This is a product and service review for JUCY Rentals. JUCY allowed me to borrow a camper for a weekend adventure…the opinions expressed in this article are my own. For more information about JUCY, please visit their website.

JUCY Camper Review - Campfire Chic

I was contacted by JUCY Rentals a few months ago to see if I would be interested in borrowing one of their “champ” camper for a weekend adventure of my choice. I was hesitant at first because I don’t have any experience with campers or RVs. My camping is usually done on the ground with or without a tent. I messaged Amy to see if she and her husband would be interested in a quick camping trip (kind of like when we went to Yosemite National Park!) and after getting an excited response, I knew I couldn’t say no.

I picked up the camer at the Los Angeles location and the super friendly staff gave me a grand tour of the vehicle and put up with the million questions I had about the rental process, what amenities were normally included, the typical trips people take with the campers, etc. It didn’t take me long to get used to driving the camper (it’s essentially a tricked out mini-van) because I drive my SUV and regularly drive a Tacoma so big cars are my jam.

JUCY Camper Review - Penthouse Sleeper Selfie

Alex and I made our way out to Joshua Tree National Park on Saturday mid-day only making a few stops along the rode. It gets very windy in parts but the camper felt good in the wind. I was able to drive on the dirt road through the campground without worrying too much about clearance, too, which is nice. We set up camp and waited for Amy and Andrew to arrive (they had a lot longer of a drive than us) by scrambling up the beautiful rock formations in Indian Cove Campground.

And then it happened. Alex and I wanted to check out an area near our campground that had some bouldering problems that we wanted to check out. As I reversed out of the parking spot of our camping spot…I hit a rock. More like a small boulder. My stomached dropped and I’m sure I stopped breathing. How could I be so dumb?? I slowly returned the car to the parking spot and immediately called the JUCY Rentals customer service number. I was a little shaky (I mean, I just hit something with a car that isn’t mine!) as I spoke with the really nice customer service person and she thanked me for calling in, let me know that she was updating my account so that the Los Angeles office would know about the incident, and told me to not worry about a thing and to enjoy the rest of my weekend. Needless to say, I was only semi-relieved and refused to drive anywhere until we were ready to go home. Thankfully, the insurance for the rental was covered in my agreement (lesson to future Kam: Always get the insurance).

JUCY Camper Review and Setup - Campfire Chic

Once Amy and Andrew arrived, I pulled out cold drinks from the refrigerator in the back of the camper and gave them a grand tour, including setting up the “penthouse” sleeping area that is on top of the vehicle. Our campsite neighbors took a great interest in the vehicle and requested demonstrations, too.

The camper included:

  •  1 burner Gas Cooker that’s attached to the vehicle and one that is portable (I could take it to the picnic bench)
  • Small fridge
  • Sink with Tap and Drain, water tank, waste water tank
  • Internal Table
  • External Picnic Table
  • DVD player with screen
  • CD player and radio
  • 2 Bench Seats
  • Two Double Beds
  •  Curtains
  • Storage Space Under Benches

As part of the agreement, our camper also included personal kits for 4 (bedding + towels) and a provisioning kit (cooking equipment + utensils). We did not opt for the wifi for this trip because you can get very good 3G connection in the Indian Cove Campground.

That night, Amy and Andrew got cozy inside the car, which sleeps two comfortably. There are curtains that suction to the windows for added privacy, too. Alex and I climbed the ladder into the spacious penthouse above the vehicle and settled in. It made us feel like we were on a safari or something equally silly-sounding. There was a cargo net at the foot of the sleeping area for things like our shoes and a mesh pocket system for each of us that acted as a nightstand. Even though it was very windy throughout the night, the penthouse stayed warm and we didn’t feel the wind like we would in a tent.

JUCY Camper Review from Blogger Kam of Campfire Chic

Overall, the camper was a great addition to our weekend considering the wind we experienced. I think that it would be a better option for a longer weekend or even a week long tour through Utah’s National Parks! When I returned the camper, there was a couple from Australia returning from a very long trip from LA up to Seattle, over to Yellowstone National Park, and then a slow trek back to LA through a handful of other National Parks. It sounded like a fantastic option for them (and I’m already playing with the quote estimator to see if it would be a good idea for a big road trip from Alex and me in the Spring). I think this would be a great option for families with small children for a summer trip! What kid wouldn’t want to spend the night in the penthouse sleeper area? I do have to say, if anybody tosses and turns while they sleep, make them sleep elsewhere because the car is going to move and everybody will feel it. I would also suggest announcing which side the ladder will be on so the in-car sleepers don’t open that side’s door…and so the upstairs sleepers don’t try to exit in the middle of the night on the side without the ladder!

