If you live in a seasonal climate, you’ve certainly experienced it: as the weather gets colder, your home energy bill gets higher. It’s the inevitability that comes with staying comfortable all year long, and of course, the extra spend is well worth it.
However, it’s always a great feeling to get those monthly costs down – particularly without having to turn the thermostat down to super low levels. On top of this, getting your heating costs down each month means you’re saving energy while still staying comfortable, thereby decreasing your monthly environmental footprint. The less energy you use, the less gas or oil (non-renewable resources) you’re using up.
So how exactly can you use less energy to heat your home, all while saving money and the environment? There are a few things you can do to prep your house for winter that can help you seriously accomplish those goals.
It’s most important to block up all air leaks – small cracks in your home’s surface that allow heat to seep out, making your heating system work harder to keep the home at a consistent temperature. These leaks are most often found around window frames and doors, where the seal between the wall and the window/door may not be totally complete. Caulk door frames in preparation for winter and block the bottom of the door frame with a towel or long homemade beanbag. Seal windows tightly with plastic to keep warm air in and cold air out. You can also install storm windows, which offer a great return on your investment, or you can purchase thick winter curtains to insulate the home.
Due to the natural properties of heat, it will always flow wherever there is a difference in temperature. While this may be a fairly solid amount of work, insulating walls and ceilings within your home is a great way to decrease your heating costs in the long run.
Another pre-winter tip: clean your furnace. Your furnace is the heart of your heating system, and clearing it of residue prior to winter ensures that the contraption will be working with utmost efficiency once the colder months come around. Make sure to also get the furnace inspected every once in a while to ensure maximum value.
For a natural route, you can use “windbreaks,” like large trees and walls around your home, to block the wind and insulate your entire house from the rapid, cold gusts of winter. On top of this, utilize the sunlight to your advantage as the weather gets colder: keep curtains open the day to let in the light and the heat, then close them at night to keep out the dark, cold evening.
Follow these tips for an insulated, cozy home that offers low heating costs and a small environmental impact. At the end of the day, grab a couple blankets, hot cocoa, and some slippers – and enjoy the comfortable warmth of your home!
This Labor Day weekend typically marks the last beach weekend of the summer, where families and friends alike head to the beach in droves. Umbrellas, towels, coolers, and bottles of sunscreen line the sandy shores as laughter and music fill the air.
What type of beachgoer are you? Do you love to lounge, lying in your beach chair for hours on end soaking in the sun’s rays? Do you prefer to float in the waves for hours on end, enjoying the salty water as it reacts to your buoyancy? Or do you like to relax beachside by being active, exploring the dunes, picking up shells, kayaking on the waves, or walking through the rising tide?
No matter what kind of beachgoer you are, it’s important to use the time surrounded by the sun and sand to relax. Take a few deep breaths, listen to the ocean waves, and let that beachside breeze soothe you. After all, what else is Labor Day for than to take time off work, forget all your worries, and ultimately enjoy some downtime?
Once you’ve had your relaxation time and a little ocean or lakeside fun, grab a quick beachside workout with this speedy routine brought to us by Pumps and Iron. Complete with butt-toning moves that will make you seriously sore tomorrow, this quick, 12-minute routine is the best way to end your day of beachside relaxation. Your muscles have enjoyed some serious downtime, and the end of Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to re-enagage them yet again – while still staying on the beach.
With a few simple, quick moves and a focus on both the lower and upper parts of the body, this workout does it all. It taps into each muscle group – particularly focusing on your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Best of all, this workout requires no equipment… all you need are some workout clothes (or a suit, if that’s comfortable for you) and a water bottle, and you’re good to go. Use your towel as a mat if you’d like to, or simply enjoy the sand beneath your toes.
This workout is the perfect way to get a little activity in after a long day of rest. Engage those muscles, tone your body, and enjoy a little Labor Day fun! After all, you deserve it.
After you eat a meal, you can thank your metabolism for revving into gear and converting that food into energy. While everyone’s metabolic rate differs, the faster yours is, the more calories you’ll burn. It’s that simple!
