The Glossary – Back to Cool

The Glossary by Tracy Herz 


Back to Cool

Back to school spending averages $634.78  per family with school age children and is the biggest spending spree of the year, other than the winter holidays. The good news is that retailers have steeply discounted most of the basics, leaving you free  to discover a few practical and fun options within budget.

This Kansas newspaper breaks it down to how middle school differs from elementary school spending.

Indeed, retailers anticipated our concern about the economy with eye-popping good deals as early as mid-July when many retailers across the country startled parents everywhere when they were naive enough to believe they were still on vacation.

At Office Depot, hanging around in bins were folders for $.01 and glue for $.10, and even baskets full of Sharpie markers for pennies–right up front by the register where the non-bargains are usually placed.

School uniforms were plenteous at J.C. Penney and shipped early this year, with $8 for school standard shorts and $5 white polos. So you look around every department  a little more…buy a little more… Everyone is happy.

Er. except the workers in conditions such as these 


THAT is another column. I think a lot about how expensive cheap clothes are. And how cheap expensive clothes are. ( I will address it.)    

Anyway, back to school right now: If I were to do this properly just for HIGH SCHOOL it would require 3000 words, one month and a 40 hour week. It would involve calls across the country to cool hunters and copious  travel. It would require hunting cool hunters.

“Cool Hunters” are people who are hired by serious fashion labels to hunt stylish people who are walking down the street in emerging cool places and who might yield designs and ideas, and report back to designers.

I can’t go through all that, prowling the streets looking for new meat for corporate. Too much going on.

Remember Chloe Sevigny from “Big Love?” The poly-polygamous wife?

She was a hired gun “cool hunter” at one point in her career before becoming an actress.  

My sources are cool differently. Local kindergarten teachers tell me their tips at cookouts.   

Here are a few of their favorite back-to school items for the elementary crowd.

Initial It

Breanne Dowdy and newborn baby Lily model from the Ironworks and extensive monogram collection of Initial Outfitters  It’s nice because nothing can be lost too easily in that vast lost and found pile that is every school. It makes good gifts and it uses lovely fabrics and fonts. Email Breanne Dowdy who represents Initial Outfitters and browse the catalogue online.  Here’s where to shop:

Contact with any questions.


Ninja Turtles Fever

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is released August 7. Just what we need! More male reptiles!  

6 surprising facts about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Thirty years hence the hard-shelled guys they are still  ugly and mysteriously attractive to little children, but the appeal is enduring and if you have the first comic book, it is worth a zaftig $20,000.

Tabatha Wood St. Joseph School teacher and kindergarten ninja tells me what she bought for her children’s back to school .

Mutant Ninja Turtle Lunchbox $7.99

If a hot lunch is $3.75 per day, and you tend to spend more energy on packing lunch than it deserves…Yet you are SERIOUS about child nutrition and eliminating sugar …! And you cannot add up what it costs to make lunch. Shoot. Just buy the flipping lunch box anyway and do what they tell you to do at the school. JUST DO WHAT EVERYONE SAYS TO DO INCLUDING THE CHILDREN.

Mutant Ninja Turtle Luggage Tag

At $5.99 this Ninja luggage tag is the perfect place to store milk money, field trip cash and Legos one develops an emotional attachment to. Attach it to the lunch box, This Ninja Turtle thermos holds 12 ounces. We didn’t calculate how many juice boxes you might pack in a lunch or snack over the year, but at a glance, if you shell it out for this thermos upfront you can save a lot of shekels.

luggage tag

Angry Bird Flu

Super-do-not-get-this. Pigs killing birds, birds offing pigs. Pigs and birds talking and fighting. But having decided that it isn’t hurting anyone except pigs who do not exist, I don’t care anymore. You may purchase the newest angry bird lunchbox and thermos and luggage tag for Angry Birds at Target in the Back to School section. The same prices apply as above.  

angry bird

Wise Owl White Board Eraser

A place for everything and everything in its place. Including white board erasers. The Nitro Market Pl, Cross Lanes. It is very wise to have a board eraser that sticks to its designated spot.

Pete the Cat

An electrical engineer and a government communications director, husband and wife, quit their jobs because they found that Pete the Cat filled an educational gap and made a living. Teachers everywhere love this character. In this little book, he discovers the library, the lunchroom and learns who is who at the school–a very cool cat. By James Dean, illustrated by Eric Litvin.  $9.60 on Kindle

Hollis and Tacks Pencil Holder

This Threshhold Pencil Box lid from Target doubles as a 9 inch ruler. For 9.99 it is a little much but it has a vintage feeling, and it’s pretty. Your kids won’t want it, so keep it for yourself.  

Threshold Wooden Ruler/Pencil Box


You won’t want to go back to sleep. This coffee maker is better than your own private butler. Put the plastic cup it comes with far, far away, and put your favorite coffee cup under the little dripper. All you have to do is press that little button and here comes the love. The permanent metal filter means you can actually put first class coffee in the coffee maker and taste the coffee not a paper filter. $19.95 trim and slim–perfect for the nightstand.   

Black & Decker Single Serve Coffee Maker

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1 Comment

  1. Tabatha Wood - August 19, 2014

    Love this! Great job! Great info and fun to read!! :-)

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