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As the season starts to change and the weather gets a tad bit chillier, the kiddos make their way back to school for the 2016-2017 year.  I remember as a kid, going back to school was my favorite time of year because it meant that I would have the opportunity to impress a new set of teachers and meet new friends.  My boys returned back to school at the beginning of August and while it has been a busy month so far, we are so excited and they have been absolutely loving school.  Today I share with you a few of their favorite finds for Back to School from affordable selections that we love and a few Celebrity faves.  Since back to school can be a fun time for kids or some may feel a bit uneasy, it’s the perfect time to pick up some new goods that will surely put a smile on your littles’ faces.

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Going back to school after a fun summer break isn’t always easy for littles.  But, finding cool Back to School gear and supplies always make for a great start.  This year I wanted the boys to be able to develop their own sense of style (see the twins with their mohawks and sunglasses in the photo above? lol), but I also wanted them to select basics that would make their year fun and functional.

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A quality made backpack is always an important part of back to school.  My eldest Kevin has a full schedule of classes and a heavy workload and homework sometimes.  It’s important that he has a backpack that can take him to and from school while still offering him the option to use for extra curricular activities and sports.  His choice of gear for this year was the Mountainsmith Approach 25 backpack (retail: $89.95).

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This multi-pocket backpack is perfect for on the go for work and office, school or sports, or for a hike to climb the highest summit.  It features a dual-anel loader system which is idea for travel and trail), a front panel stretch-mesh pocket with daisy chain attachment loops, Anvil Airway ridged EVA back panel padding which make it comfortable on the back no matter what you carry in it, tool / trekking pole carry, side compression straps, dual side-panel mesh pockets, an internal hydration sleeve to hold 3 liters and an eleastic sternum strap and bit valve catch with a safety whistle.

This backpack is sturdy and unisex.  He has it in burgundy with brick red trim and it looks stunning and manly.  It’s comfortable on and Kevin can stuff this backpack with his school supplies and homework without worrying about it falling apart.  It’s a great backpack to have for anyone of any age and is not only for school but anything.  I plan to pick one up for myself as well since it will be great for my forest treks.

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Luke opted for a fun and stylish backpack from Chooze.  Chooze is a brand selected and loved by celebrities alike.  Matthew McConaughey’s little girl is a huge fan of the versatile and affordable clothing and accessories Chooze offers.  Luke wanted the reversible ChoozePack in Quest (retail $43.95).

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These ingenious packs feature a reversible design that has two functional sides to give your kiddos the power to choose which print to display.  It offers padded convertible straps (which Luke says are BOMB because they are so comfortable) and you can flip each strap from side-to-side to provide a different look.

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Of course, no back to school list and gear would be complete without a way to carry your lunch and snack to and from school.  Kevin opted for something he could use for school and sports and went with the Mountainsmith Takeout insulated lunch pack (retailing $17.95).  It is the perfect sized carry-all for school, office and tailgating and has a look that any teen would enjoy.

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To help carry his favorite mom’s delicious soups to school for lunch, he also selected the Hydro Flask Food Flasks.  He has them in the 12 oz. (retails for $29.99) and the 18 oz. (retails for $34.99).  These flasks are perfect to carry his favorite soups or a hot cocoa on those chilly mornings.  They fit perfectly into any lunchbox and are the perfect way to give kids a balanced healthy meal.  They offer improved temperature control technology and can keep hot food items made in the morning steamy until lunchtime.  He also enjoys holding his milk in these and pours a small box of cereal inside for breakfast on the go.

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Luke & Isaiah decided that getting a traditional lunchbox was the way they wanted to go this year.  Each of them selected a Personalized Lunchbox from I See Me! (retailing for $29.99 each, currently on sale for $17.99.  Isaiah chose the Kick, Score, Run Lunchbox and Luke chose the Outerspace Lunchbox.  I See Me! is a brand and leader in personalized storyboks and gifts for kids, offering over 30 customizable book titles.  They also offer lunch boxes, stickers, growth charts, puzzles and so much more.  This fun company is a favorite of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and Brooke Shields.

