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!
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
Isn't this retro-looking fan adorable? I have a couple fans in this style at our house and love the way they look — and the fact that they help cool the house effectively on the rare, hot Summer days in the Bay Area.
Did you know that you can actually use electric fans to supplement your air conditioning system? Instead of running the AC all day and all night, try using fans during the night to pull cool air into your house. Then, pull down the curtains and shades in the morning to eliminate sunlight pouring into rooms and warming up your house. With these easy steps, you can often delay turning on your air conditioner during the day and eliminate its use at night in many areas of the country.
Have you tried using fans instead of — or in addition to — air conditioning in your home? Interested in buying the fan shown here? It's the Deco Breeze Retro Table Fan ($47).
>> Right now, in a gorgeous medieval city on the banks of the Rhine, Art Basel is in full swing. With over 300 international galleries showcasing the best in modern and contemporary art, it's a festival so global and all-encompassing that Vogue has dubbed it "the most beautiful temporary museum of the world." But what to wear to a gathering of the world's most aesthetically discerning patrons? Pieces that could be subtle little works of art themselves, naturally. Architecturally folded skirts, graphic-print dresses, and statement accessories — click through to see our packing list.