How to rediscover your backyard

As the summer winds down, some of us still have not been able to take a vacation. While for some, it might be a question of schedule; for most of us, it is usually due to financial reasons. Usually, when planning a vacation, the biggest expenses go to the transportation (plane ticket or car rental) and the lodging. We are so focused on leaving town for vacation that some of us probably have no clue about the many touristic places located right in our own backyard! So, if you have been putting off a vacation due to financial reasons, consider the following options:
Center for performing arts – how many people visit New York and have a Broadway play on their list? While your local performing arts center may not feature some of the A list names you may see on Broadway, you will still be able to catch some of the most famous acts playing there as many of these shows are always on tour. While you might not catch Hollywood’s heartthrob, you also will be saving lots of money!
Tour your city/town – depending on where you live, your tourist destinations will vary but one thing is certain: you will find some amazing facts about any city! So whether you live near the water or the mountains, schedule a city/town tour. Start with your local tourist information center for a list of your city/town’s most iconic locations and choose those that appeal to you. If you live in a larger city, contact one of the many companies specialized in city tours and join them.
Enjoy the natural sites – if you live in a coastal city, take a trip to the beach. If you live near mountains, go on a hike. Whichever one applies to you, just be sure to really take the time and enjoy being in nature: listen to the waves, bask in the sun (with proper sun protection!), take a deep breath at the top of a mountain and take in the beautiful view. You will find these sites to be quite relaxing, no matter which one you do, nature is a very effective source of peace.
Participate in events – if you have not done so, create an account with one of many websites promoting various deals throughout your area. They usually list all types of specials in your area ranging from concerts, shows, spa deals, or any special events that may be happening in your area. These are great money savers as they have events that are sometimes as low as $8!
There are still a few weeks left to enjoy summer, so I hope you will be able to take some time to yourself to ensure that you relax and take a break from your daily responsibilities. While you may not leave town as you were probably hoping to do, I guarantee you that you will definitely discover a lot of new places that you did not know existed in your city! Remember, it is imperative to your health (both mental and physical) that you take some time to recharge. Weekends and/or a day off are not enough, you need to take time to remove yourself from your daily activities and give yourself time to appreciate the simple things in life for a little while.

Enjoy!
Reese

Advertisements

Five Refreshing Ways to Enjoy Your Water This Summer

It is 85 degrees at 9am, the sun is beating you every time you head outdoors, and summer is here! It’s almost impossible to stay cool, and thus you find yourself reaching for that water bottle throughout the day. While most of us tolerate drinking water, let’s face it: water is bland and after a few glasses, unless you just ran a marathon and are absolutely parched, you are starting to wish that there was a little more pizzazz in that bottle. I’m sharing 5 of my favorite ways to enjoy water and get some extra nutrients:

  • Citrus infused: add a slice of orange, lime, and grapefruit to your water and instantly have a citrus flavored water to give your taste buds variety but also to help boost your immunity with some extra vitamin C.
  • Cucumber and Mint: add a few slices of cucumber and some fresh mint leaves and not only will you have a refreshing water mix, but the mint will also help with your digestion.
  • Berry infused: if you want to add a little sweetness without reaching the sugar, chop some strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries and add them to your water. Be sure to watch for the berry seeds when sipping your water.
  • Lettuce infused: one of the water infusions that I grew up drinking, you simply add hot water on some lettuce leaves (romaine or iceberg depending on your preference). This mixture will require some advance preparation as you will need to let the water cool in the refrigerator.
  • Pineapple infused: another favorite growing up, this infusion helps you find a use for the pineapple peels prior to tossing them. Add them in a pitcher and fill it with water and let it sit for a while. Be sure to always thoroughly wash the pineapple (as you should with all of the ingredients) prior to cutting it.

While these concoctions cannot fully remedy the heat situation, they will at least help you keep cool during the summer months while also helping you make hydration fun! These options are especially fun for small children as they can be picky.

Enjoy!

