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From Curiosity to Creation: The Thrilling Ride of STEM Subscription Boxes for Kids

In an era where subscription boxes seem to have lost their allure, there remains a steadfast niche: parents seeking creative ways to engage and educate their children.

As a parent myself, I found solace and delight in toy and book subscription boxes for my little ones.

Recently, while exploring options for my goddaughter, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of STEM boxes, reigniting my curiosity.

I got caught into the weeds but think I’m going to go with but here are the results of my finds including my partners at MelScience:

Mel ScienceSTEM kit offers engaging and educational experiments for curious young minds. The materials in each kit are super high quality. Each project comes with instructions that are clear and easy to read.

The steps are truly hands-on learning experiences in various scientific fields.

From chemistry to physics, these kits inspire children to explore and understand the world around them in a fun and interactive way.

It compares to another STEM kit my children have used and loved: Creation Crate.

It’s also a subscription box but also sells one-off kits!

With the monthly boxes, your child gets a hands-on coding experience to build electronics and learn programming basics.

Creation Crate focuses on electronics and programming, while Mel Science offers a comprehensive approach with virtual lessons.

I love this about the Creation Crate moto:CRITICAL THINKERS ARE MADE, NOT BORN

Becoming a critical thinker takes work.

Flex your critical thinking muscles with the challenges and problem-solving mindset required to finish a Creation Crate project.

My son tinkered with his Creation Crate subscription when he was 15 years old.

He has always been fascinated with taking apart tech that he started fixing laptops at home.

Today, he is a fourth year STEM student at a top ranked university.

Try Creation Crate!

For younger kids , ages 8–14, I looked into a few other popular options:Bitsbox: 

Voted as the #1 STEM box for kids, Bitsbox introduces children to coding through hands-on projects.

Your child starts with coding examples and quickly progress to creating their own apps, fostering a deep understanding of computer programming.

Bitsbox is suitable for beginners with no prior coding experience.

Each kit includes a helpful Grownup Guide and unlimited email support, making it easy for both kids and parents to get started.

It’s real computer programming while having fun and kids learn to create various applications, including video games, greeting cards, and simulations, all of which work on real phones and tablets.

With a subscription box mailed monthly, Bitsbox introduces a new coding concept with each delivery.

Each project builds on the previous one, encouraging kids to tackle more complex and exciting app development challenges over time.

You can also buy the entire box in one go!

Get a Bitsbox subscription here!

Tinkercrate: Encourages hands-on learning with STEM projects, including coding activities, engineering challenges, and science experiments.

It has a lot of great reviews from previous users and subscribers who described the challenges within each project as Educational, Creative, Engaging.

While Bitsbox empowers kids to create their own apps, Tinkercrate offers a broader range of STEM activities beyond coding.

Get a Tinkercrate box today!

For even younger kids as young as age 6, look to CodeWizardsHQ.

It offers live online coding classes for kids, offering personalized instruction and projects in a collaborative virtual environment.

This option is very cool for children who already are showing an interest in STEM or even for those who are not sure and want to tinker around to see how things work under the hoos.

I also like the maker of TinkerCrate Kiwico Kiwi ‘s other offerings which include coding projects alongside a variety of STEM activities, fostering creativity and problem-solving skills in kids.

It was founded by a mom who is also an engineer and I can tell she put her everything in each subscription box!

Founder Sara Oh Lin left her corporate job to create a company that celebrates kids’ natural creativity and curiosity, while helping parents who want to bring enriching experiences to their children.Love it!

Subscribe to KiwiCo!

No matter which you choose, you cannot go wrong when you hardwire your child’s brain for STEM success!

Navigating the Skies: A Quick Guide to Pros and Cons of Various Airline Rewards Programs

Travel enthusiasts, frequent flyers, and wanderlust-driven souls all share a common desire: to explore the world while saving some bucks.

Fortunately, airlines have recognized this desire and introduced loyalty programs to reward their dedicated customers.

These programs offer a slew of perks, from free flights to elite status benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of some of the most popular airline rewards programs.

United Airlines MileagePlus

The Pluses:

  • Extensive Global Network: United Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, provides access to an extensive network of destinations worldwide.

  • Generous Redemption Options: MileagePlus allows you to redeem miles for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and more.

  • Elite Status Perks: Frequent flyers can enjoy benefits like priority boarding, free upgrades, and access to United Club lounges.

The Minuses:

  • Limited Saver Award Availability: Finding award flights at the lowest mileage levels can be challenging, especially on popular routes.
  • Mileage Devaluation: United has devalued its MileagePlus program in the past, which can affect the value of your miles.

