Tag: summer

That’s Entertainment: How to Design a Spectacular Swimming Pool and Patio

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If you’re planning to create the backyard pool and patio of your dreams, there are many things to consider before you get started. A swimming pool is an investment in your future enjoyment as well as a valuable property value-increasing addition to your home, so you’ll want to make sure you design a perfect pool and patio area.

The first thing to consider is what you’d like from your future pool, because your main motivations and reasons for wanting a pool will guide you in the design process. Whether you’re seeking a great form of exercise, family bonding time, a place to entertain friends, or a soothing oasis for relaxation, there’s a pool for you; you just need to figure out which one it is.

Below are 5 considerations to help anyone designing a swimming pool decide exactly what they need.

 

1. Size Matters—

The first thing to figure out before you plan anything else is the size of pool you’re seeking.

Too big, and you might eat up space for landscaping, seating and other design elements needed to make your poolside area a favorite hangout.

Too small, and you might not have a pool large enough to suit your needs, wasting time and money.

Many experts recommend doing a “hose layout” to determine your future pool size by using gardening hoses to create an outline in your backyard of where you’re visualizing a pool, and the shape that might work best.

 

2. Privacy Matters—

Most people don’t want the neighbors staring into the backyard while they walk around in bathing suits, making privacy an important aspect of designing any pool.

The most common solution to this issue is fencing, which creates both a physical and visual barrier between pool users and outsiders. Also: If current fencing is too low, it can be made higher.

Landscaping such as evergreen trees and bushes in colder climates, or bamboo and other tall, dense flora in warmer climates can also be a great way to create a feeling of solitude with a softer feel.

Most importantly, leave room in your pool design for plantings or fence-building if privacy is a concern.

 

3. Swimming Pool Shape—

Most people try to choose a pool shape that complements the design of their house.

For example, a very rustic, Tuscan-style home wouldn’t mesh with an extremely simple, modern pool, and a contemporary house might look unusual with a highly-landscaped and busier pool design.

Function also plays a factor in this part of the planning process, as someone seeking exercise laps will need a larger pool. If lacking the space, an endless swimming pool is a good alternate option, as it is smaller yet still provides exercise via air jets to swim against.

 

4. Swimming Pool Type—

Natural/free form design has grown in popularity, offering homeowners a stunning pool that looks like a lagoon or pond while being completely swimmer-friendly and clean. This effect is achieved by surrounding an organically-shaped pool with landscaping like trees, bushes, flowers and rocks to hide the edges, creating a peaceful, pastoral oasis.

Modern design is another option, with infinity pools becoming a top trend for their strikingly simple style. With no wall around the edge, these pools appear limitless by allowing water to flow off the end (into drain systems), creating an “infinite” view reminiscent of floating in the ocean.

Other common pool shapes are geometric forms like simple squares, circles, ovals, or Roman-style rectangular pools with rounded edges, and L-shaped pools. Customization and choice of pool shape depends largely on the size and profile of your backyard.

 

5. Design Elements—

This is the part of pool planning that truly allows the designer to give the pool an original feel, offering different elements that set the mood and enhance the entire concept.

The area inside the pool can be made from fiberglass, concrete or vinyl material, but classic, mosaic, or glass tiles are a beautiful, eye-catching option that add personality.

The patio area around the pool is another design option, with stamped concrete becoming a popular choice, along with concrete pavers in different colors and textures to add visual interest.

Pool lighting, both inside and around the pool is another element to consider, with traditional, LED fiber optic and solar lighting available. There are even dimmers that can be installed to control intensity of lighting.

Water features that flow into the pool, such as waterfalls and fountains are also beautiful ways to personalize a swimming pool, and add a relaxing running water sound to the backyard.

 

Pool design has come a long way, and what was once a simple choice between limited options is now an opportunity to turn your backyard into a work of art that enhances your home and life. Use the helpful tips above to design a fabulous swimming pool and patio area you can enjoy for many years to come.

Summer Style Watch: 10 Sexy, Sassy Swimwear Trends

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As new swimsuit styles strut up and down the runways, many of us are still trying to decide which look to rock this summer – but many celebrities have already been photographed on warm climate beaches, giving us early previews of the latest and greatest designs.

