Sunday, August 17 2014 15:38

Back-to-School: Shopping for Fall Fashions at Gurnee Mills #GurneeBTS

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Gurnee Mills: A Simon CenterI keep saying it, but I still can't believe we have a kindergartner here this year. Essentially, if you've been reading THE ROCK FATHER for awhile, you've seen Addie growing up, and while last year we were shopping for Pre-K, this year it's officially time for Back-to-School in preparation for "big girl" school - kindergarten. Gurnee Mills here in Lake County has always been a regular haunt for us, and this year we've teamed-up to show off some of the great fashions and supplies available at the largest value and outlet destination in Illinois (which is in the midst of a remodel and now boasts a fantastic "full-price" wing), by sharing our own Back-to-School shopping experience. This past week, my wife and I took the two girls (Little Finn is in on the action, too) to get decked out for Fall...

Giveaway: Win a $50 American Express Simon Gift Card from Gurnee Mills!

Macy's, Carter's, Skechers, Bath & Body Works, Disney Store - that's where the bulk of our purchasing was done, but far from the only stores we shopped in this run. On the surface, you could say we did some damage, but with sales and coupons, we spent under $200, which I think is really great. I've looked for concise data on what families really spend on each kid for Back-to-School clothes, but the numbers are all over the place, with several reputable sources showing vastly different figures. My take: Pick a budget and stick with it.

If you're looking for a place where you can get a lot for your money and finish your day relishing a feeling of shopping victory, Gurnee Mills fits the bill. Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off shoes at the Skechers Factory Outlet equalled two pairs of the coveted Twinkle Toes for just about $50. 

Gurnee Mills - #GurneeBTS

Disney Store touts "Magical Values Inside," and that's true - especially for the Disney Store Outlet, a place where we're instantly recognized at this point (yes, you could say we've shopped there a few times in the past). $15 backpacks and $10 lunch totes are a big draw right now, but Addie was all about the fashion here, picking up a beautiful Rapunzel (TANGLED) dress that she's already laid out as her "first day of school dress," a DOC McSTUFFINS two-piece outfit, and for those chilly days coming up - a STAR WARS, R2-D2 hooded sweatshirt, which has been a pretty big hit online. Also, I couldn't leave without picking up a little something for myself - a CARS "Piston Cup Champion" Shirt from CARS LAND (a suitable match for my CARS jacket).

Gurnee Mills #GurneeBTS

A stop at the play area (a must on a trip to Gurnee Mills) followed by a few more outfits scored at Carter's (also the go-to place for socks, which were Buy One, Get One Free), a stop at the Information Desk to spin the prize wheel (a bonus to our Kidgits Club Membership) and an adorable FROZEN dress for Finn and "Epic Threads" rocker outfit from Macy's for Addie, and it was about time to call it a day...

Gurnee Mills #GurneeBTS

But not before stopping at Bath & Body Works to get my PocketBac supply stocked-up. Do I look like the typical Bath & Body Works customer? No, but I love their Fall fragrances, and with all the running around and interaction with other parents and kids, their PocketBac hand sanitizer is a MUST. On-sale, 5 for $5. So far, the "Mr. Hedgehog" is my favorite of the new scents.


After we came home, it was time for a Skype Fashion Show for Grandma, and a little bit of organizational separation for our affordable little haul. Four days until Kindergarten starts...


But we still want to hit one more store at The Mills... stay tuned!

Giveaway: Win a $50 American Express Simon Gift Card from Gurnee Mills!
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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