Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Draped Keyhole Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Draped Keyhole Dress by The LimitedIn my humble opinion, this is a curious color for a dress for sale in December — the seafoam green color looks far more springy to me than fall or wintry. I suppose with enough navy, gray, or black (tights, blazer, etc) it could be worn in the winter, but in my closet this would still get the most air time in the spring (perhaps with purple or cobalt pops of color). That said: it looks like a lovely dress. Sleeves, nice boatneck, an asymmetric shirred side, an interesting (but still office appropriate) keyhole back… AND it’s machine washable. Huzzah. The dress was $89.95, but you can take 60% off dresses and skirts with code DRESSUP (bringing it down to $35.98!). Draped Keyhole Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Thank you card timing :

    Yay! Friday!

    TJ time – probably a dumb question: I just received a Christmas present in the mail from my boss (fancy chocolates). Is it weird for me to send him a Thank You card now? Am I supposed to wait until after Christmas?

    • I’d send it now. One less thing to forget.

      • +1

      • Thank you card timing :

        Good point. Thanks!

      • I agree! Even if it is fruegel friday’s you alway’s want to be thankful. Also, thank him even if you will NOT eat the chocolate’s b/c it makes your tuchus grow, alway’s thank the boss.

        I learned to be VERY thankful to the manageing partner and he ALWAYS give’s me thing’s like the $500 gift card for shoppeing! YAY! I still have NOT spent it, but am lookeing for another winter coat. I am giveing my old puffy coat to NY Homeless Care’s b/c it is cold outside and they need it more then me.

        Myrna is goieng to point out the type of coat I can wear that has alot of pocket’s in it that I can carry thing’s so I do NOT have to hold them. FOOEY b/c I lost 1 glove and now I have 3 left hand glove’s and NO right hand glove’s. I wish I would loose a left hand glove once in a while so I would still make a pair!

        Sam is followeing up with me about the fruit, and I said it tasted good, but I let the office eat it. He is still VERY remorseful about wearing those short short’s where his winkie peeked out at me, and he sware’s that he will NEVER show me any part of him I do NOT ask him to see. Dad say’s that is more then fair but I think dad want’s me to consider him b/c he has a big job and talkes with a British accent.

        Grandma Leyeh asked me about the movie, and I said it was on TV and again she was singeing, but she said she got that song from the Woodey Alan Movie –everyone say’s I love you. She might be right. Does any one in the HIVE know for sure?

        I wish the hive a good weekend. It will be cold and snowey here in NYC. DOUBEL FOOEY!

  2. The dress seems innocuous enough, but the area about the waist and immediately below the waist-seam makes me think this is a poochifying dress. If you have a below the bellybutton pooch, this dress will accentuate that. If you don’t have one, it will make you look like you have one.

    The color? I think that’s exactly WHY it’s on sale now. I wonder if this dress just didn’t sell in Spring-Summer 2013 (ZARA had a number of items in this color earlier this year, so I think a lot of manufacturers were producing stuff for spring-summer 2013 in this color), and the retailer is thinking: oh crap, come spring-summer 2014, this might not be a “hot color” anymore, so let me dump this stat.

    • I’m wearing a skirt this color now and feeling a bit conspicuously springy but I’ve got black accessories to tone it town a bit.

      • I get the whole winter vs. summer colors thing, but sometimes it annoys me. I know it’s the middle of winter, but sometimes I just want to get up and wear a bright coral dress! :)

        • I agree. I realized last year that all my winter clothes are black, navy, and grey. I think some color is nice this time of year. With black or navy tights and shoes, plus a dark belt, I think this wouldn’t look out of place.

        • hellskitchen :

          Do it! I wore a deep purplish fuschia dress the other day… I did tone it down with black tights and jacket. It put a spring in my step the whole day. And I got appreciative nods from other women at my office – sort of a “so nice to see a fun color in the sea of blacks and grays.”

        • Apparently pastels are on trend for winter this year – and it feels kind of weird.

