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19 Aug '16

5 Must-Have Summer Reads

Top 5 Summer Books

     Whether you're doing some traveling, planning to hit the beach, or you just need an excuse to hang out in front of the A/C this summer, you'll need a good book to keep you company. These five new releases will take you to amazing places, no matter what the scenery looks like outside.

Woman Reading Books in Field - ISA Professional

The latest in a proven series of crime novels with a powerful female lead

Hard Light by Elizabeth Hand (2016, Macmillan)

     Hand is an award-winning author whose third novel in the Cass Neary series is just as brilliant as the first two. Neary, a photographer with a knack for seeing the beauty even in the darkest hours, isn't obliviously cheery to the world she lives in. There are real consequences for her kind of luck, and Hand skillfully explores them all. In Hard Light, Neary escapes to London with a stolen passport but changing locations has only put her into new trouble. New dangers, new allies, and a mystery Neary may not be able to unravel await.

     Bonus! If you haven't read the first two in Hand's series, you can pick up all three and once and spend the rest of the summer tearing through them!

Fast-paced superhero fun

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn (July 2016, DAW Books)

    Kuhn's newest novel tells the story of two Asian American girls who grew up as best friends, allies, and – yes – superheroes. Well, one of them is. The other's her assistant and confidant, who struggles with the role of sidekick until she discovers she has powers of her own. For Kuhn's heroine Evie Tanaka, demons, dangerous cupcakes, and protecting San Francisco from total ruin seem easier than repairing a relationship with someone she's looked up to for years. Heartfelt, oh so fun, and a kickass group of women saving the day? You won't want to miss it.

Sweeping historical novel with lush setting and dysfunctional family drama

Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan (translated by Annie Tucker, September 2015, New Directions)

     This epic novel by one of Indonesia's best-known writers spans generations, exploring a telenovela-style history of a country ruled by the Dutch, the Japanese, and finally, Indonesians themselves. Kurniawan's story begins with Dewi Ayu, a teenage girl of Dutch and Indonesian heritage who finds herself imprisoned, alone, and forced into prostitution. Dazzling characters abound, with curses, ghosts, and lots of sex. There's also rape, murder, and the pain of being unwanted, but even with so much going on, Kurniawan brings the disparate threads together in the end. This meaty tome will leave a lasting impression.

Summer Books Stacked by Sunset - ISA Professional

A collection of short, creepy, but beautifully-written horror 

Singing with All My Skin and Bone by Sunny Moraine (May 2016, Undertow Publications)

     Each story is a dark surprise, over and over. As impossible as it seems, Moraine balances gut punch after gut punch with rich prose and deft storycraft in every one. Their writing is like a deadly mushroom in an overgrown forest: those colors should be a warning but how can you resist such beauty, even if it kills you? This isn't the book for happy endings or good things happening to good people, but if you want the lost ones who fall through into the other side of the mirror, this collection will keep you on your toes all the way to the last page.

Sharp, insightful essays on the intersection of feminism, geek culture, and the art of being a struggling writer

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley (May 2016, Tor Books) 

     Hurley is an essayist, fantasy novelist, and two-time winner of the Hugo Award, whose non-fiction has appeared in The Atlantic and Locus, on Tor.com, and more. The work in this book explores the rift between some hardline “classic science fiction” (and its fans) and those readers and authors who want a more inclusive, modern, and fair environment for all fans to find themselves. Hurley speaks out about her own experiences as well as her take on the genre community and the world at large, providing a much needed voice and giving us all a little more to think about. Good, good stuff here, that shouldn't be missed.  

19 Jul '16

Adding These Daily Habits Can Help You Feel and Look Great

4 Tips For a Healthier, More Beautiful You

Girl Appreciating a Sunflower- ISA Professional

We've all gone through that moment of realizing that our lives could use some improving; whether it's working harder for a promotion, learning a new language, or signing up for that yoga class you've always wanted to try out. No matter what your goal was, it can be hard to achieve, or even worse, keep up with. While your hectic work or life schedule may make it seem like these goals are impossible, it doesn't have to be so daunting. It all starts with a few steps and luckily for us, those small changes can lead to a healthier you, with permanent life changes. You don't have to do all of these changes at once; try one or two to begin with and take it from there. The trick to keeping them up is thinking of the big picture; one positive life change will lead to more positive changes because you know that you are in control of your life and your choices. We all need some “me” time, make it a priority to give yourself some; after all, you can't take care of others or your job if you don't take care of yourself first!

