Author Archives: Summer Huggins

About Summer Huggins

Summer Huggins is an amateur photographer, dog-lover, cupcake-eater and shoe-shopper in Austin, Texas. She loves to travel, cook and take in a good movie, and she volunteers with a local pet-rescue organization as a photographer and dog-walker.


Decisions, Decisions: Comparing August’s Men’s Magazines Side by Side

mensfitness_august2010.jpgLet’s say Mark Wahlberg and Brett Favre both showed up at my door this evening and wanted to take me out to dinner. (Don’t tell my husband.) I’d have a very hard time deciding which one to take up on his offer.

That was my dilemma this evening as I tried to decide which August 2010 magazine to dive into first–Men’s Fitness magazine with Wahlberg on the cover or Men’s Journal magazine with Favre? How’s a girl to choose?!

Wahlberg looks fit as a fiddle in his simple gray tee and jeans on a white background for Men’s Fitness; Favre looks like the picture of fitness himself in a white tee and jeans on the white background of Men’s Journal. Both covers are full of great blurbs–food, fitness and sports all covered. Both covers also have an eye-catching balance of black, white, red and yellow.

In the end, Wahlberg–umm, I mean Men’s Fitness magazine won my attention. And not just for the cover: Packed with features that will boost your upper body in two weeks, help you lose a few pounds while you work on your six-pack, and add pounds of muscle in just a month, this issue is a page-turner for the man who is fitness-focused.

Don’t worry, Favre, you’re next!

5 Yoga Poses to Perfect This Summer

yogajournal_jpgWe’re all busy these days. We’re working, running around with the family, volunteering, working out and sleeping when we can find the time. Wouldn’t it be nice to squeeze in a little healthy activity that was also relaxing? Yoga may be just the thing.

And if you’re looking to try a handful of yoga poses to help with relaxation at the end of the day or to get you energized to start the day, here are five to consider:

  • The Breathing Goddess: From the August 2010 issue of Whole Living magazine, this pose brings the body into balance by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us to “rest and digest.”
  • The Five-Pointed Star: From the July/August issue of Natural Health magazine, this easy-for-anyone pose energizes the whole body and opens up the chest for circulation and improved breathing.
  • The Goddess Pose: Labeled as a “Magic Yoga Move” in the July/August issue of Health magazine, this pose is said to help with relaxation and tension relief. It’s also supposed to help chase stress headaches away.
  • The Fish Pose: From the August issue of Yoga Journal magazine, this pose–”matsyasana”–strengthens the back and stimulates the thyroid. It also stretches ab muscles and those tiny muscles all around the ribs.
  • The Hero Pose: Also from the pages of Yoga Journal’s August issue, this pose helps relieve tired, swollen legs at the end of the day. It’s also said to help with high blood pressure and asthma.

Recipe Review: Prevention Magazine’s Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup

prevention_august2010.jpgImagine waking up in the morning and having dinner ready before you even start your workout. That can be a reality with the no-cook recipes in the August 2010 issue of Prevention

Starting on Page 148, there are five no-cook recipes that are fast, easy and nutritious. Who wants to spend all evening stuck in a hot kitchen after a full day of work, commuting, working out and spending time with the family?

As soon as I saw the lovely shade of green soup in the picture, I knew I had to give the Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup a try. It only took about 10 minutes to prepare, then I let it chill all day and dinner was ready when I was. Cool, delicious and nutritious, this is definitely a recipe worth a try.

Learn from my mistake though: I forgot to add the cayenne, and with my first bite I knew I was missing something. But like Goldilocks says, it was “just right” after I did.

Did I mention there was no cooking required? Give it a try. I’ll definitely be having it again before the summer is over.


You Might Be a Magazine Junkie If…

shape_august2010.jpgI found myself stalking my mailman this evening. Why was it almost 5 p.m. before he showed up today? How long was it going to take him to fill our community island of mailboxes? And, most important, did he have the newest issue of any of my favorite magazines for me?

I knew I had to give him space and time to do his job, so I occupied myself for a little while by heading to the mall. But it got me thinking: Am I a magazine junkie? Are you? I’ve put together a little quiz we can take to find out….

