Insider Tips for Shopping at The Mills at Jersey Gardens

My family has often joked that I shop like it’s my job. Well, friends, I’m here to tell you that dreams do come true! I’m so excited about my most recent partnership with one of my absolute favorite malls, The Mills at Jersey Gardens.

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Located just a few minutes outside of NYC in Elizabeth, NJ, The Mills at Jersey Gardens is an incredible shopping destination with over 200 stores, with many of them being outlets and factory stores. Just some of the featured stores include: Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Marshalls, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Michael Kors, Century 21 Department Store, Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, Coach Outlet, Tommy Hilfiger, Uniqlo.

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I was tasked with doing some back to school and fall shopping for my family and sharing my experience. So, today, for Takeover Tuesday, I over on the Mills’ Instagram sharing some of my favorite adventures from this massive outlet mall. Head over to the Mills’ Instagram account and double tap for some of my fave stuff.

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And because I’ve been obsessively shopping here for well over 10 years, I know this mall like the back of my hand. Here are just a few of my favorite insider tips.

Savings Passport

Many of the stores at The Mills are outlets or factory stores of the brands that we know and love. If you grab one of the Savings Passport at the Information Desk, you can find a list of the stores who offer additional savings. IMG 7064 2 hese discounts can often be stacked with other sales within the stores. My favorite discounts found in the Savings Passport are from the Gap, Under Armour and H&M. The discounts found in the Passport can only be used once.

Spend the Day

The Mills at Jersey Gardens isn’t one of those Malls that you can just run in and run out. Well, it can be if you are on a mission.

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If you have the time, especially on big shopping trips or sale times, consider spending several hours at the mall. I always bring my preschooler’s stroller, which comes in handy when he gets tired and when I need a place to haul all of my bags. ha!

Prime Parking

On extremely busy shopping times, The Mills will get crowded. Best time for me is during the week without kids or when it first opens on the weekend. I recommend parking at Bed Bath and Beyond and going through the store. BBB is located upstairs and is next to many of my favorite shops. When leaving or if I have to drop bags off and go back to shop (this has happened many times) BBB is a central location. I love to pick up home essentials at this Bed Bath, which is perfect since I can grab it on my way out. Not to mention, Bed Bath and Beyond has a bathroom available for their shoppers which is located by the Registry area, somewhat close to the back door! It’s always quiet, there’s a changing table and rarely has a line. Perfect for families with littles!

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From our latest trip to The Mills, I grabbed a ton of basics and grabbed a few new fun accessories for myself! If you’re looking for a new bag or wallet, don’t forget to check out Michael Kors, the Coach Outlet and the newly opened Kate Spade downstairs. 

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As a sports mama, we go through athletic clothes, sneakers and cleats incessantly. Be sure to check out the massive Marshalls for cleats for kids and adults. I always save at least 50% on cleats at this location. This time around, I bought my big guy some new Nike football cleats for $20. I spotted the same ones at a big box sports store for $45! Score!

Don’t forget to catch me on The Mills at Jersey Gardens’ Instagram page!

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation to share my experience. 

Back to School with Hudson Jeans

Hudson just might be one of my new favorite denim brands for kids. According to Hudson, they’re favorites among the masses, too—Hudson is the #1 selling kids’ denim. Coincidentally, North West, as in Kim K.’s tot, has been spotted in these super stylish jeans.

 

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As a boy mom, I love the fact that Hudson has so many stylish options for boys. Hudson has a very cool french terry jeans that’s soft and offers a slight stretch. Boys will appreciate the soft feel to these jeans that offer both style and comfort. All boys’ Hudson jeans offer a 1% stretch; french terry is offered in sizes 0-20. Hudson also does cool novelty pieces such as denim jackets and bombers, with many more outerwear pieces to come.

 

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Hudson offers several stylish fits, such as the Parker (straight leg), the Jagger (slim straight) and the Jude (very slim.) Some Hudson detailing includes acid wash, shreds, patchwork and more. I’m excited that Hudson also offers joggers, which are super popular for my sporty guy.

 

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My older guy typically shys away from anything that has too much deconstructed detailing, yet he really digs the fraying and shreds on the Parker Five-Pocket French Terry. The texture of these jeans is incomparable.

 

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It’s super soft, but structured. We paired these jeans with one of his favorite Zara tees, and will definitely look into investing in a Hudson bomber for the fall.

