Perfect Gifts for New College Students


Looking for some great gift ideas for the new grad?  The following products can help college students make a smooth, easy transition to dorm room living….

For All-Nighters & Early Mornings

·         The Mr. Coffee® Coffeemaker + Hot Shot Station will put students on the fast track to hot food and beverage prep. This multi-tasking coffeemaker and hot water station provides the ultimate in convenience and versatility, featuring two separate water reservoirs for brewing a pot of fresh coffee while dispensing hot water for other beverages, like hot chocolate and tea, and instant foods like mac and cheese, oatmeal and more. (MSRP: $89.99)mr-coffee

For Responsible Celebrations

·         The Draftmark® Home Tap System delivers the ultimate draught beer on demand experience for age 21+ college students!  Ask any brew master… draught beer is the way beer was brewed to be enjoyed — protected from light, heat and oxygen for a fresh, clean, flavorful taste. This first-of-its-kind system fits inside standard to smaller refrigerators and comes with a rechargeable battery.  A wide variety of beer barrels are sold separately to suit a variety of tastes. (MSRP: $49.99 / Beer Barrels – MSRP: $13.99 – $15.99)


Drink Your Daily Fruits & Veggies

·         The Oster® Juice & Blend 2 Go™ Juice Extractor and Personal Blender boasts 400 watts of high-performance power to extract all the nutrients from fruits and vegetables with a compact design for countertop space-saving. College students can prepare healthy juices or blended smoothies right into the 20-ounce, BPA free personal blending jar to enjoy on the go. Boost the juice and add high protein Greek yogurt, protein powders or natural boosters for a complete snack or meal replacement.  Plus, there are 12 delicious recipes and a Mix ‘n Match Recipe chart! All parts are removable and dishwasher safe (motor base excluded). (MSRP: $49.99)


Breathe Cleaner Dorm Air

·         The Holmes® True HEPA Smart Air Purifier WeMo Enabled delivers superior air quality, eliminating allergens associated with living in a group environment. This True HEPA air purifier provides a home environment optimized to meet clean air needs without the nuisance of having to monitor and manage it all.  Programmable options maintain desired air quality while students are in class, or back home studying or sleeping.  This wirelessly connected device also notifies students when air quality is poor so that the unit can be turned on and also notifies them when it is time to change the filter. Air quality sensor automatically adjusts speeds when indoor air quality is poor. (MSRP:  $199.99)

For Easy, Healthy & Affordable Meal Prep

·         The spirited Collegiate Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker is available in more than 20 collegiate team designs in a made-for-students 2.5-quart size! This manual slow cooker comes with a recipe booklet, and features Low and High heat settings, plus a convenient Warm setting.  The removable dishwasher-safe stoneware and lid makes clean up a snap. Gently wipe down the exterior of your unit with a damp cloth to keep it looking great for many college football seasons to come. (MSRP: 29.99)


Great School Lunch Snacks to Pack for Kids #BacktoSchool


Looking for some unique items to pack in your kids lunch boxes?  I have come up with some great products that you may not have thought of….


Wheat Thins Popped

WHEAT THINS unveiled the brand’s first-ever popped chip, WHEAT THINS Popped.  It is made with whole grain and is available in three varieties – Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Onion and Spicy Cheddar. 

Boasting 10 delicious grams of whole grain per 30 gram serving, WHEAT THINS Popped is an ideal option for those interested in mindful snacking with 120-130 calories per 26 chip (30g) serving, depending on the variety.  WHEAT THINS Popped is currently rolling out nationwide, at a suggested retail price of $3.69 per package.  For additional information follow @WheatThins on Twitter using #PoppedWheatThins and on Facebook at


Quest Protein Chips

Quest Protein Chips are the world’s first high-protein snack chip.  A revolutionary high-protein, low-carb, gluten free chip, one that’s actually good for you! Quest Protein Chips come in three varieties – Sea Salt, Barbeque, and Sour Cream & Cheddar – in a personal-sized, 1-1/8 oz. (32 gram) bag, with other flavors and sizes to come. Quest Protein Chips are available at and will be launching at retail store later this summer.

Tell them how you #CrunchClean and join the conversation with Quest Nutrition @QuestNutrition


Pretzel Crisps

Pretzel Crisps are the perfect snack to pack into your kids lunchboxes and they come in so many wonderful flavors such as Original, Sesame, Garlic Parmesan, Buffalo Wing, Jalapeno Jack, Everything and Chipotle Cheddar.  This is by far my kids favorite thing for me to send them to school with.  Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps are available in the deli section of retailers nationwide. 