  • Do you take pictures of the meals you cook from your favorite health magazines and compare them to the pictures in the pages? (Whole Living magazine beautifully illustrates their recipes with photography.)
  • Do you tear out the pages and post them on your fridge as friendly reminders to live healthier? (Both Health magazine and Natural Health magazine are great for doing this at my house.)
  • Do you consult the pages of your favorite fitness magazines when you need a change in your exercise routine? (Shape magazine always has great new ideas.)
  • Do you swat the cat away when she tries to chew on the corners?
  • When you spill coffee on the table, do you clean up your magazines before anything else?
  • Do you pack your favorite health and fitness titles into your carry-on bag before you even pack clothes for your trip?
  • Do you, like me, stalk your mailman when it’s time for new issues?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you might be a magazine junkie. But don’t worry, we’re in this together.


Reading My First-Ever Women’s Running Magazine

womensrunning_july-august2010.jpgI’m not a runner. I’ve tried to love it, but it’s just not my exercise of choice. Yet, I continue to try. So I figured that picking up the July/August 2010 issue of Women’s Running magazine might be just the thing to push me over into the “I love running” camp!

Before I dive into the content inside, let me give you my two cents on the cover: Boring. I’m sorry, but I think I just wanted to see more on the cover.

Let me explain: The use of color is good–I like the purple, teal and magenta. The picture of Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan is good–she’s the picture of health and fitness. But a plain white background? I don’t understand that design choice. In my mind, runners enjoy that fitness pursuit partly for the beauty that surrounds them when they’re out, whether it’s a busy city skyline, a lazy river or a rolling green hillside. I think the cover designers missed out when they took Shalane out of a stunning runner’s environment and put her on a plain white background.

That said, let me tell you about what was inside once I turned the cover: good content for runners and potential runners alike! Here are a few of my favorite features:

  • “Steps to Successful Weight Loss” nailed a very important issue right on the head. Sometimes losing weight is tricky when you try to balance it with fitness and extra activity. We want to eat fewer calories to lose weight, but we need extra calories as we get involved in more activity. This articles gives six easy steps to follow so both can happen.

  • It’s hot out, and those outdoor activities that keep you in shape the rest of the year might be a little harder to handle this season. No need to stop exercising altogether as the temperature climbs: “Handling the Heat” will help you keep your cool.
  • And if you’re like me and you just want to know where to start when it comes to running, “Get Up to Speed” breaks it down for us. With easy-to-use charts and plans, this feature will have us running our first 5K in just eight weeks. Wanna sign up with me?

5 Must-Try Summertime Grilling Recipes

wholeliving_august2010.jpgIt’s not too late to enjoy backyard grilling a few more times before the kids go back to school and the weather cools off. So fire up the grill and turn your backyard into a dining room! Now, and even well into the fall, the weather is perfect for grilling. Can we offer a few suggestions? These five recipes from recent issues of our favorite health and fitness magazines are definitely worth a try:

  1. Marinated Grilled Eggplant from Oxygen magazine (July 2010). Grilling doesn’t always have to mean meat, meat, meat. If you haven’t tried to grill veggies yet, you’re missing out! And this one is a great one to start with.
  2. Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich from Men’s Health magazine (July/August 2010). What’s better than having a whole meal that fits in your hands?! This one is easy, refreshing and delicious. I can vouch for this one personally: You won’t be disappointed!
  3. Spicy Grilled Tuna With Garden Salsa from Self magazine (July 2010). Cool, healthy and refreshing, this recipe is a must for entertaining. It’s simple, yet sounds fancy enough to impress the neighbors.
  4. Grilled Beef With Basil Puree Over Tuscan Beans from Fitness magazine (July 2010). Grilling and beef go hand-in-hand. Need I say more?
  5. Grilled Peaches With Prosciutto from Whole Living magazine (July/August 2010). Peaches are a must-try for anyone hanging out by the grill; the prosciutto just kicks ‘em up a notch. And if you need some delicious, fresh Texas peaches, just let me know!