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This post is sponsored by Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.

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Can you believe summer vacation is coming to an end? It’s bittersweet because I love having the kids home from school and being free of a schedule, but the excitement of back to school shopping helps soften the blow a little. A couple of weeks ago I took my niece out for a one-on-one back to school shopping trip. We had so much fun ditching the boys and having a little girl time. But don’t worry, my boys weren’t totally left in the dust – we hit up Woodfield Mall for my family’s annual back to school shopping trip. With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much do, shop, and eat at Woodfield Mall and we got everything we needed.

I always loved back to school shopping when I was a kid and it’s still fun now as a mom. I now have a second-grader, a first-grader, and a preschooler! But with three growing boys, I try to do it smartly while still having some fun style-hunting. Here are a few back to school shopping tips:

1. Have your child try on last year’s clothing. Make a mental list of what needs to be replaced either because they have outgrown it or it’s in bad shape. Hand me downs are your best friend but make sure your kids get to pick out some fun new items for the school year themselves, too! We love these super comfy stretch camo jogger pants from Abercrombie Kids. Our favorite retailer at Woodfield Mall!

2. Buy backpacks with prevention in mind. We love the old skool checkerboard backpacks from Vans at Woodfield Mall – they have wider, padded shoulder straps and a padded back (recommended by pediatric doctors to prevent injuries) so they’re super comfortable for my kids. I always feel so bad seeing the teeniest kids shouldering giant backpacks so it’s important to make them as comfortable as possible!

3. There are plenty of great sales to take advantage of during the back-to-school rush, but that doesn’t mean all deals are the best deals. Try to stock up on summer items on clearance and remember that fall apparel are priced their highest when they first hit stores in August. If you can, layer on the summer t-shirts for the first few weeks of school, buying you time to shop for fall and winter clothing during holiday sales.

4. My boys love Buckle‘s shirt from RVCA! Too bad it doesn’t fit Cole. The Giant even found jeans for himself (he’s really hard to shop for because of his 6’6″ height!)

5. A trip to Woodfield is not complete without a stop to Timberland. We found some winter boots for the boys and you can check out those style here , here, and here!

Happy back to school shopping, mamas!

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This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. All opinions are my own.

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As a boy mom, it’s not every day I get to go shopping for girl stuff, so when I get the chance to take my niece Elia out for back to school shopping – I grab it by the horns and then we finish with what else, ice cream. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved this time of year and there’s something about getting your school shopping done early that always makes it feel like the school year is starting off on the right foot. We headed straight to Kohl’s, where you can get everything for you, your family and your home, all designed to fit your personality and budget – including all your back to school must-haves in one place.

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Elia had a blast shopping with her super fun, super cool auntie (me!). We ditched the boys at home and upgraded her school wardrobe for the incoming year. When you’re a growing girl and trends change all the time, Kohl’s makes it super easy to send them back to school in style without breaking the bank. And you know us girls, our tastes change from week to week!

There are always the staple basics every teen girl needs, like denim jeans and hoodies, but I think it’s also important to get some fun, trendy items that give them something to look forward to. We discovered an awesome Juniors’ brand at Kohl’s called SO designed for girls ages 13 to 24. It’s SO fun and youthful – see what I did there? Here are a few cute SO shirts and jeans that we love for back to school!

SO Cropped Hoodie in Sugar Glitter Tie-Dye: Because tie-dye never goes out of style and is forever young. We also love this colorful graphic tie-dye side knot tank guaranteed to “bring on the sunshine” to school days.

SO Off Shoulder Smocked Plaid Midi Dress: Because girls don’t want to live in jeans every day! Try on this adorable smocked midi dress – perfect for study dates or shopping at the mall with your girlfriends.

SO Paperbag Waist Vintage-Style Mom Jeans: Take the mom trend back to school this year. Bonus: these paperbag waist jeans come with a cute bow belt.

SO High Rise Vintage Bermuda Shorts: These vintage Bermuda shorts definitely pass the “fingertip” rule for school-approved dress code.

SO Solid Zip Front Hoodie: Comes in many colors including one with a varsity stripe down the sleeves – great for battling the classroom tundra or for Friday night lights.

Back to school prep with Elia was so fun! I wanted to show her how planning your first day of school outfit (and styling it with fun accessories) can jumpstart the school year. And really, what’s better than a shopping spree followed up with a sweet treat with your cool aunt?

Don’t forget, the Kohl’s Back to School offer runs from 8/2-8/18 and can be used on all SO apparel – receive $10 off $50 BTS purchase! Run, don’t walk!