          • I love the winter look of a pastel wool skirt with black or navy, but it’s very distinctive so you can’t rewear it frequently; and I always worry about the pastel skirt getting splashed with slush or other winter dirt. But gorgeous.

          • OttLobbyist :

            I agree it looks a bit odd, but I have a very pale blue winter dress coat, and I love how I feel in it, and get a tonne of compliments when I wear. Days like today are too cold for it, and wearing a boring black down parka is just not as fun.

      • I have a dress this colour and have been avoiding it all fall/winter because I’m scared I’ll look totally out of place with a spring/summery combo.

    • Definitely agree on the color issue. At first I liked the dress, though the neckline is a little high for me, but now I’m seeing the poochifying possibility. Also, going to steal the word poochifying for the future.

    • I think the color is muted enough for winter, at least on my screen, but it’s odd that they don’t have it in other colors as well. Maybe they did originaally and this is the only color left?

    • Agree with all of this. It’s like green’s version of pepto bismol.

    • I wear shirts this color in the winter but feel odd wearing dresses and skirts like this next to dark tights. Susedna, I agree about the poochiness factor.

  3. Famouscait :

    In response to yesterday’s post about buying a good coat, I thought I’d give a shout out that has Tahari outwear on sale right now. I’m considering buying this one:

    Tahari Laurita Quilted Coat

    I’m allergic to wool so quilted coats or cotton trenches are my go-to. I love how my belted trench makes me feel pulled together and fashionable, and I’m wondering if the belt on this coat would do the same thing? Or would the quiltedness make it look puffy and dumpy?

  4. Threadjack – I’m looking for a new Bluetooth earpiece. I love my Jawbone but it’s not working as reliably as it used to. The caveat for my purchase is that the earpiece needs to have audio control for music as well as controlling calls. Any suggestions? TIA!!!

  5. Workout video recommendations? :

    What are the best workout videos that are A) available on Netflix (or easily accessible online), b) that can be done in an apartment where both space and noise are issues, and c) don’t require much, if any, equipment? I have a small living room to do exercises in and a downstairs neighbor who probably wouldn’t appreciate any videos that involve a lot of jumping jacks or anything like that. Can anyone recommend any options, especially those that focus on strength or flexibility? I’m open to trying anything and I do have a mat and a kettlebell, but I’d prefer not to buy anything new if I don’t have to. TIA!

    • wildkitten :

      I like fitsugar. They’re free, and you can find the ones that meet your needs.

    • Pilates! I like Ellen Barrett’s programs, but don’t know if they are available on Netflix.
      I also have a Method DVD by Jennifer Kries that meets your criteria, but again, can’t say if Netflix would have it.

    • Check out fitnessblender DOT com, they have many workout videos of different length and style (cardio, strength, bootcamp, pilates etc). You can also use their search function to narrow down by difficulty level, equipment type, time. All videos are on youtube and they also post write up in case you want to take a print out to the gym. Videos are great, I have broken a sweat in under 30 minutes when I am too lazy to go to gym or have schedule conflicts.

      • Fitness Blender has some really good apartment/no impact cardio workouts that I like. They also have plenty of strenth training ones as well. I highly recommend them.

    • I don’t know any specific videos, but power yoga would be a great workout that fits this criteria.

      I know Jillian Michaels has a power yoga DVD and Baron Baptiste has a bunch.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        Just a quick thought – I like the JM yoga DVD a lot, but would be hesitant to recommend it if you’ve never done yoga before, because I don’t feel like she explains the move that well in that particular video. As long as you have a basic foundation (enough to know what she’s talking about when she says “chair pose” or whatever), it’s a great DVD.

    • Amy Dixon’s Breathless Body is HARD!!! but requires no equipment and you’ll be waddling around the next few days. It’s cardio/strength oriented, not flexibility.

    • Sparkpeople has a Youtube channel that has lots of different workouts using minimal equipment (iirc).

    • Amazon Prime members get access to a bunch of Jillian’s videos on-demand for free.

