Beat the Heat with Summer Style

I can be daunting to look at the forecast only to see high temps creeping towards triple digits. In order to tackle the summer heat and keep your cool, just follow these few simple tips.

Sunglasses, SPF and Hats – Oh My!

It’s pretty obvious as to how an itchy, uncomfortable sunburn can ruin an outfit. Protect your skin, and sanity for that matter, with continual application of a sunscreen (SPF 50 research says). To keep your outfit stylish and your face safe, you can always opt for a floppy hat. Also, if the eyes are the window to the soul, think of your sunglasses as black-out curtains, protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Keep it Cotton (or other natural fibers)

Wearing breathable fabrics like cotton or linen is a sure-fire way to keep your internal body temperature in check. These breathable fabrics are key in making sure that you can enjoy the outdoors without compromising your comfort.

Opt for Lighter Colors

We all know that wearing all-black is a slimming option, but in terms of keeping cool, it’s best to leave the darker hues for winter. Go with lighter colors because they reflect the heat instead of absorb it. Besides, who wants to be drab when white or a bright color can lighten your mood and the feeling of stifling heat?

The Looser, the Better

Flowy clothes don’t cling to your body, allowing air to circulate to your skin. While the common misconception may be that to stay cool you need to shed as many clothes as possible, you’ll feel more comfortable and be more protected from the heat and sun in non-clingy skirts, tops, dresses and pants. 

How to Keep Pets Feeling Fresh

The first “official” day of summer might not be here yet, but most of us are already feeling the heat. With weather this nice, it’s impossible to stay inside. But before you pack up to take on the great outdoors with a furry friend, check out these tips on how to keep your pet happy and safe this summer season.

  1. Don’t leave your pet in an unattended vehicle.
    This is a biggie. Cars retain more heat than an open area, even in the shade. No matter if you roll down your windows, it’s easy for dogs to overheat and become dehydrated quickly. If this hasn’t already hit it home, some states have laws in place making it illegal to leave animals in a confined vehicle.
  2. Keep your pet hydrated.
    Just like you and me, pets get thirsty. In fact, they get dehydrated even quicker because they don’t have the pores to sweat, so they can’t control their body temperature. Make sure to always have fresh, clean water on hand for your pet whether you’re out taking a walk or just playing in the yard.
  3. Be smart about your outdoor time.
    To avoid dehydration, it’s best to limit when and how much you do when it’s hot outside. Opt to be outside with your pet early in the morning or in the evening so your pet still gets the exercise he needs with a smaller risk of overheating. If you can’t avoid the hottest times of the day, at least do your best to avoid hot surfaces like asphalt that could overheat your pup’s paws.

The best way to keep your pet safe is to just be aware. Don’t let the heat spoil your summer; follow these simple tips to keep your pet healthy, happy and hydrated!

How to Avoid Bug Bites

Summer time is almost here, and that means lots of time outside. Whether you are going on a camping or hiking trip, or just planting a garden in your backyard, protection against bug bites can prevent you from irritated and itchy spots on your skin.

Bug spray, such as Repel Lemon Eucalyptus or Sawyer Picaridin (safe for children), should be applied before any outdoor activity to prevent bites.

Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent bites. Avoid wearing bright colors that attract bugs. Don’t wear sandals.

Don’t wear perfume or scented hair or body products.

Stay away from still-standing water and remove bodies of water around your home to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs.

Use screens on open doors and windows. Use air conditioning during hot, summer days.

Taking these steps will help you spend lots of time outside this summer without pesky bugs attacking you!

Let’s Talk About Moving

Moving. I don’t mean the “get off the couch and exercise kind.” I’m talking about gathering your belongings and relocating to another house or apartment. It’s May, which means you may even have kids of a certain age who will likely be moving to or from a dorm or apartment.

Here are some tips to keep the transition stay as simple as possible.

Invest in plastic bins: Especially if you are going to be moving every year or so due to an expiring lease, these are life savers! You can fit a lot in them, you don’t have to buy new cardboard boxes every year, they are easier to carry and they are unlikely to bust open on your way to the car.

Clean AFTER you’re finished: When you move, you notice a lot of dirt you probably didn’t know was there before. It is tempting to get out the vacuum immediately to handle it right away. But keep in mind that you will likely have to clean at the end of your move regardless since you will be constantly moving furniture and tracking dirt in.

Breathe: Take things one thing at a time and start early. Moving can be stressful. Relax, manage your tasks and enjoy the process as much as possible: one room at a time.

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Is Organic Really Better?

With the increasing options at the grocery store, how do you know what to buy to get the best nutritional value for your money? A number of studies have been done on the nutritional value of organic food vs. inorganic food, so let’s break down the basics.

  • One study found a significantly higher level of antioxidants in organic foods than in conventionally grown foods. Nutrients and antioxidants are two different things and affect the body differently. However, based on their findings, these researchers declared organic food to be a more nutritious option.
  • Researchers also found higher levels of pesticides on conventionally grown foods, which they said made them more unsafe.
  • None of the studies have detected levels of pesticides or chemicals that approach anything near what would be classified as an unsafe level.
  • There is no known difference between organic and conventionally grown food with respect to nutrient content.
  • The most recent study found that organic crops are lower in protein.

