• Fashion: Wearing the same outfit every day? That’s OK

    By Ellen WarrenChicago TribuneI couldn’t stay away. I hung up my halo last fall and said farewell, thinking I’d tackled just about every question you could come up with.


    Whoa, was I wrong!


    A suit isn’t really necessary for a job interview in most professions these days, but it’s a safe choice and a good idea if you’re looking for a position where dressing conservatively is still expected.


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    While I was binge-watching “Say Yes to the Dress” for the past few months, your emails kept coming: fresh problems to solve and questions that demanded warnings to not waste your money (high-priced wrinkle creams!). And then there were your heartfelt goodbyes. Can angels blush?


    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My husband wears cargo pants, a light blue, long-sleeved, button-cuffed dress shirt and a V-neck sweater every day. EVERY DAY. Sometimes he varies his outfit by tying the sweater around his neck, and, in summer, dumps the sweater, but rolls up the sleeves of the shirt in the same way every day. EVERY DAY.


    Would you suggest poison, a blow to the temple from behind with a ball-peen hammer as he dips his madeleine in his tea whilst reading the Answer Angel, or a garrote? And, given the circumstances, would any jury convict? – Christi J.


    Dear Christi: You’re not going to like this answer but I’m on your husband’s side. And, count your blessings. He looks decent and tidy. Many of us have simply abandoned all hope of having our spouses look even moderately OK. T-shirts that show off a bowling ball stomach, prominent rib sauce stains, black socks with Tevas come to mind. If his biggest flaw is his woeful lack of wardrobe imagination, you’re lucky with a capital L.


    Furthermore, nobody but you (and the friends you complain to) even notice. Just as a test, I once wore the same pair of trousers to the office 11 days in a row and not a single person paid attention. One more thing, plenty of successful men have adopted a uniform of sorts: Facebook baron Mark Zuckerberg, the late Apple mogul Steve Jobs and even, to a large extent, Barack Obama. I’d say your guy is in good company.


    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am about to graduate from grad school and have an interview coming up (yay!). I haven’t had any luck yet finding a suit and am not sure whether it should be pants or a skirt. I’m running out of time and won’t be able to get them altered before the interview. Obviously, with all my student loans, it needs to be affordable. Help! – Sarah


    Dear Sarah: A suit isn’t really necessary for a job interview in most professions these days, but it’s a safe choice and a good idea if you’re looking for a position where dressing conservatively is still expected: law, finance, accounting, etc. Otherwise a simple dress or nice slacks and a blouse (perhaps with a jacket) or a pencil skirt and a shell under a jacket are fine alternatives.


    But, you asked about a suit and pants vs. skirt. For bottoms, choose whichever makes you more comfortable. If you don’t have time for alterations the skirt is a better bet since most pants seem to be designed for taller-than-average women. (Hemming them with duct tape, by the way, works in a pinch.) The best budget basic suit options I’ve found are at The Limited (thelimited.com), where consistent fabric and colors season after season encourage mixing and matching at reasonable prices.


    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I read about something called “co-washing” where you stop using shampoo and instead “wash” your hair with conditioner. I’ve got extremely dry hair and the story said this preserves moisture. I’m terrified of abandoning shampoo. It sounds kind of gross. Should I try it? – Jenny J.


    Dear Jenny: Yes, definitely. I’ve never heard the term co-washing (sounds like washing your hair with a friend) but I ditched shampoo a decade ago when I figured out that the detergents were making my super dry curly hair even more like Brillo. Here’s what I do: Massage conditioner vigorously into the scalp, rinse, do it again, rinse. I’ve been happy with both DevaCurl One Condition and DevaCurl No-Poo as shampoo substitutes (devacurl.com). If you do try this method, I suggest you tell only close friends. When I tell people I haven’t shampooed in 10 years, they start backing away from me!


