How to Wear a Dress Everyday

the good news girl

For many moons I was ashamed of being called a girly-girl. I wanted to be athletic and cool like those girls who pulled off a ponytail everyday, and were proud to call themselves tom boys.  Alas, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with Barbies and Polly Pockets. In high school, I did everything I could to get out of gym, and I wore makeup every single day. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I actually embraced my chronic femininity, when this super sporty girl was going on about the fact that I was wearing a dress just for hanging out with friends over some beers. She went on to say that she only wears dresses on very special occasions and can’t wait to get home and rip it off. Out of nowhere I blurted out: “if I could wear a dress everyday, I would.” No one said a word, even I was shocked by my confession. Then I realized, it was true.

Sure, I love a great pair of fitted jeans, and I look forward to sweatpants as much as the next girl, but I absolutely adore dresses, and am surprisingly comfortable in them. So I was thinking that one could feasibly wear a dress everyday, be stylish and comfortable, and actually save money. All you need is 10 basic dresses, and you can just accessorize from there.

Begin with the 10 categories below. Try to fit the dress choice within each, but stick to the more casual end over formal, it’s easier to mix and match this way. Set the budget at an average of $50 per dress, considering that some may be more and some less. Each can be used within its own category, or you can mix them up using accessories. Of course, you may not want to buy everything at once, this is a process, a challenge – a challenge with a very nice reward: a whole new wardrobe made up entirely of dresses!

1. 

The Dresses 

. . .

The Little Black Dress

Let’s begin with the obvious. Mostly making appearances at cocktail parties, banquets, work parties, or really anywhere – the little black dress is classic. This dress should be tasteful and sexy. Consider going with 3/4 inch sleeves, this way you can pull it off anytime of year with less help from accessories. Never go with a super low neckline, you want to keep it simple and something that will be appropriate for any occasion.

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The Pastel Event Dress

This is the dress you wear to a wedding, or on Easter Sunday. It can also be a great choice for a fancy lunch out with the girls or even a business professional. The best color here would obviously be beige. You may also want to stick to knee length since this will mostly be worn during the day.

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The Holiday Dress

For this to work for more than one occasion, I recommend going silver or gold over red or green. Silver preferably, it can work for New Year’s Eve bashes, and you can accessorize with reds for Christmas/Holiday parties.

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The Showstopper

This should end up being the most formal of all the dresses. Think flaired skirts, interesting necklines, and freedom in choosing the color that really works for you. The showstopper won’t make as many appearances, but when it does it needs to work every time. Put a lot of thought into this dress.

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Big Presentation Professional

This is not something you’re going to wear to the office everyday. You will wear this for that ‘big presentation,’ or to an upscale networking event. Go for clean lines, and choose something that will fit well with a prep school blazer.

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Business Casual

We’re getting into the more casual attire. While all of these dresses can be used in other categories, this and the following four are super versatile. The business casual dress is something that can really be worn everyday at work, to meetings, and business lunches. I would go with short sleeves over long or 3/4 inch, since you will probably be pairing this with a blazer or cardigan.

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Summer Casual

The summer casual dress should be something that can be worn with summer boots or flip flops, on the beach or to a music festival. Keep it simple. Think: clean, free, Hamptons beach house. This would probably be the only dress where I would say you could pull off white, for our purposes anyway. Also consider: brown, beige, pale pink or green and even navy blue.

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Winter Casual

Have more fun with color here, and go for a 3/4 inch sleeve. I’m really in to peach right now for winter. It looks beautiful with grays, blues, browns, and even purple. Just keep in mind the obvious accessories that will go with this: scarves, boots, hats, coats, etc.

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Spring Casual

Pretty much anything goes; this is the dress that can be a bright color, because we can always tone it down later. This may also have a shorter skirt, and an interesting neckline, or something that ties up in the back.

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Fall Casual

This is my favorite season, and my favorite colors. Dark versions of any color really can work here. I recommend 3/4 inch sleeves, short skirt length is fine since you can pair with leggings and boots, and choose thinner material so you can match with blazer or cardigan without being uncomfortable.

the good news girl

2.

The Accessories (head to toe)

. . .

Accessories are important because it can help to change the occasion and even the style of the outfit. Some of these are obvious and are completely unique to you, it’s the fun part. Some of these we don’t all have in our wardrobe, but maybe we should start taking advantage of them. I am mainly talking about blazers and bustiers. First of all, blazers help to give any outfit a more professional or upscale look, it’s not as lax as a cardigan. Since you will be wearing assorted dresses, bustiers help to give the outfit a more tailored look, and helps to accentuate those curves.

