How to Have a Fun Family Night in the Kids Will Love

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

As the holiday season approaches, it can be hard to find time to truly focus on being home with your family. This week we’re welcoming Melissa from Melissa Takes Fashion to show us how to create a fun family night in with games, snacks and – of course – the perfect home necessities.

As a working, stay-at-home mom, I try my best to strike a decent work-life balance. That’s why I feel extra lucky to have a local store like Meijer that has everything I need (and more) under one roof. Especially during this busy time of year, redirecting any time saved “adulting” into quality family fun time is what’s most important to me.

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Every holiday season, we like to set a few new traditions, as well as carry on old favorites. High on the kids’ list of oldies-but-goodies includes visiting Santa, riding the Polar Express train and spotting that cheeky Elf. New to our traditions this year is Family Night In.

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We spend so much time running from one party or event to another that we just needed an excuse to slow down. (Of course, we use the term ‘Family Night In’ loosely – with three young kids, it begins around 4pm, which basically makes it senior citizen night!).

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Our Family Night In consisted of board games and movies. Oh, and lots of yummy snacks. But you won’t find me turning frozen chicken nuggets into chicken nugget rainbows or sourdough pretzel nibblers into fancy Christmas pretzel snacks. I’m no Pinterest mom, so I don’t spend a lot of effort on the frills trying to make my food look picture perfect. Just toss it all into a pretty serving bowl and call it a day! Seeing my kids play, laugh, fight together – these are the IRL moments that I live for.

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Here are 5 other easy ideas for a fun Family Night In:

1. Arts and crafts. Bet you didn’t know all the silly things your kids can make with a basic paper plate.

2. Family photos. Take turns snapping silly photos of each other. Then print out your favorites and hang ‘em up.

3. Scavenger hunt. Make a list of obscure things for your kids to find around the house.

4. Write a story. Start with one sentence, then let your little one tell the next sentence. Keep this up until you have a short story with a beginning, middle and end.

5. With the rising popularity of adult coloring books, parents can get in on this classic childhood activity. Sit around the dining table, color together and let the conversation flow.

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We stocked up on everything we needed from Meijer for a successful Family Night In. I got an assortment of the kids’ fave snacks and drinks, comfy clothes for everyone, Pie Face Showdown the game, and Finding Dory the movie – and best of all, I was in and out in under an hour! Next time you go to your local Meijer, keep these tips close at hand and don’t forget to check out the fish tanks. My kids love watching the fish!

What are some of your family’s favorite holiday traditions? Do you prefer to stay in, and if so, how do you make staying at home fun for everyone?

Melissa is the fashionista behind Melissa Takes Fashion, a blog full of lovely style, beauty and family tips. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Master Thanksgiving Dinner with These Kitchen Gadgets

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

Preparations for your big Thanksgiving meal are right around the corner, so this week, we’re welcoming Natalie from Natalie in the City to share her favorite kitchen gadgets and cooking tips to make dinner prep a breeze this holiday.

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time where even top chefs are scrambling to cook, craft and perfect their version of a holiday feast. But this Thanksgiving, I wanted to make sure nothing stood in my way of enjoying the holiday, while putting my own personal touch and twist on some traditional Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts. And just because I’ll be working in the kitchen doesn’t mean my prep tools can’t look as good as my meal!

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Before getting started, I knew that my kitchen needed a plan. So I took a trip to Meijer to stock up on ingredients, kitchen gadgets and appliances to put me on the right track. Some of my must-grab items were Kitchen Aid mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk, a potato peeler and a wire masher. I also picked up a Nordic Ware baking pan, a Farberware paring knife, Pyrex bowls, an adorable kitchen timer and a silicon basting brush.

I was immediately drawn to the Kitchen Aid mixing bowls because they have a pour spout—which my old set of mixing bowls didn’t—and I could not resist the gorgeous purple, pink, and teal colors. Once I had my mixing bowls, I decided to keep the color schemes similar—since I totally have to have cute kitchen gadgets. Another up-side to color coordination is that I can find all of these gadgets in my crowded kitchen cabinets!

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Now that my kitchen is prepped with all the essentials, I’m excited to share three of my favorite holiday recipes that will make prepping Thanksgiving meal a breeze.

First up is an appetizer that is both festive and very easy to master: pumpkin biscuits.

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Start with Pillsbury crescent rounds or warm-and-serve dinner rolls, and use a pairing knife to cut six slices around the dough, making sure to leave the center intact. I loved the pink color of this paring knife, since having brightly-colored kitchen gadgets motivates me to cook and bake more, and it makes the holiday cooking experience a fun one!