This summer will feature some classic versions of swimwear, but many will be bolder and brighter than ever before. “Fun in the sun” seems to be the common theme, with nods to vintage chic, and plenty of contrast.

Monochromatic swimsuits are always elegant, of course, but if you’ve been waiting for something more playful to wear poolside, go ahead and get excited, because this is going to be your year.

Below are 10 top swimwear trends you’ll see this summer:

 

1. Fabulous Fringes—

This is a sweetly sexy look featuring fabric frilled from the bikini top for a ruffled and demure design, or fringe on the bottom for a fun and flirty feel.

Extra material can either hide an aspect of the body or draw attention to it, depending on the length and texture, so choose wisely if you decide to wear this fluttery, carefree trend.

 

2. Geometric Girls—

The shape of the swimsuit is completely out of control this season, and there are no rules. Gone are the boring, traditional cuts of bikinis tops and bottoms, and in their place we’re seeing swimsuits in an amazing variety of shapes.

Cut-outs and creatively-placed straps and strings will be featured, as well as geometrically-inspired designs. Expect to see intricate, detailed and bold geometric shapes in bright, boisterous colors along with the unique and unconventional contours.

 

3. The Vintage Advantage—

Vintage is back in a big way, and nearly every designer is featuring something inspired by this sassy, playful pin-up style, with bows, polka dots and short swim skirts being utilized to the max.

Bustier tops and high-waisted bottoms have been spotted on celebrities like Rihanna and Ashley Greene; plus the retro look offers more support than many smaller swim styles, which can be a flattering blend of fashion and comfort.

 

4. Sexy Shorts—

Shorts, especially paired with string bikini tops, are already a popular trend on beaches, and have been seen on celebrities like Jeanette McCurdy and Selena Gomez.

In addition to looking great in neon colors either mixed or matched with a vibrant bikini top, swim shorts provide extra coverage and are great for active beachgoers who surf, ride jet skis, and other such activities.

 

5. Crocheted Creations—

Crochet and macramé suits are another way the retro vibe has reentered the swimsuit fashion scene, adding beautiful bohemian texture to what would usually be basic beachwear.

With braided details and interesting patterns, suits featuring crochet and macramé are a great way to stand out and get noticed this summer for your strong and sexy ‘70s style.

 

6. The Magnificent Monokini—

Made popular by gorgeous stars like Adriana Lima, Eva Longoria and Christina Milian, the monokini is all about the glam, and can be worn by nearly every body type. Choose one in an on-trend animal print or geometric style to add confidence to this look.

The best thing about the monokini is that it gives the illusion of a bikini with the support of a one-piece swimsuit, with figure-flattering cut-outs and sparkling rings, buckles and other hardware to dazzle everyone at any pool party.

 

6. Beautiful Bandeaus—

Because the bandeau top is strapless, this makes it great for full-chested girls with enough on top to hold it up – but when a strap is added, this style can be worn by everyone.

Katy Perry has recently been seen in an eclectic tie-dyed bandeau, because the simple design of this bikini top can handle funky prints and bright colors without looking too busy.

 

7. Sporty Suits—

Swimwear with a sporty edge has been seen on runways this year, with bottoms that offer full coverage and crop tops that might also double as athletic wear with a pair of stretchy shorts.

This is an excellent choice for the more conservative or body-conscious, and especially great for active ladies who play volleyball and enjoy wakeboarding when they go to the beach.

 

8. Hello, Sailor—

Nautical prints, colors and shapes are showing up in the swimwear lines of many designers, with navy blue, white stripes, and even ropes being featured.

Some sea-inspired swimsuits have pops of cherry red added to give the classic nautical look a modern vibe, and bright accessories can also achieve this fresh effect.

 

9. Delightfully Deep Necklines—

The extremely low-cut one piece swimsuit has been popular for years, and remains a favorite for many, modernizing a somewhat old-fashioned style with striking results.

Expect to see cut-outs paying homage to the geometric movement, and plunging backs to match the deeply dropped fronts this year.