Copa Airlines ConnectMiles

The Pluses:

  • Hub in Panama: Copa Airlines’ hub in Panama provides convenient connections to destinations in Central and South America.

  • Competitive Award Chart: ConnectMiles often offers competitive redemption rates for flights within the Americas.

  • Star Alliance Benefits: As a Star Alliance member, you can use ConnectMiles to access a vast network of airlines.

The Minuses:

  • Limited Global Reach: While Copa Airlines covers much of the Americas, it has limited reach in other parts of the world.

  • Few Elite Perks: The elite status benefits of ConnectMiles may not be as robust as those offered by larger carriers.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

The Pluses:

  • Luxury Travel: Qatar Airways is known for its premium service, making Privilege Club a great choice for luxury travelrs.

  • Award-Winning Airline: Qatar Airways has received numerous awards for its quality and service.

  • Global Destinations: The airline’s expansive route network includes many destinations worldwide.

The Minuses:

  • Limited U.S. Presence: While Qatar Airways offers flights to several U.S. cities, its domestic network is limited compared to American carriers.

  • High Taxes and Fees: Privilege Club awards can be subject to high taxes and fees, particularly on premium cabin redemptions.

Air France KLM Flying Blue

The Pluses:

  • Strong European Network: Flying Blue’s parent airlines, Air France and KLM, have extensive European route networks.

  • Promo Awards: Flying Blue frequently offers Promo Awards, which provide discounted mileage rates on select routes.

  • Transfer Partners: Flying Blue is a transfer partner of multiple credit card programs, making it easier to earn miles.

The Minuses:

  • Dynamic Pricing: Flying Blue has shifted towards dynamic pricing, which means award prices can vary greatly.

  • Limited Domestic U.S. Options: While you can redeem miles for domestic flights within the U.S., options are limited compared to American carriers.

JetBlue TrueBlue

The Pluses:

  • Family Friendly: JetBlue is known for its family-friendly policies, including no change fees for families traveling with children.’

  • Points Pooling: TrueBlue allows family members to pool their points, making it easier to redeem for flights.

  • Mint Business Class: JetBlue’s Mint business class is highly regarded and offers a premium experience.

The Minuses:

  • Limited Global Network: JetBlue primarily serves domestic routes and a few international destinations, so TrueBlue is best for U.S.-centric travelers.

  • Fixed Value Points: TrueBlue points have a fixed value, which means they may not provide the same potential for outsized value as some other programs.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

The Pluses:

  • Valuable Partnerships: Alaska Airlines partners with a diverse range of airlines, including international carriers like Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

  • Generous Stopover Rules: Mileage Plan allows stopovers on one-way awards, allowing you to visit multiple destinations on a single ticket.

  • Competitive Redemption Rates: Alaska often offers competitive mileage rates for award flights.

The Minuses:

  • Limited Coverage: Alaska Airlines primarily serves the U.S. West Coast, which can be a drawback for travelers in other regions.

  • No Membership Tiers: Mileage Plan does not have traditional elite status tiers, although it does offer some elite benefits.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward

The Pluses:

  • No Change Fees: Southwest is known for its customer-friendly policies, including no change fees and two free checked bags.

  • Companion Pass: Earning the Companion Pass allows a designated person to fly with you for free on both paid and award flights.

  • Extensive U.S. Network: Southwest covers a wide range of U.S. cities, making it a convenient choice for domestic travel.

The Minuses:

  • Limited International Routes: Southwest’s international route network is smaller than that of major U.S. carriers.

  • Fixed-Value Points: Rapid Rewards points have a fixed value, which means redemption values may not vary as much as with other programs.

Delta SkyMiles

The Pluses:

  • Global Network: Delta is one of the largest airlines in the world, providing access to a vast global network.

  • SkyTeam Alliance: As a SkyTeam member, Delta’s SkyMiles can be used on partner airlines like Air France, KLM, and Korean Air.

  • Award Sales: Delta periodically offers award sales with discounted mileage rates.

The Minuses:

  • Dynamic Pricing: Delta has shifted to dynamic pricing, which can make award redemptions less predictable.

  • Limited Saver Availability: Finding low-level award seats on Delta flights can be challenging, especially for popular routes.

American Airlines Advantage

The Pluses:

  • Extensive U.S. Network: American Airlines has a robust domestic route network, making it convenient for U.S. travelers.

  • Oneworld Alliance: Advantage miles can be used on Oneworld alliance partners like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qatar Airways.

  • Elite Status Perks: AAdvantage offers several elite status tiers with valuable benefits for frequent flyers.