      • Oh, that is good information! I was so bummed when Netflix got rid of all their online videos. If it won’t stream on my tv, I won’t do it.

    • You can stream Ballet Beautiful on Amazon. It’s mostly floor work and it is pretty difficult.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Not a video recommendation, but check out the website Nerd Fitness. There are some workouts detailed there that don’t require much or any equipment with a few short videos showing how to do the moves. The focus is normally strength.

      Also check out the book (and iPad app if you have one) You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren. This is a bodyweight-based strength routine. The benefit of the app is that all the workout programs are loaded into it and you can customize some of the exercises then go through the workout with the exercise demonstration video and timing included. It’s a little complicated to explain, but at the beginning you are doing pyramids of an exercise. So for example, the program has you do something like push-ups for 6 minutes but you do 1 then hit the button then rest for the amount of time it took to do that one, then it beeps at you and you do 2 then push the button then rest for that amount of time, then it beeps and you do 3, then 4, then 3, then 2, etc until the 6 minutes is over. It automatically tracks all your stats throughout each 10-week program. The book explains everything about the program but you can do it with just the app if you don’t want to read the book.

    • Workout video recommendations? :

      Thanks for all the recommendations! Some of these sound great and I’ll definitely give them a shot.

    • Get Jillian Michaels on Amazon Instant. I do 30 Day Shred and something with a kettlebell (work it with weights or something?) but there are a plethora available on amazon instant.

    • I like Blogilates on Youtube, and she has her own website as well. Obviously, it’s pilates and most of her stuff only uses a floor mat or things you can find around the house [like water bottles]. Plus, she has a monthly newsletter that has a monthly workout plan so you don’t have to think about what video you’re going to follow.

    • dailyburn dot com is $10 a month & has a ridiculous amount of options (& runs through roku too if you have it). I just signed up for their free 30 day trial to see if it works out. I got it because it’s just too darn cold when it’s dark out and I don’t like the gym near my apt.

    • Hot Hula Fitness (best dance-based ab workout ever; the creator is a bad@ss lady) has a YouTube channel with free workouts.

  6. Scarves for interviews? :

    I’m interviewing for a Biglaw position as a midlevel lateral. I’d like to wear a silk scarf (Hermes-type) to interviews. Is this a no-go? I’m not a big jewelry person, but I like wearing something pretty and colorful around my neck.

    (Reposting from last night — thumbs up to aN for suggesting looking to Christine Lagarde for tips on how to wear a scarf well.)

    • probably depends on where you are interviewing (geographically) but in NYC I would recommend not doing this. Its distracting. Fine on a normal work day, but I think an interview is best to be as boring (dress wise) as posisble.

    • I LOVE the Lagarde tip! I’ve been trying to figure out the scarf thing too (doesn’t help that I only really own 2). It’s always nice to have some public figure to get inspiration from.

      I had high hopes for following the model Robin Lawley because she has my exact height + measurements, but I wish she’d model something other than swimsuits and lingerie so I can get some ideas as to what looks good on my figure!

      • I saw Lagarde at a conference a few years ago and she was wearing a beautiful silk jacket that was professional, yet had a ton of personality. She definitely is a great source of inspiration (both wardrobe and career wise)!

      • I’m also an admirer of Christine Lagarde – but I find, when it comes to the actual wearing of the scarf, I’m a dunce and need to have the mechanics shown to me step by step.

        I’ve found Wendy’s Youtube video (she has a whole slew of others that are excellent) super helpful for ideas on how to wear the scarf, and also, for showing me what to tuck and tie where.

    • It’s certainly not necessary. I worked Biglaw for several years and interviewed hundreds of candidates, and attire isn’t an area where you want to stand out. Just go with the standard grey/navy/black skirt or pants suit and conservative heels.

    • I wouldn’t – I know these scarves are marketed as timeless classics but the generic gold-bit-and-bridle designs can also register as something from a street vendor or someone’s cheap trip to Asia.

