How to make the most of the water before summer ends

Summer is drawing to a close, but there's still time!

Whether you're landlocked or lucky enough to live by a body of water that's suitable for recreation, the end of summer always makes water-related activities infinitely more appealing. Nothing refreshes you like a cool dip in H2O, with the last rays of brilliant sunshine warming up all but the most frigid depths.

We're all familiar with traditional aquatic activities: sailing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, etc. But if you're looking for something a little more out-of-the-ordinary, there's no shortage of fun-filled pursuits that will elevate your summer from ho-hum to memorable.

Spiritually and physically uplifting

For the "spiritual"

While Jesus reportedly walked on water (although a new theory posits it could have been ice he strode upon), this was not something the average person ever considered feasible. However, recent advances in technology have made water-walking possible for even the least spiritual among us. Oversized foam footies enable you to trundle across lakes, pools, and other bodies of calm water. Not only is this an enjoyable activity, but it's actually quite a rigorous workout. So skip the gym, slap on some foam footies and have at it!


Straight into the future

Because it's 2018 and we still don't have flying skateboards

Remember that scene in Back to the Future when Marty McFly snags a floating skateboard to get away from the kids in the diner? Well, guess what – 2015 has come and gone, with nary a whisper of a functional hovering skateboard. However, you can try the next best thing with Hoverboard by ZR. You can blast up to 16.5 feet above the water at 15mph on this crazy contraption. Just attach it your PWC (personal watercraft, for those not in the know) and take flight! Not quite ready to get airborne on your own? Try a lesson on a flyboard or jetpack with a seasoned pro. You'll be starring in your own personal Mission Impossible series in your head.

Your abs will thank you

You're looking to kick up your yoga game a notch

Yoga practitioners who have already mastered landbound poses should take heed–a new, more challenging (but more fulfilling?) form of yoga is gaining a dedicated following. Stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga is pretty much what you'd expect: practicing yoga on a paddleboard in the water. It's definitely more physically difficult than yoga performed on a hard surface, but the serenity of the water and deeper mindfulness needed to be successful are completely worth the struggle. Just make sure you find a calm lake or pool in which to practice and always wear tons of sunscreen, as the sun's rays are even more ferocious when they are reflected onto your skin from the water.

Weeeeee!

Catch some air on a raft

Don't let birds have a monopoly on soaring through the air. You can join them on an blown-up airborne raft, skimming across the ocean waves. This adrenaline-packed flying fish boat ride allows you to ride the air currents while being towed by a speedboat across the water. You can choose to ride horseback style, or if you're feeling extra lazy, just lay back and gaze at the sky and the receding shoreline.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to have an amazing time

Pretend you're starring in Mission Impossible

In virtually every Mission Impossible movie there's a scene where someone (usually Tom Cruise) parachutes into a situation where he'll most likely encounter some butts that need kicking. While the butt-kicking is optional, you can recreate your own parachuting adventure –without the nerves of steel required for skydiving–by going parasailing. The only thing needed for parasailing is a love of heights and a yearn for a swift tropical breeze blowing in your hair. You can do it solo or with a group, and the only thing it entails is being strapped into a parachute, so virtually everyone can do it. Once you're at cruising altitude (no pun intended) you'll get a birds-eye view of your surroundings and if you so desire, the opportunity to act out your own movie scene in your head.


Hug those waves, baby

Ride the water like a bucking bronco

Jet skis are one of the many brand names that people use as a generic term (just Google it!), but they are technically categorized as personal watercraft. Much like a snowmobile, they are intended for one or two people and allow you to rush across ocean waves as if the water were a solid surface. The faster you go, the bigger the bumps feel, and if you run across a big enough wave you'll definitely catch some air. Lifejackets are recommended, and of course always wear plenty of sunscreen–the brisk salty wind often masks scorching summer rays, and it's easy to forget how long you're out on the water when you're having the time of your life.

