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back to school swag

This week Barbara King, Heels in the Hills’ resident mommy blogger, is sharing her tips on back to school gear. These are WAY cooler than the wheelie backpack I dragged around like I was about to board a plane (not hit debate team practice)… Here are her picks on the best school swag to snag before the 1st day!

Our family is officially counting down the days to the first day of school on one hand – which is CRAZY. I know there will be many first days of school to come, but this is the REAL DEAL. Next week is the very first ever ever ever day of school, not just for my daughter but for me as a mom.

So, instead of actually facing all of the emotions and feelings that go along with this HUGE milestone, I’m spending my time looking up school lunches on Pinterest and adding random unnecessary school supplies to the backpack I ordered four months ago because I am that weird.

But really, I’m SO excited about all this school swag.

I researched the crap out of backpacks and lunch bags and finally decided on the Pottery Barn Fairfax Small Backpack and Pottery Barn Fairfax Classic Lunch Bag.

back to school swag

I like the quality and aesthetic of Pottery Barn Kids products and I appreciate that the lunch box can easily snap onto the back of the backpack as well as inside.

Once I narrowed down the specific brand, I let my daughter choose whichever design she wanted. She decided on a style I NEVER would have chosen. It is way too girly and pink for my taste but she absolutely loved it and that is what I was hoping for in letting her choose on her own. I wanted her to get excited about school and her backpack that she couldn’t wait to bring to fill with school stuff, and of course, school memories. Sigh.

back to school swag

The other “big” purchase I am especially excited about is a little bento box lunch box that fits inside the lunch bag. I know, I know – it’s totally unnecessary and kind of confusing. For those who don’t spend hours in the middle of the night obsessing about school lunches on Pinterest – a bento lunch box is kind of a trend right now. Instead of using plastic bags and containers to separate food inside a lunchbox, the bento box is a container with smaller compartments already built inside. And most importantly, they make lunches look so cute!

back to school swag

Again, after tons of online research, I chose a Yumbox Panino. It is super cute, leakproof, the perfect size for a 5-year old, and the right price. A lot of the bento boxes I initially considered looked so pretty in pictures, but in reality were not feasible. They were either too expensive, or had way too many tiny compartments. I just don’t have the time to creatively fill each one with colorful, cute animal-shaped food and there are only so many Panda-shaped cheese cubes that a 5-year old can eat in one sitting.

Just like the backpack, I let my daughter choose which Yumbox Panino style she wanted. She selected “Parisian Pink”, which was pretty predictable since she loves the color pink, the city of Paris, and speaks French!

back to school swag

back to school swag

Side note: I got to “test out” the Yumbox during the week of Kinder Camp and it was fun…except for the one morning I tried to make a Pinterest-worthy dolphin-shaped PB&J sandwich, failed horribly, and then had a full-on meltdown on the kitchen floor. In my defense, I didn’t get that much sleep the night before thanks to an unexpected Stranger Things marathon. Priorities. My friend Callie gave me some wise advice about  “fun” lunches. She has had to pack lunches for the preschool years and she insists that the novelty of cute, fun lunches lasts about a week before it just becomes another tedious chore. I’m sure she is right and by week two lunch will be some pickles, a frozen waffle, and a pack of ketchup from McDonald’s. Those who know me realize that this is sadly, a pretty accurate prediction.

back to school swag

My fun bonus purchase was this notebook, which I absolutely couldn’t resist. Beyonce’s Run the World is my daughter’s current favorite song and come on – it’s sparkly gold and hot pink!

back to school swag

For moms who have been through this before – have I made good purchases? What are your favorite school buys? Are you loudly laughing at my absurd attention to these meaningless details of school?

Barbara King-Wilson is an actress and writer living with her family in Los Angeles. Follow her @TheBarbaraKing and visit her at!

More from Barbara:

The Perfectly Personalized Study Nook For Kids

5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

Open Letter Apology To Televisions Everywhere

Books That Kept Me Sane While Pregnant

Why Can’t L.A. Moms Let Their Kids Be Bored?

The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father’s Day

How To Raise The Future Female President of America

Dear Cool Mom At The Park…

So, Preschool Graduations Are A Thing Now

How I Didn’t (But Really Did) Find The Perfect School

10 Things That Cost The Same As Private School In L.A.

Three Schools You Can Only Find In L.A.

26 Questions To Ask On A School Tour

How I (Almost) Lost My Mind Applying to My Kid’s Elementary Schools

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

3 Signs You’re Ready To Be A Mom

Mommy Choices

2016 Resolutions Reality Check

My Minor Obsession with the PERFECT Holiday Photo

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