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Outfits Not Just Clothes ...
How to Wear a Dress If You’re Not Used to It
By Bernadette Ulsamer

Now that summer is here, so is the urge to don flirty summer dresses to beat the heat! However, not every lady is a “dress girl” with an array of floral printed frocks and feminine slip dresses at the ready. And, to be honest, most girly-girl dresses aren’t appropriate for every woman, especially those of us over the age 30. If you’re wondering how to wear a dress without feeling like you’re playing dress-up, here are a few tips and tricks to pull off a summer dress that feels comfortable, is functional, and hopefully stylish!
First off, think of summer dresses like lipsticks. The key for looking good in lipstick is to find the right shade for you! Same for dresses: You have to find the right silhouette and features that will serve you. Of course, every woman is different and has her own particular needs, but there are several dress types out there that are universally flattering (for the most part) and are fairly easy to wear, even if you usually go around in jeans, or shorts.
Speaking of jeans, denim dresses are making a comeback. I know, the idea of denim shift, or jumper may seem a bit juvenile, and/or like a 1980s nightmare, but many retailers are offering chic, yet easy, denim frocks. Major chains like the Gap and Target have a variety of styles in chambray, many of which feature pockets, and are a great alternative to jeans and cutoffs. Even Macy’s and Neiman Marcus’s websites have denim dresses to offer. My favorite denim dress out there is from The Vermont Country Store! They have this cotton denim jumper, with pintucks and a scoopneck, which I have been eyeing up here recently. It’s the quintessential “throw-on-and-go” type of frock that you can also layer with a striped t-shirt for a bit more coverage. I may just have to bite the bullet on that number.
Wrapdresses are also great for summer, as they are easy to wear and come in short, midi, and maxi lengths to provide whatever level of coverage that is most comfortable for you. Plus, the adjustable ties allow you to customize the fit to be as cinched or as loose as you prefer. For work, you can pick up a short or long sleeved wrap in a classic pattern from retailers like Boden and Land’s End. For more casual options, check out Forever 21 or the Dressbarn. If you want to go the authentic route, and have the funds for it, you can always find a wrapdress from the designer who invented them, Diane Von Furstenberg.
Shift dresses are another perfect go-to piece for warmer months. The ideal shift has some volume, without being heavy, easily fits over your head, instead of needing to be zipped up, and usually has pockets! Shifts can be V-necked, crew-necked, cap-sleeved, or sleeveless. The variety and versatility of a shift frock can’t be beat! Just about any store carries shifts. For this season, I really like the options available at Old Navy (I just snagged a stripped, sleeveless number there the other day), Kohl’s for dresses with some boho flair, and Modcloth always has a variety of cute printed shifts up for grabs. If you’re looking for an investment level shift, check out Eileen Fisher for some of the softest jersey dresses out there!
As for accessorizing your dress, anything goes in summer. I love the casual, fun-free look of pairing a dress with fresh white sneakers, or athletic sandals. Keep the jewelry simple, or go without for a truly minimalist look, and opt for a straw bag, instead of leather.
As summer hits and the weather gets too hot to handle, having an easy dress option on-hand in a flattering cut will be key to surviving the season in style. And, while slip dresses, tank dresses, and off-the-shoulder dresses may be on trend at the moment, best to stay away from overly trendy silhouettes and go with the classic cuts above. When it’s 90 degrees with 90% humidity, who wants to be trendy when you can be comfortable!

The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

“All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean” by Katherine Ashenburg
c.2016, Annick Press
$12.95 / $14.95 Canada
108 pages