As you can tell, opinions and research findings vary greatly, making it hard to feel confident in one decision on this subject. When it comes to eating healthy, ultimately the answer is to eat a balance of foods that are nutrient-rich and processed as little as possible.

Vaccinated for Vacation?

Going on vacation across the world can be very rewarding, but there are a few steps of preparation you have to take to protect yourself from coming home with a harmful disease or illness.

First, you should make sure you are up-to-date on all of your general vaccinations and any medical conditions you have are controlled (such as asthma).

General travel vaccinations include Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, and Yellow Fever. Whether you need all of these vaccinations or just a few depends on which countries you are visiting, what activities you will be participating in (indoor or outdoor) and the time of year (is it mosquito season).

To see which vaccines you need before your vacation or trip, check with your doctor and go online to the CDC website. Taking these precautions will help you have a great time on your trip and prevent you from obtaining any unnecessary diseases. Bon voyage!

Ways to Boost Creativity

Feeling tired of doing the same thing every single day? Stuck in a creativity drought? Here are a few scientifically proven ways to boost your creative juices and get out of your rut:

  1. Exercise before work.
  2. Mix up your routine.
  3. Travel abroad.
  4. Go see a movie.
  5. Take a walk outside.
  6. Paint a picture.
  7. Start an idea notebook.
  8. Listen to classical music.
  9. Do something that scares you.
  10. Stop watching TV.

Letting yourself try new things without fear of failure, mixing things up and getting out of your routine will help you become more creative. The key is that no idea or thought is out of the question. Creativity makes room for unexpected ideas and thoughts. Let go of the thought that you are not creative, because everyone has creative potential – it’s just a matter of tapping into it!

Interested in Pinterest?

Mason jars full of salad. Cupcakes that look like the Muppets. Arts and crafts galore. But how can you use Pinterest to make your life easier or more fun? If you haven’t tried this addicting site yet but want to, the layout can be a little overwhelming. Follow these simple tips to get the most out of it:

  1. Organize your pins into different boards. If you are looking to use Pinterest for recipes, make a food board. Planning a wedding? Make a wedding board. This will make things easier to find when you go back looking for that one thing you saved 3 months ago.
  2. Use the search feature. Starting a new project? You can pretty much search DIY anything on Pinterest. Learn how to build your own porch swing or paint a piece of furniture. The great thing about Pinterest is it will show you pictures and instructions for almost any project you can think of.
  3. Don’t pin everything you see. As with anything else in life, it pays to be selective. When you are looking through thousands of old pins trying to figure out what to make for dinner, it can be tedious. Only pin things you think you will use and delete ones you no longer want.

Happy pinning!

Cooking Healthier Meals

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of tricks to making tasty, easy, and healthy meals for you and your family or friends. The first step is to cut out certain ingredients and substitute healthier options into your recipes.

Here are some simple substitutions I found from Go Red for Women that you can use to create healthier meals:

·         Whole wheat flour can replace white flour to add more fiber into your recipes. Fiber keeps you full longer and supports a healthy digestive system.

·         Unsweetened applesauce and canola oil can take the place of butter! This combination reduces the amount of saturated fat in your food.

·         Instead of using sour cream, you can use Greek yogurt and lemon to add protein and probiotics.

·         Avocado can be substituted for mayonnaise or cheese. While still high in fat, it contains healthy fat to keep your heart healthy.

·         Using ground turkey instead of red meats can help reduce your risk of heart diseases.

When it comes to cooking healthy, it’s all about balance and nutrients. Cut out as much sugar and saturated fat as you can – but don’t be afraid to enjoy your favorites every now and then.

Top Spots to Visit in 2017

Don’t look now, but it’s time to start planning your summer vacation! Whether you have a month to explore or just a few days off, planning any vacation takes time. Here are a few suggestions for places that make great vacation destinations in 2017.

Banff, Canada
From hot springs to gondola rides, Banff has something for everyone. Spend a few days outside admiring the beauty and spend a few more just relaxing at a spa.

Atacama Desert, Chile
Dunes, starry nights, and salty lakes are just the right combination to take in some of the best Chile has to offer. If you like being outside and have an adventurous spirit, this is the perfect place for you.

Agra, India
Bustling streets, bright colors, and busy markets are full of culture in Agra. Aside from the Taj Mahal, this city has many museums to explore. It is also easily accessible today, thanks to a new expressway train.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Historic buildings in this coastal town make you feel like you’re in another time. Croatia is a hidden gem that boasts of private beaches, boats, and local restaurants. 

Ketchum, Idaho
This hidden ski town is a great spot to get cozy, if you want more cold weather and need to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

While the list could go on and on, traveling is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn about new cultures. Vacations don’t just have to be a time of relaxation – they can also be a time of learning and experiencing new things!