4 Must-See Botanical Gardens in America

Summer is the season to get out in your garden and work your hands in the soil. While most of the dirty work is done in the spring, there’s plenty of maintenance to do throughout the summer to keep plants and veggies perfect, and flowers in bloom. Whether gardening is a pastime or your passion, it’s important to take a break from all your hard work and step into an expert oasis for leisure and inspiration. No matter what region of the country you call home, you’re never too far away from the fresh experience of world class botanical gardens.

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United States Botanic Garden, Washington D.C.
George Washington is cited as the inspiration for the botanical garden in our nation’s capital. Established by Congress in 1820, it is officially recognized as a museum. With a focus on educating the public about plants and fostering botanical knowledge, it’s a must-see for gardening enthusiasts and environmentalists.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Dallas
If you’re looking to surround yourself with the beauty of nature while enjoying an entertaining event, Dallas might be the garden destination for you. One of the top arboretums in the world, it’s dedicated to getting the community involved with events and family activities. It’s newer than most top gardens, but always growing.

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Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago
Though it’s only been around since the 1970s, the Chicago Botanical Garden is already one of the world’s leading horticultural museums and conservation centers. The garden is born of the city’s rich horticultural history, dating back to the 1893 World’s Fair, and has one of the largest memberships of any U.S. garden.

New York Botanic Garden, New York City
This diverse landscape in bustling New York city is spread over 250 acres and boasts over a million plants. Located right next to the Bronx Zoo, it’s one of the most popular botanical gardens in the country, hosting a healthy 300,000 people every year. It’s also home to one of the world’s largest plant conservation programs.

Stylish Summer Ensembles for Soaking Up Sunshine

For many of us, the best time to get out and enjoy the summer sun is limited to a few short months. Summer is the season to take a dive in the pool, put the windows down driving on the open road and take advantage of nice weather for your favorite outdoor activities. Summer is the season for fashionable beachwear, stylish accessories and getting a perfect tan. Soak up sunshine while you can with our stylish summer ensembles.

For the Beach or the Boardwalk

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Go from the beach to the boardwalk in style with the Women’s Crossover Cover-Up Dress. An easy-to-wear dress that features fun tie-dye detailing on the sides, it has a high/low hemline that crosses over in the front. Save your bare feet from the summer heat with Women’s Memory Foam Comfort Sandals. Their thong-style design features memory foam insoles that offer amazing comfort no matter where your summer adventures take you. Rubber soles provide resistance on slippery surfaces, so they’re perfect for wearing poolside. The large Cell Phone Organizer Wallet helps you stay organized in the summer without a streamlined design. It has a fun print and convenient pockets to hold your smartphone, cash, credit cards and more. It keeps your valuables safely secured in the zippered main compartment. Removable strap lets you wear it as a wristlet.

For Tanning or Taking It Easy

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Dry off after a refreshing swim with the Summertime Beach Towel. the high-quality cotton towel features a vibrant image with a summer theme. Its fiber-reactive print won’t fade from exposure to the sun or washing. Once you’re out of the water, make sure your poolside chair or beach lounger is extra comfortable with the Brightly Colored Chair Cover. Made of durable cotton terry cloth and polyester, it fits on all kinds of lounge and deck chairs. Hanging from one side is a 3-section pocket for your sunglasses, lotion, smartphone and more. It converts to a handled tote for carrying beach necessities. Always have the ideal cup holder during your beach tanning session with the Set of 2 Beach Buddy Drink Holders. Each sassy holder has a vibrant design with a humorous phrase. The sturdy design makes them easy to stick in the ground or carry around.

Sun Safety Tips for Babies, Kids and Teens

It is estimated that up to eighty percent of a person’s lifetime exposure to the sun occurs in the first 18 years, so when it comes to sun safety it’s important to start developing some good habits with your kids as early as possible. Learn how to properly protect babies, kids and teens from sun damage with these sun safety tips.

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Babies — The Less Sun the Better
Babies under the age of six months shouldn’t be in the sun at all. The damage that sunburn can cause with babies has the ability to effect them throughout their life, compromising their immune system and increasing the risk of skin cancer years down the road. If you are outside, keep them properly covered or in the shade.

It isn’t recommended to use sunscreens on babies under six months old, so covering up their skin is very important. Pants and long sleeve shirts cover the most skin, while bucket hats protect their head and offer a little shade. If they do get exposed to the sun, apply wet towels to their skin frequently to reduce swelling.