You're part of the ocean underworld now

Immerse yourself in the deep blue

There's something calming about scuba diving in the frigid depths, with only the sound of your own breathing as company. While you do need some practice and training to partake in this particular activity, it's 100% worth the effort. Once you're down 30 feet beneath the waves, the land becomes a distant memory. The fins make it effortless to glide through the water and you'll get an up close and personal view of aquatic life like fish, stingrays, and turtles. It's a vantage point we almost never experience on land (unless you happen to spend a lot of time close to the ground), and it's almost meditative.

Just say "om"

Recreate the calming womb environment

Thanks to the way our brains are wired, meditating is deceptively difficult. As soon as we push away one thought to concentrate on our breath, another appears to take its place. Meditating outside can help with concentration, as there are more physical sensations to focus besides the voice in your head wondering if you remembered to turn off your straightening iron before you left the house. With float therapy, the additional physical sensation of being cushioned by water not only blocks sounds, but also helps you focus. Most float therapy is performed in dedicated floating pods, but, really, any calm body of water will do. Just relax and focus on the sensation of being buoyed by the water. It really does make meditation easier.

Water activities can be as tame or as thrilling as you want them to be. Even if your closest body of water is the local pool, take some time for a quick cooling swim, or even just dip your legs in while perched on the sidelines. When summer calls, water answers.

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Travel Tips

Three Things to Consider When Planning Your Vacation

There are plenty of things to consider when planning your vacation. Make sure you have all your bases covered by the time you buy your plane ticket!

Going on vacation is wonderful after months of stress and work. There's just one last hurdle before hopping on that plane: planning.

There can be an overwhelming number of things to consider when planning your vacation (COVID-19 not least), but putting them in an itemized list helps. Here's a quick cheat-sheet for you to get a jump-start on that.

Vacation VacationUniversity of Kentucky

Remember Your Budget

If you make a budget, which you definitely should, stick to it. Don't spend more than what you can afford when you start vacationing. Vacations are meant to be relaxing, so saddling yourself with debt will only dampen the fun of your trip. How much are you spending on living accommodations, food, activities, travel? How much are you setting aside in emergency funds in case something happens?

Plan for the Length of the Trip

Are you going out of town for a few months, or do you only have a week off? How much time you have can affect where you can go and how much you can enjoy it. If you only have a week and a half for a trip, then it's best not to go somewhere that's a 16-hour flight away. Half the trip is going to be spent on planes, and the other half will be spent being jet-lagged.

Trip length can also affect how you have to deal with your home while you're away. If you're away for long periods of time, do you need to hire people to cut your grass? Do you need to hire house sitters or babysitters? There are even things to know if you need to board your dog. Keep all these in mind for extended vacations.

Consider the Weather

You never want to ruin your vacation by heading somewhere beautiful in its offseason. Depending on the time of year, most activities could be canceled due to weather restrictions. Some places are ideal for winter trips, and other destinations are made to be enjoyed during the summer heat. Plan accordingly, and don't show up in a swimsuit when it's 50 degrees outside.

That rounds up the basics, but there are plenty more things to consider when planning your vacation. Give yourself wiggle room if any unique considerations pop up in your planning process.

There has never been a better time to learn a language than right now. While we can't really travel, we can still get ready to explore the world and other cultures through film, music, and food. But the key to all of this is language. It can be hard getting started on your own and so we found the perfect solution: Rosetta Stone.

We've been loving hunkering down and digging into Rosetta Stone, a language learning app with many different languages, the best lessons, and an affordable subscription. It's flexible and made to work for you, no matter what level you're starting at. Jump back into French without dusting off your highschool books or pick up Mandarin with a clean slate.

Thinking about Rosetta Stone for your language lessons? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions:

What languages do they offer?

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from 25 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese. When you get the Unlimited Languages subscription you gain access to all 25 and can switch between languages. While you may be intensely learning German, you can take a break and pick up some conversational Korean — all in one app.

What are the features?

What makes Rosetta Stone's lessons really work are the incredible learning features.

Phrasebook will teach you short, useful expressions that are sure to come in handy during your travels, letting you see the practical application of what you're learning. Seek & Speak brings the fun back into learning by having you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and taking photos of them to get the translated name. Even in an app, Rosetta Stone turns any environment into a classroom.

