Category

Inspiration

Fun Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Temperatures Drop

By | All Posts, Cooking, DIY, Entertainment, Home, Inspiration

It seems like a constant battle for any mom: how to keep your kids entertained. When the temperatures drop, and the kids are stuck inside, it seems like an even bigger battle. Before you know it, cabin fever sets in and you are looking for ideas that will be educational, but also help to expend at least some of their boundless energy.  Here are some of our suggestions on how to keep the kids entertained once the weather turns.

Cooking with the Kids

Inviting the kids to cook with you in the kitchen is a great way to educate and empower them, while having fun, quality time together. Not only can kids learn math skills like counting, fractions, sequences, measuring and forming shapes through cooking, but they will also learn problem solving, chemistry and can increase their vocabulary too. In addition, they will learn a valuable skill they can use throughout their life. The best part is: everyone gets to reap the rewards of your work together. Tacos and pizza recipes are perfectly suited  for cooking with little kids, but why not combine them and make a Taco Pizza together? Yes, kids love macaroni & cheese. But, instead of reaching for another box, why not try making a healthier homemade version like Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese? And don’t forget dessert: S’mores Casserole is just as much fun to make as it is to eat. There are tons of recipes to try out here as well.

Get Moving Together

Often, when the temperature outside gets lower, so does our level of physical activity. The same goes for our kids as well. A lack of physical activity can not only slow down a child’s metabolism, but it can lead to an increased risk of becoming overweight, or obese, in adulthood. It can also lead to a host of other health issues like diabetes, higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a more dismal outlook on life, according to KidsHealth.org. Encouraging kids to stay active even when they can’t go outside not only has several health benefits and helps them burn energy, but it’s also a great opportunity to create positive experiences and family memories.  All you really need is a little imagination. A family dance party is not only tons of fun but requires very little planning. Have each family member pick out their favorite songs and start dancing. Take it up a notch by adding some fun dance lights, glowsticks, scarves and/or ribbons to wave around; or try adding a little competition to your dance party and make it a dance-off. Who doesn’t love balloons? There are endless ways to get the kid’s heart rates up with balloons, like balloon volleyball or balloon tennis. Clean-up time is usually a struggle, but how about turning it into a race? Put on a favorite song and challenge the kids to see how much they can put away before the end of the song. There are so many fun ideas & games to try, your kids might even want to stay inside to play when it is nice outside.

Get Crafty

Being stuck inside during the cooler months creates the perfect opportunity to bring out the craft supplies and get creative. Crafts are great for kids, not just because they are fun, but because crafts help grow self-esteem, creativity, imagination, STEM skills, problem solving and patience. Crafts also allow children to express themselves and communicate their inner feelings. Creating something and finishing a project that they can see displayed gives kids a sense of pride and delight in watching others admire their work. Instead of buying a bunch of decorations for the holidays, why not have the kids create the holiday decorations this year?  Garland is a great project to help develop fine motor skills and can really bring out their creativity, because there are so many options. Try some of these: DIY Yarn Balls, Falling Leaves Garland or Washi Tape Christmas Trees. Or make some ornaments you can hang year after year like Silver Snowflakes, Popsicle Sled Sleds, or Jolly Elves. Photo ornaments are another type of ornament you will appreciate for years to come. Don’t forget to add names and dates so you can look back and reminisce when the kids get older.

Share A Smile

Have relatives or friends that live far away? A great way to spread warmth when it is chilly outside is to have the kids write letters or draw pictures to give to family, friends or anyone they want to make smile. Another idea is to call a local retirement center and ask if your kids can make some cards and crafts for the residents.

If they have some gently used toys they no longer play with, this is a great time to encourage them to donate to other kids who could use them. Not only will you be encouraging your kids to give to those less fortunate, you can also help reduce your toy clutter as well. Charities like Deseret Industries and Goodwill are good charity options, as they will either donate the toy to an organization for you, or sell the toy in their thrift store and serve the community in that way. Other charities may have specific wish lists or restrictions on the types of toys they can accept, so be sure to check with them before trying to donate. You can also check with your friends or coworkers with younger kids to see if they might appreciate receiving a toy. Have your child wrap up the toy and give it as a gift.

Best Utah Destinations for a Summer Weekend Getaway

By | All Posts, Entertainment, Inspiration

A vacation does not have to include an elaborate plan, thousands of dollars or two weeks away for an international excursion. Sometimes the best way to truly “vacate your life” is by booking a spontaneous weekend to explore all the wonders in your own backyard. So pack the car, put some snacks in the cooler, and head off to these close-by gems for a great weekend trip.

