Best Cleats for Softball Pitching

5 Best Softball Pitching Cleats

 

When it comes to softball, you need to be sure you have all the proper equipment to make for a winning game.

Proper equipment doesn’t just mean a glove, ball, bat, and helmet. It means that your uniform must also fit properly and your cleats must be comfortable.

Not just any pair of cleats will do for playing softball. Softball cleats are spaced differently from the cleats worn in other sports. They are designed specifically to grasp the traction needed to play the game properly.

Softball cleats are made for running faster, stopping on a dime; they provide more flexible movements, and sliding across the bases are not a problem.

When shopping for cleats, be sure they are comfortable. Look for a debris-free tongue so the dirt doesn’t get into the shoe, and try to find a pair that offers a durable enhanced toe protection.

Leather shoes are more durable than synthetic ones but they are not as flexible, and a darker color will not show the dirt as well as the lighter colors.

Metal cleats offer more traction but they can be more dangerous and not always permitted. They also have a habit of cutting into the field and they’re usually priced higher than the molded cleats.

Before making a final decision, it is best to know the rules of the team and you should ask the coach which cleats are preferred.

We have created a list of the best softball pitching cleats to help you get started with the process.

 
Mizuno Women’s 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 3 Softball Shoe Nike Women’s Hyperdiamond 2 Keystone Softball Cleat Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch 6 Fast Pitch Molded Softball Cleat Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch Elite 2 Fast Pitch Molded Softball Cleat Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike Swift 4 Fast Pitch Metal Softball Cleat
Metal Cleats Rubber Cleats Rubber Cleats Molded Polyurethane Cleats Metal Cleats
9 Color Choices 6 Color Choices 2 Color Choices 11 Color Choices 12 Color Choices
Synthetic/ Rubber Sole Rubber Sole Synthetic Sole Synthetic Sole Synthetic Sole
247 grams 264 grams 198 grams 318 grams 340 grams
Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

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  • Mizuno Women’s 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 3 Softball Shoe
  • Metal Cleats
  • 9 Color Choices
  • Synthetic/ Rubber Sole
  • 247 grams
  • Check Price
  •  

  • Nike Women’s Hyperdiamond 2 Keystone Softball Cleat
  • Rubber Cleats
  • 6 Color Choices
  • Rubber Sole
  • 264 grams
  • Check Price
  •  

  • Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch 6 Fast Pitch Molded Softball Cleat
  • Rubber Cleats
  • 2 Color Choices
  • Synthetic Sole
  • 198 grams
  • Check Price
  •  

  • Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch Elite 2 Fast Pitch Molded Softball Cleat
  • Molded Polyurethane Cleats
  • 11 Color Choices
  • Synthetic Sole
  • 318 grams
  • Check Price
  •  

  • Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike Swift 4 Fast Pitch Metal Softball Cleat
  • Metal Cleats
  • 12 Color Choices
  • Synthetic Sole
  • 340 grams
  • Check Price
 

Mizuno Women’s 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 3 Softball Shoe

 

These cleats featured by Mizuno offer a synthetic/ rubber sole with metal spikes. They provide reinforced toes specifically for pitchers with an added 9-spike advanced outsole for fast pitch.

The parallel outsole Wave technology will provide you with extra cushioning and stability to keep you on your feet around the field and the full-length midsole adds maximum comfort.

These shoes are available in a variety of nine different colors and with sizes from 6-12, you shouldn’t have difficulty finding a pair that is perfect for you.

 

Nike Women’s Hyperdiamond 2 Keystone Softball Cleat

 

These Nike softball cleats feature faux-leather uppers for a smooth appearance and feel.

It is easy to grip the field and take advantage of in-game opportunities in these cleats, thanks to the solid rubber, spiked soles.

These Hyperdiamond 2 cleats come in a nice range of color combinations as well to compliment your team’s uniform.

 

Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch 6 Fast Pitch Molded Softball Cleat

 

Here is another great cleat offered by Mizuno. These cleats are designed with all the comfort and durability that every great pitcher longs for.

With a synthetic sole and molded rubber cleats, these shoes offer the grip you will need to achieve a winning performance.

They are equipped with a 9-spike advanced outsole designed for fast pitch and the full-length midsole provides maximum comfort so you won’t even know you have them on.

Although they are only available in two colors, they are versatile enough to match with the team colors and the various sizes assure you a great fit.

 

Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch Elite 2 Fast Pitch Molded Softball Cleat

 

These attractive cleats from Mizuno will have you moving around the field with ease.

They offer a synthetic sole that is designed with a thermoplastic polyurethane cleat molded right onto the bottom.

These cleats provide a padded booty tongue for a better fit with added comfort and they are designed to fit around your ankle higher than the average cleats.

With fast pitch in mind, Mizuno designed these with a 9-spike advanced outsole.

Eleven color options are available giving you a better choice to match your uniform and the number of sizes offered will be a sure bet you can find a pair that matches up to your fit!

 

Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike Swift 4 Fast Pitch Metal Softball Cleat

 

These shoes are made with a synthetic sole and metal cleats.

Mizuno knows that nothing is worse than wet socks. That’s why they designed these cleats with a perforated upper and a breathable mesh lining.

The full-length midsole is built in for added comfort and the 9-spike outsole will dig into the dirt for a reassuring grip.

With all the color choices, you should not have a problem finding one that matches the team colors and the various sizes make it easy to find a pair that will perfectly fit.

 

Know what is expected of you and your team when choosing the right cleat fit for you! Make sure you check out our best slow pitch softball bats as well.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should softball pitchers wear metal cleats?

While wearing metal cleats isn’t a necessity, it helps out a lot because the cleats made from this material pick up less dirt than molded ones. Thus, metal cleats are fantastic for both infielders and outfielders alike.

Is there a difference between baseball cleats and softball cleats?

While there might not be many differences between baseball cleats and softball cleats, you might want to consider the fact that both games have different rules and in some tournaments, you might be required to wear either molded or metal cleats. Similarly, metal cleats are more common in baseball rather than softball even though one is not obligatory over the other in casual matches.

Can you wear soccer cleats for softball?

Yes, you can wear soccer cleats for softball even though it is not recommended. However, you can’t wear softball cleats for soccer matches as you will be instantly disqualified.

Do you wear cleats for slow pitch softball?

Depending on the type of indoor surface you’ll be playing on, you might not want shoes with spikes on the bottom. However, in most scenarios, yes, it is highly recommended to wear cleats for slow pitch softball. Be sure to get the best possible pair for the type of surface you’ll be playing on. Most times you’ll see on the package or on the product page what surface the specific cleats you’re looking at are made for.

How do you tell the difference between cleats?

Shoes are heavier, whereas cleats are much lighter and are meant to provide players with extra jump leverage. Cleats are lower cut for baseball to allow more side to side motions, whilst Football cleats’ sides are higher to provide more ankle support. In any case, while you can use them interchangeably in casual matches, we recommend sticking to the ones made for the sport you’re about to play.

All the Quinceanera Traditions

What is a quinceanera?

This article is a beginner’s guide to the Quinceanera traditions featured at coming of age parties. Quinceanera traditions can be found all over the Spanish speaking world. They are now eclipsing Sweet Sixteen as the dominant teenage birthday girl celebration in the United States. First of all, you’ve probably heard of the party name, but what does it even mean? Quinceanera is the Spanish word for a 15 year old birthday girl. In Latin American culture, the name also refers to the coming-of-age celebration that reigns in a girl’s 15th birthday party. 

This is one of the most widespread Latin American celebrations, experienced and celebrated all the way from Argentina to the United States. As we know the celebration as of today, it is a celebration that is celebrated by up to 440,000 Hispanic girls every year as they turn 15 in South, Central, and North America. It is also a tradition that dates back to the times of the ancient Aztecs.

History of the quinceanera 

Among the Aztec Indians, a girl was considered ready for marriage at the age of 15. The celebration that came to be known as the quinceanera sprang up as a result of this important age. Parents were supposed to beseech their girls to become good and outstanding wives in the future. 

In 1520, the Spanish attacked the Aztecs, invading what we now know as the modern day Mexico. They oppressed, colonized, and eventually intermixed with the Aztec people. The Spanish brought their foreign influence to the indigenous traditions that already existed among the Aztecs. These are the likely roots of the quinceanera celebrations.

Traditionally, these parties were meant for the upper-class society. This has changed as more Latin people have migrated into the United States. For these immigrants, the quinceanera is a fun and family-centric expression of their ethnic origins. The celebration is now widespread among the socio-economic classes of the USA and the Latin American region. This great event has been able to transverse boundaries and is now even celebrated in Cuba. These parties are now established as their way of celebrating the past as a girl. Furthermore, the parties serve to welcome the future as a woman. 

Quinceaneras today

The celebration has surprisingly had a rough patch with the Catholic Church. This is because the lavish air that comes with the celebration was threatening to overthrow every other celebration. The spiritual and religious aspect of this celebration is still very much honored. But, it became a problem for the church when quinceanera parties became so popular as to represent competition. The competition with religious spirit and traditional church was evident especially when quinceanera budgets rocketed beyond $25,000. Certain steps have since been taken by the church, such as blessing many quince girls at once. Another church attempt to clamp down on the competition aspect has been limiting the number of quince parties during mass.

