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15 tricks to make your summer better

These tips will keep bugs at bay, get rid of summer funk, make cookouts better and keep you cooler.

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alina-bradford.jpg

Alina Bradford

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1 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

Take amazing photos of fireworks

The best tip I've found for taking great photos of fireworks is to put your digital camera on Sport Mode. This will enable you to capture a shot that isn't blurry. 

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2 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

Shots with phones

For your phone, put it on Burst Mode. It will take rapid-fire shots of the fireworks, ensuring that you get at least one good picture. When you're editing, amp up the contrast to make the colors pop and the background darker. Here are some more tips for taking stunning firework photos this summer.  

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3 of 16 Chris Monroe/CNET

​Open your beer, in spectacular ways

Place the edge of the cap on the edge of a counter or table, holding the bottle at an angle. Hit the center of the bottle with the hand that isn't holding the it. The top will pop right off. Here are 9 more genius ways to open a beer bottle.

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4 of 16 FD

​Keep your home cooler, for less

If you have your thermostat on the wrong wall, you could be spending too much on air conditioning. Here's how to find out if your thermostat is in the ideal location.

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5 of 16 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

​More home cooling tips

There are other, cheaper ways of cooling the house. For instance, close the blinds during the hottest part of the day to prevent the sun from heating up your rooms. Take a look at these six rules to save money on air conditioning this summer.

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6 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

Make cute candles out of corks

If you like a little wine with your summer, then try this party trick out. Save your wine corks and turn the them into party candles with these easy instructions.

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7 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Keep your flowers fresh

Cut flowers are a decorating staple during the hot months of summer. You can keep arrangements fresher by adding 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a pinch of salt to the water. For more baking soda tips take a look at 10 things you can do with baking soda.

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8 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Beat bugs outdoors

If mosquitoes think of you as an all-you-can-eat buffet, take a B1 supplement before you go outside. For some reason, B1 is like kryptonite to the little blood suckers. I tried this trick in Texas and I didn't get one bite. 

Of course, be sure to check with a medical professional before taking any supplements. 

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9 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Keep bugs out of your home, too

It seems like some type of bug always seems to make its way inside during the summer, be it ants, fruit flies or mosquitos. Here are some tips for keeping bugs from invading your indoor space.

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10 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

​Get your chillax on

If you have dreams of being as lazy as possible this summer (who doesn't?), then you may want to turn your old tablet into a universal smart home remote. Now you'll only need to get off the couch to make a sandwich.

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11 of 16 Alina Bradford

​Make your room smell great

Have a smelly room? Turn on a fan and hold a dryer sheet behind it. The sheet will cling to the grate on the back of the fan, air will flow through the sheet and make the room smell fantastic. Plus, the fan will cool you down. For more, see 10 unexpected ways to use dryer sheets.

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12 of 16 Sharon Profis/CNET

​Skip the oven

Turing on the oven can heat your house up. Instead of using your oven, think smaller. Waffle irons can make a bunch of different foods in minutes. Read 15 things you can cook in your waffle maker to get started on your trip to waffling greatness.

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13 of 16 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Use your Instant Pot or slow cooker, too

Your Instant Pot and slow cooker are also good replacements for using the oven. They produce very little heat, but can create awesome meals. Here are 13 awesome Instant Pot recipes and here 10 slow cooker recipes to get you started.

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14 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

Make a homemade air conditioner

Summer is full of sweltering events like little league games, camping trips, firework displays and picnics. Stay cool even in the hottest of locations with a homemade battery-powered AC unit.

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15 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET

Get grilling right

Grilling outside is a summer staple for lake-side meals, get-togethers and days when you just want a great steak or burger. Here are five tips to get your grilling skills to master level.

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16 of 16 Alina Bradford/CNET

Make camping rock even harder

Camping can be even more fun when you get rid of the small annoyances that come with it like ice cooler messes and getting poison ivy. Here's some tips to make your trip the best it can be.

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