Photo Credit: Booking.com

For the Adventure-Lover

Bear Lake: Garden City, Utah

A mere two hours from downtown Salt Lake City, Bear Lake is an idyllic spot to swim, jet ski, fish, four-wheel and lots more. There are great facilities for campers all along the lake and hikes in the surrounding hillsides. Anyone wanting to reconnect with nature and get much-needed sunshine should spend some time here. Also, you won’t want to miss their famous raspberry shakes.

Photo Credit: UnionStation.org

For the Quirky Hobbyist

Union Station: Ogden, Utah

Formerly the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads, the Ogden Union Train Station is now a fascinating museum with relics and information covering a broad range of interests. The museum’s now housed in the old station include the Utah State Railroad Museum, the Spencer S. Eccles Rail Center, the John M. Browning Firearms Museum, Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum. Take a few days to learn a wealth of knowledge about the history of the Old West and find some great souvenirs that are both beautiful and educational. In the station itself and the surrounding neighborhood, you’ll find great shops selling everything from books and antiques to jewelry and clothing.  

Photo Credit: Bararch.com

For the Stressed-Out Sally

Sundance Resort: Sundance, Utah

As a famous ski resort, Sundance may not be the first location that springs to mind when considering a summer vacay. The truth couldn’t be further from what you’d think as Sundance offers plenty of fun and relaxing activities including an exceptional spa, art classes, great restaurants and unique summer concerts. You can also take a scenic lift ride to hikes or to the top for lunch at Bearclaw Cabin.

Photo Credit: Overblog.com

For the Foodie

Staycation: Salt Lake City, Utah

With so many cultures represented in the greater Salt Lake area, you certainly won’t go wrong by having a cute and quiet “staycation.” There are several funky and up-and-coming neighborhoods that offer diverse and awesome fare for a good value to boot. Book yourself a sweet little Airbnb to feel like a home but away from home; and then check out our picks for the best food spots right now in SLC: Feldman’s Deli offers Jewish deli classics in the New York City tradition; Takashi has the best authentic Japanese cuisine and sushi around; Valter’s Osteria is traditional Italian including fresh pasta made right before your eyes; and Saffron Valley does delicious Indian dishes with a contemporary twist.

Photo Credit: RubysInn.com

For the Thrifty Budgeter

National Park: Bryce Canyon, Utah

The canyons and ridges in this red rock area make this location a national treasure. By camping and sticking to activities like hiking or exploring, there are many clever ways to keep the cost of this trip very affordable. For example, get creative with food by packing lunches, grilling over an open fire (when allowed), and making breakfasts easy with items like fruit and oatmeal.

8 Incredible Summer Fashion Pieces

By | All Posts, Beauty, Inspiration

Shopping local and U.S.-based companies feels so good, doesn’t it? It seems like the perfect way to spread some American love during this patriotic time of year. And as the summer heats up, it’s also a great time to shop fabulous fashion pieces for cooling down. We’ve managed to combine the two with this list of our picks for the best summer fashion created by incredible designers based out of the western United States. Take a look at what great companies have come from Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and more. These trend-setters are making beautiful and functional fashion while changing the world with powerful causes and responsible sourcing.

ASHLEY LEMIEUX

Polka Dot Jumper

If you caught our #WomanWednesday piece on Instagram this week, you already know we are obsessed with Ashley Lemieux. As the creator of two incredible fashion and lifestyle brands, The Shine Project and Ashley Lemieux, her example motivates us to enjoy the sunshine, smell the roses, and try fabulous new summer fashion. And also…don’t you just LIVE for a great jumper?! When done right, this vintage classic look can have a gorgeous rebirth. And Ashley’s brand has done it right. The tiny polka dot is so clean and fresh, while the cut will be flattering for many body types. Sizing is tricky on jumpers at times, so air on the side of caution if you’re questioning where you fit.

ROOLEE

Makenna High Rise Shorts

High waisted shorts are having a great moment; and the front tie on this pair is polished but quick and easy. These shorts are super comfy and easy breezy in a soft playful color and lightweight linen fabric. Plus, they have pockets–so how can you go wrong?

MIKAROSE

Texture Floral Skirt

Florals have also been super in right now as feminine style of late combines classic ladylike elements accented with hard or sharp pieces. We think this would look stunning with an unexpected leather jacket or some chunky metallic accessories and boots. It’s also super beautiful as is…so you’ll still look great with a more simple outfit adding a white top and sandals.

KODIAK LEATHER CO.

