Summer Fun: How to Pack the Perfect Picnic
With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to plan a picnic. I love dining alfresco when the weather is nice, from the park to the beach to my own backyard. So today I’m sharing a few tips to make your picnic perfect…
While you can have a picnic practically anywhere, your choice of setting will set the tone and determine what exactly you bring along. Consider the following… Will you be hiking to a picturesque spot surrounded by nature? If so, you will want to pack a lighter load for the trek in. Will you be dining in a park with wooden picnic benches? You can skip the blanket in that case. Are you packing a picnic for an outdoor concert or movie? Make sure they allow glassware at the venue.
For a picnic, foods that travel well are a must. Think perfect mini picnic sandwiches, pasta salad, or hearty greens like kale that don’t wilt in the heat. Fresh fruit is another good choice, along with a selection ofcheese and charcuterie. And don’t forget a thermos full of floral infused lemonade or iced tea.
A picnic makes for a great romantic evening, group date, or a fun afternoon with friends. And bonus: there’s really no limit to how many people you can invite, like there might be if you’re living in a small apartment (including your canine friends). If you’re inviting a several others along, I suggest assigning some guests to bring a main course, some a side dish, some a beverage, and some dessert, and then sharing them all potluck style.
While your picnic spot will determine exactly what you tote along, there are a few items I recommend having in your picnic arsenal. No. 1 is a chic basket like one of these market baskets from The Little Market. Sure, you could tote along an ice chest or cooler… But there is just something so sweet about packing your picnic the old-fashioned way. (Can you say Instagram opp?) And if you do need a little extra insulation for some of the more perishable items on your menu, simply tuck them into an insulated button bag from my XO(eco) collection, and then stow that inside your basket.
The next item on your picnic packing list should be a soft blanket or oversized towel. Look for something that has a large enough surface area for everyone to sit on, but is lightweight enough to fold down and fit in your basket with ease. In a pinch, an old bed sheet will do!
Lastly, bring along reusable outdoor dishware, utensils (like this folding flatware set), and food storage containers. Target always has a great selection of adorable melamine and plastic dishes. And if you’ll be sipping on an adult beverage, these portable stack ‘n go wine glasses may come in handy. And since I always try to keep things eco-friendly, I use my XO(eco) reusable storage bags in place of any disposable Ziploc baggies. They come in both a snack pack and sandwich size.
There are a few extra things that can make your picnic an even bigger success. One is a portable speaker like this one from Ban.do to blast your picnic playlist. You can also bring along a fun activity like supplies to make flower crowns or a deck of playing cards (William and I love playing gin rummy). And when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a Frisbee!
There you have it! I hope these tips come in handy.
Looks like the dog beds we made yesterday are pup approved
A little Sunday project
It’s true what they say… An apple a day keeps the bad hair away. ;)
Shape Up: Maintaining Your Bikini Body
I hope all of you have found that my Bikini Body Plan has helped you to feel healthy, exercise, and be confident this summer. I always find that sticking with a plan helps me to reach my goals when I’m trying to eat healthy and get in shape. The most important thing to take from any health plan is that it should become a lifestyle, not just a diet. So even though we only have a few months of summer left, today I’ll be sharing some tips to help you keep your healthy habits going all year round. If you need to brush up on the guidelines and tips of my plan first, click here and here.
Without further ado, here are some tips to maintain your beach body…
Basic Tips for Keeping the Weight Off
Remind yourself of how much you’ve accomplished.
It can be easy to over-celebrate (and over-indulge) once you have reached your goals. Keep a photograph around to serve as a constant reminder of how hard you worked and feel empowered because you did it. Stay motivated, ladies.
Keep exercising regularly.