Even these constraints have not been able to stop all the pomp and color that comes with these celebrations. quinceanera traditions, both old school and modern, are as popular as ever. 

The quinceanera industry rakes in a lot of money. The average spending today for one party runs over $15,000 per girl in the US. All this comes as a result of the quinceanera traditions involving many aspects. For example, venues are enlisted, invitations made, cakes prepared, and beverages served. Of course, the gifts for the birthday girl top the list.

Since 2007 in Mexico City, business owners and non-profit organizations have sponsored annual city wide celebrations. This allows girls of lower incomes to participate and be celebrated as well. Quinceanera inclusivity like this approach in Mexico helps reduce social inequalities, even if just for a day.

There are over a dozen fun quinceanera traditions that are worth discussing. We’ll go through all of them in no particular order so that you can get a better understanding of what they’re all about. Hopefully, you’ll have a much better understanding of this wonderful tradition by the end of the article.

The religious ceremony

The Quinceanera celebration typically begins as a mass at the Catholic Church. It is celebrated here inside the church as a mass centered on giving thanks and celebrating life. The birthday girl enters the church in a procession similar to that of a wedding. She walks in with a court of young men and women. There are usually fourteen ladies and their fourteen escorts plus the birthday girl’s parents and godparents. The girl is allowed to choose readings that she would like to read. Sometimes, she may choose to appoint a family member or members to read for her.

After the readings at mass, there is a gospel and homily performance. Next, the girl proceeds to renew the vows she made at baptism. The final step of the service is to commit herself to the Virgin Mary and most importantly, God. This is when the girl’s parents and godparents can present her with lavish gifts of all sorts.

Finally, the young lady can now make a devotion to the Virgin Mary. She does so by presenting a flower or a bouquet at the church statue where she attended her mass. The priest then has the duty of blessing the quinceanera, which is just the beginning of the real celebrations. Traditionally speaking, this is by far the most common type of religious ceremony practiced at a quinceanera, but there are also alternatives meant for non-Catholic religions.

Alternatives 

If however, the quinceanera is not Catholic, there are alternative churches where they can have ceremonies. They could also have the ceremony completely separated from the church service. In such cases, the families write their own ceremonies. They can even choose a family member to preside over the ceremony and even officiate all the blessings.

The quinceanera has a court of young people, as mentioned earlier, consisting of fourteen damas (girls) and fourteen chambelanes (boys). They will accompany her during the ceremony. Each of these pairs represent the fourteen years that she has lived as a child. The fourteen pairs also serve to represent the years that she is now ready to leave behind. 

Some girls will ask their family and friends to be the ones making up her court. Just like in weddings where all maids wear matching gowns, all the girls are expected to wear the same gowns. The men wear matching tuxedos or matching suits. Etiquette demands that it is the birthday girl’s duty to inform each member of her court of the clothing requirements.

The dance with dad

The dance with dad is one of the most interesting quinceanera traditions. Customarily, the first dance is usually for the quinceanera and her father. The song is usually chosen by the girl’s father and often has great significance to the pair or her life. According to tradition, this is a girl’s first public dance. After the song, the father hands the girl over to her escort to begin the next song.

At the same time, the maidens and their escorts enter the fray to join the dance. This dance also acts as an emphasis on the role of the father as the first man in the quinceanera’s life. Here are some of the most popular quinceanera father and daughter dance songs.

Another fun and interesting quinceanera tradition is the Mariachi band. They will serenade the girl the night before her party. The Mariachi band will usually spontaneously appear right in front of her house. Band music marks such a sweet welcome into the world of adulthood. Adulthood, after all, can be spontaneous too. Womanhood is full of responsibility and requires a budding quinceanera to act with maturity.

The Waltz

The waltz is a well choreographed traditional dance routine that is usually performed by the quinceanera and her court. To achieve finesse with the dance, it usually takes long and tedious months of practice. However, the many months of practice are well worth it by performance time. It is every quinceanera’s dream to make her celebration perfect. Some families even choose to hire Waltz instructors to train the court for the celebrations. It all depends on the family budget.Some birthday girls consider the waltz to be very traditional and old fashioned and it is easy to find them choosing a more modern form of dance for their court. Some choose an elegant form of waltz and blend it in with another modern choreographed type of dance. Check out some of the trending and classic waltz songs being played at quinceanera celebrations right now.

The gown

This is the equivalent of a wedding dress on a bride when it comes to the quinceaneras. This dress is typically the first adult dressing that the girl will wear. The tradition started with the Duchess of Alba in Spain many years ago. These dresses are basically made to look like princess dresses because they have layers of tulle netting. Some other girls opt for gowns made of silk or taffeta. 

The most common colors at these parties are white and pink. Some girls may opt for less traditional colors, depending on the family’s level of strictness and adherence to tradition. These colors usually stay within the pastel family to represent life. It is tricky to use any other color apart from white in some parts. This is because the color white is often valued as a color that symbolizes purity and virginity. In such places, the family of the girl face criticism should they choose any other color. 

Modesty is also required when it comes to the dressing at quinceanera ceremonies. To alleviate this tradition, some of the girls wear shawls and jackets over their dresses. Later on, after the service has ended and the true party begins, they remove them to show off their dress. Finally, some girls may prefer really modestly designed dresses only.

The food

This quinceanera tradition is usually more distinct based on a range of factors. From social class, financial resources, regional culture, and taste, the food at these parties varies. With that in mind, any quinceanera celebration is not complete without a feast. Usually, it is the girl’s family who is responsible for preparing the feast. This responsibility may also fall onto the neighbors or close friends instead. 

In this day and age, and with increasing wealth, people are able to hire the services of experts. Caterers are increasingly taking on the role of food providers during such events. Mexicans usually have a variety of foods including but not limited to chicken mole, tamales, and enchiladas. More staple foods from the area also make appearances too, like beans and rice. Further south, in Chile, the party will feature more tortillas, a baked quiche of Spanish and native origin.

At quinceaneras across the Americas, you are bound to find a variety of tacos. Another common dish is picadillo, combining beef, onions, peppers, and tomatoes into a delicious mixture. Picadillo can be served as a side dish or as the filling for tamales, tacos, and other wraps. Read more about culinary quinceanera traditions here. But don’t limit yourself to the dishes that we’ve just presented. You can always opt to be creative and come up with new ones for your special girl’s birthday.

The cake and treats

Just like in a wedding, the cake at a quinceanera party is the centerpiece of the party. Much pomp and circumstance surrounds the quinceanera traditions when it comes to the cake display, presentation, and serving. Some prefer the almond meringue cake while others like the spongy one known as tres leches. Tres leches, as the Spanish name implies, is made up of three types of milk. This can also be provided by caterers in keeping with modern day requirements and desires.

More traditionally, the cake is often made within the confines of the home if the family is able. Customary treats at quinceanera parties include cookies known as bizcochitos. Candied meringues are also increasingly popular. Dessert is usually served after a number of games and lots of dancing has taken place, so everyone’s appetite is worked up. Check out some more popular dessert options at quinceaneras here. You can also search for numerous other treats and styles of cake online to get a better idea of what your quinceanera might want for her big day. Make sure to organize something to her liking. Ask her what music she likes, what cartoons or shows she enjoys most, and so forth. If you care about your quinceanera, you’ll pull all the stops to make everything right.

Changing of shoes

This is one of the more popular quinceanera traditions at the post-service party. Just like the first father and daughter dance, parents take the lead with the shoe changing tradition. During the church service, and at the beginning of the party, the birthday girl will wear flats. At a designated time during the party, one of the quinceanera’s parents will take off their girl’s shoes.

They will replace them with a pair of heels, usually her first pair of heeled shoes. The high heels are a symbol of growth and responsibility on the girl’s part. High heels also symbolize the girl stepping up in society to become an adult woman, bride, and mother. It is one of the most crucial symbols that Spanish-speaking cultures have adopted for quinceaneras all over the world, and especially in the US. Think of it the same way you’d think of a bride who puts on her dress for the first time. Except here it’s a transition from childhood to the teenage years, and into adulthood respectively.

Toast to the daughter

The toast is yet another role played by the quinceanera’s parents. Here, her parents will make a toast to her, while emphasizing her achievements and virtues. This is their chance to praise their girl for the good work she has done in her life thus far. The toast serves as a moment of pride for both the girl and her parents. It is also important for the party’s guest to get to know her just a little bit better.

It is the final step in the quinceanera celebrations where parents have a chance to endorse their young adults. As such, there is a longstanding tradition for the parents’ toasts to go quite long. Lastly, in most Latin American countries today, the drinking age is well over 15. Therefore, the parents and adult guests will be drinking alcohol. But these days, the chances are that the birthday girl and her friends are not. Also, we do not encourage underage drinking under any circumstances and do not want to insinuate anything regarding the matter.