Pretzel Crisps Social Media links:


SunRidge Farms

SunRidge Farms has a variety of organic and natural snack foods that are great for lunches or after school snacks.  There are a variety of kid-friendly snacks and trail mixes, dried fruits, nuts & seeds. A few of my favorites are the Organic Banana Chips and Organic Hit the Trail Mix with roasted tamari almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, raisins, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. Sunny Bears are also great for kids – an organic version of kid-favorite gummy bears.

Follow SunRidge Farms on Facebook to keep up with all the latest products and promotions.


Kind Snacks

Packing healthy options is the best way to help your kids avoid all the unhealthy choices lurking around their school. Between vending machines, bake sales, candy fund raisers and the snacks in the lunch line, who knows what they’re eating throughout the day! If they keep some healthy snacks in their locker or school bag like those from Kind Snacks, they’re less likely to fall prey to all these temptations, and they’ll be getting the brain food they really need.

Follow Kind Snacks on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest products and promotions.


Fruit Vines Bites

What lunchbox would be complete without a little sweet snack. Fruit Vines Bites are the perfect size to pack to satisfy your child’s sweet cravings while also being low-fat and preservative-free. They comes in strawberry and cherry fruit flavors and come in 2 oz, 5 oz and 10 oz sizes and can be found at national retailers such as Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger and more.

Follow RedVines on Twitter and “Like” RedVines on Facebook to keep up with all the latest products and promotions


Hostess Snack Cakes

You will definitely put a smile on your kids face if you pack Hostess snack cakes into their lunch box.  With choices like Twinkies, Chocolate Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Suzy Qs, Sno Balls, Zingers, Mini Muffins, Cinnamon Rolls, Coffee Cakes, Fruit Pies, Honey Buns, Cupcakes, and Donettes, you can surprise them each day with different wonderfully delicious desserts.

Make sure you Like Hostess on Facebook to keep up with all the latest products.


Jack’s Frozen Pizzas

And as we all know, kids come home super hungry after school so I recommend throwing in a Jack’s Pizza into the oven for a yummy afternoon snack !!!  Make sure you “Like” JacksFrozenPizza on Facebook to keep up with all the latest products and promotions.

Back to School Survival Tips from Jenny on the Spot


Back to school is exhausting for kids (and moms and dads) so smart snacking is important. My sure you pack a supply of nutritious snacks like Balance Bare Bars into your kids backpack for going between classes or after school practices.


Below are some tips for surviving the Back to School season from Mom blogger Jenny Ingram from Jenny on the Spot, which you can share with your readers, along with the Balance Bar Back to School logo.

  • Keep Smart Snacks within Reach.  Back to school isn’t only exhausting for kids. Moms and dads get worn down too so smart snacking is important. Pack a supply of nutritious snacks to have in your purse for when you’re running errands or going from school to practice. ItzyRitzy’s reusable snack bags are perfect for keeping your on-the-go snacks organized and always handy. Fill them with grapes, almonds, carrot sticks and Balance bare bars for a healthy snack sure to satisfy both busy moms and kids until dinner!
  • The (digital) calendar is key.  To make sure no one misses an activity, homework deadline or playdate, color code each kid in your calendar so you know exactly who is doing what and where and when. I love the Cozi app – it’s free and great for organizing your upcoming activities and goes everywhere you do since it’s on your phone.
  • Pack bags within your bag.  If you’re like me, you have a huge bag. It’s great for storing lots of things, but it can be a wasteland and hard to find anything if you’re not organized. I keep a mini bag that holds my chapstick, hand sanitizer and other items I regularly reach for in a brightly colored small bag that stands out. An Itzy Ritzy snack bag can even double as an organizational bag that’s stylish too!
  • Miniature First Aid Kits. It’s helpful to have some first-aid basics in your bag for everyday incidents that are bound to happen. My homemade first aid kit includes Band-aids, Neosporin, Kleenex and wipes. Trust me on the wipes – they’re much more effective than napkins at cleaning up whatever messes my kids have.
  • Be prepared for homework. With after-school activities, keep homework supplies in your car and bag so your children can do their work while you’re waiting for soccer practice. Keep rulers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, scissors, calculators and a clip board in the car to make sure you’re prepped for any homework assignments.
  • Label everything. With 3 kids, and all the supplies and gear that come with them, I’ve learned to love labels. Before schools starts, I put Mabels Labels on their lunchboxes, backpacks, jackets, shoes, sporting equipment and anything else I can get my hands on. You’ll never have to hear “she’s wearing my sneakers” again and also helps avoid lost items in the school coat closet.
  • Pack healthy school lunches efficiently. Trying to accommodate everyone’s lunch needs is hard.Make their sandwiches and then let them choose 3 snacks for themselves.In your pantry, have mom-approved snacks (like Mixed Berry Balance bar bars) in three drawers and every kid is allowed to choose 1 item from each drawer to add to their lunch.
  • Transitioning summer bedtimes. Yes, I’m probably guilty of letting the kids stay up a little too late during the summer. But that’s what summers are for! However, those late nights are not going to work once school starts, so I like to gradually transition their sleep schedules. 4-5 days before school starts, I’ll move their bedtimes up 10-30 minutes. It’s a slow process but really helps to ensure they’re rested and ready for the first day.

