Must Haves for Back to School

Some may already be back to school BUT for those in NJ, they still have some time to soak up the sun.  I honestly don’t know many who think back-to-school shopping is an exciting time of the year except those who graduated from crayons and glue sticks to a college campus!   I am sure many wish colleges and universities sent out a handy school supply shopping list like they did during the first 12 years of school.  This way we could put together the must-haves for those first time college students….

School in style

Good grades are important, but who said studying can’t be stylish, too? Whether you’re hitting the library, meeting a project group at a local coffee shop or running to class, there’s a Thirty-One bag for every student.

Are you a nothing-but-the-essentials kind of person? The Call Me Crossbody is the perfect size for your smartphone and a few cards when you’re on-the-go. If you need to pack a little more but still love the convenience of a hands-free bag, a Boutique Backpack can hold a few books, a water bottle, keys and more while also adding a chic pop to a casual outfit. And if you need to pack for a day’s worth of classes or need a work bag for your internship, the Around Town® Tote is perfect for books, folders and your laptop.

Dorm organization hacks

Space is limited in a college dorm room, so maximize every inch by investing in utility products which are durable, functional and come in the cutest prints.

Stow a Large Utility Tote  (LUT) under your bed to hold shoes or seasonal clothes that could take up space in your closet. With tons of prints available, from staple neutrals to whimsical cacti, you can match your LUT to your bedding or wall art. A Stand Tall Bin is the perfect size for a hamper or laundry basket, plus it comes in handy during move-in and collapses for easy storage. Guess what?  The Stand Tall Bin is on SALE this month.  Get TWO with a $35 purchase!  Finally, organize your desk or study space with a  Fold N’ FileTM, Double Duty® Caddy or Littles Carry-AllTM Caddy to hold documents, pens and office supplies.

Lunch break

You may not be packing PB&Js for the cafeteria anymore, but every busy college student needs to eat – and chances are you’ll be doing it on the go. Make snacking between classes a breeze with a lunch thermal that matches your personality. Choose a Thermal Tote in a bold, bright print or go for the Lunch Break Thermal Ltd. in elevated fabrics and finishes. With so many options, there’s a great lunch bag for every student.

Not your average backpack

You don’t have to leave your trusty backpack behind in grade school. In fact, when your classes and meetings are on opposite sides of campus, there’s no better way to stay organized and prepared than with a backpack for every occasion.

Heading over to the rec center for a quick workout? Grab a Cinch Sac or Sling-Back Bag to carry your water, headphones, deodorant and a change of clothes. Looking for something a little roomier for class? Go with the Adventures Backpack, complete with a thermal pocket for drinks and snacks, or the Crossbody Organizing Tote for organization on the go.

Weekend reset

After you’ve worked hard all week, it’s nice to have the weekend to relax, have fun and take some time for yourself. Whether it means staying on campus to hang out with your roommates or heading home to see your family for a few days, these stylish, versatile solutions will have you covered. Opt for an All About the Benjamins® wallet for a lunch date with friends, or choose a Retro Metro® Bag to bring along to the store or while running errands. If you like to spend your weekends at home, pack up an Away for the Weekender with all your overnight essentials.

What’s on your back to school shopping list? Can’t decide what bag will fit your needs, I’m happy to help you find the perfect solution for your organizing or back to school struggles.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday

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Today is Thankful Thursday.  I know the rest of the social media world thinks of today as “Throwback Thursday” but today I want to be “thankful”.

I am thankful for:

  • My Mom who loves me unconditionally
  • Being a child of divorce
  • My loving hubby
  • Being a mom
  • My guardian angels who always guide me
  • A family who supports me despite my faults and bad decisions
  • Mistakes I made in high school which changed my life
  • Mistakes I made in college which shaped my future
  • The variety of jobs as I looked for me
  • The friends who have come for a season and those who have stayed
  • My addiction
  • My relapse and recovery
  • My lack of confidence
  • My business and its roller coaster journey
  • My  weightloss struggle
  • My love of writing
  • My passion for helping others
  • My rocky walk with God
  • My MS
  • The rocky and winding road to find myself
  • and al of the other good, bad and ugly parts of my life

Thankful-for

My life has not been perfect, but today, I am deciding to view it through the lens of thankfulness and gratitude.  For it is those things which have helped to shape me.  It is those imperfections which have helped me to become the woman I am today.  Some days those same things take me on a dark journey of negativity BUT today is NOT one of them.

TODAY, I am thankful for the struggles because without them I would not be able to make a difference in the life of someone else. I would not be able to be compassionate. I would not have the desire to make others smile.