    • Okay, I’ll be the voice of dissent. I have worn Hermes scarves (check out their website for a few downloadable PDFs on different ways to tie them) to interviews in NYC. I got the job every time.

      Therefore, Hermes scarf –> success.


    • I L-O-V-E silk scarves and have a lot of them. I also work in big law and feel they are very appropriate for the office. But an interview is different. You want your words and personality to stand out, not your fashion– especially because you never know how the interviewer will take it (at best, if he/she likes it, though it could even be distracting; at worse, he/she doesn’t like it and is distracted by it and wonders about your judgment and appropriateness). Do what I did– dress plain jane and not as fun as you could for the interview, let your personality shine, and go buy a scarf to celebrate the job offer when you get it! :) GOOD LUCK!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I feel like a dog wearing a bandanna anytime I try to wear a scarf other than a pashmina style scarf.

  7. (another) gift TJ:
    Christmas Eve with my extended family (6 “kids” in their 20s/30s, 6 “adults” in their mid 50s-late 60s, and my grandma!). This year we are doing a Yankee Swap with a $25 gift limit and a Very Clear “no gag gift” rule. Ideas for something that works for all? I don’t want to do a gift card/cash , alcohol, or lottery tickets. which are my standard go-tos for these sorts of things among friends/coworkers. 2 of the attendees have had fairly major issues with alcohol, so I don’t want to do booze or related paraphernalia. Two folks are also not technologically savvy in any way.

    I’ve been thinking about doing a fancy food basket type thing (with a heavy emphasis on chocolate!), but was looking for other suggestions (esp. since my DH and I EACH have to bring a gift…so I really need two ideas).

    • What about a board game of some sort? Or a board game basket? There are some fun games out there (I’m thinking more along Ticket to Ride or Small World – but a collection of Scrabble, Monopoly, Sorry could be fun) Or some puzzles?

    • What about a game that everyone can play? Apples to Apples, Cranium, Scattergories, etc?

      Another option would be a framed family photo, or a nice frame with an IOU for a photo taken that night.

      • I love this, but the entire family won’ t be there…so it seems like something best left for a different occasion? Or maybe just do it and give the frame to my grandma (who participates but also does her own gifting).

    • Magazine subscription to a news mag (Time?)


    • anon in tejas :

      Breakfast Basket would be awesome! Williams Sonoma for mixes/etc., heritage bacon and then maybe a cooking accessory or super awesome syrup?

    • Someone brought a Teavana set (infuser plus a tin of tea) to the last Yankee Swap I attended and it was the most popular gift by far. It must have been stolen by every other person. Other hits were a movie gift certificate (voucher for two tickets plus popcorn) and a chocolate themed box (fancy hot cocoa, chocolate bars, etc.).

      • To piggyback off of this, once I got a “movie box” that I really liked in a Yankee Swap — microwave popcorn, candy in movie boxes (those big square ones), Redbox gift certificates (could also easily do a Netflix subscription/gift card). You could also throw in passes to the actual movie theater, too.

    • I like the board game ideas. Another idea is a movie night bucket with a few DVDs that have mass appeal (maybe The Big Year–comedy, super cute), popcorn, candy, and a nice bowl. Movie tickets would be in that price range.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        Costco generally has two movie ticket packages to the major theaters for about $15. They’re in the gift card section.

    • I’, part of a $25 limit secret santa and bought some nice soaps from l’occitane. I’ve also done fancy chocolates/chocolate covered whatever in the past.

    • A novel? A party I went to a few years ago with this type of gift exchange one of the most popular gifts was Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth.

    • Darn, I thought I was being so original with my lottery tickets Yankee swap offering! :P I actually have to run out and grab some for a holiday part today.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Some items that have been popular with my family, which sounds very similar:
      – Custom postage stamps (not sure how it worked, but it was essentially a gift card to I think an online service?)
      – Board games
      – Anything involving gift cards, particularly starbucks, itunes, or amazon.
      – Built lunch bag
      – Local team merchandise
      – Throw blankets (not wearable)

      Tool sets don’t go over well, although a garden hose hanger/holder did. Go figure. Neither do things like candles, lotions, etc. People actually smell the boxes to try to assure they don’t pick one. Books, movies, and home decor are fickle because people’s tastes are so specific.

