Best European Walking Cities

laramblaIt’s truly a great time to start planning a great getaway. As winter begins to settle in, it’s nice to have something to look forward to as the winter weather begins to swirl about.

With our new Made in Europe shop, planning a European vacation has been on our minds lately. Taking inspiration from Pinterest photos, magazines and online travel blogs to make our shop got us thinking… where exactly are the best walking cities in Europe?

London, England
With cobblestone streets and gorgeous, age-old architecture, London is a great walking city filled with the greatest in British attractions. One of these is the Tower Bridge, spanning over the Thames River. The bridge is complete with an upper walkway for checking out some completely stunning views.

Barcelona, Spain
Stretching for three-quarters of a mile lined with beautiful trees, La Rambla is a pedestrian’s paradise. As more tourists have found the street spectacular, small kiosks and cafes have been added. Grab a cup of joe and meander down the beautiful street with ease.

Venice, Italy
While Venice may be known as a water-based city, it’s considerably walkable. Starting at the Rialto Bridge, a famous landmark that spans the Grand Canal, and walking along the river can offer an easy, enjoyable adventure through the city.

Gore-tex Scottish National Trail
e6bfbb724b00fd3abde9781a24d306e3With different paths for foodies, history lovers and art fanatics, the Gore-Tex Scottish National Trial has a little something for everyone. The trail runs the entire length of the country, the first official one of its kind, and winds through two major national parks and the capital city.

Munich, Germany
There’s much to see in Munich, from various cathedrals to the English Garden to some impressive beer halls. Experience the culture of Munich by walking through a produce market or checking out some of the museums.

Vienna, Austria
Get lost down hidden medieval alleys and beautiful gardens in Vienna. While it’s great to have a tour guide, sometimes wandering and getting lost leads you to the best finds. Be sure to check out their famous open-air bazaar, the Belvedere Palace and some stunning architecture.

Need some great walking shoes for your European adventures? Check out our Made in Europe shop

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OLovesM Recycled Yoga Mat Bags!

376562_254948464621243_218110903_nHere at PlanetShoes, we love that so many of our brands make a difference. Whether by volunteering regularly, using eco-friendly materials in their shoes or donating a portion of their profits to a charitable organization, these shoe and accessory companies are doing what they can to give back to both local and global communities.

One of those companies that truly stands out is OLovesM. One day in yoga class, founder Merle had an thought: what happened to all those old yoga mats once they were no longer usable? Turns out they just got thrown into a landfill. Once Merle realized this sad reality, she set to collecting old yoga mats all around her town to start making great bags! Between the recycled yoga mats and their Made in the USA production, these are some of the most eco-friendly bags on the market.

Even better… their bags are adorable. Truly stand-out styles in a variety of colors and textures, forms and functions, OLovesM bags are the perfect addition to your wardrobe. Take one of the wallets on a quick trip to the store, a tote on a long weekend trip, or a handbag while perusing the local shops. The opportunities are endless when you have a cute, yoga-mat-made OLovesM bag!

Check out our OLovesM selection today, and let us in on which is your favorite in the comments.

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Create Your Best Health Plan

bestyourbestselfEveryone’s health needs are different. With all the advertising coming at us each and every day, from television to the internet to billboards and gyms, it’s easy to get pulled in to health plans that simply aren’t right for you. The commercials for these methods show astounding results (50 pounds lost! 50 pounds of muscle gained!), but that plan may not work the same for everyone.

Each and every body is different, and therefore it makes sense that each and every individual needs a different sort of health plan. The ones advertised can offer a great starting point, sure. On top of that, it’s up to you to find your perfect rhythm, diet and fitness plans to becoming your best you!

Answering a few of these questions may just be the best way to get started.

What do you truly enjoy?
Start here. What health-related activities make you the happiest? Does jogging soothe you? Do you love power-walking with friends? What about cooking up delicious meals? Take your health-related passions (or even those things you don’t really mind doing) and make it a goal to incorporate those activities into your daily life.

Is this something you can keep up with?
The best intentions are only as good as how you enact them. Making huge, lofty goals is all in good fun, but often they become difficult to keep up with. Picking smaller goals will make your regimen addictive, always on your way to the next tangible goal. On top of this, be sure that the goals you choose fit into your daily life accordingly. If you work until 9pm, for example, the goal of nightly workouts may not be so realistic.

Are you surrounded by a positive, supportive group?
Having a core group cheering you on is one of the best motivators towards success. If you enjoy exercising or cooking alone for some downtime, get involved with reading blogs that offer great tips and a community of like-minded people striving for the same achievements.

shutterstock_59208547How do you feel?
Check-in with yourself every once in a while. When schedules get busy and time is limited, it can be easy to run through the motions without giving new routines a second glance. Are you feeling revived, amped up, and rejuvenated from your health plan, or does it have you feeling super sore and sluggish? Giving yourself a little mental check-in could make all the difference in continuing your newly developed plan.

Are there ways to better this for you?
Once you’ve nailed down a great routine, don’t stay stagnant. Take time to reflect upon what you’re doing well in achieving your goals and what you aren’t enjoying so much about your routine. Remember, this is YOUR plan. If you don’t like something, change it!

How do you design your life around health and fitness? We’d love to hear your tips and tactics!

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Homemade Healthier Halloween Candies

Halloween comes with adorable, fun costumes, spooky haunted houses and a whole lot of yummy sweets. Having all that Halloween candy lying around the house before the trick-or-treaters knock on the door can lead to some awfully tempting munching.

While it’s great to indulge every once and a while, we always say make the indulgence worth it! Those pre-packaged candies are delicious, but are often filled with artificial ingredients and chemicals, making them not-so-healthy for your body to ingest.