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Brush the dough with butter using a brush with longer, silicon bristles that are perfect for applying a thicker layer of butter, which means you’ll get that flaky texture when these come out of the oven. Poke half of a pecan into the center of the roll and place into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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I usually leave the Turkey or main dish to the master chef of the house, and I handle the appetizers and desserts. One of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes is sweet potato mash with cinnamon maple syrup pecan sauce.

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Bake two sweet potatoes until soft (usually an hour or longer). Once done, mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl and add a half tablespoon of brown sugar and two tablespoons of melted butter before stirring together. A heavy-duty KitchenAid masher is perfect for creating that fluffy, airy texture you want in your potatoes.

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To make the sauce, heat a half cup of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon in a pan until the syrup begins to boil. Then add the pecans and whisk for 30 seconds. To finish, drizzle the sauce onto the mashed potatoes and top with a dash of whipped cream.

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When the holidays roll around, I love to make personal-sized or individual dishes for each person, and these personal chicken potpies are my go-to.

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Start by lining a ramekin bowl that you can bake the potpies in with refrigerated piecrust and brush the crust with melted butter. Then, mix together a can of cream of potato, shredded chicken, cheddar cheese, frozen vegetables, and a dash of garlic and paprika in a mixing bowl.

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Add a few scoops of the mixture into your potpie bowls and top it with another layer of crust. Press the top layer of crust to the bottom layer with a fork and brush more melted butter on top. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes or until crust is golden-brown.

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When it comes to pies, I can only speak to my potpie baking abilities, but dessert pie is a whole other story—I’ve never mastered it. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner, though. I am always the first one to say, “Are we ready for pie?!” Which is usually met with, “I am too full!” So I created a little recipe hack that even the fullest guests couldn’t deny, and a recipe that I couldn’t mess up: Pumpkin pie bites.

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I picked up this pre-made pumpkin pie from Meijer and used the Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Cutters to create mini pumpkin pies. Add a dash of whipped cream and cinnamon, and dessert is served!

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With these recipes and kitchen gadgets – including my personal MVP, the timer – by your side, you can master any recipe this Thanksgiving! Happy holidays and happy cooking! For exact recipes and instructions, click here.

Natalie is the fashionista behind Natalie in the City, a fun lifestyle blog full of her adventures in plus size fashion, city life, and being a “fashionista.” Follower her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

How to Host the Perfect Friendsgiving

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Jess from The Golden Girl to share her must-have kitchen and home décor pieces for the perfect Friendsgiving dinner.

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The holidays are here, the holidays are here!

Sounds a little crazy, right? Wasn’t it JUST Halloween? If you can believe it, Thanksgiving is coming up fast, which brings both excitement AND stress. (Hopefully more of the former and less of the latter!)

One of the best parts of the holidays is the excuse to get together not just with family, but friends, too! Hosting Friendsgiving is a great way to get all of your favorite people under one roof and do it with very little stress – and on a budget, too!

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Although I love to throw a great party, I’m not very well-equipped when it comes to things like decorative place settings, beautiful platters and things of that nature. I love the layered look of soft linens and earthy serveware, but as you all know, it can get to be pricey when hosting large parties.

When I decided to throw a last-minute Friendsgiving, I headed to Meijer to pick up both my grocery essentials and all the entertaining staples I’d need. (Who knew I could afford such trendy matching flatware?) Next time you go to Meijer, keep these tips close at hand, so you can put together your own Friendsgiving in a snap!

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Decide on a color scheme

It’s always helpful to decide on a color scheme right off the bat, which prevents any wishy-washiness in-store. I tend to gravitate toward neutrals and metallics, as they’re suitable for nearly every occasion and pops of gold make anything feel festive!

I went with this gold and white tablecloth and matching gold and white napkins from Meijer. This is a foolproof color scheme if you’re like me and already have white dishes because they make it easy to dress up your table in other ways.

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Incorporate wood elements

One of the biggest trends for fall is bringing the outdoors in, so I knew when I saw these place card holders at Meijer, they were perfect for the occasion! (Plus, creating name cards is about the easiest way to make any table look fancy, you know?)

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Keeping with my neutrals + wood theme, I picked up this wooden flatware (I didn’t know that silverware could have a Midcentury Modern feel, but I am so into it) and wooden salad plates, which look perfect set atop white dinner plates.  I got so many compliments on these when my girlfriends sat down for dinner!

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I also picked up this wooden serving platter. It’s not just pretty to look at; it’s elongated shape is a bit deeper than your normal platter, so it’s perfect for serving everything from salad, to cheese, to crostini, to your main course!

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Set the mood

Candles always make everything feel more special, so I picked up these vintage-inspired glass candlestick holders and simple white candlesticks from Meijer’s candle aisle. They only set me back a few bucks, but really go a long way to make the room feel fancy and cozy.