 

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Full disclosure: we were provided with a sample to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Back to School Must Haves from Momtrends’ Back to School Bash

 

We’re still very much in summer mode, however, when it comes to trend spotting and scouting the best kids’ products, we’re always looking ahead. Last week, together with many of my blogger friends, we descended upon Momtrends’ Back to School Bash to check out some of the coolest gear and gadgets for Back to School.

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Joules

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I had the chance to meet British clothing brand, Joules at the Momtrends’ Back to School Bash. This brand makes beautiful, classic yet modern clothes with bold prints. The girls’ styles were age-appropriate, yet super stylish. The boys’ looks were polished, classic and fun. I loved the boots and outerwear and the vibrant colors that make these pieces stand out!

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Aidan, my friend Alicia from Mommy Delicious’ son, modeling some looks from Joules.

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Paula’s Choice

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Always on the hunt for new skincare lines that work for me, it was great meeting Paula’s Choice. While Paula’s Choice makes a variety of products designed for different skin types, I particularly loved learning about their Clear line which is designed for oily and acne-prone skin. Paula’s Choice products are intended not to be irritating, so there are no fragrances or dyes or anything that could be harmful to your skin.

 

Vamousse

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photo credit: Momtrends

Having kids in school, there’s no doubt that at one point you’ll be faced with sick kids and possibly receiving a note from the school nurse that someone in your child’s class may be infected with lice. That dreaded letter has found its way to my son’s backpack this year more times than I could count. Lucky us, products like Vamousse are designed to be effective yet non-toxic. At any given time, I always have a Vamousse treatment kit in my arsenal, knowing that lice infestations can happen at any time with 2 boys in school. I also like that they have Lice Defense Daily Shampoo as well as Lice Elimination Powder. And, yay me! I won a cool Amazon gift card from Vamousse at the event. Thanks for being a sponsor!

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Thanks to Vamousse, we were treated to a braid bar from Glam Squad. I had a great time getting my hair braided and catching up with Julie Cole, one of the founders of Mabel’s Labels! 

Chewbeads

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Known for their teething-friendly accessories, Chewbeads were onhand at the Momtrends Back to School Bash to showcase their new line of JuniorBeads. Perfect as accessories for kids, these necklaces, bracelets and pendants are made with silicone and can double as sensory tools. My younger guy has special needs and low tone, and we often have to exercise his jaw muscles with chewing on things, so these pendants would be perfect for him. Have a kid who bites their nails or needs some sort of sensory tool? JuniorBeads would be ideal for them. I love the necklaces, shark tooth pendant and that military tag!

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Mabel’s Labels

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One of my family’s must-haves year-round, Mabel’s Labels showcased several new designs, combo pack and a cool new school years memory book. I’m eyeing the limited edition zombie design for my tween who has outgrown the cutesy designs. The School Years Memory book is a perfect solution for parents who want to collect special certificates, awards and occasional artwork. I love the oversized size that can actually fit the giant posters that the kids bring home. The price is right around $30, making this affordable and an absolute necessity when organizing for the school year. 

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Nalgene

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As a lunchbox enthusiast and gadget nerd, I absolutely loved learning about Nalgene’s new Lunchbox Buddy. This durable and versatile lunchbox is made with the same material that makes Nalgene so popular. I love that these lunch boxes are simple and rugged; the box itself can be thrown in the dishwasher and the outer case can be thrown in the washing machine—perfect my messy kids! And something that I never knew: all Nalgene products have a lifetime warranty. How’s that for awesome? I truly respect brands, especially ones that accommodate kids, that can stand behind their own reliability.

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Earth’s Best and Ella’s Kitchen

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In between school, sports, volunteering and all of the other demands of life, some days, we need an easy dinner solution. (ok, most days) Thank goodness for Earth’s Best. Earth’s Best has an extensive line of frozen foods that are geared to families. These products are void of all the bad ingredients, but packed with flavor and portability to boot. I loved tasting the different flavors, with the mini meatballs and pepperoni stuffed bites as my favorites. I will be adding Organic Fruit Cups into our lunch box rotation for when cheap fruit is no longer an option!

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Sister brand, Ella’s Kitchen has been a mainstay in our pantry since Littles started eating solids. I love the delicious flavors they offer for baby foods, and their Nibbly Fingers are the best for babes and toddlers. I loved learning about their smoothies, which I’ve been including in my preschooler’s summer school lunch box. Those things are a hit!

