Dresses and Jeans Review + The Happiness Between | On the Daily EXPRESS

9/18/17

Dresses and Jeans Review + The Happiness Between

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I posted some of my Labor Day weekend sale purchases awhile back (here and here) and wanted to follow up and share how some of them worked out for me since I learned a few things that might benefit someone else. I really wanted to find a couple of transition weather dresses that were easy to grab-and-go when I'm in a hurry to get dressed. I've also been loving a lot of pieces from Abercrombie lately and wanted to try their jeans to see if they would work for me.

Here are the pieces I ordered:

1. Grey Abercrombie Dress
This dress runs true to size and is a nice soft, comfortable fabric. I thought it would be a keeper and the length in front is about what I wanted. Then when I turn to the side it's another story.  The way the fabric meets at the side makes it come up much higher than I'd be comfortable wearing for this type of daytime dress. If you're shorter than me (I'm 5'4") or want a tunic to wear with leggings it might still work, but as-is it just didn't work out for me.

2. Black Express Shirt Dress
The length on this dress was much better for me and overall I think it's a nice quality piece. It runs true-to-size and comes in a few other colors and prints (all options here). It has a definite office vibe so if you need it for office wear, it's perfect! I like this a lot but decided to return it and keep looking for something with a slightly more casual fabric and overall look to suit my lifestyle better.

3. Abercrombie Jeans
This is my first time every trying a pair of Abercrombie jeans, and I think they're pretty good! This particular pair is considered "low rise" and they felt only slightly lower than Mid-Rise jeans from Express (in other words, not really low at all compared to the way jeans used to be!). They're very soft and comfortable, and the sizing ran the same as Express. If anything, these had slightly more room in the waist area than any of my Express jeans in the same size, but I personally wouldn't be willing to size down for that because I wouldn't want them any smaller in the hips and thighs. They don't have any stitching on the back pocket (that's a plus for me), and all in all they were nice. I decided not to keep them because they looked too similar to a pair I already own from Express (shown in the second outfit in this post), but I'm glad I finally tried them anyway so I have a better idea of what to expect if I find another pair I like in the future.

Monday Motivation: Happiness Comes from Between
This week's Monday Motivation is like Part Two of what I posted last week. ICYMI, I talked about how I've been doing some life analysis to figure out what makes me happy vs. what doesn't. As always I loved reading the comments and feedback from others who have figured out a few of those things for themselves or are working through the same process! I read a quote in a book last week that relates to this discussion and really made a lot of sense to me so I wanted to share it here as well:

"Happiness doesn't come from within. Happiness comes from between.
It comes from getting the right relationships between yourself and others,
yourself and your work,
and yourself and something larger than yourself."

--Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind (Full review on this in my October Book Reviews, but as a caveat the majority of the book has nothing to do with seeking/finding happiness. Also since this passage came from an Audiobook, the formatting is my own and may differ from the print version.)

I've often heard variations on the saying about "you can't buy happiness/happiness doesn't come from material things" etc., but they're usually coupled with the part about happiness coming from within. This is the first time I've heard the saying, "Happiness Comes from Between" and in my life, that's a more accurate statement. If any one of my close relationships (friends, family, etc.) are experiencing strain, I'm unhappy, and it's hard (if not impossible) to contain those feelings to a point that they don't affect my other relationships. And sometimes it may not be a strained relationship causing the feelings of unhappiness but a lack of a certain relationship we desire. I know at times in my life when I didn't feel like I had a close girlfriend, I felt that void and I felt less happy overall because of it.

Last week, I did a life audit and ultimately cut out some things that were taking up a lot of my time but no longer contributing enough to my "happiness between" to make up for it. One of those things that I've shared quite a bit about here was Tae Kwon Do. When I first started taking lessons, I was attending with my kids and using it as a bonding activity for the three of us. After a new management company took over in January, my kids no longer enjoyed the classes and were ready to pursue different hobbies. I was too close to my Black Belt to quit, so I kept going on my own. I earned my Black Belt in May and continued to attend classes, but now that my kids are back in school, it just doesn't feel right to be rushing off to classes separate from them and repeatedly asking my husband to step in when they need help with homework or rides to/from their activities. That's not to say I can never take classes again, just not right now. Achieving the Black Belt goal brought me a lot of happiness and satisfaction, but it seems the subsequent levels of progression would come at a higher cost (much more time away from the family than the first degree required), without adding higher levels of happiness in exchange.

So that's a bit of a life update for you today coupled with some thoughts on my motivation to increase happiness by putting a greater emphasis on everything "between!" As usual, I'd love your thoughts on whether this rings true to you, too! Maybe not martial arts in particular, but if you've found that striving for happiness between is more effective than striving for happiness within. I hope your week gets off to a good start!


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26 comments:

  1. The Express dress is indeed perfect for work love it. Never heard the term happiness between before but it makes a lot of sense because the things we do and our relationships are highly influential, so part of doing the work of happiness within it is important to carry habits and relations that are healthy. So maybe we should be striving for both??

    xo
    Pinksole

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    1. Yes, I think you're right. We still need to do a certain amount of work on ourselves to be able to bring something positive and worthwhile to the table in all of our relationships. So I don't think we can totally discredit the "within" part!

