How to Pick the Perfect Hiking Boots for a March Adventure

hiking bootsMarch is truly a great time for a winter hike. For us up here in New England, there will still be snow hanging around, making the hills a beautiful winter wonderland. In warmer climates around the country, March is the perfect temperature to get out and get your sweat on without overheating. It’s a wonderful time to take in the scenery, enjoy the natural world and get a little exercise simultaneously.

There’s nothing that can make or break a hike like the shoes you wear. Muddy terrain without waterproof boots can make for cold, uncomfortable feet. On the other hand, warm temperatures and extreme cold-weather boots don’t mix very well, leading to sweaty, unhappy toes. Neither sounds ideal!

What type of boots are right for you?
One big question to ask yourself is how intense your hiking is going to get. If you’re looking to scale mountains and boulders, your needs are a lot different than those climbing their nearby hills for a great view of the city they call home. That said, selecting boots that are appropriate to the type of hiking you wish to do is a vital part of choosing the proper shoes.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 4.00.53 PMTrail Shoes
If you’re hiking in a fairly dry, warmer area, trail shoes will offer you the support you need. These are typically low-cut and work best if you’re carrying a light daypack and encountering minimal rocks. Many trail-runners utilize these shoes on their daily trail runs.

Hiking Boots
Available in both mid and high cuts, these boots are typically waterproof. Best for hiking terrain that could be wet, muddy and rocky, these boots are meant to keep your feet dry and supported. Great for either beginners or advanced hikers, these shoes give you the confidence to explore uncharted terrain.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 4.02.05 PMBackpacking or Mountain-Climbing Boots
For more intense hiking aficionados, these shoes typically have high arch and ankle support, completely waterproof outsoles and enough padding to support you for a multi-day hike. These extremely strong boots are essential to longer, more intense adventures. As a warning, these may take quite a while to break in due to their durability. 

How do you find the best fit?
Be sure to try on and test out hiking shoes before you purchase them (or take advantage of sites with free returns). Walk around the house and be sure your heel isn’t slipping, the arch support feels adequate, and your toes aren’t sliding to the front of the boot or pinching. Try on with the socks you’ll be wearing on the hike (if it’s super cold and you’ll be wearing thick, wool socks, for example, you’ll want to test them out with those same socks). Walking up and down a flight of stairs can help simulate steep or hilly terrain.

What do you look for in hiking shoes? We all definitely have our own favorite choices, as finding the right pair is individual to your purpose and fit preferences. We’d love to hear about your favorites! Let us know in the comments below. :)

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Stay Active All Day Long!

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 2.57.17 PMDo you find yourself sitting for the majority of the day? With so much of our work moved to computers nowadays, many people work at jobs that don’t require much movement. As you may have seen, many studies have recently come out exposing the negative effects of this sedentary lifestyle. From sitting in the car on your way to and from work to sitting at a desk all day, all this chair-time certainly isn’t doing wonders for your health.

What is a worker to do? While some may have budgets large enough to spring for a brand new treadmill desk, most do not. Luckily, there are some small, easy ways to add a little movement to your day… even when it’s cold out!

We’ve broken our ideas down into three categories: strength, cardio and core. Filled with both small, daily changes and official personal-trainer-designed workouts, you can pick and choose exercises depending on what your goals may be. Go directly to the section you want to work on, and let us know how it goes!

Strength
shutterstock_59208547Small, subtle movements can help build muscle in ways you never thought possible, especially if you are consistent with it. Standing at the printer? Do some calf raises! Seated at your desk? Leg raises will work. Do fifteen reps at a time, take a one-minute break, and then do a couple more sets. Perform these routines a couple times a day and you’ll easily feel more toned by the end of the month. Another strength-training tip? Use office supplies as weights! Those heavier, old-school staplers weigh a couple pounds, so lifting them up and doing a couple arm presses or bicep curls could help you feel a little more active. Utilize a stack of notebooks or reams of paper to do some squats, deadlifts or to add weight to your calf raises. If you’re looking for something a bit more regimented for your lunch break, try out this bodyweight workout—it’s designed to be totally silent, so no one will even notice you upping your exercise ante!