Have you tried a camper van for camping? Would you take a camper like this on the road?

New special: From now through March 31, 2015, travelers can rent a JUCY Campervan for any three night trip for the inclusive rate of $195. In addition to a complimentary provisional linen and cooking utensils kit (valued at $165), the rate also includes 100 mile per night allowance (this doesn’t include one-way fees, insurance, or additional mileage fees)

Thank you to JUCY Rentals for letting me take this green and purple beast on the open road for the weekend and hooking us up with a few of the extra amenities. It was a hit in the desert!

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Essential Reading Posts from Campfire Chic - Articles, Blog Posts, and Videos from Around the Web

 

30 Days of Lists is my life right now. And so is paddleboarding/kayaking. And carbs…but carbs are kind of always my life.

Some things coming up: Project Life® posts — I finally put in a giant order of photos and I’m ready to roll! Mini-albums. Personal posts — like things that I’m making and our micro-adventures. More books to feed your wanderlust…and probably a few jokes about Dungeons & Dragons as I get started on two different campaigns (one of which I will be DMing, so there’s that).

 

  • If you’re looking for cute and inexpensive workout clothes that also flatter your body, check out Fabletics. I have a TON of their clothes, so feel free to ask questions about specific pieces…if I don’t own it, I’ll find somebody who does and get you an answer. I’m also an ambassador for Fabletics, so I’ll get credit (for more clothes and bragging rights) if you use that link to sign up for the site.
  • I’m Pinning everything mini-album related lately and this post and this post are just fueling this strange fire
  • Each year I get behind on Project Life and my biggest challenge seems to be printing photos — it may be time to order a photo printer. Kelly Purkey’s recent travel album post has me convinced that the SELPHY may be the best option for me (no space, easy to use)
  • It is this kind of post that has me making huge messes in the living room lately
  • Heather shared some backpacking tips for beginners
  • If you’re thinking of trying canyoneering for the first time, read up on these 10 tips 
  • It’s a bit of a read, but Neil Patel (so you know it’s a good read) wrote a blog post for Buffer on how to safe time each week on social media
  • 24 packing tips — because I have cabin fever and need to book a trip ASAP

What I’m reading:

I’m slowly making my way through Four Boots, One Journey: A Story of Survival, Awareness, and Rejuvenation on the John Muir Trail by Jeff Altwhich was sent to me for review in July. The book follows a newly married couple as they make their way along the 218-mile John Muir Trail in California. The trail goes through three national parks and includes Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Jeff thinks the hike will do Beth some good following the tragic passing of her brother. Beth is the hot shower and warm bed kind of gal so taking her out for a big backpacking trip with mountain lions and food shortages is a little out of her comfort zone.

I emailed the author’s wife, Beth, to see what she thought of the idea of hiking the JMT and she responded,

Jeff showed me brilliant pictures of the Sierra lakes and the mountain views.  He knew how much I love water and beaches. He carefully left out the word “glacial” though. He knew I didn’t like the cold. He also said there would be a resort half-way. What he didn’t fully explain to me was that to qualify as a resort in the backcountry simply requires cold beer, hot food, and a shower. There were no massages or chocolates on the pillows. The rooms were rundown, the mattress was as if a boulder dropped off the cliff and landed on the bed leaving a pit in the center of the mattress for us to roll in. But, the staff was great, the food was good, and the beer was cold and we had the option of sleeping in our tent if we didn’t like the rooms. It all worked out (Ha ha).”

When asked what she brought with her on the trail to stay comfortable, she let me know that travel wipes, hand sanitizer, and plenty of toilet paper are essential to comfort.Beth also recommends that adventurers find a comfortable backpack, synthetic undies (the unsung hero of all outdoor adventures!), lightweight boots and wool socks.

I think my favorite part of our chat was about the memory-keeping aspect of Beth’s journey:

“Journaling gave me emotional comfort. Walking in the mountains surrounded by raw beauty combined with the euphoric state from the workout conjures up inspiring thoughts to savor by writing them down.”

I’m looking forward to finishing this book and learning more about the John Muir Trail…who knows, maybe I’ll be brave enough to look into getting permits for next summer!

I was contacted by the author’s publicist to do a review of the book. I received a digital copy of the book and requested a short interview to share with Campfire Chic readers. All opinions are my own.

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Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way Review - Campfire Chic

My collection of business and blogging resources is a little out of control.

I have PDFs, Kindle books, workbooks, classes, courses, workshops, and actual books on topics like digital marketing, social media strategy, productivity, blogging, and owning a handmade business. It’s a lot. I know.