Try not to get off the bandwagon… if you go to spin every Monday before work, keep doing it! If you don’t keep working for it, you’ll lose it. So make it a goal to work out at least three to five days a week and take each day at a time. If you get off track, just keep your chin up and get right back on. We all have weeks that are extra busy or times when life throws us curve balls. View those weeks as little hiccups, and then get back on board. Also, if you are on board but you feel bored, switch up your workout. Grab a buddy, try a Zumba class, or take your sweat sesh outdoors. It will give your fitness routine a fresh perspective.
Always eat a healthy, balanced breakfast.
You should know by now that skipping breakfast is a bad habit—and one that can actually lead to weight gain. Eating breakfast keeps your body stabilized with the appropriate fuel to kick start your day. Start off every day with one of the healthy breakfast options from my list of approved meals. Starting off with breakfast will set a healthy tone for the rest of your meals and snacks to come throughout the day. It will also stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling satisfied until lunchtime. That way, you won’t feel starving and order a large pizza, party of one.
Ditch your old duds.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you keep older clothes then you will be more likely to accept weight re-gain and fall back into unhealthy habits. If you don’t have your old clothes to fallback on, you will be more likely to make a conscious effort to stay fit and slim for your new wardrobe. Also, I think the way your clothes fit is a better indicator of your weight rather than a scale. If your favorite pair of skinny jeans is starting to get tight, it’s time to reel in and refocus. (There are plenty of deserving places to send your second-hand clothes. Click here for a few of my personal suggestions.)
Identify your weight-gain triggers.
I mention this tip every year, and it’s a crucial part of maintaining the figure you’ve worked so hard on. If you can identify the triggers that lead you to making bad decisions, you are one step closer to breaking a bad habit. For example, if you know that when the weekend rolls around you start to crave pizza, French fries and other junk food, you can also find the tools to avoid giving into these cravings. Other triggers can include 3 o’clock boredom or dips in blood sugar (solution: take a quick walk or have a healthy snack), watching television and mindlessly snacking (solution: eat fresh veggies instead of starchy or sugary foods and do crunches or lunges during commercial breaks), or getting in a fight with your beau and turning to your old friends Ben & Jerry (solution: call a girlfriend or go for a run). Stay strong and come up with a solution to counteract your bad habits. Before you know it, you will have made new good habits in place of the bad ones!
How you reward yourself is up to you, but you should definitely give yourself a little treat every so often to keep yourself going. Whether that means having a s’mores bar one week when you worked out particularly hard or, my personal favorite, splurging on the bikini you’ve had your eye on all summer—we all need a little motivation to keep us going. Maybe it’s booking that tropical vacation when you finally feel bikini-ready. When you reward yourself, your brain will associate your hard work with positive reinforcement. And hopefully, that will help you to stay on track in the long run.
Healthy Habits: How to Make Yourself Drink More Water
I know how important it is to stay hydrated, but drinking enough water has always been a struggle for me. I’ve tried starting each day with hot lemon water and stocking my fridge with fruit infused waters, but I couldn’t quite get the habit to stick.
Then, the other day, a friend shared this article documenting how drinking more water radically changed one woman’s appearance, making her look 10 years younger. Whether or not fancy lighting or makeup was used to make the change look more dramatic, it inspired me to try drinking more water again. So, I came up with a little trick to up my H20 intake…
My Water Drinking Rule
My goal was to drink at least 3 liters (about 100 ounces) of water a day. So the rule I came up with is that I must drink a liter of water before each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I have a big 1-liter bottle that I refill to make it easy to keep track.
I start drinking water right when I wake up in the morning and don’t eat breakfast until I’ve finished the first bottle. Since I’m usually pretty hungry when I wake up, this really motivates me to drink that H20. If I want a cup of coffee or tea with my morning meal, that’s OK, as long as I’ve had the water first. I start drinking my second bottle right after breakfast. I make myself finish it before moving onto lunch. And then it’s the same story after lunch—no dinner before the third bottle of water is finished. If I drink all three liters in a day, I also reward myself with a sweet treat like a couple squares of chocolate after dinner.
So far, it’s really working! I already feel better and have more energy too. And as an added bonus, I find myself less likely to overeat when I’m fully hydrated.