      This year, we’re bringing packs of batteries with a tag “Toy not included” and maybe a garden gnome.

    • darjeeling :

      to me, fancy olive oil is the perfect gift. my husband also had a good idea for our family’s similar gift-swap – unfortunately I’m not sure of the logistics of buying it – a $25 bet on some long shot to win the super bowl, so if the unlikely happens the recipient gets like $750 but either way it’s more fun to watch.

  8. Ipad apps? :

    This question may have been asked before, so if someone could direct me to the earlier thread, I’d appreciate it… if not, does anyone have suggestions for nifty ipad apps? I got DH an iPad for Christmas, and I’d like to load a few fun apps onto it before I wrap it up.

    • amelia earhart :

      I like Next Issue for magazines, Netflix if you have (or want to get) a subscription, Pandora, and the TED talks app.

    • Can you do that without knowing his user name and password and setting up his account?

      • Yeah you can download the app w/o setting it up.

        I’d say Amazon Prime (if you have it), his newspaper/news app of choice (mine is the New York Times, but YMMV), Find my iPad, any social media apps he uses…

      • Also, will he enjoy unwrapping the iPad, turning it on for the first time, and setting it up himself? Sometimes that shininess can be part of the fun.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Oh gosh I’m totally that way. If you know he won’t mind then its a sweet idea but if you got it for someone like me I’d like to do it all myself. I’d still appreciate a list of cool apps to check out though.

    • For apps, try Reddit, the Audubon Society’s tree, plant, or various animal recognition apps, Find My Iphone, Anylist, Yelp, Starchart.

    • I dont have my iPad on me, but these are some of the ones that I always have (though some are paid apps):


      Productivity/Utilities: Google Maps, Rise Alarm Clock (beautiful), Evernote & Evernote Food, Duolingo (Language learning gamification), Notability, MyScript Calculator

      Creativity: iAWriter (distractionless writing), Procreate (image creator a la Photoshop), Coffitivity (cafe sounds when you’re mobilely working)

      GAMES: Dots, Osmos, Eufloria, Zen Bound, Super Brothers: Sword & Sworcery, Compulsive

    • Senior Attorney :

      Google Earth

  9. This dress looks very Sarah Ellis from White Collar. Sadly, I don’t have her figure and would definitely have pooch potential.

  10. Land of Nod Gliders :

    Anyone own the Land of Nod Luca glider? I am strongly considering it for our nursery because it would fit the small space well (it’s 30 by 30). The reviews on the website are good, but would love any additional anecdotes re its comfort, durability, etc.

    Alternatively, any other recs for comfortable chairs that would fit a small space? I don’t love the traditional rocker look, so my preference would be something fully upholstered. But feel free to tell this first-time mom if that’s not a good idea! TIA!

    • Have it and love it. We have a small nursery and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. I could see it in a “real” room at some point when we’re beyond babies as well. It wipes off pretty well, but it is fully upholstered so it could be harder to clean than chairs where everything comes off.

    • To me the most important feature of a rocker/glider is how you fit in it. You need the arms to be high enough for when you are feeding your baby. Arms that are too low or two high will make feeding your baby (I breastfed all 3 of my babies) very uncomfortable, especially for those middle of the night feedings. You can always prop with a pillow, but it’s nice if you don’t have to worry about that.

    • Diana Barry :

      If you can find one and sit in it, I would recommend that. We got a super expensive PB glider and then when baby was about 5 months old, we got a JFK-type rocker (with a cushion) for $90 in a yard sale. Guess which one I exclusively use from then until now?

      Smaller is def better IMO – so you can rest your arms on the sides while holding baby.

    • Agree about making sure the chair fits you. We got a Best Chair from the storybook line and it has been great. It’s a rocking recliner which may not fit in your space, but they had several different size chairs.

