JG_03756-01I’ve had the hardest time coming up with a title for this blog post! Should I call it, “the elegant midi dress,” “the seasonless midi dress,” or something entirely different? Then it occurred to me, just as the little black dress has become an wardrobe essential, a midi dress should also be an essential.

“In a world full of trends, I want to remain a classic.” – Iman

Here arw 6 reasons why this classy Black & Gold Floral Midi Dress fits the bill.

1. The length is modest and appropriate for all occasions, from daytime weddings to evening dinners.

2. The higher waistline easily hides a “not so flat” tummy.

3. Black is a season-less color, and can be worn year round.

4. The gold floral elevates the style of this simple shiloutte.

5. No dry cleaning is required. It’s machine washable, cold water, hang to dry.

6. Many dresses require you to wear special undergarments. Not so with this midi dress! The cut of the shoulders easily conceal your most comfortable bra. *The v-neck line does show a little clevege. It’s not unbecoming at all. However, I’m not a clevege kind of girl. So I added a lace trimmed v-neck camisole underneath to conceal it.

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Black & Gold Floral Midi Dress | Gold Clutch Bag | Gold Sandals

I love everything about this dress- the length, the fit, feminine floral details, a stunning black and gold color palette, and a classic neckline. If you’re looking for a little black midi dress, I’ve found the one for you. It’s definitely a wardrobe essential!

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20180206171411_IMG_6937-01-01I am all about skincare!  From moisturizes, anti-wrinkle creams, exfoliating scrubs, eye creams, and facials coupled with a healthy diet- I try to do it all.  I follow my daily regimen religiously. Every few months, I review and determine my needs. (Oh my goodness, I’m such a teacher!) If it’s not broke, then I don’t fix it.  However, it also gives the me opportunity to try new products.

Avya Skin Care offers premium care products specially made for all skin tones. They feature an exclusive blend of peony, turmeric & neem extracts.  When I read the ingredients, and tested it on the back of my hand, I knew I had to try both them.  Here’s my honest opinion:

20180206171754_IMG_6954-01I’ve really enjoyed the sweet smell and light weight texture of the Avya.  The Avya Day Moisturizer goes easily under makeup, and I have not experienced any breakouts.  Active ingredients include: Hyaluronic acid, Red Algae, Beet Root, and Coconut Extract. The pump bottle makes it easy to apply quickly in the mornings before I dash out the door to work.The Avya Day Moisturizer has non chemical SPF 20 sunscreen for added protection against the sun’s damaging effects.  It does not leave a white cast on my skin. This is really important, especially for us with more “melanin” or darker skin tones! I will definitely purchase this again.

20180206171637_IMG_6947-01I take a long hot shower before bed each night and then apply the Avya Night Moisturizer. It feel thicker and has more ingredients than the Day Moisturizer, which I personally love. I may skip my morning routine, if I’m short on time, but I’ll always follow my bedtime routine. The added weight of the Night Moisturizer seals in warmth from the shower.  It’s not heavy or oily, two things my normal/combination skin hates! Active Ingredients include: Hydroxprplene (peptide), Hyaluronic Acid, Gogi Berry, Coconut Oil, Artichoke, Carob, and Vitamin A! It’s a perfect companion to the Avya Day Moisturizer.

If you’re looking to try out new skincare products, I think you should give Avya Skincare a try! Huff Post recently added Avya to their Eco Luxury 2017 Beauty Guide. With so many options to choose from, finding Skincare that works is no easy feat, especially for women who have more melanin in their skin than Caucasian women. Avya fits the bill. I can definity see why Avya Skincare has received this honor. So Invest in yourself! Visit their website for more details and to order their premium skin care products.

“Aging is a fact of life. Looking your age is not.”