 

10. Sassy String Bikinis—

String bikinis may change in shape and color, but they are a swimsuit collection staple that never seems to go out of style.

Available in structured forms, such as halter tops with underwire for those who need more support, or as simple triangles of fabric, the great thing about strings is that they adjust to fit everyone perfectly.

 

With a mixture of timeless favorites and innovative new designs, there is a swimsuit for every body type, style preference and personality. No matter which beachside look you choose from the above trends, you will look beautiful and fashion-forward all summer long.

Tips to Keep Sunless Tans Long-Lasting and Looking Lovely

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With skin cancer rates continuously climbing, more people are choosing to skip tanning outside or in tanning beds, and opting for the much safer, healthier version of beautiful bronzed skin: sunless tanning.

Whether via sunless tanning lotion or spray tanning, it’s now entirely possible to achieve the sun-kissed glow you desire in a safer, faster and controlled manner, eliminating the sunburn risks that come with outdoor tans. Sunless tanning has become more popular than ever for these reasons, with many celebrities talking openly about having it done before award ceremonies and big events.

So how do the professionals ensure a smooth, even, high-quality sunless tan, and how do we keep it lasting as long as possible? Check out the helpful tips below to find out.

 

1. Proper Preparation—

You’ll want your skin to be in the perfect condition to accept sunless tanning solution, and this involves exfoliation of all dead skin cells and moisturizing skin.

Without exfoliation, spray tanned skin may slough off post-tanning session where dry patches were previously, leaving you splotchy and pale in places, so be sure to scrub your skin a few days before. But don’t exfoliate immediately before sunless tanner is applied, as this can cause irritation and uneven spots.

Moisturize skin well a few days before to prime it for your upcoming tanning lotion or spray tan application, but not immediately before, as this can prevent the tanner from absorbing properly.

 

2. Carefully Color—

Once you’ve gone too far, you’ll have to live with the citrusy orange appearance you’ve created until it fades, so it’s always best to progress slowly when using any type of sunless tanning solution. You want to look like you spent a week on a beach vacation, not like you drink too much carrot juice, after all.

So take it slow when starting out and remember, you can always apply more sunless tanner or schedule another spray tan session. It’s better to need a second application than to regret going too heavy with the first one.

Also; remember to pull back your hairline when applying sunless tanner to eliminate a mask-like facial appearance, and wash hands well afterward to avoid staining.

 

3. Comfy Clothing—

If you’re applying self-tanning lotion or receiving a spray tan, try to wait as long as possible before getting dressed after application, as clothing can absorb the lotion, giving you an uneven effect.

When you get dressed, remember to choose loose-fitting, baggy clothing made from natural fibers, such as a thin cotton. The more breathable and flowing your post-sunless tanning session clothes are, the less likely they’ll be to ruin your results.

Another tip: Wear dark clothing anytime sunless tanner is applied to your body to hide stains, and bring flip-flops for your feet.

 

4. Awesome After-Care—

Once you’ve achieved the color you’ve been seeking, you’re going to want to keep it for as long as possible, without streaks and fading. This sunless tan maintenance is easily achievable if you can remember a few important things.

First; don’t shower for at least 8 hours – maybe even 12 if you can take it. This will give the tanner time to properly develop and set. You worked hard for this lovely color, so don’t rinse it off.

Second; when you do shower, avoid overly hot water or harsh soaps and body washes that can pull the color out of your skin. Be gentle, and moisturize after bathing.

Third, avoid exfoliating and scrubbing of skin, as this can cause blotchiness and faster fading. And skip all chlorinated pools or hot tubs, as these will also hasten your return to the land of the pasty.

 

5. Marvelous Maintenance—

By using tan-extending products, anyone can lengthen the life of a sunless tan. There are even exfoliators made specifically for those with spray tans, and lotions made to boost self-tanning gradually to keep the desired color.

While exfoliation is recommended against for those with sunless tans, it can be used to remove color from areas that are commonly too-dark, such as elbows, knees and wrists.