The sponsors

In the quinceanera celebrations, as you have probably noticed, there is a lot of pomp and glory that comes with the celebrations. This means that they incur high bills in preparation for the celebration. Even rich families that throw these parties sometimes have to rely on others to help them shoulder the costs. The girl’s parents usually cover a bigger part of the bill. Traditionally, members of the family and the neighbors can help to cover the remaining expenses.

Quinceanera traditions govern that there is a collective responsibility. The party involves doing whatever it takes to make the day as special as possible for the birthday girl. Those people who agree to pay for certain aspects of these celebrations are usually called madrinas and padrinos. Madrinas and padrinos literally means godmothers and godfathers. Traditionally, the way to handle the sponsors is to ask each one of them to foot a certain bill element during the festivities. For example, some will cover the cost of the cake while the others pay for the band or DJ.

Candle lighting

Candle lighting is a quinceanera tradition that involves choosing fifteen people to carry candles. This part of the ceremony is especially emotional. It is the moment when the quinceanera honors the people she considers most vital in her life. She often selects fifteen people, including her parents, siblings, neighbors, and even friends, dedicating a candle to each of them. Some girls choose to make the fourteen people her damas, with the fifteenth being her mother.

The DJ or master of ceremony usually calls up each of the fifteen members one by one. Oftentimes they play a special song for them while she presents each of them with a candle. In the process of the candle presentation, she will give a speech. Her speech reflects how each of those individuals helped her to achieve maturity and why they are special to her. In some quinceanera parties, however, it can be a bit different.

Sometimes the fifteen people the quinceanera chooses are the ones who will talk about her instead. It all comes down to persona preferences at the end of the day. Some children might be shyer than others, so they can choose beforehand which ones of them get to speak and which ones can remain quiet throughout the ceremony.

Marking of the firsts

So far, we have seen the quinceanera as a platform for which girls emerge as adults. It is during the celebration that she has her first public dance. Further yet, quinceanera traditions hold that she wears her first pair of heels to symbolize her maturity. Many times, it is also after the first quinceanera that a girl is officially allowed to date. Traditionally, this celebration was meant to introduce the girl to the public as eligible for marriage. 

Nowadays, fifteen is rightfully considered far too young to marry. Instead, after the quinceanera, they are generally allowed to interact more with the opposite sex through dating. This was also the first time a girl was allowed to wear make-up such as lipstick traditionally. All of these allowances represent bids to mark her entry into adulthood. Today, however, you find that by age fifteen most girls already use makeup by the time of their party. It all depends on what part of the world we’re talking about. In some countries, certain things that Americans consider taboo are completely acceptable, while things that Americans consider acceptable are completely taboo somewhere else.

The crowning of the quinceanera

Traditionally, the parents of the quinceanera buy her a tiara and scepter as gifts for her special day. These items symbolize the girl’s coming of age, maturity, and responsibility. The girl’s mother usually presents the crown passing on the torch from one generation of womanhood to another. The tiara or crown replaces a more casual headpiece that the girl wears at the outset of the party. It is at this time that the quinceanera receives her scepter. This is always a moment of pride for both the parents and the girl. The end of the quinceanera brings confirmation and hope to parents that their daughter. It’s the perfect symbol of stepping into maturity. Alongside the changing of shoes, this gesture makes the quinceanera feels like a true princess and a lady that’s ready for the next steps in her mature life.

Gift reception

Another major aspect of quinceanera traditions is, of course, giving gifts to the birthday girl. Quinceanera gifts often symbolize adulthood and maturity. So, quinceanera gifts are usually more in line with gifts given to grownups than kids. This is where the gift of ‘the last doll’ comes in. The last doll custom probably originated from Mexico in the 19th century. Others think it came from Puerto Rico in the same era. Essentially, the birthday girl usually receives a porcelain doll dressed like the quinceanera. Some families choose to have ribbons with the girl’s name and the date pinned onto the doll. They will pass the ribbons out to guests as they leave the party as a keepsake. The girl gets to keep the doll. She keeps it as a memory to mark the moment that she crossed the threshold from girlhood to womanhood.

Other gifts during the quinceanera may include a bible, a medal, or a cross, or even a rosary. People usually give this type of religious gifts at the church or directly after the service. It is quite common for there to be two rounds of giving gifts, both the religious and the more informal.

The birthday girl’s grandparents will often give her fifteen roses during the mass. Rose petals represent sweetness while the stems of the roses represent her strength. Quinceanera parents can also choose to give the birthday girl a tiara and a scepter too. Some cultures use a birthstone and bracelet as the traditional way of representing coming of age and femininity.

Celebrating life and tradition

While a quinceanera celebration can come across as overly extravagant and very expensive, it is chock full of tradition. These quinceanera traditions are an important part of individuality just as they are celebrations of Latin American and Mestizo culture. Traditionally, Latin American societies tend to place more responsibilities on the girl once the ceremony is over. She is now more deeply immersed in family household duties. 

The girl, now a woman, is expected to cater to family needs when she can. She can volunteer in more adult ways demanding more responsibility. And, fairly soon, she will be eligible for marriage in the community’s eyes. After this, tradition holds that the young adult will live a dedicated life full of morality and devotion.

Kids don’t have to face the same high and strict expectations. But for adults, such actions lead to a more wholesome life. The quinceanera is a form of giving thanks to God for enriching the lives of young people. Further, the mass and celebration also thanks God for guiding them into and through adulthood, along with life’s challenges. 

The fact that the first stop of the quinceanera is a church says a lot about this ceremony. Ultimately, organized religion and spirituality form the roots of quinceaneras. This continues to be important in sustaining values. Vows, at least as intended, maintain uprightness and purity into adult life. In many quinceanera held by religious families, the new fifteen year old will make vows to God before the congregation. This is an opportunity for the girl to showcase her personal values as well as her own goals for the path ahead. 

Conclusion

Quinceaneras are binding events for family, friends and neighbors, coming together to celebrate their girl. Many of these same people also come together well beforehand to jointly plan the celebration. Quinceanera traditions promote cohesion and unity through the planning process.  Just as in other collectivist societies, everyone involved in the quinceanera is responsible for a small contribution. This communal approach is often the only way that such big and successful parties can be put together. 

Because of the cost and resources involved, family income is a huge determinant in what the party will look like. Richer families certainly tend to hold bigger and better parties than those less privileged families due to money and resources. That is why some cities, like the Mexican capital, took interventionist measures to spread the joy of quinceaneras to everyone. For the most part, NGOs and sponsors representing the economic elite have made these large contributions.

The quinceanera traditions that we’ve showcased here are important parts of culture, but they’re also really fun. These parties are a lifetime highlight for Latin American women and their close friends and families. In conclusion, they are also a great opportunity to share incredible local foods and show off some great dance skills.

What are your favorite quinceanera traditions or stories from your experiences at these Latin parties? Do you have a favorite quinceanera dish recipe you’d like to share? Looking for gift ideas to bring to a quinceanera? Please leave your thoughts on our comments section.

3 Best Pool Table Choices in 2021 | Reviews and Recommendations

What Is The Best Pool Table for the Money This Year?

As we all know, a game of pool is a relaxing social activity that people of all ages play and enjoy a lot.  Having a pool table in your own home will provide you, your family, and friends with countless hours of fun. However, buying a pool table requires some thinking and planning. A pool table is a significant purchase that you must approach carefully.  Pool tables can be expensive, and it is important to find one that is well-made and reasonably priced. Moreover, you need to consider space, lighting, accessories, etc. Finding the best pool table for the money is not an easy feat and it takes more than a quick Internet button clicking operation to get it.

To help you find the best pool table for your home, this pool table buyer’s guide will explain the most important considerations when choosing a table.  Then, we will suggest a handful of 8-foot pool tables that are both well-made and coming with excellent value-for-money!

Things to Consider When Buying a Pool Table

Here are a few things to consider before purchasing your pool table for the home.

What is the best size for a pool table?

Pool tables come in a variety of sizes — from massive 10 x 5-foot carom billiards tables through to tiny 3-foot pool tables designed for children.  Before choosing the size of your pool table, carefully measure your games room.  Remember that you must leave enough space around the table for people to play their shots.

You might also want to check out our guide on how to match your room size with a pool table. As we said on that occasion, the size of the room, the table, what type of pool you want to play, the size of the cues, the number of people playing at the same time at that table, the furniture you already have in the room, and even the floor type matter. You need to consider all these factors before you decide to go hunting for the best pool table brands available on the market.

Pool Table Sizes Depending On What and How You Play Pool

If you are going to be playing pool competitively, choose either a 9 foot by 4.5 foot or 8 foot by 4-foot table.  These are the officially approved pool table dimensions from the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA).  However, billiards and snooker players often compete on larger tables.  There are certain advantages associated with pool tables of different sizes:

Smaller pool tables (7 feet or shorter):

  • An excellent choice if you have children that you want to teach and play with inside the house or players with mobility problems
  • Easier for beginners to learn on
  • Games can sometimes require more strategy because the balls are sharing a smaller space
  • Ideal for some traditional British pool games like Bank Pool and 1-Pocket.

