Think Gray: 6 Must-Have Pieces for Fall

Content Provided by MakeMeChic

Fall season usually calls for less, vibrant colors. When you want to pile up on suits, heels and bags that are best worn for the season, start with the shade of gray on your canvass. It’s sophisticated and easy to pair with other pieces. Include knee-high riding boots, tote bag and 4 other must-have pieces in gray for fall 2014.



1. Riding Boots. Knee-high riding boots are a staple during fall season, and it’s always the black or tan boots you see everywhere. As a fashionable lady, you want your style to surpass anyone else’s. So if you want to be the center of attention, choose the gray color. For a unique take on riding boots, get a style that infuses two different materials: leatherette and fabric (Nb20049 Buckle Knee Riding Boots, $18).

NM-54FX_mx2. Shimmery Pants. From office wear to late night Friday partying, wear a pair of shimmery pants to highlight a young, yuppie, and fun vibe. These pants are close to the likes of leggings because of the tight-fitting structure. Such pants are seamless and they usually have a hidden side zipper. When picking one, make sure the length is precise on your legs. This should be worn above your ankle without any creases or folds at the hem (Akris Melissa Shimmery Slim Pants, $1,190).

00069313-023. Infinity Scarf. Always get the perfect wrap around your neck with an infinity scarf. Unlike the usual scarf, this one will lessen the time to get the perfect drape. Choose a striped one if you’re working on a casual jeans ensemble and a solid color for a more formal outfit. You’ll get perfect loops around your neck every single time (Striped Infinity Scarf, $9.80).

324. High Heels. Nude heels are great during spring and summer and black heels for all seasons. For fall, find a great canvass in gray high heels. Lots of high heels in gray color are available in various designs. You can either choose strappy ones, ankle straps, almond toe, stiletto heels or chunky heel pumps. To pump up your fashion statement, get a metallic pair (Anne Michelle Rapture-50 Perforated Heels, $28).

25. Tote Bag. Roomy and oversized bags are a thing during fall so use it in your everyday ensemble. It’s easy to put your blazer or a cardigan inside it, plus many other things you might carry. What’s great about having a gray tote is that it’s a great canvass for animal print scarves. Tie a zebra print scarf around the bag straps for a chic and feminine touch (Tory Burch “Emmy” Crossbody Tote, $295).

NM-52HK_mx6. Blazer. A fall wardrobe will be complete if you add a wool blazer to your casual or corporate ensemble. When donning a blazer, make sure you get a tailored-fit piece to flatter your frame. Instead of a plain one, opt for a style that suggests a mixture of vintage and modern feel to it. Plus, opt for a unique fabric design like chevron or swirl prints (Armani Collezioni Chevron-Knit Snap-Front Blazer, $1,245).

Do you have a gray piece for fall? What’s your staple piece during that season?

#FindTheWords #EMPOWER

BadgeAs the school year begins, too many children are already falling behind. I am 1 of 30 bloggers helping #FindtheWords with @SavetheChildren to raise awareness of the need for early childhood education for all kids. I am participating in this social media campaign to highlight 30 words in 30 days — to symbolize the 30 million fewer words that children from low-income homes hear by age 3.

Save the Children provides kids in need with access to books, essential learning support and a literacy-rich environment, setting them up for success in school and a brighter future. Learn more about Save the Children’s work in the US and around the world:


Quotes pictureChildren in quality preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades, need special education, or get into future trouble with the law. [source:]

Children who have access to early childhood program earn more money per month as they enter the workforce.  [source:]

Early childhood education can help empower kids early, and help them reach their goals in school and beyond.


As a child I struggled with being painfully shy.  When I moved to a new town the summer before 6th grade I was lost.  Thankfully that was the summer I found a love of reading.  Until that point I had struggled with reading because I just wasn’t a fast reader so reading was more torturous than fun.  But books got me through that summer where I knew no one.  By middle school I’d made some good friends, and finally in high school I found my ‘thing’ in Student Council and I came out of my shell and began really having fun.