Drink Lemon Water

Woman Drinking Lemon Water- ISA Professional

Let's be honest here, what do you usually go for first thing in the morning? Chances are, it's coffee. Although coffee it does have its own health benefits, there's another beverage that is extremely beneficial to our health that is often ignored: lemon water. Lemons are extremely beneficial to our bodies; they're high in Vitamin C, help aid our digestion, have various electrolytes (like potassium and magnesium) for hydration and contains antioxidants that help strengthen our immune system.

In fact, drinking a whole lemon in water (I usually cut a lemon in half and drink two glasses) can help lower blood pressure and even cleanse your arteries! Some people swear by drinking warm or hot water with their lemon, but if it's too hot where you life, room temp works too. Drinking it first thing in the morning will give you energy and even helps fight off cravings later on in the day.

Apply Serum and SPF Before Going Out

Woman Applying Sunscreen- ISA Professional

You're probably sick of hearing about the importance on applying SPF and serums but they're talked about often for a reason, it's just for our own good! SPF helps protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, which can be extremely harmful for our skin and can lead to skin cancer. Serums help fight signs of aging and have a lightweight consistency, making them the perfect pairing to SPF.

Apply your serum first since it dries quickly, then apply your SPF. I'm in awe of ISA Professional's XANADU 24k Serum; it has Vitamin C, so while the lemon water helps you on the inside, this amazing serum gives your skin the same treatment on the outside. Another good tip is to stick to SPF made specifically for the face since these aren't as heavy or chalky. I like to use Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, it isn't greasy and works great under makeup. This combination of skin products will make your skin stay healthy and beautiful. Believe me, your skin will thank you for this small lifestyle change!

Meditate For A Healthier Body and Brain

Woman and Girl Meditating

I know what you're thinking; you sometimes don't even have time to wash your hair, much less meditate daily, but even a little goes a long way. You don't have to join a yoga class if you don't want but you should start taking at least 15 minutes out of your day to get away from computers and cell phones and just breathe.

You can accomplish this by just sitting in a quiet room and concentrating on your breathing or by going out for a calming walk with your dog. If you're interested in a yoga class but don't think you have time or money for it, buy a yoga mat and separate some time a couple of times during the week to practice at home. There are plenty of videos out there to help you out and if you think inviting a friend to do it with you will help keep you motivated, do it!

The benefits of meditation are plenty: it decreases anxiety, depression, stress, inflammation and pain. It also makes you more focused, reduces loneliness, boosts your immune system and increases positive emotions! The benefits of mediation are well worth separating some time out from your schedule, and is a lifestyle change that will make you feel optimistic and amazing.

Exercise For A Few Minutes Every Day

Woman Working Out- ISA Professional

If there's one lifestyle change that every expert recommends for a long and healthy life, it's exercise. Now if you're cringing just thinking about exercising, you're not alone. For some reason, some think that you're either a couch potato or a hardcore athlete that monitors everything that you eat and every calorie you burn. It doesn't have to be that way, you don't have to identify with only the one or the other.

Like many things in life, it's all about balance and if you don't see yourself becoming a workout fanatic, you should still dedicate some time during the week to exercise if you want to avoid sickness and obesity. It is suggested that you do at least 150 minutes a week for there to be any health benefits and you can choose how you want to divide them according to your schedule. I like to stick to 30 minute workouts, 5 days a week; this way I can enjoy my weekend without thinking about exercising. If that still seems like too much for you, try 15 minutes every day instead. Just remember, if you're new to exercising, make sure you start small; trying a hard work out straight off the bat is a bad idea for your heart and body. Also, make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any workout regimen if you have a heart or health condition; this ensures that your workout is right for your body.


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ISA Professional Heat resistant curling glove for hair curler flat iron hair straightener
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