The Fall Wrap-Up: Coat Trends 2018
By Sharon Mosley
Coats are like handbags: We wear them every day, and they are the basics of a new fashion season. They are probably the biggest wardrobe investments you’ll make. With so many choices available, make your cover-ups into style statements that you’ll wear for years to come. Here are some of the best ways to wrap up this year:
–Double up on the fun. Many coats are larger than life and are perfect for layering on top of jackets, sweaters and even other coats. Just toss a slouchy oversize coat over a sleeker, fitted coat. Blanket coats are one of the best ways to top off an outfit.
–Belt it. Oversize coats are not all cozy cocoons. These coats’ waists still come into focus when belted with soft wrap ties. This new nonchalant ease is reminiscent of Old Hollywood “bathrobe” coats, which stars such as the Hepburn girls made famous. Long trench coats are easily transformed by this glamorous upgrade.
–Make it menswear. If soft and slouchy is not quite your style, there are plenty more-tailored coat options to wear this fall. A classic three-quarter-length coat in a menswear tweed, check or plaid is a sophisticated way to dress up suits for work. The tailored wool or cashmere coat in camel — in long or short versions — is a coat that will stand the test of time.
–Go with faux. The fur is flying this year, and you don’t need a million bucks to get the luxury feel of the fluffy stuff. From shaggy cropped chubby jackets to sweeping teddy overcoats, these faux furs layer effortlessly over jeans or dresses. They can also add a whimsical touch to your work or weekend wardrobe. If you don’t have any animal prints in your closet, consider adding a fuzzy leopard coat this year.
–Puff it up. You no longer have to worry about looking like a giant marshmallow when you want to wear a toasty-warm puffer jacket. The new down jackets are much more figure-friendly, tailored into lean fur-trimmed vests and waist-cinching bombers. In high-tech lightweight fabrics, the new puffer parkas are as at home on city streets as they are on the ski slopes. Experiment with one in a neon color to really stand out this fall and winter.
–Love leather. One of the most sophisticated ways to chase away the chills this year is with a leather coat. “Shine” is the word: Glossy patent slickers and trenches give a basic coat wardrobe a whole new way to sparkle. Black is always a leather lover’s favorite, but red stops traffic. These statement coats instantly elevate anything you wear with them. Oh, and they make great raincoats, too.
–Be a caped crusader. Capes, shawls, ponchos and wraps are all versatile ways to add an elegant surprise update to your coat closet. These extra accessories are flattering on women of all shapes and sizes. They can add an extra dash of playful color to a casual outfit, or a touch of elegance to a cocktail dress. In warmer climates, these chic pieces are a stylish alternative to heavier toppers. They also make great traveling companions — and perfect holiday gifts.
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
Trick-or-Treat for a Cause
Orange pumpkins on doorsteps and orange candy corn in buckets are iconic staples of Halloween, but the season can be about more than fun and treats.
Since 1950, generations of children in the United States have gone door-to-door on Halloween with the iconic orange coin collection boxes calling out, “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF!”
With nearly $177 million raised for health care, education, nutrition and more for children, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has evolved into a month-long celebration of the power of kids helping kids. Throughout October, kids, parents and teachers across the country can be “scary good” and add purpose to Halloween by supporting the organization’s work for children around the world. In fact, donations as small as 50 cents can contribute to lifesaving change.
When kids participate, they can learn about global issues and feel empowered to make a difference. For parents and teachers, it’s a time-tested tool to help teach kids about the value of helping others and shape the next generation of global citizens.
Sharing the caring
In addition, a series of partners and supporters are also making it easy to inspire change.
This year, Key Club International, as a national partner, will continue to participate by raising funds for The Eliminate Project, which seeks to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus, a deadly disease that claims the lives of thousands of babies and mothers each year. A student-led service leadership program of Kiwanis International, Key Club is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. For more information, visit TheEliminateProject.org or KeyClub.org.