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Keep appetizers simple

When you’re hosting a Friendsgiving, you already have a lot on your plate (no pun intended!) so it’s best to keep your food as simple as possible. When I saw this adorable cheese board (less than $30!) at Meijer, I knew a charcuterie would be a great bet for appetizers. All you have to do is pick up a few cheeses, some bite-size salami and a bit of fruit, and you’re good to go! No cooking required.

I also made a small salad, which I served as guests sat down. You don’t want people to completely fill up on appetizers – plus, a cheese board makes you seem extra fancy!

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Divvy up the workload

Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you have to do all the work! Divvy up the workload – focus on the main course and the appetizers, and ask everyone else to bring a side or dessert. That way you can actually enjoy your Friendsgiving along with your guests!

What are your tips for hosting the perfect Friendsgiving?

Jess is the fashionista behind The Golden Girl, a fun lifestyle blog full of tips on shopping, travel, décor and DIY. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

How to Create Your Dream Closet

As winter’s chill sets in, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear the season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for winter weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Andrea from blonde bedhead to share how she transformed an empty room in her new house into a dream walk-in closet, including storage, décor and – of course – style.

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I pulled the trigger and became a homeowner last month! I was struck with waves of excitement followed by fear, reminding myself I’m responsible for this structure and all the work I want to see materialize. Luckily, I’m type A and never without a plan.

The second largest room in the house became my closet after some planning and physical work, which truly is my least favorite thing in the world. But it doesn’t seem as bad if it’s for your own home, I promise you.

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Tips for Converting a Bedroom to a Closet

It can be overwhelming to reconfigure an old room to serve a brand new purpose. But, by focusing on these five tips, creating my dream closet was much simpler than I ever imagined.

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Map out the space. After I painted the walls with primer and DutchBoy white paint from Meijer, I could finally see what it could become and mapped out how I wanted the room arranged. I determined just how many garment racks I needed, how to organize my shoes in a white cube shelf, as well as where my shelving, Meijer full-length mirror and desk-converted vanity would be placed.

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Change out the light fixture. This really finished the room for me. The standard light was dull and unattractive and a quick change added some personality (and much more light!) to the space.

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Rug it up. Without the rug and grey leather storage bench from Meijer, the room felt sterile and empty. I wanted my closet to feel like a boutique where I could sit and try on shoes and it works practically and aesthetically.

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Less is more. Before I moved anything into the room, I conducted a deep clean and purge of clothes, accessories and beauty/skincare products. The point of the space is to make me feel inspired to not look like a bum in the morning and make it easier and more efficient to get ready each day.

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Add some green. To add to the bohemian vibe and liveliness, plants were a necessity. I’ll be adding more plants as time progresses. We’ll see how long I keep the ones I have alive.

I still use the closet in my bedroom, but try to keep it uncluttered by only having clothing that is in heavy rotation for the season (or that I want more visible, so I remember to wear it more) on the racks for easy accessibility. Some of these pieces include sweaters, jackets and ponchos, like the Meijer one I’m wearing.

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Products from Meijer to finish the space: primer and DutchBoy white paint, grey leather storage bench, full-length mirror, white cube shelf and shoe organizer, natural wood stool, wood and white plastic hangers, fuzzy pillow for vanity chair, small plants and command three hooks to hang hats and décor.

Andrea Kerbuski is the fashionista behind blonde bedhead, a fashion and lifestyle blog featuring chic outfits, life’s inspirations and big hair. For more home décor and style tips, follow Andrea on InstagramPinterest and Twitter.

How to Host a Boo-tiful Halloween Dinner Party

As fall transitions us to cooler months, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear this season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for fall weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Nina from The HSS Feed to share some favorite spooky tablescape décor for a boo-tiful Halloween-inspired dinner party.

Fall is my favorite time of year and Halloween is my very favorite holiday. I love decorating my house for the season, picking out costumes and, of course, hosting friends to celebrate this fun fall holiday.

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In our neighborhood, trick-or-treating is a big event not only for kids, but also for the parents. As we go door to door, it’s very common for neighbors to invite you in for a drink or snack along the way. At our house, I already have our candy bowl fully stocked for trick-or-treaters, but this year, I’ve planned a Halloween party for the adults (the big kids!) as well.

The great thing about party planning and shopping at Meijer is that, in a couple of laps around the store, you can get everything you need.

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For this party, I started with décor and wanted to keep things feeling a little more sophisticated, but still playful and festive. I already had some lacy, spider web linens at home, so I planned around those. I chose to focus on keeping things mostly black and white, with a hint of shimmer and pops of festive orange.

