Showing posts with label Sponsored Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sponsored Post. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Name Labels from Bright Star Kids, a Review

The folks at Bright Star Kids contacted me to ask if I would take a look at their name labels and share my thoughts with you.  They provided me a complementary sample of a school value label kit as the basis for my review. All opinions are my own.

I had never heard of Bright Star Kids so I spent some time familiarizing myself with the brand by spending time on their website. I loved the site and enjoyed looking at the seriously cute, kid friendly products that they offer.  In addition to name labels, which I'll get to in a second, they carry cute wall art, personalized clothing, backpacks and kids accessories. I also figured out why I hadn't heard of them before; they are an Australian company which isn't normally on my radar because I'm in the US.  They offer worldwide shipping in a reasonable time frame for a reasonable shipping fee.  In fact name labels ship to the US, UK, the EU and Singapore and most arrive in 7-15 business days.

Many Uses for Name Labels

I'm a huge fan of using name labels for kids stuff.  When my daughter was in preschool, I made homemade labels for her bottles and food containers by writing her name on blank shipping labels or simply using masking tape.  They never held up, so I was replacing the labels on each week's supplies.  The personalized name labels hold up SO much better.  The stick-on labels actually stay on through the dishwasher cycle.  The clothing labels last wash after wash. 

I used the labels from the kit to label my daughter's summer camp supplies such as her sunscreen, her insect repellent spray, her sandwich container, and her flip flops. I even put a thin pencil tag on her favorite pair of goggles.  When school starts up in the fall again, we'll tag her pencil box, pencils, colored pencils, markers, highlighters, her composition books and her folders. I'll put the clothing tags on all layering items such as coats, sweaters, and winter hats.  The round tags with covers are great for rain and snow boots which she has to change out of after arriving at school.  It is also great to tag stuff for her activities such as her ballet slippers, tap shoes, and her soccer cleats.

Sounds like a lot of tags, right?  We'll it is, but there are over 175 labels in the School Value Label Kit:
  • 10 Large Labels - these stick on labels are great for larger school items such as lunchboxes, water bottles, and food storage containers, pencil boxes, workbooks, or electronic devices. They are safe to use in the dishwasher, microwave or freezer.
  • 30 Small Labels - these stick on labels are great for smaller school items such as glue sticks, rulers, staplers,  notebooks, hair brushes, eye glasses case, calculator, and small toys.
  • 10 Subject Labels - these stick on labels are made from vinyl which are perfect to put on all your kids school books or notebooks. You can write their subject and class with a permanent marker or pen. 
  • 80 Tiny Pencil Labels - these stick on labels are great for thin school items such as pencils, pens, markers, highlighters, or even, lunch utensils. 
  • 16 Large Round Labels and 16 Clear Covers - this combination is perfect for shoes.  Use these in sneakers, flip flops, dance shoes, soccer cleats, or rain boots. 
  • 30 Iron on Labels - these labels are designed be used on clothing items.  They are safe to use and stay on through the washer and the dryer.

Using the Iron on Labels

I had never used iron on labels previously, so I tested it out.  I gathered up a few new sweaters and hoodies that hadn't yet been tagged. For first things first, I had to identify the iron-on labels in the package. All of the stickers in the package have a color background and white lettering, except, the iron on labels which have a white background and the lettering is in the color we had selected.  They were otherwise indistinguishable to my untrained eye.

Being a newbie, I then read the directions:

  1. First, I emptied my iron of any water and turned it on the highest, non-steam setting.  
  2. Once it was hot, I placed  the sticker on the clothing, topped it with the parchment paper provided and gently moved the iron around it for approximately 10-15 seconds.
  3. In the last step, I peeled the parchment paper off and checked the edges to make sure it had merged with the fabric.

It wasn't hard at all.  And I'm NOT a crafty person.  I did five items in just a few minutes.  Since I like to pass along my daughter's clothes when she outgrows them, I placed the iron on label onto the manufacturers sewn-in tag on most of her sweaters.  That way, we can simply cut out the tag before passing it along for another go in another child's closet.  For some square tags, I cut the iron on tag into two pieces stacking them on top of each other. On another shorter tag, I simply cut off the extra space from the ends of the label to make it fit. Both variations seemed to work just fine.