Reese

Summer Fashion Favorites

Summer is in full mode and if you live in a southern state like I do, you are now dealing with 85 degrees at 9am! Being from the Caribbean, it is naturally my favorite season and over the years, I’ve gotten the list of summer must have fashion items down to a science! While we all know that in the summer, the main idea is to have a closet that is “heat ready”, some of the items on the list below might surprise some of you!
– Sunglasses: especially if you are constantly outdoors, you will soon realize that a pair of sunglasses will no longer serve as a fashion statement but rather is a necessity. They will help shield your eyes from the bright rays of the sun and facilitate vision when walking towards it.
– SPF lotion: no, it’s not only for beach days! If you are going to be outdoors, you definitely will want to protect your skin. One should always be using SPF lotion throughout the year but in the summer time, we tend to be outdoors a little more as we travel and vacation, so be sure to put on the extra protection.
– Hair tie: if your hair reaches your neck, then you definitely will need a hair tie. You can quickly remove the hair from your face, neck and back when the heat starts to really strike midday. And if you are like me and your hair is sensitive to humidity, then you already know that leaving your house without a hair tie (year round lol) is a no no. I try to keep one in every purse along with some hair pins but if you find this to be too tedious, try keeping a couple in your glove compartment in your car or in a drawer at your desk in the office for easy access.
– Shorts: probably the biggest indicator for the warm months (if you live outside of Florida), shorts are a definite must for the summer. My suggestion to facilitate your summer wardrobe is to have the following three colors: neutral, denim, dark and you will be all set! To make sure that you have even more of a variety in your wardrobe options, be sure to select three different styles and length.
– Tank tops: can’t have shorts without the summer tanks! Lighter colors while they may be easier to get soiled, they help keep your temperature cooler. They are probably the easiest investment for the season (aside from flip flops) as there will be constant deals throughout the summer at retailers such as Old Navy, Target, Forever XXI to name a few.
– Comfortable flats: we tend to walk a lot more in the summer as most of us tend to go on vacation and travel. A pair of comfortable flats will come in handy. Be sure to select a neutral color so that you might match them with most of your wardrobe.
Overall, the idea is to be sure that you are comfortable as summer usually equals vacation for most of us. You want to be adequately prepared to face the heat and comfortable to explore any new destinations that you might decide to discover this summer!
Enjoy!

Reese

Easy Tuna Salad

Are you having a hectic week but are looking for a healthy and quick food option that will also keep you full? Tuna not only is a healthy source of protein but it also contains high levels of B vitamins and omega-3. In addition to being quick, filling, and healthy, tuna is a very versatile ingredient and can be mixed with a wide variety of ingredients and help complete any meal. I’m sharing below my favorite tuna salad recipe. It’s easy to make, does not require heat and is ready to eat in less than 15 minutes!

Ingredients:
– 1 can of your favorite tuna
– 1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt
– 1 ½ Tablespoon of relish
– Diced onions
– Mustard
– Hot sauce
– Seasoning salt
– Garlic powder
– Ground pepper (black or white)

Open the can of tuna, drain the liquid and pour into a bowl. Add your seasoning salt, garlic powder, ground pepper, mustard and hot sauce. Add your diced onions (you may grate the onion if you rather only have the flavor and not the crunch and bite of the raw onion. Add the relish and the Greek yogurt in last place. You may add more of any of the ingredients to taste and finally refrigerate for best taste.

My favorite pairings with this salad are toast or crackers. For an appetizer for your summer party, simply spread a small dollop of the tuna salad onto your favorite crackers and decorate with either slices of green olives, sprig of dill or curly parsley. Your guests are sure to enjoy this delicious treat!

For some further readings on the benefits of tuna, you may enjoy the following links:
http://www.symptomfind.com/nutrition-supplements/health-benefits-of-tuna/
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-tuna-5596.html

I hope this quick recipe will help you find a new way to enjoy tuna. Please remember that while it is one of the healthiest foods, high consumption of tuna can be harmful and always speak to your doctor about any changes you may consider making in your diet.

Enjoy!

Reese

Sticking to your diet!

