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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.

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.

2022 Planners and Agendas to Get Organized for the New Year

Somehow we’re nearing the end of 2021, which means it’s time to purchase a new planner and pretend we’re going to write in it every day!

In all seriousness, there’s no better feeling than crossing off items on a to-do list—and with pretty much everything virtual these days, your eyes will thank you. Shop our favorite daily, weekly, and monthly 2022 planners and agendas to stay organized within your work and personal life, below. And, while you’re on a stationery kick, find your next favorite cute notebook.


2022 17-Month Planners


Papier’s gorgeous 13-month planner, which runs from December 2021 to January 2023, is customizable and includes weekly, monthly, and yearly sections.

2022 Petite Planners


Throw this petite polka dot pick in your bag if you’re one of those Type-A’s who can’t leave the house without your trusty to-do list. This planner spans from August 2021 to December 2022 with monthly and weekly views. Bonus: It includes a ballpoint pen (!).

The Wafer 2022 Textured-Leather Diary


For those of us who haven’t been to the office since March 2020 and want to splurge on a professional agenda for the inevitable return a couple days per week, opt for this Smythson leather one that’s perfect for jotting down notes, plans, and to-do lists.

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Family Halloween Costumes the Whole Gang Can Wear Together

When you can pull off a group Halloween costume with everyone in your family, the results are magic.

Family in Halloween Costumes

They’re creative, they’re fun and they make a big impact in Instagram photos or walking down the street. But they’re hard to do, because every member of the family has their own tastes, their own favorite characters and their own tolerance for what they’ll put up with in a costume.

These family Halloween costumes are sure to be a hit. They’re often from movies (like The Addams Family), games and franchises that have lots and lots of characters, so there’s no squabbling over who gets the to be the star. Many of them are super comfortable and possible to pull together at the last minute. (Thank you, furry one-piece costumes!) And you can adapt them to include baby costumestoddler costumes and costumes for big kids, so everyone will feel included. Whether you’re looking to dress a huge brood of siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts or just want a simple “Mommy & Me” costume, we have ideas for every size of family. They’re so easy, all you have to worry about is how you’re going to carry all that candy home.


'The Incredibles' Family Halloween Costumes

‘The Incredibles’ Family Costume


Go as the lovable superhero family, The Incredibles, and fight off monsters on Halloween night.
Three Pigs Family Halloween Costume

Three Pigs Family Costume


Go as the little piggies that go to the market, stay at home and have roast beef in this kids’ nursery rhyme.
Scooby-Doo Family Hallowen Costume

Scooby-Doo Family Costume


Go as the little piggies that go to the market, stay at home and have roast beef in this kids’ nursery rhyme.

Glow-in-the-Dark Skeleton Family Costume


These onesie costumes are warm, comfortable and glow in the dark. (Safety!) They require low effort and make it easy to identify each other on Halloween night.

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Teacher appreciation gift ideas in 2021

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week.

Show how much your teacher means to you by wowing them with one of these tokens of appreciation. From innovative cleaning tech items to a personal fridge for their desk to cashmere gloves, here’s a list of some of the top gifts to buy as a class or just as a parent. Either way, it will put a smile on any teacher’s face.

Cooluli Vibe Retro Mini Fridge gift ideas

Cooluli Vibe Retro Mini Fridge


This little fridge with a dry-erase front is here to keep drinks and snacks cool and close at hand.
personalized hand written letter blanket for a teacher

Personalized Hand-Written Letter Blanket


Show your teacher how much your class cares (along with how much they’ve improved on their letter-writing skills!) with a blanket designed with a thoughtful message of appreciation.

Classic Favorites Gift Basket


Harry and David are most famous for their pears because they are “so big and juicy, you eat them with a spoon.” Each pear is hand-picked and packed to arrive at your door in perfect condition, alongside some other fun treats.

Snacks of the Mouth Club


Cravings can hit anytime throughout the day, so make sure your teacher is prepared with an artisanal nibble.

19 newborn Halloween costumes for their holiday debut

Have you thought of what Halloween costumes your baby is going to wear? They may not be heading out for a candy-fueled night of revelry, but that doesn’t mean you should hold back.

Baby in cute Halloween

Tiny tots in Halloween costumes are the ultimate treat, whether they are on the cusp of their first birthday, or they are a recent arrival just getting acquainted with the outside world.

From relatively spooky to impossibly sweet, here are some of our most squee-worthy choices for baby’s very first Halloween.


Mother and baby in a Witch Costume

A wee witch Halloween Costumes


Who needs a broomstick when you can ride in style in your comfy carrier? This carrier cover slips easily over most major baby carriers to transform them into a stylishly wicked mode of transportation, for the tiniest Halloween witch.
Baby in garden gnome Halloween costume

A wise little garden gnome


Everyone knows garden gnomes love to travel. This costume is perfect for this first big excursion traversing the neighborhood. It’s kitschy, it’s cute, it’s cozy, and since garden gnomes are a little bit creepy, it’s just right for a little Halloween hair-raising, without being too scary.
Baby in bat Halloween Consume

A baby bat


Get ready for admirers to go batty over this cute little costume. The snap-bottom onesie will make for easy access, should any baby-style “tricks” occur, and the bat-eared beanie will help keep them warm.

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7 Kids’ Fashion Trends That Will Be Huge This Fall

There is a decidedly nostalgic vibe to a lot of the upcoming fall trends for kids.

fall trend fashion

Maybe this retro spirit is being driven by our longing for a simpler, safer time, when stylish students were more concerned with outfits than with masks. And yet, for every old-school classic making a comeback (think Clueless plaids, vintage rock tees) there are fresh looks to inspire future fashion fans. Here’s to brighter days ahead.