The Minuses:

  • Devaluation Concerns: American Airlines has devalued its program in the past, leading to concerns about the long-term value of miles.

  • Limited Saver Availability: Like other major U.S. carriers, finding low-level award availability can be challenging.

In conclusion, the best airline rewards program for you depends on your travel preferences, home airport, and loyalty to specific airlines.

Each program has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to consider your travel habits and goals when choosing the right one for you.

Whether you prioritize a global network, generous elite benefits, or family-friendly policies, there’s likely an airline rewards program that aligns with your needs and preferences.

Happy travels!

Unveiling Your Brilliance: Creating a High School Portfolio that Captivates College Admissions

Creating a portfolio website for your high school senior’s college admissions application can be a powerful way to grab the attention of college admissions counselors in your state or region.

While helping my children get through the college admissions process, in 2020 and in 2023, I became consumed with a ton of research, and gained tremendous amount of insights from dozens of sources, including college admissions experts, veteran college parents and the like.

By the end of the process, I felt like a full blown expert myself.

I’m smart.

I think I’m intuitive.

I have a knack for reading tea leaves

So I decided to take up Instagram’s offer to host a broadcast channel and I decided to dedicate it to helping fellow parents navigate the process.

Lessons from the pandemic college cycle

Among the many lessons I learned during the post-pandemic college admission process is that some schools are keen to admit students who are influential and/or who have a strong personality.

Those that are influencers and have a large following can become brand ambassadors of sorts when they choose to share their college visits, decisions reactons and later to tak their followers with them when they stat college.

They are few of them but there is no reason why another student with a stellar profile in their school or community couldn’t present themselves in a packaged way the same as an influencer.

Enter the High School Portfolio website

In today’s digital age, a well-crafted portfolio website can be a wonderful way to showcae your child child’s personality, along with their their accomplishments, talents, and aspirations and help them stand out from the crowd and showcase.

Here are some tips and strategies to help you make the most of this opportunity:

Step 1: Choose the Right Platform

 Start by selecting a user-friendly website builder or content management system (CMS) that doesn’t require extensive technical skills. Platforms like WixSquarespace which has loads of templates


and WordPress.com are popular choices for creating portfolio websites.

Wix and WordPress.com are completely free though there are limits with customization. Squarespace has monthly plans that are low price but is still a great option.For extra personality, you can select a URL with your child’s name.

You can buy your name at sites like Domain.comNameCheap and GoDaddy.com for as low at $1.99 in some cases.

Most of these include hosting but easiest that I’ve used among various hosting sites is Dreamhost. Get it Here!

Step 2: Create an Eye-Catching Design:

I like to research other websites and select a few I like then go from there.Ideally, you should pick a design that is clean, professional, and visually appealing.Make sure you use cohesive color scheme and high-quality images.Ensure that the website is mobile-responsive for easy viewing on different devices.

Using Dreamhost, I walk newbies through the process of setting up a website in a one hour in a recent YouTube video below:

WATCH THE TUTORIALThese days, upwards to 92%% of content online is viewed on a mobile device. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, people will click off or swipe away.

What should be on the website?

Highlight Academic Achievements:

Include a dedicated section for academic achievements, such as GPA, standardized test scores, honors classes, and notable projects.To make it visually stimulating and appealing, use charts or infographics to visually represent accomplishments if applicable.

Showcase Extracurricular Activities: 

Spotlight your child’s involvement in extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, or community service. Include photos, descriptions, and any leadership roles they’ve held.

Feature Personal Essays and Statements: 

Publish their personal essays or statements of purpose on the website. These essays should reflect their passion, personality, and reasons for wanting to attend a specific college or university.

Include a Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV):

Provide a downloadable PDF of your child’s resume or CV. This document should summarize their educational history, work experience, awards, and skills.

Showcase Creative Work: 

If your child has a talent in the arts, music, writing, or any other creative field, dedicate a section to showcasing their work. Include videos, audio clips, images, or writing samples as appropriate.

Testimonials and Recommendations:

Request letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, or community leaders and display them on the website. Authentic endorsements can carry significant weight.

Interactive Elements: 

Incorporate interactive elements like a blog or journal where your child can share insights, experiences, or reflections related to their academic and personal growth

Contact Information: 

Make it easy for admissions counselors to reach out by including a contact form or an email address. Ensure that all contact information is up-to-date and professional.

Privacy and Security:

 Be mindful of privacy concerns. Avoid sharing sensitive personal information, such as home addresses and phone numbers, on the website. Use strong passwords and enable security features to protect the site from potential threats.