Hats, clips, and headbands

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Scarves, wraps, and necklaces

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Coats

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Blazers and jackets

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Cardigans and ballerina shrugs

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Bustier, slips and bras

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Belts

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Leggings/Jeggings

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Stockings

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Socks

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Images: 1 |2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

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The “Joy” of Cooking: Foods We Should And Should Not Be Eating

Despite what Gordon Ramsey may think you don’t have to be a carnivore to be a foodie. I have been saying for over a year that I want to try being a Pescatarian – well I finally made the leap. It may not be forever, but it is so much easier than you think.

I started really paying attention to my body: my body when it was hungry, “starving,” and my body after I ate. Yoga really helped me to get to this point of awareness. A lot of us get that tummy right after eating a nice meal, but is that really okay? And is there a difference between bloating and just feeling stuffed? I would say: absolutely! (image)

Here’s the problem, these things we think are so healthy, are just as bad as those awful foods we love – doesn’t that just piss you off? So I began using Calorie Count to track my calories and the nutritional value of the foods I was consuming. Yes, dark red kidney beans are a great source of protein and fiber, but if it’s coming from a can it is extremely high in sodium. The sodium has been a huge issue. I am still trying to figure out how anyone can keep their sodium to no more than 2300 mg a day on a regular basis without being rich or having a personal chef. I also realized that the sodium could be the reason I get that tummy, and then I realized that gluten may also be a factor here. I had switched almost everything to wheat: wheat bread, wheat pasta, wheat crackers. Our body is actually not built to handle wheat… not really barley or rye either. I would get really frustrated because many health sites that I really respected kept giving wheat substitutes, and we shouldn’t be eating it.

So here is a list of foods that I have come across that may make it easier to create a truly healthy lifestyle.

Quinoa (fresh)

This is a great choice for vegetarians and pescatarians. This stuff is seriously high in protein, delicious, and gluten free. It is also versatile: try it in soups, salad, wraps, stir fry, or by itself. The boxed quinoa doesn’t really count though, it’s pretty high in sodium. (image)

Brown Rice

Brown rice is great because if you love rice it is one of the healthiest; you get a lot with just a little, and it’s gluten free. You can do so much with brown rice. (image)

Soba Noodles

I found out about Soba through Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, Goop. These are japanese noodles, usually served cold – I rarely eat mine cold. They are great in stir fry, and even with marinara. They are gluten free because they are made from buckwheat, so they are also lower cal, and actually have some nutritional value. The catch is that they are of course a bit more expensive for a smaller amount. Tip: these cook extremely fast, so keep your eye on it and remove from heat as soon as you see they’re softened. (image)

Dry Mixed Beans

I really had no idea what to do about the beans, there was no way I was going to bust out the crock pot everyday. Also, homemade beans are only okay to eat for about four days. So I bought a box of 12 mason jars for 10 bucks. Add the beans, boiling water, onions, and garlic, let it cook for about 75 minutes, and you have fresh, low sodium beans ready to eat right out of the jar. (image)

Athenos Original Hummus

I love, love, love hummus, but you have to be so careful. This stuff is seriously high in sodium. Athenos is one of the healthier brands I have found. I usually only use it on wraps.  (image)

Udi’s Bread

I was so excited about this bread because it was gluten free, and low cal. Unfortunately, Calorie Count gives it a D. I think this is because it has 300 mg of sodium. However, if you’re lowering your sodium everywhere else, this bread is great. I also love that the slices are a bit smaller than your average loaf. (image)

Lemons

I like fruit but I never crave it. I know some people who really overdo it with the fruit, so be aware of the sugars here. They are natural sugars, but there is still a recommended amount. I’ve been squeezing half a lemon in 6 oz of water once a day. I’m sure you’ve heard the lemon water rumors. It helps with cravings, gives me the fruit I need, and is surprisingly refreshing. (image)

Broccoli

Pretty much the greatest thing you can eat. Buy fresh or frozen, and put it in everything. (image)

Amy’s All American Veggie Burgers

These are delicious and the perfect size for Udi’s bread. You really don’t need any seasonings, because the flavor is amazing. Don’t be afraid to get creative, you can ground this up and use in tacos and wraps, or even salads. (image)

Fresh Garlic

Many of us, especially us college graduates who still find ourselves cooking like we did when we had no time or money, use garlic powder or garlic salt; fresh garlic won’t have the sodium or calories these will. I know garlic salt is so yummy, but if you have to use it, use it sparingly and rarely. (image)

Honey

I used to put three teaspoons of sugar in my coffee and tea. Now I have one or two cups of hot tea a day with maybe a teaspoon of honey, some cinnamon sprinkled on top, and sometimes a thin slice of fresh ginger. I find that black tea is the best served this way. Green and white tea with honey and ginger tastes a little weird to me. (image)

I am still learning so if you have any tips please, please share. I am especially interested in finding gluten free wraps, and possibly other gf breads. Also, any great fish recipes would be much appreciated.