    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I recently started a walking/running exercise program (which I hate but I need to do it). But I’m getting blisters from rubbing between my toes. I’ve tried Band-Aids and a foam-type covering but they don’t work. This is giving me a good excuse not to work out but that’s the last thing I need. Any solution besides sitting on the couch? – Ouch


    Dear Ouch: It is rare indeed to find an ideal solution but I think I’ve got one. Try toe socks (sort of gloves for the feet). They look silly, are a pain to put on and they’re not cheap, but they work. Get them online or at running/sports stores. I’ve had good luck with the Injinji brand.


    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What is with this goatee business? It’s as if these men ask themselves, “What makes me look better, lose 50 pounds or grow a goatee?” I’m a 60-plus-year-old man but I want to tell these guys that a little facial hair is not hiding their multiple chins. – Jerry J.


    Dear Jerry: Amen, brother. Now you’ve told them!

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  • 9 things we wish we'd known before registering for wedding gifts

    First comes love, then comes registering.


    Before anyone walks down the aisle comes the fun yet tricky task of registering for wedding gifts. And with that product scanner from your favorite home store comes a load of decisions. Do we really want 800-thread count sheets? Vitamix or NutriBullet? Are these the bowls we will want to eat ice cream out of for the rest of time? What do you mean you like those curtains? How could I possibly marry someone who likes those curtains?!


    Many, many couples have walked the wedding registry path and lived to talk about it. Here are some tips from some of TODAY.com's past brides.


    Several gifts wrapped and on a table




    1. First things first: Register.


    I didn't want to build a registry at all, and then friends started sending my husband and me the most random gifts. Well, not random. Just not things we like. In a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, there are only so many heart-themed prints you can hang! So we built a registry late in the game and added things we were excited about (Apple TV! furry blankets! pretty frames!). We still got a few gifts that we'll never use — at least not as long as we live in New York City — but taking control of the gift-giving ended up being a huge relief for the both of us. -Lauren Sullivan, TODAY.com senior editor


    2. Consider a honeymoon registry — or an elegant way for friends to gift you cash.


    Your guests want to celebrate you, and give you something you'll love — but it can be hard for friends to get excited about clicking a box on your registry and sending you that cheese grater you asked for, or the remaining four water glasses you need.


    If you add a honeymoon registry (Honeyfund is easy to use), you can let your friends give you fun experiences like "1 safari tour" or "1 helicopter ride" — you create items on your honeymoon wish list, and while the gift is technically cash (the site allows your guests to either send you a check or PayPal the amount), the giver will feel like they gave you a moment to remember. Plus, when you send your thank-you notes, you can actually thank them for the experience they gave you! - Meena Hart Duerson, TODAY.com senior editor


    3. But register for some real things as well.


    Your more traditional relatives and friends will want to get you something tangible. Not everyone will feel comfortable gifting cash, and they'll want to get you something concrete for your house. Make sure you choose a few things you'd actually like to receive, or you'll struggle with people sending you things off-registry that you don't like — and can't return. -Meena Hart Duerson


    4. Choose items in a range of price points.


    There's nothing more frustrating than going to send someone a gift — and finding the only thing left is the $5 plastic spoon or the $5,000 sheet set. Make sure there are options in the middle! -Meena Hart Duerson


    5. Skip the fancy china.


    Unless you're close friends with Duchess Kate and she'll be coming over regularly for tea, you won't miss it. We registered for a really nice set of china, but when no one bought those items, it was the biggest relief. We ended up just getting ourselves a set of more everyday dishware, which are much cheaper to replace when things get chipped or broken! -Meena Hart Duerson


    6. Register somewhere that reflects your lifestyle and your taste, but definitely look for special events!


    Crate & Barrel opened early on certain Sundays for registering couples and had mimosas, paninis and breakfast pastries that were delivered to you as you walked around the store. The food alone was soooo worth the repercussions of holding a registry zapper after a flute or two of champagne. "Why yes, we SHOULD register for those silk curtains we never knew we needed, and I should probably have another panini for good measure." -Carissa Ray, TODAY.com supervising multimedia producer


    7. Simpler is better.


    I had no questions about the black and blue stoneware we registered for. I mean, you've gotta eat, right? And we received even more settings than we zapped.


