Revel in Pretty Reds

revel-in-pretty-redsFrom left to right: Pikolinos Margarita 0558L’Artiste by Spring Step Lizzie

Heat, vibrancy, boldness, spontaneity… what color do these most describe in your mind?

To us, it’s red.

No color pops just quite like it. In contrast to the light, flowing, settled colors of summer, red truly stands out. Paired with a great set of white jeans, a simple skirt, or your favorite denim, red accents and accessories reveal your playful side while staying classy and on-target.

What better to incorporate this vibrant, lively color into than your shoes? From strappy sandals to beautiful heels and cute mary-janes, red is easy to incorporate into any style, setting and time of day. Heading off to work? Pair a subtle red with your plain khakis-and-button-down combo. Getting ready for a dinner with friends? Show off your red shoes with shorts and a great top. The opportunities are endless when you give way to your spontaneity!

You’ll some of our favorite new reds below. How would you pair them? When would you wear them? We’d love to hear your best outfit ideas, adventures, and exploits. After all, that’s what red is all about: embracing the fun side of life, while staying true to who you are.

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What are your favorite red shoes for the warmer seasons?

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The Best No-Cook Meals for the Hot Summer Sun

no-bake-meals

Mixed Berry Overnight Oats | Naturally Ella
Chia & Raspberry Breakfast
| Green Kitchen Stories
Raw Thai Citrus Crunch Salad | Vegetarian Ventures
Marinated Mushroom Caps | Whole Living
Carrot Ribbon Pasta Bowl with Coconut Almond Satay | Raw Food Recipes
Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles | Damn Delicious

Summer is warm. So warm, in fact, many of us have our ceiling fans, popsicles, sandals and tank tops in full swing, ready to combat the heat in any way we can. There’s nothing better than a chilled iced coffee on a steamy hot day, or a cone of ice cream melting in the summer sun to cool you down and help you enjoy the season just that much more.

There’s one thing we tend to find difficult at times in the summer, though, and that’s cooking. Somehow, standing over a hot stove just isn’t as appealing as it is in the winter, even if you know that what you whip up will be grand. Hot meals simply don’t have the same ring they used to once the sun is up late and the kitchen’s a bit steamy.

We’re all about creative cooking, however, and that includes adapting with the seasons. Our favorite food bloggers know this, too, which is why they’ve been sharing some amazingly delicious, nutrient-filled, health-conscious, no-bake recipes all summer long.

We’ve compiled some of the best here for you; from ice cold desserts to crunchy, fresh salads, you really can’t go wrong with a chilled meal underneath the hot summer sun. Assemble a few this week, and let us know what you think!

What do you “cook” in the summer to stay cool? We’d love to feature one of your favorite recipes right here on the blog! Place your comment below and we’ll feature the very best.

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Promise You’ll End Your Workout with These 4 Steps

784We totally get it; jumping from one activity to another, one job to your daughter’s soccer game, one appointment to a meeting at work… your life is quite busy. At this point, rapidly jumping from one thing to the next may simply feel like second nature to you.

Fitting in workouts is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and is yet another one of those activities you fit between all your other exciting commitments. There’s one thing you shouldn’t cut out of your routine, however: a post-workout cool-down.

Cooling down after your workout is important to stretch your muscles, rebuild properly, and refuel for the rest of the day. How can you take maximum advantage of this post-workout time?

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Taking a few minutes to foam-roll sore muscles and stretch out tight ones can do wonders for muscle-building capacity, stability, and relaxation. Working out contracts your muscles, leaving them in a shortened state by the end of your session. Stretching soothes and elongates them, leading to less stiffness and soreness in the days to follow.

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After exercising, your body is typically low on fluids and electrolytes, in need of replacement within the subsequent few hours. Continue your post-workout routine with a large dose of water and a healthy, protein-packed snack — like cheese, nuts, Greek yogurt or a smoothie — to aid in muscle building and recovery.

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Particularly if you’re working out at the gym, disinfecting is key to maintaining good health. Gyms can be filled with germs – thanks to those who don’t clean their machines – and can be a breeding ground for colds and sickness. Stay sickness-free by washing your hands immediately after a workout. Better yet, clean off in the shower with a gentle soap, and don’t forget to moisturize… you may feel like you’ve been sweating for a long while, but your skin still needs the added moisture to replenish hydration!

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How wonderfully did your workout make you feel? How would you improve your routine? What are you challenging yourself to accomplish for the next session? Taking a few minutes to reflect on how exactly your routine makes you feel, as well as how you will continue to better yourself in the same or a different manner, are critical to a successful, healthy exercise lifestyle.

How do you finish up your workouts?

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Have a Greener Summer

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 8.12.25 PMDo you ever find yourself really taking in the great outdoors, breathing the summer air deeply and appreciating all that nature has to offer? Us too, particularly in the warm months of summer. The more we get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful flowers, happy sunshine and fresh soil, the more we feel the need to protect it.

It may sometimes feel like an overwhelming problem to bear, but the degradation of our land and oceans is a very real problem that can be improved upon each and every day by making small daily changes. Simply being cognizant of your environmental impact can lead to positive change; if you’re already thinking about it, you’re halfway there! But what else can you do to green your summer?

