5 Tips to Get the Most Out of This Summer

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Summertime is a state of mind.

It’s the sun on your face, the pep in your step, the bring-it-on of late nights and good times, the dawning of exciting new possibilities.

The first day of summer happens when you switch from have-to to get-to, so kickstart your get-to with these goals leading to summery goodness.

1) Drink better coffee

Ah, coffee, that beautiful, fragrant source of motivation. It’s delicious, it’s comforting, and studies show that it may improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression (by the way, decaf offers the same health benefits). Whether you like it hot or prefer to make your own cold brew the easy way, there’s so much to love.

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Well, your perfect morning has arrived, thanks to the team behind MistoBox. Pick a coffee style and delivery schedule (1-4 deliveries per month), and you’ll start every day with impressive, freshly-roasted coffee. Three price tiers cover the gamut of coffee drinkers, from those who just need their daily kick to those looking for the best of the small-batch best.

2) Get outside and exercise

There’s no doubt about it: exercise is a miracle drug hiding among us. It boosts brainpower, melts stress, and makes you feel great. Maybe that’s why 81% of millennials say they exercise on a regular basis.

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Staying fit doesn’t have to feel like a chore. There’s camaraderie in the air– millennials are more drawn to exercise centered around working together than competing against each other. Groups like cycling, aerobics, and dance are more popular than ever, and there are over 50,000 athletic apps to help you track and share your activities.

Did you know the National Park Service turns 100 this year? If you’re looking for more relaxing outdoor exercise, use this handy tool to pick someplace beautiful and join the 40 million Americans going camping this year. Whether you sleep in a tent or a cabin or under a sky full of stars, you’ll be breathing fresh air, listening to birdsong, and banishing stress.

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There are 59 national parks across the country and a whopping 6,624 state parks. The oldest among them is majestic Niagara Falls State Park (est. 1885), but modern campgrounds are getting all kinds of upgrades –from better bathrooms to free Wi-Fi– so don’t assume that outdoors means offline. That’s up to you.

3) Try foods from around the world

Nothing rivals the adventure of leaving the country. Every detail is different from what everyday life conditions you to expect, from the bustle of the downtown streets to the tempting aromas of unknown dishes.

But if your summer budget doesn’t include get-off-a-plane-and-bust-out-the-map traveling, you can bring the world to you on the cheap.

Foods are an integral part of every culture and a great place to start exploring.

Ever try a strawberry Giant Caplico from Japan or crunchy yuca Biscoito de Polvilho from Brazil? How about “mouth quivering” Ghost Pops from South Africa? Yeah, me neither. Snack boxes from Treats have you sampling goodies from a new country each month. Want to stay in one place for a while? Aloha Crate brings the Hawaiian vibe, and if you’re curious about Japan’s mind-blowing snack scene, definitely check out Snakku.

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4) Automate your finances

Don’t let managing your finances become a dark cloud that follows you through the summer. Invest the spare change from your daily transactions with Acorns. Choose one of five portfolio profiles –from conservative to aggressive– and Acorns will invest for you using “round-ups” (for example, if you buy a latte for $3.25, Acorns will take an additional 75¢ and invest it). Paribus is a free service that gets you cash back whenever retailers drop prices on purchases you make online or forget to apply coupon codes. Make sure you’re not paying for services you don’t want with Truebill’s free online tool.  It shows you all of your recurring charges and lets you cancel any of them with a single click. No more waiting on hold to cancel that pesky Wi-Fi hotspot subscription you forgot about!

5) PARTY, PARTY, PARTY!!!

Summer is the perfect time to make new friends, keep the old, and celebrate with every single one of them. There’s a million ways to party, but you can’t go wrong sticking to the basics: good food, drinks, and some tunes to shake your booty to.

Want some help? Let’s start by whetting your whistle.

Summer wine parties are easy to throw, but lots of people are intimidated when picking bottles at the store by rack upon rack of unknown quantities.

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Rest easy– you’ve got a friend in Vinebox. Nestled inside each sleek, magnetically-sealed box are three wines from boutique wineries across Europe. You’ll get a glass of each –packaged in glass vials that are elegant and a touch futuristic– along with tasting notes, recommended food pairings, and the stories behind the wines. The wines are all limited production, so when you (inevitably) fall in love with one, tell Vinebox right away so you can get a full bottle… or ten.

For anyone worried about party food, a word of advice: skewers. They’re low-mess, easy to stroll around with, and they only require one hand. For a perfect wine party accompaniment, try this summery spin on a classic Italian appetizer: Peach Caprese Skewers.

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What you’ll need: fresh peaches, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, some balsamic vinegar, and skewers. Assemble the skewers by alternating chunks of peach and mozzarella with basil leaves folded in half. To punch up the flavors a notch, drizzle the skewers lightly with balsamic reduction. It’s easy to make– stir a cup of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over the lowest heat until it reduces by half.

Now that you’ve got stellar wines and appetizers, grab some speakers and pick a playlist: keep it chill with Brazilian samba and bossa nova, get your retro on with the best of the 70s and 80s, or stick with this summer’s biggest hits.

Well, cheers to an unforgettable summer! I could keep singing summer’s praises, but I think I’ll let the poet William Carlos Williams take us out instead.

“In summer, the song sings itself.”

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