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Where do I start with this Father’s Day post? For fear of being cliché, I want to write about all the things that The Giant is to us: he’s a loving husband and an amazing dad – basically, all the things that coffee mugs say, Dad of the Year, Best Dad Ever, #1 Dad. Truly though, I count my blessing every day that we have him in our lives. He’s so hands-on with our kids, which is somewhat rare when I hear some of my girlfriends talk about how their husbands are not. Even though he is a VP at his company, he gets home every day at 5:30 to take over for me. He’s been responsible for bedtime with the kids every single day for the last 8 years. When his boss asks him to travel for work, they know he has to ask his “real boss” (me) for permission and that I’ll say no. I feel so lucky that our kids have such an amazing and present father in this season of their lives — and I know he really loves being able to play such a large role in their daily lives — teaching them, being there for milestones, and building relationships with them that will endure a lifetime.

Because fathers deserve a little something special this Father’s Day, in collaboration with Woodfield Mall, I have pulled together a quick list of my favorite Father’s Day gift ideas to give a little bit of an upgrade to those everyday essentials in their lives. Whether he is the “casual type”, “the fashionista”, or anything in between, I’ve got you (and him) covered.

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Father’s Day shopping at Lacoste at Woodfield Mall.

Classy sneaker

Every man should have a classy leather sneaker, one that can be dressed up or down. I love this leather and suede sneaker from Lacoste in a luxury tumbled leather with retro styling.

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Father’s Day shopping at Lacoste at Woodfield Mall.

Cool Shades

Get summer ready with a new pair of sleek shades from Sunglass Hut, like these rectangular acetate frames by Persol. Choose from Sunglass Hut’s curated selection of shades to complement his look and lifestyle, from classic to sporty. Free engraving included! (Maybe a naughty DILF?)

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Grab the perfect pair of sunnies at Sunglass Hut at Woodfield Mall.

Classic Denim

With denim jeans starting at just $40, you can’t go wrong with a classic pick from The Levi’s Store. My fave for men is the 511 Slim Fit Advanced Stretch Jeans – it looks tailored but feels so comfy and stretchy!

Sophisticated Shaving Kit

In my experience, most men won’t take the time to buy their own grooming stuff, so treat the special guy in your life to an all-in-one bundle from The Art of Shaving, like this Sandalwood 4 Elements Bundle with Badger Brush – it includes all four essential elements of the perfect shave: pre-shave oil, shaving cream, shaving brush, and after-shave balm! It’s a no-brainer!

Sporty Accessories

For the sports enthusiast in your life, head to Champs Sports for his favorite team accessory. You can’t go wrong with a local sports team, like this Chicago Cubs MLB cap. I may have zero interest to watch sports with him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t deck him out in his fave team spirit! #bestwifeever

Of course, there are tons of retailers at Woodfield Mall to find your perfect Father’s Day gift. (I also love picking up quality basics from the new Uniqlo store and classic cheddar and caramel popcorn mix from Garrett Popcorn!) With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much to do, shop, and eat at Woodfield Mall

This post is in collaboration with Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.

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easter bunny experience at Woodfield shopping mallpinthis

Happy first day of Spring! If this photo doesn’t give you spring fever, lest I convince you that every family’s gotta nab that Awkard Family Photo with the Easter Bunny for posterity’s sake, am I right?

Mom and Dad always seem to be awkwardly placed behind the giant overstuffed bunny like we’re the bodyguards, and there’s a 50-50% chance of your kids looking thrilled or bored. Case in point above. And I love it. Sure, sometimes the Bunny can be a little creepy-looking, but this is one can’t miss family tradition (along with photos with Santa) that I’m going to push onto my kids every year until they’re at least 18 and have flown the nest.

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By the way, the Bunny at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg is hands-down my fave. He’s pretty innocuous (and dare I say, cute), as far as oversized, overdressed rabbits go. My kids also enjoy telling the Bunny what they would like for Easter this year. Last year the Easter Bunny gave Roman a bike, so this year he asked for another new bike lol. This tradition is getting expensive! If you’re in the Chicagoland area, I love bringing my kids to Woodfield Mall for its family-friendly amenities and events, like photos with the Easter Bunny and more. The Easter Bunny Photo Experience at Woodfield Mall is happening now through April 20. Pro tip: You can reserve your FastPass and skip the line to see the Bunny! (Also, if you live in Chicago, don’t forget to check out Woodfield Mall’s Easter Eggstravaganza event on March 30, or Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny on March 24.).

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I’ve been coming to Woodfield Mall since I was a teenager, and bringing my own kids now gives me all the feels. Woodfield Mall is just 30 minutes outside of Chicago and is one of the largest shopping destinations in the United States. With more than 2 million square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly amenities, there’s so much to do, shop, and eat here. A perfect day spent at Woodfield Mall for us includes swinging by the LEGO store and building at the Make & Take LEGO station (purchase it at 10 cents apiece and it’s a win-win for not having to step on that sh*t at home!), then grabbing lunch at Rainforest Café, and finally, letting off some steam at Yu Kids Island (a fab kid-friendly indoor playspace inside the mall, which we come to at least twice a week especially in the winter!).

May your first day of Spring be filled with warm weather, flowers and pretty pastels – and go get your Awkward Family Photo with the Easter Bunny, you won’t be sorry!

This post is sponsored by Woodfield Mall. All opinions are my own.

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