SunAWARE

Coolibar’s Official Sun Education Message – SunAWARE

We often say “Be SunAWARE” at Coolibar, but we’ve never taken the time to explain its place within our company and why we use it. SunAWARE is a non-profit sun education organization that provides the most up-to-date sun protection tips and skin cancer news. It’s also an acronym that helps people prevent and detect skin cancers. At Coolibar, we have adopted SunAWARE as our official sun education message as it’s easy to remember and easy to follow.

About SunAWARE

SunAWARE is based on the acronym created in the book Sun Protection For Life: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy and Beautiful Skin, by Mary Mills Barrow and John F.Barrow (New Harbinger Publications, 2005).  The book won the Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology in 2005 for excellence in public education of dermatologic issues.

The SunAWARE acronym was created after an exhaustive review of educational material produced by the major organizations and foundations specializing in skin cancer prevention.  And, it was edited by Craig Sinclair who originated the very successful “Skip Slop Slap” sun protection campaign in Australia. It should also be noted that SunAWARE is endorsed by several leading not-for-profit organizations in the skin cancer community including the Children’s Melanoma Foundation and the Melanoma International Foundation.

The acronym was created to meet the twin goals of developing a comprehensive framework for organizing key points about the prevention and detection of skin cancer and, creating a useful, proactive and easy-to-remember slogan that can be used by any organization and individual.

For the most up-to-date sun protection tips and skin cancer news, visit www.sunaware.org.

Be SunAWARE and be Safe!

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Sun Protection Clothing What's Hot

Models Advocate for Sun Protection? Oh Yes!

When recently browsing the web for a new story idea, I came across this site called ModelKarma, a website for aspiring models, pro models and modeling industry professionals started by the famous Thomas Zeumer, supermodel launcher. While clicking through some of their pages that provide advice for models, I was hoping to find plenty about protecting skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. While somewhat disappointed by the small amount of information on this subject, I was relieved to see one post reminding models to protect their assets, meaning their looks or skin from ultraviolet radiation. 

I think many of us know that over-exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer down the road. However, the cosmetic damage the sun does to skin can also be significant. As you age, your skin will start to show spots and wrinkles even more so if you haven’t been properly protecting yourself from the sun. The writer of the article on ModelKarma dramatizes it even more by saying, “Basically, [the sun] makes you look fried well before your years, thus killing your career before you are done!”  

The article goes into detail about protecting yourself from damaging rays by using sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. It reiterates the Skin Cancer Foundation’s advice on how to properly use sunscreen to get the best result as well. While I agree that sunscreen is essential when choosing sun protection, the article failed to mention sun hats and sun protective clothing. It’s our hope at Coolibar that in the future sun protective clothing and hats will be talked about equal to sunscreen, as they’re an unbeatable match for keeping skin healthy and young looking. 

I wish to add the other ways to “protect your assets” to their list, including wearing a hat with a three inch brim or greater that has a tight weave and a high UPF rating. Not only can you find hats that are glamorous in themselves, but they’ll protect your eyes, ears, nose and sometime even neck depending on the brim size. Also, wear sun protective clothing, especially when outdoors for extended periods of time. Remember, most summer clothing allows UV to penetrate right through the garment, so you’ll have to apply sunscreen underneath if you’re not wearing UPF clothing. 

All of us at Coolibar are glad to see professionals in the modeling industry discussing the need for sun protection. Every time we see a new Marc Jacobs skin cancer prevention shirt or a fashion editor talking about the pale skin trend, we know we’ll start seeing a shift in the way many of us protect ourselves from the sun. 