 

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Keen

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Keen, known for their awesome sandals, was featuring highlights from their fall lineup. I’m eyeing several boots and hightops from my guy. I adored the sparkly hightops for girls, only wishing they came in my size. I appreciate that this brand is known for their casual and rugged look and feel, which is ideal for school-aged kids.

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Wall Pops

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Wall Pops offers a great selection of wall coverings that can be used as decor or as functional tools that are helpful for staying organized or informed. Always a fan of the oversized calendars, I love that they have maps and dry erase wall pops that make our school days seamless. We like using Wall Pops as calendars and as an unobtrusive way of reminding us what to do and when! My friends and I loved hanging out in the photo booth, thanks to Wall Pops!

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A big thank you to Momtrends for having me once again at the Back to School Bash. As always, I loved checking out the awesome trends for fall, as well as hanging out with my girls!

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Full disclosure: I received a generous swag bag and won a gift card at this event. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

 

Spring Styles for Boys from The Children’s Place

With our trip to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration coming up next week, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping over the past few weeks in preparation. The Children’s Place is one of our favorite go-to stores for stylish and classic options for kids. Though I’m always envious of the racks of pinks, pastels and sparkles, the boys’ selection at The Children’s Place is pretty plentiful.

We noticed that the main trends for boys at The Children’s Place were stripes, sharks and neons. I’m always a fan of the classic look with a little edge, and The Children’s Place does that so well.

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For our trip, I picked out a few dressier shirts for the boys to wear at the various dinners and family events at DisneySMMC. I let the boys choose and then picked outfits that coordinated.

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For the more casual looks, we opted for sporty tanks and fun graphic tees. I’m pretty sure the bulk of our play clothes are from The Children’s Place. The clothes are comfortable and they hold up very well. 

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The Children’s Place always has great deals going on. I try to find coupons before I head to the store to maximize the deals. So if you’re on the hunt for great spring and summer outfits, make a stop at The Children’s Place.

Full disclosure: I received a gift card to share my experience at The Children’s Place. All opinions on NKT are my own.

Back to School and Football Shopping at Sports Authority

When it comes to outfitting the kids for back to school, we entered a new frontier this year. Not only was it Biggie’s first year in public school (hello, regular clothes), but we also had 2 kids to buy new clothes for this year! We have our perennial favorite clothing stores, but I love being able to hit stores like Sports Authority to pick up clothes and sports gear.

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A few weeks ago, we hit our local Sports Authority to grab some shorts, athletic wear, some new Mets paraphernalia (Yay for clinching the NL East!) and of course, some football gear. I followed J as he made some important gear decisions and picked out some cool new duds for school.

We came home with a varied list of gear—actually more than we were anticipating. That’s what I love about Sports Authority, though: you can find a great deal for everyone in the family. I personally grabbed a few new Mets shirts that were on clearance and a new hat for the Littles. I got a kick out of J’s proud purchase of Big League Chew! ha!

Full disclosure: I received a gift card to share my shopping experience at Sports Authority. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

 

 

 

 

Review: French Toast Uniforms are Durable and Accessible

The kids have been in school for a few months now, and I wanted to circle back on some gear that has been sustaining us thus far. My older son, like many kids, wears a uniform to school. I tell you, the uniform, in many aspects, is our saving grace.  As much as I love fashion and kid style, the daily routine of a school uniform streamlines our day.

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Prior to the beginning of the school year, I had the chance to get to know French Toast, a well known school uniform brand. I’ve bought French Toast branded uniform pieces in the past, so it was a thrill to get a closer look at other items that this company offers.

 

French Toast sent us some uniform pants, an oxford shirt and vest, a look that my son wears day-to-day at school. A few items were bigger than I anticipated, but the pieces that he fits have worked so well thus far. I appreciate that French Toast has such an expansive selection of school uniforms on their site.

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Here in New Jersey, I’ve found French Toast to be quite accessible at several discount retailers. French Toast also features personalization with select schools, and you’re able to shop the site by entering your school code if it’s available.

We weren’t able to try the personalized feature, but did notice our school was listed in French Toast’s database. At my son’s school, they wear custom sweaters and a certain type of plaid to denote their school. It certainly helps when there’s a more affordable option when choosing school uniforms.

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We found French Toast not only to be accessible and affordable, but also durable. Like many little boys, my guy always comes home with holes in his pant’s knees. I can’t even count how many pants he’s destroyed from just being a rough and tumble little boy. It’s great to know French Toast offers pants that are durable, especially with their reinforced knees! As for shirts, I appreciate the quality and how the shirts tend to grow with the kids.