TruAccent is a speech engine within the program that provides instant feedback on your pronunciation so you know if you're on the right track. You'll grow more confident about speaking aloud and it's like having an accent coach in the room with you.

How long does it take every day?

Rosetta Stone's lessons are bite-sized, so all you need is 5 -10 minutes a day to sneak in some practice and work towards your language goals. Of course, you can do more if you want but there's no regimented schedule or pressure to speed ahead.

How does it compare to in-person classes?

With the Rosetta Stone app, your learning is within your control and designed to move at your pace. The app will tailor to your particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses! Plus, with the recent explosion of online classes, most people have fallen away from in-person instruction anyway.

Rosetta Stone brings you expert teaching, fun engaging lessons, and a multitude of language options all on-the-go. Take your classes whenever and wherever works best for you, conveniently on the app.

Is it suitable for all levels?

Absolutely. When you first start, the app allows you to choose a study plan based on your experience level. So, if you're a beginner you can start from scratch and those with some proficiency can advance to where they're comfortable.

How much does it cost?

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month and grants access to all 25 languages, cheaper than Netflix. You get an education at a great value and the best part is no ads while you learn!

We look forward to our Rosetta Stone lessons and highly recommend it to anyone eager to learn a new language or even brush up on an old one. This program makes learning fun, practical, convenient, and most importantly affordable.

Say bonjour, to the go-to language learning app and have the world right at your fingertips!

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!

Like so many out there I haven't been traveling. With everything going on these days I've been staying home, which I love, but it does have me itching to travel. The international section of Netflix just isn't satisfying my travel bug like it used to (trust me, if it's been recommended I've watched it).

I was looking for another way I could travel without leaving home so I did the rounds of take-out food: Chinese, German, Italian, and Mexican. This was fun and tasty but a pricey way to explore the world.

A friend of mine suggested taking a prepping approach to travel and try Rosetta Stone: a language learning program that offers an annual plan with access to 24+ languages.

I've always wanted to learn a new language but have had trouble committing. I was a bit wary about starting Rosetta Stone but ultimately decided to give it a shot.

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month for 12 months (what a deal). While I was determined to learn Spanish in anticipation of my dream trip to Spain, this plan allows me to switch to any of the other 24+ languages.

I was excited to get started and use the app. I figured with all of the extra time I had until I could actually go on my trip, I'd aspire to be near fluent by the time it happened.

Jumping right in, I took a ton of lessons through their app and really binged the language. I loved the focus on conversational language, phrases, and vocabulary but after about a week I had burned myself out a bit.

I ended up pulling back and doing 10-minute lessons a day. This was manageable and easy to incorporate into my schedule whether it was by doing a lesson over my morning coffee or winding down right before bed. Learning in bite-sized amounts helped me digest the information and really process what I was being taught.

After a couple of weeks, I was getting really comfortable with Rosetta Stone and was actually enjoying the learning process… even though I wasn't a big fan of language when I was in school. What really set this experience apart for me was the Phrasebook and Seek & SpeakⓇ features.

Phrasebook teaches short, useful expressions that I know will come in handy on my trip. Seek & SpeakⓇ definitely brought the fun back into learning for me, as it has you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and take photos of them. Once you do this it gives you a translation of each item (I've never enjoyed looking for cucumbers in my fridge before).

Watching so many telenovelas I knew how important the accent is (in any language) but difficult without an in-person instructor. Rosetta Stone realizes that too and uses TruAccentⓇ. The speech engine within the program gave me instant feedback so I knew that my pronunciation was on the right track and it made me more comfortable speaking aloud.

Rosetta Stone turned out to be a great choice for me. Now I'm daydreaming about traveling and feel like when the time comes I'll be ready to. I'm so confident in my learning that I've branched out and have done some lessons in Italian and French! I'm thinking, after Spain… maybe Rome and Paris? My destinations list is endless now!

Honestly, with Rosetta Stone, I feel more inspired than ever to travel and all this inspiration is happening right in my home. I can't wait to take what I've learned on the road but until then the preparation is still incredibly fun and useful.

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!