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4 Must-Have Big Agnes Camp Gear Items

As the sun rose steadily into the cobalt sky over Las Vegas’ Red Rock National Recreation Area, I awoke with the smell of the campfire clinging to my skin and realized that I had not slept this well in a very long time. I felt amazing after a chilly night with good company and great gear, and it was all thanks to Big Agnes.

Headquartered in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Big Agnes is an outdoor brand dedicated to backcountry comfort. Launched in 2001, the company has grown into an award-winning manufacturer of technologically advanced sleeping bags, sleeping pads and tents — something truly unique for the nature enthusiast. 

Although I’ve been camping for years, I often suffer from what I like to call “camping issues.” Without fail, in sequential order, I often forget my flashlight, lose sight of my position, and trip over the tent’s guylines. Moreover, I have yet to perfect the art of changing in the dark, which either results in me putting my clothes on inside out or backwards, or succumbing to a nightlight and giving the entire campground a shadow show.

Well, Big Agnes has fixed all those problems with their new mtnGLO line of tents, which Backpacker Magazine gave a 2015 Editor’s Choice award.

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  1. SL 1 Person mtnGLO Tent
  2. mtnGLO Tent Light Accessory Kit
  3. Lost Ranger 15° Long
  4. Double Z 

I must say, this is an astoundingly roomy three-season tent, and the built-in LED lights give enough glow without casting off harsh shadows. The corner webbing and guylines are all reflective, so even if the lights are off, you don’t trip over them in low-light situations. Factor in the storm flaps and built-in mesh and media pockets and you’re all set for a great adventure. 

When it comes to making and breaking camp, this tent is probably one of the easiest I’ve dealt with in a long time, taking about five minutes to pitch and seven minutes to stow.

The mtnGLO tent lights are also available as an accessory kit if you want to simply upgrade the gear you already have.

In addition to my fabulous tent, I got to spend the cold desert night curled up in a Lost Ranger bag with a Double Z sleeping pad. I’ve long hated sleeping pads because I always seem to move and fall off of them in the middle of the night. Big Agnes, however, has found the perfect solution by creating an integrated pad sleeve that balances weight distribution for undisturbed rest. It’s no wonder I woke up the next morning without having felt a single rock underneath my body — and trust me, there were plenty!

And for the cherry topper … I think my other favorite thing about the evening, besides the s’mores, was hanging out by the campfire in the Elite (not shown), a packable yet comfortable chair that weighs only two pounds but can support up to 320. I’m a huge fan of anything that keeps me from having to sit on the ground after a long day of hiking — and an even bigger fan of things that do it without being horribly heavy to carry all day.  

So there you have it! New gear to check out and drool over, all brought to you by the amazing folks at Big Agnes. Get outdoors and enjoy!

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New Brand Spotlight: MIKOH Swimwear

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Raised in the cozy beach town of San Clemete in Orange County, California, Oleema and Kalani Miller grew up in the waves, on the beach, and in the sun. Oleema was born with a love for all things fashion and used the sewing skills she learned from her mother to create her own individual and unique wardrobe. Kalani spent her childhood with a paintbrush in hand, and her eccentric and talented designer parents encouraged her love of art, painting, writing, and learning.

Finding inspiration in travels to foreign beaches and distant customs and cultures, the girls decided to embark on a new adventure—creating a collection of swimwear that would reflect their love of travel, passion for one-of-a-kind statement pieces, and their appreciation for that perfect bikini.

MIKOH was created for the confident, chic woman who wants to stand out and make a statement no matter where she is. The brand is synonymous with femininity, strength, and beauty. MIKOH swimwear is a fusion of statement colors and prints inspired by the world around us, luxurious fabrics, and the perfect-fitting pieces. Seamless and hardware free, the collection’s mix-and-match pieces are truly one of a kind.

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New Brand Spotlight: Melissa Odabash

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Designed with luxury in mind, Melissa Odabash is the ultimate holiday lifestyle brand. As a former swimwear model, Melissa has a finely tuned sense of what women want from their swimwear: beautifully designed pieces cut from superior fabrics that make the wearer look and feel their best. Her exotic and sensual swim and beachwear are must-haves for the global traveler, and her eponymous brand has come to epitomize glamour and sophistication.

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L*Space "L*SPIRATION" Pinterest Contest

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Long sunny days, beachy waves, tan lines and ocean breezes. If you’re in a summer state of mind, make sure to check out the L*SPACE “L*SPIRATION” Pinterest Contest!

Follow L*SPACE Swimwear on Pinterest and create a board entitled "L*SPIRATION”. Pin anything and everything that inspires your swim style this season. Pick from L*SPACE’s Summer 2012 Collection, summer destinations, celeb inspiration and other things that get you in the mood for fun in the sun!

One lucky winner and a guest will win round -trip flights to Miami, a one-night stay at the ultra-glam Shore Club hotel in South Beach, and two VIP front-row seats to L*SPACE's runway show where they will catch a first glimpse of the 2013 collection.

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Pinterest Board URLs must also be emailed to, along with participant's name and contact information by July 7th, 2012.

Good luck and Happy Pinning!

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Zappos Exclusive Lilly Pulitzer Kids Swim

Your little one will be the coolest girl in the pool with one of these adorable Lilly Pulitzer Kids swimsuits! These exclusive styles feature the prettiest prints around, so she’ll absolutely love wearing them all summer long.

