Anytime school supplies are mentioned I think about a scene from the movie "You've Got Mail". Tom Hanks is narrating as his character types an email to send to Meg Ryan's character. He says "Don't you just love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." I think the reason that line stuck with me is that I can relate to it. Though, I'm far enough removed from school now that the school supplies I purchase are for my children, I can still remember the excitement of back to school time. Newly sharpened pencils seem like the perfect metaphor for the clean slate and endless possibilities that a new school year brings.
As a parent of school-aged kiddos I still enjoy the excitement of a new school year, but getting caught in the madness of back to school shopping at a big box store can be overwhelming. Even thinking about it is enough to give me anxiety; The hassle of parking lot traffic, crowded aisles, not being able to find the one specific binder you need, and being all the way in the back of the store when your kid decides that they have to pee and the only bathroom is up next to the entrance.
One thing that I have found incredibly helpful since my oldest started school about 5 years ago, is ordering my school supplies online and doing a pick-up, or having them delivered to my house. It doesn't get much better than that, right? Wrong. I recently discovered EPI, a company that has been in the school supply business for 40 years. They not only assemble your school supplies in a pack for you, letting you skip the store, they go a step further. They ship the supplies in one pack directly to your child's school, labeled with their name to be ready and waiting for them on the first day. SAY WHAAAAAT?!? I know, it really is one of the greatest ideas, ever.
I would pay a steep price for the convenience of not having to shop for school supplies and lug them all to school, but EPI is actually really affordable. You could potentially spend up to 40% less than if you were to shop for each individual item yourself. EPI offers a variety of products so that they are able to cover anything your teacher may request on their list. They also give the school or parent goup a choice between name brands that you may be comfortable and familiar with, like in the package seen above, or saving money by using brands that the company offers at a lower price. Their basic elementary pack, seen below, has 43 items and costs around $35, isn't that incredible.?
EPI is not just a service for parents, they also work with groups like PTA, PTO, and charitable organizations. These groups are able to work with both EPI and the school to put together packs for students with the specific school supplies they will need, after all, a Kindergartner will not need the same items as a fourth grader. For added satisfaction all supplies from EPI packs are school-year guaranteed, so if for some reason an item is defective or doesn't meet your standards the company will replace it free of charge!
I was on the PTO board at my daughter's school for three years, and as a board we often discussed ways that we could ease the financial burden of buying school supplies that a lot of families face. These packages, are such a great idea for school organizations that may be looking to do something to ensure that all students have the tools they need to succeed each school year. Individuals and organizations do not have to be directly affiliated with a school in order to work with EPI, they only need to be in communication with the school so that they can receive accurate lists based on teacher's needs. If you are an organization interested in starting a school supply program at your school this video is full of great information. If you'd like more information about how you can bring EPI to your school, you can click here and request a free quote!
You can also check out EPI through social media including their Facebook page and Instagram account! It is my obligation to inform you that I was provided with free product and a fee in exchange for my review of EPI and it's services. However, I am not required to share anything other than my honest opinion with you. Check out my video below to see all of the supplies that come in the basic and name brand packs, remember that your pack can be customized and you are not limited to only the items you see below.
EPI is so confident you’ll love their prepackaged supply service, they’re giving away free packs to readers who sign up for more info! To enter to win a grand prize of 100+ arts and crafts supplies (valued at $250) or secondary kit prizes valued at $50, simply click here and fill out your information.
I love when I get the opportunity to share products and services with y'all that are really applicable to most of you. This is such a fantastic idea, I'd love to know what you think about it!
If you've been following me for any amount of time then you know that I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness. #Breakthestigma is a huge passion of mine. As women I feel like we are constantly putting pressure on ourselves to have "it" all together. We set ourselves up in a way that can only end in feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. The bar of "having it all together" is NOT attainable. This is not my opinion, it is a promise, a fact. There is not a woman alive who has it all together, every single one of us struggles in our own way. For most of us, we silently suffer under the weight of our self-criticism. Ladies, let's stop this shit! Let's acknowledge our limitations, set realistic goals, and talk about the fact that some days (or weeks, or months, or years) we are a big hot mess. We feel depressed, we feel anxious, and we feel defeated. If we all say these things out loud that unreachable bar will hopefully begin to taunt us a little less. We will be able to hear our sisters, peers, and role models voicing the same thoughts and feelings that we deal with. To me #breakthestigma is about recognizing that there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to my mental health. It is recognizing the astounding data that tells us that over 23% of women worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder, and over 10% of women in the United States (estimated to be 300 million people worldwide) suffer from depression. In my opinion one of the biggest goals of #breakthestigma is realizing that I am, we are NOT alone.