Larger pool tables (8 feet or longer):

  • Better for common American pool games like Ten-ball
  • More challenging and demanding of players
  • Better for anyone wishing to play competitively

Most home pool players consider 8-foot pool tables to be the “sweet spot” in terms of size.  They are suitable for competitive play but don’t take up a substantial amount of space in your games room.  Children can also play on a table of this size, which is useful for families.

Check the material and construction of the pool table bed

The pool table bed is the flat playing surface of the table.  Most high-quality pool tables use slate for the pool table bed.  Slate is a type of rock that can be carved in large, flat segments.  It is very durable and remains perfectly flat for many years if the table is treated well.

Some modern tables use slatron — a man-made surface constructed from resin-reinforced fibers. Slatron is 20-times denser than particleboard and lighter than slate.  Cheaper pool tables may use timber table beds, which are prone to warping if exposed to moisture.

Consider the pool table legs

The legs of the pool table must be very sturdy and well-built to support the weight of a large pool table.  Well-constructed legs are particularly important for slate tables, because of the substantial weight they carry.

Make sure the frame uses strong materials

Having a strong frame is essential for the longevity of your table.  If the table frame begins to fail, your expensive slate top can warp, crack, or become uneven.  A high-quality frame will use wood or metal with cross beams to support the top.  The number of beams used in the table will depend on the size of the table and the number of slate pieces used to form the bed.  You can ask the manufacturer of a table for more information on the frame’s construction.

Durable cushions

The pool table cushions surround the pool table bed.  They are typically made from synthetic materials or natural gum rubber.  The quality of the cushion material will determine how reliably balls bounce off the pool table cushions.  Ideally, choose a natural material over a synthetic one — natural materials are usually better at retaining their elasticity over time.

Pool table accessories

You should also consider the types of accessories that come with the pool table.  Some tables include pool balls and cues while others are “barebones” tables. Often, pool tables come with cues and balls, but they don’t come with a rack to hold those items when they are not in use. Consider these additional costs when purchasing the table. You can check out our guide on the best pool cues to help you play like a pro or ask for recommendations from your seasoned pool playing friends.

What is the best lighting for a pool table?

Now, this is a tricky one, as you do not want to design and build a pool bar, but add a pool table in one of your house rooms. However, the fact that you have some light in the room does not mean you will benefit from all the advantages pool table lights have to offer. If you are serious about creating a pool-friendly space in your home, pool table lighting is crucial. Here are some tips on how to pick the best pool table lights!

  • Your ceiling lamp will not probably do, so consider investing in a pool table light shed set.
  • Call a professional electrician to install the pool table lighting before you bring in the pool table itself in the room. You need to make sure your electrical system supports such lights, the installation is risky if you don’t have the skills, and you do not want to have the table first, only to realize you need to break and fix your ceiling over the new pool table.
  • Make sure you install the pool table lights at the right height. You don’t want to bump into them with your head or hit them with the cue.
  • Remember how a few rows above we said you should first fix the lights and then bring in the table? We will say it again, as you need to make sure the lights are centric to the table and you don’t have to worry about odd shadows or poorly lit areas on or around the table.
  • Now it’s time to also answer the above question regarding what is the best lighting for a pool table. Look for pool table lights able to generate 60 watts. If you feel that such bulbs are too powerful for your eyes, make them 40 watts. The main idea here is to enjoy not-too-bright and not-too-dim light at the same time.

Didn’t we say that creating a pool parlor in your home was not an easy challenge?

Now that you know how to go about these logistical and administrative issues, it is time to see the best pool tables for the money you can enjoy this year!

The Best Pool Table For the Money in 2021

The following pool tables have an excellent build quality and are guaranteed to give you years of great performance.

MD Sports Traditional Square Leg Billiard Table, 8′Mizerak Donovan II 8′ Billiard TablePlaycraft Southport 8′ institutional slate pool/billiards table – ball return
Style:
Traditional square leg design
Style:
Modern cabinet design
Style:
Commercial pool hall style
Table Bed:
Slate
Table Bed:
Slate or Slatron
Table Bed:
Slate
Felt color:
Green
Felt color:
Red
Felt color:
Blue
Manufacturer:
MD Sports
Manufacturer:
Escalade Sports
Manufacturer:
Playcraft

MD Sports Traditional Square Leg Billiard Table, 8′

1

This pool table has a traditional design with thick timber legs and a timber frame.  This classical appearance makes this pool table suitable for any high-end games room.  The wood grain is beautiful and it has been manufactured with exceptional attention to detail.

The pool table bed consists of three pieces of thick slate covered in a 35% wool and 65% polyester felt.  The pockets are traditional parlor style with wood-grained top rails.  The pockets are deep enough to hold 4 balls.

It is a sturdy table that looks beautiful.  The MD Sports Traditional Square Leg Billiard Table comes with all of the accessories you may require including 2 cues, triangle rack, and pool balls.


Mizerak Donovan II 8′ Billiard Table

2

The Mizerak Donovan II has a very sleek and modern design.  It features a polished black cabinet with chrome accents and red felt.  This design would be at home in the most technologically advanced games rooms.

The pool table bed is available as slate or slatron.  The 3-5/8” rails are made from K66 nose rubber, which gives the table a consistent rebound.  This rail material will provide you with many years of regular use.  The pool table legs include legs levelers, which are useful if your home has a slightly uneven floor.

The Mizerak Donovan II comes with a range of accessories including 2 cues, billiard balls, triangle rack, felt brush, and chalk.


Playcraft Southport 8′ institutional slate pool/billiards table

3

The Playcraft Southport has a traditional pool hall design that all experienced pool players will instantly recognize.  This table is commercial quality, meaning all components are highly durable and designed for constant use.

This table features a 1” Brazilian slate bed that is honed to 1/1000th of an inch.  This level of accuracy makes the table perfect for competitive players.  The slate is well supported on all sides by Playcraft’s intelligently designed sub-frame.  The table’s frame is covered in beautiful Cherry timber.  This table is a great choice for pool players who are slightly more serious about their pool playing.  It has been designed to stand up to the rigors of everyday use and will give a homeowner many years of use.


How to Install a Pool Table?

Now that you have the best pool table for the money and your playing needs, it is time to install it, isn’t it? Well, to help you out with this task, here is a video on how to assembly and install a pool table.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a full size pool table?

The most common size for a pool table sold in the United States is 44 x 88 inches. Or, at least, that’s the standard size for non-tournament pool tables. As for the standard tournament-sized table, that usually falls in the range of 50 x 100 inches.

Is a 6 foot pool table too small?

Most pool players will prefer an 8-foot or 9-foot long table, but a 6-foot table can work great as well. Six-foot tables are great for tighter playing spaces, so you should really consider one if your home isn’t all that big. Professional players might not like these smaller tables, but they work just fine for casual players and people who are just beginning to learn how to play pool in real life.

Are slate pool tables better than wooden ones?

While heavier and more expensive than wood, slate ensures that the play surface remans smooth and level. Wood, as well as table tops made from synthetics, can warp quite easily. Because it is so durable and known to last, many manufacturers will provide a lifetime warranty for a slate pool table.

How far does a pool table need to be away from the wall?

You should install the pool table in the center of the room to leave as much space around it as possible so you won’t have trouble scoring tricky shots. The bare minimum distance that the table needs to be away from the wall is five feet. Anything less than that, and your experience will be greatly hindered.

Can you move a pool table without taking it apart?

You can move it as long as the distance is short and you’ve got some people to help you out. We also recommend furniture sliders if you plan on moving the table without taking it apart since it can leave scratches on the floor.

Final Thoughts

Now that we presented you with our guide on how to buy the best pool table for your home and needs, together with our top three pool tables of 2020, it is time for you to do some sharing as well. First, do you know what is the best way to level a pool table? In case you don’t, we have a quick guide for you. If you do and you have done it before, we’d love to hear some tips, tricks, and advice from seasoned players!

So, this was our guide on getting the best pool table this year, for the money, and for your needs. Make sure you put aside some budget, not only for the table itself, but also for the pool table lighting, accessories, the electrician maybe, and other unforeseen expenses. We hope this helped. In case you have other questions regarding pool tables, the pool game itself, or how to buy pool accessories, feel free to leave us your comments in the section below!

25 Glow In The Dark Party Ideas | All You Need to Know

When it comes to hosting a party, you want to make things as fun and memorable as you can for your guests. Assembling a playlist of cool tunes, offering up a nice buffet of food, and planning some fun games are a must. But if you really want to up the fun factor, you need to go a step further. And one of the ways you can accomplish this is by going the extra mile. So why not consider a glow in the dark party? Today, we will discuss plenty of glow in the dark party ideas to turn you into the absolute master of event planning and your party into a resounding success!

Whether your party is for kids or for adults, you can incorporate a glow in the dark theme to make your party the best place to be in town. A lot of these ideas are really inexpensive and will mostly require a bit of your time and some creativity. But it’ll all be worth it in the end. Read on for 25 glow in the dark party ideas that’ll certainly turn your event into a crowd-pleasing affair. Before we begin, let’s see what you need to know to organize the best ever glow in the dark party!

Can You Throw a Glow in the Dark Party at Home?