Buffalo Leather Duffel

If you’re like us, you’ve been itching for a weekend getaway. This little duffel is the perfect size for a quick overnight with your honey. The incredible leather this company produces is a real investment and, with proper care, will last for years to come. The style is simply classic.

DOWNEAST BASICS

Crafty Crush Top

This boho piece is soft and easy, with a feminine aesthetic that could be dressed up or down. Pair it with a pencil skirt in the day for the office, and then throw on some classic blue jean shorts to carry you through the evening for going to a picnic or one of Utah’s many firework shows.

DILLARD’S

Eliza Crepe Stripe Pants by Antonio Melani

We all agree pants are difficult in the summer. Those legs gotta breathe! But if you work in a professional setting where shorts just won’t work, these adorable wide leg beauties are the best option you’ll find. The light fabric will stay cool in summer heat while the subtle print is ideal for being business-appropriate and stylish.

INDY BRAND

Go Outside Classic Fit Tee

So cute and comfortable, we are obsessed with the calming green tone and retro word art on this perfect summer top. The fabric is high quality with a bit of stretch, so it fits lots of body types. Plus you’ll be so motivated to embrace the day with joy when you wear this inspirational message.

THE SHINE PROJECT

18K Gold Plated Mantra Necklace

The Shine Project has had college students make gorgeous jewelry by hand from the beginning. Through the program Ashley Lemieux started, The Shine Project works to support struggling college youth by offering them jobs and a marketable skill. The company also allocates a percentage of each purchase toward scholarships for more young adults with limitless potential but limited resources. The organization has given away more than 80 scholarships and offered many jobs to underprivileged adolescents in the U.S. through the years.

‘It Was Our Privilege’

By | All Posts, Inspiration

“‘It Was Our Privilege’ – Women: Home and Abroad” was originally published in Valor magazine February 2017. We publish the article here again to pay homage to the incredible women who took part in supporting the World War I efforts. We thank them for their sacrifice this Memorial Day, 2018, and remember them this entire year, a full century after the end of World War I. Special thanks to Tammy M. Proctor, who wrote this article, and Michelle Bridges, the editor of Valor.

In their 1920 memoir about World War I, Addie Hunton and Kathryn Johnson described their sense of service and responsibility. They wrote, “It was our privilege to go overseas…under the auspices of the YMCA…we can can conscientiously say that we had the greatest opportunity for service that we have ever know…” Hunton and Johnson, African-American women who served in France by operating a canteen, were only two among the thousands of American women who served in the Great War, both at home and abroad. Women worked in war relief, entertainment, heavy industry, medical services and offices. Most of these women who saw themselves as patriots and citizens who were “doing their part” to end the war.

Lending a Hand

 

When the United States declared war on April 6, 1917, women mobilized alongside men. Women volunteered for service that fit into their roles at home and also for those jobs that broke the mold. Girl Scouts sold Liberty Bonds to raise funds for the war and they planted Victory Gardens. Homemakers sought to learn new recipes so that they could conserve meat and wheat for the war effort. Women volunteered for organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers); they built huts for refugees, rolled bandages, served coffee and doughnuts, met trains, and completed a million other tasks that the war required. Thousands of women replaced men in paid jobs in factories, transport and policing. If the First World War was a coming-of-age moment for the United States and its male citizens, it served a similar role for many American women.

One of the most visible ways women participated during the war was as auxiliaries in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). More than 16,000 women donned uniforms in sex-segregated environments in non-combat roles. This was waged work, so it attracted young women interested in serving but without the means to fund voluntary war service. Uniformed women of the AEF were expected to remain “feminine” while driving, cooking, typing, and digging.

Females also travelled to France and Italy with American forces in order to serve in hospitals as doctors, nurses, orderlies, aides and drivers. Maud Finch, of Eureka, Utah, was one woman who worked as an ambulance driver in Europe during the war. Drivers remember getting quite a few stares from French people as they whizzed by in their motor cars. Other medical personnel included trained nurses and doctors, some from Utah. One interesting new job for women emerged during the war: reconstruction aides. The RAs specialized in massage, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. These women used handicrafts to help men heal, so they taught weaving, woodworking, carving, and sewing to help men relearn their motor skills.

Validating Success

 

The war also helped legitimize the women’s suffrage legislation making it through the ratification process in 1918, as men vocally supported the important part women had taken in the war. Women’s vote on equal terms with men helped validate their claim to citizenship in the nation. Finally, the war established a precedent–a test, if you will–of women’s capacity to serve overseas. Their success in World War I meant that a new generation of women would be called to work for the wartime nation in even larger numbers during the Second World War.

