While a cold Winter's day gives you an excuse to snuggle close in a cozy bed, it's hard to compete with the sex appeal of Summer. With Fourth of July just behind us, the season of less clothes and more skin is hitting its hot and heavy peak. Now's the perfect time to enjoy a day at the beach with a new crush, or a nap in a hammock and dip in the lake with a longtime lover. To get you in the mood, here are some sultry and romantic Summer lovin' snapshots!
Believe it or not, popcorn can be a healthy snack; corn kernels are considered a whole grain, and its nutritional benefits are similar to a serving of brown rice or whole wheat. It's the additives like sugar, oil, butter, and salt that stir up caloric trouble. Air popped popcorn has only 31 calories per one cup serving. Loaded with fiber, popcorn will aid digestion, make you feel fuller longer, and balance your blood sugar levels. Popcorn also has high amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps the body protect itself from free radicals. The B-complex vitamins found in popcorn provide an energy boost too. It's so easy to make homemade popcorn, either by microwave or stove top, so there's no excuse to opt for the pre seasoned bags. So you can indulge in a guilt-free snack that's still loaded with flavor, we've provided some healthy topping alternatives after the break.
To get you Fourth-of-July-ready, we've rounded up five awesome essentials that you need to show off your Americana spirit in style. From a patriotic, bold button-up to a fun, fringed bag, these five must haves will take you from a day in the sun to an evening of festive fireworks.
>> Nothing's better than an outdoor party . . . especially a super stylish one. BBQ on the deck? Picnic in the lawn? Drinks on the terrace? Whatever the plan, these 20 amazing al fresco finds are sure to pave the way for one very chic Summer soiree. Click through for dreamy drinkware, cozy outdoor seating, and even a pretty little grill — all under $100. Hostess with mostest, indeed.
Image via Singles Magazine Korea, May 2011
>> The countdown to Fourth of July weekend has begun . . . and that means it's time to plan an outfit. To help you get in the stylishly patriotic mood, we've rounded up 15 perfect-for-the-Fourth pieces — all in red, white, or blue, of course. Make a subtle statement by going head to toe in just one color, or aim for ultra-Americana and wear all three hues together. Why not? After all, these pieces are so utterly wearable, they just may end up in your regular Summer rotation, fireworks or not.
Image via Nasty Gal
It's summertime, which means it's also time to be outside around your home. If your yard or patio's in need of a little sprucing up, don't fear — even if you can only afford to add one or two improvements this Summer, those updates will pay off in the long run. From great furniture to needed maintenance, there are plenty of ways to add a polish to your patio or yard this Summer. Here are some places to get started.
Break out your bikini and celebrate the first day of Summer! We're gearing up for the temperatures to rise with a look back at the last month's hottest bikini and shirtless stars. Some of our favorite celebrities revealed their enviable bodies with swimsuit-filled vacations, family trips to the beach, and sexy photo shoots, including Gisele Bundchen, Andrew Garfield, Kim Kardashian, and more. Check out our roundup as you kick off your own Summer celebrations this week — surf's up!
Summer weather inspires me to exercise outside, even though some days it's super hot and humid. I usually work out early in the morning when temps are the lowest, and if I'm done by 8:30 a.m., I usually beat the heat. Not only do I love not having to wear a lot of clothes, but there are also so many different ways to move your body, you'll never get bored.
With busy Summer schedules and the sometimes unbearable heat and humidity, 15 minutes may be all you can spare (or bear). It may feel like a short time, but some exercise is always better than none at all. Check out how many calories you'll burn in your mini-workout. All stats are based on a 130-pound woman.
Running at a pace of 6 mph (10-minute miles): 148 calories
Walking at a pace of 4 mph (15-minute miles): 59 calories
Biking at a moderate pace of 13 mph: 118 calories
Mountain biking: 126 calories
Stretching/light yoga: 59 calories
Swimming laps at a moderate pace: 118 calories
Snorkeling: 74 calories
Not seeing your favorite Summer activity? Keep reading to find out how many calories you burn in 15 minutes of hiking, tennis, or playing Frisbee.
Looking for fresh flowers for your home? This Summer, head to your town's farmers market for a variety of beautiful blooms. Floral expert Michael Gaffney, founder of the American Schools of Flower Design, recently offered some great tips for those of us who love to hunt for the freshest flowers at farmers markets.
"Local farmers markets have the best selection of fresh cut, native flowers," said Gaffney. "During the Summer months, there is no better venue to find flowers for all of your floral arrangements, and buying local helps support your community’s economy. Local farmers can also teach you about maintenance and growing procedures for the different colorful and beautiful native flowers you may not be familiar working with."
Gaffney’s top suggestions include:
- Ask the vendor when the flowers were picked. You will get an idea of how fresh the flowers are and how long they will last
- Check that the stems are freshly cut and the leaves and bud are firm. Don’t buy flowers from a vendor who has brown or withered buds on display
- Cut the stems and place them in warm water; it helps to rehydrate the blooms and keep them fresh for longer
Have you recently picked up any bouquets at your local farmers market? What type of flowers did you buy?
Source: Flickr User Maureen Lunn
Forget romantic couples getaways. With its long days, hot nights, and opportunities to take time off for an adventure, Summer might be the best season to be single. Whether you plan to plop on a beach with your best girlfriends, explore a European city with your sister, or even have a full-on family vacation scheduled with the whole clan, there's always hope for a steamy Summer romance. Relaxed and free from everyday stress, you'll be open to letting fate run its course as you get to know someone you never would have met in your normal life. And without the pressure to determine the relationship, you can keep things light and fun. Below you'll find six tips to help you make the most of a Summer vacation fling.
- Test out the local delicacies. If you're headed to the south of France or a beach town in Spain, take a Summer fling as a chance to practice your foreign language skills between make-out sessions. Even if you're staying stateside, hooking up with the local in your vacation destination will give you an inside experience a tourist could never have.
- Find friends with benefits. While on a vacation with your girlfriends, find a group of guys you can all hang out with. Even if there isn't a love connection with everyone in the gang, it will make your romantic adventure more fun for everyone and might spark lifelong friendships, or at least some Facebook friendships.
- Go outside your comfort zone. Do you refuse to date bartenders in your own city? Maybe you have a strict six-foot height requirement for your potential mates. Ditch your long list of dating rules and regulations while you're on vacation, since the relationship has an expiration date anyway. You'll probably realize how silly they were and never go back to them!
- Keep your priorities straight. Finding someone to hold hands with on the beach or cuddle with back at the hotel should not be the purpose of any single girl's vacation. You'll want to have quality time with your friends, family, or whomever you traveled with in the first place. If you do meet a special someone, keep in mind he was a complete stranger mere days ago.
- Stay realistic. You might think your Summer fling is handsome, funny, smart, and sexy, but that doesn't mean you're meant to be together forever. Think of it like the TV show The Bachelorette — sure it's easy to fall in love in paradise when you're not faced with any of life's real challenges, but once you get back to the real world you might realize there were a lot more details you needed to know about this person. Remembering that should help you keep some perspective and manage your expectations postvacay.
- Be safe. This goes without saying, but if you end up having sex, be sure to use a condom. If you're going to a remote resort or don't plan on having access to a car or store, pack some ahead of time just in case!