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Did I ever mention how much I enjoy Quinoa?  Well, I couldn’t resist putting some of these yummy snacks in the boys lunch boxes.  I Heart Keenwah snacks are perfect for any kiddo on the go or to pack with their lunch.  These Grab n Go (1.5 oz) snacks are great afterschool or lunch treats that taste great and are fun and nutritious.  I Heart Keenwah quinoa Clusters and Puffs are a healthy alternative to chips, crackers or sweets.  They are made of organic, Non-GMO ingredients.  They are a protein-rich superfood snack and gluten-free with the perfect crunch to fill and fuel your little ones bodies.  I love them myself and the boys think they taste great.  We find them at our local Safeway and Wholefoods at a reasonable cost.

Setton Farms International Premium Quality Snacks are also a great buy.  Our favorite are the Creme Brulee Blend that has cashews and toffee peanuts.  The Creme Brulee Blend incorporates all the creamy sweetness and crunch of the traditional Creme Brulee without the spoon.  It combines freshly roasted cashews and toffee peanuts with creamy butterscotch and white chips for an irresistible treat.  They are available in 5 oz resealable bags and available in major grocery store chains across the country – Price Chopper, Market Basket, King Kullen and more.  Setton Farms sent us a variety of treats to try but the Creme Brulee Blend is our favorite.  I hope we can find more of these in our local stores, so far I’ve only found them at http://www.puritan.com/ and I’ll need to be purchasing more soon.

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When it comes to back to school, the boys are simple shoppers which makes my job easiest.  I remember as a child wanting to have all the pretty notebooks and pens for back to school supplies.  This year, when I did the boys school supply shopping, I also took advantage of some discounts for myself too.  Whether it’s Crayons or Pens, Notebooks and Planners or a tablet, the options are endless and come in a variety of price points.  Some of our favorites included:

  • Crayola Crayons 24 Pack – these are perfect on the go or to keep in the desk or at home.  When shopping during the sales you can get these for about $0.25 each.
  • Calendar or Planners – some of my favorites are the Blue Sky Planners from Target.  Of course, you can’t go wrong with an Erin Condren Life Planner, Happy Planner or your traditional binder planners like Kikki K, Filofax or Dokibook.
  • Pens – anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge pen collector.  Some of my current favorites include the Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel 0.7mm Pens, Pilot Frixon Pens and Pilot G2.
  • Pencils – Oh, how I love me some pencils.  Currently my favorites at the moment are any type of Mechanical Pencil with 0.5mm lead, BIC Pencil 0.7mm (the metallic ones have won me over), Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencils (have you seen the beautiful metallic ones?)  The Ticonderoga pencils are perfect for sketching as well as writing and erase cleanly.
  • Notebooks – Spiral, composition tablet… you name them and they are available in all kinds of paper style and cover design.
  • Folder / Filler Paper – ah, hand me a ream of college ruled please!  The twins use Wide Ruled, Kevin uses College Ruled.  I love that they are available from a variety of brands and price points.
  • Amazon Fire Tablet – for less than $50, you can get your hands on a Tablet that acts as a Reader or Internet hub.  The Amazon Fire Tablet is affordable but gives your student (or you) the option to get online, use amazing apps or just play games.  It’s definitely a great tool to have for the student or the mentor.

Now – you don’t need to pick up these particular items.  Honestly, I just wanted to include some of my favorite school supplies (or mommy supplies) because I was feeling a bit left out. lol

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Last but certainly not least in our Back to School finds are some great threads.  Each child is an individual and I really love seeing them shop and select their own clothing, accessories and shoes – even their own hair cuts.  All three of my boys are simple guys but they do enjoy fun pops of color to their outfits and clothing selections.  Whether it be plaid shorts with a solid color shirt or fun hats and accessories, the boys take pride in finding something to wear that is not only comfortable and functional – but reveals their style.  Isaiah is absolutely enjoying his Rocket in Listen modern sneaker boot style shoes from Chooze ($54.95) and he wanted to show them to our readers today.