If you get spray tans, don’t forget that you can extend the life of your investment with sunless tanning lotions and moisturizers that offer slow color-building.

 

It’s also important to remember that sunless tanning methods like self-tanning lotions and spray tans provide no sun protection, so be sure to wear your usual SPF to avoid the sun damage you’re wisely skipping by choosing sunless tanning.

Eat healthfully and stay hydrated to keep skin radiant from within, and use the tips above to achieve and keep the beautiful, bronze glow you’ve been seeking.

Skin Cancer is Scary, and 7 Other Reasons to Choose Sunless Tanning

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Everybody knows that lying in the sun for endless hours to achieve the golden glow we love is not only detrimental to the quality of our skin, it can be deadly. For this reason, everyone is turning to sunless tanning methods, even celebrities.

By avoiding excessive sunshine, we’re not damaging our precious skin like generations of the past once had to for beautiful bronze coloring. This is because we now have many wonderfully effective alternatives, such as sunless tanning creams and spray tans.

If you’re still a sun worshipper, read the reasons you should consider a new way to get the color you love, below:

 

1. Skin Cancer is Scary—

While genetics definitely play a role, the number one cause of skin cancer is sun exposure. And it builds up over time, creating a cumulative effect upon your skin that can lead to different forms of this disease.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and can look like a little scaly, red patch of skin you might dismiss as a dry spot.

Squamous cell carcinoma is generally larger and raised, with more discoloration and roughness.

Both types of skin cancer have a low metastasizing rate, and can generally be removed without further treatment.

Melanoma, however, often presents inside of moles and pigmented areas, making it more visually obvious, with a dangerously higher rate of spreading throughout the body.

By using sunless forms of tanning, you can drastically reduce your chances of developing skin cancers of any type, saving yourself trips to the dermatologist to have skin cancers cut and burned off, or worse.

 

2. Sunless Tanning is Faster—

Lying in one place for hours can be pretty boring, and sunbathing is no exception. You know you’re participating in a less-than-thrilling activity when “looking forward to the next time you can turn over” is the highlight.

If you’re a reader with a good book or magazine, this may keep you entertained until you’re out of material… but wouldn’t you rather be doing what you want to do with your time?

Sunless tanning lotions and spray tans are done in quick sessions, and you can quickly move on with your busy life afterward. Freedom!

 

3. No Premature Aging—

Ask your dermatologist or aesthetician how you got those wrinkles on your face if you have them, or how you can avoid them if you don’t yet have any, and the first thing out of her/his mouth will be, “Stay out of the sun, and use sunscreen.”

Experts agree that nothing ages us like the sun, and even those who eat healthfully and don’t smoke are entirely susceptible to its damaging rays, no matter what they think.

By skipping sun time completely with tanning lotions or sprays, you’re also skipping the wrinkles that would have come with it. Smart move.

 

4. No Slimy Sweating—

Yes, lying in the sun feels good… for about 15 minutes until the sweating starts to make you feel uncomfortable and sticky.

If you have a swimming pool or ocean to splash into to cool down while sunbathing, this feels better… and it rinses off your sunscreen, forcing you to reapply or face potential sunburn.

If you’d like to skip the sickeningly slimy sensation of roasting on a grill, choose sunless tanning products.

 

5. Sunless Tanning is Cheaper—

Unless you live somewhere the sun shines year-round and the outdoor temperature allows for sunbathing, you’ll need to use tanning beds to stay golden. But depending on your skin tone and desired color, multiple tanning bed visits can be time-consuming and costly.

The extra time and money factor involved with constant tanning bed appointments makes tanning via lotion or spray tan a much more affordable option.

 

6. Self-Tanners Can Help You Look Younger—

Some self-tanning products include moisturizing and anti-aging benefits, making them a much better decision than lying in the sun, prematurely aging yourself.

Soft and moisturized, golden-tanned skin, or a dried-out leathery look? You decide.

 

7. Stay Perfectly Tanned Year-Round—

Unlike tanning in the outdoors, sunless tanners allow you to choose your color tone and level of pigment without the risk of burning or freckling.

