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5 Healthy BBQ Recipes for your July 4th BBQ

Summer celebrations are in full swing: garden parties with delicious drinks and food, and good times with family and friends are common. Many people kick their celebrations up a notch for Independence Day and incorporate barbecue into their menu. While BBQ typically gets a bad reputation for being extremely unhealthy, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of healthy July 4th BBQ ideas out there to make your July 4th holiday party both delicious and nutritious. We’ve highlighted our favorite healthy BBQ recipes here.

Healthy BBQ Recipes for a Guilt-Free Celebration

healthy bbq recipes

Healthy BBQ Sauce from a Girl Worth Saving

Peach BBQ Sauce from A Girl Worth Saving

The one thing a barbecue needs is barbecue sauce! There are so many out there, from the simple to the intricate and creative. This healthy BBQ recipe features peaches for a natural source of sweetness that really takes the sauce to the next level. This BBQ sauce will go great on just about anything you offer your guests, from burgers, to side dishes, to dips.

Grillable Veggie Burgers from Minimalist Baker

This burger will give your guests all the satisfaction from a grilled burger without any of the negative health effects of red meat (such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease). This healthy BBQ recipe incorporates black beans, brown rice, walnuts, and spices to create a hardy and healthy burger with a texture great for grilling, which is a rare quality to find in veggie burgers. Throw some of that peach BBQ sauce on these burgers and you have the perfect healthy, delicious burger that will definitely be a crowd pleaser.

BBQ Chicken Tacos from Lovely Little Kitchen

For some meat lovers, a barbecue isn’t a barbecue without at least some meat. These BBQ chicken tacos offer a healthy July 4th BBQ recipe to satisfy those people without sacrificing nutrition. These tacos are fresh, flavorful, and easy to throw together. It incorporates lettuce, BBQ chicken, corn, and black beans into delicious and simple tacos. Your guests will appreciate this twist on traditional BBQ dishes!

Grilled Rainbow Carrots from In Sonnet’s Kitchen

Bored of the same ol’ July 4th BBQ ideas? This is one of those healthy BBQ recipes that is always the perfect side dish. It’s a crowd pleasure because it is both delicious and beautiful. Grilling carrots brings out their natural sweetness, so this dish is perfectly sweet and earthy. Carrots are also rich in nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, and K!

Grilled Corn with Honey Ginger Barbecue Sauce by Epicurious

Grilled corn is a barbecue classic. This healthy BBQ recipe spices up the traditional grilled corn by adding honey ginger barbecue sauce, making it perfectly sweet and spicey. Don’t be surprised if this dish steals the show at your party!

Using any of these healthy BBQ recipes at your July 4th party will give your guests plenty of healthy options that do not sacrifice flavor. You will all be able to enjoy the festivities knowing that your food is nutritious and meant to leave you feeling great. What is your favorite July 4th BBQ recipe for summertime parties? Let us know in the comments!


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Posted in Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Eating Healthy

Five Outfits You Can Wear This Summer to Pair with Your Yoga Mat Flip Flops

The summertime is a fun time to dress up in some of your favorite flirty outfits or dress down casually for work. One of the hottest accessory items these days during the summer, and year-round in beach cities, are yoga mat flip flops made from real yoga mat material. Nothing says comfort and style like a pair of real yoga mat flip flops. Aurorae actually sells two different styles that we think you’ll look fantastic in when you match your outfit with flip flops.

Five Summer Styles to Pair With Yoga Mat Flip Flops

1) The “Beaching at Night” Look

When you’re heading to the beach for the summer, you want to make sure you have a number of outfits available for the evening. Depending on your age range and what you enjoy doing, if you plan to head out to a club or a bar, you’ll look fantastic in a cute mini skirt, and a pair of slim yoga mat flip flops to match. They’re so comfortable on your feet that you can dance the night away without the blisters! yoga mat flip flops

2) The “Summer Friday Casual” Look

Some offices give their employees the luxury of banking enough hours during the week that they get to take a half day on Fridays. Sometimes these are called “Summer Fridays.” I can personally say I’ve enjoyed it in the past! In addition to this perk, we were able to wear any outfit with flip flops and no one would say a word to us. So, a nice casual, but classy, dress or even some cargo shorts (for men) paired with flip flops was the perfect outfit to get ready for a summer weekend.