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This modern sneaker boot style shoe comes with a side elastic gore added for comfort.  It has a signature dual design with easy access side zipper entry making the shoe easy to take off and put on.  It has padded throat for extra comfort and soft canvas uppers.  The flexible support offers comfort while the removable, padded, anti-stink insoles make these the perfect footwear for an active little guy.  They wipe clean easily with a damp cloth or can be washed in cold water and air dried.  Chooze offers a variety of footwear designs for both girls and boys and they are stylish and fun to allow your child to make a statement all their own.

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Luke likes a shoe that can allow him to run and play with a little swagger and Kevin, well – if he’s not in his Nike Basketball shoes most of the time, you can find him in a pair of flip flops (rubbah slippahs as we call them here in Hawaii) and a cool pair of shades to finish off his look.  The boys were quite ecstatic to return back to school because the new school year meant that they were all beginning their football season for Pop Warner but most importantly, they got to go back to school and learn… I mean, hang out with their friends, just kidding lol.  The boys love school and love learning new things so shopping for new gear for back to school is always a huge highlight.

No matter what you decide to get for your child (or yourself) this Back to School season, make it fun and colorful and let it represent your own individual style.  Have your kiddos gone back to school yet?  If so, do they sport a relaxed and casual style or do they really like to dress up and have some fun?  Wishing all the students a wonderful 2016-2017 school year filled with lots of fun, friendships and learning.  From our house to yours… Aloha!

Signature Honey

Disclaimer:  Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent for review and feature consideration.  All opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased and I was not paid to feature these products.  Some products were also purchased with my own money.  Affiliate links are posted through out.

SELF PURCHASED / AFFILIATE LINKS

 

Happy Day!  I finally after a long wait got my Erin Condren Life Planner for 2016 in the mail and have had some time to make use of it before posting this review.  There’s a lot for me to cover in this review including my thoughts and experience with the ECLP Customer Service team so if you’re interested in it all – click the video here and check it out.

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The Erin Condren Life Planner in the available layouts can be purchased here.  Get $10 off when you use my link to purchase your planner.

This is my second ECLP planner over the years and I was quite excited to get my hands on the gold version, especially since I had some credits that I could use towards my purchase.  I’m enjoying the Horizontal layout in comparison to the vertical layout which I’m truly  not a fan of and I do love all the gold that this planner sports.  Customer service was not a great thing to deal with and I explain it all in my video (embedded below).  I also noticed that the planners paper quality is not as good as my original was – it seems like the paper is thinner, but ultimately I’m able to make it work.

If you’re interested in learning all about the ECLP, my experience and also take a look into my planner, check out the video above.

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I will be using this planner as my purse planner since it’s smaller than my Keeping It Together planner or KITLife Planner.  It works for scheduling on the go and fits perfectly in my purse so it really is a great item to have.  I’m not quite sure I’ll be purchasing from Erin Condren again, but while I’m using the planner – I’ll make the best out of it.

What about you?  What planner are you using this year if you do use one?  Have you tried the ECLP before?

Purchase your planner here and get $10 off your first order.

Signature Honey

Disclaimer:  I purchased this product with my own money at a discounted rate due to credits received from others using my affiliate link.  I was not paid to provide my thoughts on this product and all opinions are my own and 100% honest and unbiased as with anything you read or watch here.  Affiliate links and/or credit links are listed through out this post.

NOTHING TO DISCLOSE

 

Hello!  I’m so excited to be able to share with all of you some of my planners that I’ll be using for 2016 and those that I have moved into already and I’m loving.  Today I’m sharing with you the planners I have selected to be my main tools for organization this year (besides my phone of course) and how I’m enjoying them so far.  The video embedded below (or click here to watch directly on YouTube) will walk you though the three planners I have selected and why.  I will be posting a full video on each one with a break down on how I use each as well as reviews on each one so stay tuned for that coming in the near future.  So watch the video below for a look at my 2016 planners.

What planner are you using this year and if you are not a planner person, then how are you staying organized?

The planners mentioned in the video include:  Kate Spade Wellesley in Black (2016 edition), Erin Condren Life Planner and Keeping It Together (KIT) Life Planner.