Sony Pictures Entertainment will also support the campaign with “Goosebumps 2’s” very own Slappy hosting Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF’s daily treats calendar, available at TrickorTreatforUNICEF.org throughout the month of October.
Sharing the spirit
Start making big change and remind family and friends to pick up their own little orange boxes and share your Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF story on social media using the hashtags #BeScaryGood #TOT4UNICEF #KidsHelpingKids and tagging @UNICEFUSA.
Visit TrickorTreatforUNICEF.org all month long for daily surprises as well as downloadable DIY donation boxes and additional resources.
Crazy Rich Patterns: The A to Z List
By Sharon Mosley
From argyles to zebras, a crazy rich alphabet soup of prints and patterns all stir together this fall season in a mix of fanciful clothes that clash with originality. Fashion designers are breaking the rules and coming up with innovative creations that make getting dressed more fun than ever. From A to Z, here’s the list of crazy rich patterns for fall 2018.
–Argyle beguiled. This diamond-shaped design set on the diagonal was named after the tartan of Clan Campbell of Argyll in Scotland. The pattern has been popular with golfers since the 1930s and saw resurgence in the ’60s when it became a hit with the preppy crowd. This fall, the argyle-patterned sweater is once again a fashion favorite. Bold, neon colors give argyle an updated twist.
–Brocade brigade. One of the most decorative fabrics, brocade is a fabric featuring a jacquard or raised relief pattern, often woven with metallic thread. Brocade has long been associated with luxurious eveningwear, but it is also used in draperies and upholstery. Remember Scarlet O’Hara and the curtain dress? For fall and the holidays expect to see more brocade worn in the daytime.
–Check, please. Two of the most popular patterns of all time, check and plaid abound in an array of designs. From large blanket squares (popular on capes this year) to houndstooth (looks like a dog’s pointed tooth) to gingham (also known as apron checks) to tattersall (think horse blankets made famous by London racehorse auctioneer Richard Tattersall), these designs vary in size and color. And then there are tartan plaids, long known for identifying Scottish clans. But the newest way to wear these classic patterns is to combine mismatched checks and plaids in the same outfit … Yes, head to toe.
–Flower power. Florals have traditionally been reserved for warm-weather wardrobes, when pastels bloomed for spring flings. But this fall, the fauna has taken a moodier turn in dark hues that will never be considered shrinking violets. These standout floral patterns are meant to be seen, exploding on everything from ankle-grazing coats to thigh-high boots.
–Stripes are ripe. From pinstripes to sailor stripes, vertical or horizontal, stripes are trending this season on both a small and large scale. Multicolored rainbow stripes continue to make big fashion statements, like Tiffany Haddish at the 2018 Emmy Awards, where she wore a colorful gown honoring her father’s Eritrean heritage.
Watch for stripes to turn up more and more in the boardroom, too. The menswear pinstriped power suit is making a comeback.
–Zebras and other creatures. Animal prints have become a fashion classic, and leopard print usually leads the way. But this year, you can tame your inner wild child with all kinds of animal prints — tiger, cheetah, giraffe, zebra and even snakeskin. Mix them with florals, checks and stripes for a menagerie that will take you on a whirlwind style safari. At least, buy a pair of animal-print boots or a fuzzy faux fur coat. You don’t have to be crazy rich to look crazy rich.
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
How Access to Health Care Coverage Can Improve Academic Outcomes
With each school year, parents dust off their annual checklists that help them organize their needs as their kids head back to the classroom. This school season, make sure one priority at the top of your to-do list is ensuring your children have health insurance.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, studies have shown that children who have health coverage miss fewer classes and perform better in school than those who are uninsured. With the proper health coverage, children can get the immunizations, check-ups, eye exams, dental visits and preventive care they may need to fully participate in school and remain engaged both in the classroom and extracurricular activities.
In fact, millions of children and teens already qualify for free or low-cost health and dental coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs can help those who qualify get the coverage they need to excel in the classroom.
To help ensure their kids make the grade, parents need to first do their homework when it comes to health coverage. To make sure you have assessed your coverage options, keep in mind these health care coverage questions and answers:
What do Medicaid and CHIP cover?