 

Tammy M. Proctor, PhD, is a Professor of History and Department Head at Utah State University. She teaches courses in modern world history, war, gender, and empire. Her publications include four single-authored books focusing on women in World War I and a century of Girl Scouting.

Loving Your Body by Veggie Lisa

By | All Posts, Health & Fitness, Inspiration

We are pleased to have Lisa Danielson, also known as “Veggie Lisa,” as a guest writer this week. She is a vegan nutritionist, High Fitness instructor and personal trainer. She has helped thousands of people in Utah and across the nation learn to love their vegetables. Subscribe to her blog VeggieLisa.com, or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and More.

Being in the health and fitness industry, I have heard many times “Oh it must be so easy for you to stay in shape,” or “You are just a naturally small person.” Yes, that is partially true, I have a small build and bone structure, but there was a time in my life when I was overweight, and not just 20-30 pounds, but 60 pounds overweight.

When I look back at photos during this time in my life, I am smiling in each one. It wasn’t a fake smile, I was truly happy. Did I want to be thinner? Sure. But did it affect my self-esteem? Not really. I had just become a mother to a beautiful and healthy baby boy. He was perfect in every way. I couldn’t believe that my body had created him and he was mine, to love and to take care of. Although this baby boy is now a teenager, I cherish those days of wider waistbands, bigger bras, and a body that didn’t seem quite mine.

Over the last 12 years, I have gained and lost and gained and lost the same 40 pounds with three other pregnancies. My body has changed with each one. I’ve been a size 2 and I’ve been a size 14. But with every passing year, and the new changes that I see (hello, wrinkles!), I have learned the importance of loving my body, at any stage.  Here are some things that I have learned along the way:

How we look at ourselves, and how other people look at us can be very different 

A ‘flaw’ that we might focus on might be unrecognizable to others. Often what we see as insecurities, are most likely the things that others love most about us.

Your self-worth has nothing to do with what you look like  

Your best qualities are more than your face or body.  It’s quite possible that you have a sparkling personality, love to serve others, or put 110 percent into being a great mom and wife.

Be proud of your body

I have stretch marks above my hips from pregnancy. The other day I was at the gym and noticed my shirt had come up a little and they were showing. Instinctively I pulled my shirt down not wanting anyone to notice one of my “flaws.” After thinking about it, I thought I shouldn’t be ashamed, my body has gone through heck bringing four kids into the world, and here I am at the gym, despite my insecurities, to make myself better and stronger. For me that is a symbol of love, not something to be ashamed of.

Media images aren’t real!

I have been a part of the fitness industry long enough to know what tricks can be used, how lighting can be manipulated and what crazy diets models do to make themselves look good.  For the majority of women to have a six pack, you need to be less than 16 percent body fat. I did that once, and must admit I had some pretty great abs. Then my hair starting falling out and I no longer had a menstrual cycle. Not a healthy trade off.

Accept compliments

As women, we are programmed to not have the focus be on ourselves. Now if someone compliments us about our children, we will gladly accept that, especially if that child is a teenager or a toddler. But when was the last time someone paid you an honest, genuine compliment and you said “thank you”? I find myself making excuses or deflecting from the attention whenever I receive a compliment. As I’ve gotten older, I appreciate them more and try to respect the fact that someone felt the need to say something nice.

Loving your body doesn’t mean giving up on your goals  

I would say 99 percent of the female American population would like to change something about their bodies.  Does that mean they shouldn’t love it the way it is? Absolutely not. If you don’t love yourself at 190 pounds, I promise you, it will be the same at 120 pounds. The scale might change, but the mind is slower to catch up. Love yourself now, love yourself through the process, and love yourself when you reach that goal.

Be patient with yourself

This can take years to accept and implement. Don’t end up in a perpetual state of body hatred. Write a list of all the things your body has done for you. Chances are it will be longer than you think.  Trust me, there is no such thing as the perfect child, the perfect marriage, or the perfect body. And when I start to get anxious about getting older, I remind myself what a privilege it is to age, experience life, and most of all, love myself.

A Little More About Lisa Danielson:

My name is Lisa but some people call me Veggie Lisa. I am a mom of four kids who loves to dance, cook, exercise, shop, decorate, and enjoy all the beautiful things the state of Utah has to offer. I have had a very long journey to get to the place that I am now, strong and confident but most of all happy. At one point in my life I weighed 200 pounds. It took 11 long years and 4 babies later to finally learn how to nourish my body properly and be comfortable in my own skin. Being a lifelong vegetarian, I have a passion for vegetables and love teaching my kids how delicious they can be. Most people find veggies very, very, very boring. And gross. But not me! I love all things green and the more colorful my plate is, the happier I am. Vegetables don’t have to be boring! My motto is eat good, feel good, look good. When we eat good food and treat our bodies with respect, the rest falls into place.