 

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There are several features that help with the never ending growth spurts, but I especially love the expandable neckline. It’s like this shirt has growing buttonholes. My older son has always been off the charts, in terms of size and growth, so a feature like the expandable neckline is helpful when it comes to extending the wear of clothes. Just like the adjustable waistline found in most boys’ pants, this expandable waistline is a definitely a great reason to opt for French Toast uniforms.

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All in all, French Toast uniforms continue to serve their purpose for our daily routine. Affordability, accessibility and sustainability are great selling points for these uniform pieces. Two months into the school year, I’m proud to report that our uniform pieces have been holding up well, and I have no holey pants in sight.

To check out French Toast’s line of uniforms for kids, make sure to head to their site.

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Full disclosure: samples were provided to facilitate this review. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Kardashian Kids Debuts at Babies ‘R Us

Kim and Kanye may be making waves after their recent Vogue cover reveal; however, we’re totally focused on Kardashian Kids, a new baby girl (k)collection featuring sparkly, animal print and ruffly motifs.

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Now available at select Babies ‘R Us, Kardashian Kids, a collaboration with Jupi Corp, is the latest brand extension for the reality family and first foray into their own children’s clothing line.  Kourtney used her own daughter, Penelope, as the inspiration for this first collection. With cream and gold as the dominant color scheme, butterflies, stars, and of course, animal print round out the Kardashian take on “affordable high fashion” for babies.  

“Since becoming a mom, I’ve been so inspired to create Kardashian Kids with perfect prints, heavenly fabrics for a baby’s skin and to bring fashion to the baby world that is affordable,” said Kourtney, mother of Mason and Penelope.

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Kardashian Kids line includes baby essentials such as onesies, caps, blankets, as well as two-piece sets, jackets and dresses in sizes ranging from newborn to 24months. Prices for the new baby line range from $15-30. Here’s a look at a few of the new pieces:

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Kourtney, who was said to lead the way for Kardashian Kids, is hosting a blogger event with Babies ‘R Us.  I had to decline because of my schedule, but am definitely interested to see how this line does.  I know quite a few people who like the Kardashian line for women at Sears, so I’d like to see if this gets the same response.  My first impression, though, it seems pricey for being dubbed “affordable.”  Looks like some people who submitted reviews over at BRU feel the same.  

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The pieces are absolutely adorable, and much more subdued than what I was picturing.  Though not practical for everyday outings, these outfits look ideal for Easter gatherings and such.   Also, I would have liked to see boys clothes included in the collection.  Obviously, I’m a boy mom and personally love boys clothes; but I love the way Kourtney dresses her son, Mason, so I’m bummed that boys clothes didn’t make it into Kardashian Kids from the start.

What about you, mommas?  Would you invest in the new Kardashian Kids?

The Children’s Place Spring Styles for Babies to Big Kids

With Easter and Passover right around the corner, bulky winter gear is thankfully being replaced with snazzy Spring outfits for the kids.

The Children’s Place, one of my longtime favorites for staples and dress clothes, has a great Spring line up filled with classic styles with plenty of details. This season has styles for everyone, from girls, boys, tots to babies.

We were invited to shop at TCP a few weeks ago to check out the latest offerings first-hand.  With a big boy and a newborn to shop for, my biggest dilemma was deciding which items to take home.  I have a weakness when it comes to shopping for kid’s clothes, which attributes to kids’ overflowing dressers and closets. We had a friend take family portraits shortly thereafter, which gave us a great reason to take the kids’ new clothes from TCP for a spin.

Boys clothes aside, TCP had the most beautiful dresses and outfits for girls, too.  Admittedly, I’m not a head-to-toe pink fan for girls, so I was glad to see that TCP had dresses beyond shades of pink. Most dresses and tops were adorned with bling or some other eye catching details. My favorites were the classic white and black dresses. But most importantly, TCP gets it right with age-appropriate silhouettes for girls.

From Baby to Big Boy

For my own kids, I was excited to find dressy clothes for both boys in one spot.  I haven’t been shopping for two kids that long, but based on my experiences as a kid, I was anticipating having to shop at multiple stores to accommodate different sizes and tastes.  At TCP, we found plenty of jolly roger, pirate-influenced clothes, something my four-year-old is crazy about.  He quickly snactched up some khaki shorts, a tie and collared shirt, all bearing small skull and cross bones details.  I also grabbed some undies, a t-shirt and a nice dress shirt for the big kid, all items that have been getting great wear thus far.  The dress shirt, I noticed, is a different quality from other dress shirts we’ve bought from TCP.  This plaid shirt that looks much like “daddy’s work shirts,” is classic, but soft to the touch.

