Top Fiver for Back-to-School (B2S)

Get kitted out for B2S

Are you stocked up on back to school supplies and essentials? This week’s top fiver has some adorable recommendations for you (and your cherubic sidekick). Backpacks, rolling bags, new kicks, graphic tees, and water bottles. What’s on your B2S list?

1) Swedish Cool with Fjallraven

Hand it to the Swedes to make some of the most stylish gear for young and old. Hashtag #Mykanken for Fjallraven, and get thee a gorgeously cute backpack in a bright color. With a foxy logo and quality craftsmanship, their gear is built to last. Get a Kanken backpack for yourself and your older kids, and a Kanken Mini backpack for your little’uns. A Kanken Mini is currently $70, standard Kanken $80, and Kanken 15″ laptop backpack will set you back $115.

Great wall of Fjallraven backpacks
Mom shopping with her daughter for back to school gear

2) Rolling Backpack

Good posture starts at a young age, and to limit the strain on the back and neck, opt for a rollie. Your kids will love it, and you’re protecting their backs. Amazon sells some entry-level rolling backpacks that you and your kids can use everyday. A bonafide Amazon bestseller is the J World New York rolling backpacks good for school and travel, and has a nifty compartment for your laptop, iPad or Kindle. With nearly 1,250 reviews, an average 4-star rating, and Prime shipping, the price is right if you’re looking for something relatively inexpensive (<$50). If you want a matchy-match insulated lunch bag, you’ll pay a bit extra for the combo pack (<$80).

3) Colorful sneakers for you + kids

PLAE shoes are for cool kids and now adults too. You never have to lace up your sneaks with their signature styles of velcro and an “alternative” lacing system. Basically, you don’t have to tie your own shoelaces ever! Remember Adam Sandler’s character Sonny in the film Big Daddy where he tells the boy Julian “loop it, swoop it, and pull?” No need with PLAE.

PLAE has a cult following as a cool kid’s sneaker brand and was featured in Fast Company. Founder Ryan Ringholz was formerly a lead designer at Puma. Shoes for adults are the new new for PLAE. Currently, they’re running a promotion on their site, so save 15% if you buy a pair of 2 or more shoes. Kid kicks start in the $50 range and adult kicks generally $90 on up.

Now you can explore the mommy and me, or daddy and me pairings. Make it a family affair.

4) Bright graphic tees that pop

School uniforms yuck! If you’re not bound by strict school dress code policy, then stock up on some adorable, colorful graphic tees from Uniqlo. The Japanese casual wear brand does fun collabs year-round, and they’ve done one with artist KAWS to reimagine Sesame Street characters.

See? Even Roger Federer is one of the cool Sesame Street kids. Wear fun graphic tees with old school favorites like Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, and Big Bird. Sunny days are back again!  The price is <$10 per tee at Uniqlo. You can buy the whole collection at this rate.

5) Stainless steel water bottle

Keep your kids hydrated with H2O in a stainless steel water bottle. Nowadays, you have so many options for water bottles and sippy cups. Eco-friendly stainless steel is more durable than plastic, completely BPA-free, easy to wash, and more sanitary. You have many options, including fan favorite S’well, Mira, and YETI, as well as the beautifully elegant MiiR bottles.

S’well has an adorable collection of kid’s bottles with their S’ip line. You can breeze through Target and check them out. Hope you enjoyed this week’s fiver!

What B2S essentials do you recommend? You’re welcome to share your comments. 

Top 5 Time-Savers for Busy YOU

Fiver for Adulting

This week’s Top Fiver is for folks who are busy adulting. Whether solo, in a relationship, or busy juggling work-family-life, there are some everyday hacks to keep your adult life under control.

Urban Dictionary definition: 

Adulting (v): to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc). Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.

1) Create a to-do list. Rinse & Repeat.

Seems like a no-brainer right? It’s a must if you’re trying to keep your life organized and minimally cluttered. Create a to-do list in whatever form or medium works for you. Some people like the good ol’ fashioned notepad/notebook or fancier Italian-made moleskine notebook. You can always default to a Notes app, sticky notes, or task list.

While the aspect of creating a to-do list sounds mundane, it can keep you organized and help drive purpose in your daily existence. Each day, you can reprioritize what matters most to you.

I, for one, never seem to complete my to-do list, but I keep it moving each day.

2) Go minimalistic with your wardrobe

I’m not advocating that you take on Mark Zuckerberg’s approach of buying multiples of the same grey t-shirt. But, keep your everyday wardrobe simple. Spend less time worrying about coordinating the top, bottom, shoes, belt, or whatever accoutrements complete your look.

If you want to look slick and polished, tap into your inner Johnny Cash.

Pinterest is a great way to discover basic looks. Then head over to sites like Uniqlo, Madewell, J. Crew, Everlane, or MM. LaFleur to get your range of staples and more lux outfits that fit within your budget and shopping predilections.

For shoes, I like the versatile grey (or black) Allbirds loungers and sneakers, and I’ve been loving my splurge-worthy Sevilla Smith flats. Neutral shoe colors go well with just about anything – shorts, skirt, slacks and jeans.

3) Make breakfast in under 5-10 minutes

I save the grander meals for the weekends when I have more sit-down time with the family. During the week, I hustle breakfast and make it under 5-10 minutes.  But you won’t find me shoveling spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth. I like a bit of variety. So, here’s my hit list of simple, fast brekkies.

  • Gluten-free pancakes (or waffles) that are premade (frozen).
  • Bagels (or toast) with a variety of toppings.
    • Banana on creamy almond butter
    • (Vegan) cream cheese x berry preserves
    • Avocado toastie in its various delicious forms. Popular post here.
  • Breakfast sammie. Toast or pita with scrambled eggs and cheese for the basic.
  • Boiled eggs and soldiers. If you’ve got 6 minutes, perfect the British-inspired eggs and soldiers. More to come in an upcoming post.
  • Berry fruit x granola bowl. Mix berries and bananas with your favorite granola. My fave is Nature’s Path Love Crunch (*hint: peanut butter & dark chocolate)
  • Non-Dairy Yogurt + toss in some fruit. I opt for coconut milk, almond-milk or cashew-milk based yogurts. Our household had dairy sensitivity. I like Forager, So Delicious, and the ultra-creamy CoYo.

4) Subscribe online for essentials

I find the act of shopping at the mall physically and mentally exhausting. So, I do my shopping online. With essentials, I hate toting large rolls of TP, paper towels and other household essentials.

Amazon Subscribe and Save is a great way to stock up on essentials, get deliveries on a recurring schedule, and even snag 5-15% off the list price.

5) Work at the gym (sometimes)

Get your regular workout and fire up the laptop post-shower. Maximize your precious time by fitting in cardio, showering, and catching up on some work. For you tired moms and dads, some of the bigger fitness clubs offer onsite daycare. Take advantage of the daycare, so you can look after yourself and your fitness regimen. Then pick up your kid and grab a healthy smoothie.

Now go maximize your day, and enjoy some downtime.

Hope your enjoyed this week’s fiver!