Fun with Mom: Activities to Make this Mother’s Day Memorable

By | All Posts, Entertainment, Home, Inspiration

It doesn’t take a big budget to make mom’s special day unforgettable. Try one of the activities we’ve listed and have a great time without breaking the budget.

Have a Picnic

This one is easy to plan and fun to execute. Throw a blanket in your car, stop at a deli for some subs, and you are ready to take mom out for a calm and relaxing afternoon. Pick a great spot near the woods or a river to connect  with your mother and Mother Nature alike.

Do Something Adventurous

Everyone has something they’ve always wanted to do or try, and just keep chickening out. Mark off that bucket list item together. Sign both of you up for scuba classes; do the big roller coaster at your local amusement park; or try an exotic food for the first time.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Spend some time feeling nostalgic with your dear mother. Take her to a place you loved visiting as a child, go through old photos together, or make a recording of her talking about her own family history or childhood memories. You will learn a lot and feel a new sense of pride or understanding in your lineage.

 

Check Out a Museum or Art Gallery

Learning with someone else links you in a fun new way. Take in a new exhibit or visit the museum up the street you’ve been taking granted.

Get Active

It’s great to try new physical activities together, or simply add yourself to the mix of something your fit mom already enjoys. Try a HIIT class for the first time, or tag along on your mom’s run. Neither of you are exercise-inclined? Getting back on track with a new regimen as a team is a great way to bond!

Make a Night of It

If you’d really like to make this Mother’s Day a treat, a staycation or local getaway may be just the ticket. Cheap hotel rooms can be found online easily, even with a short notice, and you’ll definitely see a part of your hometown you wouldn’t experience otherwise.

Get Much Deserved R & R

Splurge for an all-inclusive spa day for two; or if you’re on a budget, set one up at home with DIY foot scrubs, face masks and manicures. The new calm and zen you feel doing something special for yourselves will be almost as good as the one-on-one conversation.

Help Her at Home

Is pulling weeds tough on your mom’s back? Or maybe she just hates dusting the top shelf of her curio cabinet. Volunteer for a job that your mom may not love doing and she will be sure to love YOU just a little more today. Accomplishing tasks together is also a great way to chat and reconnect. Let her have a seat and tell you about Aunt Cyndy or the neighbor’s dog while you achieve something for her.

Game Night!

Sometimes the best ideas are the most simple. Dust off the boxes in the game closet and pull out some classics to have a low-key evening. We guarantee Clue, Parcheesi and Uno are way more fun than you remember.

Give the Gift of Time

Time is often our most precious resource. Going all out and planning something for the two of you is lovely; but if you don’t have much else to give we’re willing to bet she’ll gladly take just having a few hours with you one-on-one as well. Stop by and visit without fussing too much. Hang out. Talk about your lives, watch a movie, help her cook dinner. Don’t overcomplicate it and instead focus those precious moments getting to really know your mom. You’ll be glad you did.

Utah-Made Gifts to Show Your Mom You Love Her

By | All Posts, Beauty, DIY, Entertainment, Health & Fitness, Home, Inspiration

In case you missed all the incredible vendors we had at this year’s Salt Lake Women’s Show, we have gotten together a list of some of the best for giving your mom a great Mother’s Day. Take a look at these local merchants who do incredible handmade work right in your backyard.

For the Chronic Picture-Taker

She values memories above all else. Take the work out of it for her a get a professional to take photos of her and the whole clan. Pink Rose Photography does gorgeous work in Salt Lake and Utah Counties and will make your entire family feel comfortable and look beautiful.

For the Active Mom

Clothing: Get your mom some high quality workout wear from Belcorva. Perfect for runners, yogis, and weightlifters, Belcorva’s pieces offer versatility, quality, and unique pocket designs perfect for any busy mom.

Workouts: There is no better gift than spending time together. Register you and your mom a great activity to do together like a kickboxing class with I Love Kickboxing, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) at Etude Fitness, or Barre Sculpt with Core 7. Working up a sweat together is a great time to bond.

For the Sweet Tooth Lover

If your mom is always happy with chocolate or strawberries, give her something a little different this year from one of these gourmet boutique brands. Sweet Tooth Fairy has cupcakes in every shape and flavor; while Farmhouse Fudge makes rich and decadent gooey goodness.