The Value of Using Name Labels

In my opinion, the value of personalized tags is two-fold.  First you save time by only tagging items once.  These labels stay on throughout the school year.  No more tagging with homemade tags every Sunday night.  Second is the value of the kids stuff.  We parents spend a pretty penny on back to school clothing and supplies.  It is a pity when it ends up unclaimed in a bin at the lost and found.  And then there is the sentimental value attached to a favorite sweater or super duper 4-color pen or sparkle gel pen.  When those things disappear, sometimes, tears are shed.  Prevent the tears and increase the chance that kids won't loose the stuff you buy them, but placing a label on it.  It's like insurance for kids stuff.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Steps to Throw a Green Summer Party

As summertime begins and families head to the beach, the park, the mountains and other favorite spots in the great outdoors, it’s a good time to remember there are easy ways to celebrate our love of Mother Nature by throwing a green party. This post was submitted by Sandra Ann Harris Founder at ECOlunchbox, our affiliate partner.
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Step 1: Location, Location, Location

Pick a picnic spot you can walk, bike or boat to or arrive by public transit. If that's not possible, carpool with friends.

Step 2: Choose an Eco-friendly Invitations

Whether throwing a baby shower, a beach party, birthday picnic or backyard BBQ, you’ve got to let your guests know about the green fun you're planning in eco-friendly style! If it's a neighborhood party, print invites on recycled paper and personally hand them to guests. Or use electronic invitations, which are convenient and don't waste paper.

Step 3: Green Menu Planning

Great produce makes the chef's job super easy. Think simple. Finger foods like cut fruit, nuts, local honey and peanut butter sandwiches are simple and nourishing for all ages. Also, some cheeses, like brie and camembert, are lovely softened in the sun over fresh-baked bread.

Farmer's markets have the freshest and tastiest fruits and vegetables available from the area. Organic products are hormone and pesticide-free, making them safe to eat.

Make your own beverage and serve it in a plastic-free pitcher. That way you don't have to deal with all the cans and bottles.

Step 4: Waste-Free Dinnerware

Say goodbye to throw-aways and plastics. Ask picnickers to BYO dishes, water bottles, utensils, etc. This can be done tastefully if you explain you're hosting a zero-waste party and need some help to accomplish this.

If that’s not your style, pack a sturdy cardboard box with reusable items to share with your invitees, such as non breakable stainless steel picnic plates, reusable bamboo utensils, reusable straws, washable cotton napkins and sturdy mason jars for use as cups.

Sure you may have to do some washing, but much of this stuff will naturally decompose. Plus, you're saving money by going waste free.

Step 5: Showcase Mother Nature

Nature’s beauty is inspiring when it comes to setting the table in eco-style. Leaves, flowers, pinecones, twigs, seashells and other natural treasures can be showcased on your eco-friendly BBQ or green a beach party blanket.

Step 6: Clean up!

Clearly mark bins for recycling, compost and waste for your guests. Since most public parks don't separate waste and your efforts will end up in the trash, toss your separated bags into the trunk to put out with your recycling/trash pickup at home.

ECOlunchbox is offering several summer specials:

Beach and BBQ Picnic Kits at

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

French Toast brand Skinny Stretch Twill Pant and Peter Pan Blouse, a Review

I received complementary school uniform clothing items from Ideal Uniforms to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Ideal Uniforms offered me the opportunity to review their web site and several items of French Toast brand clothing. I had only recently learned of them, so I was happy to learn more about the company and the products they offer. They are based in New York with two retail locations in Brooklyn and Elmont. Those of us outside the NY area can visit their website. Below are a few quotes from the About Us page on

"For over 83 years, Ideal Uniforms has been a family owned and operated business. We specialize in designing and distributing professionally styled apparel, work-wear and outerwear for men, women and children. Ideal Uniforms is your one stop shop for all your educational, medical, corporate and scouting needs. Ideal presently outfits hundreds of schools, hospitals, boy and girl scout troops, and businesses. Ideal Uniforms has been a family owned and operated business. We specialize in designing and distributing professionally styled apparel, work-wear and outerwear for men, women and children."
When I began researching Ideal Uniforms, I found some negative online reviews. Comments centered around two types of issues, poor customer service and inventory management. Knowing that most companies pay attention to online feedback, I asked if they had made any efforts to address customer concerns in these areas. Jack Kassab, a Vice President at Ideal Uniform, told me that they made a large investment this year in both areas. He said, "We now have a system which helps us with inventory control as well as forecasting to avoid running out of merchandise prior to school opening. We also made some changes in our customer service department and we have been getting great feedback."