Signature Honey

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“I’m addicted to all things planner, paper, stationary!” There, I admitted it – so commit me to planner paper anonymous… teehee! I think planning and paper are fun things to help keep organized and even relieve stress, so I enjoy it tremendously.  While I use many different things to keep me on task and my planner pretty, I think it’s an individual choice for many. I want to share with you a starter kit or list of planner essentials and supplies to get you on your way. Whether it be for pretty planning or just to have some supplies on hand, I hope this post helps you on your journey.

Kikki K

Check out my video as I walk you through my favorite planner goodies and essentials (embedded below), or click here to watch directly on YouTube.

Like a person is an individual, so is ones taste, preference and needs. While I prefer a binder style planner, I can appreciate those who like coil bound ones or prefer electronic styles. Here is a list of planners that you can look into and possibly select from.

planner collection

  • Kikki K Time Planners or Personal Planners: These are binder style planners that allow you to customize by being able to remove, replace or add inserts to your heart’s content.
  • Filofax: A favorite of many, Filofax is a brand name most planner lovers alike are familiar with. Known for their quality and well made binders, you can expect a planner that will last for years with proper care. Similar in size to the Kikki K’s,
  • Erin Condren Life Planners: (ECLP)  A popular planner among the Planner Community.  The ECLP’s are great for those that love pretty planning but that also want to have something easy to use.  It’s a coil bound planner and while you can tear out pages or use coil clips to put things in, it is different from a binder planner when it comes to reuse and customization.  Interested in the ECLP?  Click here to get a $10 off coupon.
  • KIT – Keeping It Together Planner:  I discussed this planner in a post and video last year and it is a coil bound planner similar to that from ECLP.  I enjoy this planner though it is a bit more bulky than an Erin Condren planner and costs about the same.  These planners are made from a small company who sells on Etsy and they offer lots of writing room, quotes each day and everything a blogger or planner lover would need.
  • Punctuate Planner – Barnes & Noble:  These handy little planners come in all kinds of styles, sizes and price.  The small sized ones that I use usually cost about $5.00 and include inserts.  They are binder style and you can reuse them.  Punctuate also offers paper planners or a variety of calendars for your needs.  At an affordable cost, this would be great for students or someone starting off with planning.

Those are just a few planners you can find through out your planner search.  I have a few others like Macaron Planners which comes from China, LoveDoki Books (also from China and various sellers) as well as ones from Hello Kitty, Franklin Covey and Day Timer.  Each one can be used for various things and offer you a plethora of uses for years to come.  If you decide to opt for a binder style planner, remember – if you take care of it, you can get years of use out of it.  I have a Franklin Covey that I use that is over 10 years old.  Not huge on leather or the style and just need something basic?  See if you can find a binder that will work for you size and ring wise.  The clear binder (pictured below) is one that I love to store stickers and unused inserts, it was reasonably priced and works well as a planner too should I decide to use it as such.

Planner collection

Choosing the planner is just the beginning but making sure you have all the proper accessories, that’s the fun part.  Of course you need things like pens and other items to keep you on your planning discovery.  Here is a list of a few things I like to have on hand when planning or things I make sure to purchase if I’m out.

Pens – Of course you need some writing equipment.  I use a variety of pens in my planners but since I color code much of what I write, I’m constantly using pens that have a similar color range.  My favorites include:

  1. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens (I love the 20 pack)
  2. Paper Mate Flair Pens (these are affordable, easily found in stores and great for color coding – though they can bleed through some paper types)
  3. Japanese or Korean Style Fine Pens – 0.38mm (again, I love fine tipped pens)
  4. Expo Wet Erase Vis-a-Vis Markers (since I use a lot of laminated lists in my binders – these pens allow me to erase the writing with water)
  5. Sharpie Markers (again, since I have laminated lists, I use these and erase them with an eraser once I’m done to reuse again).

There are a number of pens available for use, it all depends on your preference, what you like and how you’ll use them.  I hear Frixon pens are great too, but I don’t yet own one.

Sticky Notes, Page Tabs – You can get a variety of sticky notes and page tabs in all sizes, colors and designs now a days.  Use your imagination with this one and look for what will work for you, your budget and your style.

