A Few of Kimberly Belle’s Favorite Things

By Kimberly Belle

One thing I learned about myself when sitting down to write this blog is, I have a lot of favorite things. Sunny days on the beach. Spending time with family and friends. Sleeping in on a rainy Sunday. Salted caramel gelato! How am I to choose just three?

But then I started thinking about what defines my life beyond family and food and writing. What are three things that bring me joy, that I can’t imagine my life without? When I looked at it that way, the list suddenly got a lot shorter. Here they are, my three favorite things, in no specific order.

 

Amsterdam

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If you follow me on social media, you know I’m a little obsessed with all things Dutch. Not just because my husband was born in Holland and half my family lives there. Not just because strolling Amsterdam’s streets and canals feels like walking through a postcard. Not just because of the food and the shopping and the flowers and the museums, all of which are world class. Because of all those things and more.

I moved to Amsterdam a zillion years ago, when I was young and in love and life was an adventure, before there were babies and mortgages and sixty-hour workweeks. Maybe it’s nostalgia for that easier time, but that sense of freedom is what sticks with me the most when I think of that place, the feeling that everything and anything is possible there. You want to play your flute and pass out tulips on the street corner? Cool. Eat salted licorice and French fries with mayonnaise? Yum. Ride your bike naked through the rain? Um, you might be a little cold, but go for it. The Dutch are a little weird, a lot crazy, and always authentic, and even though we haven’t lived there for fourteen years, Amsterdam will always feel like home.

 

Yoga

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I’ve been practicing on and off now for almost a decade, and every time another fitness craze pulls me out of the studio (spinning, anyone?), I end up bored or worse, injured. Sooner or later, I always end up back on my mat.

I’ve never been one of those naturally flexible yoga bunnies who can hook her feet behind her head. In fact, my very first yoga teacher took one look at me (I’m 5’11”) and told me I was anatomically challenged. But like everything else in life, yoga is about hard work and dedication. It’s about showing up on your mat, even when you don’t feel like it. Now, all these years later I can twist myself into a pretzel with the best of them.

But strength and flexibility are not the only reasons why I practice. Ask any yogi, and they’ll tell you yoga is so much more than the physical. It’s also about the mental and the spiritual. The practice is a method of connecting the three, our bodies to our minds and souls. Yoga doesn’t just build my muscles, it balances my mind and restores my being in ways no other workout can, and it makes me a much better writer.

 

EDM

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Maybe this goes back to my love affair with Holland, but I am a huge fan of EDM (electronic dance music), which got its start in the Netherlands back when I lived there. The Dutch DJs were everywhere then, and they still are. Tiësto, Armin van Buren, Afrojack, Fedde Le Grande, Sander van Doorn…the list goes on and on. I’ve seen them all, and multiple times. Yes, I’m double the age of the typical EDM fan, but I don’t care. Have glow stick, will rave.

 

Check out Kimberly’s latest book The Marriage Lie, in stores December 27, 2016!

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To learn more about Kimberly, visit her website and follow her on Twitter at @KimberlySBelle.

Yoga & Writing

By Kortney Price

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Writing and Yoga go together something like hipsters and coffee, peanut butter and jelly, Saint Louis and the Cardinals, I could go on but I think you get the idea. We’ve all heard that yoga is good for the aspiring or established writer, but why?

Yoga on the most basic level is just stretching and breathing. No need to go straight for the headstand or the eight-angle pose. Beginner’s yoga can be as simple as being mindful of your breathing while reaching toward your toes.

The Benefits:

  • Health & Wellness: Yoga is proven to improve overall physical and mental health, and as you know, when we feel better we write better. Sitting at a desk and writing for hours at a time can have serious health effects later. Back pain, head and neck aches, and muscle degeneration are just a few. Practicing yoga creates better posture and can reduce or remove these issues entirely. Not to mention, at the end of a relaxing yoga workout, you don’t have to pause to shower or worry about being too exhausted to write.
  • Focus: We’ve all been there. You sit down at the computer to write and the day is just too present in your mind. Maybe there’s a problem at work, illness in the family, or major financial weight weighing on you? Take a few minutes and run through a few yoga poses. Focus on your breathing and the stretching of your muscles. This breaks your mind away from the stress, creates calm, and rejuvenates your spirit.

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  • Writer’s Block: We have been taught that stretching before and after a tough workout can minimize risk of injury because stretching increases blood flow to the muscles. If your brain is in for a tough writing workout, take a minute to stretch. Increasing blood flow to the brain increases creativity and helps with concentration. In addition to helping your brain, yoga’s meditative quality allows you to relax into a “writing state of mind” and can help you get through that tough chapter or scene.

Namaste

Kortney Price is an Associate Agent at Holloway Literary. Learn more about her here and then follow her on Twitter @kortney_price.

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