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Halloween décor just isn’t complete without a few cute critters. These tinsel cats are a really fun and whimsical element to work with, and I also loved how the tinsel spiders and glitter pumpkins added a bit of sparkle. To complete a sleek and – dare I say – glamorous Halloween look, just add a bit of candlelight, some twinkle lights and you’re all set!

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Halloween is a busy night, so when it comes to food, I chose items that are easy to pick up, eat quickly while visiting, or even take along with you as you go! The Meijer deli was my go-to for putting together an easy charcuterie and cheese platter, and a trip to the bakery helped me with some festive cookies. I even found these pumpkin picks in the holiday baking supplies for my favorite chocolate cupcakes.

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I have a serious sweet tooth and fully believe that grownups should also get candy on Halloween, and I’m never one to turn down a good handful of candy corn or peanut M&Ms! I also put together these super simple chocolate covered “ghost pretzel sticks” as a fun, sweet snack.

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Wishing you all a fun, safe and Happy Halloween!

Nina is the fashionista behind The HSS Feed, a fun lifestyle blog full of her thoughts on happiness, success and style. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Photos taken by Tosha Cole Photography.

8 Things You Need to Host an Instagram-Worthy Fall Picnic

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While summer may have come and gone, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors before the first frost hits. We’re talking lazy afternoons in the backyard with a cozy blanket or two and your favorite fall snacks to really celebrate the season. So grab your besties and get ready for a picture-perfect get-together everyone is sure to love. To give you some inspiration for a cozy afternoon, here are eight essential items that every fall picnic needs – all available now at Meijer.

1. Neutral Picnic Blanket

Skip the classic checkerboard blanket and opt for a neutral tan or brown blanket. The understated, simple style will allow your picnic décor to really shine. Make sure the throw is thick enough to give your guests some extra comfort, like a king size quilt. That way you’ll be sure to have a welcome layer between yourself and the cool ground.

2. Fall Florals

Once you have your blanket laid out, frame your picnic space with fresh, natural accents – this is an outdoor picnic, after all! Choose fall floral arrangements like mums and heleniums from the Meijer garden center, featuring your favorite autumn colors.

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3. Rustic Baskets and Serving Platters

Worried about getting your décor set up or carrying glasses to your picture-perfect picnic? Wicker baskets work great for outdoor events, especially with rustic rope handles. Serve snacks on rope-lined wooden serving platters or in wooden serving bowls for a natural complement to your outdoor event.

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4. Outdoor-Safe Drink Dispenser

Since cider is a must for any fall gathering, put it on display in a plastic drink dispenser. Add slices of apples and cinnamon sticks to bring the flavors to life, and let guests serve themselves with an easy-to-use spout.

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5. Mason Jar Glasses

For a unique way to enjoy cider, skip traditional tumblers in favor of rustic mason jars. For an extra cute touch that your guests will love, decorate the jars with a simple twine bow.

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6. Chic Throw Pillows

Since picnics are notably sans table and chairs, bring throw pillows so your guests can get totally comfortable. Pick two hero colors in various prints and solids (we love plaids and stripes), incorporating neutrals like white and grey to add even more dimension to your décor.

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7. Cozy Blankets

If your soiree is going to last until sunset, don’t forget to bring extra blankets to keep your guests cozy. A large wicker basket makes set-up a breeze, while allowing you to bring plenty of blankets for everyone. Throw in your favorite book or magazine and swap favorites with your friends.

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8. Your besties

The best thing about a picnic is the people you share it with, so always invite your friends (and take lots of creative pictures!).

You’re covered when it comes to fall picnic essentials, so now it’s time to plan your ensemble! Here are a few autumn outfit ideas perfect for your next event.

For even more fall inspiration, check out these posts from some of our favorite bloggers: Live Love & Read, Natalie in the City, The HSS Feed, That Chic Lex, Selective Potential and Blonde Bedhead.

Color Crush: Turquoise Necessities for College

As fall transitions us to cooler months, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear this season’s hottest trends. From style tips to makeup trends to home décor, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas gear up for fall weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Meghan from Lincoln Park Minute to share her favorite color for decorating her college apartment this year—turquoise!

I’m headed back to school for my senior year at DePaul University and I can’t believe it’s already here, but thanks to a recent shopping trip at Meijer, I feel quite prepared in all aspects.

I picked up a ton of great stuff all in a common color: turquoise. Lately I’ve adored turquoise because it’s so bright and fun, and it makes adding color to anything and everything so easy. Blue is also an incredibly calming color, which we can ALL use during school and the stress it often brings.

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For school itself, I knew I needed to stock up on a lot of things. For example, I needed a few new tech accessories so I grabbed this sparkly Incipio Design Series case for my iPhone 6/6s and JVC gummy headphones. My phone is regularly in my hand so seeing the blue sparkly pattern instantly lifts my mood. Of course, I can use my headphones with my phone or laptop since they’re always in my purse ready to go.