Regular Updates:

 Encourage your child to update the website as they achieve new milestones or receive new awards. Keeping the content fresh shows ongoing dedication and growth.

Update the Website all Application Season

Share the Website Strategically: 

Once the portfolio website is ready, share it with college admissions counselors in your state or region. You can include the website URL in your child’s college application or email it directly to the relevant admissions offices.

Monitor Analytics: 

Use website analytics tools to track visitor engagement. This can provide insights into which sections of the website are most popular and how admissions counselors are interacting with the content.

Seek Professional Help if Needed:

 If you’re not confident in your web design skills, consider hiring a professional web designer or developer to ensure the website is polished and user-friendly.

As a business, I help parents create high school portfolios.

Sign up for a high school website set up consultation for free here!

Remember that the goal of the portfolio website is to complement your child’s college application and offer a more comprehensive view of their abilities and aspirations.By following these tips and strategies, you can help your child create a compelling digital portfolio that captures the attention of college admissions counselors in your state or region.

Back to School: How to Pack a Bento Box for Your Kid’s Lunch

Packing a bento box is an art form in Japanese cuisine, and it involves arranging a balanced and visually appealing meal in a compact container. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you pack a bento box:

Materials Needed:

  1. Bento box: Choose a container with multiple compartments to separate different foods.
  2. Food items: Include a variety of foods like rice, protein, vegetables, and fruits.
  3. Food dividers: Small cups or dividers can help keep foods separate.
  4. Garnishes: Optional items like nori (seaweed), sesame seeds, or herbs for decoration.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Choose a Bento Box: Select a bento box with appropriate compartments. Some boxes have built-in dividers, while others might require separate dividers or cups to keep foods from mixing.

Explore Bento Boxes Options

  1. Select Foods: Decide on the components of your bento box meal. A traditional bento typically includes:
    • Rice or Carbs: Fill one compartment with rice, noodles, or another carbohydrate source.
    • Protein: Include a portion of protein like grilled chicken, fish, tofu, or eggs.
    • Vegetables: Add a variety of colorful and cooked or raw vegetables for nutrition and visual appeal.
    • Fruits: Incorporate sliced fruits or fruit sections for a touch of sweetness.
    • Garnishes: Optional garnishes like nori cutouts, sesame seeds, or herbs can add visual interest.
  2. Prepare and Cook: Cook and prepare each component of the meal. Season and flavor them according to your preferences.
  3. Cool Foods: Allow hot foods to cool down before packing them in the bento box. This helps prevent condensation inside the box.
  4. Start Packing: Begin by placing any larger items, like rice or main protein, in their respective compartments. If your box doesn’t have built-in dividers, use small cups or dividers to separate different foods.
  5. Add Vegetables: Fill another compartment with a variety of vegetables. You can use steamed, sautéed, or raw veggies.
  6. Incorporate Fruits: Add sliced fruits or fruit sections to another compartment. Fruits like grapes, berries, or citrus segments work well.
  7. Garnish: Use edible garnishes like nori cut into shapes, sesame seeds, or fresh herbs to enhance the visual appeal of your bento box.
  8. Check for Gaps: Ensure that there are no large gaps or spaces between the food items. This helps prevent shifting during transportation.
  9. Secure the Box: Close the bento box securely to keep the contents fresh and intact. Some bento boxes come with elastic bands or straps to hold the lid in place.
  10. Transportation: If you’re taking the bento box on the go, place it in an insulated lunch bag or wrap it in a cloth to keep it at the desired temperature.

Remember, bento boxes offer flexibility, so feel free to customize the contents based on your preferences and dietary needs. The key is to create a well-balanced and visually appealing meal in a compact space.

Here are some ideas:

What Parents Need To Know Before Their Kid Applies to A Music Conservatory or College

Applying for a music school is an exciting process for both students and parents.

However, it can also be a daunting one, especially when considering the time, resources, and money costs involved. I know because I just underwent the process with my child who applied to five music schools including one conservatory thought he toured three during his journey.

Because I didn’t find a single article or video on YouTube detailing the process for parents, who are likely the ones that would have to foot the bill and arrange the travel for the music school and conservatory audition process, I decided to record my own.

In addition to the video above, here is a summary of the music school application process and what parents need to know to make informed decisions based on my independent research, communication with other music parents online and experience with my son and trial and error.


Before your child applies, you, as the parent need to make sure that you and your child understand what’s involved. There are additional costs, time and resources you will need to expend.

The Time Committment

First, it’s important to understand that the music school application process can be time-consuming.

Sample Lessons

A year or two before auditioning, your child should conduct some research to determine who is the professor or instructor teaching the instrument or in charge of the vocal studios at the various music schools and conservatories.