3) The “I Just Came from the Pool” Look

Board shorts or a tankini with a sarong. Sunglasses. Sunscreen. Yoga Flip Flops. And your swim towel. That’s all you need for this outfit! If you’ve just come from the pool, then you’re striving for minimalism. But, you want to make sure you protect those bare feet of yours from the heat of the concrete or gravel so a nice comfortable pair of flip flops should do the trick. They’re easy to wash so trekking around in some dirty waters or the dirty parking lot won’t harm them one bit.

4) The “Happy Hour at Sunset” Look

When the weather is nice, we want to spend our time outdoors! That means we don’t want to go home after work, but rather we want to meet up with friends for a happy hour cocktail or two. Kick off those work heels and slip on a pair of slim yoga mat flip flops that will easily match your business casual outfit for the happy hour look. Come for the discounts and stay for the company! You’ll feel completely relaxed without having to change your whole outfit.

5) The “Yoga Class & Lunch” Look

With the trend of fashionable athletic wear taking off, going to yoga or to the gym does not mean leaving all fashion behind. Pair your yoga mat flip flops with some cute yoga clothes to feel comfortable and stylish to and from your practice. The flip flops are made from real EVA-foam yoga mats, so when you step off your mat and back into your flip flops after you practice, you’ll still feel that relaxed and peaceful feeling.

What is your favorite way to dress during the summer? Have you considered pairing your outfit with flip flops? If you’re interested in seeing what Aurorae has to offer, take a peek here.

Posted in Fitness Products & Equipment

New & Improved Instructions for Caring for and Washing a Yoga Mat

Aurorae offers a variety of yoga mats for all levels of yogis from the complete novice to someone who practices daily and has been for years.  Regardless of how long you’ve been practicing yoga or how often you practice, if you own your own yoga mat, you’re going to want to follow some simple instructions for caring for and washing a yoga mat. Because we have three types of yoga mats, we’d like to offer some simple tips on you can care for and wash your Aurorae yoga mat.

Washing a Yoga Mat Can Be Easy!

We know the drill. You finish your yoga practice and you’re ready to go eat, so you simply roll up your yoga mat and leave the studio. That’s fine, as long as you know you’re going to be washing a yoga mat at home sometime in the near future. There’s no reason to fret though, as washing a yoga mat is much easier than you probably think.washing a yoga mat

  1. If you’re trying to wash one of our eco-friendly Classic or Printed Yoga Mats, then you’ll want to use a soft brush with a non-oil based soap, or no more than a tablespoon of liquid detergent mixed with warm water. Scrub gently so as not to tear your yoga mat and rinse thoroughly when finished scrubbing. You might want to repeat this step if you think that your yoga mat is still dirty.
  1. If you’re washing a Synergy Yoga Mat-Towel, you can put your yoga mat in the washing machine IF you have a front loading, non-agitator washing machine only. Wash it alone with a small amount of detergent on gentle, warm water with an extra rinse cycle.

If you have a top-loading washing machine with an agitator, do not put your Synergy yoga mat into the machine. Simply wash by hand with a coarse sponge to avoid any damage to the yoga mat.

  1. Never use bleach on your yoga mat.
  1. What comes after washing a yoga mat? Drying it. So, if you have a Classic or Printed yoga mat, you’ll want to hang dry your yoga mat, outside if possible, or over the shower rod in your bathroom. You cannot use your yoga mat while it’s wet or damp so make sure it dries completely. It might even help to turn the fan/air on in the bathroom if you have that luxury.

If you have our Synergy yoga mat, first you’ll want to wrap it in a bath towel and squeeze out any of the excess water before hang drying. The microfiber will absorb water while you’re washing, so this step is crucial.

  1. You absolutely should never put your yoga mat in the dryer. There are no exceptions to this.

See how easy washing a yoga mat can be? You can also watch our video tips on how to care for and wash your yoga mat here.