Medicaid and CHIP provide comprehensive coverage for children and teens nationwide who qualify. This includes routine check-ups, doctor visits, prescriptions and immunizations, dental and vision care, and emergency services, all at little or no cost to you or your family.
How do I know if my child is eligible?
In most states, children and teens up to age 19 are eligible to enroll. Depending on your income, many families qualify for free or low-cost health coverage.
Once enrolled, how long is my child eligible for coverage?
Children and teens can stay covered for as long as they qualify. You’ll need to renew their coverage once a year.
How do I apply?
You can apply in person with your state’s Medicaid or CHIP agency or visit the “Find Coverage for Your Family” section on InsureKidsNow.gov. For more information, call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669).
When can I apply for enrollment?
Since there is no special open enrollment period for Medicaid or CHIP, you can enroll at any time. While the window for academic enrollment only comes once a semester, the opportunity to apply for enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP is open to parents and their children year-round.
Many families like yours connect their children to vital health services through Medicaid and CHIP. For more information, and to learn about the coverage options available for you and your family, visit InsureKidsNow.gov or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669).
Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Fall Fashion’s Super Bowl for Men
BY SHARON MOSLEY
There are lots of reasons to stash the shorts and trade in the tank tops now that football season has started. And, oh yeah, a new fashion season has kicked off, too. Move your wardrobe game forward and score some winning points with these top favorites for fall 2018:
–Big coats. Watch for urban style to take to the fashion field in utilitarian outerwear that’s pumped up in volume and loaded with lots of technical gear. This fall’s playbook includes colorful fireman’s coats, quilted puffer vests and rugged trucker jackets. Pockets are the standout detail to all these oversized trendsetters. Logos, cartoons and graphic images are other ways to amp up the fashion power of statement outerwear this year. And if you love leather, you’re in luck. The leather bomber is a classic, but the leather trench is a winner, too.
–Tailored suits. When your hikes call for maneuvering around the potholes of Wall Street, pinstripes are the best way to go. Trade in the mountain parkas for tailored suits with jackets that still live large with double-breasted jackets, peaked lapels and padded shoulders. How’s that for bringing back the ’80s and Gordon Gekko? Add a dark, shiny, skinnyRat Pack tie and a tie bar and voila! You’ll win the super bowl of style this year.
–The Western Front. The retro cowboy (think Roy Rogers) is inspiring high fashion this fall with fringed shirts, embroidered yokes and flap pockets. Fast forward to a rhinestone cowboy who rides high in blinding bling… put them together and you get a blend of the old and the new Wests for today’s urban cowboys. Throw on a pair of vintage boots and a cozy shearling coat and you’ve got a country look that will score big points during those fall weekends on the ranch or in the city.
–Bold patterns. If the girls can do it, so can the guys. Checks, stripes and plaids in all their myriad incarnations are popping up in bright colors — and all in the same outfit. The newest way to wear all these bold patterns is to wear them head to toe, mixing them arbitrarily with wild abandon… at least that’s how fashion designers showed them on the fall-winter 2018-19 runways. If you’re a little more down-to-earth in your sartorial choices, then one vibrant jacket, flannel shirt or pair of track pants may be all it takes to jazz up your jeans this year.
–Orange is the new black. There’s always one color that signals a new change of season in the fashion palette, and this year for menswear it is tangy orange in all its juicy shades. From sunbaked desert hues to super chic bright neons, orange is the fashion crowd’s new black. But fall’s traditional earth tones are still menswear basics. Pair them with orange and kick off your style game as a trendsetting champion.
PHOTO CAPTION: Kick off fall fashion with the high-impact of bronzed orange in a trucker jacket from Urban Outfitters (www.urbanoutfitters.com).
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
Fall Into a Fitness Routine
Fall is notorious for comfort foods like pumpkin spice lattes and game day nachos. Combine these tempting seasonal staples with darker, shorter days and it can be hard to maintain an active mindset. Despite the enticement to indulge, you can keep your active lifestyle going or even kick off a new fitness regime.
