How to dress up “the new sweatshirt” for date night by meredithsinclair featuring a high heel bootie
It’s beginning to feel a wee bit like fall around these parts, and while I’m still not giving up my flips, I’m definitely beginning to grab for an extra layer at night.  One of this season’s go-to trends is the kicked-up sweatshirt.  They’ve come a long way from the gymnasium.  
Here is a collection of ways to style one when you just want to feel a little more comfortably polished during the day, or you’re headed out for a casual night out with your man, or girlfriends.  Some of my picks are a little pricey, they’re meant as inspiration…I love to go and create these same looks for less! (I’m looking at you Target, H&M, and Forever21). I think these fancy sweats are the perfect way to play with your look this autumn.
J Crew loose top / Swetc grey shirt / Topshop embellished top, $73 / Yves Saint Laurent leather sweatshirt / Karen Millen embellished top, $145 / J.Crew fitted jeans / AG Adriano Goldschmied low rise skinny jeans / AG Adriano Goldschmied cuffed jeans, $135 / Topshop shoes / Tory Burch slip on shoes / Nine West boots / Laurence Dacade high heel bootie / Atwell leopard print shoes / Eugenia Kim woolen hat / Tory Burch logo belt / Black fedora hat / Calypso Private Label american hat / French Connection leopard print belt / Dolce Gabbana adjustable belt

It’s beginning to feel a wee bit like fall around these parts, and while I’m still not giving up my flips, I’m definitely beginning to grab for an extra layer at night.  One of this season’s go-to trends is the kicked-up sweatshirt.  They’ve come a long way from the gymnasium.  

Here is a collection of ways to style one when you just want to feel a little more comfortably polished during the day, or you’re headed out for a casual night out with your man, or girlfriends.  Some of my picks are a little pricey, they’re meant as inspiration…I love to go and create these same looks for less! (I’m looking at you Target, H&M, and Forever21). I think these fancy sweats are the perfect way to play with your look this autumn.

Had a great time over at Windy City LIVE this week, helping them kick off their new season.  The entire show was dedicated to making the most of September in our fair city.  Check out some of my picks for FREE family fun all month long.  There are over 60 other amazing events, fairs, and festivals included in this month’s Chicago Parent Magazine.  Now let’s get out and PLAY!

Last week, I shared a collection of glam Back to School accessories for mom’s office. This week, I’ve gathered up a few super-fun B2S items for moms on the go! My fave? Those AWESOME floral headphones. So hip and super classy. 
1. The Bell Jar necklace { Out of Print, $30 }
2. Leather Tote { Comes in a ton of colors, Gap, $135 }
3. Parisienne Pencil Case { Anthropologie, $24 }
4. Hello Darling Stationary Set { Kate Spade, $30 }
5. Skullcandy ‘Knockout Floral’ Headphones { Nordstrom, $99.99 }
—Post and graphic by Alaina Buzas, contributor

Last week, I shared a collection of glam Back to School accessories for mom’s office. This week, I’ve gathered up a few super-fun B2S items for moms on the go! My fave? Those AWESOME floral headphones. So hip and super classy. 

1. The Bell Jar necklace { Out of Print, $30 }

2. Leather Tote { Comes in a ton of colors, Gap, $135 }

3. Parisienne Pencil Case { Anthropologie, $24 }

4. Hello Darling Stationary Set { Kate Spade, $30 }

5. Skullcandy ‘Knockout Floral’ Headphones { Nordstrom, $99.99 }

—Post and graphic by Alaina Buzas, contributor

Why should youngins get all the Back to School goodies? We’ve picked products that put a glam, grown-up spin on the basic supplies you bought for the kids. 
1. Floral America Canvas Poster { littlelow on Etsy, $54 }
2. Marble Blank Notebooks { Poketo, $32 }
3. 12 ct File Folders { Nate Berkus for Target, $5.99 }
4. Notice Board { Universal Expert for West Elm, $45 }
5. Balance Rose Gold Letter Holder { CB2, $9.95 }
6. Colored Pencils in Tin { Shinola Detroit, $15 }
— Post and graphic by Alaina Buzas, Contributor

Why should youngins get all the Back to School goodies? We’ve picked products that put a glam, grown-up spin on the basic supplies you bought for the kids. 

1. Floral America Canvas Poster { littlelow on Etsy, $54 }

2. Marble Blank Notebooks { Poketo, $32 }

3. 12 ct File Folders { Nate Berkus for Target, $5.99 }

4. Notice Board { Universal Expert for West Elm, $45 }

5. Balance Rose Gold Letter Holder { CB2, $9.95 }

6. Colored Pencils in Tin { Shinola Detroit, $15 }

— Post and graphic by Alaina Buzas, Contributor

Did you catch my segment on The Today Show this AM? I shared a “Get Ready for the Day” playlist that you can make for your own kids. Download the printable and fill it out to create an easier morning routine for everyone. I’ve even included a few dozen song suggestions to help you get started.

Watch my Get Ready For School segment on The Today Show

Download the Good Morning playlist printable

Now that most kids go back to school in August, rather than September, there really isn’t a ton of back-to-school clothes shopping you really NEED to do.  But there are a few things I like to buy so I’m ready and prepped when the weather decides to flip. The Land’s End Sherpa Hoodie I picked will for sure be a fall go-to for both my boys.  And the those iron-knee jeans are not only really good looking, they’re ultra boy-resistant as well.  Win-win.

