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!

Happy 80th Birthday Mom!

NYC with mom

I know that you hate pictures but I really LIKE both of these…..YES! I went there and disclosed your age because you DEFINITELY don’t look it.

Let me tell you a little about this AWESOME woman that I get to all mom.DSC_9178

Growing up, Mom was always there. Our home was always open to my friends – I mean we were the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go.  The frig was always stocked, the rec room was always ready and sleeping bags were always handy if someone needed to crash for the night.  I may not have always been thrilled but looking back, I am so grateful.   Grateful that I could pick up the phone and say – I am on my way with 2, 10, 25 or more people.  There was never a hesitation even if she was headed to bed.  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.  I mean who wants to ALWAYS hang at your own house,right?

As I left for college there were 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 that I had a home to come back to. They were tough years but we had fun. She would travel 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.  It was then that things started to change from mother-daughter to friends.  After college, I headed home to work locally, moving back in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.  We were a team even though I am sure that I drove her crazy.

When I moved to South Jersey there were many more years of rocky roads.  My years of addiction were tough on Mom and for that I am sorry.  There were arguments and periods of not talking to each other.  I missed her but my addiction had a hold of my life.  Mom practiced tough love during those years but our relationship survived the test of time.  Along came Belinda and more struggles.  Me as a single mom letting pride and my addiction get in the way.  When I got clean – 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, I moved to Brick and got married.  It has been tough for both of us. Distance makes it hard to “drop in” when I want on my way home from work. No quick calls to have lunch or dinner together.  Most days communication is via email instead of the phone.

Lives changed – I have a part-time weekend job, my own business, and a hubby.  The one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity when I thought nothing of it when I was commuting 2 hours one way to work.  We don’t spend as much time together as I would like.  It is on our TO DO list again this year – “plan at least a day per month with mom”.

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, so this course I failed), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself (you would think I would know this by now). I can honestly say that my mom is one of my best friends.

 happy birthday URU

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.  I hope you are enjoying the sunshine in Florida but I do miss spending today with you.  Thank you for always being there for me. I love you!

Happy Birthday Mom

NYC with mom    DSC_9178

I know that you hate pictures but I really LIKE both of these…..I won’t disclose your age but you DEFINITELY don’t look it.  Let me tell you a little about this AWESOME woman that I get to all mom…

Growing up, Mom was always there. Our home was always open to my friends – I mean we were the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go. I wasn’t thrilled but I was grateful that I could pick up the phone and say – I am on my way with 2, 10, 25 or more people. The house was always stocked with snacks. 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.

As I left for college there were 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 that 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, I headed home to work locally, moving back in with mom. We spent endless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.

Fast forward to my move to South Jersey with more years of rough roads. During my addiction years, mom practiced some tough love but our relationship survived the test of time. Along came Belinda and in the beginning 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 has been tough for both of us. Distance makes it hard to “drop in” when I want.  Lives changed – I have a new hubby and that one hour drive to Mays Landing sometimes feels like an eternity. We don’t spend as much time together as I would like.  It is on our TO DO list again this year – “plan at least a day per month with mom”.

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, so this course I failed), the importance of family and about being a mom. She reminds me to believe in myself (you would think I would know this by now). I can honestly say that my mom is one of my best friends.

 happy birthday URU

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you!

 

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Dear Teenage Self Part 2

Traci Bild‘s list had some more great ideas so I wanted to share my take on her ideas….

1. Write College Essays – I know, this one sounds weird, right?  But despite how much I loved writing, especially poetry, when I was younger; I avoided some college applications because I didn’t want to write essays.  I didn’t think I was very good at it.  My SAT scores and grades were average.  I just had not confidence in myself or what many thought was a strength.

2. Rooming with a Friend – I didn’t know anyone when I went to college which I am guessing was a good thing.  I hoped to start fresh and hopefully find ME!  So, when Belinda looked at colleges,  when she thought for a minute that she would stay home and go locally; living at home.  I said NO!  You need to go to college and stay there.  Make new friends, expand your circles.  Okay, so 12 hours away was a little bit further than I would like but despite some stormy weeks in the beginning…. where does she still live?  Yup, North Carolina.

3. Join a Sorority – When I went to Roger Williams College, there were no sororities or fraternities on campus.  I know, it must have been the dark ages RIGHT?  When Belinda had the chance to pledge with AXO, I encouraged her.  This move helped her in so many ways to become the AMAZING woman that she is today.

4. Date Different People – I dated in high school and a little bit in college.  I think the lack of confidence really caught up with me in this area.  Belinda didn’t date a lot either but she always was with a group of friends (primarily guys).  I am blessed that hubby and I reconnected after 30 years because I owe ALOT of my AHA and growing the last few years to him.

5. Find Related Job/Internship – I probably drilled this into Belinda forever.  I encouraged her with every job she had to find a way to relate it to her field of study.  Little did I know that she would end up being a social worker.  The push to find related jobs and internships in college has helped Belinda to grow in her field even though it means she is still in North Carolina.  As for me, I was a Pre-law major with a goal of helping people who couldn’t afford an attorney.  Guess the switch to social work wasn’t such a stretch after all.

 6. Let Life Lead You – The life you imagine for yourself may not materialize how you think it will, so be prepared and open for both the magical and difficult aspects of adulthood. As kids, we fantasize about how wonderful adulthood will be. Of course it’s exciting but also challenging.

The plans you made as a child as to when you would marry, have kids, and what career you would have may not have worked out as you thought or predicted.  You may feel like you didn’t choose your own adventure because you are now in a place as a result of “circumstances”.  The truth is, despite our best efforts to make our own plan, God has a plan for each of us.

It doesn’t matter what direction life leads –  you may be shocked and it may delight you OR you may feel like you are on a train wreck but that’s okay!  Learn the life lesson and move on.  Don’t get stuck in the past or in the moment for you may miss that window (or door) that is open for new possibilities.

Have you shared the advice you would have given your teenage self with your kids?  If not, why not?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!