Tuesday, September 12, 2017

20 Healthy Choices You Can Make Today

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Healthy living doesn’t have to be hard!
There are a lot of little things you can do to live a healthier lifestyle. While making drastic changes requires time and effort, there are plenty of healthy choices you can easily make day-to-day. I’m trying to have a more positive lifestyle myself, and I’ve discovered that little choices can make big changes. Below, I’ve compiled a list of 20 easy ways you can live a healthier life.

Here are 20 healthy choices you can easily make today:

    1. Learn to enjoy cooking.People often view cooking as a burden, but it doesn’t have to be! Cooking can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re making something you really like. Try to use cooking as a stress-reliever. View it as a way to take time for yourself.
    2. Don’t skip breakfast.They call it the most important meal of the day for a reason! By eating breakfast, you’ll start off your day right, and you’ll also be less likely to have cravings later in the day. Enjoy a nutritious, light breakfast every morning.
    3. Eat more fruit. Try to avoid processed sugars.Not all sugar is bad. Try to get your sugar from healthy sources, like fruit, and avoid the processed sugars that aren’t good for you.
    4. Drink more water. Filter your tap water using the Brita® Stream Filter.Water is essential for your health. By drinking enough water every day, you will care for your digestive system, improve the appearance of your skin, have more energy, and boost your immune system. Unfortunately, not all tap water in the United States is completely clean. According to the New York Times, if you are a United States resident, there is a 25 percent chance that your tap water is contaminated. You probably don’t know what you’re putting into your body when you drink tap water. That’s why having a proper water filter is so important.The Brita® Stream Filter is a great water filtration choice. It uses filter-as-you-pour™ technology to instantly give you access to filtered water. I love my Brita® Stream Filter because it’s the perfect size for my fridge and the water it filters tastes great. I know I can trust the water I pour from my Brita® Stream Filter. It’s a modern household essential.
    5. Take a multivitamin.Unless you eat an incredibly healthy diet all the time, chances are that you aren’t getting all the nutrients your body needs. Multivitamins help by providing your body with nutrients that it wouldn’t normally get from your diet.
    6. Exfoliate and moisturize your skin.Caring for your skin makes a huge difference in both its appearance and overall health. Your skincare routine might vary depending on your skin type, but I usually exfoliate once per week and moisturize daily. Make sure you use high-quality products that are fit for your skin type.
    7. Take an Omega-3 supplement.Omega-3s have too many benefits to list. They work to improve your eyesight, lower your cholesterol, help your skin, and protect your brain. I take an Omega-3 supplement every day, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
    8. Spend more time outdoors.In this digital age, it’s easy to occupy yourself with indoor activities all the time. Go outside for a few minutes during your lunch break and get some vitamin D!
    9. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night.Sleep is super important! Getting enough sleep every night will improve your immune system, keep your skin healthy, and probably make you a nicer person.
    10. Spend less time staring at screens.It’s not good for your eyes or brain to stare at screens all day. Even if you have a job that requires you to be on a computer at all times, try to rest your eyes every once in a while to give them a break.
    11. Stretch.Regardless of how much you exercise, stretching will help you to keep your joints healthy. Take five minutes when you wake up in the morning to stretch and get ready for your day.
    12. Balance your cardio with strength training.A lot of people either do one or the other. Both are important for your overall physical health! Have a healthy balance of both cardio and strength training and you’ll both look and feel better.
    13. Prioritize your mental health.If you are feeling down, don’t ignore it! Mental health is just as important as physical health. Seek help if you feel like you need it.
    14. Don’t wash your hair every day.When you wash your hair daily, you strip it of the natural oils your scalp produces to keep your hair healthy. Wash your hair every other day at the most. Use dry shampoo in between washes if your hair gets oily.
    15. Find healthy ways to deal with stress.There are plenty of unhealthy ways to temporarily relieve stress, but they will only make the problem worse in the end. By dealing with your stress in healthy ways, you will improve your mental health and be a happier person overall.
    16. Drink less alcohol.Drinking socially on occasion is not significantly detrimental to your health. However, drinking alcohol is not good for you by any means. Try to cut down on your alcohol consumption and engage in other activities you enjoy.
    17. Have a positive relationship with your body.Love and care for your body. You only have one. Don’t compare your body to other people’s. Instead, love yours for what it is.
    18. Laugh more often.Don’t take everything so seriously! Enjoy life and laugh things off more often.
    19. Set goals.I believe that goal-setting is important in every aspect of life. Whether you want to live a healthier lifestyle or get an A on your next test, you will be much more likely to succeed if you set realistic goals for yourself.
    20. Focus more on yourself and less on others.At the end of the day, this life is yours, and you can live it however you choose to. Don’t let the opinions of others hold you back. Focus on yourself and do what makes you happy. Positive changes will come naturally when you do things for yourself.
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4 Simple Steps To Improve Your Lifestyle

