How to prepare for college app season

how to help your child apply for college application tips

Pictured: Arizona State University sign, one of the colleges my daughter visited

How to prepare for college application season

Well, hello! If you happen to have been here awhile, you might be wondering why I am suddenly writing about being the parent of a college student. Well, I happen to be the parent of a college Freshman, and I also have two teenagers getting closer to college age. When you have a blog, the point is to share what is going on in your life as well as share tips and tricks in areas you have knowledge. After this past year, I have learned a lot about being the parent of a college student, so I want to share that knowledge with anyone who may have a high school student thinking about college; and also anyone with a college student. I hope you enjoy this new series! I will try to publish one article a week about being a college parent.

Since this is the first post in this series, I wanted to start with college applications. This is something many parents have asked me about at school, and in my other children’s extra-curricular activities. How do you get organized for college application season? I know the process can be overwhelming, especially if you, the parent, did not attend college, or this is your first student going through the process. So, let’s dive into my tried-and-true tips for preparing for college application season!

It does not matter if your student is a junior getting ready to start the application process in August, or if you have an eighth grader with college aspirations. This is the time to prepare for college application season. The biggest thing we learned while filling out my daughter’s applications, is that you need to have all of your extra-curricular activities ready to write about. You need a list! Without a list, you might be looking back on your calendar and digging through drawers seeking certificates and records of activities you have forgotten about. Don’t let this happen to you. We went through it. You need a central place where all of these activities are recorded so your child can easily fill out their applications without forgetting about that weekend building a house for Habitat for Humanity or that time your child was captain of the soccer team.

The easiest way to stay organized is with a sharable spreadsheet. We created a Google spreadsheet which my husband, myself, and my daughter had access to. During the fall of her senior year, she also shared the spreadsheet with her high school counselor. It made life very easy and organized!

In this spreadsheet you need two tabs. One tab will have a list of schools your child is applying to, and the second tab will have columns for extra-curricular activities. This includes activities, awards, service hours, and leadership positions back to seventh grade. Yes, you read that right, seventh grade. My daughter had one application which asked for everything going back to seventh grade. While most applications ask for ninth grade forward, this one application allowed her to enter her activities going back to seventh grade. So be prepared!

You will want a column for each sport, each activity, volunteer work (record those hours!), leadership positions, and more. Label each activity, award, leadership position, etc., with grade level. For volunteer work, you will want to list hours by grade level too. The CSU (California State Univ.) app, UC (Univ. of California) app, Common app, and Coalition app all have different ways of asking for this information, so make sure you have everything detailed in your spreadsheet so you can easily enter this information into the application without any confusion.

The college tab will list the colleges your child plans to apply to. You can make columns with the school’s ranking, the major’s ranking, application due date, link to application, whether or not references are needed, does the school require SAT/ACT, and anything else you find you need to record.

I am not going to recommend which schools to apply to, that is a personal decision based on major and which state you live in. You may want to show your child examples of different types of schools. There are two things to look at when deciding which schools to apply to. What size school does your child want? Do they want a large campus such as Arizona State? Would a small school be a better fit for them such as the University of San Francisco? Do they want an urban environment such as UCLA located in Los Angeles? Or would a small college town be a better fit such as Penn State located in State College, PA? Is a public school or private school a better fit or OK budget-wise? Once your child considers these options, start your list of colleges to apply to!

Finances are an important part of the college list. Are you applying for financial aid? Will you be taking out loans? Are you paying cash for college? The worst thing that can happen is that your child applies to their dream school, gets in, and then you realize you cannot pay for it. Make sure the colleges on your child’s list fit within your tuition budget and payment plans. Private schools and out of state tuition can be very expensive. You may want to add a column on your spreadsheet with tuition cost. Another thing to consider is if a school is out of state, how much will travel cost? You will need to consider plane tickets, hotel, ground travel etc. So, factor those hidden costs into your budget when considering out of state schools.

That is all you really need to do to prepare for college application season, which starts in August and runs through January of your child’s senior year. Create a spreadsheet, record activities, leadership, and volunteer hours; and during Junior year, and create a list of colleges. That’s it! It is much easier than it seems, and your child will be organized for college application season! Love that!

