Monday, August 4, 2014

Get Back to School Ready with Momtrends #Momtrendsbts

Can you believe we are already in the month of August? Before you know it, Labor day will have come and gone and we'll be packing lunches and laying out clothes while sipping that barely warm cup of jo {or in some instances a mimosa} to prepare for the first day of school.

Luckily for me, the lovely Nicole Feliciano of Momtrends helped a few of us parent bloggers get in the right frame of mind, by hosting her 4th annual Momtrends Back to school event in the lovely Vera Bradley showroom on 5th ave, here in NYC.  Throughout the event we were able to connect with well known brands and other bloggers and editors while discussing insider tips on everything from staying organized and eating healthy to preventing lice, and then we previewed the most adorable fashion show of kids sporting the latest fun trends in back-to-school wear.

When we arrived, guests were able to catch up with with their favorite familiar faces in the blogging, media world while learning about what was new with brands : Vera Bradley, Stride Rite, French Toast, Mabel's Labels, Revoultion Foods, Vamousse, The Orange Rhino and Wall Pops.

The colorful and vibrant prints in the Vera Bradley showroom were the backdrop for the back-to-school fashion show, which featured Vera Bradley backpacks, lunchboxes and accessories, too cool for school pieces from Appaman, Lands End and Carters, updated and fresh uniforms from French Toast and fun footwear from Stride Rite.

photo courtesy of Momtrends
After watching the cute kids of guest parent bloggers strut their stuff like little runway pros, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard who's the co-founder of Vera Bradley talked to us about the growth of her company and how she went from turning her dream into a reality by borrowing $250 from her hubby to start this company that now has been around for over 30 years and has 3,000A nd yes she made sure to repay what she borrowed to her hubby! I think most of us in the room could totally relate when she advised us to never let anyone tell us that our dreams couldn't be made a reality.

As a mom to two active boys 9 and 3, clothes that are affordable, durable and look cool are essential. French Toast is a notable brand that parents trust and for good reason. The company has been around for 50 years and offer high quality uniform pieces which parents can afford. With a years worth of uniforms only costing $125, you can't go wrong with such a bargain! Aside from the price point, some great details guests were raving about were the blinged out buttons on tops, and the stretchy material in pants for girls as well as the double knee lining feature in the pants for boys. Parent shoppers will also appreciate that you can search your schools uniform requirements right there on their website.

When it comes to back-to-school footwear Stride Rite has great designs for every stylish kids needs. We were able to check out the new Fall 2014 line and there were so many great choices for our busy kids who love to walk, run and jump that provide much needed comfort. Stride Rite shoes are light weight, are made from breathable material and are sturdy. Be sure to check out their two new trendy collections: Orange is the New Black for boys and Ocean Blues and Berry Hues for girls. Currently on their site, on select styles if you buy one you'll get a second pair at 40% off.  

Organization is key when school is back and session and Mabel's labels has created a stellar line of products that will save parents from loosing their cool and make it easier for teachers and students to find supplies, shoes and other items that get misplaced in the classroom. Honestly as a preschool teacher for 5 years, I was always thankful for the parents who labeled their child's belongings with these durable, colorful personalized labels. The great thing about these labels is that they are laundry, dishwasher and microwave safe, yepp I know genius!

Co-founder of Mabel's Labels Julie Cole, should be deemed the back-to-school organizational queen because she has 6 children all in school and a well thought out system in place to make sure things run smoothly. Her tips include:

  • Get things ready the night before: If the kids want a say in what they wear to school, all decisions are final once they wake up the next morning.
  •  Foster independent kids: Have them set out their cereal bowls, snacks etc. Why should parents be frazzled in the a.m?
  •  Create a checklist or in her case, a Ready, Set, Go board: Your kids can refer to it when they find themselves staring like a deer in headlights when they can't figure out what they needed to do next. 

Wall Pops was also on hand to show us some really cool peel and stick decals that combine fashion and function while keeping us organized. Their new dry erase decals include calendars, message boards, maps, weekly planners and more to keep busy families on top of things going on in their lives, from homework and P.T.A meetings to field trips and vacations.

Now let's be reasonable, even with all of these great tips and organizational tools, parents are only human and entitled to spazz out every once and again but with the help from author Sheila McCraith of  The Orange Rhino we learned about her 365 day journey to yell less and love more. Parenting with more composure can definitely be a challenge, sign up for it  here if you think you can, even if it's for just one day.

photo courtesy of Momtrends
photo courtesy of Momtrends

 Unfortunately one dreaded issue that pops up while our kids are in school are cases of head lice, which seems to be happening more often these days. With Vamousse products parents can treat and get rid of lice with a pesticide free formula that kills not just the bugs but the eggs too!

Once we get in the swing of things there are bound to be times where the days speed by faster than you'd like, or moments where your child has returned home from school hungry because they either didn't like the lunch you packed or they weren't a fan of the schools pizza like my son CJ. I remember the judgmental faces parents would give each other at the preschool I worked for when they saw another student eating Lunchables. Let's face it they are a quick solution and kids like it, but I can hear my mother-in-law's voice now "Oh my that's too much sodium" every time I pass them in a target aisle and I'd cringe because I knew she was right. Revolution foods was founded by two moms who have probably faced these same conundrums and saw the need for healthier quick food options in our homes and in our schools. Their meal kits feature: meat raised with no antibiotics, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, no cheese from cows not treated with rBST and 1 serving of fruit all packaged in a resealable box. Here in NYC you can find these convenient meals in Fresh Direct and more locations soon.

photo courtesy of Momtrends

To say we enjoyed ourselves is an understatement, we learned a lot of valuable information, saw great new products and walked away with some awesome goodies, courtesy of all the sponsors and Momtrends.

A special thank you to all of the brands, Nicole Feliciano & the Momtrends team! Stay tuned for some upcoming fun back to school reviews and giveaways over the next few weeks.

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