Ask Lauren: How to Love the Body You Have
Here on LaurenConrad.com we post a lot of blogs about slimming down, shaping up, and getting fit. I’ll be the first one to admit that I love to read diet and fitness tips because I think a healthy lifestyle is important. But behind all of this talk of toning up lies the heart of what it means to be healthy: Loving the skin you’re in and treating it right. One reader recently wrote a comment that really inspired me and sparked a conversation on the blog. She explained that “loving the body you have” is a great way to be confident, but that constantly working to improve our health is what’s really important. I was happy to see this interesting take on the whole idea of “slimming down” and “shaping up” because it showed me that our readers are quite intuitive about body image. In a nutshell, here’s what one reader, Halie, wrote:
[Being healthy] shouldn’t be about appearance, it should be about health. Love yourself so much that you want to be healthy. Once I let go of trying to be skinny or perfect and focused on the idea of loving my body so much that I gave it the very best treatment, I got healthier.
Another reader, Hannah, agreed and wrote back with this:
Although it’s great to “be happy with the body you have,” what is even better is trying to improve and become healthier and more fit. Almost everyone I know, while of course they are worthy of self-confidence, should spend more time working out, choosing healthier meals and snacks, and making lifestyle changes rather than sitting on the couch.
Now here’s what I think about loving your body. As women, we all have things that we can be self conscious of. Whether it’s wishing our tummies were a little flatter or our arms were a little more toned (for me it’s the stubborn cellulite on my thighs), there are always those little things we wish we could change about our bodies. My approach to most things in life has always been to accept it or change it. Because of this, I have always used my flaws as motivation to work harder and stay in shape. But as I have grown, I have learned more to love my body for what it is. After all, it’s been good to me. It takes me on afternoon hikes and runs alongside my dogs in the sand. It built me the raised beds in my garden and feels strong when I workout at the gym. And, in exchange, I treat my body the best I can. I stay active and feed ithealthy food. I let it rest at night and take vitamins to keep it strong. I love my body the way it is because I have treated it well and continued to exercise and feed it healthy food throughout the years. I am all for body confidence, but I am even more for living a healthy lifestyle.
This summer, remember that working toward that “bikini body” I often refer to does not mean working to fit into a certain mold. A bikini body is not a certain weight, size or shape. It simply means working hard to treat your body right, exercise, eat healthy, and then feeling confident in your bikini. That, ladies, is the best way to learn to love the skin you’re in.
Lauren Conrad Is Our Next Guest Editor! Get All the Details Here
Lauren Conrad is taking over InStyle.com on July 29, and we couldn’t be more excited! Following in the footsteps of our previous guest editors Elizabeth Banks and Kate Hudson, Conrad will dish out exclusive content—from beauty tips and styling advice to so much more—on our site throughout the day. But that’s not all: The blogger and style star will hold an exclusive Twitter chat with InStyle.com that same day at 4 p.m. EST, when you can tweet her all your burning questions using #AskLaurenC.
Make sure to come back on Tuesday, July 29, as we roll out all of Conrad’s special content. In the meantime, click through some of her best looks ever in our gallery.
Nail Files: My Summer Polish Picks
If you’re a regular LaurenConrad.com reader, you know that every season I like to share my favorites polish colors of the moment. Spring’s pastel shades were pretty, but now that summer is in full swing I’m making the move toward brighter hues. Here are five of the shades that will be making an appearance on my nails this season…
This cool, clear blue reminds me of one of the places I spend the most time during summer… the pool. Try Essie’s ‘I’m Addicted,’ which is the color in the picture above. ‘Boom Box’ from Ciate is another similar shade I’d recommend.
Bright white was all the rage on the Spring 2014 runways, but I prefer a slightly creamier, eggshell hue. This subtle shade is romantic, light, and airy—just like the summer season should. Get the look with Deborah Lippman’s ‘Prelude to a Kiss.’
