Back to School Ready…

Today I have a treat…my very first guest blog post and it’s from my 14-year-old daughter, who is starting high school today….enjoy!

Back to School season is my favorite time of the year. I am aware that for most people, going back to school isn’t something to look forward to. I have just always found something exciting about being in a new grade and meeting all my new teachers. My favorite thing of all though, is going to either Office Depot or Target and seeing all the same school supplies from the year before in the “Back to School” section. Because I love “Back to School” so much, I’ve made a list of essentials every girl needs to have:

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  1. Vera Bradley Backpack Set:
  • Campus Backpack- Katalina Pink Diamonds: $109.00, verabradley.com; this is personally my favorite backpack for school because it has a lot of space with thick straps and an opening for my earbuds so I can listen to music on my way to class.
  • Lighten Up Lunch Cooler- Katalina Pink: $34.00, verabradley.com; Vera Bradley lunch bags are awesome because if they get stained they are all washable.
  • Laptop Sleeve- Katalina Pink Diamonds: $38.00, verabradley.com; this laptop sleeve is perfect for backpacks without laptop protection.
  • On a Roll Pencil Case- Katalina Pink: $18.00, verabradley.com; small pencil cases are the perfect size to carry pens and pencils.
  1. Yellow Blue & White Heart Binder: $21.95, zazzle.com; this binder is the perfect place to carry loose-leaf paper for note-taking. It’s also a great place for storing graded assignments and handouts.
  2. Yoobi 8 Tab Dividers: $2.99, target.com; dividers always come in handy when sorting notes and handouts for each subject. I personally love Yoobi brand because when you buy one, another binder goes to a classroom in need.
  3. Paper Mate Mechanical Pencils: $3.89, amazon.com; I love these pencils so much, mainly because the lead size is 1.3, making them way less likely to break while you’re writing.
  4. Paper Mate Felt Tip Pen: $10.00, amazon.com; these colorful marker pens are perfect for color coding my study cards.
  5. Watermelon Sharpener: $2.99, amazon.com; it’s always a good idea to carry around a super fabulous sharpener in case the teacher’s happens to be broken one day.
  6. Lilly Pulitzer, Tusk in Sun Planner: $28.00, papersource.com; having a cute planner is one of the best ways to stay organized.
  7. Pony Party Sticky Tabs: £2.50, paperchase.co.uk; I love marking important pages in my textbooks with these tabs.
  8. Yoobi 10ct Mini Highlighters: $4.99, target.com; in my opinion, highlighting in more than one color is always helpful when studying from my textbooks. These highlighters specifically are also from Yoobi brand.
  9. Red Apple Eraser: $0.85, asianfoodgrocer.com; Japanese erasers are really cute and an apple is perfect for school.
  10. Sharpie, Neon Pink Fine Point Marker: $1.50, jetpens.com; I mainly like to keep sharpies in my pencil case to label my textbooks and required reading books.
  11. Unicorn Notebook: $6.99, cottonon.com; unicorns are adorable, so why not have one on your notebook?
  12. Mini Floral Notebook: $10.00, shopbando.com; this mini notebook is perfect for writing down things I need to get done later on in the day.

And a well organized locker is also a must…these items will help keep you in check:

Locker Essentials

  1. Teal Locker Shelf: $14.45, amazon.com; having a locker shelf will really help in creating space for not only your textbooks, but your other locker essentials.
  2. Green Locker Rug: $11.98, amazon.com; I think having a locker rug is not only adorable, but I’ve found it helps keep your books from slipping sideways.
  3. Black and White Dry Erase Board: $11.05, amazon.com; having either a dry erase board or a blackboard in your locker is the best thing to remind yourself of basically anything you need to do later on in the week; especially if you have to remember to bring money for a bake sale.
  4. Yes to Cucumbers Facial Wipes: $4.85, target.com; if you’re feeling sweaty or you just want to wipe your face to refresh yourself, having a small packet of facial wipes will always come in handy. I personally love the “Yes To” brand.
  5. Eos Blackberry Nectar Lip Balm: $4.00, kohls.com; if your lips are ever chapped or you just like the flavor of it, lip balm is great to have in your locker.
  6. Tide-to-Go Pen: $5.50, walmart.com; if you know me, you know I’m clumsy, so this is definitely something I need to have in my locker to remove all my lunch stains.
  7. Light BB Cream: $22.95, chichicosmetics.com; having some backup bb cream in your locker is great in case you were in a rush that morning and you need to cover up some of those blemishes.
  8. Leopard Tangle Teezer: £12.00, selfridges.com; some people have amazing hair that stays intact all day even if it’s 100 degrees outside; and some people, like me, need to brush their hair in the middle of the day to keep it from becoming a lion’s mane.
  9. GeoFabulous Design Sticky Notes: $15.00, urbangirl.com; I mainly use these adorable sticky notes to slip notes in my best friend’s locker which is right next to mine.
  10. Daisy Solar Calculator: £6.95, dotcomgiftshop.com; most math teachers suggest having your own calculator and I like to keep mine in my locker mainly because I almost never need it.
  11. Lil’ Cutie Pie Hand Sanitizer: $7.99, amazon.com; personally, I am a germaphobe and school is full of germs so this is a MUST! (I also have one on my backpack)
  12. Lil-Lets Teen Tampons: £1.59, boots.com; if you have a (female) emergency, these are great to have stored in your locker in case you have one of those days.
  13. Ice Breakers Cool Mints: $1.99, target.com; most schools nowadays don’t allow gum, so I love having these mints in my locker to either freshen my breath or even as a little snack.
  14. Pink Scissors: $2.40, morninggloryus.com; you never know when you might have a loose string or maybe even a tag you forgot to cut…
  15. Index Cards and Case: $28.45, amazon.com; the main thing I use to study is index cards. I love keeping them in my locker so whenever I pass by, I can just review a bit before the next class.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful school year, and I hope that my tips will help you.