TODAY, I am thankful for a loving God who not only has forgiven me for my mistakes but continues to guide me.  I have faith and trust with Him, all things are possible.

So, what are you thankful for today?  Share with us and let’s celebrate our imperfections together.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Campus style: College fashion bag trends

I know High schoolers and younger are not thinking about going back to school BUT I am sure the college students are gearing up for their new life.  The summer Belinda went off to college was a whirlwind of craziness….

Of course, changing colleges just two weeks before heading off for the first extended trip away from home did help either.  She went from attending Johnson & Wales in Charlotte to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.  I wasn’t sure how it would work out but it was the best decision she ever made.  I miss her like crazy since she is 12 hours away but I am so proud of the woman she has become.

From backpack purses and messenger bags to slouchy totes and crossbody wallets, this year’s hand-picked campus trends will take you back to college in style. Read on to discover the hottest bag fashions designed to be super-functional, keeping you organized semester after semester.

Trend-right mini backpack purses

A small backpack purse is the perfect combination of hands-free and on-trend. Choose one with sturdy hardware and plenty of pockets – the one you pick will need to hold a ton and stand up to your busy daily routine. Don’t go too bold with this one: choose a solid color in an elevated finish to maintain wearability and lend a timeless air to an of-the-moment style. Thirty-One Gifts’ own Boutique Backpack comes in a luxe, faux-pebble fabrication in your choice of four colors with contrasting striped handles for a pop of fun!

Brand new for Fall 2018, our version of this fashionable, hands-free bag is available early (and at a great price!) to Customers who invite their friends to shop Thirty-One Gifts together this July! Connect with me to learn more about shopping and sharing this great style when you host a party. And as always, personalization is free on Hostess Specials – so make your backpack really stand out with an embroidered monogram or initial in color-coordinating thread.

Campus fashion tip: Wear it over a flowy floral top or dress, and tie a light cardigan or denim button-up shirt around your waist for those college lecture halls that seem to perpetually blast the AC.

Hands-free crossbody wallets

Whether you’re biking to class in the morning or hitting the town at night, hands-free is where it’s at. Choose a sleek and slim crossbody wallet to keep your phone, credit cards, ID and other essentials close at hand. And if you find one with a removable strap like our chic Tons of Funds, snag it – these styles easily transform into an everyday wallet for your larger bag, or clip on a Wristlet Strap for a cute clutch. Three great uses – all without unpacking your things!

Campus fashion tip: Skip the jewelry and sling a brightly colored crossbody wallet across a simple striped tunic and leggings to add a trendy visual pop.

Versatility is key when you’re selecting an everyday tote for class. Our slouchy and stylish Retro Metro Collection features a few stand-out pieces perfect for campus life: Try the Retro Metro Hobo Crossbody in black-and-white, vintage-inspired Twill Stripe. The long, flexible handle means it can be worn as a crossbody, or knot the strap to shorten the handle drop for a relaxed shoulder bag.

Need something with more room and a bit more structure? Our Retro Metro Fold-Overshares the same comfortable styling and durable construction, but features a shaped base and reinforced square corners for more of a messenger bag look. It’s available in cotton or canvas, perfect for toting textbooks, tech and more.

Campus fashion tip: Pair a slouchy bag with a fitted blazer or jean jacket to balance the casual vibe.

What better way to achieve exactly the campus style you’re looking for than by designing it yourself? For a true messenger bag in a chic, upgraded finish, check out our Studio Thirty-One Modern purse. The large magnetic flap is removable so you can switch up your look from semester to semester…or even day to day!

We love the classic sophistication of a monochromatic Caramel Charm Body and Flapwith a stylish pop of black-and-white webbing in the crossbody strap. And be sure to check out our Studio Thirty-One flaps from the Global Inspired Collection featuring bright, graphic prints.

Check out even more hot Studio Thirty-One combinations, or jump right in and start designing your own! Bonus: Each one of these purses is polished enough to take you from class straight to your internship. (Grown-up points!)

Campus fashion tip: Wear it with an olive green military-style jacket and cute ballet flats to punch up your favorite jeans-and-tee combo.

Bonus accessory trend: Lightweight scarves

Want another great college-friendly fashion tip? Think beyond the bag! A square, rectangular or infinity scarf is a key element in your back-to-school wardrobe. Tie it on your bag to add stylish flair and a shot of color, or wrap one loosely around your neck to make a fashion statement in any season.

There are as many ways to wear a simple scarf as there are prints available in our long and lightweight Avenue Scarf: a quick search on Pinterest turns up tons of creative tying methods, from simple knots to fancy braids, head wraps and even belts!