Cardio
Getting your heart rate up during the day is a great way to negate the undesirable effects of sitting. Small changes—like taking the stairs, doing a couple sets of high knees between emails, or walking to a coworker’s desk rather than sending a Skype message—can all add up to do wonders for your health. If you need a little more than that, try this cardio workout (or this one, if you don’t mind going outside for a bit) from Pumps and Iron, no equipment needed. At only thirty minutes, you can do this in an empty office space during your lunch break. Just be sure to bring some face wash into work so you feel fresh the whole day through!

Core
quick-bodyweight-ab-workout-5Engaging your core is one of the easiest ways to get in a little exercise at work, as you can easily perform many different exercises from your desk. Focusing on improving your posture is one easy way to engage your core and improve your back strength simultaneously. Sit up straight, with your feet flat on the floor, being sure your back is flat and your core is engaged. Not slouching can do wonders for your strength and health! An increasingly intense way to engage the abs is to take a couple minutes a few times a day to tense your stomach muscles for 15 seconds, release, and repeat 15 times. You may even feel sore by the day’s end! Looking for a longer core workout to do at lunch? Try this ab workout, designed to engage the core with no equipment needed.

How do you stay moving if most of your day is spent seated? How do you keep active? Let us know in the comments below!

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Warm, Comforting Vegetable Pot Pie

vegetable pot pieIn the world of shoes, we’re thinking spring right now at PlanetShoes. Our warehouse is filling daily with more and more sandals, wedges and fun spring booties that we’re just dying to wear.

On the other hand, the weather isn’t really cooperating, so we’re kind of resigned to gobbling up those awesome spring shoes and storing them in our closets until all this snow melts. Of course, being us, there’s one thing that can comfort us enough to make it okay: some delicious, warm comfort food!

Tofu_Pot_PiesWe’re especially excited to whip up this delicious, veggie-packed recipe this weekend from One Ingredient Chef. Providing us yet again with a delicious, wholesome meal that warms us to the core, Andrew Olson from the One Ingredient Chef blog has shared this awesome recipe with us that’s guaranteed to make you feel-good!

Complete with winter veggies, tofu (sub whatever protein you prefer) and homemade, flaky crust, these yummy pies don’t take too long to make and store well in the fridge for a quick weeknight dinner you can heat up in a jiff.

Let us know how they go and if you make any substitutions! We’d love to hear your stories. :)

Vegetable Pot Pie Ingredients

For the full recipe, head on over to One Ingredient Chef!

About One Ingredient Chef
One Ingredient Chef is a healthy food blog run by Andrew Olson. His goal is simple: he wants you to become healthier than ever before while cooking the best food of your life. As he says, “The One Ingredient Diet is my simple answer to a world of processed foods. But this isn’t about munching on lettuce! My job is to show you (step-by-step) how to cook deliciously healthy food with only *real* ingredients.”

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Mimic the Sunlight you Crave this Winter!

vitaminD sourcesDo you find yourself missing that wonderful sunlight right now? Sure, the days are getting a little bit longer up here in Boston as the weeks go by, but it still feels like we can never see enough of the sun. The time that the sun is shining brightly is so limited in the winter months, and the desire to go outside when it is shining is abysmal due to cold temps and freezing winds.

Our bodies naturally need sunlight to feel happy and healthy, so much so that many people experience symptoms of Seasonal Affect Disorder, a term for the negative feelings experienced in the wintertime when sun exposure is limited. No matter how happy you are, limiting sunlight can naturally make you a bit more upset. It’s human nature!

Part of the reason we crave sunlight is the vitamin D we get when we absorb the sun’s rays through our skin. Luckily, there are a couple other ways to get this much-needed vitamin that can keep you feeling your best through the winter. While they may not be as good as natural sunlight, they certainly help!

IMG_4855edit2Dine on Fatty Fish
Fresh fish, especially salmon or trout, is filled with Vitamin D and is a great weekday meal that doesn’t take too much time to prepare. Top your salmon with a bit of oil, salt and pepper and throw into the oven for 20 minutes for a delicious dinner you will always feel-good about. If you’re super short on time, canned tuna also contains the same vitamin D benefits you can grab from the fresher fish and tends to be cheaper. Try mixing it with Greek yogurt instead of mayo for an even healthier spin.

Pick Up Some Vitamin D-Fortified Foods
Many of the foods you eat daily may be fortified with vitamin D without you even realizing it. Much of the milk and orange juice sold in the US has added vitamin D, so look for that on the label if you’re so inclined. Many cereals—like Multigrain Cheerios, for example—are also fortified with the vitamin.