For the Mom Needing a Night Out

Today is the perfect day to try something new. Spice things up for your mom by sharing a great memory with her. Topgolf has a casual, super social atmosphere with the easiest golf you could play, food and drinks; and Painting with a Twist hosts evenings that give you a chance to get back in touch with your creative side.

For the Interior Decorator

There’s certainly no place like home, and if you’re anything like us, you know that part of home’s appeal is Mom’s unique and cheerful aesthetic. Check out handmade crafts from CB Creations, get some high quality paint from Chalk Couture for the Do-It-Yourselfer, support women from Kenya with Imani’s handmade home furnishings.

For the Mom Who Needs Some Zen

It’s no secret that being a mom is stressful. For the momma who has a lot on her plate, there will be nothing she’ll appreciate more than the chance to unwind. Set her up for some much-deserved rest and relaxation with a luxurious bath bomb from Bombin Baths, give her skin the royal treatment with products from Beauty Counter, and then finish with a new makeover utilizing locally made boutique makeup from Lemon Loves Meringue.

For the Fashionista

We all know that clothing is the trickiest gift to buy for others. These Utah home-grown brands provide great customer service, have modern, fresh takes on apparel, and make quality the highest priority. Your mom’s fabulous look will be covered from head to toe with hats from Gigi Pip, dresses from EmmaLou, and shoes from Copper Threads.

Brushless Beauty: How to Be Beautiful Without Makeup

By | All Posts, Beauty, Health & Fitness, Inspiration

We all love a good winged eyeliner or popping matte lip color, but today our objective is to focus on what’s beneath all that. Try one of these tips or all of them, and we guarantee you will feel more centered, alive and naturally beautiful.

Believe You Are Beautiful…and it Will Be True

Step one of today’s tutorial… is to take all your makeup off, sit yourself in front of a mirror, and take five uninterrupted minutes to appreciate just how gorgeous you truly are. Try to find personal time and a quiet place where you will be able to enjoy the silence and stillness while taking in your own demeanor just as God created it. Stripped away of “tools,” tell yourself the features you have that are unique and lovely. What is your favorite thing about your face, skin, eyes, lips, etc.?

It’s even more reassuring to go as far as thanking yourself or complimenting your features out loud. We know it may not be for everyone, as it toes the line of some new age jiggy woo-woo, but if you’re open to it, you’ll be amazed at the power of talking to your own being. Practice finishing the phrase, “Thank you {blank} for {blank.}” Such as “Thank you nose, for the sweet way you upturn just slightly,” or “Thank you eyes for the flecks of green you have that sparkle.” Think of the session as a form of meditation, and by the end of a short 5-10 minutes, you should feel a renewed sense of peace and self-assurance…a state of being that will make you look younger right off the bat.

Feed Your Body the Nutrition it Needs

Water, whole food, vitamins…and repeat. One of the best ways to keep your teeth white and skin firm is to start from deep beneath the surface. The right food and sustenance is imperative to keeping all of your parts looking their best. Olive oil is great for keeping the skin soft and supple, green tea increases elasticity, and kale keeps your largest organ firm. Soft cheeses help your teeth stay white, and eggs will make your nails strong. Also recommit to taking in ALL the water you need every day, and make the multivitamin sitting on your shelf a consistent part of your daily routine.

Care for Your Skin From Head to Toe

Finding the right facial mask or peel for your skin type is a great way to start when you’re looking to go foundation-free. Once you’ve tested a few products out and you think you have a winner, start doing treatments to your face at least twice a week. Freeing your face from dead skin while cleaning pores and addressing any other skin issues you may have will create the gorgeous canvas needed to let your eyes, lips and other unique features pop. But remember that your face isn’t the only skin people see: using a mask or exfoliant for the rest of your body will make your showers more luxurious and more productive for you in the long run. There are also great DIY recipes all over the web to keep costs low.

Determine the Finishing Touches

Now that you’ve done everything you can to bring your inner beauty outward, decide what small physical elements would make you feel polished and put together even when you’re makeup free. Shaping your eyebrows by waxing or microblading, hydrating and styling your hair with organic products, and choosing your wardrobe thoughtfully are all great ways to express personal style and confidence without ever picking up a brush. This is especially liberating during the warm months of spring and summer—so give it a try today! It’s time to stop stressing that all your makeup will sweat off (because you’re not wearing any), wear that springy dress you weren’t sure you had the legs for, and work that hairstyle you’ve been obsessing about on Pinterest. We hope these tips will help you feel even more beautiful inside and out.  

