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Bug Off! Tick Season Safety Tips and Tricks

Written on May 16, 2014 at 10:44 am , by

Tick. The 4-lettered word alone gives me the heebie-jeebies—and for good reason. These creepy crawlers are the perpetrators of one of the fastest growing epidemics to date, Lyme disease (LD). And now that the temps are finally warming up, ticks are back in full swing. (I’ve already pulled two of the little buggers off my pup. Not cool.) Are you prepared? We talked about the nasty pests with A Twist of Lyme author Andrea H. Caesar, who has battled chronic LD since she was 11-years-old. Here are the must-know dirty deets to bite back.

The No-Zone Walking Fido around the block? Catching up on the newest FITNESS issue poolside in the shade? Risky business, girlfriend. “You can get a tick [bite] in a parking lot…anytime of the year,” warns Caesar. Like us, ticks are most active from April to September. Steer clear of wooded, shady areas as much as possible; in particular, stonewalls and moist leaf piles are their playgrounds. Hitting the open trail? Stick to the middle of the path, away from weedy edges.

Play It Safe Sport light-colored clothing to your next outdoor BBQ so you can easily spot the bad guys and tie long locks back into a tight ponytail. “Then they can’t crawl right up into your scalp,” says Caesar. (Your fave baseball cap will do the trick, too!) Swap out the shorts for leggings or pants tucked into tall socks when tackling yard work. The latter is a total fashion faux pas, we know, but hey—wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry!? And don’t forget the repellent sprays/lotions. The CDC suggests products with 20 percent or more DEET, although Caesar—who lives a non-toxic life—prefers catnip oil. “It can be ten times more effective [than DEET]!” Her fave: Ava Anderson’s Natural Bug Spray ($19.95, avaandersonnontoxic.com).

Check Mate “In my house, we do a tick check morning and night from head to toe,” says Caesar. “The problem is that deer ticks are the size of a piece of dirt so you’re not only looking—it’s a sensory test, too.” Thoroughly comb through your hair with your fingers and be sure to examine your, err, nooks and crannies (where they unfortunately love to take cover). According to the CDC, it takes more than 24 to 36 hours of attachment for ticks to transmit LD bacteria…hence the hide-and-seek urgency. Found one? Start by disinfecting the area with an alcohol swab. Next, use tweezers to grab the tick “head” as close to the skin as possible. Pull straight out and disinfect the bite site. “Put it in a plastic bag with a damp cotton ball if you want to send it away for testing,” advises Caesar. “It’s much more effective and easy to test a tick than a person!”

Tick’s Best Friend You may follow all of the prevention rules, but your pooch? Doubtful. Animals are LD carriers, which includes those not-so-welcome houseguests. “Set mouse traps to keep them under control!” says Caesar. As for pets, discuss repellent products with your vet, inspect their coats daily and reduce tick habitats in your yard, if possible. “My dogs are crated downstairs [at night] because of LD,” Caesar says.

Ticking Time Bomb “In its chronic form, Lyme disease can represent a complex set of infections involving the nervous system and its most basic functions,” says Caesar. “But it really also represents all of the body systems.” Translation: There is a seemingly endless rap sheet of symptoms, making the illness difficult to diagnose. Some general indicators to be aware of include achiness, headaches, tingling or numbness in extremities, fatigue and fever, which can have severe implications if undetected or ignored.

Learn more about LD at CDC.org and be sure to pick up your copy of A Twist of Lyme today.

Photo courtesy of Andrea H. Caesar

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Music Monday: Spring Into Action

Written on March 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm , by

Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern

Even though Mother Nature doesn’t seem to know which season she wants to stick to (and we don’t really believe Punxsutawney Phil anymore), spring is on the way—in fact, the first official day is this Wednesday! A new season means fresh jams, so rev up your reps with iTunes’ top 10 tunes of the week.

Now you tell us: What new songs are you loving this season?

Spring Break-Inspired Cocktails from a Fit-Focused Bartender!

Written on March 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm , by

bryan dayton bartender oak

When Bryan's not running up hills (some as high as 14,110 feet!), he's inspiring people to imbibe. (Photo courtesy of OAK at Fourteenth)

Between the warm(er than usual) weather and March Madness, we’re feeling a little nostalgic for Spring Break in college! So we scored a couple cocktail recipes from Bryan Dayton, the owner and Beverage Director at OAK at Fourteenth in Boulder, Colorado…including a non-alcoholic one, for those of you who gave up booze for Lent/New Year’s/Who Knows Why.

Before we hand over the happy hour inspiration, you should know whom it’s coming from. Bryan hasn’t just been a mixologist for 15 years—he’s also a trail runner (the higher the altitude, the better) with an incredible race resume. Nice!

My Little Honey

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • .5 oz honey syrup (1:1 honey to hot water)
  • .5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Soda water

To make: Pour all ingredients over crushed ice, give a quick stir and garnish with a lemon.

Cucumber Smash

  • 2 slices of cucumber
  • 2 quarter wedges of lime
  • 1.5 oz gin or vodka
  • .25 oz honey syrup

To make: Muddle all of the above together in a mixing tin and then add ice. Shake. Fine-strain over crushed ice and then garnish with a slice of cucumber. Idea: Substitute berries for the cucumber, if you want something fruity!

The Summer Smash (Non Alcoholic)

  • 2 slices of cucumber
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1 mint sprig
  • .5 oz lime
  • .25 oz honey syrup
  • 3 oz soda water

To make: Muddle mint and cucumber in a mixing tin. Add all the ingredients, except for the soda water. Add ice, shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Finally, pour in soda water and give it a quick stir. Garnish with mint sprig.