Let me know if you have any tips, questions, or both!

Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions about the college application process. I would be happy to write about it to help you, and anyone else navigating this process.



How to shop your closet for fall 2022

fall outfit ideas
boot trends fall 2022

Fall 2022 outfit idea from top left: cozy ivory sweater / nail polish / large golden hoops (under $100) / dark wash jeans / G buckle belt / neutral bucket bag / western boots /

How to shop your closet fall 2022. I know, I know, it’s about a hundred degrees outside, your air conditioning is cranking, and I am showing you pictures of boots, sweaters, and jackets. Well, I am doing this because the stores are starting to stock fall merchandise, and in doing so, they are cranking up the air conditioning, and as soon as you walk into one, you will feel the chill and desire to purchase something cozy you can’t wear for another three months. Yes, it’s that time of year already!

If you shop your closet for fall before you walk into a store and get trapped into shopping for something you already own, you will be empowered to tell yourself, you’re already set in that department! Love that!

Cozy sweater outfit online:

OK, let’s get down to business. Fall is approaching, and your closet still holds everything you love from last fall. The first thing to do is look at your fall clothing and anything that looks like it has unremovable stains, damage, bad color fading, or just never quite fit right, should either be donated or sold on consignment. This will create some space in your closet. Love!

Secondly, look at your classic pieces. This will be blazers, layering tee’s, jeans, trousers, and anything else that is a classic to you. If you still love them, fabulous! Make sure you are all set in this department. Blazers, both professional and tweed, are still hot and on trend. Keep those in the front of your closet. Trousers can be skinny, wide leg, or classic cut for fall 2022.

For jeans, be aware the trends are changing. Fall 2022 denim trends include flares, bootcut, wide leg, very wide leg, drown yourself in wide leg, cropped, and classic cut. Although I am showing skinny jeans in these photos, skinny jeans are no longer on trend, but they are a classic. I would recommend keeping them as they are great for throwing on and they always look good, but if you want to be trendy, they should move behind your other denim styles in your closet. If you have enough other styles in denim, you can store your skinny jeans. Or, if you are short like me and wide leg pants make you look like a potato sack, keep rocking those skinnies. I plan to!

Third, look for colors. You can use this fall color trend chart to help you decide what to move forward in your closet, and what to store. Also, any shade of green is hot for fall as well as bright pink. There is a Barbie movie coming out in the near future and people are going crazy for what’s being dubbed “Barbiecore.” This is streetwear with Barbie flair. Think pink, and ask yourself, “Would Barbie wear this?”

Fourth, your handbag collection! Work totes are always on trend, and for fall 2022, look for vintage bags being hot, bucket bags, small bags, box bags, small totes, hobos, anything metallic, and shoulder bags. Sorry guys, the cross-body bag is on its way out. You can still wear your cross-body bags, just adjust the strap and wear it over your shoulder. There isn’t an on-trend strap length, so wearing a cross body bag as a shoulder bag could make it long, that’s OK. It’s very 1970s to wear a long shoulder strap and since denim has a 1970s vibe, this works! Groovy.

Fifth, jewelry is trending towards understated and classic. This means hoops and anything not too crazy will work. Also, your logo belt is still relevant and cozy scarves will return as we inch toward winter.

Lastly, let’s chat footwear! Western boots and anything golden is hotter than hot this fall season. Lug soles are still relevant, and toes are trending back to being pointed; but your square toes are still good! Mary Janes are trending upward, so if you have a pair from back in the day, bring them forward in your closet. If not, these are a fun alternative to pumps or block heel loafers. Look for a block heel on your Mary Janes and a neutral color.

how to shop your closet for fall 2022

Fall outfit idea from top left: tweed blazer / large golden hoops / dark wash jeans / black tote bag / G buckle belt / golden boots /

Everything shown in these fall outfit idea photos will be in my fall capsule. The black tweed blazer is from last year, but still on store shelves and hot for fall. The two pairs of boots are new, and the cozy sweater is new. My sweater from last fall didn’t make it, sadly. The jeans are from my closet and the belt is from last fall too. The hoops are a few years old, and they are classic; also, still on store shelves.

If you shop your closet for fall 2022, you will find you don’t need to buy as much as you thought for the new season. This will save money and that is always a good thing! Love!

