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Dating & Mating: 7 Warning Signs You Need Couples Counseling!

Our relationships are important to us. They're the corner stones of our support system- at least they should be. That's until our relationships become the main source of our stress and problems. You obviously care about this person and situation, otherwise you wouldn't be reading! Fight for yourself and your relationship-- you're worth it. Regardless of the outcome, couples counseling can be beneficial. Every relationship isn't guaranteed or supposed to last, but I'm an advocate of at least exploring and trying to solve the problems that stop us of from having the fulfilling and loving relationship every person desires and deserves. Here are classic signs that it may be time to pull in a professional:


  1. Poor communication and secrets: You two can't seem to talk calmly, with mutual respect, and without feeling apprehensive, mistrustful, judged, criticized, yelled at, name called, or irritated. If you're unable to tell your partner important thoughts and/or withhold information and actions, this type of secretive behavior only erodes trust and hurts relationships.
  2. Constant fighting: Multiple fights during a week is excessive. Even one fight per week isn't necessarily healthy. Experts say you need 7 positive interactions per one negative interaction to still maintain loving conditions for communication and ideal emotional health. If you're fighting constantly, it certainty doesn't help your relationship feel safe or pleasant.
  3. Apathy and shutting down: Does it seem like one or both of you is disengaged and would rather escape through work, tv, music, alcohol, friends, or isolation rather than talking and engaging with your significant other? These shutting down and stonewalling behaviors can create further gaps in your love life.
  4. Decreased sex and withholding affection: Sometimes modern life can be so busy one may think "Who has time for sex? Not me or anyone I can think of". That's a very false assumption and possible scapegoat for underlying problems. Healthy couples desire to and engage in regular amounts of sex. (whatever amount is common and normal for your relationship prior to problems). Worse than lack of sex is withholding affection. Loving gestures and words add to intimacy, which is equally, if not more essential than actual sex. Both men and women need affection from their partners to feel loved and desired.
  5. Avoiding going home and phone conversations: The feeling of wanting to go to happy hour, shopping time, golf time, boys night, etc instead of heading home or calling your significant other is a red light. When a relationship is healthy, one should seek out the comfort of a spouse or partner, not avoid it.
  6. Dragging family and friends into problems: The need to pull in a third person as mediator or an ally is an absolute attempt to stabilize your relationship. However, our friends and family are often ill-equipped and biased to help us effectively. Not to mention it burns out your other support systems and can cause resentment as well as mistrust in your relationship with your love.
  7. Flirting and Fantasizing about single life: Our eyes never stop working, we can see attractive people and admire them in passing; However, regular fantasizing and flirting is not harmless and is an indicator of a lack of fulfillment in your relationship. These behaviors unchecked can lead to unconscious and eventually purposeful boundary crossing.


Do you think you have one or multiple signs of needing counseling? Reach out to a qualified professional for a consultation.  Not all couples are suitable for dating coaching or counseling. In cases where domestic violence, abuse, addiction or other severe mental health conditions are present, it may be better to address individual and safety concerns first.



Back to Basics: Where to Shop for Curves that Pop! 

Oooh, where does she shop though? Happy Friday Fashionistas! On this special Friday I want to share something special for all my women size 14+. Whether you go by "curvy", "full figured", "plus sized", "thick", "rubenesque" or some other even more obscure moniker, what we all have in common is a certain set of unique shopping challenges.


Honestly, if you wear any specialty size (including petite for the small packages out there) the fashion retailers are not really there for you. (A visit to any mall anywhere will confirm this.) By special request, we here at TGL want to address where a woman wearing larger sizes can go to find wonderful fashion. Why? Because we love our followers, and we love to see gathered ladies of all sizes express themselves and be free to rock! (Not to mention, there's a special place in my heart for my thick sisters- we are one, ya'll!) 

Rule #1: There are A LOT of options for plus size shoppers, you've just got to train your eye. 

It's less about there being no options, than about learning to ignore the junk and zero in on what you're looking for. There are plenty of brick and mortar stores out there that have been selling plus size for decades:


  • Department stores (Macy's, Nordstrom, Dillard's, etc.)
  • Plus Size Chains (Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Torrid, Forever 21, Dress Barn, Cache, etc)
  • Discount outlets (TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Ross <-- DO NOT DISCOUNT THESE BARGAIN SHOPPERS!!!)
  • Specialty boutiques (There is a huge searchable database of plus size boutiques located on the curvy fashionista website, here.) 
  • Consignment Shops and Thrift Stores (Buffalo Exchange, Good Will, etc.)


