Embarking on a Fitness Journey? Here’s How to Track Your Workouts!

Making exercise fun is one of the most important things you can do for your workout routine. It helps you to find out what works best for your body, and it helps you to stay motivated and keep going back for more. These creative apps will track your workout conveniently from your smartphone, and they’ll make going to the gym a whole lot more exciting.

Pact
If you’re the type of person who needs a big push in order to commit to a regular workout schedule, Pact is a truly beneficial resource. By making a digital pact to pay up a certain amount of money if you don’t meet your fitness goals, you’ll feel much less inclined to skip the gym the next time you’re tired. It’s not all nerve-wracking, however: you’ll also earn cold, hard cash from other members when you stick to your diet or hit the gym!

Teemo
Don’t let your seemingly endless to-do list get in the way of your fitness routine. Teemo was created by busy people just like you who wanted to help others get in a great workout while also playing an exciting adventure game with friends. The app combines simple exercises that you can do anywhere with interactive challenges with your friends, motivating you to work out whenever, wherever.

Three Uncommon Uses for Dryer Sheets

From brand-new dryer sheets to used ones straight from the dryer, there are a number of different ways to use dryer sheets around the house. These static-absorbing, fresh smelling sheets are some of the most useful household products you can find, and they’ll even help you in places other than the laundry room. Here are some of the best lesser-known uses for dryer sheets.

  1. Quickly eliminate static. Dryer sheets are made to remove static from your laundry in the dryer, so why not use them on the clothes you’re wearing, too? Simply run a dryer sheet up and down that static-prone blouse or shirt, and you’ll be good to go.
  2. Dust hard surfaces. Used dryer sheets make cheap, effective tools for dusting furniture. Just use the sheet like you would a rag or paper towel. Because they're meant to attract static and lint, dryer sheets will attract dust as well.
  3. Repel insects. It seems unlikely, but bugs really do not enjoy the fresh scent of dryer sheets. Tuck one in a lunchbox or picnic basket to keep insects at bay, or even rub a new sheet across your skin before you go out on an afternoon hike.

12 Surprising Uses for Dryer Sheets [All You]
25 Alternative Uses for Fabric-Softener Dryer Sheets [Curbly]
20 Household Uses for Used (Yes, Used) Dryer Sheets [Apartment Therapy]
10 New Uses for Dryer Sheets [Real Simple]

How to Prepare Butternut Squash for Cooking

Butternut squash is very versatile, but if you’ve never prepared it before it may seem a bit confusing. Although it has an odd shape, butternut squash is fairly simple to prepare if you know the proper techniques. Follow these simple steps to peel and prep your squash like a pro.

  1. Slice off both ends of the squash using a large, sharp knife. It’s very important that the knife is sharp, as a dull knife requires more pressure from you and may result in a dangerous slip.
  2. Peel the entire squash using an extra strong peeler, preferably one made with carbon steel blades. Because the squash is curved in the middle, it’s best to peel lengthwise.
  3. Cut the squash in half at its center, which is approximately between the thin “neck” and the larger “body” portion.
  4. Slice the neck portion down the center to create flat, cylindrical pieces. Then, slice these pieces into wide strips and eventually cut them down into cubes.
  5. To cut the body, first slice it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and innards with a spoon. Finally, slice the two pieces into cubes the same way that you did with the neck.

How to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash [The Kitchn]
How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash [Cooking Light]
7 Steps to Cook Butternut Squash [Good Housekeeping]

Refuel and Replenish by Eating These Foods After a Workout

The foods that you eat before your workout help to increase your energy level, but it’s the food that you eat afterward that’s really important. What you eat after exercising helps to repair muscle tissue and to replenish glycogen, which is an important aspect of building the lean, toned body that you strive for. Here are some of the best foods to refuel with after a workout.

  1. Bananas. Bananas are high-glycemic carbohydrates, which provide you with an instant boost to replenish your energy quickly. Try slicing one up and eating it with peanut butter on top of a rice cake.
  2. Greek yogurt with berries. Greek yogurt is packed with protein, which is very important in building muscle. Your muscles are depleted of their usual amino acids after lifting weights or performing an intense cardio workout, and this healthy snack helps to build them back up.
  3. Tuna sandwich. The combination of healthy carbs and proteins is one of the very best things to eat after working out. Spread some tuna on whole wheat bread to refuel after that gym class.
  4. Water. Replenishing your body’s fluids is just as important as replenishing its food supply. Be sure to drink plenty of water after working out to avoid becoming dehydrated.