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Mondays are for new beginnings, so I want to talk about positive lifestyle changes today. As a lifestyle blogger, I always strive to improve the way I live. However, as we know, life isn’t always fair. Sometimes, it likes to put obstacles in our way. These constraints can make it harder for us to achieve our goals.

I’m a perfectionist; I really wish I could be immune to life’s obstacles, but I can’t. After all, I’m only human. I don’t claim to have all the answers. In fact, I’m not even close to having all the answers. But I’m working on making new discoveries every day, and that’s what counts. See, I’ve learned that positive lifestyle changes aren’t made by being immune to the obstacles. Instead, we must work to overcome the obstacles, and that’s when we see improvement.

4 Simple Steps To Improve Your Lifestyle
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “lifestyle” means “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture.” Because everyone is different, there is no single definition of a “good lifestyle.” A lot of it has to do with figuring out where you are now, deciding where you’d like to be, setting goals, and taking action to achieve these aims. Follow these four simple steps, described in detail below, and you are on your way to having a more positive lifestyle.

Figure out where you are now.

Before making any lifestyle change, it’s important to have self-awareness. Whether you’re trying to break a bad habit or form a positive one, being honest with yourself about where you are now will help you to take appropriate action in the following steps. I recommend making a list of areas of your life that you’d like to improve. For example, if you feel that you don’t exercise enough, write that down. If you don’t take enough time for self-care, write that down. Your list can contain any items that relate to the way you live your life. These are all things that you will work to improve in the following steps.

Decide where you’d like to be.

Now that you have a list of areas of your life that you’d like to improve, it’s time to figure out where you eventually want to be. If you feel that you should exercise more, speculate about how much you want to exercise. If you want to spend more time with family, think about how often you should do that. When you think about where you want to be, try to focus on yourself.  It’s easy to compare yourself to others, but try to remember that your lifestyle is unique to you. Make decisions for yourself instead of attempting to be better than another person. By taking some time to think and get a general sense of where you’d like to be, you are preparing yourself for the next step– goal-setting.

Set goals.

Now that you’ve done some introspection, it’s time to set some concrete goals. I recommend using specific numbers to define your goals. For example, if you want to spend more time doing something you enjoy, your goal might be to spend at least 30 minutes per day doing that thing. If you want to exercise more often, your goal might be to exercise for one hour three times per week. By being specific when setting goals, you are more likely to achieve them. Also, it’s important to remember that lifestyle changes are intended to be relatively permanent, so they are often gradual changes that occur over an extended period of time. Try to set realistic goals for yourself, and then when you achieve those goals, set even higher ones to continue to improve. One of my favorite mottos is to strive for the highest.

Take action to achieve your goals.

This is the most important part of the process. The final step is to work toward achieving the goals you set for yourself. This might include moving your schedule around or reevaluating your priorities. Lifestyle changes can be difficult because they require you to change the way you normally do things. It most likely won’t be easy, but just keep your goals in sight, work hard, and keep your head up. Even if life’s pesky obstacles set you back, make sure you get back on track and you’ll be well on your way to succeeding.