Amanda Oberg 

Coolibar Blog Editor 

Marc Jacobs Protect The Skin You're In Shirt

Read the ModelKarma article: Protect Your Assets 

Feature photo credit: Jose-Goulao

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Inside Coolibar

Helping those with Albinism and Cancer Patients in Tanzania

A few months ago, Coolibar employee Ben Socwell was sitting down to dinner at Dr. Michael T. Nelson’s home, a long-time family friend, when the conversation turned to Coolibar sun protective clothing and the East Africa Medical Assistance Foundation (EAMAF). Dr. Nelson is a Professor of Radiology and a Board Member of EAMAF, a Minnesota based nonprofit dedicated to supporting and enhancing radiology services (cancer treatment) at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC).  KCMC is a 500-bed teaching hospital at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and is the site of the first radiology residency in the country. In Tanzania, the sun is unrelenting and people have little escape from it. There are also very high rates of skin cancer among Africans, especially for those who suffer with albinism (a deficit of melanin production that results in little or no pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes and makes skin ultra sensitive to the sun).  After their conversation over dinner, Ben returned to work with a mission to help find sun protection relief for patients at the center.

“After my dinner with Dr. Nelson, I invited him to tour the Coolibar building and look at the items we sell,” says Ben. “To my surprise Dr. Diefenthal, the creator and head of the department of radiology at KCMC in Tanzania, was in town and came with us, along with Dr. Shavon Flanagan who teaches at Northwestern and has worked at KCMC in the past. We talked at length about the technology of our fabrics and the goals and intent of Coolibar. They were impressed with our fabric technology and our focus on getting Coolibar products into the hands of medical professionals,” says Ben.

As they say, the rest is history. Approximately 800 sun protective items were shipped to Tanzania in October with the help of Global Health Ministries in Fridley, MN who arranges the safe arrival of the EAMAF supply containers in Africa. Among the variety of garments were also 300 hats. “The EAMAF believes the Tanzanian women suffering from albinism will especially benefit from the large brims,” says Ben. The items should be arriving any day now and will be given to the dermatologists who service local villages to be distributed to those in need.

“As you can read on the EAMAF website or in the brochure, Dr. Diefenthal is an amazing man who has not only devoted his life to radiology and the detection and treatment of cancer, but has done much of this work in Africa, including starting the EAMAF,” says Ben. “In the picture below are Dr. Diefenthal and Dr. Flanagan and myself during their tour of Coolibar’s headquarters.”

From left: Ben, Dr. Diefenthal, Dr. Flanagan

Thanks to Ben for making the world a more SunAWARE place!

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Events

Dermatologists and Nurses: We’ll see you soon!

At Coolibar, we like to keep in close touch with the physicians and nurses who help educate those dealing with a number of skin conditions that cause sun sensitivity. That’s why each year we attend the two principal conferences for dermatologists and dermatology nurses, and this year is no exception.

If you’re attending the DNA Annual Convention in February or the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in March, stop by and chat with Coolibar! All of our sun protection experts will be there in full force answering questions, showing new 2012 apparel and maybe even handing out special items.

 

 

DNA Annual Convention
When: Thursday, February 16, 2012 – Saturday, February 18, 2012
Where: Denver, CO
Event site: http://dna.annualmeeting2012.org/

 

 

 

 

AAD Annual Meeting
When: Saturday, March 17, 2012 – Monday, March 19, 2012 at 5:00pm.
Where: San Diego, CA
Event site: http://www.aad.org/meetings-and-events/annual-meeting

All of us at Coolibar look forward to seeing you there!

http://www.coolibar.com/

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Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing

Packing for a Warm Weather Get Away

Economization is the keyword when planning for any vacation. Many of us go through exhausting efforts to spend less, carry less and worry less. Accomplishing these three objectives doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know the pre-travel task to focus on – your packing list.

New York Style Expert Bridgette Raes agrees that packing less and focusing on bringing versatile items is important. In an interview with She Knows Beauty and Style on packing stylish for an international beach getaway, Raes says, “Remember very little of what you pack should only be worn once. Keep pieces simple so that they have more mix and match ability and don’t forget accessories either.  They can easily take a look from day to evening, or change up an outfit when you wear it more than once.  Plus they take up very little space.”

