August is back-to-school time, no matter how old your kids are. Clothes, backpacks, school supplies…..the list grows with each passing year. But the mother-of-all back to school shopping lists HAS to be when you send your daughter to college. I’m not kidding y’all….only Santa’s naughty and nice list might be longer. But….not to worry friends. I have a one-day Getting College Ready shopping plan that will help you, by day’s end, gleefully tear up your list into a million tiny pieces! And, since Tax Free Shopping weekend is August 10-12….Follow me to Allen, TX y’all!!!
Allen, TX is a fantastic city, just a few miles north of Dallas. Widely known for its outlet shopping, Allen really is a mecca for getting your retail game on! My daughter and I were delighted to collaborate with the Allen Convention and Visitor’s Bureau on this post, and all opinions are mine…and my daughter’s!
After reading a million Pinterest posts, and polling lots of friends, my daughter, EA, and I came up with a strategy and our big list of everything she would need for college. We agreed that Getting College Ready means finding the perfect comforter would set the tone for the rest of her room, so we headed straight to The Village at Allen. In this center we started at HomeGoods, where there is a huge selection of comforters, duvets and bedding. Pillows, sheets, blankets, darling storage options (a HUGE must-have in a tiny college dorm room)…even lamps! We knocked out at least HALF of our list at this first stop.
The Village at Allen also has a Pier 1, which had an ENTIRE wall of the cutest accent pillows and colorful blankets! We had a hard time choosing, for sure!!!
Feeling encouraged by our progress, we agreed that it was time to work on the “cuteness factor” of her dorm room.
Our next stop….Lone Star Mercantile. OMG….y’all…this is a Texans’ Nirvana! I have NEVER seen so many darling Texas-themed accent pieces, clothing, and jewelry under one roof! EA got a little distracted here, as there are dozens of “booths” with jewelry, accessories, clothing….we could have spent the whole DAY in there…..but…that big list…dang it! Focus girls!!!
We moved on to the many shops at Watters Creek, to find a few more Getting College Ready and special decorative items, and then focus on the school supply aspect of our list.
We started at the Allen Community Outreach Boutique, and THIS was such a great experience! Every single item in this store was DONATED! So, the proceeds of items sold in this store support free comprehensive human services to individuals in Allen, helping people avoid hunger, avoid homelessness and gain financial security. Great lesson for my college-bound kiddo…..above all else, give back first!!!
Next door is a super cute store called The Green Tuffet, a fun mix of antiques, vintage, and new decorative items and jewelry, EA found many cute things to make her dorm room feel like home! We especially loved the letter hooks, which will come in handy for towels, scarfs, etc.
EA will have a small refrigerator in her room, as well as a coffee maker, and she wanted to take a few dishes with her for late-night snacks or leftovers. At Anthropologie, we found a darling assortment of melamine plates and bowls…cute designs, and shatter-proof! Win! We were also glad to find organizers, planners, and desk supplies that will help her stay on top of her classes, while also being cute….a good combo for a college student!
Next up, a new backpack. Her high school backpack was completely worn out, so Getting College Ready means this was an important item on our list. Vera Bradley has an amazing selection of backpacks in their typically colorful patters, and she found one that will be perfect! Umbrellas, make-up bags and luggage tags…even note cards. So many patterns and colors….lots of fun to shop here!
Another item on our list was a replenishment of make-up, so we headed to Sephora. EA even took the time to try out a couple of new lipstick shades, and we left with a semester’s worth of make-up which will save her the frustration of having to constantly replenish…there’s enough newness to figure out in college without that worry!
In just about 5 hours, Getting College Ready was Mission Accomplished! We got her completely outfitted for a comfy, organized, and uniquely HER dorm room…all in Allen, TX!
Oh….by the way…we worked up a HUGE appetite doing all this college shopping! We started the day at Frogg Coffee Bar and Creperie …..crepes and coffee. Breakfast of champions!
We enjoyed lunch at Elke’s Market Cafe….and got to meet the owner herself! I could not resist picking up a to-go container of her famous chicken salad and jalapeno pimento cheese….never met a pimento cheese I didn’t like!
After a long, but successful day of shopping, we found it only right on a hot Texas day to indulge in Grif’s Sammie Shop…home-made cookies and Blue Bell ice cream, making up the BEST ice cream sandwich ever!
Whew….what a big day! But, I wouldn’t change one minute….because in a hot minute she will be moved-in and ready to say good-bye. Yay…and Sob…all at the same time!
Thank you again to the Allen Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for collaborating with The Curious Cowgirl on this post!
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I absolutely lived spending the day in Allen with my mom! I’m all ready to go to college and I’m so excited to decorate the cutest dorm ever!!
Love you baby! So excited for you! What a Blessing to get to go to your DREAM college….and I can’t WAIT to get your room all fixed up with you!!!
