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.


Getting College Ready at HomeGoods

Such cute lampshades at HomeGoods!

Getting College Ready Storage Solutions at HomeGoods

So many darling storage solutions at HomeGoods


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!!!


Getting College Ready Vintage Decor at Lone Star Mercantile

“Vintage” Pennants by bespoken+beloved in Lone Star Mercantile

Getting College Ready Lone Star Mercantile Allen

So many cute items at Lone Star Mercantile!

Getting College Ready Revinished at Lone Star Mercantile

All the cute Texas decor at revinished: repurposed vintage at Lone Star Mercantile


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!!!

Getting College Ready Allen Community Outreach

A great selection of decor at the Allen Community Outreach Boutique


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.


Getting College Ready The Green Tuffet

Love these “vintage” letters at The Green Tuffet!

Getting College Ready The Green Tuffet Leather Tote

Look at this cute tote at The Green Tuffet!


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!


Getting College Ready Anthropologie

LOVE these shatter-proof melamine dishes at Anthropologie!

Getting College Ready Anthropologie Planners

A GREAT selection of Planners and calendars at Anthropologie


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!


Getting College Ready Vera Bradley

New backpack! Check!

Getting College Ready Vera Bradley Umbrellas

So many darling patterns! Almost makes you wish for rain!!!

Getting College Ready Vera Bradley Notecards


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!


Getting College Ready Sephora

The big make-up stock-up at Sephora


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!


Getting College Ready Frogg Coffee


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!


Getting College Ready Elke's Market Cafe

Totally delicious!


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!


Getting College Ready Grif's

EA with Founder and Owner…Grif Himself!!!!


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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