Traditional Margarita on the Rocks

  • 1.5 oz Reposado tequila
  • .75 oz orange liqueur
  • .75 oz fresh lime juice

To make: Put all ingredients into a shaker, add ice and shake. Pour over fresh ice in a short tumbler and garnish with lime. Salt is optional.

Music Monday: Bring On Spring

Written on March 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm , by

This cheery playlist will take you on a virtual trip to the beach. (Photo by Joseph Montezinos)

True, this winter has been surprisingly mild for most of America. Yet we’re still excited to spring forward this Sunday and score some more afternoon sunshine for post-work workouts! To celebrate, we’re downloading this warm weather-inspired playlist which will act as a soundtrack for our outdoor fitness activities this season:

Now tell us: What songs automatically put you in a sunny mood?

Fashion Diaries: Tribal Tales

Written on January 20, 2012 at 9:44 am , by

Lots of colorful jeans!

Earlier this week the fashion and beauty departments teamed up to shoot one of our April beauty features (get ready for some amazing spring makeup!) and we put a cool tribal spin on it to showcase one of our favorite spring fashion trends. We all had such a blast at the photo shoot, playing around with fun prints, bright colors and tons of sky-high, stacked heels. You’ll have to wait until our April issue hits newsstands in mid-March to see the final outcome, but until then, here is a little sneak peek of our day, with some behind the scenes footage!



Heels, beyond heels, beyond heels!

So many jewels to choose from!







Mixed patterns and chunky necklaces were a constant theme.

One of the seven looks we shot that day.








Click here to see how to trick out your own wardrobe in tribal prints!

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April Showers: Waterproof Jackets + Wellies!

Written on April 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm , by

This month, every refreshingly warm, sunny day has been followed up with at least two days of rain, clouds and cold. So as much as we’d like to, we can’t pack away our wellies and waterproof jackets just yet!

Take a peek at our favorite waterproof spring pieces that keep us smilin’ even when the sun isn’t shining.

1. Totes Bubble Umbrella, $22

2. Superdry Stormtracker Jacket, $95

3. Hunter Watling Lace Up Full Knee Boot, $175

4. Columbia Sportswear Trail Trip Rain Jacket, $95

5. Sperry Topsider Pelican Wedge Sadie Boot, $80

6. The North Face Venture Jacket, $99

Springtime in the Kitchen

Written on March 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm , by

Ring in Spring with a fresh, yet filling, barbecue chicken chopped salad. (Photo by Tina Rupp)

Ring in Spring with a fresh, yet filling, barbecue chicken chopped salad. (Photo by Tina Rupp)

After a particularly rough winter, I couldn’t be more excited to discover that as of yesterday at 7:21 p.m. EDT, we are finally finished with the coldest season! To celebrate, I’m hitting the kitchen this week to whip up a few of these seasonal, nutritious, but still satisfying meals and snacks.

  • Strawberry Bruschetta: It may be a few more weeks before the best berries hit stores, but I just had my first taste and can’t wait for more! This dish will make an ideal snack, dessert or even a decadent breakfast. (203 calories, 5 g fat)
  • Garden Fresh Asparagus Soup: Call me crazy, but it doesn’t feel like spring without asparagus. This bowl can be served heated or chilled, and feel free to substitute low-fat Greek yogurt for the creme fraiche. (203 calories, 13 g fat)
  • Marinated Garden Lentil Salad Pita: Simply toss, mix and eat! Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will enjoy how simple, tasty and fiber-filled this recipe is. (396 calories, 11 g fat)
  • Barbecue Chicken Chopped Salad: Pack all your vegetable servings for the day into one meal (hey, it’s OK to go a bit overboard on the veggies!). The chicken gives this meal some serious staying power. (337 calories, 13 g fat)
  • Raspberry-Mango Sundae: Round out your dinner—or snack on—nonfat frozen yogurt topped with a fruity, sweet sauce. The best part, besides the excellent nutrition stats? Frozen berries are recommended, so they’ll keep for weeks in your fridge. (167 calories, 2 g fat)

What foods signal spring for you?

Don’t Forget to Spring Forward!

Written on March 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm , by

Wake up!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user alancleaver_2000.

The not-so-welcome news for some of us: Clocks “spring forward” this Sunday—meaning that we lose an hour of our already limited sleep. But we at FITNESS consider this well worth it, since what we lose in sleep we gain in extra post-workday sun time. That means more opportunities for outdoor evening exercise!

Here are a few fun sleep-related tools that may not help you snooze more, but do guarantee to make the switch a bit more bearable or fun:

For soothing…The White Noise app will play your favorite soothing sounds (wind, showers, ocean) as well as some options that strike us as not-so-calming (vacuum, violent noise or train). And it will play for as long as you like, because, appropriately, there are multiple sleep timers.  ($1.99, iTunes Store)

For laughs…The mattress company Sealy recently released a new app that harkens back to the popular junior high fortune cookie joke. Simply snap a photo you’re your smart phone or iPod touch and place a “in bed” caption after whatever you like. (Free, iTunes store)

When all else fails…Perhaps you could find someone who actually sells the Sleep Safe Tape, so that when you do finally nod off, others will think you’re as alert as ever. (Of course, we don’t really endorse this kind of trickery, but it sure is a creative idea!)

Do you look forward to setting your clocks ahead or struggle with the switch?

More from FITNESS: 5 Steps to a Good Night’s Sleep

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