Then, they should check out their websites to see if the profs offer camps, workshops or more and/or offer sample lessons. If they do, take them. These offer your child an opportunity to realize if they have a good vibe or connect well. Unlike high school and college, your child will be spending most of their time in college with this person so if there is not a connection there with this person, they have NO business appling to their studio.


My son actually decided against applying to one conservatory after taking a sample lesson with the professor for his instrument.

Preparing for Audition

Depending on the school, students may be required to prepare for and attend auditions, submit recordings or videos, write essays, and complete interviews.

This can take several months of preparation and planning, so it’s essential to start early. My son has a private tutor who used to cost about $70 per month to see him in person and/or virtually 1-2 times each month. But by the time he was done, sessions increased to multiple times each week and the last bill was close to $1,000 for that month.

If your child doesn’t have a private tutor, he/she/they should get one becaue they will be competiting for spots with kids who do have one. And for us, it was worth the investment because he got two full tuition merit scholarships for music. It took talent and the aid of the tutor to get there.

The Application Process

To begin the application process, parents and students should research the different music schools and their requirements. Each school has its own set of admission criteria, including specific academic requirements, musical skills, and personal qualities

Some schools may also have a minimum age requirement for applicants, so it’s important to check the age limit before applying.

Once parents and students have identified the schools they want to apply to, they should start preparing for the audition or evaluation process.

This may include practicing their musical skills with their private instructor, researching and learning about the school’s faculty and program, and preparing a repertoire for the audition.

It’s important to note that the resources required for the application process can vary greatly depending on the school.


The Cost of Applying to Music Schools

Some schools may require students to submit professional-grade recordings, which can be expensive to produce. Additionally, as stated above, private lessons and coaching sessions with instructors can be costly.

Parents should also be aware of the financial costs of attending a music school.

The Travel Costs

Something that is not talked about is the amount of travel required once a child passes the pre-screen process. For live auditions, they’ll have to travel all over the country and this require transportation, lodge and meals which can add up.

Tuition fees for music schools can be expensive, and parents should be prepared to pay for instrument rentals, sheet music, and other materials.

In some cases, financial aid or scholarships may be available, but these can be competitive, and students may need to demonstrate exceptional talent and academic performance to be considered.

Tutoring, Instruments, Lessons, Camps

Finally, parents should also consider the long-term commitment required to attend a music school.

Studying music is a rigorous and demanding pursuit that requires significant dedication and practice time. Parents should be prepared to support their child’s musical development and ensure they have access to the resources and support they need to succeed.

Applying to a music school can be an exciting and rewarding experience for both students and parents.

However, it’s important to be aware of the time, resources, and money costs involved in the application process. By starting early, researching schools, and preparing thoroughly, parents can help their child navigate the application process successfully and set them up for success in their musical pursuits.

15 Creative Ways to Announce A College Decision

National College Decision Day is May 1.

It’s the day when most colleges and universities require admitted students to have submitted their intent to enroll. That is also the date that high school seniors around the globe announce where theywill attend in the fall.

These days, college announcements can be as simple as a social media post to a full video and photo shoot produced by professionals. It runs the gamut.

In 2018 and again in 2020, I shared blog articles with creative ideas. I’ve updated those posts this year with a few new ideas I’ve seen since then.

These are some of the most creative college decision announcements and tips for students and their families who want to come up with their own unique announcements.

Here are 15 creative ideas to announce your college decision:

1. Create a video announcement. 

By far, the most labor intensive, and arguably the most expensive is to have a professional grade video announcement like the one this young lady in the video above (I beg your indulgence in advance on some of the language and slurs in the song choice of her videos which may be offensive to some). Same with this popular one for years ago.

A video announcement is a great way to share your news with friends and family.

And you don’t necessarily need to hire a company to create one for you either. These days, video editing programs on your phone or computer like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker are all you need. However, a lot of those are pretty basic.

If you want fancy transitions, pre-designed animated graphics, and other creative, modern and interactive effects, consider some of the drag-and-grop mobile video editing apps that come with these tools.

Mobile apps like CapCut and inShot have template text and graphics.

To get an even more polished look, consider investing in a desktop software and apps like Wondershare Filmora, Camtasia, FinalCut Pro or inVideo. There are a lot of drag and drop desktop tools as well like Animotica, ClipChamp, and more. I’ve used all of these and think any would do thr trick!

Download an easy, intuitive, simple video editor to make your college reveal video using templates, drag and drop tools .