When I was approached to review a new business book, I was a little hesitant: How can this book be any different than the other books?  What can I learn from this that isn’t already included in the other books?

A little about the book: Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur was written by Jennifer Lee, the author of The Right-Brain Business Plan. The book is 235 pages long and the suggested retail is for $21.95 (Amazon seems to have it for much cheaper!). This book takes a different approach to starting (or continuing) your creative business — instead of going through the basic steps on how to set up shop, Jennifer emphasizes what you can do right now to make your business last longer and be more profitable. Jennifer’s writing is practical and straight to the point while also funny!

 Topics Covered:

  • Defining your own success
  • What is your core message?
  • Attracting, engaging, and learning from the right people
  • Switching from selling to serving
  • How to plan a product/service launch
  • Making more money
  • Growing your team
  • Establishing systems to ease day-to-day operations

Review of Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way - Review by Campfire Chic

What I like about the book:

  • What I really like about the book is that Jennifer encourages you to jump to the section that best addresses your needs at that moment. If you don’t need to read about setting up your social media accounts, skip it! Move onto the importance of establishing multiple income streams.
  • The book is full of playsheets (Jennifer’s term for worksheets), spotlights, action steps to take at the end of each chapter, reflections, and more.
  • The visuals throughout the book are helping me imagine how to format some documents I need — I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so Jennifer’s doodles are very helpful!

What I’m not a fan of:

  • The problem with a print book is that it gets dated very quickly — while the resources listed in the book are available now, they may not be available in a year or two. It’s a fast-paced digital world, I have a book that talks about how amazing picnik.com is for photo editing but it is no longer around. Not a big deal, but it’s something to consider.
  • The photos used in the book don’t seem to match the quality of the book — it’s probably the type of paper used, but I think the book would be more visually pleasing if only the hand-drawn images were used.

If you were a fan of The Handmade Marketplace and Blog, Inc., you will enjoy this book. There is some obvious overlap in topics, but this book covers more of the business aspects of running an online (and offline) creative business. As somebody who works full-time in addition to what I do online, setting up and committing to systems that are designed to help me be more productive and serve others better is important. This book really emphasizes the importance of working now to create a sustainable business so I’m not burned out in a few months.

This book isn’t for people who want quick results without putting in the work. This isn’t a passive experience, you will be drawing in the book, writing notes, reflecting, and taking action more often than you expect! If you aren’t interested in a process, skip this book.

What are your favorite business/blogging resources?

Get your copy of Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way on Amazon in paperback or Kindle-edition. I reviewed The Handmade Marketplace & Blog, Inc. in previous posts. Let me know if you have questions about any of the books discussed here.

New World Library, the publisher of Jennifer Lee’s Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur, sent a copy of this book to me with the hope of a review or mention. While I received the book for free, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I use all items/services before discussing them on this site because I know Campfire Chic readers deserve the best. To read a more legal-ese version of my Disclosure Policy, click here.

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I was recently asked by a few readers to share more about the clothes I wear when travelling/hiking/climbing/yoga-ing. After I bought my first pair of REI Aldervale Pants from REI, I knew I needed to tell Campfire Chic readers all about them…and then I went and bought myself a second pair.

An Adventure Favorite: REI Aldervale Pant

 

Kam of Campfire Chic shares her favorite pair of pants for hiking, climbing, and road trips - Campfire Chic

I’ve gone through 2 other hiking pants before falling completely head-over-heels for this pair. I liked them so much that I bought a second pair in a size larger and in a different color — Let’s be honest: going a size up on a pair of pants like this is great when you’re sitting in a car for a long time and leggings aren’t an option.

Being petite sometimes means less options when it comes to pants – or the options all have “dumpy butts” and elastic bands. Homie don’t play that way, so when I find something that fits well, I buy multiple pairs. After having a pair of rather restrictive/itchy zip-off pants from REI, I was interested to try out the roll-up pant instead.

Pros:

  • Unlike zip-off pants, it is much easier to convert my pants to the shorter style without having to take off my boots
  • The material stretches a bit, so big movements are not restricted
  • No towels in the reststop? These pants can take a little bit of water before they show – unlike that “creative stonewash” look you get when drying your hands on your jeans
  • The tie is off to the side, so there isn’t a weird eye-drawing bump from your knot
  • The waistband has a brushed feel to it so there is extra comfort there
  • Packs small
  • Runs true to size – They come in sizes 0 – 14 in regular and petite
  • Comes in more than one color

Cons:

  • These are not the pants to wear through airport security – the snaps make the body scanner light up like the 4th of July
  • I feel like the back pocket detail makes the pockets look angled, which could lead to a bigger-looking rump
  • If your snaps come undone, the sound of metal hitting metal could get on your nerves
  • If the pants are rolled down and you tend to overheat easily (like me!) it may feel a bit claustrophobic/stuffy…which is easily remedied by rolling the pants up, but still

 

 

The REI Aldervale Roll-Up Pants come in Shale and Pewter Green - Review on Campfire Chic

 Good for:

  • Car travel
  • Climbing Gym
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Gardening/Yardwork
  • Errands that require lots of movement

You can order a pair of REI Aldvervale Roll Up Pants via the REI website (here are the petite pants) or stop by your local store to check them out.