That’s it! I plan on writing more about the positive lifestyle changes I’m currently making in my future posts. I’m so happy to be posting regularly again. I missed y’all!
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50 Positive Ways To Deal With Negative Feelings

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I am currently making a lot of positive lifestyle changes. Right now, I’m prioritizing my health and my happiness. Happiness is something that I always strive for, and I believe that it is within everyone’s reach.
I wish I could be happy all the time, but unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. It’s full of ups and downs, good days and bad days. In a perfect world, I’d be able to skip the bad days altogether, but I can’t. All I can do is make the most out of my good days while finding healthy and positive ways to deal with the bad ones. Today, I want to talk about coping strategies for negative feelings.
Whenever we’re sad, angry, or hurt, it’s easy to turn to unproductive or harmful coping strategies to temporarily make us feel better. Sometimes people drink too much alcohol, eat unhealthy food, or make reckless decisions to cope with their feelings. I’m not perfect; I definitely don’t always handle my emotions in the best ways. Recently, I’ve realized that I need to work on how I cope with being upset, depressed, or anxious.
I decided to create this list of 50 positive ways to cope with negative feelings. This list consists of my personal ideas, but you might think of other ones that work better for you. I just wanted to share my thoughts because I figured they might help someone.
Note: if you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or doing something extremely reckless, please seek professional help. You might not believe me, but I promise that there is someone out there who can help you. You deserve to be happy and well. 
Here’s the list!
  1. Breathe deeply.
  2. Lift weights.
  3. Go for a walk or run.
  4. Cook a healthy meal.
  5. Read a book or magazine.
  6. Draw, paint, or create something.
  7. Write something.
  8. Start a blog or website.
  9. Go to a concert.
  10. Listen to music.
  11. Try hot yoga.
  12. Clean your house or apartment.
  13. Meet up with friends or family.
  14. Call a friend or family member.
  15. Take a break from your phone, computer, and social media. Do something by yourself without negative influences from the outside world.
  16. Start a mood journal and write in it every day. Write down how you’re feeling, what thoughts you’re having, and what triggered the negative feeling. Over time, see if you can notice patterns in what triggers your negative feelings.
  17. Write down all the things you’re thankful for.
  18. Take time to think and understand how you’re feeling. Then, accept the feeling instead of trying to ignore it.
  19. Write down all the things you love about yourself.
  20. Try to turn your negative thoughts into positive ones.
  21. Read some inspirational quotes.
  22. Meditate.
  23. Take a nap.
  24. Take a trip out of town to see something new. It could be for a day, a week, or however long you want.
  25. Get professional help if you need it.
  26. Let yourself cry if you need to.
  27. Learn to play a musical instrument.
  28. Teach yourself something new.
  29. Look at happy photos.
  30. Pray (if you’re religious).
  31. Write a nice letter to yourself.
  32. Do something kind for someone else.
  33. Watch your favorite movie or TV show.
  34. Watch funny videos on the internet.
  35. Forgive yourself if you’ve made a mistake.
  36. Paint your nails a new color.
  37. Take a bubble bath.
  38. Do your makeup.
  39. Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about.
  40. Go through your old things and donate them to Goodwill.
  41. Take up a new hobby.
  42. Go to an art gallery and study the artwork.
  43. Go shopping and treat yourself to something nice (but not ridiculously expensive).
  44. Play with a pet.
  45. Write down your negative thoughts and then tear up or burn the paper.
  46. Practice mindfulness.
  47. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself.
  48. Remind yourself that you are a beautiful person who is worthy of happiness and love.
  49. Remind yourself that negative feelings are only temporary.
  50. Make your own list of ways to help you deal with negative feelings.

50 Positive Ways To Deal With Negative Feelings
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful. If you enjoyed it, (pretty please) pin it and enter your email in the box below to subscribe to me.
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10 Things You Must Know Before Visiting New York City

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Planning to travel to New York? Here are 10 Insider tips that not everyone might tell you before visiting the Big Apple.