This year, take advantage of the winds of change when the seasons switch and commit to smart habits for a healthy fall.
Dress for success. As the temperatures drop, you may be tempted to bundle up before heading outdoors to exercise, and for your warm-up and cool-down period, that’s not a bad idea. However, while you’re in the midst of your workout, it’s easy to get overheated. Wear layers that you can shed as you begin to sweat and consider moisture-wicking materials that can prevent sweaty clothes from getting cold in the breeze.
Stay hydrated. You may not feel as thirsty when you exercise in cooler weather, but it’s just as important to keep your body well hydrated. When you sweat, you lose more than just water. An option like Propel Electrolyte Water helps you replace what’s lost in sweat through its key electrolyte – sodium – and supports hydration by stimulating thirst and aiding in fluid balance. With the same level of electrolytes as Gatorade, zero calories and no sugar, it can be a perfect choice to support your active lifestyle. Learn more at propelwater.com.
Opt for early workouts. When dark comes early, it can trick your mind into thinking it’s time to wind down for the night. Avoid that motivation pitfall by planning your workout earlier in the day, such as first thing in the morning or during your lunch break. If early mornings are daunting, remember that it won’t take long to shift your sleep schedule and early exercise is a caffeine-free way to put some energy into your day.
Find exercises you enjoy. Forcing yourself through exercises you despise will only backfire in the long run. If you’re not a runner, look for other ways to get your cardio pumping. Interval walking with varied paces and elevation can be an effective alternative or look at ideas like kickboxing or aerobics that you can have fun with while working up a sweat.
Indulge in moderation. Virtually every expert agrees that an occasional indulgence is perfectly acceptable, but use caution when the fall goodies start tempting. Those warm, rich desserts and drinks are filled with empty calories that can make all your hard work go to waste.
Set realistic goals. Having a long-term goal is a good idea, but be sure to set attainable expectations for yourself, including some milestones you can celebrate along the way to keep your motivation strong. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to fitness with your other life demands so you can set your goals accordingly.
Don’t skimp on skin care. The sun may not be as hot, but if you’re exercising outdoors, you’re still at risk for sunburn. Protect any exposed skin with sunscreen before working out.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
How to Find the Right Preschool
Things to consider when researching child care providers
Finding the right preschool or care provider for your child doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Because your child’s early years are crucial in his or her development, choosing the right child care facility is one of the most important decisions you can make to prepare him or her for both school and adult life.
While most parents start the process by asking friends and family for recommendations, keep these tips from the child care experts at KinderCare in mind when searching for a child care center:
Find Locations Along Your Existing Commute. The rhythm of drop-off and pick-up will soon become a reality of your days, so take into account how a new routine will impact traffic and drive times during your commute. Looking into child care facilities near your home or office, or along your route, can be a sanity saver, especially on those mornings when you’re rushing out of the house behind schedule.
Do Your Research. Child care has come a long way in the past couple decades, and nationally accredited centers like KinderCare can provide everything your child needs to reach his or her potential. Awarded by an independent organization, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, accredited centers meet rigorous standards in everything from teacher qualifications to curriculum to safety. A simple search online can provide a list of accredited centers near your location of choice.
Make a List of Requirements. Before you tour a facility, it can help to find your focus. Make a list about what you need from a program, what you want for your child and any concerns you may have, no matter how large or small. For example, consider potential concerns like kindergarten preparation, teachers’ management of conflict between children and more. Use your preferences to guide conversations when you’re ready to take tours.
Take Tours. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few preferred facilities or programs, schedule tours to check out the spaces, meet the directors and watch how the teachers interact with the children. Keep your requirements in mind and look for clean, safe facilities that focus on nutrition and encourage exploration and reading while building a sense of belonging. If you’re still on the fence or need more information about one or more centers, don’t be afraid to go back for a second visit and ask more questions to ensure you’re picking the right place for your family.