2. Confetti Announcement in Social Media

You don’t have to do an elaborate video at all! You can pull together something as a simple vertical video you shoot with your phone camera and post in social media to your family and friends.

Select a nice location, on a college campus, preferably, grab a broom and dustpan for collecting the confetti afterwards, then at the count of three, have family members gathered behind you pop the confetti as you reveal a shirt or letter or other memorabilia getting colorful confetti in the school colors.

See an example below:

You can buy the poppers in bulk starting as low as $10 for a pack of 6 on Amazon.

3. Balloon Reveal

This one is an idea straight from those uber popular “gender” reveal parties.

If you’re wavering between two different schools with distinct school colors, purchase some neutral colored balloons (such as black, white, gold, or silver).

Before filling them with helium, have the store stuff them with your college’s colors. When you’re ready to make your big announcement, gather the family and pop the balloons. Seeing that green and white for Michigan or the blue and gold for UCLA may just make their day!

Watch then high schooler Jenna Simacek do this reveal with her family on YouTube

You can do it yourself too with one big balloon!

Buy a Graduation Balloon or a plain black balloon that you can write on with a metallic marker. Then stuff it with powder, confetti or glitter that matches your school’s colors. On the count of three, pop to reveal the school colored confetti.

4. Collage

The simplest and most easy way to reveal which college your teen has gotten into and perhaps the final decision is through the popular collages you might have seen on Facebook or Instagram.

In the collage, you can highlight the final pick in a different color or size compared to the other schools.

To create your own, simply do a Google images search for the official seal of each school and download it do your computer.

Use a free tool like Canva to find the perfect template then drag and drop the seals around a large photo of your child.

5. The Vintage Pennant Hang

Here is another super creative idea.

As you apply to colleges, purchase a pennant at each school and hang them in a row. When it’s time to tell your parents or friends which school you’ve decided on, one-by-one take away each pennants until you’re left with a winner.

The alternative if you cannot find pennants for the schools you have applied to and create your own pennants with letters spelling out your winning school.

6. The Superman Reveal

If you’re holding out until graduation to tell your friends and more distant relatives, there is no better time to make your announcement than right after you receive that high school diploma!

Consider wearing your college’s shirt underneath your cap and gown.

When you have graduated, dramatically open your robe to reveal the name of your new school! You could also do this at a reveal party as this proud student did a few years back in a clever reveal (see video below)

It’s a great transition point and a way to say you’re ready to conquer the next school on your list.

7. Cupcakes

The cupcake reveal is very popular. Simply bake cupcakes. Download a logo from each school and cut into a circle and paste behind a cardboard. Tape a toothpick to the back and stick into each cupcake.

8. Cake Pops

You can do the same as the cupcake but with cake pops but you might have to get creative if you don’t have a baker to help you create the branded sheets.

A college reveal cake pop is a small, bite-sized dessert that is similar to a cake pop but with a special surprise inside. Like a regular cake pop, it starts with a ball of cake crumbs and frosting, formed into a round shape and attached to a stick or skewer.

The surprise comes when the cake pop is bitten into, revealing a brightly colored cake interior that matches the school colors. This effect is achieved by layering different colored cake crumbs and frosting in the center of the cake pop, which is hidden by the outer coating.

9. A Cake

A college reveal cake is a unique way to announce the school choice of a student who is about to begin their college journey. The cake is typically made with a neutral-colored frosting on the outside, such as white or beige, and decorated with the student’s name and graduation year.

The inside of the cake is where the surprise lies. When the cake is sliced open, it reveals layers of brightly colored cake that match the school colors of the chosen college. For example, if the student has chosen a college with blue and yellow as their school colors, the inside of the cake may reveal alternating layers of blue and yellow cake.

The colors of the cake are a fun way to celebrate the student’s decision and show school spirit. The cake can be a simple single-layer cake or a more elaborate tiered cake, depending on the preferences of the student and their family.

Overall, a college reveal cake is a fun and festive way to celebrate a student’s college decision and create a memorable moment for all involved

9. Bed party

A Bed Party involves the soon-to-be graduate take a photo of themselves on their bed all decorated out in the colors and paraphanalia of the school of choice!

Now an elaborate Bed Party can get expensive if you purchase branded items from each school. You can cut corners by buying snacks in the school color instead and just hanging a few branded items like this guy did below:

10. Signing Day

The baseball cap reveal is also becoming popular.

It is similar to how high school athletes reveal their school of choice during “National Signing Day” each year. Who says, non-athletic recruits couldn’t do the same thing, hence why National Decision Day was born.

With this idea, purchase baseball caps of each school and arrange them on a table, then film yourself or gather your parents and family and eliminate a cap as you explain why you removed that school from your list.