Yes, of course, you can! In fact, you might consider such an event one of the coolest things to do with the children at home, as they will have a blast helping you organize it and enjoying every minute of it! The best thing about a glow in the dark party is that you can throw it on any occasion: a celebration, a housewarming party idea, a birthday, an anniversary, a fun event to share with your friends to shake off the routines, etc.

What Do You Need for a Glow in the Dark Party?

Usually, the materials needed to throw a glow in the dark party include the following materials and supplies:

  • Glow stick decorations;
  • Black lights;
  • Neon decorations;
  • Glow in the dark balloons;
  • Neon/fluorescent paint, tape, paper, and other items from a party store or a stationery shop;
  • Fluorescent makeup, face paint, and clothes;
  • Floating glow balls;
  • Glowing barware, including glow ice cubes and neon accessories;
  • Fog, lasers, etc.

In case you are wondering how many black lights you need for a glow in the dark party, the answer depends on the size of the room. If you throw the party in a living room, a garage, or a patio, one black light kit should be enough. However, if the space is generous (think between 20×20 feet and 50×50 feet), you might need two blacklight kits to make sure you spread the magic in every corner of that space!

Can I Add Glow in the Dark Food as a Party Idea?

Yes, but make sure you use black light if you want your foods and drinks to glow as well. Here are some suggestions:

  • tonic water (it glows blue);
  • eggs;
  • pineapple;
  • honey;
  • energy drinks that contain vitamin B;
  • syrup;
  • vanilla ice cream;
  • clear soda drinks (such as 7Up or Mountain Dew).

What Clothes Are Best to Wear at a Glow in the Dark Party?

If you organize a glow in the dark party with black lights, some of the best clothes to wear are the glow party outfits and fabrics that are either fluorescent or white. As we all know, the more neon colors you wear, the more chances you have to glow in the dark. Your safest bets are fluorescent clothes in pink, yellow, and orange.

Now that we saw a few details on how to organize a glow in the dark party, let’s see the glow in the dark party ideas we prepared for you!

25 Glow in the Dark Party Ideas

Face Paint

With some face paint that glows in the dark, you and the people at your party can really have a wild time. Have everyone get really artistic and paint their faces with different colors. When the lights go off, the face paint on all of those faces will glow with creativity. Kids, in particular, love face painting and you will keep them happy for the entire length of the party! If you also want to engage your teens in a challenge, prompt them to paint each others’ faces or get creative with their younger brothers and sisters! Be sure to use paint that’s skin-friendly, and not paint that contains lead or any other harmful chemicals. While we don’t want to alarm you, we considered it necessary to tell you about this because many people have made this mistake in the past.

Balloon Volleyball

Now, this activity will definitely get the adrenaline rushing! First, you’ll need to string together some necklaces that glow in the dark to make the volleyball net. Then you’ll need to inflate a balloon that glows in the dark. You can either buy such a balloon or put some neon pain on a regular balloon. After that, you’ll need to create teams. Once the teams position themselves on their assigned sides of the net, activate the black light bulbs, and let the games begin! The rules are the same as the ones regarding classic volleyball so you won’t have to worry about learning a new type of game from scratch.

Glow in the Dark Hide and Seek

Ensure that everyone has on some sort of glow in the dark face paint or clothing, have everyone but the seeker hide and then, after the countdown is completed, have the seeker use a flashlight to seek out the hidden party goers. While this activity is most suited to children, adults who are children at heart will dig it as well. Of course, you’ll need a slightly bigger house than what most people have if you want this activity to be truly fun. Or, better yet, play this game outside during the night while using neon paint and a flashlight. We don’t recommend playing this in public areas, however. Play in a huge backyard or near a forest. Just be careful not to get caught by wild animals while you’re at it.

Balloon Truth or Dare

This is one of the better glow in the dark party ideas. You will need to get some glow in the dark balloons to get started. However, before you inflate them, you’ll need to fill each of the balloons with a note containing a silly or fun truth or dare challenge. Here are some hundreds of Truth or Dare questions and challenges that go on any occasion! When you’re ready to get the game underway, play some fun party music, and, while your guests are dancing and keeping one of the balloons airborne, stop the music at some point. Whoever was the last guest to make contact with the balloon after the music stops will need to pop the balloon and do the truth or dare challenge contained in the balloon. After doing this, you’ll start the process again by playing the music while a balloon is being knocked around in the air.

Hoops

For this fun activity, you will need a glow in the dark hoop. You can use either a hula hoop or string together some necklaces that glow in the dark. You will also need a lightweight ball with some glow in the dark paint or tape on it. With the lights off, have your guests take turns trying to get the ball through the hoop. You can have the boys versus the girls and keep score. This will definitely get everyone pumped!

Glow Sticks

A party isn’t a party without glow sticks. When you have a glow in the dark theme, then glow sticks are even more appropriate. Play some energetic techno or electronic music and have your guests dance up a sweat as they wave their glow sticks. Of course, you can use other genres of music if you know that your guests will be more into different music styles. If you ask us, just about any energetic genre works great with neon lights and glow sticks. Just be sure that everyone likes the specific genres you will be choosing for the party.

Wall Graffiti

Go to a craft store and get some black craft paper. Then find a wall in the room where your party will take place and cover the chosen wall or a portion of it with paper. When your guests come, you can shut off the lights and give them the supplies they need to contribute to your wall graffiti. With a wide range of glow in the dark paint and some creativity, you and your guests will have a lot of fun working creating a work of art.

Plates, Cups, and Utensils

If you use black lightbulbs, your neon plates, cups and utensils will glow in the dark. That will be a perfect complement to your glow in the dark party. Add some of the goodies we mentioned in this guide into the mix, and you’ll be sitting pretty. You can get neon plates, cups, and utensils at party supply stores. If you’re really talented, you can get some cardboard and cut it into several shapes and use it to decorate further. Here’s an idea: use cardboard cuttings as stars and planets and hang them from the ceiling. That way, your guests will have the impression that they’re in outer space. Really wicked, huh?

Invitation Cards

You don’t have to save all of your creative energy for the actual party. If you’re up to designing your own invitation cards, then add some originality with a bit of glow in the dark paint. Better yet, ensure that no two invitation cards are the same. The added uniqueness will have your guests anticipating your party.

Good Enough to Eat

Everyone loves cupcakes and other sweets. Add some neon-colored frosting, and your cupcakes, brownies, or other sugary edibles will be the perfect addition to your glow in the dark party. Again, black light bulbs will turn neon into an edible glow in the dark menu. It may look freaky, but you don’t need to worry. As long as the neon-colored frosting is 100% edible, none of your guests should have an allergic reaction or other nasty condition caused by it.

Egg Hunt

Whoever said that an egg hunt was only for Easter? Color some eggs with glow in the dark paint or neon paint, hide them strategically, and have your guests go on an egg hunt around the house! And don’t think that only kids or tweens will enjoy this sort of activity. People of all ages can have some fun and engage in an epic egg hunt. Alternatively, you can also organize this hunt in your backyard, just as you would do with an Easter egg hunt. Just be sure it’s dark enough outside so that the neon paint will be visible using a flashlight.

Glow in the Dark Bubbles

How do you make glow in the dark bubbles, you ask? It’s actually really easy. Head over to a party supplies store or even to a dollar store, and buy some glow sticks and some bubbles solution. When you get home, carefully cut the glow sticks open with a pair of scissors and pour the solution from the glow sticks into the container containing the bubbles solution. Close the bubbles solution, shake it well, open it up and blow from the bubbles-blower end…and you’ll have glow in the dark bubbles!

Gift Bags

If you really want high marks from your guests, you need to hand out gift bags before everyone leaves. Buy some bags from the dollar store and decorate them in a way that includes some glow in the dark paint. You can even adopt a theme such as animals so that every bag showcases a different member of the animal kingdom! The possibilities are limitless! Better yet, if you and your guests consider a Yankee Swap type of gifting game at the party, glow in the dark gift bags make everything even more special and exciting!

Ceiling Fan

You can really wow your guests by taping glow sticks to your ceiling fan. When you turn the fan on and shut off the lights, you and your guests will be in awe. It will look like a multi-colored swirl, which will be the perfect complement to your groovy party.

Strobe Light

When the music is blaring and the guests are dancing, nothing sets the atmosphere better than a multi-colored strobe light. It’ll definitely be a hit at your party.

Twister

You haven’t played twister until you’ve done so out on the lawn. Use neon spray paint to paint the various circles needed to play the popular lawn Twister game, and then have a blast. If you have enough space inside, you can spread a piece of tarp, for instance, and paint the different colored circles on the tarp.

Neon Dance Floor

If you have an area designated for dancing — and why wouldn’t you? — you can use neon duct tape to make the dance floor sparkle. Be sure to use black lightbulbs so that your neon tape will glow in the dark. As for the pattern, you can go with a traditional checkerboard look or simply use your creativity to do something more original. One thing’s for certain, your guests will really get into the vibe when the dance floor is so alive with living color!

Bowling

For this party idea, you’ll need a bit of space like a hallway or a part of a large basement or living room. Use empty water bottles that each have a glow stick inside. Line up the water bottles as though they were bowling pins, and get a small ball like a tennis ball or a soccer ball. Then let the games begin!

