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Archive for January, 2014

6 Vacation Ideas For 2014

Posted on: January 26th, 2014 by Quik Shade


These destinations are surprisingly easy on your budget and full of exciting adventures waiting to be discovered. Don’t forget to bring along a portable canopy! 2014 is the ideal year to visit these vacation spots and here’s why:

1. South Africa

Hotel rates are down this year and the country offers an immense variety of parks and outdoor sights for nature lovers to explore. Wildlife lovers can opt for a safari tour where you’re bound to catch glimpses of elephants, leopards, rhinoceros and more. Penguins roam the beaches near Cape Town.

Beach lovers have beautiful coastlines and the intersection of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to enjoy. Surfing, sunbathing, and swimming are just some of the activities you can enjoy. In Johannesburg, visit historical sites and museums to find out more about South Africa’s past.

2. Venice, Italy

Believe it or not, a vacation in picturesque Venice Italy is more affordable than you think. Hotel rates are down and a trip down a canal in one of the city’s iconic gondola is a must when you are staying in the city. The city’s Piazza is a must see, along with the Sansovino Library and Ducal Palace.

Art lovers can get their fill of the work of Venetian masters at Gallerie dell’Accademia. Modern art lovers can view works by the big names at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Top all the art and historical sites with the delicious food of a Venetian trattoria. Hotels offer genuine Venetian surroundings at a reasonable rate.

3. Dominican Republic

The beach and resort destination is growing in popularity. Dominican Republic all inclusive resorts are drawing tourists who are turned off by high prices at more well known destinations like Cabo. If resorts aren’t your thing, opt for a more genuine taste of the country at Las Terrenas.

The fishing village is more rustic and offers beautiful beaches for nature lovers to enjoy. A hike or kayak through the lagoons of Los Haitises National Park will take you through virgin forests and into the habitats of endangered turtles and pelicans.

4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

The European atmosphere and wealth of history have given Buenos Aires the nickname “the Paris of South America”. Take advantage of this year’s lowered hotel rates to enjoy the city’s abundance of museums, shops, eateries, and nightlife. The Evita Museum is a popular destination for viewing artifacts from Eva Peron’s life and learning about her legacy.

The Museum Of Latin American Art has works from Kahlo, Rivera, and others on view. In the evening, enjoy an opera or orchestra at Teatro Colon in the city’s downtown district. If you need a taste of the beach, swim, sail, or go boating at Rio de la Plata.

5. Warsaw, Poland

Hotels rates in warsaw are at an all time low and the city is rich in history. Anyone who’s interested European history will gain a deeper knowledge after staying in the city. Historic architecture and gardens abound in the city’s Lazienki Park. Check out Poland’s noble history at the Palace On The Island. Chopin piano concerts take place for free every weekend in the park. Old Town Warsaw is full of shops, cafes and eateries offering traditional Polish fare like perogies. Hotel accommodations can be either traditional or contemporary, depending on your taste.

6. Seoul, Korea

Affordability and a vibrant cultural scene is making Seoul a popular destination for 2014. Current pop music is taking the city by storm, but Seoul also has a history just as exciting. Visit the city’s many museums and palaces to get a taste of what life was like in the past. A hike up the Bugaksan Mountain trails takes to you to jaw dropping views of the city.

photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc

Maintenance Tips To Enhance The Life Of Your Canopy

Posted on: January 23rd, 2014 by Quik Shade


A canopy can be a great investment that can last for years to come if care is taken to keep it in tip top shape. With the help of these maintenance tips, as well the availability of canopy replacement parts if damage does occur, your canopy is sure to last through all your outdoor events.

1. Know the right way to set up a canopy.

Improper setup technique is the number one cause of damage to an outdoor canopy. When you first purchase a canopy, be sure to read all instructions and familiarize yourself with all the parts before beginning to set up. It’s a good practice to make this a habit from the beginning. A canopy should always be set up on a smooth, even surface without rocks, stumps, or holes in the way.

The ground should be able to hold the stakes in place firmly, so soil that is too sandy or hard will either cause damage to the stakes or not be able to hold it in place. Never force parts together. The canopy should go together easily and fit in place. If you’re having trouble, refer to the instruction manual or call customer service for help. Always follow the instructions precisely. Trying to change the setup or adapt parts yourself will only damage the canopy.

2. Don’t leave a canopy exposed.

It may be tempting to leave your canopy up once it’s been assembled, especially if used in your own backyard. But leaving it outdoors for long periods of time (think several months or over a year) is sure to cause premature wear. Canopies are built tough, but cannot be expected to stay in good shape if left out for so long. Sun damage and wear and tear is sure to occur.

Take down your canopy and pack it away if you know it won’t need to be used for awhile. This is one of the reasons setup and teardown of a canopy has been made to be so simple.

3. Keep a safe distance from fire.

Chances are, you’ll be likely to use a canopy at a barbeque, campsite, or outdoor party where open fire may be used for cooking or warmth. It’s tempting to place a canopy near a heat source, especially if space is limited. Many canopies are made to be fire resistant for this exact purpose, but damage can still occur.

Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended distance for the canopy, as well as other substances that should never come into contact with it. The list could include pesticides, insecticides, or other strong chemicals.

4. Clean a canopy the right way.

With extensive use, a canopy is sure to become dusty. Cleaning it is a good idea, but be sure to know the right way to do it. Harsh soaps can leave an ugly residue and not drying the canopy out completely can cause mold growth. Some canopy fabrics can shrink or even tear if washed roughly or with the wrong soaps. Spray gently with a hose and allow to air dry in a sunny spot completely before packing it away.