    Eight years later, I'm totally sick of it and wish I'd realized that the plates were "tippy" when you cut food on them, something we couldn't tell in the store when deciding we needed 10 settings. I now find myself drawn to simpler pottery that fits our lifestyle now and that mixes and matches well rather than having one matchy-match set of dishes. Also, with a butterfingers husband, this helps us avoid replacing full sets when he inevitably drops something in the kitchen. -Carissa Ray


    8. Don't select décor items specific to where you live if you're not really, really certain you're in what will be your long-term home. Even then, see above - simpler is better.


    My husband and I owned a home in Seattle and unexpectedly received and accepted a job offer in New York City. All those kitchen items that were so perfectly displayed in the newly remodeled kitchen of our first home now had to be packed into a New York City kitchen (or stored in my mother's basement).


    Now that we're thinking about what will be our next family home with our two little girls, hindsight would have me fill that registry with more gift cards and cash to have put toward remodels and necessities that came up in our early marriage. -Carissa Ray


    9. Take a breath.


    The stuff we were gifted was, in many cases, just stuff. A few things we loved, some that were quite handy and many we could certainly live without (and in many cases these years later, are living without). -Carissa Ray

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  • 5 Beauty Tips You Need When Hot Weather Is Working Against You

    Once the temperatures start rising, the editors here at HuffPost Lifestyle pare down our makeup routines to the essentials: mascara, concealer and tinted lip balm. A full face of makeup just doesn't hold up (or look as good) when it's hot and sticky outside.


    During the summer months, you can't go wrong with wearing little-to-no makeup, but it does get tricky when choosing formulas and products that can withstand heat, humidity and even sweat.


    To help you avoid hot-weather beauty blunders, we asked Jessica Scantlin, the head makeup artist at Blushington Makeup and Beauty Lounge, to share her tips and tricks.


    1. DO invest in waterproof makeup.


    Makeup has come a long way since the bulletproof-but-heavy liners, lipsticks and mascaras from the '80s. Thanks to cosmetics companies like Stila, Kevyn Aucoin and Bobbi Brown, consumers have access to a wider range of products that truly stay put where you put them, without clogging your pores.


    Sweat-Proof Makeup


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    Becca Beach Tint, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, Kevyn Aucoin Curling Mascara, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick,CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick


    2. DON'T use powder products.


    "Have you ever baked and placed flour in water without mixing it?" Scantlin asks. "It separates and forms in a clump, which is exactly what powder does to you in the summertime after a long day." Your skin is extra hydrated in the summer and you will naturally sweat more, so that's why this pro believes that creams are hands-down the best option.


    Unlike matte powders, which sink into the fine lines and creases of your face, cream-based eyeshadow, blush and foundation glide on smoothly and help to create dewy, naturally flushed or bronzed effects.


    3. DO set your makeup with a setting spray.


    This product provides a light layer of protection to keep your makeup from sliding down your face. Cooling mists also work great to set makeup and leave your skin refreshed during those hot summer months. Scantlin likes to store hers in the fridge to ensure an extra cooling effect. Bonus: Most setting sprays smell great.


    Julie Hewett Cucumber Water, Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray, The Body Shop Vitamin E Face Mist,Skindinavia The Makeup Finishing Spray


    4. DON'T wear thick facial creams.


    "Never use a thick cream in the summer as this will make your makeup slide right off your face," said Scantlin. "Use something lighter and make sure to let it absorb before applying your makeup for the day." She swears by moisturizers with SPF that are lightweight, yet still give your complexion a boost of radiance and hydration.


    Eve Lom Daily Protection+ SPF 50, CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer, Sun Bum SPF 30 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion, La Roche Posay Anthelios SX Moisturizer SPF 15


    5. DO go the DIY route to combat under-eye puffiness and oily skin.


    Don't toss your tea bags! After steeping them in a pitcher of iced tea, let them cool and lay them on your eyelids. The caffeine from the tea helps to shrink blood vessels, thusminimizing puffy under-eyes and dark circles.


    Want to create a great natural mask for oily skin? Grab some papaya. "Just simply mash it up and apply it to your face. The natural enzymes in papaya help pull out the oil without stripping the skin," said Scantlin.

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