Skincare Tips for Busy Moms

  1. Sleep on a satin pillow case. It reduces friction against your face, and keeps the cotton pillow case from stealing the moisture from your skin.
  2. Wear a facial moisturizer with added SPF. (Don’t forget your neck and the backs of your hands.)
  3. Drink WATER! (Half your body weight; 8 glasses full- to keep your skin hydrated.
  4. Mornings are hard and sometimes rushed.  However, you must have a have a rock solid night-time routine to maintain your skin youthfulness.  Wash, moisturize, put on eye cream at the very minimum.
  5. Life it busy, especially for us moms.  We often have to put ourselves last to get things done.  So I made it a point to treat myself to a spa night/day once a month.  I light a candle. Put on soft music. Brew a green some Green Tea and then lock the bathroom door. I soak in a milk bath, exfoliate my skin using a sugar scrub, give myself a facial, followed by a quick mani/pedi. Then I relax. This reduces stress, give me some necessary “me time,” while caring for my skin, head to toe.

*Sponsored by www.avyaskincare.com

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IMG_20171228_084416_866-01 Much of North Texas is flat, flat, flat allowing you to see for miles. The wide open blue skies filled with puffy white clouds are beautiful. However, there are many more beautiful terrains to see. Lately, the moutains have been calling my name. We had to get away. So we packed up our things, flew to California, and rented a car to visit two of it’s best known national parks.

“The moutains are calling and I must go.”

– John Muir 

Yosemite National Park cali2-001-01Getting There: If you’re flying into California, Sacramento has closet major airport for the area. The parks are an easy 2 hour drive south from here. Tip: Book your car rental and hotel through through the airline to earn airline mileage.

Where to stay: We didn’t want to camp nor did we want to stay in a typical hotel. So we choose to stay at the Sierra Sky Ranch. At, only 20 minutes from Yosemite Park, in town of Oakhurst, the Sierra Sky Ranch has an excellent location! All the food, groceries, and gas that you need is just 10 minutes down the hill. This historical ranch has been renovated into a family friendly lodge. The room were neat and clean, wifi superb, with a complimemtary breakfast offered. The decor set the tone for the moutain views perfectly! We will definitely stay here again.JG_06076-01Where to eat: We loved getting fresh Sandwiches from Barnetts Meat & Deli located in Oakhurst. These were excellent to take into the Park each day for lunch. (Our personal favorites were the Tri-Tip and Pastrami Ruben.)

What to do: Go see Yosemite, of course! During  the winter hours, only the main road is open. However, there are still beautiful sights for you and your family to see in the valley. (All without bugs and insects to bother you!) Wind your way through to see, Dome Rock, El Captain, Bridal Veil Waterfall, Upper Yosemite Waterfalls, and more! Special shoes are not necessary as there are many paved trails to follow. However, if you go off the trail for any reason, I recommended hiking boots or shoes. We spent 2 days exploring these sights with our 7 year old. we didn’t feel rushed at all. If the roads are not closed, you can see more, just check the website before you go.

IMG_20171228_215635_188-01Tips for going with kids: Jocelyn often felt motion sickness as the are wound up and down around the moutain roads. We purchased Sea Bands to wear on her wrist. This kept her from feeling car sick and made everything enjoyable.

Is your child approaching or currently in the 4th grade? Children (ages 9 to 11) and their families can obtain a FREE pass to all US National Parks. www.everykidinapark.gov to learn more and get a free Family Pass.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National ParkIMG_20171230_060138_017-01Out of all the National Parks we’ve visited, the Sequoia National Park is my all time favorite due to the giant Sequoia Trees. I could stay here forever.

Where to stay: Camp inside the park or stay in a hotel in nearby Three Rivers. It’s not very built up, but it will do. If you need to stay in a large(r) city, Visalia is the place to stay. However, you’ll add 45 minute drive to to reach the park entraace by staying here. Keep thus in mind when you gave kids. The less time in a car, the better. However, Visalia has better food options.

Where to eat? Sequoia Park has a few dining locations, but they are pricey! Instead, we choose to eat breakfast at the hotel, and then stopped by Anne Langs for sandwiches, drinks, and chips to bring into the park with us. Once you’re finished, there are a few diners to eat at for dinner. *Please note: Most restaurant close at 9pm in Three Rivers. Plan accordingly!