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  2. I love that analysis weighing out the amount of happiness you get versus what it's costing you. I think most people carry a lot of dead weight in their lives - doing things just because it made sense at some point...but taking time to reassess is so important!

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    1. Totally agree! It's often easier just to coast along and not proactively change the things we're already doing. Plus, I often feel like making changes involves disappointing someone, so it's hard!

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  3. You've got such lovely picks! I'm obsessed with those Abercrombie jeans!

    Have a lovely day!
    xx Kris | https://dreamingofpink.wordpress.com

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  4. I like that - the happiness between. Never heard it stated that way, but I totally agree and maybe that's why so many of us struggle to find happiness within. Easier said than done right?! We edit our wardrobes, why not edit our lives? It's good to re-evaluate from time to time.

    I love the express dress on you! I never placed an order for it, but I do still think it's a great day dress.

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    1. I'm glad you could relate and connect to this! It's really had an impact on my thinking about how I spend my time, etc.

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  5. great quote! Fits with an impressive 75+year Harvard study I learned about. They found the quality of our relationships affects our health and happiness.

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    1. Oh that's so cool! I will have to look up that study. Thanks for commenting Nicole! :)

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  6. i love that quote. it definitely is more accurate for me as well, b/c that's when i get anxious, when relations have turned fraught. i am very pessimistic, so the whole happiness comes from within has never applied to me, and in fact, made me feel responsible for the lack of happiness. so not only is this quote more appropriate, but it also takes the responsibility for making myself happy from me. does this make sense? i'm not saying it's someone else's job to make me happy, but the other way doesn't work for me either. this feels blameless, if you will.
    b

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    1. It does make sense! I think some people are born with a more naturally happy demeanor than others, so for those of us who have to work at it a little harder, a lot of happiness advice can feel patronizing or trite. As if it's simple...just make the choice to be happy, snap our fingers and it's done! We can all work to improve our happiness, relationships etc., but I do think people are starting out at different places from the get-go due to natural demeanor and/or any number of more difficult life circumstances. I'm so glad this clicked with you. :) It's really given me a renewed focus to work on relationships rather than just "inner peace."

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  7. I've never heard it put that way, but it is so accurate! I believe a lot of happiness is from within, but the between pieces are out of sync, you can't achieve happiness. That is great that you did an audit. I should probably do the same thing, as I know there are some activities I need to say no to, but haven't... I hope your week is off to a great start!

    Nicole
    Nicole to the Nines

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    1. OOh yes, saying no is hard! But it ends up being worth it when you feel like you're getting your life/time under your own control!

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  8. I just texted you a screenshot of a quote I read just today and it seemed super relevant to your post today! It's funny because my life has been chaotic in terms of schedule and while I've been trying to juggle everything, I felt like I was doing none of it particularly well! I was getting behind with Pilates, overwhelmed in the office, barely blogging, and not being a very present wife! As I've started to put more focus back into Pilates, I feel in better shape. And even though I've let blogging go just a little to make time for other things that are a higher priority right now, I do actually feel happier. It's funny how that works.
    On a lighter note- I've been really wanting to try Abercrombie jeans!!! But lord knows I need new jeans like I need a hole in my head!!!
    Caryl | http://morepiecesofme.com

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    1. I'm glad you've felt happier as a result of cutting back! And thanks for the quote! It was a good one so I'll post it here in case anyone else is reading this and curious:
      "From my observations over the decades, I find that there are three components to happiness. 1-health, 2-job, and 3-relationship. Possess all three and you're a winner. We remain on the positive side of happy with any 2 or 3, and we are at the end of our rope when we have none." (Source unknown.)

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    http://digitizingzone.com

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  12. I think sometimes we continue to do things out of habit and don't even realize it's no longer making us happy. It's good that you were able to realize that with Tae Kwon Do and step aside from it for now. I am sure that helps free your time for other things that do make you happy! You have had such a great experience shopping at Abercrombie, I am eager to give them a try again when I fit into real clothing in a few months!

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    1. Thanks Laura! And yes, I've had some really good luck with Abercrombie this year! Definitely a new favorite.

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  13. The grey dress is super beautiful! You can wear it in so many ways :D


    http://www.desiringsme.com/fall-outfits-black-jeans/

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    1. Yeah, I just wish it were a little longer on the sides! I guess I'll keep looking!

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  14. You look so good in those dresses!! Bummer they didn't make the cut but I'm sure your persistence will bring something even better. You need to read The Happiness Hypothesis by Haidt FOR SURE. So full of good stuff from a leader in the psychology world.

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    1. That's my current Audible book! Enjoying it so far!

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  15. i love both the dresses but understand why you returned them. honestly i won't even bother with most dresses like those, even though i LOVE the look of them, they are always too short for me. i have a long torso so someone my exact height could wear the same dress and it will look longer on them. i honestly don't feel comfortable unless a dress comes pretty close to my knees, like where the two dresses end on you. you'd be surprised how hard it is to find.
    the happiness in between makes so much sense. like with your martial arts thing, sometimes things change and it doesn't make sense to keep working towards something, you know? like the cons outweigh the pros. and i totally understand the lack of a certain relationship we desire. i struggle with that a lot.

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