With this in mind, our designers at Coolibar devised some simple warm get-away travel solutions that will save you the packing space, checking that extra luggage and of course, keep you covered from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

 

1. A single Packable Wide Brim Hat is a must whether you’ll be spending time on the beach or sightseeing.  Look for a hat that’s crushable, has a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), and can be paired with beach, casual and even dress wear. Floppy brim hats tend to be the most versatile.

2. Pack one bottle of broad-spectrum sunscreen to apply to exposed skin, including your face.  In order to prevent having to pack multiple bottles for multiple purposes, find a sunscreen such as Cotz that’s oil-free and won’t clog pores so you can wear it on your face as well. Also, make sure the sunscreen you bring is water resistant and blocks both UVB and UVA rays (or contains ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide).

3. UV Swimwear is a necessity in sunny climates. Bring your bikini, but look for a cover-up or a Swim Jacket that can slip right over your suit. Cover-ups also work for bumming around the local town.  If you want more leg coverage, pack a pair of Swim Capris to match your cover-up.

4. A packable dress can be accessorized to look different and be worn more than once during your vacation. It should be made of a wrinkle resistant fabric that can easily hang in the bathroom while showering to release the wrinkles. Something like a Shirt Dress will fit right-in at the resort night and day.

5. Both sun protective and chic accessories including a colorful scarf and a variety of jewelry will help you make outfits look a little different each time you wear them. Having a scarf handy is also an easy way to get instant sun protection for your décolletage, which is often neglected and vulnerable to sun damage . And don’t forget a good pair of sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.

Now get ready for a great vacation!

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

Do Windows Protect Against UV?

A quick Google search on “UV window protection” indicates the answer is NO.  With over 31,000 results, the first page is filled with UV-blocking films for sale that provide protection.  That sun faded sofa at grandma’s house is a great visual reminder that UV does indeed pass through glass.

And what about in the car?  All of a car’s windows will filter out the sun’s short-wave, UVB rays (all glass will filter UVB, but only the windshield in cars comes partially treated against the sun’s UVA rays).  SunAWARE found that researchers at the University College Hospital in Besancon, France concluded that “participants showed significantly more clinical signs of facial aging on one side of their face due to driving or working close to windows over many years.”

Lucky for us, there are some easy solutions to protect from UV, including UVA-protective film for cars, homes and businesses.  And if you’re not sure if your windows are treated, protect yourself with sun protective clothing and sun sleeves, UV sunglasses and the daily use of broad spectrum sunscreen.

Be SunAWARE and be Safe!

UPF 50+ Sun Sleeves Provide Excellent UV Protection
 
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Educate Others SunAWARE

A New Year’s Resolution with a Cause

While you may already have a personal goal in mind to accomplish in 2012, have you thought about creating a New Year’s Resolution that can have a profound impact on others as well? Over 58 thousand people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2007 (the most recent year statistics are available) and the number continues to rise (Center for Disease Control). You, just one person, can help lower the rate people are being diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and save lives. This year, consider giving back by getting involved in a race for the cure, fundraise for melanoma research, or hold an event to help educate others about skin cancer and prevention. Our friends at Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) have some suggestions to help you get started. Go ahead – set out to accomplish something BIG this year!

People often make cause related resolutions at the new year, particularly after the holidays when they feel the loss of a loved one more deeply. Often the individual will contact MRF directly with a statement along the lines of “I recently lost someone and I want to do something to help.

The MRF is uniquely available to fill that need for those who lost someone to melanoma or for those who are currently battling it. The MRF has several event based programs that allow people to join our community and raise funds for research. What is attractive to the individual is that they become part of a larger group who can make a bigger impact. As one it’s hard to feel like you’re making a difference, but when you join a group that ultimately has nearly 10,000 participants a year, and raises nearly $2 million a year, then you know you’ve made a difference.

Our participants take on challenges from the simple to the extreme. Many join us at our 5k Miles For Melanoma walks. Many of them will do some fundraising of their own, but most will join us to help with awareness and provide a sense of community. The more people we have at these events, the more we can make people aware of the need for sun safety and prevention.