Posted in Fitness Products & Equipment, Yoga Practice

5 Reasons to Try Paddleboard Yoga

paddleboard yogaThis summer, many of us are planning trips. If you are heading towards the water for a vacation at the beach, lake, or river, consider trying a fun twist on regular yoga: paddleboard yoga. Paddleboard yoga is done on a stand up paddleboard (SUP board) in any body of water that is not too choppy or busy. Usually the practitioners drop anchors into the water to keep their boards in the same area while they practice. The teacher leads students through a series of yoga poses very similar to what is done in a normal class, but the poses are more challenging (and perhaps more fun)! We came up with five reasons you should try it out!

Let your adventurous side out this summer with paddleboard yoga

  1. It’s a great workout. Because of the instability of the board, your core will have to work a lot harder to keep you balanced. It makes poses that you maybe originally thought were easy (cat/cow, tree pose) into extremely challenging poses that can build up a sweat and leave you feeling empowered.
  2. It’s calming to be on the water. According to Huffington Post, being on the water can give our brains the break they need and leave us feeling calm and peaceful. It lets us take a break from the constant overstimulation that comes from our busy lives and technology. It’s recommended that you leave behind your phone, watch, and cameras do that you don’t risk getting them wet and ruined, so you get the added bonus of an hour without any technology.
  3. It’s fun! Paddleboard yoga is fun and adventurous. There’s a very real possibility you might fall into the water, and that is totally okay. It lets you play with poses with a sense of freedom and exploration. Ever wanted to try a crazy arm balance? Why not try it on a paddleboard? The water will catch you when you fall.
  4. It lets you soak up some fresh air and Vitamin D. Many of us spend the majority of our lives indoors- working, driving, sleeping, even workouts at the gym or yoga studio. It is so good for the soul, and the skin, to get outside and enjoy mother nature. An hour on the paddleboard in the sunshine will do wonders for your mood!
  5. It might just be the best savasana you’ve ever had. After working hard for an entire yoga session, laying down on the board, closing your eyes, and drifting in the water is an incredibly relaxing and rewarding experience. You can let yourself get lost in the gentle movement of the water, the sounds around you, and the feeling of accomplishment from your class.

On your next vacation, see if there are any paddleboard yoga classes being offered. Many vacation spots near water have classes suited to beginners and advanced yogis alike. This can be a fun way to mix up your vacation routine, get in a great workout, and feel refreshed and energized.

Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Healthy Lifestyle, Yoga, Yoga Poses

New Water Sports to Try This Summer

Fun Ways to Stay Fit on the Water

Summer is right around the corner, and many of us are planning getaways to beaches, lakes, and rivers. A water vacation can be incredibly peaceful; the sound of the waves and the fresh air are soothing and refreshing for the soul. But, being on vacation doesn’t have to just mean laying around and relaxing! For those of us that crave adventure and fitness on vacation, there are many new water sports out there to try. These water sports are made popular for the sense of freedom and adventure they bring to the practitioner. They will get your blood pumping and leave you feeling energized. Here are three of the new water sports we think you should try out on your summer vacation!

Three New Water Sports to Try in 2016

  1. Paddleboard Yoga

new water sportsStandup Paddleboard Yoga (or SUP Yoga) is a new water sport where yoga is done on a longboard in any body of water, preferably without too many waves. People love it because it brings a playful challenge to traditional yoga. The poses tend to be simple yet extremely toning: because balancing on the board is difficult, the practitioner must use core strength to stay balanced. This sport attracts adventurous folks who probably don’t mind falling out of the pose and into the water every once in awhile! If you crave the serenity of yoga with the fun of paddleboarding, try SUP yoga on your next vacation.

  1. Flyboarding

This is a new sport that is taking off in California and other water friendly areas. In this sport, a rider straps their feet into boots on a board that is connected to a the exit jets of a jet ski with a hose. The jet ski powerfully pumps out water that thrusts the flyboarder into the air. It is considered a pretty extreme sport that requires a good amount of athletic ability, but there are plenty of places that run beginner sessions to let the practitioner ease into the sport. If you have ever wanted to know what it would be like to fly around using a jetpack, try flyboarding on your next vacation.