As a mom, I didn’t want my kids to struggle for as long as I felt I did.  I began early on trying to EMPOWER my kids socially and academically.  Before my oldest son was even born, our house was full of books.  There were books of every shape, size and material just waiting to foster a love of reading and learning.  When the boys were tiny I’d read to them whenever I could.  As they got a little wigglier we looked at the pictures or I read to them while they crawled around.  I didn’t worry about making them sit still to read an entire story, for me it was all about them developing a love for books.  It didn’t take long before they equated books with quality time snuggled up together and we’d spend HOURS pouring over books, rereading their favorites over and over.  There was never a push for them specifically to read and each entered Kindergarten with varying degrees of PRE-reading skills but none actually reading.  But they LOVED books.  We read daily.  And by the time each finished Kindergarten their reading levels were at least a full grade level ahead.  As my oldest enters 6th grade, our house is still FULL of books.  They are bigger, longer and cover a wider range of topics and tastes but reading is still a daily part of our family.  I HOPE that this love of reading helps them throughout their academic careers and beyond.

But school isn’t EVERYTHING.  And I believe everyone is happiest when they find something they truly love doing, so I’ve worked hard to EMPOWER my kids to get out and find out what it is that makes them happy.  This means that over the years we’ve tried a GREAT many activities, some that were a hit, like baseball which my 11 year old has played for 8 seasons now.  Some, like martial arts, didn’t work out but you never know until you try.  It’s amazing to see the difference in a child when they are able to be their real selves, doing something they enjoy with people who share the same passion.  Some people work their whole lives to figure out who they really are and how to be happy, but I HOPE that giving my kids the chance to get out and experience so many things empowers them to truly discover what they love and fully enjoy life!


Share your #Empower story for a chance to win…

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Visit Language Stars’ Back to School Open House

Content sponsored by Language Stars

It’s time to start thinking BACK TO SCHOOL.  If language learning is on your list for this year, Language Stars is just what you’re looking for and NOW is the perfect time to check them out.

Language Stars is a play-driven foreign language class for kids between the ages of 1 and 10 years old. Utilizing a high-energy, FunImmersion® method of instruction, students learn a foreign language through games, art projects, music and more. There are 15 locations throughout Chicago.



During Language Stars’ Back to School Open House event (July 28-August 16), parents are invited to come to a center and see the program in action. There are a bunch of events they can attend: ice cream socials, webinar, free trial class.  Visit Language Stars online to register for any or all of these fabulous free events to learn about their FunImmersion program and the benefits of learning language young.

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Free Trial Class

Experience Language Stars first hand. Tour a center, meet their international teaching team and try a FREE class. Plus, ask about the special Back to School tuition discount, multiple program discount, and pay in full discount.


Ice Cream Social

Cool off with some tasty treats and meet the team and other Language Stars Families.


FREE Webinar

Register for the Back to School webinar presented by Director of Education, Karen Gould. “Why Earlier is Better” is a short webinar, only 15 minutes and focuses on the benefits of learning language young, from early childhood through adulthood. Webinar will be available August 4, 2014.

Find All the Gifts the #GreatestDad will Want @BestBuy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

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If you have a techy dad in your life, Best Buy is usually the OBVIOUS go to for Father’s Day gifts.  But Best Buy has the perfect gift for ALL types of dads from the entertainer, gizmo guru, fitness fanatic or memory maker.

Entertainer – Gifts for the Dad who aspires to set up the ultimate man cave complete with gaming, sports, movies, listing to music, or just hanging out. This Dad loves to share so it also has everything at the ready for entertaining a crowd.

Gizmo Guru: Gifts for the dad that always wants to take his tech to the next level with the latest and greatest – always connected, at home and on the go.

Fitness Fanatic: Dad who doesn’t let age slow him down.  He has no fear and loves adventure, but aspires to be/keep healthy as well. Dad uses technology in a wide range of ways in his active life both for himself and the family for instance; Go Pro and Fit Bit to track activity and recording adventures, to portable batteries for on the go fitness, camping while listening to music / watching movies on the smartphone

Memory Maker: For the Dad that makes sure that not only all the memories are captured and stored (video/photo) but keeps the family organized and under control. Gifts for him make his life easier; Dad pays the bills with laptop, videos kids, back up storage for pictures, prints out schedules for baseball practices and games, etc.