Other participants might take on more daunting challenges – running a marathon, racing in a triathlon, riding their bike across the U.S. and more. These folks all become fundraisers and bring in an average of $1200 or more.

We also have supporters who focus on awareness and education activities – they often take their own time to reach out to school groups and businesses to educate them about the importance of getting a skin cancer screening, using sunscreen and promoting a better understanding of the seriousness of melanoma. It’s not “just” skin cancer. The MRF relies on our advocates and messengers to provide this valuable information to their communities.

Carolyn Edrington
Melanoma Research Foundation

Perseverance is key to reach your goal. You can achieve great things if you are focused and motivated.  Taking on a cause related resolution by yourself can be a daunting task, so create a plan to accomplish your goals and set milestones, track your progress and keep a positive ‘can do’ attitude. Make 2012 your greatest year yet!

Happy New Year!

Coolibar

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SunAWARE

While Melanoma Treatments Advance, Prevention Remains Key

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, isn’t going away. In fact, The National Cancer Institute previously estimated in 2011 that 70,230 people would be diagnosed with melanoma and 8,790 would die of melanoma of the skin. While two major melanoma treatment advancements have made headlines over the past year, it’s even more important to remember that the best way to fight this disease is prevention.

When caught early, melanoma can usually be cured with surgery alone, but once it metastasizes, treatment options become limited. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for stage IV melanoma is about 15% to 20%. Yervoy™ (Ipilimumab) and Zelboraf™ (Vemurafenib) are two new late stage melanoma fighting drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. Yervoy is the first melanoma drug to receive FDA approval in 13 years. It’s also the first proven treatment to extend overall survival for late stage melanoma patients. “Yervoy may offer many patients a 2-year survival advantage, with a smaller percentage of patients being virtually cured,” claims the Skin Cancer Foundation’s (SCF) report the new drug.

B-RAF
Crystallographic structure of B-Raf (rainbow colored, N-terminus = blue, C-terminus = red) complexed with vemurafenib (spheres, carbon = white, oxygen = red, nitrogen = blue, chlorine = green, fluorine = cyan, sulfur = yellow). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3OG7.png

According to the SCF, Zelboraf, approved later in the year by the FDA, is the first targeted genetic therapy of its kind to treat advanced metastatic melanoma patients whose tumors have a specific mutation in the BRAF gene that’s present in 40-60 percent of melanomas. While both drugs represent a step towards a cure for melanoma, in most cases, these treatments only extend the life of advanced stage melanoma patients, and a cure for melanoma has yet to be discovered.

Even though melanoma, in particular late stage, is difficult to treat once it occurs, the good news is that skin cancer, including melanoma is preventable in many cases. Over exposure to UVA and UVB rays produced by the sun or artificial ultraviolet light (i.e. tanning beds) can form genetic mutations in the skin, which leaves those who have burned or tanned susceptible to all forms of skin cancer later in life. UV radiation is considered the main cause of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs), including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The SCF says NMSCs strike more than 250,000 Americans each year. Experts also believe UV radiation may also cause melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

By protecting yourself from UV rays (both artificial UV from tanning beds and naturally occurring UV from the sun) and performing routine skin checks, you’ll not only help reduce the incidence of skin cancers, but improve your overall skin appearance and health. Skin sun damage is cumulative, so there is still time to grab a bottle of SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen, a wide brim hat, UV sunglasses and look into adding sun protective clothing to your wardrobe.

Photo credit: anolobb

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade Success Stories Wellness Warriors

Doc Learns the Hard Way to Avoid Tanning

Some stories are so powerful they need to be retold.  This blog was written by Dr. Jessica Sparks Lilley, a pediatrician who learned the hard way that the risks of getting melanoma from using a tanning bed are real! Please do not use tanning beds.  Please do not allow your children to use tanning beds.  Help pass legislation to ban the use of tanning beds by minors.