For the baby, I stocked up on portrait-worthy dress clothes, perfect for Easter Sunday.  A Southern girl through and through, I always love dressing my boys in seersucker.  I was excited to find baby pants and a matching hat, all in seersucker.  I also picked up a dress shirt with anchor details and a few pairs of jammies for the babe.

Be sure to check out their latest in spring and summer clothes!  And before you go shopping, make sure you Google for coupons.  TCP seems to always have good coupons out there.

Full disclosure: We were provided a gift card to The Children’s Place as part of media shop day.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Ralph Lauren Gang: Meet the Class of 2012

With Spring now in full bloom, it’s time to update the kids’ closets with warm weather clothes.  I’m always excited when we can finally replace the monochromatic shades of winter with a more colorful palette, full of weather-appropriate goodies.  And with Spring comes all the fun new fashion lineups, including those for the most fashionable kids!  Designers like Ralph Lauren have a penchant for outfitting the entire family with classic, yet versatile pieces, and that goes for the 2012 RL Gang Spring line.

Photo Credit: Momtrends

The line, which is out now, features classic pieces synonomous with Ralph Lauren’s Americana influence, and mixes it up with some edgy, girly or preppy flair.  Like many of the kids who wear these pieces, RL Gang reflects this diverse spectrum.  Whether it’s the tattered jeans, ruffled details or classic stripes that suits your kid, the expansive and super cute 2012 RL Gang Spring collection has it covered.

My favorites include the girl’s white blazer with pink detail and the boy’s dark denim paired with classic Polo stripes.

Because our entire family loves Ralph Lauren, I’ve mentioned RL Gang in the past; in fact, I posted about last year’s Spring debut. So, it was quite a treat to be invited to this year’s RL Gang Spring launch and video preview at Bloomingdale’s. The RL Gang Spring event was hosted by my friend, Nicole Feliciano of Momtrends, whom, I’m sure you know, is a style maven and fixture in the fashion front.

This was my first blog-related outing with both baby and big kid in tow, so it was quite fitting to preview this Spring line firsthand and meet some of the beautiful kids who comprise the RL Gang Class of 2012.  The precocious little girl, dubbed Willow and epitomizes Bohemian chic, approached the baby and me and made small talk.  I’m imagine she’s about four or five, and asked if she could carry the baby.  Even though I politely declined, I got a little chuckle out of it.

The big kid, who waxes poetic about being a movie star/model/rock star one day, enjoyed all the fun treats and rubbing elbows with his “peers” at the RL Gang Spring event; he even has his Flipbook to show for it.  To boot, one of the local tv news outlets, WPIX, was on hand to cover the event.  The boys and I made a super quick cameo at the very end!

Be sure to check out the Spring RL Gang and the adorable Class of 2012 online.

Harajuku Mini for Target Debuts in November

Target’s become synonymus for partnering with a myriad of cutting edge designers to provide accessible, affordable, yet fabulous collections to the masses.  And kiddie fashion is no exception.

Announced earlier this year, rocker turned designer and fashion icon, Gwen Stefani, partnered with Target for her upcoming collection for kids, Harajuku Mini.  The collection, inspired by Stefani’s penchant for Japanese street-style, touts an eclectic, edgy, yet practical appeal for babies, tots and Tweens.  I love that this collection is edgy, yet not over the top.

The Harajuku Mini for Target lookbook hit the internet last week, but I just got around to checking it all out myself.  The collection is expected to hit stores next month and will feature cute items such as accessories, biker jackets, dresses, onesies and outfits that are totally Holiday worthy. While the animal print and plaid dresses for Tweens are cute, they don’t completely blow me away.  The baby items, little girl outfits (where the pink and black color scheme dominates ) and the boy clothes are super cute.  My faves are pieces that would be perfect for my guy and the new one on the way; at just $20 for both the Mayhem sweatshirt for boys and tuxedo onesie for baby!  And of course, the pilot case for myself!

I never hopped on board the Missoni madness from earlier this fall, but I’ll be the first to incite a little panic for Harajuku-Mini.  The clothes are THAT cute.  Expect the best of the Harajuku Mini line to go quick in stores!

Ranging from $4 to $30, the entire collection will be in stores November 13.  Check out more of my faves from the Harajuku Mini lookbook.

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