6 Smart Snacks to Eat After Your Workout [Fitness Magazine]
What to Eat After You Work Out [Spark People]
Food as Fuel – Before, During and After Workouts [American Heart Association]

5 Uncommon Uses for Fabric Softener Sheets

There are a number of different household uses for dryer sheets other than reducing static cling and making your laundry smell fresh. If you want to learn how to use dryer sheets around the house, check out these creative ideas.

  1. Freshen a pair of stinky gym shoes. When your sneakers or daily loafers smell less than fresh, stuff a dryer sheet inside to absorb the odor and leave only a fresh scent behind.
  2. Remove pet hair from furniture. No matter how often you scold him, you just can’t seem to get Fido to stay off of the furniture. If your couches are covered in dog hair, rub a dryer sheet along the surface and it will lift right off.
  3. Clean dried food from a pan. When last night’s casserole is stuck to the pan this morning, lay a dryer sheet in the bottom and fill the pan with water. In a few hours, the food will be much looser and easier to clean off.
  4. Keep books fresh in storage. If you’re a bibliophile with too many books for your shelves, keep them smelling fresh even while in storage. Tuck a dryer sheet between the pages of a few books and you’ll feel much more confident about storing them in the dusty attic.
  5. Clean your blinds. Rub a dryer sheet along the top and bottom of venetian blinds to remove dust with ease.

12 Surprising Uses for Dryer Sheets [All You]
25 Alternative Uses for Fabric-Softener Dryer Sheets [Curbly]
20 Household Uses for Used (Yes, Used) Dryer Sheets [Apartment Therapy]
10 New Uses for Dryer Sheets [Real Simple]

4 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Tea

Whether you prefer a soothing green or an English breakfast with a splash of milk, tea is a delicious treat that can be enjoyed a number of different ways. Even the most experienced tea drinker may not know everything about this steaming beverage, so here are a few fascinating tea facts.

  1. The word “tea” comes from the Chinese word “t’e,” which refers to the plant from which tea leaves are sourced. It's believed that tea was first discovered in China around 2737 B.C., when emperor Shen Nong found that a few leaves fell from the tree into water that his servants were boiling.
  2. All teas, from black to green to oolong, come from the same camellia sinensis plant. Their leaves are plucked from the same bush, but the fermenting process gives them their unique styles. Interestingly enough, herbal teas do not come from this plant because they are not true “teas” at all.
  3. Tea wasn’t grown in countries outside of China until the 19th century. Today, China still supplies around 29 percent of the world’s total tea, although its residents are not the biggest consumers. The United Arab Emirates takes that title, with each individual citizen consuming an average of 14 pounds per year.
  4. Green tea is considered the healthiest of all teas, and some even call it a “superfood.” Studies show that regularly drinking green tea may prevent against heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and diabetes!

Tea Facts [UK Tea & Infusions Association]
10 Interesting Facts About Tea [Food Network]
Tea Fact Sheet – 2013 [Tea Association of the U.S.A. Inc.]
26 Things You Didn't Know About Tea [Fine Dining Lovers]

Kick Back and Relax With These Summertime Mocktails

If you prefer a drink that’s light on the alcohol but still big on taste, there are a number of tasty summertime mocktails that will cool you down on a hot day. Forgoing the gin, vodka, or Prosecco doesn’t make these delicious drinks any less perfect, and they even look just as pretty as the real things. Here are three warm weather mocktails that are perfect for sipping by the pool.

Pear Sparkler
This sparkling beverage goes down smoothly and tastes sweet, but it also offers warm, hearty undertones more commonly found in autumn recipes. Pear juice is a unique alternative to the usual fruit juices found in most cocktails, and adding fresh herbs, ginger, honey, and lemon juice creates an even more complex flavor.

Virgin Grapefruit Mojito
When it comes to mocktails, many people prefer to take a tried-and-true cocktail recipe and simply remove the alcohol. This virgin mojito contains the same roughly torn mint leaves as the original rum-filled version, but it incorporates grapefruit soda and pieces of fresh grapefruit to give it a taste that’s all its own.