 

 

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Lilly Pulitzer for Target…

How can my shopping experience at Target get any better (is that even possible?) This is how…only 2 more days until the launch of Lilly Pulitzer at Target! I’m so excited, I’ve been a Lilly fan for many years, and I think it’s an amazing collaboration for those that enjoy the preppy look but find the Lilly collection a bit out of their price range. That’s the best part of the deal…Target will sell Lilly items at Target prices, but only for a limited time!  Doesn’t get much better than that. You can browse the entire look book online, which includes over 250 products for women, children, beauty, and home ranging in price from $2 (for a nail file) to $150 (for a hammock), but nearly 200 of the items come in with a price below $30. While the collection will be available in stores, some items will be sold exclusively at Target.com. And make sure to watch the campaign video, featuring actors Chris Noth (Mr. Big from Sex and The City) and Bella Thorne in the midst of a ’60s Palm Beach soiree. Take at look at some of the items Target will be carrying: 

Lillycollage

Photos courtesy of Target.

Will you be shopping at Target this coming Sunday?  I know I will…

Winter Nights

For many of you, winter is here and you’re already wondering how many more days until summer (158)!  Luckily for me, I live in Miami, where it is summer year round, although I would absolutely love and welcome some cooler weather. So, on the unlikely occasion that the weather dips down, or on a “winter” evening with my air-conditioner set to 70, here’s what I need for my “Cozy Night In”:

SOCKS… I always have socks on when I am home, and I sleep with socks on every night!  Don’t know why but me feet are always cold and I love how warm my comfy socks make them feel.  I love all socks, but my favorites are the Thermal Socks with Trim available at Bed Bath & Beyond. These thermal socks are moisturizing and extra warm. The unique double layer provides warmth and comfort, while the inner layer is infused with rich, hydrating shea butter for conditioning moisturizer (which lasts through 15 washings).   I have several pairs in various colors, they are the best, $10.

SLIPPERS… Along with my socks I need a great pair of slippers for walking around the house.  I love the UGGS slippers that my daughter has, but I didn’t feel like spending so much, so I found a great substitute.  I recently came across the Women’s Shearling Scuff Slippers from Land’s End.  They are a dream and come in several different colors.  I got the pink ones of course! On sale now for $45.

BLANKET… What good is a cozy night in without a great blanket to cuddle up with?  My favorite is the Room Essentials Microfleece Blanket available at Target.  It’s super soft and keeps me warm.  Available in various colors, $15.  Vera Bradley also has microfleece blanket in various patterns, just as soft, $49.

HOT COCOA… My favorite beverage for a warm, comfy night…brewing a cup of hot cocoa in my Keurig.  I love the Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate K cups, also available at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, $10 for a box of 16.

GOOD MOVIE… I love a good, funny, romantic comedy, (chick flicks), any will do.  A few of my favorites are Under the Tuscan Sun, The Devil Wears Prada, Letters to Juliet, The Vow, 13 Going On 30… you get the drift. And I’m also OK watching most anything on TLC (don’t judge)!

After my evening of fun and TV, there’s always my inviting bed!  Nothing like cozy, fluffy bedding, like the type one finds in the luxury hotel chains to invite you to a great night’s sleep. And if you’re looking for some new bedding, you have to check out the line by Parachute Home. Parachute provides high quality bedding made from Egyptian cotton, designed locally in Venice Beach, CA and manufactured in Italy (ahh… Italy, say no more). Take a look at this picture from their website, just beautiful! My favorite are the powder blue sheets, oh and I can’t wait to try their lavender scented candles as well.  Sheet sets start at $99.

Luxurious Bedding.  Photo Courtesy of Parachute.

Luxurious Bedding. Photo Courtesy of Parachute.

How do you stay comfy and cozy when the weather cools off?