Make the most of this Halloween season by whipping up your own, healthier versions of your favorite candies. Some people even follow the rule to only eat desserts when they’re homemade, a great idea to avoiding tempting sweets. Chances are you’ll like these (surprisingly) healthier versions even better than the original… so nosh away without the guilt!

resees

 

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Made with only three, simple ingredients, these homemade Resee’s are easy to whip up, all natural, and well worth the indulgence!

 

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Homemade Butterfingers
These easy, textured candies are made up of only four ingredients… much less than in the normal buttery concoction!

 

mintpatties

 

Dark Chocolate-Covered Peppermint Patties
These babies are made of coconut, cashews and an important all-natural sweetener: maple syrup! With antioxidants from the dark chocolate and coconut and protein from the cashews, you can feel-good munching away on these deliciously refreshing candies.

healthywhoppers

 

Healthy Whoppers
What an awesome surprise… toasting up protein-packed chickpeas gives them a whopper-like consistency! Cover them in chocolate and you have a much healthier, still scrumptious whopper.

 

Caramel-apples-on-parchment


Homemade Caramel Apples
The store-bought, packaged caramel meant for apples simply doesn’t have the same appeal as these goodies. These aren’t necessarily the healthiest of the bunch, but they are made with natural sweeteners (honey and rapadura) that give them a whole-food kick over the conventional.

What are your favorite Halloween candies? Do you ever make them from scratch? Share your recipes with us below… if you dare!

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How Does a Local Farm Welcome Fall?

walthamfieldslogoFall is an interesting, wonderful, transitional time for food. Switching from light summer fruits and veggies like zucchini, berries and watermelon and moving towards rich, hearty sweet potatoes, kale and apples makes the change in seasons even more tangible.

In order for this produce to switch over from perfect-for-salads to perfect-for-stews, there’s a whole lot of work that needs to be done on our local farms. Growing season is one thing, but prepping for the winter is another whole animal.

We chatted with our local community farm, Waltham Fields Community Farm, about what they’re doing to prepare for winter. Right now, they’re in the midst of sowing cover crops to replenish nutrients in the soil.

Cover crops are a mix of plants that are grown to be cut down and turned under as a way to replenish and supply valuable nutrients back into the soil for future crop use,” the farmers explained. “We are currently using mixes of oats and peas, and rye and vetch, for our cover crops.  They will provide a fertility boost and add organic matter to the soil.”

Cover crops are sometimes called “green manure” and are considered an example of an organic gardening process. Luckily, this method isn’t exclusive to larger farms… it can be used on small backyard gardens as well!

watermelonradishThe farmers welcome this change in season happily and love all the new produce that comes with it. “While summer seems like the time for leafy greens, many greens are at their best after a cold snap helps convert some of their starches to sugars. Hearty greens such as kale, collards, beet greens and mustard greens are really good right now,” they explained. They also highlighted winter squashes and sweet potatoes as stand-outs for October.

In terms of their favorite recipes, the farmers at Waltham Fields Community Farm believe in simplicity. “It really is true that fresh vegetables taste amazing when treated simply,” they said. They recommend roasting root vegetables with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary as a simple yet delicious weekly dish. They’ll often add broccoli florets, cauliflower and watermelon radishes (gorgeously colored veggies with a tie-dye appeal, pictured above) to the mix as well.

“Staff have been enjoying cauliflower ‘steaks’ (lots of recipes online) and making pesto with fennel fronds and walnuts. We also make hearty soups made of squash, or leeks and potatoes,” they said, offering up a couple more fall ideas. “Our Executive Director recently brought to share a sweet potato pie she made that was savory, not sweet – it was delicious, with a hint of citrus flavor.”

Wondering what the farmers do in the winter? They take a well-deserved vacation! There are also localfooddays of planning, hiring and assessing successes and doubts from the previous growing season. Their winter season isn’t too long, however… seedlings begin to be sowed for next season in February or March.

Want to learn more? If you’re in the area, come check out their Harvest Potluck & Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 13th. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the year’s successful harvest.

If you aren’t in Massachusetts, you can always check out their website… Waltham Fields Community Farm is doing some amazing things for the local community!

Friday, October 24th is National Food Day, a day celebrating real, whole food and the power it can have to create community and improve health. Learn more on their website, and be sure to celebrate the whole month long!

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Upcycled Halloween Costumes: DIY!

Halloween is just a couple days away… are you struggling for costume ideas?

Unless you’re super creative, it may feel like each year is a fight with time to think up the best costumes. Some feel too difficult, some overdone, and some just impossible.

We promise there’s an easier way! Whether for your kids, yourself or your pet, we’ve found some easy, fun ideas for simple costumes. Better yet- each one uses materials you already have in your recycling bin, making it easy to stay green and #upcycle this Halloween!

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For the Kids
1) Upcycled Batman: Use an old pillowcase and a bit of felt to make this easy superhero costume.
2) Dinosaur: An old hoodie works perfectly for a last-minute dinosaur costume!
3) Rocket Launcher: Two soda bottles and a bit of felt or construction paper and you’re on your way to an awesome getup.
4) Sweatshirt Monster: For the super last-minute, grab a sweatshirt and some cotton balls and you’ve got yourself an insta-monster!

fotor_costumes1

For Yourself
-Yogurt cup mouse: Utilize individual yogurt containers and some felt to make this adorable mouse costume!
-Bunch of grapes: Have some balloons hanging around? Instant grapes!
-Rubix cube: With an old box and a bit of paint or construction paper, a rubix cube is a few minutes away.

dogpinata

For Your Pet
-Pinata: Old t-shirts or fabric scraps make for a super adorable pinata costume for your small pets!

What costumes are you whipping up for Halloween this year? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

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