Even though I no longer have school to structure my years, the summer still feels like a magical time to me. A few months of warmth and wonder; a time when anything feels possible.
But then the challenge becomes figuring out how to make the most of your time. How do you pack all of your plans and personal goals into a few short months? And how can you successfully beat the heat to adequately take care of yourself and get the most out of your days?
Well, I decided to create a guide that covers just about every aspect of summer you could think of! So pull up a seat, grab a cold drink, and dive right into this guide for your best summer ever.
Photo by Flickr user some call me leece.
It is possible to stay cool while still looking stylish during the summertime. As a general rule, go for pieces of clothing that are loose-fitting and comfortable. Cotton is the ideal material, as it breathes well so you won't be left feeling suffocated.
Shoot for light colors, even white - as long as you add accessories to keep it from looking plain! Finally, go ahead and include a hat in your outfit for the dual benefits of sun protection and a hint of personal flair.
When you're getting dressed for work, there are a few additional guidelines you should keep in mind. Keep your attire modest and avoid wearing flip-flops, because you don't want to appear unprofessional. Also, remember to bring along an extra layer of clothing just in case the air conditioning at your workplace is cranked up too high.
For those of you who are more fashion forward, the Art of Manliness has a two-part men's guide to summer dress (part 1 & part 2). And for the ladies, Gurl lists 10 summer fashion essentials and WikiHow has a great guide for how to build a summer wardrobe.
In terms of makeup, you don't want it to feel too heavy on your face or start melting in the heat. Thus, skip the foundation and thick lipsticks.
For a base, stick to tinted moisturizer that is SPF 15 or higher and concealer where needed. Then lightly apply bronzer or blush to areas like your forehead, cheekbones, chin, and nose, preferably one with peach or pink undertones.
Waterproof mascara may be too harsh for most lashes, so opt for water-resistant instead, as it will be just as long-lasting. Brighten up your eyelids with cream-to-powder eye shadow in coppery or golden pink shades to make your eyes glimmer. For coloring your lips, use lip stains, tinted lip balms, or lip glosses that include low SPF sun protection.
Overall, when picking makeup for the summer, stick with light and sheer colors, instead of rich and deep. These will give you a very fresh, young, and vibrant look.
Photo courtesy of epSos .de
It is always important to eat healthy, and the summer is no exception. Make sure you are eating well-balanced, light, and regular meals throughout the week to keep your energy levels up and keep your body happy.
The summer is an excellent time to fill up on fresh foods. Summer salads are enormously popular (caprese salads, in particular) and many people are firing up their grills to cook fruits, veggies, chicken, and other meats.
The warmer months are also ideal for enjoying cold and refreshing treats. Iced tea and fruit drinks are prepared in abundance, and frozen fruits like peaches or berries are great to snack on. In terms of desserts, homemade fruit pies, popsicles, and ice cream are all delicious options.
Staying hydrated is a top priority in the summertime, and as much as you hate to hear it, it may be a good idea to cut down on consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as they promote dehydration.
The bloggers I follow have posted their fair share of tasty summer recipes, which I've linked to in numerous posts for Midweek Reads. Here are some other roundups that feature delectable summer dishes:
Photo by Flickr user Mike McCune.
As the summer wears on, the heat can often become hard to bear. It is vital to take care of yourself and keep your temperature from growing too high.
There are several tell-tale signs of heat overexposure, which include heavy sweating, pale skin, muscle cramps, feeling tired and weak, confusion or disorientation, headache, lightheadedness or fainting, and even nausea or vomiting. Be sure to take care of yourself and keep your body from reaching such a poor condition.
It may be a good idea to keep the curtains drawn during the day so the sunlight doesn't flood in and overheat your home. It's also wise to only open your windows after the sun goes down, but if you want to leave them open before then, consider hanging a wet sheet in the window so any air coming in is cooled off by its contact with the moisture.
Air circulation in your home can be improved by the strategic placement of fans, but remember that they are only effective when the heat index is under 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher than that and they are rendered useless.
Appliances and electronics emit heat, so it is smart to limit your usage of them. Your oven can really warm up your house, which is why no-bake recipes are so popular in the summertime. As for your other electronics, switch them to a lower power or sleep mode when they're not in use, or unplug them entirely.
Taking frequent showers or baths in cool water throughout the day will keep you feeling refreshed, and when you wash off in the evening before bed, forget the towel and dry off naturally to stay cooler longer. Putting your pillowcase in the freezer for a couple of hours before you crawl into bed can help you keep cool and fall asleep more comfortably. Cotton bedding and loose-fitting pajamas are your best bet if you want to doze off with ease.
For those of you who have to cope with the summer heat without air conditioning, Apartment Therapy has a few clever air conditioner hacks you could try. And for anyone who has an AC unit, here is Air Conditioning 101, which will teach you how to use it more effectively.
Photo by Flickr user Philippe Put.
When summer temperatures reach sweltering extremes, it is important that everyone do their best to protect themselves, but some parties are more vulnerable than others. Here are some more precise safety tips for a few different groups:
- When you are pregnant, your body temperature is higher than normal, so it is of utmost importance to work to keep cool.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Not just water, as that could lead to water intoxication; mix in milk, juices, and sports drinks as well. Or you could always make homemade popsicles!
- Carry around a spray bottle to mist yourself with cool water when you need it.
- Protect your skin from the sun by covering up or applying plenty of sunscreen.
- Wear lightweight and comfortable clothes that breathe well.