I had fun browsing the online store where school uniform items are organized together making it easy to view their selections. You can filter by gender and then type of clothing with logical groupings as "pants and shorts" and "blouses, knits and polos". You can also add additional filters by size and color. Because my daughter had recently outgrown her button up shirts, I selected both a French Toast brand short sleeve and a long sleeve peter pan blouses. I also selected the French Toast Girls Skinny Stretch Twill Pant. My final selection was a "Girl's American Doll Plaid Dress". I found these uniform dresses designed to fit the 18" dolls too cute to pass up. It is listed under Accessories and is available in many different plaid patterns. It made a perfect gift for my daughter since grandma planned to give her an American Girl doll as a Christmas gift this year. Personally, I had a positive experience shopping online with them. They contacted me via email to let me know the doll outfit was out of stock and requested feedback on how to fulfill the order giving me the option to wait until the items returned to stock or an alternate pattern. The correct items were shipped to me quickly as one complete order.

© 2014 Rene Shonerd
I had only previously seen the French Toast Girls Skinny Stretch Twill Pant online and in catalogs. They look skinnier in the photo than they really are. As you can see from my photo, they are thinner through the knee than a straight leg pants by about a 1/2 inch yet still have a boot cut bottom. These would be a nice option for girls that want to wear the currently fashionable skinny tight fitted pants if the school's dress code prohibit the fitted pants. They are made from cotton with 3% spandex which gives them the right amount of stretch. The do not have an adjustable waist. Instead they have several inches of sturdy elastic across the back to give them some wiggle room. Currently my daughter has been wearing a 6x in pants with any adjustable waist fully extended and no hem in the length. Her natural waist is a 22" while measuring the area where a waistband would hit her measures at 23". I ordered the French Toast girls size 7 pants which are labeled to fit a waist at 23 1/2" which seems about right since these are still just a bit too big for her. They fit nicely through the backside and the legs. They are labeled as machine wash cold, tumble dry low and iron when needed.

© 2014 Rene Shonerd

The peter pan blouses she'll be able to begin using right away. The fabric is 55% cotton and 45% poly. I ordered these in a size 7 also. Her similar blouses in a 6x are too short, showing her belly as she moves around and making it very difficult to keep her shirt tucked into her pants as her dress code requires. This short sleeve blouse fits her perfect. The long sleeve needs the sleeve turned up once which is expected as she is just growing into this size. The weight of the shirts are perfect for layering under a jumper or sweater; however, they are also thick enough to be worn alone or simply paired with a criss-cross tie. They are labeled as machine wash cold, tumble dry low and iron when needed. I put the "Wrinkle No More ™" fabric to the test. This photo shows the short sleeve blouse on the right straight from the dryer. The long sleeve blouse on the left I touched up with the iron. While I prefer the crisp look of the ironed blouse, I admit that I'd let my daughter wear it to school without ironing, especially if she would be wearing it under a jumper or sweater.

Overall, I had a positive retail experience with Ideal Uniforms. I am also pleased with the quality of the French Toast brand items I received. I like that they stock school uniform items year round so you can find the items you need in stock mid-year. You can connect with them online on Facebook or on Twitter to get a heads up when items go on sale and find useful coupons codes. To learn more about the items they carry, check out the details from the Ideal Uniforms post in the Retail Round up series.

Currently, Ideal Uniforms is sponsoring a giveaway that is being organized here on Uniform Mom. One lucky reader will win a prize pack which includes your choice of one top and one bottom of French Toast brand clothing for either a boy or girl! It ends on 1/13/14 at midnight ET. Enter now so you too can get a chance to pick out an school uniform outfit from Ideal Uniforms.

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