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When it comes to class and studying, there are so many needs! For desk basics, I grabbed this gorgeous blue Mead Cambridge Edition 80 sheet notebook, Maped tattoo soft scissors, LockerLookz 4 piece magnet set, a Sharpie, and Scotch matte tape. Because my desk is white, I love the pops of turquoise each of these items bring to it. To store my books, I used this Whitmor resin weave basket—it really helps keep things looking organized.

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I bought another of the same basket to stow away on my built-in bookshelf too—I love how well it matches.

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I also grabbed this bright Brita sport water bottle with a built-in filter—I always need to have a water bottle with me whether I’m working out, in class or studying. Speaking of studying, I bought a 2 pair pack of Simple Pleasuries cozy socks to wear while I work on things for class (who can say no to fuzzy socks?).

Outside of school and studying, I really needed to brighten up my apartment overall so I got a few décor items in that turquoise blue I kept seeing all over Meijer. Can you tell I love this color?

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In the kitchen section, I stumbled upon the cutest, bright turquoise kitchen items: a berry colander and a Pyrex 4 cup glass storage container. Sometimes I use the colander as storage in my fridge too. Just be sure to put a paper towel underneath to collect any excess water!

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In my bedroom, I prefer to have a cute and brightly decorated nightstand. It’s a great place to put a photo, like I did with this Malden International Designs 4×6 frame, because I see it every day when I wake up and go to sleep. Next to it, I have a Studio Nova turquoise rope handle glass tea light holder that looks nice on my desk as well. Like many of the other items, these can both be placed in practically any part of a dorm or apartment.

Now that my space is much more colorful, each and every day is somewhat brighter too. I’m incredibly happy about my finds! What color are you stocking up on this season?

Meghan is the fashionista behind Lincoln Park Minute, a blog full of fun style, beauty and lifestyle tips! Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Back-to-College 101: 5 Must-Have Bedding Basics

Every year when you head back to school, college becomes your home away from home. If you move into an apartment, it’s easy to transfer your basic room necessities, but if you move into a dorm, things can quickly get a little trickier. You can’t take your bed from your house to your res hall – but luckily for you, we know everything you need. Here are 5 bedding basics to snag before first semester:

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1. Since you’re not always in control of the thermostat in your dorm, it can be tough to regulate your body temp when you sleep. To ensure that you’re never too hot or too cold, invest in an Allerease Ultimate Protection & Comfort Down Alternative Pillow. It’s light, fluffy and super-high tech, adjusting to warm you up or keep you cool when you need it.

2. We’re all guilty of eating snacks in bed sometimes, so protect your stuff from spills with an Allerease Ultimate Protection & Comfort Zippered Breathable Pillow Protector. Thanks to this soft, comfy pillowcase, you can relax with munchies and Netflix after class without a worry!

3. Dorm room mattresses are almost never comfortable, so add a Room + Retreat 5 Zone Foam Mattress Topper for extra padding. You’ll be glad that you did (and regret it if you don’t!).

4. Remember the strange bed cover your mom put under your sheets? It’s called a mattress pad – and it’s a basic bedding necessity! Prevent the collection of dust mites, pollen and common household allergens with an Allerease Hot Water Washable Mattress Pad.

5. Finally, to prevent a hefty damage fee if anything happens to your mattress, invest in a simple, yet durable Allerease Zippered Mattress Protector. It’s waterproof and bed bug proof – nothing’s getting past this thing!

Now that you’ve got your bedding basics figured out, here are 4 trendy ways to decorate your dorm room.

Back-to-College 101: Dorm Room 4 Ways

Move-in day is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start shopping for your dorm room décor. It’s important to create a space that reflects your personality – so whether you’re preppy, carefree, casual or modern, here are four trendy ways to decorate your dorm room this year.

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1. Preppy Chic

For a bright, trendy dorm room, mix bold, summery colors with simple, feminine prints. Choose one or two shades as the foundation of the space, then add glamour with stylish neutral accents. For the perfect complement to this chic look, opt for faux fur décor, geometric patterns and metallic gold details.

Shopping List:

Medallion print throw pillow

Pin-tuck comforter

Geometric table lamp

Mel “Be You Tiful” Photo Clipboard

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2. Carefree Boho

When it comes to boho dorm décor, there’s no wrong way to mix and match. Play with color, patterns and texture to create a carefree vibe that’s unique to you. For an extra touch that’s especially personalized, feature your favorite quote or phrase on a wall or throw pillow.