Trust Your Instincts. After taking tours, you may have a lot of information to process. Narrowing down what’s right for your family can seem overwhelming at first, but asking yourself questions such as these can help you in the long run: Did you feel listened to, heard and understood? Was the center warm and welcoming? When in doubt, trust your gut. This is your child, after all, and you know him or her best.
Find more tips and information to help pick the perfect child care center at kindercare.com.
In the Limelight
By Sharon Mosley
Lime green. Sky blue. Luscious lavender. Sound like the colors of a new autumn fashion season? Well, get ready to think outside the fall fashion crayon box.
According to the international color trend authority, Pantone, Inc., we’re in store for a few surprises for the upcoming year.
“There is a continued transition away from cyclical trends, and instead a strong focus on self-expressive colors that evade antiquated seasonal structure,” says Lea Eiseman, the executive director of Pantone. “As a result, we are seeing some very notable non-traditional choices showing up in the Fall/Winter palette. These unexpected shades reinvent the seasonal color story and allows for the artistry and originality that moves fashion forward.”
So, if you’ve still got that lavender denim jacket from last spring, don’t stash it away just yet. Just mix in in with those autumnal favorites like deep crimson red for a fresh new color pairing that will give your wardrobe a whole new vibe. In other words, feel free to wear any color you want, any time of year! What a concept!
Here are Pantone’s top 10 color picks for fall 2018:
–Red Pear. This is a deep crimson shade of red with just a hint of brown. Think Southwest desert tones. And if you really want to make a statement, wear this rich red color from head to toe…complete with matching red suede boots.
–Valiant Poppy. Pump up the volume on that burnished “red pear” shade and you’ve got the brighter cousin of red in this vibrant hue. Mix both reds together and you’ve got the power color couple of the year. Actually, this red has long been a winner on the fashion scene.
–Nebulas Blue. Had to look this one up…a nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Originally nebula was a name for any diffuse astronomical object, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way. So this new blue for fall is a little darker than spring’s baby blues, and a little brighter. Pantone describes it as “reminiscent of twilight, a thoughtful-starry-eyed blue.
–Quetzal Green. Another word search. The quetzal is a bird in the trogon family found from Mexico to Panama known for its colorful blue-green plumage. The color is similar to a peacock blue-green and is a stunner when combined with the starry aforementioned Nebulas Blue. In velvet, it’s old-world sumptuous. Watch for this color to be a favorite of interior designers, too.
— Ceylon Yellow. OK, the only way to describe this color is to think mustard yellow. Not one of my personal favorites, but in the right shade it can be quite exotic. Brunettes and dark skin tones seem to pull this spicy color off the best.
–Limelight. A more pungent yellow-green, with almost a neon glow, this color is also for the brave fashion hearts. Wear it and expect to be the center of attention.
–Martini Olive. Another traditional fall favorite, the utilitarian military shade of olive has gotten a sophisticated upgrade from fashion designers who paraded it down the runways in everything from chic trench coats to camouflage suits.
–Russet Orange. Think a little shade of orange deeper than pumpkin, and you’ve got the flavor of this earthy shade. As long as you don’t look like you’re celebrating Halloween in any kind of scary costume, then this orange can really reinvigorate your wardrobe. Hint: choose in small doses like accessories unless the thought of being compared to the Great Pumpkin gives you a particular thrill.
–Ultra Violet. Yes, this is THE color of the year, according to Pantone, who first declared it a top contender for the spring 2018 fashion season. The deeper violet now eases into fall and continues to inspire designers. Watch for the royal purple hue to be a big coat-seller for winter.
–Crocus Petal. A lavender color, this also seems to belong more in the spring season. But remember, we’re starting to mix it all up now. That’s a more modern way to dress. And while it may take some of us a little more time to get used to wearing Easter egg colors in the fall, expect to get used to seeing a more seasonless fashion palette in the coming years.
And who wants to pack away all those clothes every season anyway?