Campus fashion tip: It’s easier than you think to turn a rectangular scarf into a stylish kerchief: you’re just seconds away with this four-step tutorial we love!

Thank you ThirtyOne for today’s blog post.

Happy Birthday Mom!

mom1I’m super excited I get to spend the day with mom… the first time in many years we have actually spent the day together on her birthday.  Yup, today is mom’s birthday.  Not to worry, I tell how old you are because honestly, no one would believe me.

Despite the memory gaps as a result of the MS, I actually have some memories of life with mom.

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I will admit I was a spoiled only child.  I could be difficult at times – like when I refused to move to our new house during middle school.  I actually thought it was my mother’s plot to ruin my life.

Despite the heartache and headaches I gave my parents growing up, Mom was always there. She opened our home to my friends without giving it a second thought.  Ours was the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go. The house was always stocked with snacks whether I brought 2, 10, 25 or more people.  I was not always thrilled but I was grateful. After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids. Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.  Dad cooking, mom cleaning up and making sure everyone was fed.

My college years brought some struggles. Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy. I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort. Scrimping pennies to make sure I had a home to come back to. They were tough years but we had fun. She often traveled to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room. After college, when I moved home to work locally, I moved in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.

Fast forward to changing jobs and moving to Atlantic County.  The road got a little rough.  Most struggle during their teen years but our struggles came in my late 20’s and 30’s.  It was during these years, my addiction took hold.  I pulled away and mom practiced some tough love but our relationship survived the test. Then along came Belinda.  There were struggles but through it all – mom was there. She helped emotionally, financially and physically. Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college and I moved to Brick, it was a rough time for both of us. Lives changed – I had a new hubby and the one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity. We don’t spend as much time together as I would like but we do try to plan at least once a month mom and me day.

I probably don’t say it a lot and I am sure at times she wonders what I am thinking but the truth is I learned ALOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, a lesson I still struggle with), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself.  She encourages me to reach for my dreams.  I can honestly say my mom is one of my best friends.xmas-2016-2

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you! I hope you have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tips for Moving

imagesMy newsfeed has been filled lately with people moving – college students are moving into dorms, young families are transitioning to new homes before the school year and retirees are looking for an easier, more maintenance-free living situation. Are you about to start a new chapter in your life with a new home?

Here are some tips that go beyond choosing the right size box or the appropriate padding:

Take inventory and mark your boxes. Don’t be one of those people who lose or misplace things when moving.  I remember moving in with hubby.  It was a mess because I had no system.  When you take the time to properly mark boxes and write out a detailed inventory of their contents, you’ll know where everything is and avoid misplacing anything. With just this small step, you’ll save a lot of time in the end.  So, get your clipboard, some paper and a permanent marker.

images-2Remember to take care of yourself.  Any life transition — no matter how exciting — can be stressful!  Whether you’re moving or starting a new job.  It’s important to decompress and unwind.  One of the best ways to do that is to take a break.  Even if it’s just for 15 minutes.  Take a walk – the fresh air and exercise will do wonders for your stress level.

Consider insurance.  If you’re hiring a moving company or have valuable items you’re worried might be damaged during the move, you should consider purchasing moving insurance. Many recommend insuring anything that goes into a truck. Not only will insurance provide financial relief in case anything is mishandled, but it will give you peace of mind that can reduce the stress of moving.

Protect your valuable documents. Even after you move and are settling into your new residence, it’s important to keep your valuables protected. For documents like a passport, birth certificate, social security card and more, keep them under lock and key.  Be sure that it is a fire proof box for added security.  For the tech savvy, take pictures and store them on your phone.  This is a big help for those large ticket items in your home.  Should there be an incident, there is proof that those items were in fact in your home.

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Lastly, here is a timeline to help make that move a little less stressful:

4-8 weeks out:

  • Pick a Mover – Make sure they are licensed.  If you are moving yourself, check out truck rentals.
  • Get a written estimate. Don’t accept anything verbal.
  • Decide what Not to Take – great time to clean out closets, etc

4 weeks out:

  • Start packing or arrange a date for your mover to start packing for you.  Headed to your own place for the first time, this is a good time to start taking inventory of the items that you will need.

3 weeks out:

  • Make arrangements for utilites to be disconnected in your current home and connected in your new home.
  • File separately all pertinent records (medical, licenses, insurance, etc)

2 weeks out:

  • Notify post office of change of address.

1 week out:

  • If you have medications, transfer them to a pharmacy near your new home
  • Cancel any deliveries that come to your current home (newspapers)

Moving day:

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Keep healthy snacks and water on hand
  • Stay Calm!

Best wishes for much happiness in your new home!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!