Spray tans especially allow for smoother, more even all-over color, so you can look like you live on the beach, even if you’re in the middle of a snowy winter.

 

8. You Can Use All-Natural Ingredients—

Most sunless tanners are FDA approved, but if you’re a girl who tries to keep it real, there are self-tanners available that use all-natural substances such as beets and sugar cane.

There are also bronzers that utilize walnut oil, henna, carrot oil, black tea extract and other safe and food-based ingredients to stain the skin for a temporarily darker appearance.

 

Tanned skin can make us feel better about the way we look, reducing the appearance of cellulite and raising our self-esteem, but we don’t need to damage ourselves to achieve this. If you’re still baking yourself in the sun, think about the great reasons listed above, and consider giving sunless tanning a try instead: your skin will thank you.

Pool Party Princess: 5 Ways to Awesomely Accessorize Swimwear

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If you’ve got it, flaunt it in a cool new swimsuit – and if you’re going to show off your new swimwear, you’ll want to accessorize it perfectly. But there’s a fine line between accessorizing with class, and taking it too far. You want to enhance your fashionable look, not weigh it down with too many additions or tacky choices.

So how do you choose the accessories that will complement your swimwear and give you that perfectly polished look you’re seeking? Never fear; we’ve got some great tips below to help you find the accoutrements to take your look from “Nice,” to “Wow! She looks amazing!”

 

5 Ways to Select the Best Swimwear Accessories: 

 

1. Some Super Shoes—

Most women agree that high heels have the opposite effect the wearer is hoping for when combined with a bikini, turning what should be a cute, casual look into: “I got lost on my way to the beauty pageant.”

In other words, don’t try too hard. Confident girls don’t have to try, they simply are. So find a flattering pair of sandals or flip-flops instead, and save the pumps for your formal wear.

You can also use beading, ties, glitter, sequins and other details to dress up sandals if you’re trying to make your outfit more interesting.

If you must add height to your swim ensemble, stick with wedges in natural materials with subtle, low heels so you don’t overdo it.

 

2. A Hot Hat—

In addition to protecting your face from the damaging effects of the sun, a hat is a great way to dress up your beach wear. Pair it with some sunglasses to add even more stylish sunscreen.

A big floppy hat will offer the most shade, obviously, but even a smaller version can help you stay cool and looking fashionable.

Baseball hats are sporty, but if you’re seeking an alternative to the classic wide-brimmed movie star hat, consider a fedora, boater, derby or cowboy hat to keep it feminine and flirty.

 

3. A Cool Cover-Up—

Sarongs are a popular swimwear cover-up choice because of their breezy versatility and sexy style, generally wrapped around the hips to serve as a skirt.

If you’re getting too much sun on your shoulders, a sarong can also be layered over the upper body like a pashmina to offer protection with beauty.

Loose-fitting dress-style cover-ups are an excellent choice because they can be worn into the evening if needed. Kaftans are another elegant version of this public-ready look that every woman can wear.

 

4. The Right Jewelry—

All jewelry doesn’t work with every style, and each swimsuit calls for a different look. To figure out what rings, bracelets or necklaces you should choose, you’ll need to first figure out your swimsuit style.

Sporty swimsuits are popular this year, and with athletic swimwear it’s best to think simple when adding rings or bracelets. In general, skip the necklaces, as they tend to overly formalize this style.

Retro swimwear is also big right now, and allows for funky jewelry of all types, with flowers, cherries, bows, polka dots and anything that adds kitschy charm, as long as isn’t too busy.

When accessorizing with the bohemian or geometric prints we’ve seen on the runways lately, dangly, exotic earrings and bracelets look amazing, especially in shells, beads and other intricate designs.

As always, if your suit is modern and clean, keep all accessorizing contemporary and basic, with one big statement piece such as a metal cuff bracelet or a larger pendant necklace, rather than detailed additions.

 

5. The Best Bag—

Beach bags and totes come in a vast array of styles and colors, from natural materials that match everything, like straw or macramé, to wild and bold patterns that add pop to any outfit.

As with jewelry, the bag you carry should match your suit style, but because sporty and modern suits are often simple, you can get away with a bright burst of color via your bag or tote if you’d like.