7 Wellness Apps to Take Your Health to the Next Level

By | All Posts, Health & Fitness, Inspiration

Who here has fallen off the new year’s fitness resolution bandwagon? (*raises hand*) When it comes to fitness, we all have our excuses: lack of time, costly services, the constant struggle to follow a plan and meet goals. The good news? There’s an app for that! We’ve selected some top-rated fitness applications compatible with both Android and iOS. Each app is either very low cost or free—totally worth it regardless, if you ask us. Join us in getting back on track!

 

Aaptiv

App Store Rating: 5 stars

Google Play Rating: 3.5 stars

Aaptiv is the ultimate substitute for your favorite fitness classes. Top-rated on several sites, Aaptiv provides hundreds of classes to choose from, with the option of an instructional voice. Its audio format can also help motivate you through training for that marathon. Bonus: the app provides some awesome upbeat playlists. You’ll get the motivation of a personal trainer or fitness instructor in the privacy of your home.

 

Charity Miles

App Store Rating: 4.8 stars

Google Play Rating: 4.2 stars

 

Perhaps you already have a decent routine (because you’re doing better than the rest of us!) but need some extra motivation to keep moving. Charity Miles can get you off your rear for a good cause. Your walking, running and biking miles earn money for more than 30 world-class charities such as Habitat for Humanity and World Wildlife Fund.

 

DailyYoga

App Store Rating: 4.8 stars

Google Play Rating: 4.3 stars

 

Google Play selected DailyYoga as the Best Yoga App of 2017, and with one of the largest pose databases, it’s still a top contender today. The app has several classes available in the free version and is noted to be particularly good for beginners. Many classes are under 30 minutes, so you can finally fit yoga into your busy schedule. DailyYoga is designed to play nice with both Apple Health and Google Fit to integrate well into your overall fitness plan.

 

Headspace

App Store Rating: 4.9 stars

Google Play Rating: 4.6 stars

 

We are all about mental fitness! Headspace’s tagline is “Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple.” Endorsements from the likes of Emma Watson and Gwyneth Paltrow, coupled with reviews from the New Yorker, Business Insider and more show just how popular this app is. It is one of the highest grossing meditation apps ever. Led by a former Buddhist monk, Headspace offers daily meditations for stress management, sleep and more.  

 

Johnson and Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout

App Store Rating: 4.7 stars

Google Play Rating: 4.3 stars

 

It may or may not have started the craze, but a New York Times article in 2013 certainly fanned the flames on the 7-minute workout trend. We suggest you go to the source. Johnson and Johnson’s official app, based off the findings covered in that article, provides detailed descriptions, instructional videos, a well-rounded library and an easily customizable routine. In addition, the app includes a timer—which is especially helpful for those who don’t have fitness-tracking watches or other devices. You just need your phone, a wall, a chair, and your body. Oh, and the app is 100 percent free. No excuses!  

 

MyFitnessPal

App Store Rating 4.5 stars

Google Play Rating 4.6 stars

 

Originally released in 2005, MyFitnessPal is an oldie and a goodie. The app is till rated No. 1 and No. 2 in for health and wellness in Google Play and the App Store, respectively. Powered by UnderArmour, it’s the mother of all smartphone calorie counters (Over 5 million foods in the database! An option to scan foods as you shop!) and one of the easiest tools on the market for nutrition and workout tracking. Feel free to check out the rest of UnderArmour’s extensive fitness app portfolio to pair with it. We might not ever not recommend this one.

 

Sworkit

App Store Rating: 4.7

Google Play Rating: 4.6

 

Not only does it have a catchy name, but Sworkit has also received some rather official endorsements, including from the American College of Sports Medicine. Although it does require some payment to unlock all the features, Sworkit is an extremely well-rounded exercise app. You can choose from yoga, cardio, strength training, stretching, etc., following an overall plan and subsequent workouts tailor made to you.

 

Maybe you’ve found your one true fitness-app-love on this list, or perhaps you’ve been inspired to go looking for something similar. Apps play off all the tried-and-true tactics of yesteryear—planning, tracking and motivation are key to achieving overall wellness. Your cell phone just makes it that much more convenient. Let’s get going again on those fitness goals!

The Best Places to Hike in Salt Lake & Utah County

By | All Posts, Health & Fitness, Inspiration

Utah is full of incredible places to take in Mother Nature’s beauty. Now that spring is here, we’re taking the challenge to get our buns off the couch and go outside into the world! We hope you’ll take the challenge with us and check out some of these greats trails all over Salt Lake and Utah County. We’ve ordered them by location, and then from least difficult to most…so whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, there is definitely an option here to get you moving.

