Explainer: Back-to-school gear for the elementary set
The British lunch bag invasion
Lunchboxes have definitely undergone a style makeover from years past. We're pretty sure the British Invasion bag from Dabbawalla might just be the coolest one in the cafeteria.
Storing artwork in plain view
Take your kid's artwork off the fridge and put it onto your walls with Lil Davinci Frames. Keep up to 50 pieces of your kid's art and display your fave of the week in their cool frames with an easy-open door and spring-load feature.
That backpack is so me
The personalized backpacks from Knoxville designer Emily Tanner will appeal to even the pickiest of kids, allowing them to customize everything about the bag and making it a standout in the school hallways and classroom cubbies.
Kids' labels go designer
Moms may never have to visit the lost-and-found again thanks to the stylish, designer-inspired labels from Oliver's Labels. Pop them onto everything from shoes to clothes, lunch boxes and more, and infuse a little Burberry, Pucci, even Betsey Johnson into their back-to-school wardrobe without the designer prices.
An over-the-shoulder textbook holder
If backpacks are too 2009, then try a colorful messenger bag from Rebagz, made from recycled rice sacks and featuring cool, bright graphics.
We like them, Sam-I-Am
Dr. Seuss Chuck Taylors, start at $35
The new Dr. Seuss Chuck Taylors are a match made in hipster heaven. This new line of Converse sneaks for toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids too makes a fabulous statement, even when kiddos feel style-stifled by their uniform.
Rubber bands now coming to a chest near you
Rubber Bands T-shirts by Likewear, start at $15.95
With the rubber-bands craze still going strong, give those tiny wrists a break with these creative Rubber Bands T-shirts from LikeWear that feature all sorts of bands based on a theme, all of which are much safer and school-approved.
Helping moms hold it together
School Years organizer from momAgenda, large $32, small $28
The smart School Years organizer from momAgenda will help moms keep track of all the important tidbits from preschool through 12th grade with handy envelopes, spaces for height, weight and age, plus a spot for their annual school picture, all wrapped up in a swanky portfolio that's the perfect keepsake.
This little book of mine
Bookplate stickers and wooden stamps by Scribbling Club on Etsy.com, stamps start at $12.95
Little bookworms will giggle over these adorable bookplate stickers and wooden stamps from mom-owned Scribbling Club. These personalized, hand-designed pieces are the perfect way to keep track of a kid's ever-growing library.
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Video: Cool mom’s picks for back-to-school gear
Transcript of: Cool mom’s picks for back-to-school gear
MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: This morning on TODAY'S MOMS , cool mom picks for back to school. Whether you've got a week or a month to get the kids ready, we've got some great items for the elementary school set. Liz Gumbinner is a mom, publisher and editor-in-chief of coolmompicks.com. She's also attending BlogHer , a conference for women bloggers here in New York . And we should note that NBC Universal is an investor in BlogHer . Liz , good morning to you.
Ms. LIZ GUMBINNER (Publisher Editor-in-Chief, coolmompicks.com): Good morning.
VIEIRA: About 2,000 women attending this conference, BlogHer conference. We've got almost 2,000 here in the audience this morning joining us. Maybe not quite. And 20 million women a month go to that Web site . Why has it become such a phenomenon, do you think?
Ms. GUMBINNER: I think self-publishing is incredibly empowering, particularly for women. And the idea that so many of us can save our money all year and come together and connect in person is really amazing.
VIEIRA: And it's very powerful, too.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Very, very.
VIEIRA: Power in numbers . You've run this Web site over the past four years, coolmompicks.com.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yes.
VIEIRA: You and your partner have come up with your choices, your ideas for going back to school. So let's start. The first category here is to tote around, and we're going to start with lunch boxes .
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah.
VIEIRA: Or they don't look like lunch boxes , but they are.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah, Dabbawalla is a very cool little company. They've made these lunch bags that look really different than the kind of licensed characters you tend to see in the big stores.
Ms. GUMBINNER: And they're a Neoprene type fabric so they really do keep lunches hot and cold.
VIEIRA: Very, very cute. And from there to the backpacks. And they're very personalized, these. They're cute.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah. Yeah. So if you want to take a step up from a simple monogram, Emily Tanner , this designer down in Knoxville , she completely customizes these backpacks to your specifications.
VIEIRA: So you pick the fact you want?
Ms. GUMBINNER: Exactly. Skin tone . My daughter's obsessed with cowboy hats, so we put one on this little girl . And some moms don't like to monogram their kids' backpacks for safety reasons, so you can do it with just an image.
VIEIRA: And they'll know -- the kid will know immediately that that's their bag, too, which is very special.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah, no one else is coming home with this bag.
VIEIRA: Exactly. And then the messenger bags also very cute.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah. These are for bigger kids who can handle a messenger bag . Rebagz repurposes old rice sacks and turns them into cool messenger bags . So it's a good eco story, too.
VIEIRA: I love that, recycling, which is great.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah. And there's a great discount just for TODAY show viewers on the Web site .
VIEIRA: Oh, very good. All right. We're going to move on because we don't have a lot of time. Things that kids can wear. So everybody knows the Silly Bandz craze and a lot of those bands are -- the bracelets are banned in schools, so this is a nice alternative.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah, to keep you from getting kicked out of schools. A company called LikeWear has kind of copied the design and put it onto T-shirts . Very clever.
VIEIRA: Very clever. This is my favorite item, I got to tell you. I hope this comes in adult sizes. These are the Dr. Seuss Converse sneakers.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah. They're in youth sizes and adult sizes, but I think it's these little preschool sizes that are making everybody want to have babies again.
VIEIRA: Well, I can't have that but that's all right, too, just the same. Now you put a kid together with a thing and you get a lost thing, so these are labels to try to keep your child connected to...
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah.
VIEIRA: ...whatever it is they own.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Oliver 's Labels did something really cool, they've used designs inspired by designer prints. So you can say to your 13-year-old, `This is as close to Burberry as you're going to get right now.'
VIEIRA: That's very clever. And what about the stamps here?
Ms. GUMBINNER: Yeah, this is a small Etsy shop called Scribbling Club , and they'll completely customize them, kind of like the backpacks, to create a likeness of your kid to make a book stamp so that your books will come home at the end of the day .
VIEIRA: That's fantastic. And kids need to get organized, parents need to get organized. This I love, too, it's a way to save your child's art in one brilliant nice frame.
Ms. GUMBINNER: Brilliant. I own two of them. They're spring-loaded so you can put your kid's artwork right in and then layer more on top of them, up to 50 pieces. It's genius.
VIEIRA: Very cute.
VIEIRA: And the last item here, this is a way to sort of save papers and sentimental items through the years of -- that your kids are in school.
Ms. GUMBINNER: I call it a lazy mom's scrapbook. So momAgenda came out with this, K through 12. At the end of the year you're going to have something really fantastic to store all your kids' keepsakes in.
VIEIRA: It's one of those things I wish I had done, you know? Do you...
Ms. GUMBINNER: You just get one for each kid and then you're done.
VIEIRA: Are you good about this?
Ms. GUMBINNER: No, terrible.
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