My point here is, don't discount these stores! There are a lot of wonderful fashion pieces to be found in these places, but the kinds of shoppers who do best in this arena have to be willing:


  • To visit these stores regularly.
  • To ignore all the items in the wrong sizes and zero in on the size you wear. Sometimes this means actively digging around, hunting, and going through racks and racks of "skinny" clothes. Can be depressing because you often come up empty handed or with only a few things.  
  • To try on items in the store. 
  • Visit a lot of stores and spend time out and about. This means driving around, burning gas, etc. 
  • To develop a good sense of style and an "eye" for putting together outfits. Often when you shop in these stores you find literally one piece at a time. You have to use your own creativity and imagination to actually know whether what you are looking at will fit with your wardrobe and look good with things that you already own. Less mannequins to lead the way! If you don't have a sharp sense of what you are looking for, this can be frustrating or intimidating. 


Which is why I'm not going to focus on those stores. I want to point the way to a easier, more fun way of shopping. A way that is so integrated into the things that you already spend time on, that you can't fail to make a go of it. It is also (in my opinion) consistently cheaper than visiting brick and mortar stores. Yes, I am talking about THE INTERNETS! 

Rule #2: Girls with curves cannot afford to omit online shopping from their arsenal of fashion acquisition! It is an essential element to a complete wardrobe. 

The best thing about online shopping is that it eliminates much of the work of the brick and mortar stores. Also it allows you to self-select the clothes you see, and visit more stores sitting at your desk with a latte and fuzzy slippers on than you could ever do charging around a mall or zipping all around town visiting boutiques. So often, when you are out shopping and looking for something in particular, you are at the mercy of what store's buyer has chosen to stock that store in. Looking for a black pencil skirt, size 18? Well, if Lane Bryant's buyer isn't putting out business separates that season, or if she only decided to stock the store with 2 skirts and you're the 3rd customer, you're out of luck. Online shopping eliminates all those issues. Yay! 

Have I convinced you yet? Are you asking where where where? Great, now I can point you in the right direction.. 

I don't really have a reason for including this photo. She's just hot and I want you to be super stoked about shopping online.

 Rule #3: Every woman should be acquainted with Marie Denee, The Curvy Fashionista, top blogger and plus size maven of style. She is your guide to learning the world of plus size fashion, designers, bloggers, and shopping. 

Marie's blog is my everything. It would be ridiculously unfair of me if I didn't give you a huge shove in her direction. Her blog is a nexus of the plus size fashion world, and an empowering place to visit. In fact, she's written an awesome primer of her own about skilled shopping for curvies, and I'm linking it here and check out this top ten list here. I'd be remiss not to include them! 

As for the websites that I, Danni of The Gathered Lady can personally vouch for (I bought stuff), here goes: 


  • One Stop Plus - one stop fashion mall stocked with only 14+. Great sales. Includes lingerie and swimwear.
  • Macy's - self-explanatory. Has a dedicated plus size section. Great sales. 
  • Monif C. - best swimsuits in the business. Originator of the convertible dress. Amazing cocktail dresses. 
  • Asos - british fashion outlet gone big in the US! Excellent fashion forward outfits. 
  • Kiyonna - their cocktail dresses and evening wear are tops. 
  • Simply Be - let me just say you gotta love those Brits. You're plus sized? Keep calm and carry on. To Simple Be. 
  • Carma Koma - Love sophistcated black, leaether, and grey palettes? This danish fashion retailer is for you! 
  • Igigi -  Igigi is an OG in plus size fashion known for their amazing (and expensive) gowns and formal wear. This sight is more a lookey-lou and a thrill than a regular visit. 
  • Voluptuous Vixen  - this is my favorite boutique in New Orleans, but wouldn't you know, they have online shopping? Now you can be down.
  • Jibri - Jibri is actually an etsy store, but the clothes are so HOT that it is fast becoming a fashion-forward establishment! Don't miss out! 

Well, what did I miss? Send in your suggestions on facebook or in the comments section below, and we'll add them! 



How to dress from Work to Play

Every truly gathered woman knows the motto "work hard/play hard" and embodies that to some extent. Playing hard is about self-care, not partying recklessly and destroying your youthful glow.  We all need down time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. So when it's time for happy hour, a casual date, a social event, or other enjoyable after work function, how do we transition our outfits to save time, money and clothes? See our go to ideas on how to change work outfits from day to night.

To Do


  • Use accessories to elevate the style of your work basics. Adding bracelets, cocktail rings, dramatic earring and statement necklaces works wonders.
  • Use a fierce and dramatic shoe to increase the sexiness of your outfit without changing your hemline or lowering your collar.
  • Add a waist belt to loose dresses to give shape and chicness
  • Switch from a bulky tote to a chic clutch
  • Increase the drama of your make-up. Highlight your cheekbones, add mascara/liner, try a dark lipstick.
  • Don't forget your favorite perfume
  • Let your hair down or switch the part. 


