Senior Outlook Today’s 2015 Back to School Gift Guide (TOP 20+ BEST NEW PRODUCT IDEAS)

Updated on October 15, 2019

September is just around the corner, which means it’s time once again to gear up with the hottest new essentials for back-to-school.

Now that your kids and grandkids are leaving the nest, give your teens what they need to spruce up their new life in college. Whether your child is going into their freshman year or starting graduate school, we have a list of recommended school supplies for their dorm or apartment.

Also, just a special thank you to those of who also sent in your back-to-school gift ideas and suggestions for 2015. If you’re looking for a gift idea, our Top 20+ picks below feature a wide variety of gift ideas in categories such as home, fashion, beauty, family, technology, and fitness:


D-Link has you covered for the back-to-school season with no-stress tech. Whether starting a new school or returning to a familiar one, there’s nothing better than powerful new gadgets that are easy to use and set-up. Here are two suggestions from D-Link for today’s tech-minded students and parents:

  • HD Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-935L) ($119.99): This 802.11ac HD Wi-Fi camera is simple, smart security for both students and parents to have a little more peace of mind. Equipped with integrated motion sensing and cutting-edge night-vision technology, the DCS-935L can see up to 16 feet in pitch black environments and offers remote viewing capabilities. The camera allows for pinch-to-zoom viewing and the free mydlink app provides smart alerts. Unlike other popular brands, D-Link cameras are easy to install, manage and completely free to use, making this a gift that students on tight budgets won’t have to pay for in the long run.
  • AC1900 Wi-Fi Router (DIR-880L) ($179.99): With so many tech products on the shelves, students need a router that delivers extremely fast 11AC Wi-Fi speeds, creating a maximum-performance wireless network designed to handle high-bandwidth activities – like HD streaming and lag-free gaming. With dual-band technology, a student can perform simple Internet activities on the 2.4GHz band and more demanding activities on the cleaner, interference-free 5GHz band. And an all-new user interface makes it easier than ever to control a network from a smartphone or tablet.  


StudyBlue is a student-first tool that allows its 9+ million users to tailor learning to fit their individual study style through digital flashcards, study guides, quizzes and, maybe most importantly, collaborating with a network of peers to share crowdsourced study materials — 350+ million pieces of user-generated content. Plus, new this year is the offline mode for mobile — so students can study anytime, anywhere without worrying about WiFi connections or draining their data plan. Although StudyBlue is geared towards high school and college students — with it’s extensive content library (as noted above) — it’s a perfect tool for lifelong learners, whether they’d like to finally master some slick bartending skills, pick up pilates or learn some conversational German before heading on a European vacation.

 Here’s a little more about StudyBlue:

  • Free or PRO version: Pro gives you more access to content + makes a great gift for students this fall
  • Spanish and French versions for Android
  • Study for anything, from chemistry to Portuguese or pilates: StudyBlue’s library 350+ million pieces of user-generated content
  • Study more effectively: the app looks at your study results / materials to recommend alternate, complementary content created by other users
  • Study anywhere: mobile, desktop, web
  • Collaborate with classmates : share study materials, notes with classmates
  • Multi-sensory learning: utilizes mobile features to capture photos, make audio notes, and more
  • Ace tests, bump up GPA, stay organized, learn on your own terms

ATT_NTGR_Unite Express_Prepaid_frontAT&T Unite Express by NETGEAR

The AT&T Unite Express mobile prepaid hotspot by NETGEAR is great for students to use on the bus, at the library, on a road trip – anywhere they need access to the Internet. It’s also great to take along on a trip to a vacation cabin or grandparents home where there’s no Internet access. Above all, unlike public WiFi, these hotspots provide a secure connection.

More about the AT&T Unite Express by NETGEAR (Prepaid):

• No contracts or reoccurring monthly fees (just load it with data when you need it by purchasing data online or data cards available at most major retailers)

• Connect up to 10 WiFi devices

• Secure Internet access via AT&T’s 4G LTE network

• Guest WiFi for one-time users

• Up to 10 hours of battery life

• Optional Spanish language interface

Price: $79.99 with no annual contract, no credit check, and no monthly commitment.

Availability: Amazon, Target, Walmart or Best Buy.

Integrated Listening Systems Dreampad

Dreampad can help you with brain function and stress relief in the school year. Dreampad™ technology delivers music through gentle, calming vibration which only you can hear. This process brings about a relaxation response from the body and mind which has been aptly described as a “massage to the nervous system.”

