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The Week on TheFind: Grade School Essentials, College Gadgets, Back-to-School Shopping Q&A with Dakster Sullivan, Maxi-Dress Fashion Tips and Eco-Friendly School Supplies

In case you didn’t get a chance to check out TheFind Blog this week, here’s a recap of what’s happened:

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Credit: The Good Blog, Southbeachswimsuites.com, All4Cellular Blog, EcoNews Network

-       Prepare your kids to go back to school with our guide of grade school essentials.

-       College is stressful – check out these top gadgets to help you survive it.

-       Get the best back-to-school shopping tips in our Q&A with GeekMom’s Dakster Sullivan.

-       Check out our maxi dress fashion tips to learn how wear this summer dress style best.

-       Learn how to utilize TheFind’s search tools to find all your eco-friendly back-to-school supplies.

How to Use TheFind for Eco-Friendly Back-to-School Shopping

Want school supplies that are a bit friendlier to Mother Nature? Check out the eco-friendly school supplies below and utilize our search tips to find all your green back-to-school essentials on TheFind:

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 1.42.00 PM Credit: Creative Document SystemsAmazon, The Container Store

What You’ll Need

The Basics: Every year over 60 million binders are made of PVC, one of the most environmentally destructive materials. Make sure you purchase an eco-friendly binder to avoid damaging the earth. Also make sure to get eco-friendly pens, highlighters, pencils and notebooks.

Bobble Water Bottle: In addition to being good for the environment by using tap water instead of bottled water, Bobble Water Bottle encourage kids to drink water instead of soda or other sugary drinks. The bottles have a built in, replaceable carbon filter that removes chlorine and other organic contaminants for at least 40 gallons worth of water.

Solar Backpack: With all those eco-friendly supplies, you’ll need an eco-friendly way to carry them. The Voltaic Array Solar Backpack provides just that. The large, waterproof bag has enough space to carry all your books and supplies, while the solar panel on the back offers a green way to charge your gadgets.

How to Utilize TheFind When Shopping

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Narrow by Brand or Store: Know of a brand or store that has your favorite eco-friendly materials? Narrow your search results to show only items from your preferred brands or stores.

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In-App Coupons: Make sure you are getting the best deal by checking for coupons. TheFind brings coupon codes directly into the app for you—simply click on an item and if a coupon is available, a coupon icon will appear in the upper right corner of your screen. Click on the coupon to apply it to your purchase.

In-Store Price Comparison: If you’re out shopping and find the perfect eco-friendly item but want to make sure you are getting the best price, scan the item’s barcode by touching the ‘barcode’ icon to see all of the item’s available published prices.

Summer Fashion: Maxi Dresses

A breezy maxi dress is a summer fashion staple as the simple wardrobe piece effortlessly creates a chic and feminine look. Check out the tips below for how to wear this dress style best:

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Credit: Fashion Believe,

Dress: A maxi dress is a statement piece, so go for one with a bright color that suits summer. If you want to make even more of a statement, choose one with a fun pattern that stands out even more. The length of a maxi dress is crucial. Make sure you choose one that shows your shoes—if it drags on the ground, hem it or use a woven belt to shorten it.

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Credit: Amritasingh, Amazon, notonthehighstreet.com, Polyvore

Accessories: Just because it’s long doesn’t mean it’s formal, so keep the accessories casual. Woven belts, bags and hats go great with your casual summer look. Avoid rhinestones and go with ethnic or earthy jewelry instead. We recommend choosing one jewelry focal point such as an armload of bangles or a statement necklace.

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Credit: Polyvore, bestfashionpantyhose, FoxFriday

Layering: If its cooler out or you want to cover up a bit more, add a denim jacket, sweater, shrug or cropped cardigan. Avoid overly structured and formal looking blazers and jackets.

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Credit: Glamour, brcla, westsounds.com

Shoes: Pair your dress with gladiator sandals, ballet flats or wedges. Heels and platforms will look too dressy when paired with a casual summer maxi.