  1. Kite Surfing

Kite Surfing is a new water sport that combines elements of skateboarding and windsurfing. In this sport, a surfboard is connected to a large power kite, and the kitesurfer uses the power of the wind to be propelled across the water. Kite surfing is another rigorous activity that requires athleticism and burns about 750 calories in an hour. Due to it’s fast paced, fun nature, kitesurfing has become a popular activity in the last few years.

These new water sports have become popular in most vacation areas near bodies of water. And, you don’t need to be a fitness expert or athlete to be able to try them out. Most areas have beginner options so you can try them out in a safe environment with professionals to help you get the hang of them.

So what do you think? Will you be trying out one of these new water sports on your summer vacation or do you have experience with any of these sports? Let us know!

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Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Healthy Lifestyle

Yoga Flip Flops: 5 Reasons to Wear Them This Summer

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already Memorial Day weekend! Where I am from, which is New Jersey, this was always the unofficial start to the summer. In New Jersey, and I am sure in other parts of the United States, we pick a beach within driving distance, grab all our friends or family, and pack up our bags with the essentials: beach towels, sunscreen, and yoga flip flops. What? Yes! They are so comfortable! But, that’s not the only other reason I wear yoga flip flops to the beach:

aurorae yoga flip flopsWhy Do I Wear Yoga Flip Flops?

    1. They Are Eco-Friendly
      My flip flops are not only made from an eco-friendly Eva Foam yoga mat (yes!) but the straps, which are super cushiony and not at all pulling at my skin are actually vegan. That’s great to know.
    2. They Have Cute Designs
      There are a bunch of different types of yoga flip flops available on the market these days, but the Aurorae ones have the cutest little yogi designs on both the inside of the strap as well as at the bottom of the outer sole. So, when you’re walking up and down the beach catching the sunset you’re going to leave behind some cute downward dog facing poses everywhere you go!
    3. They Make Me Feel Like I’m in Yoga Class
      Because I’m basically walking on a yoga mat when I wear these flops, I am constantly reminded about that first step you take when you enter your yoga class. You walk onto your yoga mat and it almost immediately brings you to this place of calm. I know, you probably think I’m crazy, but I absolutely love that feeling. The yoga mat is my safe haven and I can’t wait to get on it.
    4. They Are So Easy to Clean
      Although I can’t stick my yoga flip flops in the washing machine, it is super easy to clean them with hot water and a bit of detergent of dishwashing soap. Because they are usually worn outside by elements such as sand, grass and dirt, they do tend to get kind of dirty. No problem at all since once you just scrub them a minute with a washcloth, soap and water, they look almost brand new again and none of the color has rubbed off!
    5. They Are So Comfortable
      I know, I mentioned that I don’t just wear these flip flops because they are comfortable, but it is the #1 reason that I wear them!

Check out the pair I have and have a great Memorial Day weekend!!

Posted in Fitness Products & Equipment

5 Simple Ways to Practice Yoga and Meditation Throughout Your Day

The Busy Person’s Guide to Yoga and Meditation

Life is busy: whether it’s work, school, relationships, fitness, or social obligations, many of us have a lot going on. We all could probably use a little more “me time”, time to slow down and really nourish our bodies and our minds. One way to do this is to incorporate more yoga and meditation in our lives, but it’s not always easy to find time to attend a yoga class or carve out time to meditate. The good news is that you can sprinkle yoga and meditation throughout your day and experience the calming, nourishing effects on your body and mind without dedicating hours and hours to the practices. We have come up with some simple ways you can practice yoga and meditation throughout your day.

Dennis Ingui Practicing Yoga and Meditation

Dennis Ingui Practicing Yoga and Meditation

Set an intention for your day when you first wake up

Setting an intention is a small, simple meditation. Spend about five minutes in the morning reflecting on what you have to do that day, and set an intention based on your day ahead. Some examples of simple daily intentions are:

  • Today I will not grind my teeth or hold tension in my shoulders during traffic on my commute to work.
  • Today I will make sure I eat three healthy meals.
  • Today I will be compassionate towards my co-workers, even when I feel frustrated.
  • Today I will make time for quality time with my family.

The intention does not have to be complex or over-ambitious. Often times, simple is better. Setting this intention will set the tone for your day.