Shopping List:

Tie-Dye Motif Comforter

Stick Lamp with Gold Leaf Lamp Shade

“Own Kind of Beautiful” Wall Art

Three Hands Metal Accent Table

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3. Relaxed Plaid

Since most dorms don’t allow its residents to paint the walls, a much-needed punch of color needs to come from your décor. Choose a bold comforter or rug to give your room some personality – then add a casual, rustic touch with a nature-inspired wooden side table.

Shopping List:

Tonal plaid comforter

Essex Slice Round Table

Artissimo Captain America Madbomb Comic Cover Canvas Print

Tripod Table Lamp

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4. Modern Geometric

To avoid creating a space that looks uninviting or outdated, the key is to mix cool and warm colors. Elegant neutrals (like gray, white and black) look great with sunny shades (like yellow and orange). For a trendy look that is perfectly modern, opt for geometric patterns like chevron and checker.

Shopping List:

Geometric chevron comforter

Essex Slice Round Table

Stick Lamp with Gray Chevron Lamp Shade

For additional dorm décor inspiration, check out DIY projects perfect for your first place and 10 trendy back-to-college necessities.

Back-to-College 101: Trendy Dorm Necessities

Packing for school can be stressful, especially if it’s your freshman year. So many things can be easy to forget – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are 13 trendy items that are back-to-college necessities:

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1. When you’re headed to campus to study or do homework, it helps to have portable computer accessories along. The Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard connects to your desktop, smartphone or tablet, making it easy to type no matter which device you use. For the ultimate convenience when you’re headed out with your laptop, be sure to grab a Logitech M185 Wireless Mouse.

2. Speaking of techy accessories, never leave your dorm without a trendy Incipio iPhone 6 Phone Case or Skullcandy Ink’d Earbuds. The earbuds come equipped with a built-in microphone, so it’s easier to take calls when you’re out and about.

3. If you’re gone for a while and need lunch on the go, the Rubbermaid Fasten + Go Soup Kit is a great, simple solution. Say goodbye to bulky lunch boxes and hello to this compact container!

4. Most importantly, don’t ever forget the coffee. Invest in a travel mug so that much-needed boost of energy is always readily accessible.

5. When you finish your essay and it’s time to print it for your prof, make sure to have an HP 60 Tri-color Original Ink Cartridge on hand. Or, go digital with a PNY 16GB Compact USB.

6. You’ve got your shower caddy ready for when you get home, but towels are always easily forgotten. Choose a few in colorful patterns and you’ll be good to go!

7. To ensure the little sleep you will get is exceptional, invest in a Room & Retreat ‘Back to College’ Sherpa Throw and sleeping mask. It will probably make waking up for your 8 a.m. tougher than it already is – but it’s so worth it, we promise.

8. When those early morning classes do come around, count on an iHome Portable Alarm Clock Speaker System to get you up and moving. It allows you to set more than one alarm at a time (while conveniently doubling as your back-up phone charger).

9. To keep your alarm clock running and save yourself some cash, splurge for a pair of Duracell rechargeable batteries. They can hold charge for up to a year!

10. Finally, if anything ever breaks – might as well fix it in style! Grab some Printed Duct Tape® in Arabesque for all your dorm room needs.

With these trendy necessities, you’ll be ready as ever to head back to college!

Easy DIY Décor Ideas Perfect for Your First Place

One of the best things about a new season is that it’s a great opportunity to refresh your home décor. Whether you’re moving into your first dorm or simply redecorating your place, here are 5 simple DIY projects to help you personalize your space:

1. Create-your-own wall art

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Whether it’s a picture of your cat or your favorite city, this DIY wall art is a simple, unique way to show your personality. For an art-deco look, use Adobe Photoshop to create multiple versions of the same photo in different colors. Then, head to Meijer and print each picture as a large wall cling – they’re easy to apply, remove and arrange, and they’ll add a trendy touch to any room in your home.

2. Art for the floor

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Layering rugs that contrast in color, pattern and size is an easy way to add interest to your floor. Not only does this technique highlight the seating area of your apartment, but it also gives you flexibility when you decide to refresh your décor. Swapping out one (or both) rugs can change the look of your space in no time.

3. Tape picture frames

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Many apartments and dorms restrict tacks or nails in the wall, which makes it pretty tough to hang your favorite pictures. For an inexpensive, fun alternative to traditional frames, create your own with Scotch Expressions Washi Tape. It comes in a variety of colors and can be written on with pen, pencil or marker, so personalizing your living space has never been easier!

4. Indoor crate garden

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Use assorted storage containers to create custom wood cabinets for your plants and collectibles. In addition to greenery that varies in shape and size, include extra décor to add a crafty, rustic twist. Think small frames, wooden letters and earthy accents.