5. A canopy is for coverage and nothing else.

Never allow children or rowdy adults to hang on, pull, or push on a canopy when fully assembled. It can cause damage to canopy parts and worse, injure anyone who is nearby. Use a canopy with safety in mind and it will be a welcome addition to your outdoors events for years to come.

Find The Canopy That Best Fits You

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 by Quik Shade


Depending on your outdoor needs, there is a canopy out there that is just right for you. Read on to learn more about the different canopies on the market, and how they can make spending time in the outdoors even better.

The Casual Outdoors Type.

You’re the kind of person that enjoys nature but also looks forward to heading home to a warm bed at night. You might spend time hiking during the day, spending a few hours at the beach or nearby park, or hanging out by the pool. You don’t have a lot of gear and don’t really want any either, but you want the time you spend in the sun to be enjoyable and safe.

For this type, a small portable canopy is ideal. Something that can provide protection from the sun, while also not being too bulky or heavy to carry around. This type of person is often single, so all they need is shelter for themselves. Small canopies often come with a matching backpack storage bag that makes packing up and getting on to the next destination easier. Speed, portability, and efficiency are the characteristics of a small canopy.

The Professional.

For someone who needs heavy duty protection for frequent outdoor events, there are commercial canopies that will do the trick. These are for your flea markets, farmer’s markets and outdoor festivals where you may spend up to 10 hours in direct sunlight. Outdoor sellers have to work in all sorts of weather, so a commercial canopy that can withstand wind and even rain is necessary.

These canopies have a heavier duty steel frames to withstand longer days out and heavier weather conditions. Add canopy accessories like a zip up wall for extra privacy or weighted plates for added stability. Customers will be able to browse your goods under the shade of a canopy that provides UV protection and enough space to move around comfortably.

The Average Joe.

You love a good barbeque in the backyard or at the park, but also don’t want a lot of fuss when it comes to equipment. You love spending time outdoors and do so whenever you can, but also have a no nonsense attitude when it comes to most things. You’re the parent, spouse, sibling, or friend that people rely on to get things done.

For you, a canopy that’s easy to set up and take down, while still having the size and stability needed for outdoor gatherings is a good pick. This is the average canopy that is also a bestseller. It has all the features you’d expect from a good canopy, including affordability, long lasting durability, and construction that makes it easy to set up anywhere.

The Social Butterfly.

You love throwing parties, either for your own loved ones or as a profession. Weddings, birthdays, showers, and anniversary parties can all be lovelier when thrown outdoors under the shade of a canopy. For these types of events, something a little classier is appropriate. Guests will be taking in the colors, textures and arrangement of the party, so it’s important to have a canopy that not only protects them but also looks good.

Party canopies have thicker tops that provide extra protection to ensure that party guests stay comfortable. Vented tops allow for air circulation as well. These types of canopies have tops that can be easily changed to coordinate with whatever festivities you’re planning. These canopies bring together elegance and dependability.

Sun Damage: The Point Of Overexposure

Posted on: January 7th, 2014 by Quik Shade


Signs of sun damage and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

The sun can leave its mark on your skin long after you’ve lost that tan. Sometimes the effects can be worse than expected. It’s important to pay attention to any visible changes on the skin because it may be a sign of something serious. Here are some of the marks sun damage can leave on the skin.

1. Freckles

Freckles can be small red or brown scattered spots on the skin. They can come in groups of hundreds or just a few spots on areas of the body  like the cheeks, arms, chest, or back. Unlike other types of sun damage, they are flat to the touch. Freckles are often genetic, but other people do get them from exposure to the sun. Either way, people with freckles are at a higher risk of developing cancerous skin damage.

2. Age Spots

Flat brown or grayish spots that look a lot like larger freckles are known as age spots. They are more commonly found on elderly people, but they do also indicate that sun damage has occurred. If you have age spots, keep an eye on them so that if any changes occur you can immediately notify your doctor. Age spots look very similar to other more dangerous sun damage marks, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on them.

3. Actinic Keratosis

Otherwise known as AK, this skin condition is often mistaken for age spots but they’re actually much more serious. These lesions come in rough patches and appear in groups on the skin. AK often starts simply as rough areas on the skin that can only be felt. It’s important to see a doctor immediately if these lesions appear as they can develop into a form of cancer.

4. Suntan

Sun damage doesn’t always look ugly. Suntans are a form of sun damage that many people actually aim to get. Many believe it gives them a healthy look, but suntans can actually be dangerous. When skin gets too much sun, it begins to produce more melanin which in turn browns the surface of the skin. Melanin is what skin cells produce to protect the body from UV damage. A visible tan is a sign that skin cells have been damaged. Limit the amount of time you expose your skin to the skin to avoid causing damage that could be irreversible.

5. Sunburn

UVB rays, or the shorter rays of sunlight, are what cause the skin to burn. The effect can be quite painful and unattractive. Redness, swelling, and later as the skin heals, excessive peeling are common effects of a sunburn. Severe sunburns can cause painful blisters, headaches, and even vomiting. Even just two or more severe sunburns during a lifetime can be enough to potentially cause skin cancer.

6. Wrinkles

They mostly considered a sign of aging, but wrinkles can also be an indicator of sun damage. UVA rays are longer sun rays that can penetrate skin and cause aging. By breaking down skin cells beneath the skin, these types of rays can cause wrinkles. Along with wrinkles, the skin also loses its elasticity and begins to get loose and saggy.

The Best Way To Avoid Any Kind Of Sun Damage

Avoiding direct contact with the sun is your best bet, but is not always possible or even practical. In these cases, wearing long sleeved clothing, pants, and a hat with a wide brim is a good precaution. Applying sunblock is always a good idea and over course enjoy the shade with the help of an instant canopy. Making this a daily practice will ensure that premature aging and freckles don’t become a problem.

photo credit: flatworldsedge via photopin cc