Ring Toss

For this fun activity, you will need a glow stick positioned so that it’s standing upright, and you need some glow in the dark bracelets. Whether inside or outside, you and your guests can have loads of fun trying to toss the bracelets in a way that lands right over the glow stick. Have a classing boys-versus-girls challenge and see who comes out on top! A game of Ring Toss is one of those cheap outdoor games you can play in your back yard, so check out this guide here and see what other lawn games you can adapt to become glow in the dark party ideas!

Sunglasses at Night

If you like to wear your sunglasses at night as did songwriter/singer Corey Hart, then glow in the dark sunglasses is just the thing you need for your party. You can get them at party supplies stores. In order to use a sunglasses-at-night theme, you’ll need to hand them out to guests as they arrive. Shut off the nights, and enjoy your sunglasses in the dark.

Tic Tac Toe

Did you enjoy playing tic tac toe as a kid? Well, incorporate this fun game at your party by taping some large sheets of paper to a wall and using UV reflective gaffers tape in order to create a grid. And you can use glow in the dark markers to mark your x’s and o’s.

Ping Pong Toss

Ping Pong Toss is a great party game. To make a Ping Pong Toss board, you’ll need a square or rectangular piece of cardboard, and you’ll need to glue a number of plastic cups on the board. For instance, you can make seven rows positioned horizontally and seven rows positioned vertically. Using neon glow cups will work great. When you’re done, position the board so that it rests on an angle against a wall. Then have your guests stand several feet behind the Ping Pong Toss board and take turns tossing glow in the dark golf balls to see how many balls they can throw into the cups.

Lightsaber Tourney

Chances are many of your guests will be fans of the Star Wars franchise. You can use that to your advantage by having a fun light saber challenge tournament. You can use glow in the dark pool noodles, which won’t cause any injuries. Have timed rounds and designate someone to be the referee. May the force be with you and your guests!

Glowing Ice Cubes

After your guests have worked up a sweat, they’ll want something to quench their thirst. As we said, you can enhance the party experience by using glow in the dark ice cubes. They’re actually quite easy to make. Combine regular water with tonic water, pour the solution into an ice cube tray and place the tray into the freezer until frozen. You can then use the ice cubes like you would any other type of ice cube. Under UV or black light, your ice cubes will be all aglow.

Musical Chairs

Musical chairs can really get the blood pumping. Play the music nice and loud while your guests go around a circle of chairs. When the music stops…well you know the drill. You can use glow in the dark paint to highlight the chairs.

Glow In The Dark Party Ideas: Final Thoughts

So there you have it – 25 glow in the dark party ideas that’ll make your next party a smashing success. Again, you don’t have to break the bank in order to afford any of these ideas, and the return on investment will be astronomical. Try some of them out and be prepared to amaze your guests. Who knows? Your party might be a candidate for the party of the year among your group of friends.

Featured Image via Pexels

6 Affordable Christmas Presents Ideas

Being stuck indoors during the holidays isn’t fun for anybody. It is only natural that you might want to visit your family, your teens may want to go out with friends, and your little ones will surely want to go outside and play in the snow. Not being able to do any of those can be quite discouraging, however, buying gifts for your loved ones is still on the table! Here are a few affordable Christmas presents ideas and some tips for keeping your finances under control this holiday season.

6 Gifts for Family and Friends

1. Advent Calendars

They are a month-long investment, but they will keep everyone excited with one little present every day! And they can be filled with anything: mini bath bombs and hand cream, face cream or body wash for mom, fancy tea and coffee samples for dad, little toys for the kids, and makeup samples or tabletop games figurines for the teens! With an advent calendar, you will keep the recipient of the gift always curious to know what they’ll find the next day.

2. Games for the Kids

If you have two or more children, the easiest way to get a little time for yourself in the middle of the holiday excitement is to give them something to do. And a new two-player game is a great way to keep the kids busy and relatively quiet for… well. We do not guarantee more than half an hour. But even that can be enough sometimes. Pick something that is age-appropriate and captivating, but beware: you might find yourself sucked into the gameplay too!

3. A Gaming Console

This is the kind of investment that could really cover gifts for the entire family. It would be a house gift that anyone can use as they please. It is indeed a big expense, but you will have unlimited fun and a go-to present idea for years to come. If you feel that your budget does not stretch that far, you can use a digital app to help you save money for the things that really matter to you! Plant a couple of individually wrapped games for each member of the family, along with a “daily gaming timecard” to hint at the main present and to ensure everyone gets some, but not too much playtime.

4. Teaching Time

It is never too early to start teaching children about giving and being generous. Nor is it too late. And seeing as they have most likely interacted with their grandparents, neighbors, and teachers this year, you can take this opportunity to reverse the roles a little. Explain to the little ones that teachers deserve a little “thank you” gift this year and decide together what to send them. Use this handy guide to pick out a great present for your kids’ favorite teacher!

5. Something You Made

For older kids, teens, and even young adults, a fun holiday activity is a DIY project. Reuse materials you have around the house and let their imagination run wild. You can join in too; after all, it is a fun and relaxing activity. And the resulting projects can be offered as gifts for grandparents. You get bonus points if you are a teen yourself and surprise your parents with something you have crafted yourself. Decorations are always a win, but you can try jewelry (or other small items) boxes, bookmarks, or even paintings and sculptures!

6. A Plush Toy

I have yet to meet a person, child, adult, or elder whose heart does not melt at the sight of a cute, fluffy, cuddly toy. They have many psychological benefits as well, the soft texture can help with anxiety, and hugs, even plush ones, are known to relieve stress. At best, a plushie will create a corner of safety and relaxation, and at worst, it can be a cute replacement for a throw pillow. Either way, that’s a win!

Plan Ahead and Stick to Your Budget

As demonstrated through past years, some of us may tend to go a little overboard with the Christmas presents. Nevertheless, December is all about showing your appreciation and making sure that you have a gift prepared for your loved ones.

Whereas some have a natural talent for putting money aside, others find it difficult to keep track of their finances. Digital apps can really come in handy in such cases. For example, Qube Money is a digital wallet that will not only give you an overview of your daily spendings but will also help you prioritize your finances and see which areas could benefit from a budget cut. When it comes to ticking off your gift list, planning makes perfect!

Bottom Line

So, here you have it! Six great ideas for affordable Christmas presents that are not mugs, ties, and gift cards. Have fun this holiday season and happy giving! Merry Christmas everyone!

5 Shakes Comparable to Shakeology

If you’re a big Shakeology fan but want to save money, you’ve come to the right place for shakes comparable to Shakeology. Keep scrolling down for 5 shakes comparable to Shakeology that will give you maximum nutrients at a minimum cost.

We all know that a well-prepared, balanced meal is the ideal nutritional choice to stay healthy and fit. We also know that our busy lives don’t allow us the time or energy to prepare them. Luckily, there is a convenient option besides trips to the vending machine or fast food. Meal replacement shakes provide much-needed protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and even digestive enzymes. For this reason, people who might never lift a weight are now using protein shakes as their diet supplement of choice.

One of the most popular—and expensive—options is Shakeology, a brand that offers delicious and nutritious protein shakes. However, Shakeology is by no means the only great option out there. Without reservation, there are a good half dozen shakes comparable to Shakeology in terms of taste, calorie count, and nutrients. This article discusses some other great meal replacement shakes on the market. All of these options are comparable to Shakeology.

WHY USE A MEAL REPLACEMENT SHAKE TO SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET?


There are a number of reasons to consider using meal replacement shakes to supplement your diet. Besides weight loss and diet, meal replacement shakes can make up for any areas of nutrient missing from your normal diet. As for muscle growth, while it may be true that weight lifters and body builders love protein shakes, you can also take advantage of the muscle growth properties without being a heavy lifter. Further, meal replacement shakes stimulate your digestive tract and promote healthy digestion. Lastly, all of our five shakes comparable to Shakeology have been demonstrated to promote positive mental heath.

Weight Loss

Meal replacement shakes are an excellent way to curb cravings and support sustainable weight loss. Firstly, look for a good amount of protein, along with healthy fat and minimal added sugars to ramp up your metabolism. Many people also recommend replacing 1-2 meals with a shake. Secondly, try to consume them after exercise if possible. Since most meal replacements are quite low on calories, they can be an excellent way to lose weight without even trying! The right meal replacements are filling, tasty, and energizing. If you are looking to lose weight, extra water is also an ideal pairing with your meal replacement shakes. In fact, studies have shown that drinking one or two glasses of water in the morning before breakfast will drastically increase your daily metabolism.

Convenient Nutrition

Meal replacement shakes are also conveniently packaged and simple to make. They make it so much easier to avoid fast food and vending machines. Furthermore, unlike a homemade recipe, meal replacement shakes have the calorie count on the back of the package, making it that much easier to keep track of your calorie intake throughout the day. Additionally, many shakes contain prebiotics, probiotics, or digestive enzymes, all of which can help you absorb more nutrients out of your food throughout the day. These ingredients are crucial for the purpose of strengthening and supporting your stomach. Moreover, they often contain superfoods from around the world that you certainly won’t find in the average pantry (amaranth, wheat grass, or alfalfa anyone?).

