Add a Hat to your Summer Wardrobe

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One important addition to your summer wardrobe should be a wide brimmed hat to protect your face from the sun.  Whether you are strolling through a city, sitting by a pool or attending a sporting event, a hat will keep the sun out of your eyes and protect your skin.

Sunlight is important for Vitamin D but it also causes premature wrinkling and skin cancer when you worship sun to the extreme.  A tan might make you feel good in your 20’s but it will make you leathery-skinned in your 40’s.  Finding a balance of sun exposure is very important.

The good news is that a good hat won’t cramp your style or break the bank so bring one with you everywhere.

Infused Water Recipe #2

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This infused water recipe has its foundation from a signature cocktail served up at Oceana in Condado, Puerto Rico called the “Nolita,” we want to give credit where credit is due!  The cocktail was very refreshing on a warm, tropical evening and a few elements of the drink would make very sip-worthy water on hot summer days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • Water

Use a large, one gallon pitcher and fill almost to the top with water.  Add the cucumber, mint and lime and let the flavors infuse for a couple of hours.  Stir in the pineapple juice and pour yourself a glass over ice!

Pineapple contains bromelain, which reduces inflammation.  Cucumbers have B vitamins, which are good for a whole host of health reasons, but cucumbers also add tremendous flavor to the water.

Keep cool and hydrated in a flavorful way!

What to Wear with Period Bloating this Summer

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There are 15 precious summer weekends on the calendar this year from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but what if your cycle messes up one of those weekends with period bloating?  Not to worry because summer fashion options are plentiful for days with water weight gain.

Here are a few comfortable outfit ideas for those days when a waistline with a zipper and a button seem impossible and demoralizing due to PMS bloating!

The Maxi Dress – Whether you chose a jersey style fabric, or a more flowing chiffon style fabric, the maxi dress is a great way to keep it loose at the mid-section.  All you will need is an awesome pair of sandals and a few eye-catching accessories and you will be trendy along with comfortable.

Tunic + Leggings – Tunics are available in stores ranging from inexpensive at H&M and Forever 21 to more expensive, preppy labels like Vineyard Vines and Lily Pulitzer.  Either way, the shirt grazes the mid-thigh and leggings are totally stretchy around the stomach area.   All you will need is a fun pair of flip-flops or gladiators and you are set for a summer evening in the city.

Yoga Pants – Have you seen the different styles available these days? From tight to flare to jogger to pants that could easily pass for jeans!  Today’s yoga pants are stylish enough for the office and as comfortable as yesteryear’s sweat pants.

Overall’s – These have made the rounds on many, many fashion blogs so what is old is new again.  Since they hang loose at the mid-section, they are perfect for PMS bloating days!

A-line T-shirts – Even if you insist on squeezing into your white jeans, a loose, breezy A-line t-shirt is cut a little longer and doesn’t cling to the body.  If you are really uncomfortable, you can undo the top button of your jeans and no one will be the wiser.

Remember that this water weight gain is temporary and if you choose the right clothing, you can still feel and look good every single night and day this summer!

Plant a Summer Garden & Boost Self Esteem

gardenPart three of our #GirlUBeWell blog series to provide you with an off-screen, self esteem boosting activity is planting a garden.  If you start this weekend, you will be rewarded all summer long. Doing an activity outside gets you “back to nature” and an easy garden provides a soul satisfying experience of playing with dirt and nurturing a plant’s growth.

Even if your only outdoor space is technically a sunny kitchen window, or a balcony, you have enough space for a garden.  But even with acres of land, if you are a newbie, your best bang for the buck is to start off growing herbs.  They thrive in pots or in a small plot of land.

A trip to your local Home Depot, or Lowes, or hometown nursery will provide everything you need…the planters, soil and small plants of herbs.  Here is what we think will make the perfect starter herb garden!

Basil – Grows like a weed as long as it has good sunlight and regular watering.  Since is grows abundantly, pinch off leaves for a caprese salad, bruschetta or a quick pesto sauce.