“As a pediatrician, I have dedicated much of my life to improving the health of children—thirteen years of formal training after high school, to be exact.  I’ve worked thirty hour shifts every other day, delayed my dream of having children of my own, and moved across the country for the best learning opportunities.  Amid this grueling schedule, during my second year of residency I noticed in a bleary-eyed post-call shower that a mole on my chest had changed a little.  I recounted the “ABCDs” of skin cancer—asymmetry, borders, color, diameter—and my mole was only a little larger than a pencil eraser with more heterogeneity than I remembered (meaning that it was a mix of brown and black rather than just all brown).  When I finally made an appointment with my internist (again, post-call—can’t be choosy when you work eighty hours a week), he brushed my concerns aside and refused to even look at it, instead writing out a referral to dermatology.  Six months later, the opportunity to see a dermatologist finally arose, and I found myself standing in the specialist’s office that February morning to find that the referral had never made it.  My medical training had kicked in and caused a bad feeling in my gut about the mole, so I called my internist’s office from the waiting room and even cried on the phone to get them to help me.  After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the referral was processed and the physician’s assistant worked me into her schedule—the suspicious mole was off to pathology within fifteen minutes, and I received the call two days later that I was right to be worried—that mole represented an early-stage melanoma.

I was in my parents’ living room when I got the call.  I had traveled from Philadelphia to Mississippi for vacation.  I will never forget the way my mother cried when she overheard me asking questions about whether sentinel node mapping would need to be part of the diagnostic work-up.  I only required a wider excision, which was done that very week and (praise God!) showed no signs of metastasis.  As I sat in doctors’ waiting rooms and even as I was walking back to the operating room, I mulled over the same regrets—why did I ever step foot into a tanning salon?

The first time I went to a tanning bed, I was fifteen years old and trying to get a little “color” to look good in a dress I found to wear in a beauty pageant.  I bought eight visits, heard nothing of the risks (which were largely unknown at the time), never burned, and actually thought it was fun to have the fifteen minutes of quiet rest.  I had to beg my parents to let me go, and the owner of the tanning salon was quick to tell my mother that indoor tanning was much safer than tanning outside.  The strongest argument against the behavior in high school I heard was a bad urban legend about a girl who “fried her ovaries” by tanning.  You’d think that I would have been hesitant to step inside a device that looked like a coffin, had a dial like an oven, and was cleaned with only a dilute cleaning solution by other tanners.  Alas, I went about ten times a year after that for various reasons—prom, pageants, and even my wedding—despite being able to draw a picture of the pyrimadine dimers I was forming in my DNA as a result of UV radiation!  Strangely, I wore sunscreen and rarely went outside, especially as my training intensified.  The first time I thought seriously about never going back was after my first pathology lecture dealing with melanoma and the strong emphasis on UV radiation as a cause of skin cancer; I considered it again when a friend was caring for a patient with metastatic melanoma during our third year of medical school and lovingly warned me that I was putting my health in danger; but because I started tanning at a young age, the behavior seemed safe to me.  I rationalized tanning in every way imaginable.  After I graduated medical school, I vowed to never return lest I set a bad example as a physician.  My last tanning visit was April 24, 2007, about a week before my wedding…and two years before the cancer diagnosis that changed my life.

I am continuing to devote my life to the health of children now as an advocate to ban tanning in minors, just as we regulate other known carcinogens like tobacco.  We know that younger DNA is more vulnerable to dangerous mutations and that teens don’t yet have the cognitive skills to judge long-term ramifications of their actions.  We also understand now that any indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75%!  I am appalled that I have friends who continue to go, reasoning that tanning “isn’t that bad” and is their “only vice” and “something they do for themselves.”  I’m infuriated that some idiot doctors perpetuate the myth that sun exposure is healthy and the lie that tanning beds are a good source of vitamin D.  That’s absolute hogwash.  I’m a fellow in pediatric endocrinology and know that much better sources of vitamin D are available without the side effect of deadly cancer!