If you’re anything like me, you wish you could give your dad the moon for all the things he does for you.  But sometimes our pockets don’t run as deep as our love.  While the truth is, Dad would be thrilled to just get to spend TIME with you on Father’s Day, you know you want to get him SOMETHING as a token of your appreciation.  So check out these great ideas from Best Buy for either under $100 or under $50!

Gifts under $100:

Powerbeats by Dr. Dre Clip-On Earbud Headphones

Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy [Extended Edition] Blu-ray

UE MINI BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Lifeproof Cell Phone Case

In-Case Campus Laptop Bag

Targus Topload Laptop Case

Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 Bluetooth Earbud Headphones with Charging Case

Plantronics Voyager Bluetooth Headset

LG Tone Pro Bluetooth Headset

WowWee MIP Robot

Gifts under $50

Roku Streaming HDMI Stick

Motorola S305 Headphones

Modal Case for iPhone 5/5s

Modal Bluetooth Speaker

Star Wars Trilogy: Episodes I-III Blu-ray

Star Wars Trilogy: Episodes IV-VI Blu-ray

Belkin Sportfit Armband for iPhone 5/5s & 5c

Griffin Survivor for iPhone 5/5s

Samsung Galaxy S 5 S-Views Case

Oster Cordless Rechargeable Electric Wine Bottle Opener

Tech21 Impacts Cell Phone Case

Eric Church – The Outsiders

Insignia Tablet Case

Zagg Invisi HD Shield

Twilight Zone: Fan Favorites

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

Family Guy: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball Blu-ray

Cobra 2-Way Radio

RemoProtocol Remote-Controlled Helicopter

Panasonic Nose and Facial Hair Trimmer

Philips Norelco Electric Razor

Wahl Chrome Pro 25-Piece Haircutting Kit
Don’t forget that along with all types of gifts for all types of Dads Best Buy also has free shipping on qualified orders and the low-price guarantee.GreatestDad facebook_0Still need more ideas??  Best Buy is hosting two Father’s Day Twitter Parties on Thursday June 5th at 7:00pm CST and Wednesday June 11th at 11:00am CST. Feel free to join one or both of these parties for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great products. Tweet #GreatestDad with your favorite Father’s Day Gift ideas from Best Buy.

Dove Advanced Care and Maxi Dresses Make My Summer Better #MC

I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central for Dove. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

dove mayI’m so excited for summery weather.  This past weekend we had some gorgeous days and I had a chance to pull out my beloved maxi dresses.  I really hope that this is one fashion trend that doesn’t leave us anytime soon.  I love my tank style maxi dresses for warm weather.  They are so comfy and can go from the beach to baseball to a graduation party.  And thanks to Dove® Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant-Deodorant I can wear them without worry because it offers 48-hour odor and wetness protection AND  softer, smoother underarms in just three days!

Be a Better Leader with Mom Corps You #Sponsored #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Mom Corps YOU. I received a free trial to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


look and sound like a leader

I love that so many of Mom Corps You topics and resources can really be applied to many areas of life outside the workplace as well.  Although I haven’t left the work force for any real length of time since being a mom, I have a job where I am not seen by others often and have in the past gotten in the bad habit of looking anything BUT professional.  It typically doesn’t really make a difference in my job but I have found that it really played a part in how I felt and acted.  To be taken seriously, I need to look and sound like I can be serious.  For me this becomes an issue in personal matters as well, whether it’s while shopping for a home or advocating for my children.  The later has been a more real issue for me.  When I have had issues with our school, I find it makes a HUGE difference if I take a professional approach when I enter the school in my appearance and communication.  Sometimes situations can come up when we have to handle things unexpectedly.  For me taking a minute, even just in the car if that’s all I have time for to brush my hair and put on some lipgloss can make a huge impact in how I feel, and therefor how I carry myself and directly impacts the results I get.  But some things I hadn’t given a lot of thought about were covered in the Mom Corps You webinar “How To Look and Sound Like a Leader.”  Some interesting items that got me thinking was about what medium you use and using the appropriate medium for what you are attempting to communicate!