Mint – Also a hardy plant that grows quickly!  If you put it in the ground, give it room to spread.  Mint is perfect for Mojitos and for infusing water.  Mix in chopped mint with lemon juice and Greek yogurt and you have a great topping for grilled food.

Thyme – Excellent all around flavor and easy to dry for winter use.  Thyme is great for a lemon chicken dish or in pasta sauce.

Marjoram & Oregano – Do you have a spice bottle of “Italian Seasoning?” These two herbs are staples in sauces.

Tarragon – Adds a rich, woodsy flavor to mushroom risotto or a chicken dish.

Rosemary – Excellent on roasted vegetables or potatoes and it smells heavenly in creamy sauces.

Sage – Another woodsy herb that grows quickly and the leaves are soft and fuzzy and a pale green that looks so pretty in the garden.

Chives - A subtle onion flavor and a welcome addition in salad dressing and on baked potatoes with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

This is a satisfying way to spend a few minutes every day and there are plenty of other herbs to consider!  Fussing over the plants, either watering or picking some herbs, becomes a daily habit.  Your finger tips will be fragrant with whichever herb you pick and it feels good to grow some of the food you eat. You might find yourself looking for easy recipes using tarragon or sage if you have a bumper crop, or taking a bunch of basil in a mason jar filled with water to a friend’s house to share.  Who knows, growing herbs might entice you to try growing tomatoes or zucchini next summer.

A Happy, Healthy 4th of July BBQ

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Who doesn't love a day off in the middle of the summer to get together with friends and family to celebrate? BBQ’s usually start early in the day but the party never ends until after the fireworks so the number one tip is to pace yourself!  Don’t show up hungry and start stuffing yourself with the chips and dips the moment you get there.  Two reasons why you should offer to bring an appetizer to the BBQ.  First of all, you get the “good friend” credit with the offer and second, you ensure there will be some healthy snacks available.

The 4th of July is the ultimate hang out and play holiday, so be sure to join in a beach volleyball game or lead everyone in a game of tag football.  Throw a frisbee in your bag, or pick up one of those bean bag toss games...just don’t turn it into a drinking game because it all goes back to tip #1, pace yourself.

Remember, a can of beer has about 150 calories and 13 g of carbs and they go down pretty quickly on a hot day!  But, three of those and “BAM,” you've loaded yourself up in more ways than one. That heavy, bloated and gassy feeling is from the carbonation and that sloppy drunk thing in the middle of the day isn't worth it either.

Use common sense and stick to the 4th of July “food pyramid!”  Vegetables can be eaten in unlimited amounts.  Add your protein during a reasonably sized meal as you settle into the celebration, like, a burger, some ribs or chicken from the grill.  Go easy on the chips, pretzels, cookies and brownies that are always in abundance at these parties.  Drink a bottle or a glass of water in between those cocktails, helpful hydration in more ways than one.

Be safe, have lots of fun, eat for your health and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Bikini Season Bloat

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Worried about bikini season bloat?  Usually bloating lasts a couple of days before your period starts so in all reality you should have 3 bloat free bikini weeks each month. There is the good news.

Sometimes the day you are feeling really bloated happens to be on the weekend when everyone is making plans involving bathing suits. Diuretics are the most effective way to reduce bloating, but dehydrating yourself before a long day in the sun is... in a word... stupid.

Have you seen the summer fashion magazines? One piece bathing suits are everywhere and not just in boring, yet slimming, black. There are metallic tanks, crazy prints and a variety of high and low leg cuts. Check out the retro high wasted bikini bottoms and boy shorts as well. Sometimes a more functional bathing suit is better than a really skimpy one…less adjusting, fewer wedgies and a lower probability of losing a top or bottom in the waves!

Think about this though, you could just skip this weekend and go see a movie. The other good thing about summer is that all the summer blockbusters come out and the movie theater is nicely air conditioned. It is ok to put your favorite sweat pants on instead of a bathing suit for now because you’ll be back to your fabulous self in a bathing suit next week.