Whenever anyone asks me what they should see in New York, I’m almost always stumped for an answer. I mean besides telling the obvious things, how can I sum up my answer? There are so many things that you can do in New York City that if I start talking, I wouldn’t know when to stop.
There are a million things that you can do in the city. After all, it’s the city that never sleeps. But there are also a few things that you should absolutely know before visiting New York.
Here are a few things that not everyone might tell you before you visit the city –

1. Nothing beats Free

You can do a ton of activities for Free in the City. Here are just a few things that you can do without spending a dime –

Catch a Free Ferry to Watch Lady Liberty 

The Staten Island Ferry is a Free commuter ferry that travels back and forth from the Whitehall Terminal at the tip of Manhattan to the St. George Terminal on Staten Island. You can catch a stunning view of the city as well as the Statue of Liberty while on the Ferry.
This is a great alternative especially if you do not wish to buy tickets and go to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty.

You can go to Museums for Free on certain days

Here is a list of museums where you can pay what you wish for or that are free on certain days.

Apart from this, popular places like Central Park, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, taking a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge & the Highline are all free activities.


2. Buy Tickets Online

If you’re planning to go up the Rockefeller center, Empire State Building, catch a Broadway show or pose with your favorite stars in Madame Tussauds, you will need to get tickets. The most practical approach is to buy your tickets online as the crowds can be overwhelming and you can save time by not having to stand in line every time.
10 Things You Must Know Before Visiting New York City


3. You don’t need a car to roam around the City

Like most big cities, New York also has a lot of traffic and taking a car to get to different locations will only slow you down (& can also frustrate you)
True story – I’ve been in situations when a distance that should actually take you just 5-7 minutes to go, has taken 20-25 minutes just because of the insane traffic! Which brings me to my next point –

4. Public Transit is King

When you think of New York, you might vision yourself hailing a yellow cab. After all, that’s what we have seen in many movies. But New York traffic can really leave you exhausted; not to mention the cab fare can add up and get expensive in the long run.

Subway is your best bet and the 7 Day Metro Pass card will give you the best bang for your buck. And sometimes, Uber and Lyft are better options since most of the time, they are cheaper than regular cabs.


5. Subway can be confusing

Speaking of traveling by Subway, be prepared to spend a little time figuring out which train goes where. Although I have traveled by Subway several times, it can still be confusing for me.
Figuring out local and express trains, downtown and uptown can take some time.

Carrying a Map or downloading the NY Subway app on your phone can be really helpful.


6. Parking can be tricky

If you absolutely need to rent a car, keep in mind that parking can be tricky. New York is pretty strict with its laws.
Once we parked in a parking zone for a mere 15 minutes, not realizing that they had a Work in Progress sign somewhere on the road. When we got back, we saw a ticket for a whopping $180! Of course, this has happened only once with us (Thank God) but what I’m trying to say is, check parking signs carefully.
Tip: There are many free apps that can tell you where you can get the nearest parking garage and the cost associated with it. Parking Panda is one of my favorite ones. You can even reserve a parking spot with it.

If you are going out for a significant amount of time, Parking Garages is a safe choice. It’s worth the money and will save you from a potential headache.


7. The City View from Brooklyn Bridge is something that you should not miss

Many people who are on a tight schedule do not go to Brooklyn and only roam in Manhattan (rookie mistake). Not only does Brooklyn have a ton of amazing food options, you can also catch a splendid view of the City while you take a stroll on the bridge.
It’s true that the view from atop the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center is beautiful but it does come with a cost. So why miss this when it’s completely free?

8. If you’re on a Budget, consider staying outside Manhattan.

New York is definitely not cheap; and travel, accommodation, food and other things can make your trip quite expensive.

If you’re on a tight budget and do not want to shell out money on expensive hotels, consider staying in cities like Hoboken, Jersey City or Union City. Especially if you are traveling from Newark Airport.

These cities although in New Jersey, are a mere 15-20 minutes away from New York City (the Path Train or the NJTransit Bus has amazing frequency) Plus you’ll get to see the breathtaking NYC Skyline from New Jersey as well.

9. You will have to Walk. A LOT.

Trust me when I say this – wear your most comfortable shoes while doing sightseeing. Touring different places can tire your feet out and while you won’t realize it when you are actually on your feet, you will definitely feel it by the end of the day.
Also if you are traveling with kids or with elders, take regular breaks so that they don’t get exhausted.