Mom Corps, a national award-winning professional talent acquisition and career development firm, has launched Mom Corps YOU, an online community to help professionals better integrate their professional and personal lives.


Join today to check out every thing Mom Corps YOU has to offer.

 Check out my other Mom Corps YOU posts here!


Miracle-Gro Flowering Plants Giving the Front Porch a Pop of Color

This post was written as part of my partnership with Miracle-Gro

I had so much fun last year with Miracle-Gro Flowering Plants I was super excited to create something for fun our new front porch.    I wanted to do something like this DIY Vertical Planter.


But I really wanted it to just pop with color so in addition to color flowers, I picked colorful pots.  Because these pots didn’t come in the bigger sizes I decided to make two smaller versions.  So with my pots, plants and a dowel.  I got to work.



I totally think these are fun.  I intentionally left them sort of crooked because I knew they would settle etc so it didn’t make sense to worry about making them perfect.

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Doing this literally took minutes.  I filled the bottom pot of each arrangement with a little potting soil, then added 2 flowering plants.  Then I placed the dowel in the middle and slid the next sized pot over the dowel.  Because this stack isn’t very tall I just grabbed a 1/2″ wooden dowel and just broke it to the length I needed.  (Seriously this a DIY project anyone can do if I can do it.)  If you wanted to do a taller arrangement or if you wanted to have the pots very tilted as I’ve seen in some projects, I’d probably have gone with rebar.  Once the second pot was on I filled the two flowering plants in around it, slid on the smallest pot and filled it with my final plant.  I literally think it took longer to get everything out of the car than it did to complete the project!


I know from last year that the flowers will fill in nicely and I can’t wait to see them with their oranges and pinks against the blue pots.  It’s the perfect pop of color our porch needed.

I picked just THREE different types of the Miracle-Gro flowering plants that are currently available at Home Depot.  I think my location had at least another 6 types of flowers ready to be planted all for about $5.  But if you don’t want do your own potting, they also have a variety of pots and hanging planters available at Home Depot as well.  My location had those for about $25.  Miracle-Gro flowering plants will be available at select Home Depot locations through the end of this month!

Learning to Use Your Network with Mom Corps YOU #sponsored #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Mom Corps YOU. I received a free trial to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

As a mom who has stayed in the work force almost the entire time I’ve been a mom (I took 6 weeks off with baby 1, about 5 months with baby #2 and all of 5 days with #3), as well as being the financial manager of my house my entire adult life, I felt like I was pretty in touch with all things working world or finance related.  But I’m amazed by how much I continue to learn and be reminded of with Mom Corps YOU.

This month some of the valuable webinars featured at Mom Corps YOU include:

mom corps you webinars april

I was excited to check out the networking webinar.  In my day job I don’t do, or need a lot of networking but in blogging I have found blogging to be HUGE.  Being known by the right people, for the right thing is huge.  But I love some of the other insights on other ways having a good DIVERSE network can really impact your work.  This is particularly true for me now as I add another income stream for our house hold by getting into a direct sales business.  I have chosen this because I need the stability of my day job for reliable income and dependable benefits.  But I need to add additional income to our budget so I have branched out with a company I believe in.  For me my network has helped me hit the ground running.  This webinar helped me also consider goals for the year. And reminded me to prepare a bit of an “elevator pitch” for my new business so I can quickly share with people who ask.  So much good info about how ‘just doing a good job’ won’t get you where you want to go.  You need to be proactive about the connections you make and this is often something that woman, especially have a hard time with.


Mom Corps, a national award-winning professional talent acquisition and career development firm, has launched Mom Corps YOU, an online community to help professionals better integrate their professional and personal lives.


Join today to check out every thing Mom Corps YOU has to offer.

 Check out my other Mom Corps YOU posts here!

