A Blue Ribbon Back-to-School Shopping List to SwearBy

Ann Cantrell knows her way around a back to school shopping list. As the proprietor of cult-favorite Brooklyn shop Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store, she's the source that countless parents turn to for advice on what to stockpile for the new school year. "I love it when a parent comes in looking for help on what to get for school, especially for a pre-schooler going for the first time. I set them up with my SwearBys and they are happy and set for the whole year through." Ann scours everything on the market to hand pick the very best for her shop, from the latest-and-greatest to the well-loved classics. Check out Ann's Swears for September and beyond, a can't-miss selection of items that involve great design, durability, and mission-driven values.


“First off, they always knock it out of the park with their super fun styles. Second, great quality. Third, the mission of this company is the best! They are not just a one-for-one company, they take it to the next level…they stuff backpacks filled with essentials and give to kids in underserved communities. They first started with a cool non-profit camp, Camp Power, where they’d bring city kids out to a camp in the country late August. Kids showed up with their stuff in trash bags and the idea of State was born. Their bag drop videos are amazing to watch, and they’ve partnered with everyone from Beyonce to Star Wars. Great product and great cause.”

Yumbox Leakproof Bento Lunch Box

“The Yumbox is literally such an easy way to pack a lunch. It comes with four or six compartments to fill with things your kid loves. Two or three might be leftovers from last night, some fruit, a yogurt or string cheese, maybe a sweet treat—little servings of each for fun and easy variety. Plus, these are super durable and last a while—we had our last one for years and only got a new one because my daughter fell in love with a new pattern. They are made from BPA- and Phthalate-free, food-safe plastic. The lid is lined with molded silicone that engages with the inner tray to seal all the food wells individually so contents won’t touch or leak outside the box.”

S'well Teakwood 9 oz Bottle

“We were the third store to sell S’well and I’ve been a big fan forever. S’well makes drinking water and bringing a re-usable water bottle fun and exciting with their ever-rotating patterns. This 9 oz size is perfectly packable for lunches and won’t weigh down smaller kids or their backpacks. I personally have a Liberty of London one, and the new camo traveler size is on my radar, too. They’ve distributed hundreds of thousands of bottles to NYC schools to eliminate millions of single-use water bottles being used.”

2019 - 2020 Posh 17 Month Family Wall Calendar

“I’m all about being organized as a mom and family. I love Family Calendars like this one because there is a space for everyone’s activities and there’s no more ‘When’s pick up? Where’s pick up? Who’s picking up?’ convos. We tried to do this digitally but I truly believe seeing it and writing it down for all to see makes all the difference. I read about a family that does Sunday dinners to talk about the week ahead, and we’re going to work on doing this more so everyone is on the same page for what’s coming our way.”

Feeling Smitten Rainbow Cloud Bath Bomb

“I Swear by the idea of having little goodies for the first day (or first week) of school, like these Rainbow Bath bombs, which make an easy but special treat. They release a fizzy stream of rainbow color in the bath…fun!”

Got Your Back Pack Mini School Kit

“For the older kids heading back to school, these Pinch Provision Backpack kits will make them feel like they can handle any situation that comes their way. It’s a tiny little backpack keychain filled with grooming essentials and other break-in-case-of-emergency items.”

We think you deserve to buy only awesome things. We've asked the most discerning women out there to share what they honestly, truly swear by so you can get on with life and find your next favorite product, faster. What do you SwearBy?