Three Summer Hairstyles

Wavy Hairstyle

Summer Waves

Written by:Brittany Bluford

Summer is right around the corner, so bring on the chilled drinks, maxi dresses, and a new summer hairdo. Although I embrace change, the search for a new hairstyle has proved to be as hard as finding the perfect outfit. Once upon a time, when I wanted a new look, I turned to color to add some spunk to my style. These days my hair isn’t so forgiving, so I’ve had to find alternate ways to switch up my look. If you want to break away from your comfort zone this summer, I have three new hairstyles for your tresses.

1. Accessories aren’t just for your neck, wrist and arm, so give your hair some glam by adding a scarf. This simple addition is great if you want to mix it up without completely changing your style. I have a variety of scarves from Target; they have patterns, lace and solids. Whether your hair is up or down, just add a scarf. With the summer heat, this is a fashionable way to keep hair out of your face. Also, it can cover up a bad hair day and make it appear as if you spent a lot of time on your hair. Naptural 85 has a great video on 10 ways to tie a silk headscarf.

2. While you’re enjoying the waves at the beach, try putting some waves or curls in your hair. The braid out has been around for a while, but I’m a slow adopter to new trends. I’ve never worn my hair curly, but I’m in love with the braid out results. After washing and moisturizing your hair, let the cornrows do the rest of the work. The next morning unravel your hair and it will be full of defined curls. To add a cherry to the sundae, the braid out lasts for days and can easily transition into a wavy up-do. There are many different ways you can achieve a wavy hairstyle. Check out the hair gallery at Essence

3. This next style gave me a complete step out of the box. The braided bun has grown to be one of my favorite low maintenance styles. There’s no dryer, flat iron or list of products required. It was inspired by MsVcharles’ You Tube video. Make sure you check out her easy, detailed step-by-step video ( All you need is a pack of braid hair and a few braid ties. If your hair length permits, you may not need any braiding hair. After twisting and securing your faux hair, attach it to your head with the option of a top, middle or low bun. What I love about this style is it’s protective, and it really makes a statement. Feel free to add a scarf to this look!

Summer is the perfect season to try something daring, bold and different. Why not start with your hair? A braided bun, curls, and a scarf are great ways to make a change to your look.

Simple And Refreshing Agave Sweetened Mango Smoothie

The mango smoothie is easy to prepare and sweet to taste

This easy to make mango smoothie is a great way to cool off this summer and also meets your fruit requirements for the day.


1 cup frozen mango chunks

1 cup orange juice, low sugar

1/3 cup agave syrup

½ cup plain lowfat yogurt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place the mango chunks in a blender and use the pulse setting to chop, then blend for a few seconds.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Add more agave syrup to taste.  Yields 4 cups.

Dog Days are Coming: Protect Pets from Summer Heat

The long, hot days of summer are fast approaching, and in some parts of the country they have already arrived. Every year, people are reminded of the dangers of how heat affects our pets, and every year, pets die from heat exposure in situations that could have been prevented. The bottom line is if people are uncomfortable in the heat, we can bet that our furry friends are even more so. Would you want to sit in a sweltering car dressed in a parka? Neither does your pet.

Never leave your dog in a hot car

Heat stroke symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, red gums, and staggering as if drunk. A seizure, coma, or death can follow. Here are some common sense tips to prevent this from ever happening. Pass it along.