Duct Tape Crafts for Summertime

My daughter discovered duct tape in the 4th grade. Her classmates introduced her to these wonderfully, colored tapes, which at first, she wasn’t too sure what to do with.  She came home from school one day and declared that we had to go to Michael’s or Target to get these colorful tapes to “make things out of”.  Now, let me start by saying that we are a pretty crafty family, and I love to frequent Michael’s and JoAnn’s for all of my scrapbooking needs.  However, I had not yet heard of these tapes, (aside from the usual black duct tape) and had no idea what she was talking about, so I put the request on the back burner.  After all, there was always a new fad in town…Webkinz, Littlest Pets, Silly Bandz, Perler beads, etc…

DuctTape3A few weeks later, while shopping at Target, she sees the tapes.  Back then, they were only available in solid bright colors like hot pink, aqua blue, lime green and so forth.  Of course, she wanted all of them, but at $5.99 a pop, I decided to only go with one and see how long the fad would last.  She started experimenting with the tape by making small, simple things like bookmarks, until she realized the girls  in her school were learning how to make some pretty elaborate wallets (and of course, in multiple colors).  I waited a bit to see how intense this new fad would become before I decided to purchase a few more colors.  Pretty soon my daughter was teaching herself how to make wallets, phone cases, pencil pouches, hair bows, bracelets, well, just about anything she could teach herself from internet tutorials!  And of course, she started customizing the items as well.  As with all fads, duct tape started coming out with all sorts of patterns, even holiday ones.

DuctTape1Fast forward a few years, and my daughter started selling her items at the school craft sale (all proceeds went to charity), where she was getting requests on a daily basis!  Needless to say, the fascination has died down a bit, as now she’s in 7th grade.  However, every once in a while, when she’s in her crafting mood, she will take out her tapes and think of new ways to craft with them.  Last year, she covered her school laptop bag with the tapes, and she still finds ways of decorating with them.  Well, at least I’m glad this fad lasted more than a few months…

Some of my daughter's creations!

Some of my daughter’s creations!

You can find many duct tape ideas on the internet and on the duct tape brand website. Here are some additional links to some other fun duct tape crafts your kids might enjoy…

Christmas Decorations Photo Courtesy of Joann Fabrics

Christmas Decorations
Photo Courtesy of Joann Fabrics

Flower Pens Photo Courtesy of Seven Sisters

Luggage Tags Photo Courtesy of Qreative Quail

Waterproof Beach Bag Photo Courtesy of

Waterproof Beach Bag
Photo Courtesy of Spoonful.com

Keurig and Snapple…A Perfect Combination

Ready for some refreshing drinks on this Memorial Day?  Take a look at what I found! A few months ago, I finally caved in and purchased a Keurig coffee maker.  This is one of the best purchases I have ever made for my kitchen, it’s so easy to use, I love it.  Since I’m the only coffee drinker in my house, I was getting tired of wasting a whole pot of coffee, every time I wanted a cup. I love brewing the different Starbucks coffees and the Swiss-Miss hot chocolate too.  Iced coffee though…that’s never really been my thing, I like my coffee drinks hot.  But recently, I came across a cool new concept, Brew Over Ice K-Cup packs (where else…at Target of course). Now I can also prepare cool iced drinks with my Keurig, perfect for living in this Miami heat.

My favorite Brew Over Ice K-Cups are the Snapple Iced Teas, which come in lemon, peach and raspberry flavors. I’ve also tried the Celestial Seasonings Half and Half (Arnold Palmer) and the Green Mountain Naturals Lemonade, which are both pretty good also.

These drinks are just as easy to make as the coffees.  You just fill your cup to the top with ice and place the Brew Over Ice K-Cup into the brewer. Press the brew button, stir and enjoy your drink! It’s so easy, even a child can make these…which reminds me, I think it’s time for me to teach my daughter how to use the Keurig brewer…

Photos courtesy of BrewOverIce.com

Watermelon Cupcakes

I love the seasonal section in Target, especially when we’re entering spring and summer.  It’s always full of patio furniture, beach toys, aisles upon aisles of suntan lotions, and season specific items, such as…Watermelon Cupcake mix.  The first time I tried a watermelon cupcake was at Baked by Melissa, my favorite cupcake shop in the world (in NYC of course).  I’ve never again seen or tasted a watermelon cupcake in any of my local cupcake shops in Miami, so when I saw the Betty Crocker Watermelon Cupcake Mix (and also green watermelon flavored frosting), well I just had to try it!  Sold exclusively at Target, they are available for a limited time and will provide the perfect treat after a picnic lunch or barbeque this summer. Luckily, my daughter announced that she had to participate in a bake sale at her school the next day, so I thought, why not try these cupcakes (after all, we don’t want 24 of them in our house)! The only item I added that was not included in the box, were mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels on the top to make them look like seeds. They came out really cute and they tasted delicious!  My daughter said they were a hit at school too.  For the next bake sale I think we’ll try the Pink Lemonade cake mix or the Key Lime cupcake mix, both available at Target…

Yummy Betty Crocker Watermelon Cupcakes

Yummy Betty Crocker Watermelon Cupcakes