The Dreampad products combine iLs’ psychoacoustic expertise with Intrasound Technology™, which is based on the natural conductivity of the human body. Our bones are natural conductors; in fact, every time you speak the vibration caused by your voice is carried by bone to your inner ear. In the same way, music from the Dreampad travels internally to your ear.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 5.42.57 AMMy Mighty Magnet: Creating Walls Of Memories and Homework Assignments!

This new dorm “must have,” My Mighty Magnet creates trees of life. Your BFF photos, homework assignments, reading lists per course, upcoming test prep — can now adorn the walls of your dorm room where you can see them every day, My Mighty Magnet keeps them in place, safe and secure without ruining the wall. Think of it as your private message board.

The incredibly powerful magnets that hold it all together are tough, lightweight and always reliable.

My Mighty Magnet is a great organization tool, posting those must-see memos and works-in-progress where they can easily be seen, found and retrieved. The magnets clear the “desk from hell” and liberate wallpapered refrigerators. The tiny magnets attached to a cable come in various shapes to suit any personality such as paw prints, soccer balls, flowers, cupcakes, flip flops, peace signs and more.

My Mighty Magnet is for sale at national chain “At Home” Stores and online at: My Mighty Magnet cables sell for $10 each. is the leading online retailer of footwear, apparel and accessories—for your consideration. Check out the website for all of your must have back to school fashions, accessories, and carry-all needs!

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Between the Tides by Susannah Marren

After publishing thirteen nonfiction women’s issue books such as “Tripping the Prom Queen,” “Toxic Friends” and “The Nine Phases of Marriage” under her own name – Susan Shapiro Barash and teaching gender studies and  in the writing department at Marymount Manhattan College since 1997, her first novel, “Between the Tides” will be published by St. Martin’s Press on July 21 under the pen name Susannah Marren.

Between the Tides” is a novel that explores family loyalties, mother/daughter bonds, the unspoken rivalries in female friendships, toxic friends and the constant tension between freedom and commitment within marriage. The new book has garnered some great early reviews in Booklist, Romantic Times Book Review and Avenue magazine

It has been a long road for the author to get to this place. She had made the decision not to earn her MFA at Columbia (instead chosing marriage and children) and years later earned it at NYU instead. Getting back to what once seemed the obvious path is testimony to how women navigate their lives in the time of longevity and reinvention, according to the author. After years of research for her nonfiction focusing on gender issues, she has taken what she has learned and put it into women’s fiction.

AccuWeather APPS

Nothing is worse than getting caught in the rain while walking to class or hitting extra traffic in the morning dropping the kids off due to an unexpected storm, so make sure to check the AccuWeather app to plan ahead. The app is free (although there is also a $3.99 version) and available now. Details of the main app features are outlined below. 

MinuteCast® Features:

  • Minute-by-Minute Forecast – Users input their street address on to get MinuteCast® for their exact location. Or, on mobile, users can either input their street address or use their GPS location to get MinuteCast®.
  • Includes precipitation type and intensity or no precipitation, start and end times for precipitation, as well as the location’s weather radar image on
  • Precipitation is tracked at an approximate half square mile resolution, because where it is raining on one street, it may not be raining on another within the same community.
  • Available for more locations than any other source for free: Contiguous United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
  • The innovative MinuteCast® technology is patented and supports AccuWeather’s ongoing mission to personalize the weather to improve the lives of people everywhere.

AccUcast Features:

  • AccUcast is available through the award winning and highly rated AccuWeather iOS app available on the App Store. AccUcast is available for all locations worldwide.
  • Users can submit their local weather and hazard condition observations through the app’s landing screen, map screen, settings menu, and AccuWeather MinuteCast® screen. Weather conditions include clear, partly cloudy, cloudy, rain, snow, ice, or hail, and hazard conditions include damaging winds, slippery roads, flooding, and reduced visibility.
  • After the user’s weather report is submitted, it is visible on the map screen as a pin resembling a person, which distinguishes it from the other user-submitted weather observations on the map.
  • In the zoomed-out view of the crowdsourced weather map screen, users see smaller color-coded condition points which can be animated globally. This is unique to AccUcast and allows users to see both national and international weather patterns.
  • When users zoom into the map screen, they see crowdsourced weather observations as pins that can be tapped to reveal details including the condition, location, and time since submission. Each color-coded pin displays the reported condition with a weather-specific icon for easy scanning of weather patterns in a localized area.


Hand hygiene is one of the most important preventive measures we can take to reduce the spread of illness-causing germs. PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer makes practicing good hand hygiene easy.