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Kids — Sunscreen On the Go
Kids are the hardest to monitor when it comes to making sure they’re using sunscreen. Once they get out of the house with their friends they could be gone for hours. Even if you send them out the door with sunscreen there’s a good chance it will wear off before they return. Send kids off right with some travel-size sunscreen.

If they’re playing close to home or within sight, don’t be afraid to interrupt their activity to reapply some sun protection. If they do come back with a little sunburn or some bad blisters, hydrate their skin with a wet towel, apply a topical moisturizer and ibuprofen if needed and keep them out of the sun until they heal completely.

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Teens — Tanning Can Be Trouble
Many kids start tanning in their teens. If your teen wants to get a nice tan, try to keep them out of the sun between the fiercest hours of the day. 10:00 am to 2:00 pm is when UVA and UVB rays can do the most damage to skin. It’s also the best time to tan. Being closer to 10:00 am or 2:00 pm is better than midday.

While it is tempting for teenagers to hit the tanning salon when the sun isn’t shining, radiation in tanning beds can be worse than the sun. Any type of tanning is technically harmful to your skin. One method isn’t any healthier than the other, but tanning beds have been known to have higher levels of UVR radiation.

Fantastic Ways to Showcase Vacation Photos at Home

Whether you’re jetting off on a dream vacation, gearing up for a cross-country road trip or mapping out a fun summer activity schedule at home, chances are you’ll wind up with plenty of photos. All you have to do now is find a way to feature those great memories in your home. Don’t leave awesome snapshots sitting on your camera. Find out how to display your best shots with these fantastic products to showcase vacation photos.

Compose Your Creative Collage

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Tell your entire vacation story with the 21-Photo Collage Frame. It allows you to arrange photos in a stylish way by alternating between vertical and horizontal display slots. The frames hold a 4″ x 6″ photo, each. Plastic pane protects the photos. The entire collage mounts vertical or horizontal to fit your space. The Set of Two 20-Photo Wall Collage makes it easy to protect and display vacation memories. The wall collage holds 10 horizontal and 10 vertical 4″ x 6″ photos in plastic sleeves. The reinforced eyelets allow you to hang it up a variety of ways. Showcase the most memorable photos from your vacation with the 8-Pc. Sentiment Wall Photo Gallery. It includes frames that protect photos behind glass, as well as shelves and words. The main frame holds two 4″ x 6″ photos. Accent frames each hold 4″ x 6″ photo.

Preserve Those Precious Pictures

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If you’re looking for a storage option that also protects your photos, the 510-Photo Album fits the bill. The jumbo album allows you to show off 510 of your best 4″ x 6″ photos. Each page holds 5 photos on each side. The 3-ring binder design makes it easy to add and remove pages. You can also feature a cover photo. With the Laminator or Set of 100 Sheets, you can add a protective layer to photos. It has an ability to handle documents up to 9-1/2″ wide, using heat to laminate. It’s UL-Listed. The sheet set includes 30 name card sheets, 40 photo sheets and 30 letter sheets. Once you have your photos laminated, use the 1,600-Photo Organizer Case to sort and store. The 16 acid-free photo cases feature rounded corners that keep photos looking their best for years. Each inner case holds one-hundred 4″ x 6″ photos. An outer handle allows for easy transport, and the hinged design has snap closures to keep everything secure.

Theme Park Checklist for a Carefree Vacation

Spending summer vacation at a theme park is great for thrill-seekers and family-friendly adventurers. From roller coasters to state-of-the-art water parks, there’s guaranteed to be incredible activities to keep everyone entertained. Before you strap into your seat and get ready for a terrifying drop or splash into the pool to cool off in the sun, make sure you’ve got the right gear to keep your essentials safe and the right clothes to keep you comfortable day after day. Make your adventure a bit easier and carefree with our theme park checklist.

Packed Up and Theme Park Ready

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Keep drinks and snacks chilled for your theme park picnic with this Collapsible Insulated Tote Basket. The handles fold down for easy storage. Store essentials in the Cell Phone Organizer Wallet. It features a large pocket with a button closure for a smartphone, as well as slots and pockets for cards and IDs. Works as a wallet inside a larger bag or a clutch. Protect all your credit and bank cards from being scanned and your identity from being stolen with Set of 4 RFID Credit Card Sleeves. These special tear resistant sleeves are designed to prevent thieves from being able to remotely scan the digital information stored on your cards. Slim and lightweight, each card fits easily in a handbag or wallet.