Tweed jacket outfit online:

I hope you have fun shopping your closet for the fall season!

Thanks for stopping by,


fall boot trends

How to replace your wardrobe after weight loss

how to replace your wardrobe after weight loss

Pictured: (photo-left) Gucci cross body bag / (photo-right) sunglasses / sparkling earrings / grey scarf / black top / dark wash jeans / faux fur boots /

Are you wondering how to replace your wardrobe after weight loss? While it might sound fun to buy a whole new wardrobe after losing a significant amount of weight, but buying that many pieces of clothing all at once can be costly! When I lost over thirty pounds last year, I found out quickly just how much replacing the clothing in my closet actually costs; it’s not cheap!

Thankfully, we don’t have to break the bank when replacing the large sizes in our closet with smaller sizes. After all, this is part of the reward of losing weight! I mean, don’t we all look for excuses to buy something new? This is a really good excuse! Plus, it’s a necessity. No-one wants to walk around in pants that fall down, or clothing that looks like a potato sack. Alas, this can easily happen; especially when you don’t realize how small you have become!

In order to easily replace your wardrobe after weight loss, and not go broke or end up in debt, here are a few tips which worked for me!

First, make a list of the items you reach for most often. Those are the things you will need to replace first. This could be pajamas, workout clothing, jeans, and/or office attire.

Second, make a budget. How much money can you spend each month on clothing? This will help keep you in line budget-wise. The last thing you want to do is spend more than you have in your bank account or can afford. Don’t sacrifice the rent to buy a new pair of jeans.

Third, don’t replace things you don’t need right away. That cocktail dress? Wait until the next invite you receive to a cocktail party. You don’t need to run out and replace something that will hang in your closet for months. Only replace what you immediately need, then the rest will naturally turn into your normal shopping habits.

The first thing I replaced were my pajamas! Yes, it’s true! I found the most annoying thing was having my pajamas fall down; and they were falling down! I purchased pajamas which were inexpensive, and still had plenty of cash for a few must-have items. What were my must-have items? Two pairs of jeans, and two tee-shirts. I hit my low weight in August, so I bought jeans and tee’s because they could easily flow from summer into fall.

My husband instantly noticed I was shopping more than usual, so he told me to buy a belt instead. haha, this is actually genius! Instead of buying new shorts, (it was the end of summer), I used my new belt on the old ones to get through those last few weeks. Next summer I can buy new shorts. Boom! Saved some cash right there! I recommend find a fabulous belt, I probably saved close to a $1000 by buying a belt instead of several pairs of shorts, pants, and jeans. The belt even helped keep a skirt with an elastic waist in place, so I didn’t have to replace the skirt. You can see that outfit here.

Depending on where your weight loss is most significant, will influence what you replace in your closet first. I replaced bottoms first because I carry my weight low, so when I lost it, it was most noticeable in my legs. My pants and skirts were horribly huge! I went down three sizes. I replaced my jeans first and then slowly started on pants and skirts. I still have a small number of tops in my new size. Those are easier to replace later.

Another trick, which works well in the colder months, is to replace your jacket and/or coat before your tops. After all, when it is cold your tops are hidden by your jacket or coat, so having outerwear that fits properly can hide the larger tops or layers you have on underneath.

Well, that’s it! Stick to your budget, and slowly replace items in your closet on an as-needed basis. Use a belt, and a jacket/coat to make larger items still work as you slowly replace them. Replace the items in your close that you need the most first. If something is falling down, or is super annoying, replace it first too. Make a list of what you need and prioritize it. This way, you can replace parts of your closet each month and stay on budget. Don’t replace items from a different season yet, wait until that season to replace them. You only need clothing from the current season in your closet. Lastly, be sure to recycle or donate the larger pieces in your closet. You don’t need to keep them because you plan to stay at, and maintain, your new weight!

Feel free to ask me any questions! So far, I have replaced my casual wardrobe for the fall and winter seasons. I still need to replace wardrobe staples for spring and summer, which I will do in those seasons. I am waiting for dressier events before purchasing clothing for those types of occasions. I have an event in March, so I am waiting until late February to get my new little black dress for it! Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by, and congrats on your weight loss!