Until you get to the final one. Popular YouTubers Baily and Bailey did their reveal this way and was featured in the Daily Mail.

11. Simple Reveal

A very simple thing is to post a piece of memorabilia from the school such as a key chain or bumper sticker and share it on social media.

12. T-Shirt

Post a photo of yourself on National Decision Day wearing the T-Shirt is a super simple easy way for a college-bound senior to reveal their decision.

13. Photo Shoots

Photo shoots are very popular and with the say modern phones are set up, you don’t even need a professional photographer.

The photo shoot can take many different forms, from a simple portrait session to a more elaborate production that incorporates props, costumes, and creative settings.

One popular approach to college reveal photo shoots is to incorporate the school’s colors and mascot into the images. This can be done through clothing, accessories, and even makeup and hair styling. For example, the student might wear a shirt or hat with the school’s logo, or use face paint to create a design that represents the school’s mascot.

Another option is to use props and signs that reveal the college decision in a fun and creative way. This might include holding up a sign that says “I’m going to XYZ University!”, or posing with balloons or other decorations in the school’s colors.

The location of the photo shoot can also be customized to fit the student’s preferences and the chosen college. For example, the shoot might take place on the college campus itself, or in a location that is representative of the school’s city or state.

14. Reveal Party

You can get as elaborate as hosting a College Decision Reveal party as well.

A college reveal party is an event where a high school student announces their college decision to friends and family. The party is typically held after the student has received acceptance letters from all the colleges they have applied to and has made their final decision.

The party can take many different forms, from a casual gathering with close family and friends to a larger, more formal event. Some students choose to host a themed party that incorporates the colors or mascots of the college they will be attending, while others opt for a simple celebration with food and drinks.

The main event at a college reveal party is the announcement of the student’s decision. This can be done in a variety of creative ways, such as with a cake that is decorated in the school’s colors or with balloons that are filled with confetti in the school’s colors. The goal is to make the announcement a fun and memorable moment that celebrates the student’s achievement and sets the tone for their next chapter in life.

These were very popular pre pandemic and tapered off but are rising in popularity again.

One of my faves is Asya’s reveal because of the surprise in the end.

Watch it above.

15. Smoke Bombs

A smoke bomb in the selected school colors can be part of a social media or photo shoot reveal.

A smoke bomb in college reveal is a colorful and dramatic way to announce a student’s college decision. The smoke bomb is typically ignited in a public place, such as a park or a beach, and the resulting colorful smoke reveals the chosen college by displaying its colors.

To create a smoke bomb for a college reveal, a special type of smoke bomb is used that is typically sold in stores that sell fireworks or party supplies. The smoke bomb is usually cylindrical in shape, with a fuse at one end. When the fuse is lit, the smoke bomb emits a large cloud of colorful smoke for several minutes.

To incorporate a smoke bomb into a college reveal, the student typically chooses a smoke bomb in the colors of their chosen college. When it’s time for the reveal, the student or someone assisting them lights the fuse of the smoke bomb, and the cloud of colored smoke is released into the air. As the smoke clears, the colors of the chosen college are revealed, creating a dramatic and exciting moment.

There you have it! 15 super creative ways to announce a college reveal! Which is your favorite! Which will you choose?

My Winter Holiday Wish List

This Christmas, I’m feeling for warmth and luxe. I put together my wish list for the body and for the home.

I personally hand selected each item on each list that I think would be wonderful gifts to anyone you know and love who enjoy fine things.

What a way to celebrat them and let them know you had them in mind this year.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Haunukah! Peace and Joy for the entire holiday season to you and yours.

For the Body

(powered by Shopstyle Collective)

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For the Home

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This Year, athleisure and loungewear will be big but there are other options to Lululemon

It’s official. With rising cases of the novel coronavirus, a lot of us will not be going anywhere this Winter to stay safe. In fact, everyone may be holed up at home.

The new normal for the season

As a consequence of the ongoing pandemic, a lot of restaurants, entertainment and other activities have been canceled, postponed or suspended. This shift will leave little opportunity for people to dress up. Alternatively, this opens up a market for the leisure wear industry.

Therefore, people will be trading in their club wear for sweats. If you’re considering getting clothing for a significant other, sister, teacher, nanny or sitter, friend or any other woman on your holiday shopping list this year, I’ve got the run down on the top brands in this sector of the fashion industry.

Lululemon isn’t the only game in town

Arguably, Lululemon is the most well known brand of athleisure, yoga and lounge wear but it is quite costly. It has a problematic history but still remains the go-to source.