Back-to-School Shopping Q&A: GeekMom’s Dakster Sullivan

Are you prepared for back-to-school shopping? Check out this week’s edition of our back-to-school Q&A series with GeekMom’s Dakster Sullivan, who gives us the scoop on her best back-to-school shopping tips.

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What suggestions do you have for parents trying to shop with children of varying ages?

Remember that every age is different. A preschooler isn’t going to care about what they wear to school while a ten year old will. Do the list making for the younger children and give the older kids a chance to make their own list. This is a great time to teach them budgeting and responsibility when it comes to getting what they need verses just want they want. Once you have a list for each of the children, set out on your mission and take your time. Most importantly, make your children stick to their given budget.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for saving money?

In an effort to compete with online retailers, a lot of stores will price match and some will accept competitor’s coupons. Buy extra crayons, markers, paper and folders if they are on your child’s supply list, because these items are dirt cheap during back to school season and they are the items most likely to be replaced during the year.

How can parents and kids avoid burnout when back-to-school shopping?

Do it a little bit at a time. Going out all day might exhaust both your children and your patience. Doing it all on Tax Free Day (if applicable in your area) can save you some money but it will tax your patience to death. Take them out once or twice a week to pick up a few items and then do the more expensive shopping on Tax Free Day.

How much time and money should families allocate?

My husband starts doing the back to school shopping as early as July for my son’s clothes. Doing it a little bit at a time helps to ensure that the final bill doesn’t hit us all at once. Inventory your child’s supplies from last year and see what can be reused. To make sure you don’t overspend on clothing, go through their closet and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit. If they want the latest trends in clothing, make a deal that for every two items they get rid of, they can replace it with one. In terms of how much to spend, set a budget that you are comfortable with and stick to it.

How does online shopping aide in your back to school purchasing?

Online shopping is a great tool to find the best deal. A lot of stores are starting to price match Amazon, so use that as a bargaining tool when shopping in brick and mortar stores. If the retailer won’t match the price, then go with the online store instead (just make sure you factor in shipping if you don’t have an Amazon Prime account). If you have a smart phone, download Amazon’s app and use the built in price scanner to check prices quickly.

Are there any items that you recommend parents wait to buy and why?

If you have a Tax Free Day in your area, buy the most expensive items then to save some money.

Daily Planet Crop

Dakster Sullivan is an all-around technology and comic book geek. When she’s not at the office being a Network Administrator, she’s hanging out with her Minecraft-obsessed 8-year old son and Star Wars-obsessed husband. On the weekends, she enjoys cosplaying for charity with the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups.

To learn more about Daskster, visit her personal website here. For more updates from Dakster, follow her on Twitter at @Dak903.

Gadgets for Surviving College

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Credit: All4Cellular Blog

While college is exciting, it can also be extremely stressful. We’ve compiled some of the best gadgets to help you survive it below:

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Credit: CRN, CRN, espresso.reviewed.com

LiveScribe: If you still prefer to hand-write your notes as opposed to using a tablet or laptop, the LiveScribe pen is the writing utensil for you. In addition to taking notes, the pen also records audio and uses special paper to create notes you can view on your computer. If you decide you want to re-listen to part of a lecture, you can simply tap on that section of your notes to hear what your professor was saying at that moment.

Seagate Backup Plus: When you’re working on a 15-page research paper, making sure it’s backed up is essential. The Seagate Backup Plus portable drive, compatible with Mac or PC, is a great way to store documents, photos, videos and music. The external hard drive protects everything on a computer and allows you to easily share photos and videos to Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. The drive can hold up to 500 GB, 750 GB or 1 TB of material.

ROK Espresso Maker: Whether its 3 am and you need an energy boost for an all-nighter study sesh or need help waking up for an 8 am class, an espresso machine will most definitely come in handy. The ROK Espresso Maker is ideal for college students, requiring just hot water and manpower to produce a pure cup of espresso with its hand-press crank—no electricity needed. The machine is made of engine-grade steel giving it a retro, hip feel.