Do you have a favorite pair of pants to wear while you travel or hike?

A big THANK YOU to Amy for unknowingly contributing to today’s post.

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I first met Shane O’Connell, aka Jester, at the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kickoff event in April the day after seeing a screening of Wizards of the PCT outdoor adventure documentary. Seeing Wizards of the PCT while sitting with a ton of Pacific Crest Trail hikers was seriously cool and and quite the experience.

 

Fast forward a few months where I start fangirling at work when I see an email from Jester pop into my inbox asking if I would like to get an advanced copy of his newest documentary: Embrace the Brutality. An unmarked disc arrived with a handwritten note from Jester and I popped it into my PS3 and started watching right away.

 

Embrace the Brutality – Outdoor Adventure Documentary

 

 

Imagine going on a trip through 5 states for 5 months with some friends. Now, imagine you were walking that entire time…getting blisters, trying to out-hike a forest fire, and eating as much pizza as possible along the way. Sounds fun, right?

 

The Bad Wizard Team and friends filmed their adventure while hiking from New Mexico to the Canadian border along the Continental Divide Trail. It was really fun to watch them climb over/under/through barbed wire fences and their excitement when some sort of trail magic happens…one of the trail magic moments even had me cheering!

 

Now, for you skeptics out there: This isn’t some boring slideshow or that Facebook album of 300+ photos of the same damn thing that you dread popping up in your feed. This is a fantastic, beautiful, and inspiring documentary. I mean, did you know that there was a trail that goes from New Mexico to Canada? Did you know that there’s microbes in some hot springs that can eat your brain?? Learn that and more from Embrace the Brutality.

 
This documentary is for:

  • Anybody with a sense of wanderlust
  • People wanting to see what the country looks like when you travel on foot
  • Hikers looking for some inspiration for their first thru-hike
  • Adventurers hoping to add something to a bucket list

 

Find Embrace the Brutality on Facebook and buy a copy of the DVD today!

 

 

 

 

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Nearly everything I learned about launching digital products and online courses I learned from this ebook.

This ebook has taught me you can’t just put something out in the world and hope people will see it, like it and buy it.

 

You’ve got to lead the way.

 

PLEASE don’t just put up a blog post saying ‘I made this; here’s where you buy it.’

 

PLEASE don’t just tweet a link to your shop saying ‘new stuff here!’

 

From the ebook: “The bottom line is that if you want to sell your [product or service], you’re going to have to get involved with that dreaded ‘M’ word: Marketing.”

 

Over the last few weeks you’ve probably seen some posts or tweets or excitement about my upcoming BUILD ecourse. Kam and Mollie and Megan and Allie have all posted about it, and I’ve already got a list of bloggers looking forward to the official launch – and it is still weeks away.

 

Any excitement you see from Listers pre-March or pre-September 30 Days of Lists? A huge portion of all registered participants join us in the first couple days after opening registration. That’s all from having a strategy behind launching our registration.

 

This isn’t just a put-it-out-there-and-see-what happens. This is a carefully planned, honed and strategic approach to making our products and services available.

 

Which, again, I learned from this ebook: How to Launch the **** Out of Your eBook by Naomi Dunford and Dave Navarro.

 

NOTE: That IS actually the name of the book. Replace the four asterisks in your head with whatever word you prefer.

 

This 100+ page book comes with worksheets and very clear steps for how to plan your product launch.

 

But that’s the thing. You have to PLAN.

 

I have read this ebook about 3 times – It’s so good that every time I read it I learn something new….. so when I started to plan the release of my BUILD ecourse, I knew I needed to give myself plenty of time.

 

Four months, to be exact.

 

It’s still a bit too early to see exactly how my BUILD launch will do, but I’ve already got WAY more interest than the 1 ebook I released without any kind of launch strategy. And we’re still weeks away from the ecourse even being available!

 

Keep in mind that this book is all written from the point of view of selling an ebook (pdf download), but I have used it very successfully for all kinds of online offers (30Lists, Onward and Upward and ebooks). The basics are easily adaptable.