I was blessed to meet @drradishabrown during a cooking class at Paleo Numyums last year. Even just speaking with her briefly I could tell that she was a woman's woman. She's the kind of person that champions all females and wants nothing more than to see all of them succeeding at life. When we message she addresses me as "Sis" not babe, girl, or lady (which are my usual go-tos when I'm addressing someone on social media). This may seem trivial, but I think it speaks volumes to who she is and what it is that she is trying to do. I can tell this about her, and honestly I barely know her.
Radisha has helped me to remember that as women we are sisters. As a Christian I believe we are Sisters in Christ, we all are children of a loving God. Even if you're not a believer, though, I'm sure you can ascribe to the idea that we are Sisters in life. If we can buy into this idea, really truly and deeply- y'all, I think that we can improve the quality of life for women everywhere. Let's lift each other up, and support each other. Let's celebrate each other's victories, and hold out a hand to pull each other up when we see someone knocked down.
As your Sister I want you to know that you must invest in yourself. Investing in yourself doesn't mean spending loads of money on massages and Mani/pedis for self-care (although l am completely about that life). What I mean specifically is to check-in with yourself often and find out what it is you need to feel better or feel your best. From there commit to giving that to yourself. Here are some examples.
Example 1: Are your physical limitations and struggles bringing you down? Commit to eating better, or working out. Commit to making and keeping an appointment with a doctor who can help you. Commit to what you need in your individual situation.
Example 2: Have you let your depression and anxiety go unmanaged for too long? Get your ass to the doctor. Take the meds. Find a therapist or counselor, because I swear to you that they are game changers. Whatever your role is in life- wife, mother, boss lady, friend-- you can not fill that role to the best of your ability if you aren't making your mental health a priority.
Example 3: Are you so overwhelmed with obligations and commitments that you can't remember the last time you relaxed and had fun? Start saying "No". If the thought of volunteering for the book fair at your child's school causes you to break out in hives, DON'T DO IT. If you want to start living a life outside of your Mom-mobile then tell your kiddo that a family break from extracurriculars is necessary. It might not seem like it at the time, but I promise that they will still love you.
Whatever it means to you- invest in yourself.
If you live in the CSRA, Georgia, or South Carolina and are interested in how you can invest in yourself I strongly encourage you to attend the Wellness Warrior event happening February 1st at Savannah Rapids in Augusta, Georgia. My sister, Dr. Radisha Brown's brain-child. It is a full-day event that will feature some amazing guest speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits. The day will help you check all of your boxes- mental, physical, nutritional, and spiritual wellness.
Dr. Rashida specializes in the link between your mental health and your physical and nutritional goals. She has invited Onnie Sanford (one of the coolest chicks I know), the owner of Paleo Num Yums to address healthy eating habits. Yogi goddess Bethany Smith will be there leading yoga. Skin expert, Stacy Washington has been invited to share her knowledge so your outside can be as fabulous as your inside. Cindy Foster will be sharing thoughts on mental health and mindfulness, and last but not least Minister Nikita Davis will be there to talk about the connection between spiritual health, and living a healthy life.
You deserve to to be taken care of, and the person who can do that best is you. Attending this event is a great place to start if you want help figuring out what it is you need and how you can go about making a plan to invest in yourself. Another thought I had was that if you are a leader in any way be it a boss, teacher, coach, or youth leader this would be an excellent opportunity for you. You'll be able to gain more insight into nurturing this essential part of the women you lead in order to help them find within themselves their best life.
If you take anything away from my message I hope it's that you are not alone. Wherever you are, whoever you are, I am here for you if you ever need me. Just reach out.
Hey y'all! I'm Layne, a 30-something Southern Belle trying to navigate this craziness we call life. I'm a wife, mom of 2, and all around hot mess. I'm passionate about mental health, and love everything having to do with fashion. I'm living a super blessed life, and I love sharing it with you.