Worry-Free Gear for the Waterpark

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Keep your essential devices safe and dry inside the waterpark with Durable Waterproof Cases for Smartphones or Tablets. The Smartphone Case fits most smartphones, including iPhone® 4/4S/5, as well as certain Droid®, Blackberry®, and other MP3 and media players. For both the Smartphone and Tablet Cases, the devices are fully functional while in the protective case. The iPad® & Tablet Case fits the most popular tablets (up to 10″) on the market. Waterproof up to 18 feet. Your kid will love drying off after a long day at the waterpark with a Kids’ Hooded Beach Towel. It’s also perfect for the beach or the bath. Protect their eyes with Kids’ Favorite Character Swim Goggles. Anti-fog lenses feature an airtight seal to prevent water from leaking in and an adjustable silicone strap for a secure fit.

Comfortable Clothes and Cool Accessories

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Stay comfortable walking around the theme park all day in these Women’s Active-Length Knit Jeans. The cotton pants have the look of denim jeans with the softness of lounge pants and spandex for stretch. They have a drawstring waistband, as well as back pockets and side vents at the hem. The Girls’ Tie-Dye Maxi Dress is the perfect outfit for a day at the park. Your daughter or granddaughter will love wearing this bright, sleeveless dress. Keep their eyes protected from the sun with Kids’ Favorite Character Sunglasses & Case. They’ll love showing off the shades while shielding their eyes from harmful UV rays. The glasses are shatter-resistant, and the included case keeps them safely stored.

12 Fast Facts: Ups & Downs from Roller Coaster History

Ever since their first appearance in the earlier decades of the 19th century, roller coasters have been raising the bar at a rapid pace. The humble mini-train poking along on wooden tracks has been transformed into an insane collection of massive, fast-flying thrill rides that make even the most daring take a deep breath before locking in. Roller coaster production isn’t slowing down soon. Get to know the fascinating ups and downs of roller coaster history before taking your family to the theme park this summer with these 12 super-fast facts.

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  • Roller coasters were inspired in part by “gravity railroads” mining companies used to deliver coal downhill to locations many miles away. The earliest thrill-seekers paid to ride with the goods.
  • The most direct inspiration for the modern roller coaster comes from France, where rides consisting of small trains on wooden tracks were built for amusement, and daring loops intrigued daredevils.
  • In Paris, in the middle of the 19th century, “centrifugal coasters” appeared. These consisted of a long drop to gather speed, with a full loop in the center that guided the car around using centrifugal force.
  • The earliest “looping coasters” were known for being especially dangerous. Many caused whiplash.
  • The first official “scenic” roller coaster opened in 1884 on the now famous peninsula of Coney Island in Brooklyn. Slower, safe and popular, it guided riders through passageways and painted scenes.
  • Coney Island outdid itself with The Cyclone in 1927, a wooden roller coaster that still operates today.

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  • After the Great Depression, amusement parks declined for decades. Roller coasters nearly fell off the map until an upswing in the economy paved the way for Americans to enjoy theme parks again.
  • Disneyland set up shop in the mid-fifties in California. Its main attraction: the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
  • There are nearly 900 roller coasters currently operating in North America. That’s less than half of the roller coasters operating in Asia, and still less than the total number currently operating in Europe.
  • The tallest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka at Six Flags in New Jersey. At 456 ft. tall, the giant roller coaster also boasts the longest free-falling drop in the world, kicking off with a 418-ft. drop.
  • While Kingda Ka is also the fastest roller coaster in the United States, it comes in second in the world rankings to Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates. Rossa tops out at 149 mph.
  • The fan-voted best theme park for roller coasters in America backs up Cedar Point’s claim that it’s the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” However, many thrill-seekers say Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey has a higher concentration of the best roller coasters in the world, including Kingda Ka.

Before you think about setting off on your theme park adventure, make sure you’ve got all the gear you need to enjoy a flawless vacation. Shop luggage, totes, apparel, electronics and so much more for your family trip.