I shudder to think of what would have happened to me if I hadn’t detected my melanoma early.  Late-stage melanoma is almost always fatal.  Treatments like interferon have horrible side effects and don’t save everyone.  I no longer feel safe in my own skin and feel that the quality of my life has been impacted by the fear that my cancer will recur.  The fact that melanoma is the most common form of cancer death in my demographic (25-29 year old women) is astounding, and it is unfortunately on the rise in association with more young women with a history of indoor tanning.  It’s humiliating to recount my story—I should have known better—but I hope to teach everyone who will listen three important take-home points:

1. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever indoor (or outdoor) tan!  A tan is evidence of skin damage and potential DNA mutation that can lead to cancer.  There is no such thing as a safe tan!

2. If you are worried about something with your health, there may be a reason.  Talk to your physician, and if he or she doesn’t listen, find someone who will.

3. Finally, take time to take care of your health.  We have all made an idol/status symbol out of “busyness” to the detriment of our well-being.  If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

As part of my crusade, at least one later stage melanoma has been diagnosed and countless friends and acquaintances have stopped tanning.  I will keep telling my story to anyone who will listen to defeat this often preventable cancer.”

Jessica Sparks Lilley, MD

A post shared by our friends at SunAWARE.

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Inside Coolibar

Happy Holidays from Coolibar

The holidays create such excitement here at Coolibar. Chances are you’ve probably talked with one of our cheery customer service gals on the phone or chatted with our social fanatics on Facebook, but now we want to take a brief moment to let you get to know some of the people you’re dealing with (and we mean that in the nicest way).  Let us preface this by saying we work VERY hard, but we like to have a little bit of fun too.

A little friendly competition never hurt anyone –right? Our tremendously smart accounting team (or should I say Ben?) decided to arrange an ugly holiday outfit contest.  The competition was fierce, as you can see from the group photo, but our customer service extraordinaire Peggy took home the ‘prize’ for this one.

Ugly Shirt Day

Then, who can resist homemade cookies, candy canes and boxed chocolates that seem to make their way into the office every day during the month of December.

The holiday treats are almost gone!!

This holiday season, we decided to sponsor a family through the East Metro Women’s Council. Many of us took an hour out of an afternoon to neatly wrap all of the goodies we went out to find and top every last package off with a bow.

Wrapping presents for the adopted family

Finally, as a fun little activity, everyone had to reveal what the BEST gift they ever gave was. Answers included:

“Dog sledding in Jamaica.” – Alicia, Coolibar Merchandising

“I surprised my husband with a piece of artwork that he really wanted.  He thought I wasn’t listening when he spoke of how much he liked it.  I had to sneak around to connect with the artist, pick it up and keep it hidden – not an easy task.” – Jennifer, Coolibar Marketing

“A toaster. Long story.” – Seth, Coolibar Warehouse

“The first year Aaron (my boyfriend) and I celebrated Christmas together, we gave gift cards to a Hibachi restaurant to each of our families and some of our closest friends, and planned a date where we all came together for a meal. There were probably about 25-30 people at the dinner, and it was a great chance for our separate friends and family to finally meet and mingle.” – Rose, Coolibar Administration

“Two diamond rings…long story.” – Lu, Coolibar Creative

“My step mother has been going to a vacation house in northern Michigan since she was young. Often I have joined them in the summer. There is an old abandoned barn in a field that she loves to spend time looking at and getting lost in the beauty of it, and the picturesque scenery. One summer I took my 35mm camera and tripod and snuck out to take black and white photographs. I kept this a secret until Christmas. I had the picture blown up and framed in a mounting that resembles old planks of wood. Now she can look at the barn set in a field of high wheat any time she wants to.” – Ben, Coolibar Accounting

“Happiness and smiles.”  – Oumkarn, Coolibar Information Technology

“I gave my husband a hot air balloon ride over Lake Minnetonka.  He loved it!” – Pat, Coolibar Customer Service

Let us know on the Coolibar Facebook page what the best gift you ever gave was. We hope you enjoy celebrating the holidays as much as we do. Happy holidays from the Coolibar family to yours!

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