Walgreens Race Around America #Giveaway

RAA_Logo_HorizontalHey race fans, Walgreens and Roush Fenway Racing have launched a partnership to stage “The Race Around America” Interactive Promotion Presented by Balance™ Financial Prepaid MasterCard from Walgreens.  This is a fun promotion for race fans fueled by fan interaction, and will culminate with the awarding of the grand prize: the fully-enhanced ROUSH Stage 3 Mustang used in the promotion by Roush Fenway drivers.  The best part is the added benefits for Balance Financial Prepaid cardholders.

By registering their cards for the promotion, Balance™ Financial Card cardholders will be entered in the sweepstakes portion of the promotion*. Cardholders can earn additional automatic entries –- up to five times per day — by making a purchase or reloading their Balance™ Financial Cards. Consumers can enter between Feb. 23 and Oct. 15, 2014. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), 18 years of age and older are eligible to enter. For complete rules and regulations, visit No purchase or load necessary to enter to win.



The Balance™ Financial Prepaid MasterCard from Walgreens is the safe alternative to cash that’s big on convenience and small on fees. When you purchase the Balance Financial Card, you’ll get the features you expect in a prepaid card and rewards that you’ll appreciate, like earning Balance® Rewards* points faster just for using your Balance Financial Card. Buy the Card today and use it with confidence when you shop or pay bills everywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted.



Use your Balance Financial Prepaid Mastercard to ‘fast track’ your tax refund with direct deposit.  And as a regular Walgreen’s shopper and Balance Rewards user I LOVE that you can earn points faster when you use (and even load) the card at Walgreens stores.  I actually went and got my own Balance Financial Prepaid Mastercard last week at Walgreen’s and it was so easy.  I did have to ask where they were as they weren’t at the counter (but a large ad for them was ON the checkout counter) or buy the other gift cards but they had their own display that I just missed.  Once you’ve purchased the card you will need to online to activate it.  It only took about 2 minutes to complete the first step when you can use your temporary card.  Additional documentation is then asked for for verification of identity.

blance fincial activation walgreen

I already had my taxes submitted so I won’t be fast tracking but I imagine it would be easy as well.

Grab YOUR  Balance Financial Prepaid Mastercard card today to start earning extra entries as well as Walgreens Balance Rewards points!!



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Create an #ImBornTo eBay Collection to Benefit March of Dimes

ebay curate for a causeWhat were you born to be? Were you born to introduce new fashion to the world? Prepare extraordinary cuisine? Create an eBay collection using #ImBornTo in the name of the collection for a chance to WIN a $5,000 eBay shopping spree! Sweepstakes ends March 31, 2014.

Together with March of Dimes, we celebrate the potential in all. We believe everyone is born to be something great. Help eBay reach their goal of raising $25,000 for March of Dimes this month by creating 25,000 eBay collections. For every collection created, eBay will donate $1 to March of Dimes!

There’s also a sweepstakes for you! Everyone who curates a collection with the #ImBornTo hashtag meeting entry requirements will be entered for a chance to win a $5,000 prize.

One (1) Grand Prize: An eBay Collection shopping spree valued at $5,000. Approximate Retail Value (ARV): $5,000. Prize funds to be awarded as a transfer to the winner’s PayPal account. (see official rules)


To qualify for the $5,000 eBay shopping spree, each collection you create must:

  • Include at least 6 products in your collection.

How to participate and enter the sweepstakes:
Go to, sign on to eBay with your eBay User ID and password and click “Get Started”. Once you have successfully registered for the Sweepstakes, you will receive one (1) entry in the Sweepstakes each time you create a Collection during the Promotion Period.

A Collection consists of six (6) or more eBay products and the title must start with with the hashtag #ImBornTo. Each Collection you create must be unique in order for the Collection to be eligible an as entry.

Online sweepstakes entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM PT on March 31, 2014 in order to be eligible.

Have you created an eBay collection? It’s super easy! I had fun creating my collection which is sort of my wish list of items to go with my new Nikon D3300. Check out my collection #ImBornTo Shoot Nikon here.

You could create all sorts of collections!  What are YOU born to be??