What’s that on your cheek?
That smudge – what is that? Is it mud or grease? Did you fall into a puddle or walk through a spider web? It’s probably just dirt or dust or something, but go wash it off, pronto. Then, read the book “All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean” by Katherine Ashenburg, and you’ll see that washing up isn’t all wet.
So you took a bath today, and you’re still hungry.
That’s because being clean doesn’t fill your belly or quench your thirst. It doesn’t make you rich or educated. So why even bother getting squeaky-scrubbed?
Good question! To know why we bathe now, you need to know why people bathed in centuries past. For example, our ancestors must’ve known the fun of jumping in a lake, which probably got them clean(er). Over time, bathing became a part of religion, culture, and family life; in some countries, bathing was a family event!
Some 5,000 years ago, if you’d visited a friend in Greece, you would’ve been greeted with water to wash your hands, and then you’d be given a bath. At home, people washed up with help from servants or slaves; if you were an Athenian boy from a wealthy family, you went to the gymnasium to exercise, and then you cleaned yourself with a curved metal strigil.
The Japanese had steam baths, Middle-Easterners had hamam, and Babylonians learned to make soap. In India, people used stepwells for bathing and for drinking water.
But being clean wasn’t always thought to be beneficial.
During the Middle Ages, people sometimes blamed bath houses for the spread of disease. In Henry IV’s time, on the other hand, bathing was what you did when you were very sick and by the mid-1700s, an ice-cold bath was thought to make boys into men (girls, however, were spared that “misery”). Through the years, and throughout the world, getting clean was considered alternately to be good and bad and good and bad and…
And we now know it’s good.
Mostly. Especially “one simple cleaning practice” that can keep you safe and healthy.
Remember the fun of squishing mud between your toes? Or exploring the edge of a creek or swamp? Yep, “All the Dirt” is just like that, only not quite as messy.
Every child who’s tried to avoid a bath will want to jump right into this book to see which historical figures would agree with him. You might expect a lighthearted sense of icky humor with that – and you’d be right: author Katherine Ashenburg hilariously comes clean on the slippery history of soap, how bathrooms moved from small house into Big House, how our ancestors dealt with body odor, what other cultures do to rid themselves of dirt, and why a lack of sanitation isn’t merely a matter of having dirty hands.
Meant for seven-to-twelve-year-olds, whether bath-averse or germ aware, this book is filled with illustrations, facts, and fascination. And if that sounds fun, then get “All the Dirt.” Your kids will soak it up.

Coconut Oil for Weight Loss Fact or Fiction?
Melissa Wiles
Masters of Science in Nutrition

Coconut oil has lately become an increasingly popular product on consumers’ shelves. Coconut oil is believed to help with weight loss as well as helping with various diseases and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. While certain population groups can benefit from coconut oil, this oil is not as healthy as one may think. Fats are categorized broadly into two categories that include saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids, or heart healthy fats, can reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Sources of these fats include nuts and seeds, avocados, fatty fish, olive oil and canola oil. These unsaturated fatty acids should be the bulk of our dietary fat intake each day or about 20-35% of your total calories. For an easy way to remember which fats are considered unsaturated, remember that they are liquid at room temperature.
On the other end of the spectrum are saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids have been chemically altered to improve shelf-life of the product and are most commonly found in processed foods such as those prepared with margarines, shortenings, and frying fats. However, they are also naturally present in milk fat. These damaging fats should be avoided as they lower both LDL and HDL cholesterol. Saturated fats on the other hand increase total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and are solid at room temperature. These fats are naturally present in meat, seafood, palm oil, and are found in the highest percentage in coconut oil.
Yes! That’s right; coconut oil is a saturated fat. Dietary Guidelines recommend that no more than 10% of our dietary intake should come from saturated fat. Replacing unsaturated fatty acids for saturated fatty acids in the diet can put you at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Looking at claims, coconut oil is believed to promote weight loss. While it is true that coconut oil is slightly lower in calories than other fats, it is not a significant difference. One gram of fat typically supplies the body with nine calories. One gram of coconut oil supplies the body with slightly over 8 calories per gram. This adds about to be about 115 calories per tablespoon compared to the typical 120 calories found in most other oils per tablespoon. As you can see, using coconut oil in place of others is not a great way to cut extra calories.
Coconut oil doesn’t necessarily need to be taken off your shelf and thrown in the trash. In fact, it can be beneficial to some populations. Coconut oil is unique because it is a “medium-chain” triglyceride. Medium-chain triglycerides are oxidized, or metabolized, in a different way from most fats and are more absorbable by the body. This means that coconut oils are typically a great fuel source for those with cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, malabsorption, pancreatitis, and celiac disease. Furthermore, it is also a great energy source for athletes because it is efficiently converted to fuel.
Coconut oil is therefore a fine product to have on your shelf, however it is very unlikely that it will help you achieve your weight loss goals. Remember to practice moderation with fats because, even though they are essential in our body, they are also very calorie dense. Alternate coconut oil usage with olive oil or canola oil to ensure that you are getting in heart healthy unsaturated fatty acids in your diet.
Make your new tradition good nutrition!

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