5. DIY bookends

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For days filled with homework or taking your job home, it helps to have a space dedicated to concentrating. To add color and fun to your own personal creativity corner, build DIY bookends out of candy-filled jars. (They’ll also provide a much-needed sugar rush during late night study breaks.)

Now that you’ve got your dorm décor on lock, finish prepping for back-to-school with shower caddy essentials and easy second-day hair styles.

Dorm Décor Ideas: 6 Quick Ways to Brighten Your Space

We’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to showcase their favorite back to school looks. From style trends to décor tips, we love seeing how these fashionistas gear up for the year ahead.

It’s important to feel at home in college, so this week we’re welcoming Alexis from That Chic Lex to share her favorite tips to make your dorm room cozy, comfortable and functional.

This summer has flown by and it’s that time again to think about back to school. Dorms aren’t always the best living situation thanks to their plain walls and cramped living space, but there ARE ways to make it your own and love the experience. So why not make the most of it this year, whether you are a college freshman or senior, and add fun and personal flare to your décor with these tips I use to decorate my own space.

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Every college student needs a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day, so why not get one that’s multi-purpose—one that reflects your personal style and keeps your water chilled. This Cantini water bottle from Meijer is adorable and a perfect choice.

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Nothing makes a statement like a print. This coaster from Meijer is perfect for adding flare to a plain and basic dorm room. Whether it’s used functionally for a drink next to your bed or placed under a succulent, it does the job of adding liveliness to a room.

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Dorms are rather small, so you’ll have to take advantage of space as much as you can. This Room and Retreat tray from Meijer can be used all different ways. My favorite use is for décor. Placing books, succulents, and my journal on the tray keeps everything organized and looks put together. The color will go with any room theme and can be used next to you on a bed or couch or futon while you’re working, or will look nice on your desk.

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I love accessories! I mean who doesn’t? Marble is all the rage right now, so why not try it out in accessories. This long necklace from Meijer is perfect for back to school. It pairs perfectly with these gold sunglasses, also from Meijer, which are a must have for tailgates or walking to class.

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Having to share a bathroom with a couple of people can be hectic, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be cute. These Hip Style towels from Meijer are the perfect way to liven up your bathroom. The bold monocratic prints will go with any color and still make a statement.

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Matching towels pull a theme together even more. Keep them organized in this Room and Retreat metal basket from Meijer. The basket can be used for absolutely anything so if you already have a designated place for your towels, use it for extra storage!

A dorm is your home away from home, so be sure to make sure it reflects your personal style—you’ll be more comfortable and productive. Next time you’re shopping, try using these tips to make your dorm your own!

Alexis is a fashion merchandising student at Central Michigan University and the fashionista behind That Chic Lex, a blog full of fun style and beauty tips. Follow her on Instagram and Pinterest.

The Perfect Wedding Party Gift Idea

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With summer comes the official start of wedding season! Whether you’re getting married or part of an all-star bridal party, it can be difficult to find the perfect gift. Luckily, Melissa from The Bee’s Knees gave us an easy idea to show your friends just how thankful you are to have them in your life. Check out this step-by-step tutorial for a creative gift that’s sure to make the bride or wedding party feel special.

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First, you’ll want to start by selecting gifts that can be used long after the wedding. Melissa loves gifting jewelry paired with something personalized. A tassel necklace is an on-trend accessory that everyone’s sure to love, while a monogramed mug ensures the recipient thinks of you every time she enjoys a cup of coffee.

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For a gift this special, skip the wrapping paper and gift bags – instead, make the wrapping a part of the gift itself. Right now we love everything cream-colored, so pick up a neutral scarf to act as an eco-friendly satchel that’s sure to be used again.

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Begin by laying your scarf out on a table and placing your gifts in the center. We put the earrings and necklace inside the mug for easy wrapping.

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Now, take the two opposite corners of the scarf and tie them together in the middle over the top of your gift.

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Repeat by tying the last two corners of the scarf, meeting in the middle to create a tousled bow.

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Chalk markers and twine make the perfect rustic-chic nametag – simply tie around the scarf for an Instagram-worthy present.

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From bridal parties to bridal showers, this easy (not to mention inexpensive!) gift is sure to let your friends know how much they mean to you.

How to Host the Perfect Backyard BBQ

This summer, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to showcase the season’s hottest trends. From style trends to home décor tips, we love seeing how these fashionistas celebrate the warm weather.

This week, we’re welcoming Melissa from The Bee’s Knees to share her favorite products and best tips for making guests happy during your summer backyard barbeque.

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I don’t know if anyone appreciates summer more than Michiganders. We put up with the cold months, sure, but when summer makes its debut, it’s a glorious occasion worth celebrating. We’re serious about our backyard barbeques and today I’m going to share how I like to celebrate mine.