In general, your bag is where you store towels, lotions, magazines and other poolside or beach necessities, and not something you carry around with you, so have fun and pick the bag you love.

 

Accessorizing your swimwear can be just the thing to make the same suit you may see on someone else all your own. By adding hats, jewelry, bags, cover-ups and cute shoes, you can completely personalize every look to stand out with your special brand of summer style. Use the tips above to add awesome accessories to your swimwear and be the princess of every pool party.

7 Simple Steps to Sexy Summer Skin

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The weather’s getting warmer, and with summertime comes the revealing clothing and swimwear you’ll be wearing – especially if you’re planning on hanging out poolside or at the beach. This means the dry, pasty skin you’ve been hiding under layers of winter clothing will be visible to the world, so you’re going to want to be prepared.

Getting our bodies ready for summer can take some work, and below we’re going to discuss the things everyone should do to get skin ready for public viewing. Read and follow these 7 simple steps to sexy summer skin, and you’ll be gorgeously glowing in no time!

1. Hydrate to Look Great—

The first step to beautiful skin, no matter what the season, is proper hydration. If you want to look fresh and dewy, you need to give your skin the moisture it craves, and above all else, this comes from the inside out.

Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and carry a water bottle with you wherever you go to keep your skin revitalized and radiant.

2. Exfoliation for the Beauty Nation—

Now that you’ve hydrated to plump up skin from within, it’s time to get the dried upper level of your epidermis off so you can set free your inner shine with pretty polished perfection.

To exfoliate, you can use a body scrub like many of the sugar scrubs available, make your own version at home with sugar, honey, olive oil and other skin-friendly foods, or use a body brush with a liquid exfoliator to work the dead skin cells off and reveal your healthy glow.

3. Natural Nutrition—

You are what you eat, and if what you’re eating is a bunch of processed or greasy junk and fast food, it’s going to show on your skin. Poor food choices can lead to a lackluster look, and even acne, making it especially important to eat well when your skin will be on display in bathing suits or summer dresses.

If you want to have incredible skin year-round, go heavy on the fruits and vegetables, and always eat clean to cleanse the body of toxins, because a good diet can really make skin look amazing.

4. Super Soap—

Sometimes our choice of soap can dry out the skin, leaving it flaky and older-looking than it actually is by creating wrinkles caused by dehydration rather than age.

It’s important no matter what the season to use a soap that pampers the skin and doesn’t rob it of all its moisture. Choose an all-natural soap that contains olive, almond, avocado, coconut, or any other kind of oil that sounds good to you, and give your skin the gift of gentle cleansing.

5. Magical Moisturizer—

In addition to not stripping the skin of all its oils with a good soap, it’s important to hold in the moisture with a lotion that prevents it from drying and flaking later.

There are tinted lotions and those that gradually add color to the skin, and even creams that provide shimmer, so don’t be afraid to be the glittery girl at the pool party. It’s okay to sparkle on the outside as well as on the inside!

6. Terrifically Tanned—

Dermatologists no longer recommend basking in the sun for color, and with the rates of skin cancer rising higher yearly, they make a good point. Fortunately for us, there are sunless tanning options available that look just as good as the “real thing.”

Whether you use a sunless tanning lotion, or get a professional spray tan, if you follow the steps above, your skin will be perfectly prepared to soak up the color as long as you don’t moisturize immediately before sunless tanner application.

7. Save Skin with Sunscreen—

In addition to causing skin cancer, sun exposure can age people prematurely, create unwanted spots and freckles, and make skin look leathery and hard, rather than smooth, moist and young.

This means that always using sunscreen of at least 30 or 40 SPF is of the utmost importance. And remember that even though you have a sunless tan, this extra pigment provides no protection from sun damage.

Don’t forget to get a pedicure for cute summer feet, and if you’re going to shave or wax, time your hair removal so that skin won’t be red or irritated when you’re trying to show it off. Use the 7 helpful preparation tips above to present the sexiest summer skin ever this year, so you can feel beautiful and have fun, no matter where you go.