    • As someone who has a 21 month old – whatever you get consider throwing a large, machine washable blanket over it when you feed your baby. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve washed our cheap fleecy Cabela blanket because my baby spit up/toddler was sick and I was rocking him in the chair etc. etc. The blanket has both saved the upholstery on our chair and also saved the nursery from smelling like baby vomit.

  11. Dallas legal market? :

    Could any of you ladies speak about the Dallas/Fort Worth legal market? I’m a biglaw IP midlevel associate from the coast looking to lateral to either another biglaw firm or go in-house. Would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the general market there/any advice on breaking into the market. TIA!

  12. PSA: I just got all excited that Piperlime has an additional 50% clearance (final sale), bringing some shoes down to ridiculously low prices, but almost all the sizes are gone. If you wear 5 or 6, though, you may be in luck.

  13. Baconpancakes :

    Gifting TJ Advice:

    My team works closely with another, more tenured member of the company, and she’s always incredibly helpful and friendly whenever we have requests. She’s also a great knowledge resource, and we wanted to give her a holiday gift as a thank you. The team won a $50 AmEx prepaid card for our group Halloween party, and most of the team is rooting for just handing over the $50 instead of buying her a gift with the money. We don’t report to this co-worker, but she’s very senior, very well-respected, and an important part of the company’s resources, and giving a $50 AmEx card just feels gauche. She also makes significantly more than any of us on my team (and probably more than three of us put together, honestly).

    Am I out of line thinking this is a bad idea?

    • Seems gauche to me too.

    • First Year Anon :


    • Anon in NYC :

      I agree. I would get her a gift. You could get her a really nice bottle of wine for $50.

    • I would not give the Amex card. It reads lazy and thoughtless so I think you’re spot on. I wouldn’t hesitate to use the $50 as additional funds toward a gift. Unfortunately group gifts can bring out the worst in people. At a prior job, I was one of the most senior people outside of our CMO and our team was comprised of multiple junior people as well as one other person at my level. The other senior person was so cheap and stingy it was mortifying. It came up frequently as we did birthday lunches, holiday Secret Santa gifts and a couple other special occasion celebrations. She would frequently contribute less than the most junior, i.e. lowest compensated, person on the team or not contribute at all but expect to be included on the card as if she had contributed. I would prefer that people like that just opt out entirely. This was not a situation of “can’t afford” as she shops at Sak’s, wears expensive clothes, takes vacations, etc. She is just cheap when it’s not for her. I often contributed more to make up for her cheapness/stinginess as there was no way I’d get up from a table at a restaurant where she would leave a 10% tip. Awful.

  14. SV in House :

    For those of you that bought the Land’s End sequin skirt (, what kind of shoes/legwear do you plan to pair with it? My default is black tights with boots or wedges, but I am not sure with the blue.

    • I'm Just Me :

      Good question, I’ll sit with you to wait for answers. I ordered it, but haven’t gotten it yet.

    • Mine came in the mail yesterday! I would love to wear booties and tights but won’t have time to grab a pair of new shoes before the skirt’s debut tomorrow PM. So I’m going more casual with dark brown heeled boots.

    • lucy stone :

      I’ve done it with black tights and black boots, black tights and black patent pumps, grey tights and mustard pumps, and grey tights and metallic grey flats. I love that so many people bought this! :)

  15. Seattle Freeze :

    PSA: Carolyn Hax’s Holiday Hootenanny of Horrors is today :) I think the horrors start at 1:00 Eastern, following the usual Q & A – I’ll post the link in a followup.

  16. Sugar Queen :

    I’ve decided that I need to cut back drastically on the sugar I eat (because I love it, but it’s not good for me, particularly given my family medical history) , but I am having a really hard time doing it. I think I might be addicted to sugar.

    Has anyone else done this, either by choice or out of necessity? How?

