yourself and make improvements any time in your life (or during the year), rather than putting a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself at the beginning of the year.

I know I am a rare bird (as my coworker and fellow blogger estivator would say) and probably the only one who feels this way, so in recognition of this, and for all you New Year’s Resolutioners out there- these posts are for you. I am doing a series on Social Media for New Year’s Resolutions. What’s your New Year’s Resolution, and how can social media help you accomplish this goal? From doing some research and talking with friends, I’ve got a pretty good list of some popular resolutions, so in the pipeline (but not finalized … Or created yet) are:

Social Media to help you … [insert resolution here]

If you have another resolution or know of anyone else who does (and wants to use social media to help them to reach their goal) – let me know! Stay tuned for part one of this series . . .