Shop the farmers’ market
Local, in-season produce is always the way to go – both for the environment, and for your taste buds! Summer is a great time for berries, corn, and a variety of other fruits and veggies provided by local farms. Cut down on the miles your food travels while supporting local business with a weekly visit to the farmers’ market closest to you.

Go reusable at BBQs
Barbeques and outdoor parties are one of the highlights of summer, but oftentimes come with piles of throw-away silverware, dishes, and napkins. Dishes are certainly a hassle, but committing to changing just one of these aspects to reusable – say, using reusable napkins and throwing them in the washing machine afterwards – can seriously reduce the trash created from your fun backyard gathering.

Avoid toxic sprays
Of course, wearing sunscreen and bug spray are a huge, vital part of enjoying the great outdoors in the summer. Some are better than others, however. Sunscreens made with harsh chemicals are tough on your skin and end up in the water when you cool off and take a dip. Bug spray with DEET is effective, but using a lot of it sprays into the air and can be toxic to plants and other wildlife. Look for natural protective sprays for a healthier option.

Befriend your windows
Whether in the car or in your home, utilize your windows as a first option for cooling you down. Opening these up can let in a beautiful breeze – perfect for sleeping – or shutting them during the day and closing your curtains can keep your house cool the natural way. Driving is the same; use less fuel and drive with the windows open rather than blasting the AC.

Declare your technology independence
Not only is unplugging great for your mental health and spending time with those you love, it can also save energy! Unplug your appliances, television, computer, and other gadgets when they aren’t in use… and use them sparingly! Beautiful weather isn’t around all the time, and it’s worth taking advantage of the days that it’s here.

Purify the natural way
Rather than turning on an air purifier or humidifier, add some indoor plants to your home or office. Not only will it keep you feeling happier, these plants help clear the air of toxins and allergens. Save energy – and brighten your day – by adding some beautiful plants to your life.

How do you stay green in the summer? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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5 Easy Tricks for the Healthiest Summer Hair

summer-hair-careHot weather, lots of sun, salty or chlorine-filled water… all these wonderful definitions of summer also can wreak havoc on your hair. These conditions, despite how humid it may feel, can seriously dry out your locks… not really the look we’re going for. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to maintain luscious, beautiful hair during the summer, and there’s no need for a bunch of expensive, chemical-filled hair products to do so, either. Let’s go the natural way!

Give the blowdryer a break.
The season is all about relaxing vibes, so let your hair relax a little, too. Put away the blowdryer and curling iron (or use them sparingly) and let your hair sit naturally. Beachy, loose waves are a great style for summer, and all they take is a bit of hair-holding spray and a night sleeping with loose braids. You can also just keep those braids in for the day… another easy, pretty style.

Keep hair at bay at night.
Speaking of nighttime rituals, if you’re not committing to one of the styles above, tie your hair up on the top of your head before you go to sleep. Getting your hair out of your face keeps the oils from rubbing on your skin throughout the night. It also prevents knots, tangles that can lead your delicate strands to tear.

Balance and rehydrate.
From the pool to the sea to the shower, your hair goes from wet to dry an awful lot during the summer months. Balance and rehydrate with rich olive, coconut, or avocado oils. These natural ingredients balance your hair’s pH levels and keep your locks looking shiny and fresh.

Prioritize the fresh water dip. 
Before you jump in the pool, if you can, hop into the shower and douse your hair in the fresh stuff. Soaking your hair in fresh water down to the roots can help repel and seal out chemical chlorine, keeping your hair shinier and fuller.

Stick to the comb.
With your hair already going through turmoil this summer, you don’t want to punish it even more with a rough brush. Stick to combing wet hair slowly with a wide-tooth comb. These are gentler on strands, particularly on wet strands that tend stretch and break.

[BONUS TIP] Drink (and eat) plenty of water.
As if there aren’t enough reasons to hydrate-hydrate-hydrate! One of the key aspects of healthy, balanced, refreshed skin and hair is to drink plenty of fluids. And with a greater risk of dehydration in the summer months, this is even more vital. Don’t just stick to chugging water, though; you can eat your fluids too, simply by upping your fruit intake (watermelon, anyone?).

How do you take care of your hair in the summer? We’d love to hear your ideas! 

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The Best 30-Minute Workout for Your Busy Summer

Between summertime vacations, your kids’ weekly camps, and the undying desire to spend every second relaxing in the great outdoors, sometimes workouts can take a back seat. Particularly on vacation, when you want to spend every moment you can relaxing, it can be tempting to forgo your normal workout routine for some fun in the sun.

If you ultimately need such a break to decompress, we say go for it. But if you’re debating, fitting in even a short, 30-minute, heart-pumping session a few times during your vacation can keep you in your normal routine, feeling happy and healthy both during your time away and after you get back. Keep up with all your progress by staying active; we know you won’t regret it.

To make it even easier, we’re sharing this workout from Pumps & Iron on the blog today. All you need is a timer and a jump rope… two things you can easily fit into your suitcase! With minimal equipment needed, a short routine time (only thirty minutes), and both strength and cardio training mixed into one workout, this 30-Minute Jump Rope and Strength Training workout is the best thing you can bring along with you on your travels.

strength-training-jump-rope-workout

Head over to Pumps & Iron for detailed instructions
on how to perform these moves!

For More Pumps & Iron:
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