Of course, if you were born with a slower metabolism, it can take you a bit longer to burn those calories and fewer end up being burned overall – leading to excess calories, and potentially weight gain. Luckily, there are a few healthy habits you can implement to increase your metabolic rate all day through.
- Get some zzz’s. We can’t say it enough – sleep is seriously important. Not only does getting enough sleep keep you from yawning your way through the day, it can also keep your metabolism quick and constantly burning.
- Drink coffee. The caffeine in coffee can speed up your metabolism for up to three hours after drinking it. Because caffeine is absorbed into the blood stream quickly, it also speeds up your heart rate – and your metabolism.
- Add spices to your meals. Adding a little zesty spice to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the form of cayenne, jalapenos, habaneros, or other spicy concoction has been shown to boost your metabolism in some studies. Plus – it’s delicious!
- Lift heavy weights. Who says lifting is only for men? (We sure don’t!) Not only does lifting some heavy poundage increase your strength and help you lose weight, it also may speed up your metabolism, helping you burn extra calories hours after you leave your gym session.
- Try high intensity interval training. While long bouts of cardio can certainly work wonders in increasing your endurance, toning your leg and core muscles, and helping you lose a few extra pounds, shorter bursts of energy can also do the trick. High intensity interval training (or HIIT) is a type of workout routine filled with quick, repetitive exercises that help you burn calories in a shorter amount of time. These quick bouts of high intensity activity can increase your metabolism for hours on end.
Do you have any key tips for speeding up your metabolism? Let us know in the comments below!
Seen above: Bourgeois Boheme Taylor
Stylish sneakers has to be one of our favorite fashion trends. They’re infused and designed with the same comfort you find in your favorite running sneakers, but look poised, sophisticated, and charming. They’re a perfect mix of fashion and function, style and comfort. They look and feel GOOD.
To be honest, it was truthfully difficult to contain our excitement when sneakers started hitting the high fashion runways. Oftentimes, trends trickle down from those runways – and in this case, the fashion sneaker trend certainly did!
Complete with fashion-forward accents like embellishments, pops of color, intriguing laces, fun footbeds, and eye-catching silhouettes, these new casual sneakers are guaranteed to be on many a wish list this fall. Their fun, versatile wear-ability goes hand in hand with any and all fall wardrobes.
Seen above: Cloud Amazonas Casual Sneaker (only available in black)
To us, autumn fashion is all about mixing, matching, and layering. A summer dress that brought you to many an outdoor concert during warmer weather can be easily paired with tights and a sweater on top to instantly transition the outfit to fall. Skirts are made playful with colorful tights, bright sneakers, and a chambray button down. Pants keep you comfortable and warm paired with your favorite fun casual sneakers and a light, neutral blouse. The opportunities are endless!
Whether you have a casual work environment or not, casual sneakers are made with such beautiful leathers and intricate detailing that many pairs have become work appropriate. And if you work from home or run after little ones all day, the comfort in casual sneakers will get you were you need to go with ease, transitioning easily from a sunny day to a night on the town.
Enjoy the best that fall has to offer – and stay comfortable doing it – with casual sneakers. Adventure on, layer up, and enjoy the chillier weather with grace, style, and comfort in mind.
Did you know? All of our casual sneakers are 40% off! Shop today.
With Labor Day this coming weekend, we hope you’re going on a multi-day vacation or stay-cation to relax, rejuvenate, and spend time with loved ones. Taking some time off is good for the soul and can have some serious physical benefits. In fact, many Americans don’t use all their paid time off – a calamity! You deserve to take that time, and should do so.
When you finally do plan that vacation, it can be difficult to turn off your mind and truly relax. With so much to do prior and post-vaca, it’s hard to turn off the spinning wheels in your mind. It may take multiple days of worrying before you’re able to really chill – and then you only have a few days left!