- No flip flops allowed! They may be convenient to slip on, but they offer no support.
- Be sure to reduce any swelling that occurs, especially in your legs, to the best of your ability.
- Swim or wade in the pool when you get the chance, as it will take weight off your sciatic nerve.
- There are some typical summer activities that you should avoid entirely. These include amusement park rides, contact sports, gymnastics, horseback riding, lounging in hot tubs or saunas, scuba diving, surfing, and waterskiing.
- Others you can still participate in, like cycling, running, or tennis, but do so with caution.
- Exercise during the coolest points of the day, and don’t overexert yourself.
- Get an adequate amount of rest. Don't skimp on sleep during the night, and don't shy away from taking naps.
- Spend time indoors with the air conditioning running. Consider placing a damp washcloth on the back of your neck or forehead.
- Dress them in loose-fitting and lightweight clothes.
- Make sure they are in pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and a hat when they're outside to keep them shielded from the sun.
- Keep them hydrated by giving them more formula or nursing more often.
- Good ventilation is critical, since babies don’t perspire effectively.
- Do NOT leave them unattended in a car or hot room!
- Don’t take your baby outside during the peak period of sunlight between 10am and 2pm. This is when the sun can do the most damage.
- Babies under 6 months should only wear a minimal amount of sunscreen, but with those 6 months and over sunscreen can be applied more liberally.
- If it occurs, treat any heat rash or sunburn properly.
- Make sure there is fresh water in their bowl every day and that this bowl is kept in a shady spot.
- Frequently give your pet a brief hose-down or pat them down with a wet towel. Make sure the water is cool, not ice cold, as you don't want to shock their system.
- Set up a sprinkler, mister, or drip hose in your yard if you are planning on leaving them outside while you're away during the day.
- Make sure they are properly groomed to avoid the risk of sunburn. It may seem counter-intuitive, but their hair should not be trimmed any shorter than 1 inch.
- Take them on walks early in the morning or at night to avoid the heat of the day.
- Try to avoid taking walks across hot asphalt to spare their paws.
- NEVER leave your pet in the car!
- If you leave them at home, make sure it is kept comfortably cool.
- Maybe make them "Pupsicle" Doggie Bites with this recipe from Betty Crocker.
- Be proactive fighting against fleas and ticks.
Photo by Flickr user Robert S. Donovan.
In 2013, 60% of homeowners surveyed said that they planned on making home improvements or additions over the summer. Truly, the warmer months can be a good time to tackle any projects around the house that need your attention.
Summer is the time when many people choose to change their bedding and possibly even replace their old pillows with fresh ones. Entryways are cleaned up and cleared to make room for guests at family gatherings or weekend get-togethers.
Based on seasonal sales or rebates, May through August can be a good time to update your appliances and accessories. This includes small things such as door handles or essentials like your smoke alarm. Lighting fixtures may also be replaced, as homeowners update to different bulbs that are more energy efficient and emit less heat than their old incandescent ones.
Being stuck inside all winter, staring at the same old walls day and night, you may feel the impulse to cover them with a fresh coat of paint. Or you could give your front door a total makeover to make your home look more inviting.
Moving outdoors, the warmer months are a fantastic time to get some landscaping done. Or you could add a new summery feature to your yard, like a pizza oven, fire pit, or movie screen.
Check to determine if your home has proper insulation and weather-stripping, as a well-insulated home will more efficiently keep the heat out in hot seasons.
Here's a handful of resources for other maintenance and updates you could do in the summertime, both inside and outside your home:
Photo by Flickr user Dmitry Kichenko.
The first step in ensuring you get the most out of your summer is putting together a bucket list. Write down all the things you would be disappointed if you didn't get the chance to do. Then you'll know how to best budget your time to fit everything in!
Summer is the prime time to conquer your to-read list. If you haven't curated a reading list yet, maybe these suggestions from Mashable or Glamour with some of this year's best new titles may help.
Some other productive ways you could be spending your summer free time are learning a language, taking up a new hobby, developing some skills you could add to your resumé, or working on craft projects. Here are some DIYs that take full advantage of the warmer weather:
But don't stay cooped up in your home – resist the urge to stay in enjoying the AC, and find as many excuses as you can to get out! Get fit by exercising and staying active. Attend some outdoor concerts or movie screenings. Visit a lake or the beach for a day, or plan a roadtrip.
Meet some new people by joining a club or sports team, or take the initiative and start your own group. Sites like MeetUp are perfect for this sort of thing!
If you want to stay cool while still getting out, consider visiting the library, seeing a movie, or browsing your local mall.
In terms of vacationing, it's a smart idea to schedule a bunch of short getaways instead of one long vacation. That way the rest of the summer doesn’t feel like a disappointment. Or you could have a staycation, whether it's being a tourist in your own town or simply lounging around your house for a few days.
In the midst of all the excitement summer brings, remember to give yourself permission to take a break and just do nothing. Don't feel pressured to overcrowd your schedule; everyone needs a moment to themselves to relax and just breathe. Taking a mental health day can greatly reduce your stress and help you regain your footing to tackle your plans for the rest of the week.
Photo by Flickr user photosteve101.
Everyone needs a good playlist, something to get them energized and excited about life. I've collaborated with Liz, my fellow Goedeker's blogger, and Gary, Goedeker's social media manager, to come up with a list of summer tunes.
They range from long-time classics to new releases, but the common thread that ties them all together is their ability to conjure up sunny days and bring a carefree smile to your face.