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Credit: TechRadar, Amazon, Geeky Gadgets

iPad Mini: When it comes to reading and accessing digital textbooks, the iPad Mini is one of the best tablet options available. Apple iPad offers a good selection of learning, study and organizational apps and the tablet is an easy way to access to digital textbooks. Plus, iPad owners can use iTunes U, which gives students free, easy access to college-level courses and podcasts, videos, lecture notes and other media.

Square One Alarm Clock: Waking up for early morning classes isn’t easy. The Square One alarm clock helps you wake up more naturally, using a light to simulate the sunrise. Approximately 15 minutes before your scheduled wake-up, the LED light panel turns on and gradually increases in light intensity. The alarm clock doubles as light therapy (used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder) by emitting 10,000 LUX, equivalent to light therapy boxes.

StickNFind: Long days at the library can leave you forgetful. Make sure you never lose any of your gadgets with StickNFind. Simply apply the quarter-sized stickers to your belongings and they broadcast a Bluetooth signal that you can track within a 150-foot range using StickNFind’s smartphone app.

6 Ways to Save More Money on Cosmetics

Jackie Curtis is a stay-at-home mom who writes about health and fitness, money management, and beauty.

If you’re like me, you probably have an entire bathroom drawer dedicated to makeup you’ll never use again. And frankly, it doesn’t make sense to keep spending big bucks on makeup you might end up hating. While I love to experiment with different shades and products, I know better than to spend top dollar on cosmetics. And by finding ways to save on makeup, I free up cash to splurge on products I know and love. Here are just a few of my favorite ways to save on cosmetics.

1. Look for Combined Products
You can save money and simplify your daily beauty routine by looking for products that are designed to perform multiple functions. What’s more, buying one product instead of four can save major cash. For example, consider the whole moisturizer, foundation, and sunscreen part of your routine – together these products cost about $30. Instead of buying each product separately, invest in a $12 tube of BB cream - a product that combines all three. You’ll save money and time with this do-it-all approach.

2. Swap High-End for Better Budget
There’s a time and place for high-end beauty brands. If you’re in love with a particular high-end product, it might be worth the splurge to keep it in your cosmetics bag. For everything else, it’s time to start bargain-hunting.

Some budget brands offer amazing, professional-level products without the hefty price. HD concealer, for instance, can be seriously pricey – the Smashbox version is $22. Luckily, the budget brand E.L.F. offers a similar formula for just $3, and it works just as well.

When you’re not sure whether to buy a high-end or budget brand, search the Internet for several similar products and read the user reviews. You might be able to score a great product at an equally great price.

3. Make it Last
There’s nothing quite like the sadness I feel when I start scraping the bottom of my mascara tube, or start to see the telltale shot of metal peeking through a well-used eye shadow palette. The real trick to saving money on cosmetics is to stretch the use of your favorite products and really make them last.

Add a few drops of saline solution (I use contact solution) to an almost-empty mascara tube to moisten the dried product and make it last a few more weeks. If you’re running low on your favorite perfume, uncap the bottle and empty it into a small bottle of unscented lotion to create your own custom-scented lotion.

The tools you use to apply your makeup can also help stretch your product’s life. If you use cosmetic sponges for foundation, trade them in for a stipple brush. A stipple brush creates a smoother, air-brushed finish, plus, it doesn’t absorb product like a sponge, diminishing product-loss over time.

4. Choose Double Duty Colors
If you want to wear pink lip gloss, blush, and eyeshadow, why buy three separate products? Look for double-duty colors that suit your skin tone, then wear all-over face powders or cream-based cosmetics that you can apply to all of your features. Pinks are universally flattering – if you have olive skin, opt for peachy pinks, if you have fair-skin, look for rosier tones, and if you have dark skin, choose a berry pink that brings out your cheeks, lips, and eyes.

5. Fix Broken Products
There’s nothing worse than opening up your bag to find broken powders or smashed lipsticks. While they might be messy, don’t throw them away. With a little effort they can be salvaged for future use.