    • I start by slowly cutting back on the sweets and the obvious sugars. Then I see if there are other swaps that I can make such as replacing regular milk with almond milk. Also, I try to limit my use of artificial sweeteners. I think that they really mess with your body’s ability to taste how sweet something is and it makes the cravings worse.

    • Sarah O'Hara :

      I did it. It was 3 weeks of absolute h-e-double hockey sticks. And then the cravings subsided and now I feel like I am the boss of sugar, instead of the other way around. I would recommend thinking through your daily habits and figuring out if there are certain times/places/foods/other cues that get you started with sugar and then create a plan for how you will deal with them. My other advice would be to avoid or minimize sugar substitutes while you are detoxing. Apparently the tongue tastes sweet and the brain registers sugar and begins the whole cascade of physical responses to sugar whether the sweet food/drink has calories or not. The one exception I made to this rule was to keep a pack of sugar free gum on hand–it definitely got me through a few crises! Good for you and good luck to you!

    • Back Home :

      I like to have a greek yogurt like Fage with a little natural sweetener rather than ice cream or other sweets. I also recently realized that there were some foods (potato chips, certain candies) that I never felt satisfied after eating. Regardless of how much I ate, I always wanted “one more” of them, so I stopped buying them.

    • Yes, I have also greatly reduced the sugar I eat. Like mascot said, it’s easiest to first cut out the obvious stuff – don’t eat things that are obviously sweetened, like desserts, sugary cereal, muffins, etc. Then start paying attention to the grams of sugar in regular food products and see if you can find the lowest-sugar ones. I don’t think it’s necessary unless you are a diabetic to try to eat NO sugar at all, but you can easily swap the pasta sauce that has 12g sugar for the one that has 5g.

      Also, don’t worry about the sugar content in whole fruit (again, assuming you are not diabetic, and no, I do not count juice). Natural sugars are not bad for you like the artificial stuff, and whole fruit has enough filling fiber that it’s nearly impossible to go overboard with it.

      • saltylady :

        Along these lines, there’s a lot of stuff where you avoid the sugar if you make it yourself. I’ve started making my own salad dressing, just because I like it better– oil and vinegar, lemon juice, etc. But I don’t get all wound up about like teriyaki sauce on the chicken or ketchup on the burger, I’ll just make a less sweet dish on another day. And agreed that counting the sugar in the fruit is probably missing the forest for the trees. I could try to live on green veggies, lean protein, and water forever but again, I would crash and burn.

    • saltylady :

      I think avoiding sugary drinks, especially soda and sweetened coffee, goes a long way to readjusting your taste buds, along with avoiding the artificial sweeteners. I do the almond milk thing too for my smoothies, and I don’t do juice. I would also look at anything that’s become a habit, like I used to always buy a cookie with my lunch when I was younger– I would never do that now. And I try to avoid sugary breakfast things and snacks, like sweetened cereal or yogurt and crappy danishes at the office. But to me, if I make it a big issue, like I am having ZERO sugar and will NOT have ANY of that dessert you brought to the party!!!! Then I’m going to crash and burn in a heap of candy and cookies. I have to ease into these things and slow roll it. But some do better with a stricter approach.

    • I did it by following the South Beach diet. The first two weeks you cut out pretty much all sugar and non-vegetable carbs. It was kind of painful the first couple of days, but got easier after that. It made a huge difference in the way I feel, I lost weight, gained energy and my skin looks much better.

    • I have!

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I cut it completely. No sugar, except that contained in fruit and vegetables. Cut all sweetened dried fruit, but should have cut out dates as well as they just make you crave sweets. No honey, agave, stevia or sugar substitutes. I can’t eat any processed foods at all, so I know for certain that I have cut the sugar. I highly recommend doing it cold turkey. Including sugar subs like aspartame. I don’t think you can successfully cut sugar gradually, although certainly you can lower your consumption. But sugar makes you crave sugar. As do refined carbs, which is essentially sugar.