Great Pieces to Build from


  • Use fitted pants rather than traditional slacks
  • Pay attention to fabric. It's easier to move from day to night with more luxurious fabrics  (silk, leather, satin, beading, etc)
  • Use colorful jackets and blazers rather than cardigans
  • Keep killer high heels in your car
  • Have a Fashion Emergency Kit in your car (read our post on this here)



Work to Play #2




From Work to Play




Work to Play #3



Have you rocked a work hard, play hard outfit? Share it with us at The Gathered Lady on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and if we love it, we'll share it!


Dating & Mating: How to dress for a concert 

Happy Friday fashionistas! Glad to be back after a nice Thanksgiving break. I've digested the turkey. I've shopped on Cyber Monday because Black Thursday/Friday is for suckas and even finally reconciled myself to having to come back to work. So what do I have for my pretty princesses today? Glad you asked... 

This post is inspired by a recent conversation I had with my best friend, who's single and dating up a storm. A new boothang just hit her up with an offer she couldn't refuse --  tix to the Jay-Z concert! Score! She was stoked, and likes the cutie who asked her well enough, but whatever should she wear? 

A question for the ages. Dressing for a concert is actually harder than you would think. Definitely two minds are better than one on this issue. She came to the right place! And so did you. Today we're going to discuss what to wear on a concert date.

You want to be gathered. Stylish. Appropriate and comfortable (nothing like overdressing or underdressing for a concert- horrors!). But since it's a date and not just a regular concert, there's an additional goal besides comfort and style. There is also the goal to be hot, alluring, sexy, and to show yourself in the best light possible. 

When making your choice, consider: 

1) Time of Day.   Obviously night concerts are more flashy and daytime ones are more casual. 

2) Venue.  Is the concert inside or outside? At the theater downtown, or the open-air arena? Is it a huge stadium concert, or an acoustic, intimate bar? Also, consider the terrain because shoe choice is MAJOR. Is it on a grassy knoll? A stadium with huge ramps and stairs? Don't the limping chick with the dirty feet carrying her hooker stilettos (we've seen her! She's real!) 

3) Genre of Music. Yes, consider the type of music. Let it inspire your fashion sense. There aren't any hard and fast rules really, but... wearing black studded motorcycle boots to the Chamber Musicale? A tuxedo to Bonnaroo? See what I mean? Let the music be your guide. 

And now for some fashion inspiration... 

Evening Hip-Hop or Rock Concert 


Jay-Z Concert




  • Build upon simple base elements and layer accessories. As you can see, any combination of the great elements above will build a great outfit with lots of zing. 
  • Don't be afraid to use props: hats, glasses, gloves, suspenders, wallet chains, arm cuffs... outlandish under other circumstances but perfect for a great concert. 
  • Shoes should definitely be for comfort and lots of walking. No one will pay much attention anyways. Heels will bring a lifetime of regrets. This I promise thee! 
  • Add edge without going overboard. Camoulflage and metallic trends play up nicely. 
  • Don't be afraid to embellish both eyes and lips. Looks amazing in the low concert lights. 
  • Red lips are every woman's secret weapon. Werkkkk! 

Evening Jazz or Acoustic Concert Small Venue with Seating


Nora Jones Concert




  • You have a good chance of a candlelight situation here. Don't miss out - try smokey, dramatic eyes, and elements to catch the light and sparkle. 
  • If you play up the eyes, leave the lips slick and nude-colored. His eyes will be drawn there, again and again. Muah! 
  • Heels are back in as possibilities. Just step carefully - pun intended!


Now these aren't the only types of concerts, certainly. For any concerts more formal than the ones covered here, follow the same fashion guidelines as a cocktail party.  If you'd like to review what to wear to a daytime informal concert or festivals, visit our post here

Well what do you think? Did I miss anything? Have you ever been on a fun concert date? What did you wear? Share with us on facebook or in the comments below. If we like, we'll share! 



She Rocked It: Leather Trend

Happy Monday Fashionistas! We hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving. We certainly did. What did you wear? We'd love for you to share it by emailing or tagging us on Instagram @ TheGatheredLady.

As for today, I'll share a personal style victory- Rocking Leather. I've always loved leather for it's expensive appeal and ability to be hard and feminine at the same time. Sometimes it can be hot and bulky, but because of the flood of leather designs, I was able to take a classic skater-cut leather skirt and make it chic and classy.  I accessorized with a leather hand-clutch purse and a vintage white blouse. Do you like? Then show me how you can rock it too!


Leather Trend from Fall 2013 Runway