Color Black Coats - Fashion Trends



Fluffy and rainbow bright (but cruelty-free, of course), soften the back-to-school blow with cuddly and colorful outerwear.

Cruella dots- Fashion Trends



Disney’s fashion fantasia was such a hit, a sequel is in development. But while we wait to see if Emma Stone will reprise her role as the titular Brit-punk baddie, these Dalmatian-chic looks should hit the spot. (We even found dotty dad sneakers!)

Mom Jeans  -Fall fashion Trends



TikTok has spoken: Skinny jeans are out; baggy jeans are in. And you know who’s not mad about it? A generation of kids enjoying the comforts of roomy denim. It’s time to junk their jeggings. High waists. Wide legs. Can’t lose.

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When we think of Halloween-level ambiance, we immediately think of turning the lights down low and sparking a few candles to get just the right creepy vibe. And with these Halloween candles, you can truly choose how ghoulish you want to get.

Are you into the theatrical side of the season, looking for a color-changing candle that melts into a pool of blood-red wax? Do you prefer a refined, subtle vibe, using tapers, tea lights, and sculptural shapes to set the mood? Or are you purely interested in enjoying the rich scent of the autumn season, with its olfactory reminder of all the macabre celebrations in store?

No matter your spooky preference, these are 23 standout Halloween candles — all available from makers and small businesses on Etsy — that’ll light up the witching season.

Skull Candle Holder

Human Brain Candle in Skull Candle Holder


This two-piece Halloween candle is for die-hards only. Choose the colors for both the brain and skull and the seller will craft it just for you. Just make sure you allow some time for delivery.
Eyeball Candles

Eyeball Floating Halloween Candles


A pool full of bloodshot-red fiery eyeballs will definitely make your guests do a double-take!  These floating candles come in a set of three, and you can take a cue from the seller and fill a glass bowl with water and red food coloring to really amplify the look.
Skeleton Candle

Small Skeleton Beeswax Candles


This skeleton candle is for the sensitive souls out there. Available in a pair, this dainty 3-inch piece displays incredible detail and is touted by reviewers for its beautiful look.

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Lady in Halloween Costume

From the spooky to the kooky, here are more halloween costume ideas than you’ll ever need.

It’s no secret that we love a good Halloween costume here at BestProducts.com, and apparently we’re not alone: 61% of Americans said they’d dress up in costumes last year, spending more than $8 billion on their festive outfits and decorations — and that’s despite COVID restrictions.

This year, as things continue to open up and people continue to become vaccinated, we have a feeling those numbers are only going to increase this year — regardless of whether or not we’re able to mark the occasion in person at a bar, out on the town, or trick-or-treating with the fam. Just remember, no matter how you celebrate, do it safely!

Whether you prefer to dress up in a theme with your crew, use some DIY inspiration to craft something unexpected and original, want to get the whole family involved, or prefer to do something quick and easy, we’ve gathered up some of the best Halloween costumes for 2021 that are sure to be a hit, no matter how or if you choose to celebrate.


Money Heist Haloween Costume

Money Heist Costume


In honor of the first installment of the fifth (and final) season of Money Heist dropping September 3, why not dress as everyone’s favorite antiheroes? All you need is a red jumpsuit and the signature Dalí mask to pull of the world’s greatest heist…stealing the best Halloween costume award from all of your friends. 
Bezos Costume

Bezos in Space Costume


As if this year couldn’t get any weirder, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos went to space with three others, all in under 15 minutes. You may not have a spaceship of your own, but you can rock a blue spacesuit just like Jeff did. Don’t forget the cowboy hat — it’s possibly the most important part. 
Marilyn Monroe Halloween Costume

Marilyn Monroe Costume


Live out your Seven Year Itch dreams in the iconic white halter dress Marilyn Monroe wears in the movie. The classic Hollywood movie moment has been recreated for years, and for good reason. Not only is it a chic outfit, but it’s pretty easy to recreate! 
Don some white heels to stay true to the original look, or go for a sassy leopard pair instead. Just don’t forget the wig and a set of pearl earrings to top off the look. 

20 best kid lunchbox and bag for school in 2021

How about a new lunchbox to maintain healthy eating habits outside of the home?

Ditch the brown paper bag this year.

The first day of school is just around the corner, which means you’re probably well ahead on stocking up on all kinds of supplies and essentials on your back-to-school shopping list. A few new face masks? Check! Notebooks and pens? Double check!

No matter if you’re on the hunt for the perfect kids’ bento box, a Pottery Barn lunchbox or just a simple snack container, we’ve got plenty of cool lunchbox options that are bound to work for your family.


BuyBuy Baby Lunchbags and Lunchnbox

Thermos Foogo Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Food Jar

Summer weather is definitely in full swing — but it will be cold before you know it! For those frosty days, consider buying your child this stainless steel thermos to keep their lunch warm. It can hold up to 10 ounces of food and keep contents cold for up to seven hours and warm for up to five hours.
Vacuum Stainless Food Jar Unicorn Lunchbox

Thermos Foogo Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Food Jar

For the little girl in your life who loves anything and everything that’s pretty in pink, consider getting her this fun unicorn lunchbox from Pottery Barn Kids. It’s lined with water-resistant polyester and has plenty of room for your child’s meal, drink and a snack.
Wildkin Insulated Lunchbox Bag

Wildkin Insulated Lunchbox Bag

Available in 17 kid-friendly designs, this Mom’s Choice award-winning insulated lunch bag from Wildkin is roomy enough for all your food containers and made with a “100% play proof” material that’s sturdy and easy to clean. Also, how can you beat a near-flawless 4.8-star average from over 7,000 Amazon shoppers?

See More lunchbags suggestions here

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