Fourth of July Front Yard Decor

The biggest holiday of the summer is right around the corner. It’s a special day where we celebrate our nation’s independence and our personal freedom. As the holiday draws near, you may notice bits of red, white and blue popping up all over your neighborhood. If you haven’t already, it’s time to join in and start decorating your lawn or porch. Get into the spirit of the holiday with this Fourth of July front yard décor.

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American Flag Bench
The American Flag Outdoor Bench gives your home a patriotic look. The decorative accent adds some seating to the front porch. Made of colored metal, the back of the bench features an American flag design. Weight capacity, 500 lbs. 40″W x 16-1/2″D x 38-1/4″H. Assembly required; assembly hardware included.

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Patriotic Seasonal Flag
Large, colorful and easy to see from a great distance, this Jumbo Seasonal Flag is a fun way to decorate your yard for the Fourth of July. A sleeve at the top makes hanging easy. It fits on your standard flag pole. Purchase one or get the entire set of 5 for seasonal decorating. 27-3/8″W x 35-1/2″L. Polyester. Imported.

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Patriotic Grill Cover
This eye-catching Printed Grill Cover makes your grill a conversation piece on the Fourth while protecting it from rain, UV rays and preventing frost. Just insert the four included ties through the grommets at the corners to secure it in place. The holiday statement piece fits most large grills. 68″W x 21″D x 35″H. PEVA. Imported.

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American Flag Star
Put this 24″ Americana Star Decor on display in your garden for weeks leading up to the Fourth of July. The large barn star is decorated with a stylish stars-and-stripes design. Use the 7″ stakes to install in the ground, or use the jute rope to hang. 24″W x 2-1/4″D x 24-1/2″H, without stake. Metal. No-tool assembly required.

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Patriotic Pride Garden Décor
Coordinate your outdoor display with the lively colors of the Patriotic Pride Garden Decor. Plant the USA Yard Stake (29-1/2”W x 26”H, including the 8” stake) in the center of your lawn. Metal. Use the Rope Light (3/8”W x 235”L) to highlight a landscape or architectural feature. It has 108 LED lights in red, white and blue.

Quick Tips on Buying and Grilling Shrimp

Shrimp is known as the easiest and least intimidating seafood to cook. But when you’re buying fresh shrimp from the supermarket or local fishmonger instead of the freezer aisle, there are some key things you need to know to make sure you’re getting the very best quality seafood. Even after you get your shrimp home, there are storage and prepping procedures you should consider before finally throwing your shrimp onto the grill. Shrimp can cook pretty quick, so we’re giving you some even quicker facts and useful tips on grilling shrimp.

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  • Though there are more than 300 different species of shrimp around the world, you’ll probably only be able to find a few kinds at your local store. The good news: some of the best shrimp in the world comes off our own shores on the Gulf of Mexico, meaning you can eat fresh in any state.
  • The shelf life is pretty short, so shrimp behind the supermarket glass isn’t your best bet when looking to buy fresh. Some of the best shrimp is sold in frozen blocks. You’ll have to peel and take out the veins. Another great option is individual quick frozen shrimp. It’s easier to thaw and prep.
  • It’s sold by the pound, so if you’ve got less than 30 shrimp per pound, they should be big to jumbo or even colossal size. Tinier shrimp should score you more than 50. Colossal shrimp or larger sizes have a “U” before the number, which stands for “Under.” Ex: U8 is Under 8 shrimp per pound.
  • Black spotting that is sometimes seen on shrimp that aren’t fresh is called melanosis. It doesn’t mean the shrimp isn’t edible, but it’s a good idea to try to avoid the shrimp with spots to make sure you’re getting the freshest flavor. Shrimp should also be firm. Don’t buy shrimp if it’s falling apart.

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  • Defrost before grilling. Do this in the fridge or with a bucket of cold water. Cold, not warm. Warm water might thaw shrimp faster but it will also force it to lose good moisture and density that will mess with the flavor. Looking for extra flavor? Try brining. Boil water with a mix of salt and sugar. Add it to the cold contents already in the fridge for a couple hours before grilling. Remember to rinse it off.
  • Peel or not. It’s your preference. Peeling is better for throwing your shrimp on kabobs, but leaving the shell can help protect delicious shrimp meat from the grill. The exterior of the shrimp is best when it’s a little pink, and you know the inside is done when it’s white. Don’t walk away from the grill. Shrimp usually cooks quickly depending on how hot your grill is running. Cook time: 4-7 minutes.