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
School Bus Safety 101
For millions of school-age children in the United States, each day begins – and ends – with a bus ride. While the school bus is the safest way to travel to and from school, according to the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT), it’s important for parents to teach their children how to stay safe in and around the school bus as obstructed views, distracted drivers and more can put kids at risk.
These tips from the experts at NAPT and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) provide parents with some additional measures to take and lessons to teach to increase safety going to and from the bus, and even during the ride.
Before the Bus Arrives
• Ensure backpacks are packed securely so papers and other items don’t scatter as the bus approaches.
• Create a morning routine that puts kids at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pickup time. This helps avoid a last-minute rush, when safety lessons are easily forgotten, and ensures kids are safely in place for boarding.
• Encourage children to wear bright, contrasting colors so they can be seen easier by drivers.
• Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage kids to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
• If kids must cross a street, driveway or alley, remind them to stop and look both ways before crossing.
• Verify the bus stop location offers good visibility for the bus driver; if changes are needed, talk with nearby homeowners or school district officials to implement changes. Never let kids wait in a house or car, where the driver may miss seeing them approach the bus.
• Remind children that the bus stop is not a playground. Balls or other toys could roll into the street and horseplay can result in someone falling into the path of oncoming traffic.
• Instruct children to stay at least three steps away from the road and allow the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it.
On the Bus Ride
• When boarding the bus, items can get bumped and dropped. Caution children that before picking anything up, they should talk to the driver and follow instructions to safely retrieve their possessions.
• Teach safe riding habits: stay seated with head, hands and feet inside at all times; keep bags and books out of the aisle and remain seated until the bus stops moving.
• Instruct children to never throw things on the bus or out the windows and to never play with or block emergency exits.
• Remind kids that just like when riding in a car, loud noises are off limits so they don’t distract the driver. That includes cellphones and other electronic devices; instruct children to put them on mute or use headphones.
Leaving the Bus
• Remind children to look before stepping off the bus. If they must cross the street, teach them to do so in front of the bus by taking five big steps (approximately 10 feet) away from the front of the bus, looking up and waiting for the driver to signal that it is safe.
• For parents who meet their kids at the bus, remember that in their excitement kids may dart across the street. Eliminate the risk by waiting on the side of the street where kids exit the bus.
• Make the bus ride part of your daily “how was school?” discussion. Encourage kids to talk about the things they see and hear on the bus so you can discuss appropriate behaviors and, if necessary, report any concerns to school administrators. As bullying is prevalent and buses are no exception, ask your child to tell you about any bullying they observe, whether against another child or themselves, and talk about how to shut down bully behaviors.
For more information and additional school bus safety tips, visit BetterOurBuses.com.
Back to School 2018
By Sharon Mosley
Got the first day jitters? Not to worry. With school starting in just a few weeks, it’s not too early to start planning what to wear. And if you want to be dressed cool for school, here is a quick list of five top fashion trends for kids of all ages.
–One. Do deluxe denim. Of course, jeans rule for school. Considered a “uniform” for the back-to-school crowd, denim always is a best buy for the new season. This fall update young kids’ wardrobes with stretch denim joggers. Older kids will love the new distressed looks in vintage washes with frayed hems. If you want to blast out of the blues, then get into some colorful neon jeans. Overalls are another trendy denim item. And of course, the denim jacket is always a classic piece that will layer over everything.
–Two. Embrace embellishment. It may be what’s on your clothes that really makes them cool this fall. From elaborate embroidery to personalized patches to sparkling sequins, the more “graphic” the better. Whether it’s a novelty t-shirt, a bomber jacket, a new pair of jeans or even a backpack, adding a little something extra is extra special this year.
–Three. Go mad for plaid. Plaids have led the BTS fashion parade for years. But this time around, it’s all about mixing the varsity classic with other prints…yes, all in the same outfit. Think plaid with animal prints, plaid with camouflage, plaid with stripes, plaid with florals, plaids with checks. Gingham is still a big hit, too. The key: keep prints all in the same color family and create different looks by layering with colorful solids.