Summer is fast approaching and we are all planning on heading on vacation and for most of us, our destination will most likely include a pool or a beach and this means a bikini ready body! So in order to prepare for our beach or pool days, many of us have started watching our weight or heading back to the gym. While the intention is always there, for many of us, the motivation dies quickly after about a week. Since I’ve also been in this situation many times, I’m going to share with you four tips that really helped me tick to the plan. Whether you are choosing to diet or simply make regular trips to gym, these tips will apply:
– Have a piece of clothing as motivation. Is there one particular outfit that used to be your go to for a boost of confidence? Maybe lately, it’s not fitting quite the same? Then put that dress on display in your closet and make it your goal to get back into that outfit!
– Get a work out partner/coach that will motivate you or a diet buddy. Sometimes the intention to go to the gym is there, however, after a long day of work, you simply want to leisure walk on the treadmill to fulfill the “working out” requirement. However, we all know that leisure walking on the treadmill while it will still help your heart, will not get you any closer to shedding the pounds! Find a workout partner who is just as serious about losing weight or getting in shape and be each other’s motivator. You must establish trust between the two of you because there are days that there will be some yelling involved and you will need to remember that it is out of love lol. If you decide to go on a diet, find someone to do it with you and be each other’s motivator, share recipes or have meals together to keep each other on the right path.
– Find alternative recipes. Whether you are simply working out or have chosen to maintain a different diet as well, alternative recipes to mainstream foods rich in carbs and fat will be beneficial. Today there are so many alternative recipes that are so tasty, you will never want to go to the less healthy version! (Look for my alternative to the regular burger in the Beauty & Health section http://wp.me/p5DKT0-2B).
– Set a goal date. Whether it is the beginning of summer, maybe your birthday, or better yet an event to attend, set your goal date and keep working towards your goal and do your very best to achieve it! Keep the calendar handy and you will feel the pressure (and motivation) build as the date approaches.
At the beginning of the year, I had set a goal to get my stomach as flat as possible for a wedding on Memorial Day weekend. I purchased a dress that I know would require the type of stomach that I wanted to achieve (as the material was spandex), and made sure that my trainer knew my goal. With her help, I cut out many of my favorite carbs or found better alternatives, did boot camp style workouts three times a week and for the last month I also went walking for 45 minutes on my off days. While I did not gain a six pack yet, I was happy that I wore my dress and no Spanx were required!!! Furthermore, there is a feeling that you get once you start seeing results that just makes you even more motivated to continue with your workouts or your diet. I hope that my suggestions will help you as well and remember that the most important goal is to feel good in your body and to be healthy!
Have fun!
Reese

Dear High School Graduate

As the school year is coming to an end, many of us will be attending graduation ceremonies. This is one of my favorite times of the year as I love to watch students get recognized for their hard work. College was a great time in my life and while I did not have the traditional college life, I wouldn’t trade that experience for another as I believe it helped shape me into the adult that I am today. While graduates are usually told to expect become more responsible, learn independence, how to do laundry etc. There are some advice that I wish graduates would hear more often. Here are some of the advice I wished someone had told me (I discovered some of those on my own and fortunately took advantage):
– Select a major that you are passionate about – the worst thing that you can do is pursue a degree in a certain field because it is lucrative. While you may complete it (some students don’t and end up switching majors two to three years into the program), chances are you will become miserable once you enter the workforce. Every career has some requirements that are less desirable, however, if you are if you are passionate about your career, you will enjoy even the downfalls.
– Take advantage of all of the interest clubs and organizations – especially while in your first two years, it is the easiest time to participate in all types of organizations while still taking your general education courses. Clubs and organizations help you explore different careers and help you decide which path you want to take (if you are unsure) but they also provide you with further exposure in that field and hence increase your chances of obtaining internships and scholarships.
– It’s okay to attend a two year college first – choosing to attend a two year college after high school is the ideal choice, unless you have secured a full ride scholarship to a four year institution. Two year colleges not only facilitate the transition from high school into college, they eliminate having to sit in an auditorium where you are nothing but a number to the professor. Furthermore, they share plenty of the clubs and organizations present in a four year university and many of the times they also share faculty with nearby four year institutions. However, the best advantage of two year colleges is that they are less expensive! So if you (or your parents) are paying out of pocket: this should be a no brainer.
– Travel abroad – this is probably the cheapest method for you to travel around the world! Most of the time, travel abroad costs usually include airfare, lodging, and transportation. So this only leaves you to cover your with meals and even those are sometimes covered in the fees. So pack up that suitcase and take that trip, you are bound to have the experience of a lifetime and if you can do so with some friends, even better!
– It’s okay to have a goal – while in college, I was determined, I had waited a year after graduating high school to start and decided that it had been vacation enough and wanted to recuperate the time lost by attending school year round full time including the summer. Meanwhile, I had former classmates who decided to “enjoy the college life” and skip terms instead. Needless to say, by the time they graduated, I was already in my second semester of graduate school.
– Do not stop at your bachelor’s – the workforce is becoming more and more filled with individuals with degrees so the more specialties you can learn (certificates included), the more marketable you will be.
Remember, these four years will definitely change your life! You will grow and may even adopt a different lifestyle (hopefully in a positive way lol), however, they will forever leave an imprint in your life and will also shape you for the workforce. Be sure to enjoy yourself but remember to keep your eyes on your goal. Ultimately, there is only one person directly affected by your choices and that is you.
Congratulations graduate, the world is yours to conquer!!!
Reese