Move a little before work

Not all of us have time to run or go to a yoga or fitness class before heading off to work. But even doing very simple yoga stretches, such as a few sun salutations, can help us feel more grounded and more open to facing the day with peace of mind. Try a simple sun salutation at home:

  • Inhale: Raise your arms over your head
  • Exhale: Forward fold
  • Inhale: Halfway lift
  • Exhale: High plank to low plank
  • Inhale: Updog
  • Exhale: Down Dog
  • Inhale: Step to your hands
  • Exhale: Forward fold

Set yoga beaks for yourself for 5 minutes every hour

It is so important to take a break from sitting at a desk looking at a computer, phone, or paperwork. Taking a stretching break at work can make a huge difference not only in how you feel, but also in your productivity. This can be a form of yoga and meditation, as you are not only stretching the body, but also removing yourself from your work to clear your mind.  Set a timer on your phone to alert you to stand up and stretch every hour for five minutes. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Try these simple stretches to undo some of the tightness that comes from sitting at a desk:

  • Triangle pose – 5 breaths each side
  • Wide legged forward fold- 5 breaths
  • Low lunge- 5 breaths
  • Down dog- 10 breaths

Turn your meals into a meditation

We (hopefully) eat three meals a day. Why not turn these meals into a meditation? When we eat mindfully, we are fully present with each bite, rather than rushing through each meal while looking at our smart phone, watching TV, or finishing up our paperwork. We can turn eating into a mindful, meditative experience by doing the following:

  • Sit down at a table free of distractions.
  • Before you eat, find gratitude for the fact that you have food on your plate.
  • Slowly eat and notice the texture, smells, and taste of the food.
  • Notice that as you eat slower, you might eat less, because the stomach often becomes full before we notice.

Write a gratitude list before you go to bed

Nighttime can be crazy for many people (especially those with children). We are often distracted by making and eating dinner, cleaning up, helping the kids with homework, getting them ready for bed. These things can take over and leave very little time to pause and reflect on the day. We can counter this by writing down a gratitude list, or counting our blessings, before we go to bed. You can do this from bed in a journal. This will create a catalogue for you to look back on your days and remember all of your abundant blessings that might otherwise have been forgotten in the rush of daily life.

Incorporating yoga and meditation into our lives can seem like an overwhelming, or unreasonable task. But in reality, it only takes small changes to make a big difference in how we think, feel, act, and react. You can start off by just incorporating one or two of these ideas into your life for a week or two, see how it feels, and add on from there. Eventually you might notice that yoga and meditation have had hugely positive effects on your life!

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Posted in Meditation Practice, Yoga Practice

Interview by RebatesZone with Aurorae Founder, Dennis Ingui

Recently, Aurorae founder, Dennis Ingui, had the opportunity to speak with the writers at He talked a little about his experience of growing Aurorae and what it’s like as an entrepreneur. You can read the full interview here.

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Posted in Guest Blog, Yoga Practice

So, What Are the Many Health Benefits of Yoga?

This month Aurorae would like to focus on our inner beauty, inner peace and our general well-being. You’ve heard many times that there are numerous health benefits of yoga but do you actually know that they aren’t just physical health benefits but you’ll also find numerous mental health benefits to practicing yoga.

What Are Some Physical Health Benefits of Yoga?

It’s not a secret that yoga can improve your flexibility. If you didn’t realize that this was healthy, think again. With tight hips, for instance, you can actually strain your health benefits of yogaknees due to improper alignment of your thighs or shinbones. Crazy, right? Who would have thought that being flexible is actually a health benefit of yoga?

Improving your posture is also a health benefit of yoga. Yes, your posture is extremely important to your physical well-being! Not only does proper posture help alleviate stress from your neck and shoulders, but it can cause you to become very tired quickly. Let’s say that again. Poor posture will make you tired.

Yoga can help increase your blood flow! Yes, your blood flow is an important part of your health. As an added bonus, by practicing yoga, you are sending more oxygen to your cells, which will result in better functioning of your body in general.