Supports Muscle Growth

Having a high-protein shake before or after a workout helps repair damaged muscle tissue and can help maintain muscle mass in the long-term. Studies also suggest that this practice helps you burn more calories as you go throughout your day. To emphasize this point, muscle always burns more calories than fat. In other words, the more muscle you pack on, the more fat you’re going to shed. The bottom line is, taking protein in conjunction with exercise ensures your hard work pays off. This factor is particularly important when considering shakes comparable to Shakeology.

Digestive Health

As mentioned before, meal replacement shakes often reduce snack cravings. This is great for your digestive system because larger meals are easier to digest than frequent snacks. Frequent snacking is in fact a huge reason for weight gain in millions of people, and it’s a tough habit to crack. Most shakes also contain digestive enzymes, which can further help break down food and can aid the digestive process in the long term.

Promotes Mental Well-Being

One of the most reported benefits of meal replacement shakes is also the most mysterious. Many people who consume them report increased feelings of general well-being. One theory is that an increase in vitamins helps the brain function properly. Furthermore, people consuming protein shakes are just generally more likely to mentally associate the consumption with working out. Consequently, they will work out, which undeniably is a total game changer for improving your mental health. In any case, take excess energy where you can get it!

So many choices for shakes comparable to Shakeology


One of the most popular (and best-marketed) meal replacement shake options is certainly Shakeology. With several celebrity endorsements and a user-friendly website, it’s easy to see why this brand is the top choice for many. Unfortunately, a serving costs about as much as a latte at your favorite coffee shop. There are several comparable (and arguably better) shakes out there. Depending on your goals (weight loss, muscle gain, energy, general well-being), some options may be better suited for your particular diet than others.

The following are the best meal replacement shakes comparable to Shakeology on the market. To sum up, we’ve selected these five shakes as good alternatives based on a number factors. Generally, we took into account cost, nutrients, taste, and availability.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal


Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement Vanilla Powder – Gluten-Free

  • Organic Shake & Meal Replacement;
  • Easy to Digest;
  • Live Probiotics;
  • Made without Dairy or Soy Ingredients.

Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Meal is unique in that it uses sprouted ingredients (such as brown rice and buckwheat) for its protein source. This makes it an excellent alternative for those avoiding both soy and dairy proteins. It also lacks gluten, added sugars, artificial colors, and preservatives. All of its ingredients are left in the raw. To explain, this means that nutrients normally lost to a heating process are still kicking. While the amino acid profile isn’t displayed on the label, it is certainly available on Garden of Life’s website.

The meal also boasts 1.5 billion live probiotics, 44 superfood ingredients, and 21 vitamins and minerals. Finally, the Garden of Life comes in four flavors: original, chocolate, vanilla, and chai.

Compared to Shakeology:

Shakeology and Garden of Life’s Raw Meal each consist of a similar array of healthy ingredients. Also, Garden of Life’s raw approach to meal replacement means that more nutrients make it to the finish line. Garden of Life’s website provides access to its products’ amino acid profiles. This is an important consideration and a refreshing move toward transparency in product advertising.

Pros
Excellent for sensitive stomachs
Few Allergens
Made without heating process
Organic ingredients
Several flavors
Cons
Raw food isn’t for everyone

Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Protein Shake


Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Protein & Vitamin Shake Chocolate

  • Well Rounded Nutrition;
  • With Collagen, Fiber & Probiotics;
  • Hair & Nail Support – Biotin;
  • Healthy Skin – Vitamin C & Flaxseed.

Optimal Solutions Protein Shake is part of Nature’s Bounty line of health products designed for beauty. These aren’t lipsticks or shampoos, but rather vitamin supplements designed to keep skin, hair, and nails healthy. Even better, it contains probiotics and digestive enzymes to ensure that vitamins are properly absorbed by the body. While marketed particularly toward women, this supplement can help anyone who wants luminous hair and glowing skin.

The label is refreshingly transparent—it even displays its amino acid profile. This isn’t required by the FDA, but it’s certainly helpful for the health-conscious shopper. However, a closer examination reveals a few undesirable ingredients, such as xanthan gum and fructose. As with all other supplements, take time to get to know the ingredients and decide for yourself.

The Optimal Solutions Protein Shake comes in Vanilla and Chocolate flavors.

Compared to Shakeology:

The back of the Shakeology label reads more like an advertisement than nutrition information. Shakeology has several proprietary blends that emphasize exotic ingredients without revealing their amounts. Since most nutrients need to be ingested in certain amounts in order to be of benefit, this makes it quite hard to judge the effectiveness of Shakeology. The Optimal Solutions Protein Shake, by contrast, lists amounts for almost all of its ingredients and includes an amino acid profile. This is indeed a nice break from a lot of the types of commercially marketed skaes out there. From their nutrition information, Optimal Solutions and Shakeology appear to offer similar benefits. Optimal Solutions gets a leg up in this list for having a more complete and informative label. Concurrently, as with the other shakes on this list, you’re more in the green for price saving as well.

Pros
Especially formulated for beauty
Particularly formulated for beauty
Calcium for women’s health
Cons
Contains dairy and soy
Some questionable ingredients

EAS Protein powder


EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder Cookies & Cream

  • Pure Whey Protein Powder;
  • No Added Sugar;
  • Aid in Muscle Recovery;
  • Naturally and Artificially Flavored.

Myoplex Lite is a lower-calorie version of EAS’s original protein powder. The lite version made the list because it contains more protein and less fat. However, if weight loss isn’t a concern for you, then the original blend is another great option. Unlike other meal replacements, Myoplex lite markets itself as an option for those who have several smaller meals rather than three larger ones, so certainly keep that in mind when planning meals.

Myoplex Lite comes in pre-measured packets, making it easy to throw nutrition into a gym bag. EAS even sells ready-to-drink versions of its original protein powder. One of the most highly rated shakes on the market, the taste is highly acclaimed, with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors. We’ve tried all of these flavors out and they undoubtedly really good!

An added bonus comes into the mix as well. Myoplex Lite contains no proprietary blends, so the label displays exactly how much of each ingredient is in a serving. It’s also available at many local retailers.

Compared to Shakeology:

Myoplex Lite is marketed more toward gym rats than Shakeology, but as far as macronutrients go, they come out about the same. A notable difference is that Myoplex Lite contains fewer vitamins, and can’t claim to contain superfoods. If you already have a vitamin supplement as a part of your daily routine, then Myoplex Lite is an excellent alternative when it comes to shakes comparable to Shakeology.

Pros
Most convenient packaging
Great flavor
Available at most grocery stores
Highly rated
Cons
Fewer vitamins than other shakes
No superfoods
Small serving size may make it less filling
Only one flavor

Orgain Organic Meal Powder


Orgain Organic Plant Based Meal Replacement Powder

  • Mix with Water for a Smooth, Creamy and Delicious Taste;
  • No Added Sugar;
  • Naturally Smooth and Delicious Meal Replacement ;
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors or Preservatives.

Orgain Organic Meal Powder, as its name suggests, contains all organic ingredients. As can be seen with Garden of Life, Orgain Organic Meal Powder has no soy or dairy products and uses grains as a protein source. This shake has 8 grams of fiber, more than any other on the list. Furthermore, all of the ingredients are recognizable and pronounceable.

This product is a great option for foodies who care about pesticide overuse. It’s also vegan, an added environmental bonus.

While this shake contains more calories than the others on this list, it may be worth it. Its wholesome ingredients make it an ideal meal replacement. If you are looking for a healthy substitute for fast food more than you are weight loss or muscle gain, this is definitely the shake for you. Orgain Organic Meal Powder comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors.

Compared to Shakeology:

Orgain Organic Meal Powder was manufactured as a challenge for protein shakes that contain cheap fillers, added sugars, and artificial colors. The purity and attention to detail put into this product ought to make any health freak smile. Shakeology simply hasn’t shown the same dedication to ingredients that are responsibly sourced.

Pros
High in fiber
Organice ingredients
Fewer allergens
Cons
Fewer vitamins than other shakes
More calories than the average shake

ViSalus Vi-Shape


Vi Shape Nutritional Shake Mix

  • Sweet Cream Flavour;
  • For Weight Management & Healthy Nutrition;
  • 26 Vitamins and Minerals;
  • Meal Replacement Shake.

Out of all the shakes on this list, the ViSalus Vi-Shape is the most targeted toward weight loss, forming the base of ViSalus’ “Body by Vi Challenge Kit.” When it comes to shakes comparable to Shakeology, this one is particularly easy on the teeth. It contains less than 1 gram of sugar and even more impressive, contains only 1 gram of fat.  It’s also low in carbohydrates (only 7 grams per serving), good news for anyone on a low-carb diet.

Vi-Shape is gluten-free and low in sodium. It boasts 26 vitamins and minerals, albeit in lower amounts than other shakes. And because Vi-Shapes has three protein sources (whey concentrate, whey hydrolysate, and non-genetically modified soy), you can be sure your body is getting everything it needs to repair and maintain your muscles. According to ViSalus’ website, the whey is stripped of fat and carbohydrates, and the soy of isoflavones—leaving only the good stuff. Those looking for an array of products to help with fitness or weight loss will appreciate other products by ViSalus formulated to work well with Vi-Shape. Choose from pre-made kits or mix and match on their website to order just the products you need.

