Posts Tagged ‘summer’

posted by | on , , , , , | Comments Off on Stay Cool In The Hot Hot Heat

6 Ways To Arrive At Your Next Networking Event Cool And Comfortable

If there’s one thing that’s undeniable during DC summers, it’s this: you will walk outside and immediately be wrapped in a blanket of heat. Sticky heat, no less. “Mouth of a dog” heat, according to a poetic co-worker of mine.

But the heat won’t stop the many networking opportunities that take place year-round — and in summer, DC-ites are even more willing to stay out late to enjoy the long days and cool nights. Free from a rigid winter schedule, many creative opportunities arise to meet someone new and find a unique inspiration. The heat is no excuse to avoid finding your next life-changing career opportunity.

So how can you get to your next event — without showing up dripping in sweat? Here are some tips:

Drink Cool Water — And Lots Of It

Keeping a full water bottle with you is key: stay hydrated and the heat might not feel so unbearable. You can put a bottle of water in your fridge or freezer at work and grab it on your way out to keep hydrated and cool.

Layers,  Layers,  Layers!

I bike everywhere in the city, but it’s too easy to work up a sweat in your hot, heavy work clothes. A simple solution is to wear as little as possible when you are traversing the city and bring layer-friendly business clothes with you. When I’m biking, this means I usually just wear bike shorts and a tank top, and throw over a skirt and a button down shirt when I arrive. This outfit may be slightly less acceptable for walking, however, but the idea is the same: you can wear a lightweight business skirt with a tank top or tee, and bring your button down or sweater to throw on as soon as you get indoors.

Consider A Parasol

One issue with my previous suggestion: the god forbidding sun. It can beat down on you like the Belgians beat the States in World Cup overtime (too soon?). I’ve been looking into purchasing a parasol for awhile now, the most elegant way to keep the sun away. Of course, you can always use an umbrella, but parasols are just so adorable!

Like this one, from Amazon:

Pack A Miniature Toiletry Kit

Make sure you don’t get caught unprepared and keep the essentials with you at all times. Simply throw a miniature deodorant stick and maybe a tin of hard perfume into your makeup bag and make a quick restroom break when you arrive to freshen up.

Nab Some Toilet Seat Covers

Bear with me here: it has been scientifically proven — sort of — that toilet seat covers are a great way to absorb your sweat or oil. If you just can’t prevent the inevitable, stuff a couple of these in your bag next time you see them in a restroom, and use them to wipe the sweat off of your face. You can also grab some Starbucks napkins. Works like a charm!

Bring Back The Summer Camp Style

Back in the days of summer camp, a key item was on every campers’ list: portable, miniature electric fan, maybe with a squirt bottle. I’m thinking it’s about time to bring these bad boys back — it may look a little silly but onlookers will surely be jealous of your personalized cool breeze.

What are your tips and tricks for keeping cool in the summer? Leave them in the comments!

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Written By EcoWomen Guest Blogger Brenna Mannion

You have met those people. The ones who exclaim, “Mosquitos just don’t bother me!” accompanied by a nonchalant shrug. Well I hate those people. Not that it’s their fault, obviously, but mosquitos and all their winged brethren love to bite me. I grew up in central New York, and once the snow melted, all you wanted to do was be outside. To survive, I spent my formative years basically bathing in traditional insect repellants. But as an adult I realize that just because they reduce the amount of bug bites and itchy discomfort, the chemicals contained in those products are harsh (at best) and dangerous (at worst). You know something? I’m wary of spraying myself with bug repellants containing DEET and all sorts of other chemicals that are so powerful, according to the “OFF!” website they can “harm plastics and acrylics”. Um, if it breaks down heavy plastics, imagine the havoc it wreaks on your epidermis. So, outside of wearing long pants and sleeves in the swampy DC summer heat, what’s a natural gal to do?

The answer lies in essential oils. Bugs do not like the smell of things like eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemongrass. There are two avenues to take advantage of various oils, buy one of the many commercially available “natural bug sprays” or make your own. To save yourself a ton of trial and error, there are basic recipes online that you can use as a starting point and customize them to your liking. Most involve a handful of essential oils, putting them into a small hand held sprayer and mixing them with a carrier liquid. But not water! Another reason to buy that large bottle of vodka this weekend. My favorite combination is eucalyptus and lavender. The trick is lots of reapplication – but that’s not hard when it smells so lovely, instead of the inside of a laboratory. This whole homemade bug spray thing may sound hokey, but it really works. I know from personal experience – as well as a raving testimonial from a male friend who used this method while fishing in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota and in Darwin, Australia during the wet season. He said his stuff was just as effective as any pesticide/chemical based spray.

Eucalyptus, cinnamon, and peppermint are all good insect repelling essential oils. If you’re not a DIY-er, there are natural repellants available online and at places like Whole Foods. A couple of good brands to try are California Baby, Herbal Armor, and Bite Blocker. Many of the commercial repellants rely heavily on citronella oil, so if that smell brings back unpleasant memories of backyard barbeques with angry Aunt Betty, then you may want to consider making your own.