One of the most important health benefits of yoga is that by practicing yoga you can drop your blood pressure. As we age, and possibly due to genetics, watching our blood pressure can become increasingly important to our health. Two studies have shown that people with hypertension who simply laid on the couch versus those who were in Savanasa (Corpse Pose), actually had a statistically significant higher blood pressure. That’s two “positions” similar to each other, but one an actual yoga pose.

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

As we mentioned, yoga does not only help you improve your physical health, but can also lead to a number of mental health benefits as well!

In short, yoga can make you a happier person. If being happy isn’t a mental health benefit of yoga, then I don’t think so many people would pick up on it. Apparently, one study found that those who were depressed and practiced regular yoga were led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in monoamine oxidase levels (this is apparently an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. So, there is physical science evidence that you can eventually be perpetually (okay, maybe not every minute of every day) happy.

Yoga can help you focus. Yes, focus is one of those health benefits that we oftentimes don’t even think about it. But, when reflecting on our day, we can look back and realize that we weren’t as focused as we had wanted to be. Practicing yoga can help you with this focus as you practice focusing on not only your asanas (yoga poses) but also your breathing while you practice. This concentration can carry over into your everyday life now that you’ve been practicing it.

One of the most popular mental health benefits of yoga (and this author’s favorite) is that yoga can relax your system. And it does. So much of your body depends on your breath and therefore by practicing deep breathing, focused breathing, and focusing on the here and now while you practice, you are also slowing down nervous systems. This is HUGE because that means your heart rate slows down, your breathing, your blood pressure drops, your blood flow increases to the important organs and you just FEEL amazing.

This list just merely touches on the health benefits of yoga. Is there a particular health reason that you enjoy practicing yoga?

Posted in Healthy Habits, Yoga Practice

Aurorae Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2016

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate all of the women in our lives who have nurtured and helped us get to where we are. There are many ways to celebrate your mom, grandmother, aunts, sisters, and godmothers on Mother’s Day: we have even written about non-gift ideas for Mom here. But if you are looking for a special and personal gift for the special women in your life, there are lots and lots of options out there to choose from. To make the shopping easier for you, we have compiled a Mother’s Day gift guide to help you find the perfect gift for mom to show you care. And, with Amazon prime shipping, you still have time to order it and receive it by Sunday!

2016 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

For the Active Mom: Aurorae Northern Lights Yoga Mat

This one is a no brainer for Mother’s Day! Every active mom should have a yoga mat: it’s a place for her to find peace, strength, and tranquility. Our Northern Lights mats have beautiful and unique designs, and they provide the perfect thickness to protect the joints from pain and tension during the practice of yoga. Mom will love her mat and she will think of you every time she practices!

Mother's Day Gift Guide Tote BagFor the Mom on the Go: Aurorae Yoga Tote Bag

This bag is on our Mother’s Day gift guide for all the busy moms: the ones who go from one task, errand, and job to another with little time in between. Our tote bag is big enough to carry all of mom’s necessities: her yoga mat, change of clothes, accessories, phone, keys, snacks, paperwork, and more! And the straps are designed for comfort, making carrying around all these things a breeze. Your busy mom will thank you for making her little a little simpler.

For the Mom Who Could Use a Break: Aurorae Scented Soy Wax Candle

This earned a spot on our Mother’s Day gift guide because let’s face it: what mom out there wouldn’t like some relaxing time to herself? Our eco-friendly candles come in relaxing and luxurious scents such as lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla, sandalwood, and more. Mom can light the candle and let the aromatherapy work its magic as she relaxes and unwinds. And here’s a bonus: these candles are on sale right now through May 8!

For the Mom Who Loves to Travel: Aurorae Swim Towel

We included this on our Mother’s Day gift guide for all the moms out there with a sense of wanderlust. Does your mom live for the next beach vacation or camping trip? Does she feel rejuvenated by oceans, lakes, and pools? These microfiber towels are oversized, super absorbent, and lightweight: the perfect towel for traveling, adventures, and vacations.
We hope this Mother’s Day Gift Guide helps you find the perfect gift for your mom and all the special women in your life. However you chose to celebrate, make sure you let mom know just how grateful you are to her for all her love and sacrifices.

Posted in Fitness Products & Equipment, Healthy Lifestyle