10. You will get to experience Diverse Cultures

One of the best parts about New York City is that it’s a melting pot of cultures. You will come across people from all over the world in the city in a very short span of time and by the end of your trip leave you wanting for more.

So tell me, what are your tips to visiting New York City?

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12 Free and Fun Things to do in Fall

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Does having fun come at a price? Well, not always! If you are on a budget or just someone who loves doing fun activities but don’t want to spend too much – here are some really fun things that you can do in Fall; and that too for Free!

There’s a reason why Autumn is loved by so many people. Something about the crisp weather, the changing color of the leaves, the mesmerizing & intoxicating aroma of pumpkin pies and just about everything makes Fall a magical season.
Since winter can get pretty harsh sometimes, for me, Fall is a perfect way of celebrating the outdoors before I go into hibernation mode.

Here are 12 Fun Activities that you can do with your loved ones in Fall that are absolutely Free! Did I just say Free again? I think I did.

1. Take Family Photos 

There’s something about Fall that makes photos so much more vibrant, colorful and cheerful! So step out and let the shutterbug in you do the work. Mornings/ afternoons are the best time to get natural light in your photos. Also, remember that there’s no need for a professional photographer. You can ask a friend to help. Or if you have a tripod, you can rely on it too. And don’t sweat if you don’t own a DSLR camera, even your phone camera will suffice. After all, it’s the memories that matter.

 

2. Go for a Bike Ride

If you live somewhere where winter can get really brutal sometimes, now is the time to go bike riding. Because you best believe, once winter hits, you and your bike are going to stay indoors. Not only will you get a lovely workout but the crisp weather will make the ride a pleasant experience.

3. Jump in a Pile of Leaves 

When was the last time you didn’t care what people might think and did something silly? It’s these simple little moments in life that truly make life worth living. So go ahead and jump in a big old pile of leaves and feel like a kid again. Tip: These make for awesome photo ops too 😀

4. Go for a Hike 

I personally feel Fall is the best time to go on a hike (yes, even better than Summer) Search for the nearest trail in your area and go for a hike. It is often said that connecting with nature is a great form of relaxation. And don’t worry if you can’t hike for long hours. Just take a break when you feel tired and always stay hydrated.

5. Collect Colorful Fall Leaves

Have a fun little competition and try and see who can collect the best-colored leaves possible. Here’s a little inspiration for you – I found these really cute leaves last year. Aren’t they so pretty?

6. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

pumpkin patch - fall
Find a local pumpkin patch and visit it with your friends and family. If you choose to buy pumpkins from there, technically, this may not be ‘completely free.’ But it sure is a must-do activity during Fall.

7. Get Lost in a Corn Maze

Chances are the farms where they have a pumpkin patch, might also have a lovely Corn Maze for you to explore. Do a little research on google and you’ll get plenty of places where they have FREE ENTRY for exploring the Corn Maze as well as other activities for the kiddos.

8. Pick up Pine Cones 

pinecones
Make a long chilly walk fun by picking up pine cones. If you have kids, you can assign them this fun little activity. It’s these simple things that can get them excited right!? You can then create fun little DIY projects with them or even display the pine cones in a pretty glass bowl/ jar as part of your Fall Decor.

9. Indoor Camping

When it’s all chilly outside & you don’t feel like going out, stay indoors. Find a cozy spot. Use bedsheets or blankets to make tents. Build pillow forts. And then pretend that you are camping. Make an easy, lovely meal and eat together. It’ll make the kids excited plus it won’t cost you a thing!

10. Make your own Fall or Halloween decorations at home

Halloween decor
You don’t need to spend a ton of money every year on Halloween/ Fall decor! Chances are you already have stuff from last year – just add your own spin to it. Involve the kids and get creative! You can also do fun crafts with those colorful leaves or pine cones that you have collected (refer point 5 & 8) like making garlands/ wreaths etc!

11. Make something delicious from apples or pumpkins at home

This is the time to put your cooking skills to test. Let your creative juices flow and make something from scratch – think pumpkin spiced donuts or apple pies! *drools* But if you are someone like me who is too impatient to bake, make these deliciously healthy Apple Pie Oat Pancakes. For more ideas, you can check out these 50 + Awesome Fall recipes you need to try this Fall.