–Four. Get cozy with knits. What kids (or adults for that matter) don’t like the current “ath-leisure” craze? There are lots of ways to dress for school in sports-inspired clothes that make high grades in style and comfort. From the ever-popular leggings (stripes down the side make them new this year) to zip-front hoodies (lined with Sherpa fleece) to long-sleeved graphic tees (rainbow stripes are trending) to sweatshirts and sweatpants (a little oversized), these are comfy ways to look cool for school.
–Five. Rock the schoolhouse. Mixing up all the fashion favorites above is one of the newest ways to give a back-to-school wardrobe individual flair. Wear metallic sneakers with your uniform. Dress up a denim miniskirt with a ruffled off-the-shoulder peasant top. Wear camo leggings with a pink satin bomber jacket. Rock faux leather pants. Add glow-in-the-dark star patches to your backpack. Just think outside the basic subjects and create your own unique vibe. After all that’s what school is all about…studying the world around you. Just don’t forget to explore what you wear too!
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
By Sharon Mosley
Get ready for the big study “haul” …and get ready to go search for the perfect backpack as heading back to school gets closer and closer. Backpacks are at the top of the shopping list for most kids, because after all, it travels everywhere they do, holds everything they need during the school day and gives them a great chance to express their own personality.
Yes, there’s a backpack for everyone, according to Audrey McClelland, a mom of five kids from kindergarten through junior high. McClelland has partnered with Lands’ End to help parents and kids pick out the best backpacks for the coming school season. She breaks it down into three easy steps:
–Get the best fit. First, McClelland suggests starting with fit and comfort. “Measure your child’s height so you can find the best fitting backpack,” she says. “Next, look at the straps and make sure they are adjustable, so you can get a proper, back-friendly fit. Don’t forget to look for features that make the backpack comfortable and fit properly such as padded back support and straps.”
–Look for storage. There are plenty of backpacks available with lots of storage, too. Look for bags with mesh pockets, zippered compartments, loops for clipping on lunch boxes or other accessories. Reflective accents also help kids visible in low light.
“Today’s backpacks tote more then just books and pencils,” says the mom of five. “My kids carry along a variety of sports equipment, water bottles and even tech supplies such as a laptop and smartphones.
“One great tip that I have,” adds McClelland, “is sometimes I pack an additional Cinch Sack for my boys, so they can grab only their sports gear from their backpacks.”
–Have fun with fashion. And finally, let’s face it — backpacks can be a fashion statement. Let your kids add their own personality to the backpack that they will carry with them every day of a new school year.
“I know it’s important to get the right fit and storage features,” says McClelland, “but shopping for back to school style is my favorite thing to do. There are so many great backpack looks this year.”
Bold prints lead the pack, from bright galaxy designs to ombre to florals, geometrics and even maps of the world, emojis and glow-in-the-dark options. McClelland’s own kids favor tie dye and camo. “My kids also love to make their backpacks their own by monogramming them and adding fun embroideries,” she says.
Don’t forget to celebrate National Backpack Day on August 7, 2018. Backpacks and coordinating lunch boxes will be 50 percent off and include free shipping at Lands’ End.
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
5 Ways to Squash Back-to-School Stress
Heading back to school is exciting for both kids and parents, but with all the thrill and anticipation, there can be quite a bit of stress, too. As a parent, you can approach the impending school year with a positive attitude and these tricks can help minimize stress and give your kids extra confidence when heading into the classroom.
Lifestyle expert and mother of two Jeannette Kaplun recommends these tips:
Start adjusting bedtimes before school starts. It’s common for bedtime rules to be broken in the summer. However, an abrupt transition to early mornings can lead to stress and irritability. The National Sleep Foundation recommends implementing earlier bedtimes two weeks before school starts and setting the alarm a bit earlier each morning for a smooth transition to the first day of school.