IMG_20171228_221808_273-01What to do? Stroll through the Giant Forest among the Sequoia Trees. Drive through Tunnel Log, a tree so big they had to cut a hole in it’s side so the cars can go through. Climb Moro Rock and stare in wonder at the moutain peaks.  No special shoes or equipment is needed to do this. Remember to take your camera and bottle of water. Drive up to Wolverton Lodge and play in the snow. Go Horseback riding at Kings Lodge. Have a picnic lunch in Crescent Meadow while listening to it’s babbling brooks. Visit the Museum to learn even more about the giant Sequoia Trees. Of course, there is so much to do and see, even during the Winter months.

For the kids: As soon as you enter the park, go to the Visitor Center and pick up a free activity book. Children came learn more about their parks plants and animals, while completing fun activities. Be sure to visit one of the 3 other centers to allow your child to show your activity book to the Forest Ranger. Grin with delight as they become deptuized as Junior Forest Rangers. They even get a cute badge!

IMG_20171230_152028_236-01There are so many places and ways to spend quality time with your little ones. A trip to one of the many national parks is one that the whole family will enjoy.

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JG_05187-01Freedom at last!  That’s how so many of us feel once the weekend or vacation arrives.  Fall break is here for many of us. Thanksgiving allows time off work to travel and spend time with our families.  We abandon our workday routine, and even our workday wardrobes, to indulge in much needed relaxation and playtime.  However, there’s no need to completely abandon your work wardrobe when playing. You should have a wardrobe that you live in. By mixing and accessorizing pieces that you normally wear for work, you can easily create outfits to suit your needs when playing on the weekend or when traveling. I’ve partnered with J. Crew Factory to show you three easy ways to go “from work to play.”  J. Crew Factory is a great place to find classic J. Crew style at discounted prices.  I love their daily deals, great quality, and excellent customer care. For a limited time, students and teachers receive a 15% discount now thru December 31, 2017.

“I don’t think of work as work, and play as play.  It’s all living.”

Outfit 1

The Printed Quilted Puffer Vest has become an iconic J. Crew piece.  It’s black and white pattern goes so easily with just about anything.  For work, I wear a basic white shirt and black dress slacks.  However, by pairing this vest with a black turtle neck shirt, black skinny jeans, and boots (ankle or over the knee) this classic piece is suddenly very chic and sophisticated.  It’s a great look for the jet setter who wants to hit the ground running once they step off the airplane.  The vest will keep you warm, but not too hot, in the airplane cabin.  By wearing your boots onto the plane you save space in your carry-on bag.JG_04782-01JG_04753-01JG_04717-01

VEST TURTLENECK | SKINNY JEANS | ANKLE BOOTS

Outfit 2

Is it date night? Are you meeting family and friends for dinner? I love a little black dress and stilettos.  However, this time of year, I find myself feeling too cold in my little black dresses.  And let’s just face it, after managing a classroom of 8 year olds, sometimes the last thing I’m looking forward to is walking in a pair of high heels. I want comfort as well as appeal.  The key- just the right amount of animal print. For the school day, I wore a mustard turtleneck and my basic black slacks to work. For a dinner date, the same mustard turtleneck paired with skinny jeans and leopard flats sends this look to a whole new level. Amp it up a notch with a leopard print clutch if you have one. If not, your structured work bag will still look great with this outfit.

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TURTLENECK | SKINNY JEANS | SHOES

Outfit 3

Are you planning to wander the halls of a museum, meet up with a friends for lunch, or chase kiddos on a play-date? A bright crew neck sweater and comfy jeans topped with a plaid scarf is the perfect way to go! Finish it off with cognac boots (ankle or tall boots). Grab your trusty cross-body bag and you’re all set for the day. Color is the key in this outfit.  The bold color of the sweater against the classic plaid scarf makes this outfit equally playful and structured.  This same sweater and scarf than I wore to work with my slacks is now perfect for the weekend by simply adding a scarf. JG_05104-01JG_05122-01JG_05150-01