Mango Lassi
If you feel left out from icy summer cocktails like margaritas and daiquiris, you’ll adore this cold Mango Lassi. Fresh, juicy mango is blended with ice to create a sweet base, while buttermilk, honey, and cardamom add a warm, rich taste. For even more flavor, top with toasted pistachios.

Tart Meets Sweet in These Fresh Berry Desserts

Sweetening up the tart flavor of fresh berries with simple sugar is a popular flavor combination in many desserts, and it tastes especially appropriate in the summertime. There are a number of different ways to combine tart and sweet flavors, especially if you use a bit of creativity in the kitchen. Here are three favorite fresh berry desserts.

Strawberry Shortcakes [Martha Stewart]
Strawberry shortcake is made with a hearty, crumbly cake topped with sweet strawberries and a hefty dollop of whipped cream, and Martha Stewart’s recipe for individually-sized shortcakes doesn’t stray too far from the original. This dessert calls for just a few simple ingredients and about an hour of your time.

Berries with Mascarpone [MyRecipes]
If you prefer a no-cook dessert that’s equally juicy and decadent, a fancy pudding cup filled with ripe berries and topped with a sweetened-up version of mascarpone cheese makes a beautiful end to any dinner party. Simply combine the mascarpone with sugar, vanilla, and whipping cream to create the fluffy topping.

Blackberry Ice Cream [Coastal Living]
If you’ve never made your own ice cream before, you’ll be surprised about how simple it is to do. Using your own fresh berries cuts down on the additives found in store-bought versions, creating a decadent dessert that you can feel good about eating!

3 Brunch Cocktails to Greet a Lazy Sunday

From savory omelets stuffed with melted cheese to maple syrup-drizzled French toast, weekend brunch is arguably the best meal of the whole week, made even better by a sip of a bloody Mary or a bellini. Whether you're serving brunch to two people or twenty, these three brunchtime cocktail recipes will get your Sunday off to a great start.

Champagne Punch [Martha Stewart]
Not only does Martha's take on champagne punch taste great, it looks pretty in the pitcher. Her recipe combines fresh blueberries, raspberries, sliced peaches, ice, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a pitcher, then champagne is poured over top.

New-Look Bloody Mary [Bon Appetit]
This bloody Mary receives a spicy kick from the unique combo of sriracha sauce, horseradish, black pepper, and curry powder. Dill pickle and lemon juice brighten the mix, while celery stalks and lemon wedges provide the finishing touch.

Pamplemousse [Food & Wine]
Kick off your Sunday with this refreshing cocktail, which is relatively low in alcohol. The juices of grapefruit and lemon are shaken with gin and elderflower liqueur, then garnished with a basil leaf.

How to Keep Your Fridge Squeaky Clean—and Smelling Fresh!

From spills and splashes to food that's less than fresh, your fridge is subjected to a lot of grit and grime during its lifetime. It's no surprise, then, that cleaning a refrigerator can be a Herculean task—but it doesn't have to be! The easiest way to clean a fridge is to break down the task into smaller chores performed more frequently. Here are a few tips:

1) Wipe down spills as they occur. Use a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water to wipe up spills before they have a chance to harden and "set" on the shelf. (Prevent sticky situations by giving jam and syrup jars a good wipe-down before parking them back in the fridge.) Wipe down the outside and top of the fridge with the same vinegar solution.

2) Pick one day a week, like the night before trash day, to go through your fridge and toss expired items and produce that's seen better days. Keep leftovers identifiable by labeling them with their date and contents.

3) For a fridge that smells clean and fresh, soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract and place it in the back of the fridge. You could also go the traditional route with a box of opened baking soda.

4) If the shelves and drawers are especially grimy, remove them for a bath in warm, soapy water. A toothbrush is the perfect tool to use for removing dried food and spills from creases and crevices in the fridge.

Caring for the Kitchen Workhorse [Martha Stewart]
Speed-Clean Your Refrigerator [Real Simple]
How To Clean & Organize a Refrigerator [Apartment Therapy]
Clean and Deodorize Your Refrigerator [RD]