In spite of all of its health benefits, Vi-Shape is also delicious, with a unique cake mix taste and texture that make it an easy diet to stick to. Vi-Shape is one of the most affordable and best rated options on the market. The original Vi-Shape is in vanilla, and ViSalus sells separate strawberry and chocolate add-ins.

Compared to Shakeology:

Shakeology contains 5g more sugar and 70 more calories than Vi-Shape! If weight loss is your main goal, then Vi-Shape is certainly a great option. With the flavor of Shakeology receiving mixed reviews, it’s also a good alternative if you need a healthy meal that still tastes good. If Shakeology is the pop star of the meal replacement world, then Vi-Shape is a grunge band that reviewers undeniably love. However, both brands, just like the bands, are great for their own reasons.

Pros
Unique cake flavor
Very affordable option
Can be ordered as part of a weight loss kit
Fewer calories
Most highly rated on Amazon
By far best option for weight loss
Cons
Soy and milk allergens
Less protein than other shakes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shakeology better than other protein shakes?

To understand why it is or isn’t better than other protein shakes, you must first understand what Shakeology is more exactly. Shakeology is practically a crossover between a protein shake and a meal replacement shake. The brand offers a variety of flavors like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry with vegan options available for those who can’t or choose not to consume dairy or animal products. What makes Shakeology so good compared to many other brands is the fact that these shakes don’t come with added sugar, artificial colors, unhealthy oils or preservatives. Otherwise, you can find cheaper alternatives that are just as good – with excellent examples shown right in this article.

Is Shakeology FDA approved?

A lot of people have wondered about this in the past and it seems that many others are now asking the same thing if you bother to dig a little deeper around the web. To answer this shortly, the FDA cannot approve dietary supplements – Shakeology included. In this sense, Shakeology isn’t FDA-approved, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. The FDA isn’t allowed to approve or disapprove of this type of product However, we’re fairly certain that if they could, they would definitely approve Shakeology as well as the other shakes shown in this article.

Is shakeology low glycemic?

When we talk about the dense nutrition of Shakeology, we’re talking about all of the benefits packed into a 140 – 170 calorie shake: the ratio of protein to carbohydrate (~1:1), the combination and amounts of protein and fiber, the antioxidants from vitamins A, C, and E, and the ingredients that support healthy digestion health (fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes). The whey flavors of Shakeology also contain a specially designed vitamin and mineral blend with bioavailable forms of key nutrients like folate and vitamin B12. Put it all together, and you can see why we say this is the easiest thing you can add to your routine to help you start to clean up your diet.

Final Thoughts on Shakes Comparable to Shakeology

Those are our five shakes comparable to Shakeology that we’ve found to the best options on the market at this point in time. However, you might have some other ideas of good Shakeology shake replacements. If so, we want to hear from you. Please tell us any other good shakes that you’ve found particularly tasty, nutritious, and affordable, and let us know in the comments.

Yard Dice Games

Yard dice are large hand sized dice meant for playing a wide variety of diced based games in outdoor settings like a backyard get together, BBQ, birthday party, work party, picnic, and much more. These oversized dice typically come in sets of six, which allows you to play many different games. There are so many options for playing you will never get bored. Lawn dice games are growing in popularity and fun for the whole family. Get your children away from the TV or computer by adding kid friendly rewards to the mix. Keep the adults interested by adding a drinking game to the mix. As you can see yard dice offers something for everyone. We will take a look at some popular and creative games to play with your yard dice.

Items Needed for Yard Dice Games

Any decent sized area works well for playing a wide variety of outdoor games like yard dice. A set of six large dice will allow you to play just about any dice related game you can think of. In addition to the dice, you will need a pen and paper for keeping score and a 3 foot circular ring made of rope depending on what game you choose. Increase the excitement by adding different prizes of your choice.

Go to your local office supply shop and get some papers as large as you can find to keep the illusion of giants playing in your backyard. Trust us, it’ll be more fun like that. Alternatively, you can get some crafting paper and make your own personalized scoreboards and whatnot to your heart’s content. We always encourage creativity here at Fun-Attic.

Snake Eyes Yard Dice Game


GoSports Giant 3.5″ Wooden Playing Dice Set with Bonus Rollzee…

  • GIANT SIZE: Each die measures: 3. 5″ x 3. 5″ x 3. 5″
  • ROLLZEE AND FARKLE BOARD INCLUDED: Double Sided Dry-Erase Scoreboard with Pen for Endless Fun!
  • PREMIUM CONSTRUCTION: Includes 6 hand sanded wooden dice with canvas carrying case

Snake Eyes is definitely one of the most popular and easiest games to play with yard dice. This is a fun and exciting choice for including people of all ages. Children and adults can have fun together when playing Snake Eyes. Set the game up by placing your 3 foot wide target ring about ten feet away from the throwing line. You can divide up into teams or play as singles. Six dice are thrown per turn. You must toss the dice so they land in the circular ring. Count up the value of the dice that land inside of the ring. The objective of the game is to be the first person or team to reach twenty one total points or roll snake eyes. Snake eyes is when you roll all ones in a single turn. You also have the option of making the game last until 11 or 15 points depending on how long you want each round to last. This game is simple and fun. It is the perfect way to get everyone into playing yard dice and away from the TV or computer.

Yard Dice Yahtzee


Trademark Innovations Giant Wood Yard Dice with Carry Bag, 3.5″

  • Comes with 6 dice in a jute drawstring bag
  • Each die measures 3.5″ square
  • The dice come in an attractive natural stain

Playing outdoor Yahtzee with yard dice really takes this classic game to new levels of fun and excitement. You can play alone or in large groups.  We have all probably played Yahtzee many times in our lives, but we will go over the general rules again. For ease of scoring and following rules, I recommend getting official Yahtzee score cards and rules. The object of the game is to obtain the highest score possible by throwing five dice. The game has thirteen rounds. You roll the dice in each round and choose your score for one of the thirteen different categories.  Choose one score per category depending on what you roll. Up to three rolls per round are allowed and you can keep or re roll as many of the dice as you choose. After three rolls you must choose your score for a given category. There are two different categories for scoring, an upper and lower section. For the upper section, your score is the value of the specified die face for numbers one through six. For example, if you roll 3-4-3-6-2 and choose the three categories, your score would be 2 because you rolled two different dice with three on the face. The lower section of scoring is either a set amount or zero based on whether you meet the requirements.  These categories are three and four of kind. If you roll this you get the total if the dice. The next category is small straight (30 points) or large straight (40 points).  A full house is next and is when you roll a 3 and 2 of a kind together. Full house scores 25 points.  The last category is a 5 of kind or Yahtzee which scores 50 points and 100 for an additional Yahtzee. After filling all categories the high score wins.

Beat That Yard Dice Game


Cardinal 5 Giant Wood Dice Giant Game

  • Made from solid wood
  • 5 Wooden Dice – 3.5″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″
  • Numbers are heat branded directly into the wood

Beat That is a simple and great game for kids of all ages. It is fun and improves strategic thinking and recognizing different numbers. You can roll anywhere from two to six dice. Using more dice makes the game a little more complicated for older children. The object is to roll the dice and arrange them in the highest number combination possible. For example, if you decide to throw three dice per round and get a 3-6-9, you would add that up to the highest total of 963. Once the child has decided on what they think the highest number combination is they challenge the next player to “beat that” and continue with the game in the same manner. The game is played in rounds and a winner is chosen for each round. You can also add variations to the game like lowest score wins or setting a goal of total points that you add up per round until the number is achieved. Adding prizes for the winner of each round will keep the kids involved and give everyone plenty of chances to win.

Yard Dice Games FAQ

How do you play Yarkle?

Yarkle is basically a giant backyard version of Farkle, hence the play on words and changing of the first letter of the name respectively. You need six dice for a game of Yarkle, and they all need to be pretty big, such as the ones that we have listed above in this article. To play Yarkle, it’s enough to know the rules of Farkle, which you can find here. As for the papers required for playing, you can either write your own by hand or print the ones from here.

What is the Yardzee game?

The object of Yardzee is to obtain the highest score from throwing the 5 dice. The game consists of 13 rounds. In each round, you roll the dice and then score the roll in 1 of 13 categories. You must score once in each category. After rolling you can either score the current roll or re-roll any or all dice. You’ll get the hang of it quite soon if you’ve ever played regular Yahtzee. Even so, new players can learn the game fairly quickly with a little help from their friends.

Final Thoughts

These are all great games for getting started with your yard dice set. There are literally hundreds more out there. You can even get creative and make up your own yard dice games. The options are endless. Looking for some other fun yard games? Try your luck at the popular game cornhole.

Alternatively, you can keep browsing our site for more and more games and suggestions that you probably didn’t even hear of until now. There’s always an idea that can make you and your friends’ day even more fun. Stay tuned for even more fun articles from Fun-Attic!

Featured Image via Flickr