But there are other options. Here are afew

ADAY adopts a ‘less-is-more’ approach and a design ethos based on seasonless pieces and sustainability to offer everyday, athleisure-inspired clothes that are both performance-driven and stylish.

Every ADAY piece of clothing features novel technical material properties (sweat-wicking, quick-drying, UV- and chlorine-protected and wrinkle-free).

Alala is a super trendy New York City-inspired luxury activewear brand.

The Ivory Lane Collective, or IVL Collective for short, is fastly becoming a leader in women’s athleisure wear. Their activewear collection includes everything from cute leggings to tanks, tees, and jackets.

Nike One of the most successful and recognisable sportswear brands in the world, Nike offers everything from quality shorts and t-shirts to shoes and socks that are both fashionable and functional. The brand also sells a lot of high-quality gym gear for your home..

Athleta (by Gap) The Gap-owned fitness brand Athleta offers stylish athleisure wear for women and girls for a variety of activities including yoga, running, swimming, and hiking.

Fabletics Kate Hudson’s fitness fashion brand Fabletics features a collection of comfortable workout and athleisure clothing. This American retailer sells sportswear, footwear and accessories.


We found options for every type of couple at every budget.

Getting engaged is one of those magical life moments that’s worth celebrating, and showering the happy couple with a sweet gift is a great way to share in their joy.

However, finding a good engagement gift can be quite the challenge, especially if you want to impress them with cool finds. Luckily, we did some digging to find some cool gifts for couples that are getting ready to tie the knot.

Whether you’re shopping for a personalized memento, a household essential or a splurge gift you can go in on with a group, Shop TODAY has rounded up 32 of the best engagement gifts that any couple would be thrilled to receive.

Check out our top picks

Meural Smart WiFi Digital Photo Frame


Digital photo frames are always a great gift option, but this one takes things up a notch. After connecting an Apple or Android device to the frame, couples can upload, crop and display their most precious memories. Perfect for family gatherings and wedding festivities, the frame lets lovebirds curate their photos into personalized playlists and has a crisp HD screen.

Personalized Wedding Box


Every couple needs a special keepsake box to help them store love letters, jewelry and more. This gorgeous option comes in several wooden finishes and can feature a custom engraved message that’s unique to the couple.

Couples Engagement Gift Box


Not sure what to get the lovebirds? Get them a little bit of everything with this gift box that includes a ring dish, frame, luggage tags, a candle and more.

Back to School: Affordable Laptop for College Bound

For the college bound Freshman (and his/her parents), it is no secret that college can be expensive. From tuition and fees to books and supplies, there are a lot of costs associated with higher education. But one cost that is often overlooked is the cost of a laptop.

A laptop is essential for completing assignments, connecting with professors, classmates and friends and family back home and for taking notes.

It can be a pricey purchase especially if you are a design or computer science major which means you may need a device capabable of accommodating the memory of graphic design software or for coding. But most majors only require the basics.

Battery life: It needs a good battery life for times when you’re not near an outlet like in class.

Display -You’ll want a decent display if you will be spending a lot of time staring at your screen.

Keyboard: You’ll need a comfortable keyboard given all the typing you’ll be doing.

Weight and portability – Having a laptop that can be carried in a backpack all day is clutch

Durability – You will need one that will stand the test of time and can get dinged and beat up from the hustle and bustle of running to class, dropping your backpack on the ground and more.

Processor: Students need a laptop that can handle all of their coursework and assignments. Chromebooks can get by with a fairly low-powered CPU and a basic Intel Celeron processor will do.

If you’re interested in an economically priced laptop or Chromebook that you can take with you to college, or send off with your child if you’re a caregiver or parent, then I highly recommend the HP 360.

When I sent off my now college Junior a few years back, we researched this laptop and settled on it for several reasons.

First of all, it’s lightweight, and the screen is 14 inches. It has lots of ports for your wireless mouse adapter, SD card, power cord, headphones and more.

What I really loved about it and what makes it really stand out is that he has 360 If you’re out and about and doing field work, you can flip it around and hold it like a notebook— a real one!

It has a touchscreen as well. That’s the second thing that’s amazing about it. I prefer a mouse myself to a mousepad and so in those moments when I forget my mouse at home, I love the option of using the touchscreen to naviate around the laptop.

I liked the sleek design and and I go tit in white! You can add stickers to it if you want to customize it too an dit is economically priced at $399!

It’s availalbe at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and more retailers!


Starting at $299

photo of a laptop, a slice of pie on a plate and a re headhphone connected to an apple iphone face down on the floor next to a laptop near an open window

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