Now, with all that being said, if you plan on doing real deep woods hiking, with lots of exposure to ticks that may carry Lyme disease, it might be preferable to wear long sleeves and pants, and carry a backup spray with the powerful, DEET-containing repellents on the edges of your clothes (avoiding direct skin contact). Sometimes Mother Nature just has the upper hand. But for the vast majority of your summer activities, natural repellants will work wonderfully!

If none of this sounds appealing, here are a few more avant-garde ideas. The internet is full of testimonials of people who eat garlic or take vitamin B1 supplements to ward off ‘skeeters. Be mindful though, that your boyfriend may not appreciate you swallowing raw cloves of garlic before going camping in a small tent. Try installing a bat house! If you can get bats to nest near your home or vacation spot, as my friend says “they can hang out and eat all the mosquitos.” Please let us know how that works out. If nothing else, it will be fun around Halloween.

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Good As New – Tips on Revamping and Fixing Up Your Old Furnishings

Odds are that you’ve got a lot of old furniture around the house.  You might just want to get rid of it, if for nothing else, just to save the space. While reducing clutter in your home is never a bad idea, and keeping your older furniture in mint conditioncan be difficult, don’t be too quick to throw away those unique pieces that aren’t being used. There are plenty of ways that you can refinish or “revamp” your furniture and put it to good use, especially if you have something older that just needs a new style or look. There is a bit of a process involved, and how you proceed will depend on several things. The first decision you have to make is what pieces of furniture you want to put the work into.

What to Keep? 

In order to decide what to keep, you need to assess your home and figure out what you have space for and where you want to add another piece of furniture. Here’s the process:

If furniture is stored

Do a walkthrough of each room and decide where you have the space for extra furniture. Choose a piece of furniture from storage that would fit in those places or be useful in the room with the extra space.

If furniture is in use

Simply identify the pieces that you feel don’t quite fit in terms of style, then set them aside as your project pieces. Once you’ve chosen the furniture you want to work on, there are several different things you can do to create the 2.0, new and improved versions. A lot of what you do will depend on what kind of furniture you’re dealing with, but more often than not, you’ll be working with wood of some kind. Here are some of the basic things you can do that will apply to most pieces of old wooden furniture and can be implemented in a variety of different ways:


Sanding is something you’ll have to get used to if you want to make a habit out of sprucing up old furniture is using a sander. An electric sander would be highly recommended, considering the amount of time it takes to properly sand something down by hand. You can get your hands on a mid-grade sander for around the $50 or $60 mark, which is a worthwhile investment if you plan on using it a lot. Sanding down a piece of furniture makes painting it much easier and will ensure that the paint goes on smoothly and properly. Painting over furniture with a finish or a glossy coat of paint isn’t going to look as nice as it would if you have a blank canvas to work with. Sanding basically allows you to start fresh with an old piece of furniture.

Spray Paint

Once you’ve got your furniture sanded, spray paint is one of your best tools available when it comes to giving it second life. The nice thing about spray paint is that it’s easy to use and comes in all kinds of different finishes, aside from just different colors. Whatever you plan to do with an old piece of furniture, the odds are pretty good that spray paint can help you get there.

Ignore the Tradition of the Piece

A lot of what makes an old piece of furniture interesting is that it can serve a different purpose somewhere else. For example, one might take an old thin crate and use it to hold a DVD collection, or perhaps an old chair could be spray painted and used to house a flower pot. That’s a big part of the trend of re-using older furniture, which is being powered in large part by the influence of Pinterest contributions. It’s all about being creative and working with what you have, so don’t be afraid to do some sanding, some painting and then try and place the piece in a spot where it might not be conventionally used.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles who covers everything from health, marketing, travel and design. She is always looking for ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices into her everyday life such as using gift bags and other household items for crafts with her three kids.

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on Kicking Off the DC EcoWomen Annual Photo Contest!

Say Hello to Summer!

Summer in the city is a wonderful thing. It means outdoor restaurants, canoes, swimsuits, lots of sunlight… and photos upon photos of all the fun you’re having!

We love hearing your voices on our blog. Now we want to see our city through your eyes, too! How do you see the world, and the EcoWomen community? Do you have beautiful images you’d like to share? We’re kicking off our 2nd Annual Photo Contest and we’re hoping to hear from YOU!

Submit your photos for a chance for your work to be recognized within our community – and to win some fabulous prizes!

There are three themes for your submissions:

Women in the Eco-Workplace: We want to see your photos of women eco-professionals, changing the world at work in whatever “workplace” means to you: from your office, to the Hill, to your stand at the farmer’s market or classroom.

DC’s Natural Urbanity: We’re lucky that our city is so full and so close to nature! Showcase your favorite city/nature hotspots ! Tell us in the description how they help you refresh your urban self.

Sustainable Living: Gardening in your backyard? Using a solar charger for your iphone? Vermicomposting? Show us how you and your friends are keeping your practices real and green.

Prizes will be awarded for each winners of the three Themes, and one for an overall Grand Prize.

Check out the official Photo Contest page – and be sure to read the Rules and Guidelines. And check out our Flickr Group, with all of last year’s top photo contenders.

Be sure to act fast! The contest is only open between June 8th and July 9th, 11:59pm EST. So don’t forget to bring your camera with you for inspiration on your next outing!

A submission from last year's photo contest