  • It should go without saying — always have a tip-proof bowl available full of fresh, cool water. Supplement with ice cubes to keep it cooler. If you take your pet on a road trip, bring along a large thermos of cold water.
  • Never leave a pet in a parked car. Cracked windows won’t protect your pet from overheating or suffering from heat stroke on a hot summer day. Dogs and cats can’t perspire, and only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet.
  • For outside dogs, be certain they can reach lots of fresh water and have access to shade. Avoid chaining your dog as chains can become tangled.
  • Hot asphalt and concrete can burn the pads on animals’ feet. Take shorter mid-day walks when heat is at its peak, and longer morning and late afternoon walks when it is cooler. Have your dog walk on grass when possible. Many communities have dog parks with cool grass and shady areas.
  • Flat-faced animals, such as Pugs and Persian cats, are especially vulnerable to overheating.
  • Keep your pet well-groomed and mat-free, but resist shaving off all of his hair as pet fur protects the skin from sunburn.
  • Beware of lawn and gardening products, such as cocoa mulch, pesticides, and fertilizers in the summertime as they can cause severe intestinal upset in dogs and cats when ingested.
  • Don’t let your dog ride in the back of a pick-up truck. He could slide around or possibly jump out, and the floor of the truck bed can get extremely hot for foot pads.
  • Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool as not all dogs are good swimmers. Keep your dog from drinking pool water which contains chlorine and other chemicals. On boats, provide your dog with a well-fitted floatation jacket.
  • Prevent injury to your cat from falling out of windows by installing and securing window screens.
  • Never use fireworks around your pet. Mishaps could result in severe burns, and many of the loud sounds and squeals hurt their sensitive ears.

If you notice a dog trapped inside a vehicle on a hot day, here are some steps you can take:

  • If you know who the owner is, a friendly “hey, your pet is hot” or some other means of striking up conversation will alert the owner to the dangers of leaving their pet in the car. You can also place a note or “Don’t Leave Me in Here — It’s Hot!” flyer on the windshield. (Note: be civil)
  • Speak with a store manager. They can be very helpful in locating the owner or calling animal control. They do not want a tragedy happening in their parking lot.
  • Call your local animal control or the police for assistance.

Pets depend on our common sense. Spread the love.

Dog Training: Protecting Your Garden and Your Dog

Ah, the joys of gardening...with your dog!

Ah, the joys of summer. If there’s anything to get Fido off the couch after a long winter’s inactivity, it’s the prospect of digging in those lovely beds of newly overturned earth that you so thoughtfully provided. Followed, of course, by a dip in the pond.

Say what? That wasn’t your plan. If your dog is old/and or sedate, you’re probably shared many happy moments together:  the dog — snoozing peacefully in the sun, you — weeding the vegetable garden. But if you have a puppy or active breed, chances are good your garden has seen more upturned soil than a backhoe could shovel.

Animal trainers and behaviorists are divided over how to teach a dog proper behavior in the yard. But the ideas fall into four basic categories:

1. Confinement: your dog has his own dog run. Generally this area should include shelter from both heat and cold, a regularly filled water bowl, and some chew toys to occupy his time.

2. Reward: your dog gets her own sandbox. You create her own special area (a mixture of half sand/half mulch is suggested) to dig in, and to ensure she does, bury treats and small toys in there for her to discover.

3. Deterrent: a common suggestion is burying chicken wire just below the ground surface and covering it with mulch. Dogs don’t like getting their paws caught in the wire and will avoid these areas. Rocks or ornamental borders can also help train dogs that these areas are off-limits.

4. Exhaustion: seriously, a dog that gets enough exercise (and attention) through regular walks is far less likely to take out excess energy on your plants.

Other suggestions include working with and not against the natural tendencies of your dog. Since all dogs love to “run the fence” and guard their territory, establishing permanent pathways along the fence line will be more helpful than trying to fight against this tendency. If you really want to spoil your dog, giving her a “window” or lookout in a solid fence line to view passers-by will also help keep her occupied.

Now that you’ve protected your yard, there are some things you’ll want to do to protect your dog as well. Chemical fertilizers can get on paws and be ingested if the dog licks its feet. So beware of using them in an area that your dog would roam or seek organic alternatives.

A wide variety of common plants, including daphne, hydrangeas, and marigolds can be harmful if consumed. Complete lists of plants that are toxic to pets are readily available on the Internet, and your vet should be called at once if your dog has eaten one of the varieties listed.

If you have a pond or water feature that your dog likes to frolic in, consider triple-lining it to reduce the risk of punctures from toenails. But keeping your dog out of the pond water is better for both your water garden’s aesthetics and your dog’s health. A buildup of fish, amphibian, and reptile waste in a pond can cause skin lesions if your dog plays in the water or an internal infection if he drinks it.

But if you love gardening and your dog, don’t hesitate to mix the two. After all when else but down on all fours are you going to get to experience the world from your dog’s eye view?