While I've been aggressively avoiding eye contact with the back-to-school displays at Target, otherwise known as the international sign of the end of summer, I've had a lot of time to ponder why these three months are so precious. Is it the vitamin D overload? Do sandals make people happier? Is it the increased chance of seeing fireworks on a Tuesday? Vacation planning got you smiling through every emergency 9 a.m. meeting? Is it the s'mores?
For me, it's that last one, plus the opportunity to do basically everything outside. Reading nooks are great, but reading under a tree is better. Spin class is high energy, but a ride on a scenic bike trail takes the cake any day. The smell of a bonfire trumps a crackling fireplace fire every time. I don't even mind sweating through hotter-than-Bikram yoga classes in the park if it means I get to gaze up at a blue sky during triangle pose.
As we creep towards cozy fall sweaters and cooler weather, make it a point to get outside as often as you can. Make your next brainstorming meeting a walking meeting around the building, go to the pool with your kid and get your hair wet, take your treadmill run to the sidewalk along the river, play fetch with your puppy until the sun goes down, chase down the ice cream truck because those things never seem to come by as often as they used to and you deserve a Firecracker Pop. Don't complain about the heat. Embrace it, get your glisten on and sing "Summer of '69" at the top of your lungs.
Shop: Puppies Make Me Happy Workout Apparel
Let me start by saying that I'm not really a pet person, in that I don't think I could handle owning a pet. I can hardly take care of me, much less a creature whose sad puppy dog eyes would con me into giving him every dollar in my bank account under the right circumstances. I do, however, love petting puppies and watching puppies do puppy things and looking at puppy videos on YouTube and baby talking to any puppy in the room when I'm uncomfortable at a party. I'm only human after all.
Which is why I’m currently considering donating all of my clothing to Goodwill and restocking my wardrobe with every item in Puppies Make Me Happy's Puppies & Fitness collection. Puppies exercising has been a fixture on calendars given to you by your aunt at Christmas for years, but this innovative, groundbreaking company is taking active pups to the next level of awesome by taking all your favorite exercise classes, adding a healthy dose of puppy face and screen printing the epic final product onto a shirt.
Spin puppy helps center me.
Feeling like you need a little more Zen in your life? Throw on your Puppies & Savasana shirt and hit that 6 a.m. yoga class with a smile. Sweating through Spinning is a whole lot more satisfying when you look down to see that a little Frenchie crushing her cycle class right along with you. Not only are you sure to get all the compliments, but the shirts are outrageously soft, super comfy and a little 80s, too. I literally can't find anything that I don't love about these tops.
Spark: The Women of the Summer Olympics
You know that episode of "Seinfeld" where Puddy paints his face and is willing to risk his relationship because he "gotta support the team"?
Unfortunately, there's a sad lack of female representation in most nationally televised sports, which is a pity. Not so, though, at the Olympics. For the last month, the spotlight has been shining brightly on the strong, stereotype-busting women that have earned the honor of representing the U.S.A in this year's summer games in Rio de Janeiro.
Let's start with the gymnastics team. I mean, have you seen this photo? These girls are not messing around. Ranging in age from 16 to 22, they've already made a name for themselves before the lighting of the Opening Ceremony torch with high-flying bar routines, outrageous floor routines and their super relatable, totally professional demeanor. They're dropping jaws and taking names. With two vets from 2012's Fierce Five back for the show, we could be bestowing a new nickname upon this group of formidable women if they take home the gold by month's end. Plus, unless you've been in some very lonely, very sad, internet-less hole, you've likely heard the name Simone Biles, followed by words like "world's best" and "incredible." In 2014, Slate called her "the best gymnast in the world," and the four-foot-eight-inch, world-record-holding wonder has only gotten better. I mean:
Then there's Kerri Walsh Jennings, the beach volleyball phenom that I've literally been girl crushing on since middle school. There's actually a folder in my parents' basement somewhere filled with magazine clippings of Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. Not only is she going for her fourth gold with new partner April Ross, but get this: After winning her third gold for the U.S. in London, she revealed that, NBD, she won while pregnant with her third child.
Oh, and we can't forget, ESPN "Body Issue" cover girl Claressa Shields, who has her sights set on becoming the first American boxer to win back-to-back gold medals and is #bodypositive goals personified; swimmer Katie Ledecky, who you might remember as the 15-year-old who stunned literally everyone when she took home the gold in the 800 meter freestyle race, which also happened to be her international debut, with the second fastest time ever, who will be going for three medals in Rio; and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People.
In a world full of Kardashian wannabees, I'll take these strong role models any day of the week. With 292 women competing (i.e. the most to ever compete for any nation in the history of the Games), it shouldn't be too difficult to find a role model of your own.
Savor: Urban Trend Orbit Herb Chopper
It's been well-documented that my cooking skills are, well, lacking. After some practice, I've kind of figured out how to handle chicken without gagging, dice onions without crying (too much) and grate cheese without grating my fingers. But barring some kind of divine Gordan Ramsay intervention, I don’t think I will ever understand herbs. How do people chop them so tiny without getting dangerously close to their fingertips? Don't they stay all over your hands when you're done? For someone who loves rosemary and cilantro as much as I do, this has become a big problem in my kitchen. The minute I see "finely chopped" or "mince" in a recipe, I'm either out or complaining until my boyfriend finally picks up the slack.
And then I was introduced to Urban Trend's Orbit, an herb chopper for people who really, really, seriously hate chopping herbs. Pizza cutter blades under a wheel mean I can lay my herbs on a cutting board and go to town rolling the device and slicing and dicing every herb I need for my recipe. Race car sounds encouraged.
Not my hands.
Put the toy to good use with this Grilled Mediterranean Ahi Tuna, Garlic-Spiked Broccoli and Mushrooms with Rosemary or Honey-Cilantro Shrimp Soft Tacos. No scraping basil off your hands required.
How are you making the most of these last days of summer?
Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!
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