Back to School Tips from Microsoft #GearUp

Back to School Tips from Microsoft

Microsoft’s back to school tips(click photo to see larger view)

Now that school is only a few weeks away (or next week like my kids), I thought I would share Microsoft’s back to school tips.

  1. Get Office 365 University: $79.99 USD for a four-year subscription

At just $1.67 per month, college and university students can’t afford not to get Office 365 University. Get the latest Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook) for two devices, including PCs, Macs, iPads, or Windows tablets. A subscription also includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage, and 60 minutes of Skype PC-to-phone world calling per month.

  1. Download OneNote: Free app for most popular computers, tablets, and phones and on the web

This year, make OneNote the single place for all your notes and information. With this digital notebook you can type, handwrite, paste and insert class notes and research anywhere, and organize them in notebooks and sections that are automatically saved and searchable. Additionally, it’s easy to share and collaborate with classmates for team projects and group assignments.

  1. Keep it in OneDrive: Free app for most popular computers, tablets, and phones and on the web

Here are five reasons to cross that USB-drive off your shopping list and use OneDrive: 1) You get 15 GB of cloud storage for free; 2) You can’t lose OneDrive; 3) You can easily store and share photos, videos, documents, and more; 4) You can access OneDrive on any device; 5) You get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage with an Office 365 Home or University subscription. 1 TB is the equivalent to approximately 50,000 trees made into paper and printed. That’s a lot of trees!

  1. Use Office Online: Free on the web

Who said nothing in life is free? Office Online offers free web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that let you create, view, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes. The best part is, no one needs an Office 365 subscription to work together on a team projects. With Office Online, students can collaborate on group assignments more easily, and parents can share the carpool schedule without having to send bulky attachments.

  1. Take the Acer Aspire Switch 10 to class: $349 USD

Not only does this device save you some serious cash, it’s the ultimate convertible of PCs. Rain or shine, it can be used in four modes – use it as a tablet, notebook or put it in tent mode to watch movies, or give a presentation. Not to mention, it’s compact and sleek so you can rest assured you got good looking device at a screaming deal.

Staples Has All Your Back to School Needs + $25 Gift Card Giveaway


Staples carries everything you will need for Back to School from exclusive designs to novel accessories to innovative tech tools.  I have been posting all the best deals each week from the Staples Weekly Ad but some of the coolest items haven’t gone on sale so I wanted to make sure you knew about them.

Some products that will allow your student to really stand out at school are:

  • Staples Better Binder (I love the lady bug one I received)
  • Staples Teen Vogue lipstick erasers
  • Staples Teen Vogue pens
  • Staples Teen Vogue pencils
  • Staples Composition books
  • Staples Nickelodeon SpongeBob Squarepants pen
  • Staples Nickelodeon SpongeBob Squarepants die cut erasers
  • Staples Nickelodeon SpongeBob Squarepants pencils
  • Staples Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles die cut erasers
  • Staples Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pencils
  • Staples Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pen
  • Staples Animal pencils
  • Staples Sports pencil sharpener (I received the soccer ball sharpener)
  • Bic Kids Retractable Ballpoint pens
  • Bic Kids Mechanical Pencils
  • Bic Kids Stylus
  • Paper Mate Clearpoint mechanical pencils – Mix and Match Kit (Kaley got so excited about this one)

Another great thing about Staples is that they offer a 110% Price Match Guarantee where they will match the price of all competitors with retail store and online prices plus give you 10% off the difference.


Now onto the giveaway…

One reader is going to win a $25 Staples gift card so they can stock up on school supplies.

To enter, leave a comment stating what supplies are on your child’s back to school list.

I will give you additional entries for each of the following:

I will end this giveaway on 8/20 at 5 pm EST

Disclosure: I was given the products featured in this post to facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% mine and not influenced in any way.