And those DIY chalkboard lunch notes? EASY-peasy, with a side of adorable.  My boys are a wee bit too big for lunch notes from their mom, but I’m thinking I may put moronic jokes on them from time to time.

Enjoy the back to school rush!  

Disclaimer:  Land’s End provided me with the hoodies and jeans to feature, and paid me for my time.  But my opinions and love of these products is all mine.  I don’t say yes to stuff I don’t dig.

8 Must-Have Essentials for a Playful Mom’s Purse
Okay, we all love coloring now, right? But keeping crayons in your purse is an absolute ‘no’ as we’ve learned time and time again. For this list, we’re forgetting the kid stuff and sharing eight items you can stick in your purse that will bring a little more play and spark to your day… even if you’re mid-carpool on a 90 degree day with no AC. Seriously. 
First, you’ve got to have a good pouch to keep all your stuff in. LeSportSac is a go-to fave for a mess-proof pouch that will fit in your purse.  Shown is an oldie, but we recommend the LeSportSac 3-zip cosmetic now. It comes in a ton of awesome patterns, too.
Fresh breath can feel like a serious breath of fresh air sometimes. Grab a pack of Project 7 gum from the grocery store line and do a little good while you chew. They give back to a variety of charities for each pack purchased. (Plus the packs are resealable and taste amazing.)
Should you always have a good pen on hand to sign important documents with? Of course. But you should also have a few awesome colorful pens to make note taking and making more fun. Stabilo pens are a great way to go—they don’t bleed through paper and come in an insane amount of colors. You’ll be refusing to share with the kids after one stroke of ink.
YesTo Cleansing Facial Towelettes are amazing when you’ve been stuck in the car or airplane for hours. Or when it’s the middle of the summer and you’re feeling kind of sticky. They come in a variety of scents, as well as unscented and will have you feeling refreshed in no time. Plus, they’re 99% natural!
Another thing we always keep in our bags? Bobbi pins. But these bobbi pins are way better. ban.do has created a line of really fun, and sometimes sparkly, hair accessories that make pinning your hair back to deal with kids, pets and work way more pleasant. I swear just using one of these to pin bangs back makes me feel super cute all day. 
Discovered in the tiny travel thingys section of Target, this Method hand sanitizer is a life saver and germ killer. Plus, it doesn’t smell like rubbing alcohol and the packaging is super colorful.
A hardcover pocket-size notebook. You know, for those colorful pens we just talked about. Or doodling and coloring. Keep this paired with colorful pens in your purse and try to focus on it instead of your smartphone whenever you have a few minutes to wait somewhere. I’ve been known to kill time by doodling silly messages for my friends, then taking out the phone to snap a picture and send along. It will brighten their day more than a hundred emojis.  
—By Alaina Buzas, Contributor
(This post was in no way sponsored by any of the above brands. We just love them a lot.)

8 Must-Have Essentials for a Playful Mom’s Purse

Okay, we all love coloring now, right? But keeping crayons in your purse is an absolute ‘no’ as we’ve learned time and time again. For this list, we’re forgetting the kid stuff and sharing eight items you can stick in your purse that will bring a little more play and spark to your day… even if you’re mid-carpool on a 90 degree day with no AC. Seriously. 

  1. First, you’ve got to have a good pouch to keep all your stuff in. LeSportSac is a go-to fave for a mess-proof pouch that will fit in your purse.  Shown is an oldie, but we recommend the LeSportSac 3-zip cosmetic now. It comes in a ton of awesome patterns, too.
  2. Fresh breath can feel like a serious breath of fresh air sometimes. Grab a pack of Project 7 gum from the grocery store line and do a little good while you chew. They give back to a variety of charities for each pack purchased. (Plus the packs are resealable and taste amazing.)
  3. Should you always have a good pen on hand to sign important documents with? Of course. But you should also have a few awesome colorful pens to make note taking and making more fun. Stabilo pens are a great way to go—they don’t bleed through paper and come in an insane amount of colors. You’ll be refusing to share with the kids after one stroke of ink.
  4. YesTo Cleansing Facial Towelettes are amazing when you’ve been stuck in the car or airplane for hours. Or when it’s the middle of the summer and you’re feeling kind of sticky. They come in a variety of scents, as well as unscented and will have you feeling refreshed in no time. Plus, they’re 99% natural!
  5. Another thing we always keep in our bags? Bobbi pins. But these bobbi pins are way better. ban.do has created a line of really fun, and sometimes sparkly, hair accessories that make pinning your hair back to deal with kids, pets and work way more pleasant. I swear just using one of these to pin bangs back makes me feel super cute all day. 
  6. Discovered in the tiny travel thingys section of Target, this Method hand sanitizer is a life saver and germ killer. Plus, it doesn’t smell like rubbing alcohol and the packaging is super colorful.
  7. A hardcover pocket-size notebook. You know, for those colorful pens we just talked about. Or doodling and coloring. Keep this paired with colorful pens in your purse and try to focus on it instead of your smartphone whenever you have a few minutes to wait somewhere. I’ve been known to kill time by doodling silly messages for my friends, then taking out the phone to snap a picture and send along. It will brighten their day more than a hundred emojis.  

By Alaina Buzas, Contributor

(This post was in no way sponsored by any of the above brands. We just love them a lot.)