Page Markers, Bookmarks, Paperclips (anything to mark your pages or your place) – This is fun in that you can create your own as well as find awesome and fun designs through out the web and in stores.  I love to make my own paperclips, page markers and paper clips, but I also find awesome Etsy shops that do great ones as well.  Search on Etsy for Page Markers or Planner paper clips and see what is available.

Planner starter kit

Journaling Cards, Stationary, Quote Cards or Project Life Cards – These are not a necessity, but if you are looking to add some inspiration or a little pretty to your planning, see if you can find these cheap and try it out.  I found a book of Phrase Cards at Walmart for under $6.00 and I also like to take scrapbook paper and write in my own quotes (or stamp them) and insert into my planner.  The options are endless, so use this opportunity to unwind your creative side.

Washi Tape & Stickers – I am addicted to Washi Tape and have a pretty large selection to choose from.  I think Washi Tape is my lazy way of decorating, because I can always add pretty to my planner with a bit of washi without going too in detail and feel like I’ve decorated it.  Washi has been my favorite go-to for pretty planning and it’s versatile in many ways.  You can find Washi in all sizes, widths and even now – shapes, since many are showing up die cut and not just regular tape shaped.  You can use them for a variety of purposes, including decorating your planner.  Find them at your local dollar store or anywhere that sells them and have fun.  Stickers, well you can get those everywhere and for everything.  Find a sticker sheet or two, or three that makes you smile and use it to decorate your planner till your heart’s content.  You can find “Planner stickers” and washi on sites like Etsy, Amazon and Ebay.  I make and print a lot of my own planner stickers, but some of my favorite Etsy shops for stickers are:

planner starter kit

There are a few extra goodies you can have on hand – but like everything I discussed here, they are certainly not required or needed. Here are a few and what I use them for:

  • Scrapbook Paper – I love to create my own dashboards and dividers as well as my own journaling cards.  Scrapbook paper is fun to allow you to customize what you want and make use of your binder in your own way.
  • Birthday, thank you or note cards – while not required in any way, these are fun to use to input sweet designs in your planner.  I also love using the envelopes.  I punch holes in them and use them to keep stickers or receipts.
  • Laminating machine and/or paper cutter – you can certainly use scissors (oops – I didn’t mention that one above) and you can find laminating sheets like those from Scotch or 1M, but I find both useful and I use them often.  Search around and see what works best for you and your budget.
  • Tape Adhesive – you can find these at any store in the scrapbook or arts and craft sections.  It’s an easy to roll out adhesive that allows you to bond or attach things inside your planner.  I love using these for everything I would tape down – they are permanent and secure.
  • Gift bags, gift wrap, etc. – You obviously don’t need these, but should you have one with a design you like, save it and turn it into a decoration in your planner.  My current dashboard (the roses) is a gift bag I got at Target that I laminated to protect.  You never know what you can find.
  • Stamps and Stamp Ink Pads – My main planner stamps come from StudioL2E and if you are a planner lover like I am, you will love their Plan-It Stamps and List It stamps as well as the rest they offer.  They are reasonably priced and pretty awesome.  You can find a variety of traditional wooden block stamps or clear stamps from a variety of stores as well as the ink pads.  Again, this is optional but the options are endless.

kikki k time planner

Remember, getting organized with a planner or even pretty planning is all about creativity and making products and tools work for you and your needs.  Everything I listed and discussed here is not in any way required or needed to get the job done.  A basic planner with basic necessities like a pen will get the job done just as well.  I love pretty planning, though I find that some days I don’t have enough time to do so.  Pretty planning allows me to get creative and it also inspires me to keep up with my planner, look at it daily and get in my groove.  If you find that  you want to get started with planning, but even with a nice planner and some fun pens – you just can’t get in the habit of looking at it everyday… try pretty planning and see if that will work.  Take a sticker or some washi tape and have a little fun.  The options are endless and the end result is something you created.

Are you a basic planner, a planner nerd or a pretty planner?  What works for you?  I hope this post and video helped you on your planning journey.  Have fun and plan away!

Signature Honey

Disclaimer: Through out this post there may be affiliate links or referral links.  Some of the products discussed or mentioned in this post were sent to me for feature or consideration while others were purchased by me with my own money.  While that may be the case, all opinions are 100% unbiased and honest.