I couldn’t leave this fun, citrus-y hue off of my polish list. Coral was one of my go-to nail colors last summer, and this feels like an updated take on the trend. The color above is Topshop’s ‘Carnival.’
Red is vibrant and fun, but also such a timeless shade. It’s one of those colors that your friends will compliment you on and your grandmother will also approve of. The red in the photo is actually called ‘Summer Time’ (it’s from Treat Collection). Pretty fitting if you ask me. (P.S. I love how it pairs with a hot pink pedi!)
Fuchsia is one of those colors that just flatters every skin tone. Whether you’re tan or on the fairer side, it will look good on your fingers and toes. Give ‘Too Taboo’ by Essie a try for a look that is vivid, intense, and feminine all at once.
Exclusive Interview with Lauren Conrad
Last night we attended a Malibu summer soiree with flower crowns, necklaces, bracelets, chic flower pins for the gentlemen and Lauren Conrad!! No we didn’t travel all the way to Malibu but LC did come to us. After enjoying one too many Malibu Spiced cocktails, and the gorgeous beach-y setting with flower arrangements hanging from every corner at the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach, we got to chit-chat with the gorgeous Cali girl. WOAH major ‘Laguna Beach’ and ‘The Hills’ flashback!!
The Cali girl stunned in a silky royal blue dress, wearing her hair in laid back subtle waves with a fresh face, only light natural makeup. (No need for much when you’ve got LC’s summer glow) In case you were wondering what the blonde bombshell is up to these days read away…
Venue: How does it feel to be in sunny Miami, even though it’s not so sunny today?
LC: I love being in Miami-it’s so much fun. I brought one of my girl friends with me and then one of our girlfriends met us here. It’s always nice to do a girl’s get away.
Venue: What is your favorite summer trend?
LC: I’m trying to think of what I’ve been wearing. Is it silly to say flower patterns? In the right setting I think they’re so fun. Really simple- like at a wedding, festival, I think they’re so fun.
Venue: Where do you get your fashion inspiration for your collection?
LC: I think everywhere. I’ve been traveling a lot the past 2 years. You go to new places and it opens your eyes to different things you haven’t seen before. Everything from colors, to silhouettes, to patterns- it just comes from everywhere.
Venue: Would you say that you have an ultimate fashion designer that you look up to?
LC: I have fashion designers that I definitely respect. After working for a few years in the industry, you want to branch out and do your own thing and I think that’s something that has always been important to me is strengthening the brand and just sticking to “this is who we are, this is our identity, this is who we’re going to be”. I definitely respect other designers but I don’t necessarily have one that I look up to.
Lauren Conrad: I Don’t Love the Gym and I’m No Good at Dieting
While some stars take an extremely disciplined approach to “shedding for the wedding,” Lauren Conrad‘s not sweating it — literally or figuratively.
“I’m not a huge fan of the gym, to be honest,” Conrad told PEOPLE at Wednesday’s Malibu Island Spiced Summer Soirée in Miami, where she wore an Aqua dress and made floral leis. “When I have to go to the gym and put an hour in, I’m just staring at the clock”.
The former star of The Hills is also surprisingly easygoing about what she eats. “I really love food … I’m not good at dieting,” she said. “I try to make smart choices but just eat a little bit less.”
But don’t expect to see Conrad in anything but tip-top shape for herupcoming wedding to law student William Tell — she gets her workouts in the California way. “I just like getting out, like going on a hike, going on the kayaks, going for a run on the beach,” she explained.
Conrad also appreciates a healthy cocktail (see: the Truvia-sweetened spiced rum she’s fronting) and she’s been turning her fiancé into a fan as well. Sneakily. “Boys never want sugary drinks, but I feel like with these it’s like slipping your little kid broccoli,” she said. “They don’t know you’re giving them a low-calorie beverage.”
Lauren hosts the Malibu Island Spiced Summer Soiree at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel in Miami, Florida on Wednesday (7.9.14)