Really glad to know about this place in Allen- will pass this along to my friends too👍👍
Mary – what a fun day for you and EA. I enjoyed all the info on shopping in Allen, and I LOVE WATTERS CREEK – I literally feel like I am on vacation when I walk around that shopping venue, and eat outside at one of the restaurants there! Your college ideas were great too – always nice to hear a new perspective. We just dropped Lucy off yesterday. Our whole family is so happy for EA on her journey to college. How exciting! All our love to her!!! Thanks again, as always, for the cool tips! I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!
It was such a fun day, and I agree….Watters Creek is a beautiful shopping experience! We really loved it! Hugs to Lucy!!!!!
Loved all this advice!! So many great ways to prep for leaving for college!
Awwww….love you Berkley! Hope all is good for you…hard to believe you are already “college-ing!” Have fun!!! Can’t wait to see you over Christmas Break!!!
Very good and helpful information!!
Getting our one girl is no small feat!!!!
Such great ideas and inspiration! I will be doing this with my daughter before I know it. And I love Watters Creek — it is such a marvelous place to wander and be inspired!!
Wonderful ideas! Allen has some great places to shop , you can definitely check everything off that headin’ to college list.
Oh, wow! Sounds like Allen, Texas area is THE PLACE for so many things.👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼
I will be heading up I-75 in the very near future to enjoy for myself.
Thank you, Mary & EA for a GREAT blog!!😉👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 Paige L.
I had no idea they had so mant great stores in Allen! I’ll be headed north soon! Great post
Wonderful info!! Love this area and enjoyed seeing some of my favorite shops! I’m also Excited to visit a few new ones featured as well as the yummy food options! Thank you Mary and EA- great pictures!!
Great advice on shops to visit – looks like a lot more fun than shopping online!
Great post Cowgirl! We especially loved the Home Goods basket and bins section. Major helpful👍🏻👍🏻
Such great shopping advice. Thanks for sharing all the tips and tricks!
The lamp sheds you picked up is so lovely. The cute tote looks really amazing with your outfit. We started the Frogg Coffee Bar and Creperie looks totally delicious.
The tax-free weekend in your state is soooo awesome! Wish we could have it here, too. By the way, I like your daughter’s shorts! 😀
You are so kind! She has a fun fashion sense!!!!
I can’t believe I forgot it was tax-free weekend here. Will be heading down to Allen ASAP. I haven’t been to Frogg Coffee Bar and Creperie in ages but I love it. I totally agree with your Vonnegut reference – Breakfast of Champions.
Those crepes….soooo good! We scarfed up every single bite!!!! Ha!
Wow! What a fun day! My girls may be calling you since you’re way more fun… Truly, though, I am so glad to know all the Allen area has to offer. I especially love the quaint places to eat and shop – always a favorite for me. Thanks for info and darling pics!
Ha! You know me well enough to know that is not true!!! It’s stressful getting ready…and you have TWO! It’s a lot to organize, I know! I hope all goes smoothly for your precious girls!!!!
I remember doing back-to-school shopping with my mum. Wasn’t excited that the long summer was ending so soon. Lol.
Hi Kemi! Yes, we are there too…it is a very bittersweet moment, especially as one friend after another heads off….
This post brings me back to my college days of decorating my first ever dorm room. It’s such an exciting time, and I remember it very fondly. It was a great day spent with family, and it was a lot of fun shopping for new stuff. It looks like you and your daughter had a great day, and she is all prepared for college to start!
Thank you! I’m a little panicked about where it will all fit! HA!
You are spot on that it’s back to school with an ever-growing list of supplies regardless of age. We are preparing for back to high school, and I can only imagine in a couple of years the things my daughter will need to enroll in her first year of college. I love that you all did the back to school shopping together and all of the great dorm room items you two found!
We had so much fun! I hope you have a good year too! High school has so many fond memories for our family!!!
These stores and restaurants are fabulous! I can’t wait to head to Allen for some college shopping and lunch:)
We had a ball together! Thanks for following me, Shay!!! xoxo
Loved this post and all these ideas! EG still needs to pick up some items for her dorm room — so glad to learn about all these great stores so close to home!!
Thank you Elizabeth! I hope it all goes well on your end too! Big moment for us mammas!!!
You have some really great photos, that make getting ready for college look like a blast! I think it is awesome that you were able to incorporate a teaching moment, while shopping, of how giving back to others can bless lives.
Awwwww…thank you! We had a lot of fun together!
Sounds like I need to get back to TX and find Watters Creek! EA, very jealous of how much cuter your room will than Meaghan’s!
Hey….it’s Texas….you know how we roll!
I have three more years preparing it for college, but I’m thinking about it now. Thanks for advice, I’m sure it will help me when the time comes.
It goes by fast!!!!!! Enjoy these years!