 

Modules included:

  1. Analyzing the market for your ebook
  2. Finding and wooing your ebook buyers
  3. Setting up your mailing list
  4. Writing your ebook
  5. Launching your ebook

Module 5 (Launching your ebook) is broken farther into 5 stages:

  1. Preparation: Getting things together before you launch
  2. Pre-launch: Where you make your first batch of money
  3. Launch: Build up the buzz, build up your list, and let it fly
  4. Post-launch: Where do we go from here?
  5. Ongoing: Even more opportunities to make money via your ebook

 

My one disagreement with  How to Launch the **** Out of Your eBook is that the ‘writing your ebook’ is step 4.

 

I totally understand making sure there are people who would buy the ebook you have in mind before writing it, but for me personally I need to do the bulk of the writing first so I know what I’m dealing with. Often my ideas change partway through and I don’t realize the CORE of what it is I am offering until I’m editing the finished product.

 

I (personally) couldn’t craft a launch around something not at least close to being done. But maybe you’re different.

 

But, here’s the deal. If you want to get started making money from your blog … and you want to create and sell your own products or services…. You’ve got to get invested in MARKETING (or hire someone to help you).

 

And this ebook –
How to Launch the **** Out of Your eBook
is a GREAT place to begin.

 

At the daily blog Lemon and Raspberry, Amy T Schubert writes about blogging, memory keeping, doing what you are meant to do … and how those all combine to help you live your best creative life. She has been a writer, photographer and encourager for most of her life. If you’re looking for a free guide to jumpstart your creativity or one-on-one blog-business coaching, head over to Lemon and Raspberry. For more day-to-day fun (including cat photos), follow Amy on Twitter and Instagram at @amytschubert.

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Climbing Shoes for Beginners - Evolv Shoes for Women by Campfire Chic

 

Today I want to talk to you about the best (in my opinion) climbing shoes for beginners – specifically, for women looking to start climbing and bouldering.

I bought my first pair of climbing shoes in August of 2011 and bought my second pair for myself for Christmas 2012. I use them both to this day and I wanted to share more information about them both with you.

 
Why buy climbing shoes?

Climbing shoes are a great first investment when you start climbing at a gym (or outdoors, if your friends have all the necessary equipment) because renting each time you go can get pricey — Let’s say a day pass is $12 and shoe rental is $6…after going a few times and renting shoes, you’re halfway to a pair of the Elektra VTR shoes! After buying your shoes, you will have more money for you day pass (or monthly pass, should you decide to go often).

 

As somebody who doesn’t wear socks with her climbing shoes, you can imagine why I’m encouraging you to buy your own shoes. Yep, I went there.

I should also mention that climbing in your sneakers isn’t the best option, you’ll want to rent or buy climbing shoes. Climbing shoes have a sticky rubber on them that will help you stick to the wall/rock better and are tight enough on your feet that you will have better contact with whatever it is you are climbing at the time. With climbing shoes, you’ll be able to get a foothold on something you would otherwise not think you could stick to! Think of it as Spider-Man shoes!

 
Why these Evolv shoes?

The Elektra VTR (in purple above) and EVO (in blue above) shoes are fantastic entry-level and intermediate shoes because they are really well-made and have a fantastic price point…especially the Elektra VTRs. I’ve used both pairs in an indoor gym as well as outdoors on granite.

 

I love that both shoes have the climbing rubber surrounding most of the shoe…the EVOs have a higher heel, so there is even more climbing rubber back there. Having that sticky rubber all the way around helps keep you connected to the wall, and I feel that other entry-level shoes cut back on the amount of rubber on the shoe to cut down costs. More rubber = happy Kam.

 

It may just be me, but I prefer to wear shoes with 2-strap closure more than shoes with laces. While there is the rare instance that my straps will get momentarily-snagged on the rope while I belay, I feel more comfortable with straps than I do laces. Laces make me feel I don’t have good control over the tension in my shoe, and I have an irrational fear the laces will get caught on a hold/rock/anchor and I’ll die. Other people prefer laces (the Elektra VTR is available with laces for about the same price as the 2-strap), so try out both types before purchasing your first pair.

 

I’m not saying that Evolv isn’t for elite athletes, it totally is! Heck, Chris Sharma developed one of the top Evolv shoes – the Shaman (mens and womens). I just wanted to share two great options for beginners that are awesome and at a great price point.

 

Shoes discussed in this post:

 

So there you have it!
 
If you’re in the market for an inexpensive-but-awesome climbing shoe, I hope you consider Evolv!
 

What was your first pair of climbing shoes?

If you’re looking to buy your first pair,
what are you looking for in climbing shoes?

 

 

 

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