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Wanderlust: A Love Affair With Five Continents by Elisabeth Eaves (Review)

The opening of this book was intriguing: you didn’t quite know what was going to happen, but the anticipation of love, loss, and travel was enough. It was the consensus of the book club, however, that like Eaves, the reader frequently becomes lost. Not so much in the context but as to why we’re still talking about whatever it is we’re talking about. The writing was very descriptive, but we were constantly longing for Eaves to really psychoanalyze her obsession with traveling from continent to continent, and bed to bed, all the while putting herself in one dangerous situation after another.

The first romance we are treated to is Graham. We understand that he puts the bug in Eaves – the bug being: the desire to travel, feel wanted, and of always longing for something. You can tell that even in her writing she is looking for something, or trying to figure herself out; her heavy descriptions of places, and people seemed almost a cop out from actually talking about herself. We only get little tidbits of her soul. These times were usually my favorite and the moment I began really paying attention the moment was gone, then we were back to talking about the heat in Cairo, and feeling nothing for yet another conquest who was madly in love with her.

My review isn’t all bad though: Eaves is a wonderful writer, and wildly interesting. I wanted her to figure it out so badly that I was disappointed when she didn’t. She does tie a lot together in the last paragraph, where she realizes that she has definitely chosen a more difficult path than most. You come to the end feeling a bit sad for her, but also hopeful.

This book is great for the traveler or cultural anthropologist, but if you’re looking for some kind of love story or self-revelation: it is not here.

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Gen-Y Loves a “Good Cause”

Part of my job requires me to reach out to bloggers, and by doing so I come across many interesting sites. Some of them are so inspiring I just want to go frolic in a park somewhere, while others are so inspiring they border on depressing. If you don’t know what I mean take a look at some popular travel or adventure blogs. These are the blogs about people who did what so many of us dream about but don’t think is actually possible; they pick up and travel the world. They quit their 9 to 5, they sell that big screen TV they were so addicted to, and they begin a journey to find themselves.

Many of the travel blogs I am talking about fall under the category of “life design.” However, this is not a post about travel blogs. This is about great bloggers gone bad, and greedy salesmen disguised as do-gooders.

I bring up travel blogs, specifically, because there are so many and they begin with such good intentions. Maybe you are moving to Italy and you are going to post about great recipes, the culture, funny things that would never happen in the states. Whatever, it’s Italy so it will probably be awesome, until you get cocky. I am all for hearing about your accomplishments but when the writing becomes completely unrelatable to anyone who didn’t do what you did I no longer have an interest in living vicariously through you. The good news: if you take a moment and remember who your audience is and why you started this blog, I think you will bounce back just fine.

Another issue I consistently run into are blogs that seem to be life changing but with a price. You know, the ones that say if you want to start a better life today, just enter your credit card number here? This is also true for causes. A “middle-of-the-road” example of this would be the Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign. While I truly do believe Invisible Children had good intentions, we have seen that some key points were conveniently left out, for instance: the fact that Kony is not even in Uganda, and some believe he died years ago. This particular cause did not ask for money, as far as I know, but other “causes” have and do, and to see the world jump on Kony 2012 so blindly is more than a little scary.

The reason this is happening and it needs to be addressed is because many of us have become profoundly interested in making life better for everyone. People who want to make money see this. I’m not going to say the recent interest in change, helping people, and living a better life is entirely the work of Generation-Y, but the majority of those who take action are of this group. With this said, companies are learning more and more everyday about how to market to us. The “fight for a cause” button is a brilliant one to push, and I really didn’t see it coming.

We are a very intelligent, and untrusting generation. However, we are human. We have been fooled, but we learn fast and will know to take a second look at even the “good causes” from now on.

Finally, I want to make the point that by doing more in depth research on causes and blogs that seem to have a good message behind them we weed out things that take up too much time, money, and attention, so that we can focus on the causes that really do need our help and the blogs that really do have something great to say – without a price.

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