SWEATER | SCARF | JEANS ANKLE BOOTS

So there you have it- 3 easy ways to go “from work to play” with J. Crew Factory.  I’ve linked all pieces for you in this post.  Just tap the links to be taken directly to each item.  You can also visit J. Crew Factory stores to find even more pieces that you can utilize at work, at play, at living. Find a J. Crew Factory store near you and check out their latest styles for fall and winter.  Their classic pieces, timeless styles, excellent quality, and affordable prices make great gifts for both yourself and others! J. Crew Factory has put together a Gift Giving Guide for inspiration. Be sure to visit them during Black Friday. Right now everything is 50% off in stores and online. Last, don’t forget to enter the J. Crew Factory Sweepstakes before 12/7/2017. J. Crew Factory is awarding 14 giftcards in the amount of $300 and 1 giftcard in the amount of $500 to it’s winners. Pretty cool!  So, besides hurrying to a J. Crew Factory Store near you, what are you planning to do over your Fall Break from school or work?  Leave me a comment below. I’d love to know.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

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jmg-021-01We teachers live from bell to bell, literally!  Everything must be organized and completed in a timely fashion when working with 20 plus children. Even with today’s technology a wristwatch is still essential in the classroom. This is especially the case when administering state benchmarks and test throughout the school year.  Administrations want teachers monitoring students, therefore cell phones and computers are not allowed as they “disrupt the testing environment.” Dang it-there goes my digital clock! Since we need a watch to function throughout the work day, why not choose a fashionable one?

Last year, I choose the Zebrawood & Champange Frankie 35 Series wood watch by Jord.  The neutral tones allowed me to use this piece over and over again.  In a year’s time, the glass has not scratched or cracked, the wood has not warped, nor the clap bent.  I’m blown away by the amazing quality! It is no surprise I decided to choose another Jord watch. When I saw the green face of against the Dark Sandalwood & Mint of the Frankie 35 Series I knew it was “mint to be.”  As Jord says,”Minimalism has never equated to more. Cooling mint couples with warmly toned Sandalwood to create a perfect balance of tone and temperature. The ultra slim case is complemented with a straight line strap. All the while, the uncomplicated face allows focus and offers style.” For a second time, I’m obsessed with my new Jord wood watch! The size of Frankie Series 35 doesn’t overwhelm my small wrist. During fall, when so many color plates are deep and dark, the vibrant mint green is cool and refreshing!  It easily stands out against fall’s blanket scarves and warm knits, bringing color to overcast days. (In some lighting the mint appears darker and mysterious!) The cool tones of the mint can easily be worn the in the spring months, as the days gradually warm up again.  During the summer season, the mint is refreshing and lively, making this wrist watch both stylish and timeless!jmg-019-01jmg-014-01Not only is the watch beautiful, but the cedar wood case is just as lovely! The lid is anchored in place by magnets which do not detract from the clean lines of this perfect wooden box.  An added feature to this year’s cases are the hidden drawers on the bottom of each wood box. The drawer slides easily in and out, making it the perfect place to store extra links, batteries, a cleaning cloth, and Jord Preserve cleaning oil. The Jord Preserve is a custom-formulated cleaning oil created specifically for the care of wood watches. 100% natural with no artificial chemicals. It’s ideal for cleaning and conditioning your timepiece.JG_04589-01I think Jord is would make a very special gift for a loved one or a little something for yourself! Both men’s and women’s watches are available to choose from. Personalized engraving is now available for the Frankie 35 Series wooden watches! Your message will be engraved on the back-plate of the watch. You can also engrave the cedar watch box with anything you want! Write a special note to the recipient, upload your logo/monogram, or provide a handwritten message to be engraved directly on the side of the box! And don’t worry about batteries or sizing, the Jord team can size your watch to fit before it arrives. The JORD repair team will also gladly replace your battery. Simply complete an RMA request and one of our repair specialists will get back with you quickly to let you know the costs and timeline associated with replacing your battery.  Stylish, functional, unique, and well made- why not try a wood watch for yourself? Recieve 25% off a watch by clicking here, good thru December 19, 2017 at 11:59pm.  Thanks so much for stopping by!IMG_20171106_174825_221-01*This is a sponsored post.

Watch Gift Ideas

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