      Try a whole30! (google it)

    • Cutting out sugar is HARD! My boyfriend always said that I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have a sugar tooth. But for medical reasons I had to seriously cut down on my sugar intake this year. When I would have a really bad craving I would either eat fruit (mostly berries) or I would eat these pumpkin muffins (… It’s weird but they do help a lot. It took me about 4 weeks to really get through the strong cravings and now I only have them occasionally, but planning on what your go-to snack will be for when you really need a “fix” is probably the best thing you can do to help yourself.

      Good luck!

  17. Thanks for this post! Although the color is a bit unusual for this time of year, I think it’s a nice and welcome shift! I get so tired of the black and red at festive holiday parties! This is a nice alternative, and who says we can’t bring spring into winter? As for the cut, the detail at the waist could actually help mask a burgeoning tummy…Definitely worth the try!

  18. I forgot to add that you can’t go wrong with that price, even if to save the dress for later…

  19. Gifting question. I’ll be spending Christmas Eve with my bf (of 7ish months) and his family (mom, siblings) out at her house in the burbs. I’ve already figured out the logistics with him- I’ll probably spend the late afternoon/early evening with them, then he’ll drive me to the train in the evening so I can get back into the city and spend the night/Xmas day with my own family. I already know his family does xmas presents on xmas morning, so that’s a relief. But I still have gift questions- first, it’s one of his sister’s birthdays on Xmas eve; second, I still feel like I should get some kind of hostess gift/general family gift to give to his mom. I don’t have a ton of money to spend right now so I’d like to keep the items reasonable. For his sister (college age) I’m thinking the Fresh Sugar Kisses mini lip trio OR the l’Occitane set of 3 hand lotions (both around $28) from Sephora. But I’m stumped on a hostess gift (I’ve gotten his mom wine in the past, for her birthday and when she had us to dinner).

    Also, is it rude to only bring a gift for his sister and a hostess gift on xmas eve? he has 4 siblings so it would really be an issue for me to have to get gifts for everyone.


    • Instead of a traditional hostess gift, could you buy or make for the whole family to share? Maybe a basket with hot chocolate or pastries for Christmas morning breakfast? Or, if your boyfriend can give you some guidance on what the family likes, a board game or some activity that the family can do together?

    • What about a paperwhite in a pretty vase, or a Christmas cactus?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I like the idea of gift basket for the whole family for Christmas/hostess and a small gift like you mentioned for his sister. If you feel inclined to separate out hostess/Christmas you could get a set of nice coasters for a reasonable price or a Christmas tree ornament and have the gift basket be the present.

      You can also try a discount house like Ocean State Job Lot, Tuesday Morning, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx for fancy food and drink items to put in a basket of your own rather than buying a pre-assembled basket.

      I’m not a fan of the concept that when one goes to a house as a guest one gets the wife a hostess gift (even if the man or kids invited you). The husband could be the host or the whole family is hosting you. Always seemed sexist to me to go stay with a whole family and just buy the mom something. But I’m weird about a lot of etiquette traditions that I personally think are rather pointless and just cost everyone money.

      • well, there’s no dad in the picture, so really I’m bringing it for her and the family. I just can’t really afford to buy each member of the family an individual gift (obviously I’m getting my bf a xmas present, and his sister a bday present)

        • wildkitten :

          I wouldn’t even feel obligated to get the sister a birthday present, personally.

          • I agree. I think the gift basket idea is nice, but for individual gifts, why don’t you just sign on to your BF’s gift, if you feel like you need to do something?

      • Personally, I use the term hostess gift generically. I usually bring something for the house (candle, flower, book, game, etc) or a food or drink item. It’s rare that I would bring something just for lady/man/child of the house unless they are clearly acting alone in the host role.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      On my first Christmas was SO’s big family, I did a family-type hostess gift. A tree ornament and wine (everyone was over 18). But his sister (one girl and a bunch of boys) got me a gift! I was so embarrassed. I think it would be nice to get a gift for the sister with the birthday, but make sure you ask your SO a couple times whether people will buy gifts for you. It is better to get something little (hand lotions, sephora goodies, whatever) than be surprised.

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