Curb the summer slide. Screen time isn’t just for passing time; leverage technology to keep the reading skills your kids learned in the classroom sharp all summer long. A device like the Fire Kids Edition tablet from Amazon is built from the ground up for kids with a two-year worry-free guarantee, a kid-proof case and a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, giving kids access to 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, educational apps and games. Parental controls like Learn First encourage learning before playtime and allow you to set screen time limits to help get kids back into a routine for the school year. Additionally, STEM toys and games can keep math and science top of mind during the summer months and help kids excel during the school year.
Dress for success. There’s a reason grownups tend to dress up for special events – when you look good, you feel good. Give your kids that same boost by helping them choose a special outfit for the first day of school that he or she feels comfortable and confident wearing. Shopping for clothes is an opportunity for your child to express individuality, so have fun with it. For added stress relief, lay out the complete ensemble the night before and have your child try it on to head off any concerns. If the routine works, try making it part of your nightly routine for stress-free mornings throughout the school year.
Simplify the shopping experience. Every back-to-school season comes with classroom supply lists and new wardrobe needs. A one-stop shop retailer like Amazon lets you complete your shopping on your own schedule, and its back-to-school store offers deals and a wide selection, making it easy to find everything from must-have items like binders, backpacks and shoes to fun gear such as glitter glue, donut erasers and emoji stickers that allow kids to express their personalities.
“Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to cause anxiety,” Kaplun said. “By shopping online at Amazon from your phone, tablet or computer, you can buy everything you need without having to find a parking spot, tracking down a sales associate to help you find your child’s size or standing in line to pay, saving you precious time. Plus, Prime members receive unlimited, free two-day shipping on more than 100 million items all-year long.”
Share the excitement. It’s perfectly normal for parents and kids to feel anxious about the new school year. Instead of revealing your own apprehension, share your favorite memories from your time in your child’s upcoming grade. Ask your kids what they’re most excited for and what they’re a little nervous about and come up with solutions together.
Get a jump start on your stress-free transition back to school with more tips and resources at amazon.com/backtoschool.
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5 Ways to Step Up Date Night Without Breaking the Bank
Most relationship experts agree that making time for date night is important, whether it’s the early days of a blossoming romance or decades into a comfortable marriage. Spending that valuable time together doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you take the time to make it special.
Plan your next date with these ideas for low-cost experiences with the one you love:
Share time outdoors. Except in the most extreme conditions, there’s always something to do outside and most of those activities are either free or relatively inexpensive. Whether it’s taking a stroll hand-in-hand or planning a picnic at a scenic location, the exercise and fresh air can be good for your body and mind, for both you and your beloved.
Dine on a dime. Although the days of a nickel burger are long gone, there are ways to curb your spending when you eat out. For example, many restaurants offer menus with smaller portions as well as promotional nights with discounts geared toward certain audiences. Some restaurants even offer daily discounts, as high as 10 percent off your total bill for AARP members. If you are not a member, it’s simple to sign up online. Membership is just $16 a year, so it can practically pay for itself with the use of just one of the dining offers.
Simply stay in. When you’re conflicted between going out on a date or settling for a night on the couch, it’s possible to have both. Order takeout from a favorite spot and bring it to the comfort of your home for the best of both worlds. It allows you to avoid kitchen cleanup and simply commit to enjoying one another’s company without interruption.
Master the movie schedule. Prime time at the theater can be pricey, but if your calendar is flexible, you can catch a show earlier in the day for a steep discount. Some theaters also offer special discounts for ordering tickets online. An added bonus: taking in an early movie with a snack may help save money on dinner later.
Enjoy special engagements. Whether it’s a local sporting event or a musical performance by a group visiting your town, sharing a pastime that you’re passionate about is a good way to share a piece of your life and interests to help establish a deeper connection with a loved one. Conversely, if it’s a new experience for you both, it may establish a newfound bond that you can explore together over time. Don’t let ticket prices dissuade you. Take advantage of offers that may be available to you, special showings or even a ticket discount with your AARP membership.
Explore more tips and ideas to make the most of your relationships and everyday life, too, at AARPAdvantages.com.
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