 

SALT LAKE COUNTY

Ensign Peak

1 mile round trip

It is believed the peak of this small hill is the viewpoint from which Brigham Young and several other LDS church leaders looked down over the Salt Lake valley and planned the framework for a new city. It’s a great easy walk, perfect for after work or a Sunday afternoon, and only takes about 15 minutes up and 15 minutes back down. The best way to take in this view is with a picnic basket in hand.

Donut Falls, Big Cottonwood Canyon

3.5 mile round trip

This hike is perfect for a short evening walk or a casual weekend outing for the family. There is about ½ mile from parking to the trailhead, but it doesn’t get too steep and has an incredible view at the end. The last 100 yards to the cave can get slick, so if you’d like to go up that high you may want hiking boots with spikes in the late winter/early spring.

Desolation Trail, Salt Lake Overlook

3.5 mile round trip

Set in Millcreek Canyon, this pleasant short trail elevates to an idyllic spot for viewing sunsets overlooking the Salt Lake valley. The trail begins just east of the Millcreek Inn Restaurant. It climbs approximately 1,250 feet up long and steady switchbacks. The scenery all along the way is vibrant with colorful flowers and wildlife, so take your time and appreciate the opportunity to make your Instagram feed look amazing.

Lower Bells, Bell Canyon

4 mile round trip

This is a more difficult trail and will not be for the faint of heart. Though she be but little, she is fierce. Weather on this trail is generally good this time of year, however it is common for the snowpack to still be melting, so hiking boots with spikes are recommended. The incline to the top is steady and gradual, but continuous. The last 100 yards to the falls may be icy, as the water is often still frozen in March. However the bluish-white hue of the falls when they are still partially frozen is noted by many as one of the greatest attractions of this trail. It also is a great family trail and feasible for small children 5 years old and older.

White Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon

10 mile round trip

Located approximately 5 ½ miles into Little Cottonwood Canyon and ¾ of a mile before Snowbird the trailhead is marked with a sign, information center, and small vault restroom. This favorite trail of Little Cottonwood has been beloved for years due to its valley beauty. The ridges carved from early glaciers that swoop down to clear cold lakes is a breathtaking vista. The trail is not too difficult, as much of it follows an abandoned road. There is a short section before the end of more difficult switchbacks, however they are not too long.The payoff of the lake’s beauty is so much sweeter after a short bout of hard work.

 

UTAH COUNTY

Cascade Springs, Provo Canyon

1 mile round trip

This small, beautiful nature walk goes along several natural springs and is suitable for all ages, including those with ADA needs. Wooden boardwalks surround all the springs and give the young and young at heart a sweet view into nature’s wonders. It is fun and easy and a great option for anyone looking to get out of the house for a short while.

Timpanogos Cave

3 mile round trip

The trail is paved and begins right beside the Visitor Center. The incline is a bit steep, but virtually anyone in good health will be able to walk this path, so long as time and care is taken for all members of your party. This portion goes 1 ½ miles up and then 1 ½ back down. The view is beautiful, and you can get some great photos outside the cave at this point.

Should you choose to go farther, there are many tours through the caves which are scheduled in advance and planned for groups of approximately 20 people. Ticket prices range from FREE to $8.00 per person, varying by age. These walks through the caves are led by a guide and are full of fascinating geological and historical information.

Julie Andrews Meadow, American Fork Canyon

3.5 mile round trip

Located in American Fork Canyon, this quirky area was named for its peculiar resemblance to a well-known scene in The Sound of Music. The field is along the Timpooneke Trail, also known as Chris’ Flat Trail. Lush green grass, flowers in bloom, and just a bit of snow scattered along the Timpanogos ridge in the background create a beautiful early-spring view. Enjoy it with the family and a picnic. You’ll be sure to have a great time.

Mount Nebo

8.5 mile round trip

It is a common misconception among many Utahns that Mount Timpanogos is the highest peak along the Wasatch front, however the truth is Mount Nebo is 179 feet higher than Timp…making it the true “papa bear” in the Wasatch range.  The hike will take a full day to be sure, but is not terribly crowded most of the time and is riddled with stunning views. It is a moderate to difficult trail with certain sections being quite vertical on a rocky ridge. However, if you don’t mind adding a little more length to the hike there are some loop-arounds and switchbacks that decrease the time your elevation will be steep. Thunderstorms tend to come and go quickly, especially in the spring, so be prepared for this hike with a good rain jacket, hiking boots, food, and water.

 

We hope you enjoyed this list of great hikes across the Wasatch front. Let us know in the comments which ones you have done and any details about them we may have missed! Do you have any other favorites we didn’t list here? We’d love to hear. Enjoy the spring and get outside!