Father’s Day Gifts for Outdoorsy Dads

You know your Dad better than anyone. Still, it can be difficult to find the perfect gift for Father’s Day. If he spends more time out in the garage than in the house, prefers surrounding himself with forests instead of walls or would rather sit in a fishing boat than in front of the TV, try one of these gifts for outdoorsy Dads.

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Stainless Steel Survival
Whether he’s hunting, fishing or camping, he will feel better with this 3-Pc. Survival Knife Set by his side. It gives him 2 different types of stainless steel knives and an LED flashlight. All the items in the set come in a matching nylon sheath with a convenient belt loop. The spots for both knives have a snap closure for safety. The aluminum flashlight is held in place by an elastic band on the side. Requires 3 “AAA” batteries.

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Recline and Relax
The Realtree Anti-Gravity Chair is exactly what Dad needs to enjoy a relaxing day outdoors. He can put it to use at the campground, on a hunting trip or lounging on the deck. The headrest pillow, water-resistant fabric and adjustable reclining position offer premier comfort. The sturdy, rust-resistant frame is made to withstand  wear and tear for many seasons. Folds up for easy storage. Weight capacity, 250 lbs. Steel and polyester.

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Gun Cleaning Gear
The Universal Gun Cleaning Set gives Dad everything he needs to keep firearms primed and functioning at their finest. The compact kit includes a range of full-service tools for cleaning .17 to .45 caliber guns and 12 or 20 gauge shotguns without full disassembly. Includes flexible cleaning rod, T-handle, slotted connectors and aluminum brushes with nylon tips. The entire set is packed in a compact, waterproof, zip-around case.

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Noteworthy Knives
For the outdoorsy Dad, you can’t go wrong giving him this Dad or Grandpa Collectible Knife. Stylish and multifunctional, it has a muted gold finish with beautiful raised lettering. The clip on the end allows him to hang it up for display or attach it to a key ring. It has a fold-out bottle opener that will come in handy when he’s enjoying one of his favorite cold beverages. Blade folds into the handle. 1”W x 3-3/4”L. Metal.

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Top-Notch Tools
The garage is the best spot in the house for Dads who like to get some work done. The 18-Pc. Screwdriver Set with Stand keeps every size he needs in one place. Each steel screwdriver has a magnetized tip to hold screws in place while he works. Have comfort-grip handles and a 4-side thumb imprint that improves control and torque. The large screwdrivers have holes for hanging near a workstation. Stand comes ready to hang.

5 Must-See Movies with Funny Fathers

Father’s Day is all about letting Dad know how much he is appreciated. It’s also about having a good time. Thankfully, there are a stockpile of great movies featuring hilarious Dads. Start his Father’s Day off with a few laughs, kick back with the whole family and enjoy one of these five favorite movies with funny fathers.

Rick Moranis, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
Inventor Wayne Szalinski has some explaining to do after he accidentally shrinks his kids down to an almost microscopic size with his experimental ray gun. After realizing his huge mistake, he sets out to search for his kids in the deadly backyard, inadvertently making their crazy journey back to safety even more dangerous.

Robin Williams, “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)
When Daniel Hillard loses his job, his marriage and the custody of his kids, he concocts a seemingly absurd scheme to get back in their lives, taking on the identity of a Scottish nanny named Euphegenia. Comical and heartwarming, the movie showcases a father’s love for his family and the lengths he will go to be near them.

Albert Brooks, “Finding Nemo” (2003)
Marlin the clownfish isn’t exactly the funniest figure in this beloved Disney/Pixar® hit, but the dangerous situations and hilarious cast of characters he encounters during the search for his son, Nemo, provides the perfect dose of comedy for Father’s Day. As a bonus, it’s the perfect movie to watch for Dads with little kids.

Crispin Glover, “Back to the Future” (1985)
You can’t help but feel bad for George McFly at the start of this classic movie. However, as the plot thickens, and with a lot of help from his time-traveling son, George finds the strength to stand up to Biff, the frightening school bully, and change his life entirely. The iconic film is a can’t-miss for fathers who love science fiction.

Chevy Chase, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983)
All Clark Griswold wants to do is spend time time with his family. In his mind, the best way to accomplish this is to pile everyone into a station wagon and drive. Getting from Chicago to Los Angeles isn’t a smooth ride, but Clark’s relentless effort to create the ideal vacation for his family steers the plot onto hilarious avenues.