The Touchjet Pond Projector

The Touchjet Pond Projector turns any flat surface (wall, ceiling, table) into an 80″ touchscreen (like a giant tablet) that you can interact with using a stylus. Imagine playing Angry Birds on a giant wall with your friends, creating an interactive presentation with a Microsoft Office app or watching Netflix at 80″.

The product has a built-in Android operating system, so students can download all Android apps to the device itself. It’s basically an 80″ Android tablet that you can take on-the-go anywhere!

Nonni’s THINaddictives

Share a snack this school year that is both delicious and healthy. Nonni’s THINaddictives make the perfect addition to any lunchbox as they are easy to take on-the go in convenient portion-packs and made with real, wholesome ingredients. With a variety of flavors, including Pistachio, Cranberry and Cinnamon Raisin, these crunchy almond thin cookies are sure to be enjoyed even by the picky eaters.

Averaging 100-calories or less, it’s easy for kids and parents to love these delicious treats made with real ingredients, including fruit and California almonds. They are low-fat, low-carb and contain 3 grams of protein per serving, which makes them also ideal as an after school snack – helping keep hunger away between meals. 

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 5.36.13 AMWire

Wire is a gorgeous communications app that’s perfect for high school and college students. It’s the next-gen free way to help people stay in touch from the team that helped develop Skype. What sets the app apart is that not only is it beautifully designed, but it also has some incredible, high-fidelity sound quality (You need to try it out). Young people especially love it because they can easily send animated GIFs and sketches to their friends within the app.

Mohu HDTV Antennas

With cable bills on the rise, nearly 9 million U.S. households have cut the cord over the past few years and 2015 has been an especially big year for cord-cutters, as we have seen major TV viewing services like HBO, Showtime, Sling TV, Xbox One, CBS and ABC all commit to cord-cutter friendly options.

Cable bills aren’t the only thing skyrocketing as tuition costs have reached unaffordable levels and college students are looking for any chance to cut unnecessary expenses out of their monthly budgets. Thankfully, students can finally eliminate cable from their tight budgets with the help of an all-time classic with a big-time tune-up.  The modern, elegant Mohu antenna will give you unlimited access to free, over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV. It’s the perfect compliment to any cord-cutting package and with just a one time purchase fee, consumers can plug, play and never worry about a cable bill again. That means live sports, news, local programming, and your favorite shows in glorious HD – no cable subscription necessary.

There are so many different kinds of students out there – which HDTV antenna is their style? You can also review TV antennas online

  • Mohu Leaf ($39.99 – $69.99) is a favorite for the no-frills student. Its paper-thin, economical design is ideal for tuning up a dorm room with free broadcast sports, news and TV shows in HD.
  • Mohu Curve ($49.99 – $79.99) brings sophisticated modern industrial design to HDTV antenna tech, making it an elegant addition to those students who care how their room looks! The Curve antenna is as powerful as it is beautiful, looking great on any table or bookshelf with the ability to access broadcasts up to 50 miles away.
  • Mohu Leaf Metro ($24.99) is a paper-thin, durable HD antenna that’s easy on the wallet looking for a tech savvy for their favorite city student. The reversible black and white design can also be painted to match the décor of the dorm or apartment.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 6.28.42 AMFujitsu ScanSnap

Here are a couple of cool gadgets to help students stay organized, digitize all their papers, and send them directly to cloud-based services such as Evernote and Dropbox….the Fujitsu ScanSnap.

The ScanSnap iX500 is Fujitsu’s flagship desktop scanner with built in Wi-Fi, allowing users to scan directly to an iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire mobile devices, without even turning on the computer. This would be ideal for graduates that want to go paperless and who have a heavy paper load.

The portable ScanSnap S1300i provides PC and Mac users the tools to be productive and paperless… anywhere. 1.5x times faster than its predecessor, the S1300i is a simple, sophisticated and reliable solution that will you de-clutter and digitize your paperwork anywhere. Installation in a Snap! Simplicity is the backbone of the ScanSnap device beginning right when you take it out of the box. To begin, insert the Setup disk and install the ScanSnap applications to the Mac, PC, or both. Once complete, connect the power and USB cable for AC operation or two USB cables for USB-only operation and lift the silver cover. You will know ScanSnap S1300i is ready to use when the blue scan button illuminates on the scanner and the ScanSnap icon appears active in the tray or dock. Unlike typical scanners, ScanSnap does not need to be selected as a source by a driver. Instead, an interface called ScanSnap Manager monitors the device and provides access to settings. Once it is ready, just stack the documents and push the blue scan button.