For broken eyeshadow or powder, tap the broken crumbs back into the original palette. If it gets messy, lay a piece of plastic over the powder and use a plastic knife to tame it back into place. Then, add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the powder – two or three drops is plenty. Finally, use a coin to press the powder down. Just like that, you’re back in business.

If it’s your pricey lipstick that’s been smushed, clean out an old lip gloss pot and scrape the smashed lipstick into it. From now on, simply use a lip brush to apply the color to your lips. In just a few minutes, you have usable color without ever opening your wallet.

6. Use One Coat
Many cosmetic companies urge you to use more product than you actually need. There’s no good reason to apply two coats of mascara or to wash, rinse, and repeat when in the shower. These are total urban legends. If you’re looking to save money, stop applying two coats and invest in a primer instead. By using a primer – a product that keeps your makeup looking fresh – you won’t need to pile on other cosmetics. I’ve even found that eyeshadow pigment pops more on properly-primed skin, making it possible to use less color.

Conclusion
Makeup is supposed to be fun, but if you’re constantly purchasing new product, it could end up blowing your budget. By making simple beauty swaps and getting the most out of what you have, you can get your money’s worth while feeling better about your overflowing beauty drawer.

Back-to-School Shopping Guide: Grade School Edition

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Credit: The Good Blog

Back-to-school shopping season is in full swing! Check out the below guide of back-to-school must-haves for grade schoolers:

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Credit: Good Housekeeping 

Backpacks are one of the most important back-to-school necessities. We’ve looked to Good Housekeeping for some of their most highly-rated backpacks for kids ages 8-12:

-       FUL’s Heart Breaker: The FUL’s Heart Breaker backpack is made of durable polyester that can withstand serious wear and tear, so you can be sure it will last the entire school year. The spacious backpack can easily hold 10 pounds of school items while its curved, padded straps provide extra comfort. Plus, the backpack has a 1-year limited warranty.

-       Pottery Barn’s Mackenzie Large Backpack: Perfect for a kid that wants to carry everything they own with them to school, the Mackenzie Large backpack easily fits everything from books to extra clothes while the two adjustable straps can hold a coat or even a skateboard. It is made with a 600-denier polyester that can handle abrasion, water and being dropped. The backpack is comfortable to wear and easy to carry, making it a great choice for your over-packer.

-       FUL Superstition: If you’re on a budget, the FUL Superstition is an affordable option that won’t let you down. Though it has a more simple design with just one large compartment and one smaller pouch for all your school essentials, the backpack’s durable, luggage-grade fabric and decent storage space make it a solid option. The bag can hold 10 pounds of gear and is comfortable and easy to carry.

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Credit: Amazon, Lillibillypeace.wordpress.com, Ebay, frecklebox,

Southpaw, Amazon, Redbook, Walmart

Supplies:

-       The Basics: Kids like their supplies to be fun and bright, so search for erasers, pencils, pencil sharpeners and notepads with colorful, kid-friendly designs. Don’t forget the pencil pouches and folders to help keep them organized.

-       The Extras: If they’re old enough, get your kids a fun and simple calculator. We also recommend getting Grotto Grips pencil grasp trainers to ensure correct writing position and Crayola’s glue sticks that have a wide base to keep them from rolling off desks. Highlighters are great for studying, but kids make mistakes so get them an erasable highlighter so they can fix any highlighting errors. Lastly, put labels on all of their supplies to keep them out of the lost and found.

This Week on TheFind Blog: Kids Videogames, Beach Gadgets, TheFind Android App, Back-to-School Q&A With Kimberly Vetrano, Summer Beauty Products & Outdoor Activities

Have you checked out TheFind blog yet this week? In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what’s happened:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 10.04.10 AMCredit: illgaming.in, Beach Vacation Choices, bigtent.tv, Elle, One Perfect Day 

-       Challenge your mini-gamers by playing kid-friendly videogames with them.

