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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Toting Around…

Memorial Day typically kicks off the summer season, and this weekend many of us started our beach and pool routines.  I don’t know about you, but the one thing that sometimes detracts me from driving to the beach, as much as I love it, is all that stuff we have to bring with us. That’s why a few years ago I decided to look for the perfect beach bag, as large as I could find it, to help carry the million bottles of sunscreen, towels, snacks, and everything else I normally carry in my purse.  I also prefer bags that can be thrown in the washer (I’m a big Vera Bradley fan for this reason), or can easily be cleaned.  I’ve had tons of different beach bags in the past, as living in Miami provides us the opportunity to go to the beach a lot during the year, but here is a roundup of some of my favorite beach totes for Summer 2015:

beach totes

1) SCOUT 4 Boys Jumbo Zip-Top Tote,Captain Hooked pattern.  www.scoutbags.com, $54.  Available in various other patterns too.

2) The New England Trading Company Recycled Sailcloth Bag, large, zipper top, www.thenewenglandtradingcompany.com, $120.  Available in various other patterns too.

3) Tommy Hilfiger Grommets Woven Rugby Stripe Tote, www.macys.com, $65.

4) Ashville Crocheted Raffia Tote from Calypso St. Barth, www.calypsostbarth.com, $175.

5) Pink & Green Geometric Tote with Pockets from http://razzberryfizz.com, $24.

6) Whale Mesh Beach Bag from www.saltwatercanvas.com, $36.

7) Vera Bradley Large Family Tote in Rio Squiggle pattern, www.verabradley.com, $58.  Available in various other patterns too.

8) Deluxe Utility Tote in the Bubble Bloom pattern. www.thirtyonegifts.com, $50.  Available in various other patterns too.

9) Palm Tree Dockside Beach Bag, www.lifeisgood.com, $50.

What types of bags/totes do you use for your summer outings?  Do you have any favorites?

My Signature

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?

Very Vera

Who hasn’t heard of  Vera Bradley?  I have been a Vera Bradley fan for over 13 years now.  The first item I ever owned was my daughter’s diaper bag, a surprise gift from my husband.  Of course, he had no idea who Vera Bradley was back then, he just thought I would really like it, and I did (I still have it).  Ever since then, I have been a bit obsessed with Vera.  What I’m really addicted to are the travel bags and accessories (smaller pouches, phone cases, beach towels).  I became a real fan when we lived in Raleigh a few years ago, where Veras were sold everywhere and everyone uses them.  Eventually, my daughter became obsessed too.  She loves all the binders, pens, sticky notes, and every year she gets a new backpack and lunch bag with the latest pattern for school.  We now live in Miami, and you don’t see many Veras around this neck of the woods, but we still love our bags!  And lucky for us, there is a Vera Bradley store at the Falls Shopping Center.

The large duffel bag in beautiful prints.

The large duffel bag in beautiful prints. Photo courtesy of VeraBradley.com.

What I like most about these bags is that they’re washable.  We travel a lot as a family, and I’m a bit of a “germaphobe”, so I love the fact that once we’ve returned from our trips, I can just pop these bags in the washer, and they’re ready to go again.  They are also full of great compartments and pockets, which make packing a carry-on bag very easy.

A Vera fan from the start!

A Vera fan from the start!

I also like that they’re quite durable.  My daughter’s backpack is always in pretty good condition by the time schools ends, and I usually wash both the backpack and lunch bag several times during the year.  This makes it very easy for resale on eBay or to give them away to friends.

Now, they are a bit pricey, but they are really well made.  They only drawback that I see, is that in the past few years, they have changed the patterns and styles quite often, making it difficult to complete a collection (not an issue for me).  But if you’re lucky you can still find some of the retired patterns on eBay.

And of course if you live anywhere near Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Vera is headquartered, you can attend their Annual Spring Outlet Sale, always held in April, with discounts of 40-60% off retail prices.  I have never been to one of these sales (probably a good thing), but I have had the pleasure of visiting their outlet store in Orlando, which was quite the adventure.  People were running all over the place grabbing anything they could get their hands on, so I can only imagine the craziness that takes place in Indiana!

The latest in Vera...the baby collection. Photo courtesy of VeraBradley.com

The latest in Vera…the baby collection. Photo courtesy of VeraBradley.com

Vera Bradley Annual Spring Sale

Vera Bradley Annual Spring Outlet Sale in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Do you own any Vera Bradley bags, and if you do, which are your favorites?

Preppy Mama

Photo Courtesy of The College Prepster

Photo Courtesy of The College Prepster

Browsing through Pinterest, as you can find me on most days, I came across some really interesting pins by a pinner named The College Prepster, who pens an amazing blog. I happen to love preppy styles, Lilly Pulitzer, Jack Rogers sandals (my daughter and I have had them in all of the colors of the rainbow) Vera Bradley, J. Crew, LandsEnd, and of course, anything that’s monogrammed!

When my daughter was little, she had tons of monogrammed hair bows, backpacks and clothing. This was especially true when we lived in Raleigh, where you could find shops that monogrammed in almost all the shopping centers in town.

Now that we are back in Miami, it’s a little bit different. But I’m always coming across preppy websites through Facebook pages or Pinterest pins, and when I found this cute list, (and there are many more of these cute lists on her blog) I thought I would share it with you.

Don’t forget to check out this website, especially for those of you with young ladies heading off to college soon, it’s full of great ideas and advice!  Happy Monday!