Students can also benefit from Fujitsu’s newest scanner, the ScanSnap iX100. It’s the same technology as the iX500, but smaller and battery powered. One key difference is users can scan wirelessly even without a router. This means that you can scan anywhere, whether in the library, park, or at a conference, etc. It’s small and can easily slip into your backpack (weights 14 oz)…so perfect for any young scholar’s on-the-go mobile lifestyle. (Priced around $229.00)

All three scanners come with productivity and receipt scanning software (in addition to a number of other features).

The Caregiver’s Journey: Compassionate and Informed Care for a Loved One by Todd F. Cope

With the baby boom generation reaching retirement age, the number of people finding themselves as caregivers is rapidly increasing. Most caregivers find themselves in that role of caregiver without having prepared. “The Caregiver’s Journey: Compassionate and Informed Care for a Loved One” addresses common issues they will face, reassures caregivers about how to make good decisions, and helps them foresee the road ahead so they can prepare. 

This book covers a wide variety of caregiving information, including care basics for everything from dental health to digestion and deals with caregiver burnout, finding help from assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, managing financial expenses associated with caregiving, and knowing what to expect throughout the dying process.

Find peace, and even joy, in the journey to a loved one’s final days. This reassuring book will help you cope with all of the decisions, challenges, and emotions that come with a terminal diagnosis or old age. Learn how to bring your family together, how to minimize and alleviate pain, and how to care for yourself so you can provide better care for those you love.

Todd F. Cope has been a registered nurse for more than twenty years, and while he has worked in a variety of settings, the majority of his career has involved caring for the elderly. He often speaks to nursing students and faculty on a variety of eldercare subjects, and his professional qualifications include four years of service as Director of Medicare Home Health, and as a supervisor of nursing at Courtyard at Jamestown, Utah’s largest assisted living facility. His experience also includes end-of-life care for both of his own parents. In his spare time, he enjoys running, gardening and spending time with his family.

Cope is the author of four published novels, including The Shift, a work that inspired the CBS television movie The Last Dance, starring Maureen O’Hara.

“The Caregiver’s Journey” is available now in bookstores and online.

‘Callahan Crossroads’ and ‘The Haunting of Springett Hall’

These two titles from Cedar Fort Publishing & Media cover the inner realities of characters from the past.

Toni Miller’s “Callahan Crossroads” takes place in the summer of 1918 where all twelve-year-old George Callahan wants to do is hunt for spies with his best friend. But with America at war, the Callahan family is facing new challenges on all fronts. Thoughtfully researched, beautifully written, and filled with historic detail, this heartwarming family drama is an instant classic both children and adults will enjoy.     

E.B. Wheeler offers to give you goosebumps with “The Haunting of Springett Hall.” Eighteen-year-old Lucy doesn’t know how she became a ghost, but the more she remembers of her life in Victorian England, the more she wants to forget. Her only hope of changing the mistakes of her past is to enlist the help of a servant named Philip – the one living person who can see her. This impossible romance story is filled with delightful period detail and plenty of mystery.

Each of these titles is available in bookstores and/or from online retailers.


Back to school is right around the corner and Parrot offers a variety of must-have products for everyone from the chauffeur, the college-bound scholar and the after school adventurer.

The Driver – Hands free, blue tooth car kit

For the carpoolers, travelers, and commuters, the MINIKIT Neo 2 HD—a voice-controlled, portable, Bluetooth hands-free device—keeps you connected when you need to be. It clips to the sun visor in your car and automatically  synchronizes when a paired phone enters the car. The device features advanced voice recognition, text-to-speech, and vocal menus so the driver can focus on the task at hand. MSRP: $99.99

The Scholar – Noise cancelling, Bluetooth headphones

Tired of the interruptions? College-goers and audiophiles of the family can zone in and jam out with Parrot’s Zik 2.0 over-ear headphones. Its noise-cancelling capabilities make it easy to drown out pesky roommates, focus at the library and listen  to lectures. The Zik 2.0 are Bluetooth-enabled, touch-controlled and come in an assortment of fun colors to match everyone’s unique personality. MSRP: $399.99

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CVS Products

As you know, moving into a dorm room means that they are in close proximity to hundreds of other students, making it easy for a common cold to spread. That’s where CVS/pharmacy comes in. From cold remedies to first aid basics, CVS/pharmacy has the one-stop shopping experience for family or friends to help keep loved ones healthy and happy even when they’re far from home.

Below is a list of items that are perfect for any college dorm room. It includes a new line of 100% preservative free vitamins to keep them healthy, wipes for keeping the room clean during those sick moments, cold medicine – and even some healthy snacks for on-the-go students.


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