Eat the Whole Egg
The yolk is the part of the egg that contains this vitamin, so be sure to go for the whole egg if you’re using this method. Check out our latest recipe for a delicious egg-based meal that will fill you up for hours on end!

Whip Up These Portobello Burgers
portobello-mushroom-burgers
Instead of frying up some burgers for dinner tonight, go the vegetarian route and try these Portobello burgers. These mushrooms are the only non-animal based source of naturally-occurring vitamin D, so if you’re vegan, these plants are of utmost importance. Just be sure to check that the packaging says they’ve been exposed to sunlight, as sometimes conventional mushrooms are solely grown in dark places and wouldn’t contain the vitamin D you crave.

Take a Vacation
I don’t think we have to say this twice! If you’re really feeling under the weather, plan an awesome vacation somewhere warm where you can get sunlight all day, everyday. Just be sure to slather on sunscreen and to not stay out in the sun for too long. After all, what’s spending a little money on your health, right? ;)

Prioritize Lunchtime Walks
Yes, it’s cold out, and being outside can be fairly miserable. But bundling up at lunchtime and going for a stroll will get you the vitamin D you crave while refreshing your brain to continue being productive throughout the rest of the day. Sometimes a little mid-day refresh is all you need to feel your best and get your priorities in check.

Want to learn more about Vitamin D? This handy guide has all the info you need.

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Quinoa Spinach Omelette Bites

quinoa-spinach-omelette-bites5Winter is the perfect time for baking. Turning on the oven every once in a while warms up your kitchen, and the yummy goods you tend to bake always seem to be the best of comfort food. There’s nothing like a great batch of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven to warm you up just a little bit more.

Here on the blog, we’re always looking for the healthy side of things… and we think we’ve found it with this yummy recipe from Everybody Loves Pretty. Perfect for having a grab-and-go breakfast for the whole week, a great protein-filled appetizer at parties or even a yummy, healthy post-workout snack, these Quinoa Spinach Omelette Bites are guaranteed to be your new go-to Sunday cooking plan.

Filled with protein from the quinoa, eggs and cheese, these savory muffins are super good for you and promise to keep you full all morning long. Even better, you probably already have all these ingredients in your kitchen!

Grab the ingredients below and head on over to Everybody Loves Pretty for the instructions. We promise… these are super easy!

quinoa-spinach-omelette-bites2Ingredients
1 cup cooked quinoa, warmed
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 tbsp chopped parsley
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt

Check out the full recipe instructions on Everybody Loves Pretty!

About Everybody Loves Pretty
Run by Candice, a twenty-something who has a joint passion for both cooking and baking, Everybody Loves Pretty was created as a creative outlet for the young professional to share her love for everything pretty. Completely self-taught, this impressive baker loves to try new unique recipes and create her own through inspiration from the Food Network, cooking shows and watching her very own family.

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Repurpose Your Ankle Boots for Spring!

boutique-4

We’ve told you about shorties right? This awesome trend for spring is popping up everywhere – from the runways to Pinterest to photos of the biggest celebrities. Short boots are such a great, springtime switch from your tall riding boots. We love them because they’re so versatile… pair them with tucked in jeans and a sweater for early spring, tights and a skirt as it gets warmer, or a plain old dress once that chill in the air is totally gone. And with fun cutouts and perforated details, you can really wear them all year long.

That brings us to our latest and greatest idea for incorporating this new trend into your wardrobe… repurpose your ankle boots! Yes, buying a new pair of short boots is definitely ideal and would definitely not be frowned upon. Sometimes you just aren’t feeling like spending the money, and we get you. If that’s the case for you, grab the classic ankle boots that got you through the whole fall season and pair them with springtime frocks. They translate seamlessly!

Our favorite ways to wear them:

A floral dress underneath a sweater paired with cute booties is a great look that translates easily from day to night. Check out our similar Clarks booties here.
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This look is perfect for the office: short boots, a longer skirt and a long-sleeved t-shirt make for effortless style and just the right amount of springtime warmth. Similar boots here.
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An easy tunic, relaxed jeans and casual short boots are the perfect look for springtime nights exploring city streets.
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Keep warm in cozy socks underneath short boots and a fuzzy sweater.
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How will you be wearing your shorties this spring? We’d love to see your fashion-forward style! 

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