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1. Grettle Swimsuit in Hotty Pink Oscar and Chloe, 2. Reef Swimsuit Pulitzer Pink , 3. Sand Bar Bikini in Dandelion, 4. Reef Swimsuit in Dandelion, 5. Sand Bar Bikini in Hotty Pink Oscar and Chloe, 6. Sandbar Bikini in Dream Weave

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Summer Beauty: Essential Sun Protection

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Ask anyone with great skin about their secret to an eternally youthful complexion, and chances are they’ll tell you about the importance of year-round sun protection. It’s a common misconception that summer is the only time you really need to wear sunscreen. Even on overcast days, sun protection is a must if you want to keep your skin healthy and looking its best.

These fabulous suncare essentials are formulated to keep your face,body and hair protected from the harsh summer rays:  

1.  Phyto Plage Protective Sun Veil: This easy spray gives your locks sun protection with a veil of shine! Spray it on before hitting the pool or beach and reapply throughout the day.

2.  Coola Suncare Organic Moisturizing Suncare SPF 45 Unscented: This heavy-duty sunscreen is sweat-resistant and water-resistant, perfect for active beachgoers. Its natural organic ingredients are also gentle on the skin.

3.  JF Lazartigue After Sun Shampoo: This stuff gets rid of hair-dulling salt, chlorine and sweat from hair.

4.  June Jacobs After Sun Hydrator: After a long day under the sun, this soothing lotion calms irritated skin while helping prolong the life of your tan.

5.  Coola Suncare Liplux SPF 15 Lipbalm: Made with fruit butters, this delightful lip balm is infused with vitamins and antioxidants to protect and soften your lips.

6.  Anthony for Men Logistics Sun Stick SPF 15: Great for both men and women, this easy-to-use SPF stick is excellent for delicate areas like around the eyes. Use this in conjunction with your allover sunscreen.

7.  AHAVA Anti-Aging Facial Moisturizer SPF 50: This gentle yet effective face lotion protects against UVA and UVB rays. The natural minerals fortifies against premature aging. If you have sensitive skin, this one’s for you!

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Vera Bradley Top 5 Vacation Essentials

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It’s safe to say we’ve already got summer on our minds. Summer vacation, beach trips, pool days…we love it all. No summer trip is complete without the perfect accessories, and Vera Bradley has you covered with all their fun, colorful printed accessories. Here are our top 5 must-haves for staying in style during your vacation:

1. The woven beach tote- A classic straw tote is essential for chic beach or pool style. The Vera Bradley Beach Tote infuses a little bit of color and print to add a dose of signature style.       

2. Retro-style sunglasses- Protect your eyes with large gradient sunglasses like the Vera Bradley Kristen. It’s an effortless way to add chic style all summer long.

3. Cosmetics organizer- Traveling calls for portable organization, and this Vera Bradley Tech Organizer is perfect for keeping all of your beauty essentials in one place.

4. Colorful flip-flops- A pair of fun rubber flip flops are essential for the beach or the pool; Vera Bradley’s flip-flop sandals come in a variety of fun prints to choose from.

5. The carry-all duffel- This handy travel companion is just the right size for a quick weekend getaway. The Vera Bradley large duffel is a great choice for fun summer style.

So, now that you’re all geared up for the perfect summer, what’s your ultimate dream summer destination? Tell us in the comments section below!

Road Trip Car Games For Kids

As the summer season approaches, so does the season of road trips. When you’re on that next long car drive with your children and are looking for fun and easy ways to pass the time, check out the simple games:

Punch Bug: Look out for Volkswagen Beetles. When you see one, say what color it is (“Punch bug ____!”) and gently punch the person next to you in the arm.

I Spy: Focus on a particular object or person and say “I spy ____”

Name That Tune: In this game, one player thinks of a song that everybody knows and hums its first few notes. The other players try to guess the name of the song.

Woodchuck: Be on the lookout for cars with wood paneling on them. Keep a tally of who finds the most.

Cheezy Squeezy: Look for yellow cars and squeeze a co-passenger’s arm until they see the car too.

Counting Cows: Look out for cows along the sides of the highway, and see how many you can count as you pass by.

I’m Thinking of an Animal: Have the kids think of an animal and then provide clues to everyone else about the animal they are thinking about. Have the others try to guess which animal it is.

Play Rock, Paper and Scissors: A true classic!

Find a….: One player says, “Find a _____.” The others must find whatever the player is looking for: cows, red signs, etc.

Rainbow Game: Call out a color. Each person must then find something that color. For example, when you call out, “green,” one person might point to grass.

Silly Sound Game: Make up a silly sound effect for each thing you see, and say it each time you pass the corresponding thing. For example, you might decide that the sound for red cars is “beep beep” and the sound for yellow trucks is “honk honk.” You can add animal sounds for animals, “splish splash” for rivers or ponds, “ring ring” (doorbells) for houses, etc. This one is lots of fun!

Tell Tall Tales: One person starts off telling a story. He or she talks for about a minute and stops at an exciting moment. At this point, another person picks up where the last person left off. The game continues with the tale twisting and turning with each new storyteller.

License Plate Math: Have older kids add up all of the numbers in different license plates to find the sum. Or, have the kids write down the numbers from the license plate and read their total aloud.

Guess the Number: One player thinks of a number between a range of numbers, (such as 1–100), and everyone else tries to guess the number by asking questions.

Are We There Yet?: Ask the kids questions about how far you’re traveling. Yards? Miles? Kilometers? How fast are we going? If it’s 3:15 now, and it takes us two hours to get there, what time will we arrive? How far have we driven?

Happy road tripping!