Best Back-to-School Buys!

on August 5, 2011

Rise and shine.

Make the hardest part of the school day ... getting there on time ... a little easier with a good-morning playlist wake-up call from a cute iPod dock ( Dottie Rockin’ Alarm Clock, $139).

Quick brew.

Wake up to a fresh pot of Joe via a programmable coffee maker like the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker ($82.99).

Energy on-the-go.

If you prefer your morning jolt unplugged and on-the-go, try the Bodum Travel Press ($30, in five fun colors).

The Container Store

By-the-door storage.

Gather the day’s necessities ... gym clothes, school projects and more ... the night before, and store in a by-the-door bin, like this stackable, color-coded Large Tint Stacking Drawer ($19.99 per drawer). Each kid (or adult) can choose his or her own hue.

Fresher lunch.

Slice a week’s worth of produce and store in freshness-friendly containers, like the Rubbermaid Produce Saver ($17.99 for a set of 8 containers) for healthier lunches and snacks.

Easy steam.

Just add veggies and water to the Aladdin Collapsible Steamer Set ($10), put it in the break room microwave and voila! A healthy side dish via a super-portable steamer.

Grub tote.

Both attractive and functional, the BuiltNY Gourmet Getaway Mini Lunch Tote ($18) is sized for kids, keeps food cool, and is machine washable. Keep sandwich bag trash at bay by stocking up on reusable and dishwasher-safe Lunchskins bags, available in three sizes (from $7.85).

Pack right.

Avoid ouchy shoulders by choosing a backpack with wide, padded straps like the Pottery Barn Teen Gear Up Backpack ($46, in more than 20 designs), and encourage kids to carry only what they need to keep it light. For parents and adult students, a lightweight, collapsible tote-backpack hybrid like the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote ($69) can hold most anything.

Write smart.

The Livescribe Echo Smartpen ($130 for 4GB) records audio and handwriting, allowing you to playback lectures and upload hand-written notes to your computer. You can search text, solve simple math problems, and even define words.

Master schedule.

The next best thing to your a personal secretary, Cozi, a free, online family planner records shopping lists, sends notes, and most importantly, records the entire family’s schedule via a calendar that is color-coded by family member. Cozi is available via computer and smartphone and can be accessed by any family member with the login.


Nine healthy essentials for back-to-school time.

Summer never ceases to sneak its way to a close, and before you know it, it's time for number two pencils and three-ring binders. Grab this time- and sanity-saving gear to help you ace back-to-school season, whether you’re a student or parent.