First you have to begin with the perfect table setting. Meijer makes this SO easy as they carry a large variety of adorable outdoor entertaining merchandise. It was so hard to settle on just a few items—I wanted to buy them all!

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These cups, plates, and bowls are so fun! I love that they’re all different patterns with similar colors. It brings a creative vibe to the table.

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This anchor tablecloth is vinyl and great for easy cleanup when things get messy. Come on, people, it’s a barbeque—things are bound to get a bit messy, right?

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This ice bucket was one of my favorite finds! I love the metal and wood look and it kept our ice nice and cold all day. Score.

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I chose this pitcher because I liked that it was a durable plastic and also somewhat see-through. The Country Time pink lemonade from Meijer looks attractive in it! I also sliced up a few lemons (for looks) and juiced part of them into the lemonade mix. Yum!

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For cutlery, I chose to use the disposable Mozaik heavy weight plastic variety because the utensils look real but there’s no washing required after the party. Wink. Just toss them when you’re through! I wrapped my Mozaik cutlery in some Meijer 3-ply dinner napkins and tied them with burlap twine from the craft department.

Once you’ve got the table situated, start thinking about ambiance and ways to make your guests feel comfortable. I chose the following to help with this:

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When my guests arrive, chances are that I haven’t even fired up the grill yet. Or maybe I am cooking but it’s going to be a while before we eat. I always like to have something to offer my guests right away and I’ve found that a chilled container of sparkling water is a great go-to option. It’s refreshing, hydrating, bubbly, and makes you feel like you’re getting away with something without drinking soda—no calories here! I chose La Croix’s coconut sparkling water. It’s my personal favorite and very refreshing on hot days!

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My next item on the guest comfort list—corn on the cob holders! This may sound simple, but who likes trying to butter blazing hot corn on the cob with their bare hands? Ouch. These are ‘essential’ for any backyard barbeque.

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Lastly, considering ambiance, I chose these original Tiki Torches for display around the yard. Their purpose is twofold: 1) they create a beautiful ‘glow’ as the sun sets and 2) they help keep pesky mosquitoes at bay. Both great reasons to invest in some torches for the backyard!

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Cheers to a fun barbeque season ahead! I hope you’ll incorporate a few of these ideas into your backyard this summer.

Melissa McBride is the fashionista behind The Bee’s Knees, a blog full of lovely tips for fashion, beauty and DIY. Follow Melissa on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

XO Mrs. Measom’s Spring Color Crush

This spring, we’re partnering with our favorite style bloggers to show us how they wear this season’s hottest trends. From makeup tutorials to style tips to home décor suggestions, we’re excited to see how these fashionistas take runway trends and make them all their own.

This week, we’re welcoming KJ from XO Mrs. Measom to share her favorite color to add to her home décor for spring—blue! As she shows us below, blue is perfect for adding pops of color to your living space and there’s a variety of ways to incorporate this season.

I am a lady who loves my neutrals. White, taupe, beige, cream. I love these muted hues because they allow me to play around with prints and textures without being too loud. They also create a beautiful blank canvas for me to add to each season without having to overspend.

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With the warmer weather upon us, it was time to brighten up our home with some pops of color. The color of this season seems to be blue, in all its variants. From bright cobalt to a soft turquoise, you can’t pass an aisle of Meijer without something blue catching your eye.

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My first tip is to play with blue accessories such as this teakettle, or these stunning blue crystal cups. Mixing in these bold shades will have any visitor feeling like they’re on a beautiful island, catching some rays. They’ll be thinking beachy thoughts, and you’ll find that adding these tiny splashes of color makes all the difference in inspiring that warm weather mood.

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I embraced the bold blue in this American flag pillow I found, showing off my patriotic side, and waiting for the Fourth to find its way. I even layered a brighter turquoise chalkboard behind it to pull out more of the royal blue. Don’t be afraid to mix and match shades of blue together. They’re so complementary, you can’t go wrong.

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Speaking of mixing and matching, I also love the look of mixing in prints and textures. I took plaid and striped dishtowels, in the same blue tone, and together they made such an eye catching duo.

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The more I played around with the blue, the more I realized it was almost more of a neutral! It could go with something as bright as this coral, in a high intensity print like the chevron, and still be classy and chic.

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Something about the blue really pulls out the color and layers of whatever you pair it with. These place mats made the white bowl, the apples, and the wood all make sense. Apples never looked so good!

From soft robin’s egg blue to richer navy hues, it’s no wonder this versatile hue is the “it” color of the season. Just add a few splashes to each room in your home, and you’ll be ready for the sunny days ahead.

KJ is the fashionista behind XO Mrs. Measom, a lifestyle blog full of tips for beauty, fashion, recipes and much more. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.