12. Watch your favorite scary movie on Halloween

After a long night of trick-or-treating or partying, relax at home by watching your favorite scary movie. But if you get scared easily (like me) you can watch some of the classics (& the not-so-scary movies) like Hocus Pocus.

Check out these Fun activities that you can do this #Fall for Free! #travelCLICK TO TWEET

So what are you waiting for? If you’re excited for Fall, put all these things on your bucket list and start crossing them off!

If you liked this post, please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog via email to get notified when new posts are published every week!
Until next time, keep on smiling!
*Some Images courtesy of Pexels.com
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50+ Fun Summer Activities for the Entire Family that Won’t Break the Bank

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Looking for fun and affordable summer activities to do with the entire family? Now that summer is officially here, we have been doing a lot of activities over the weekends and I would like to share a few with you guys.

Summer is a great time to head out of your home and get some sunshine. But all the trips, vacations and outdoor activities can quickly add up and can take your budget for a toss. Especially when you have kids or a big family, it can start getting really difficult to manage your time and money. 

Here’s a list of some fun activities for the entire family that are either completely free or that are budget friendly –

  1. Build a cardboard fort

  2. Plan a fun family game night and play board games 

  3. Make a bird feeder 

  4. Make a fairy garden 

  5. Have a  fun water balloon fight in your backyard

  6. Go on a treasure hunt in a nearby trail in your area

  7. Play Tennis or Frisbee

  8. Volunteer at a local animal shelter

  9. Donate old clothes

  10. Collect shells while you are on the beach with your kids

  11. Learn a new sport

  12. Go Geocaching with the entire family

  13. Find out free activities in your local library or in your town and attend them

  14. Fly a Kite

  15. Go Biking along a new trail

  16.  Go to the local Farmers’ Market

  17. Plant seeds and watch them grow

  18. Make homemade ice cream or ice cream cake with the kids homemade icecream

  19. Have a sleepover party

  20. Get a Live Butterfly Kit and watch the caterpillars turn into Butterflies

  21. Paint terra cotta pots and plant your favorite flowers in them

  22. Create a Popcorn Bar and enjoy a late night movie at home

  23. Have a sandcastle making competition at the beach

  24. Stargaze and find out what stars and constellations you can see by using Free Apps like SkyView

  25. Visit a Free DIY/ Crafts Workshop at stores like Michaels. Check out here to find classes near your location

  26. Go Horseback riding horseback riding in summer

  27. Camp in your Backyard

  28. Go Berry Picking in your nearest farm

  29. Declutter your closet or garage

  30. Go to a Garage Sale or Yard Sale or host your own Yard Sale

  31. Make Smores

  32. Attend a parade in your city or town

  33. Make fresh jam from fruits that are in season

    fresh jam in summer

  34. Rearrange your furniture and change the look of your home

  35. Walk barefoot in the grass

  36. Host a Potluck Party

  37. Watch a Free Outdoor Movie

  38. Go to a Restaurant where Kids Eat free

  39. Find out Free Summer Concerts in your area and attend them

  40. Collect unique shaped rocks and paint them or place them in your garden.

  41. Ask a friend or grandparent to watch the kids and go on a Date Night

  42. Have a Karaoke Night with friends and family

  43. Find out Free Cooking classes hosted at your local grocery stores and attend one of them

  44. Learn new photography skills by taking photos at different angles and at different times of the day

  45. Have a quiet family meal with no cell phones and no TV

  46. Read a book you’ve always wanted to read 

  47. Go to a few open houses near your area even if you aren’t looking to buy a house.

  48. Visit a winery offering free wine tastings and make a picnic out of it

  49. Go to one of your favorite restaurants or ice cream joints just for dessert

  50. Go Kayaking

    And a few more –

  51. Go to street fairs

  52. Take an impromptu one-day road trip

  53. Go swimming and hang out at the pool with ice cold beverages

  54. Play Xbox or PlayStation games meant for the whole family

Summer is a time of endless fun. I hope some of these ideas inspired you to create everlasting memories with your family and friends. Which of these activities are you most looking forward to?

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