-       Enhance your day at the beach with these beach gadgets.

-       Check out TheFind’s soon-to-be released shopping search tool app for Android.

-       Get the latest back-to-school shopping tips and tricks with our Q&A with Kimberly Vetrano.

-       Make your beauty routine fit for summer with these beauty products.

-       Enjoy outdoor activities with your kids this summer.

Summer Fun for the Family: Kid-Friendly Outdoor Activities

Don’t just encourage your kids to get off their gadgets and play outside on a regular basis… join them! Having some fun in the sun is good for everyone and an excellent way to bond with the kiddos. Check out the creative outdoor activities below and spend the day with your kids outside:

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Credit: Spoonful

Bubble Burst Paintings: It’s no secret that kids love bubbles. Add some color to their bubble blowing and they will be even more excited about them. Stir 2 tablespoons of tempura paint or 15 drops of food coloring into ½ cup of bubble solution. Tape a large piece of paper to a fence or between two trees and have your child bow the bubbles against it. Though this activity is more about the process then the finished artwork, kids will love watching the bubbles hit the paper and burst into vibrant circles and splatters.

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Credit: The Craft Nest

Hula Hoop Hideout: You and your kids can play games, read books or have a picnic in these Hula Hoop Hideouts that hang from trees. To make them, pin the top edge of a sheet to the hula hoop by folding a sheet over and pinning it to itself. Create a hanger to tie up the hideout by tying two long pieces of twine to opposite sides of the hula hoop. Decorate the hideout with tulle and ribbons, hang it from a tree branch, add blankets and pillows under your fort and your backyard oasis is complete. See here for more detailed instructions.

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Credit: One Perfect Day

Nature Crafts: Combine creativity with nature by using plants, pinecones, leaves and rocks to make artwork. You can decorate pinecones or rocks with glitter and paint or create leaf print paintings by inking a leaf with a sponge and pressing it onto paper in various colorful designs. Get as creative as you like with the help of Mother Nature’s art supplies.

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Credit: Glue Stick Blog

Ice Excavating: In this game, kids excavate small toys or objects from the ice with small tools. To play, put small toys or objects in a container such as a metal cake pan, fill it with water and freeze it. Once it’s solid, turn the container upside down and run warm water on the back to let the block of ice become loose. Give your kids their excavating tools and let them get cracking on the ice to free the toys.

Summer Beauty Products

  • posted July 11th, 2014
  • Beauty

Summer requires a beauty routine fit for hot weather. We’ve looked to Elle for some of their favorite summer beauty products listed below:

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Credit: Elle

Aveda Sun Care After-Sun Hair Masque: Summer takes a toll on your hair, so giving it extra attention during these hot months is important. The Aveda Sun Care Hair Masque is an intensive, antioxidant-rich cream mask that brings back much needed moisture to your sun-damaged hair.

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer: Keep your skin shine-free with Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer. The moisturizer is ultra-light and provides a smooth and weightless finish that is ideal for summer heat.

Aveda Sun Care Hair and Body Cleanser: Remove chlorine, salt and any other residue that is inevitable during summer with the Aveda Sun Care Hair and Body Cleanser. The color-safe formula is made with organic sunflower seed oil and vitamin E and can be used on both your body and hair.

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Credit: Elle, awaydiscounts.com

Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50: Protecting your skin from damaging sun exposure is crucial. The matte formula in the Avène High Protection Tinted Compact is made with 100 percent mineral sunscreen and pre-tocopheryl (photo-stable vitamin E) with broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and powerful antioxidants.

LiftLab Lift & Fix High Potency Solution: Hot weather can be rough on your skin. Give it some TLC with the LiftLab Lift & Fix Solution, perfect for soothing redness or sensitivity. The formula strengthens the skin barrier while calming irritation.

Susan Posnick COLORFLO Bronzer: Bronzer is a summer makeup staple. The Susan Posnick Bronzer gives your skin a natural looking glow while also protecting it against UVA/UVB rays and absorbing the excess oil on your face.

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