How can you turn off the stress as soon as possible? Sounds difficult, but with a little practice, it doesn’t have to be. Being truly mindful about enjoying your vacation, and learning to let go of all the stressors that may remain at home, is possible with a bit of extra thought.
Firstly, in preparation for your vacation, get all the absolute most important priorities at work or home out of the way. Don’t save finishing a report or proposal for a casual vacation morning when you don’t have anything planned – if it doesn’t end up getting completed because something spontaneous comes up, you’ll become increasingly stressed.
If you can, make a promise to yourself to not check work emails, or if you have to, check them only every once in a while to ensure that fires aren’t burning. From there, trust in your coworkers to get the job done while you’re away. That’s partly what they’re there for!
Another helpful tip? Avoid social media. While it may be fun to post pictures of your trip, we advise waiting until you get home to do so. Plugging into your social accounts plugs you back into your life at home – a life you’re trying to temporarily take a break from. Logging in can remind you of tasks, people, and places demanding your attention when you get home – so ignore it for the time being.
While you’re away, try not to overdo it on the daily activity planning. If you’re constantly thinking about what’s going to happen next, you won’t actually pay attention to what you’re enjoying in the moment. Make a general plan for a few days, but allow yourself a couple days with zero activities planned to make room for spontaneity.
On that note, use this time to try something new! Studies show that the more lasting memories you make during a certain period, the longer it will seem to you. Wake up early, avoid television, and head off into the great unknown. You won’t regret it.
All in all, making your vacation feel longer than it is all comes down to enjoying the present moment. Be mindful of your enjoyment, relaxation, and ease throughout the vacation to lengthen, strengthen, and make the most of your time away from responsibility.
This time of year is an absolutely beautiful time to exercise outdoors. The sun’s out, there’s no snow on the ground, and the leaves have bloomed in all their fullest glory. The one problem? It can get hot.
When the temperature hits above the nineties, outdoor workouts can feel absolutely sweltering, and many people have a hard time enjoying these sweat sessions. That heat can make your legs feel just a little bit heavier, your heart pump a little bit faster, and your sweat drip a little more intensely. Unless you’re the type who loves hot workouts (like hot yoga, for instance), this weather simply isn’t ideal.
Luckily, there are a few ways to beat the heat while exercising outdoors that will help you enjoy the summer weather in all its glory.
- Start the session off right and lather on sunscreen. When it’s super hot out, chances are the sun is at its peak and the rays are coming down quite strong. Protect your whole body by applying sunscreen to all visible skin. Be sure to grab a sweat-proof sunscreen for effective ray blockage and safety.
- Wear the right clothing. Minimal clothing is best (while still feeling comfortable running outside, of course). Bare skin helps you dry off and cool off more quickly, making you feel less uncomfortable during and post-run. If you’re not as into working out in minimal garb, grab yourself some sweat-wicking tops and shorts to keep you as cool as possible. Loose fitting tops in moisture-wicking material work best.
- Cool down prior to your run. If your body temperature is significantly lower to start off, it will take longer to come up to super hot levels. Prior to your run or outdoor class, go into an air-conditioned space if you have one and take a few deep breaths to soak in the cool temperatures. Alternatively, drink lots of ice water, suck on an ice cube, or down some slush.
- Accept that your performance may change. As you’re exercising in the heat, you may notice that your pace isn’t as fast as you normally run, or you can’t perform as many push-ups as you typically can. In the heat, you’ll need to slow down your pace or shorten your time outdoors to stay safe and ensure that your body temperature doesn’t get too high. Ultimately, it’s most important to listen to your body’s signals – it knows best!
- After your exercise session, cool down with a cold shower to bring your body temperature back to normal. On particularly hot days, it may take longer for your body temperature to lower, which can even make it hard to sleep once you get into bed. Be sure to walk it out after a difficult, hot exercise session, stretch, and cool down with a cold bath or shower.
Exercising in the heat doesn’t have to be terrible. Learn to embrace the hot weather for the rest of the summer – if you live in a seasonal climate like we do, come winter, you’ll be begging for the heat to come back yet again!