The conditional doesn't stop the page from loading the standard stylesheet, but it should also load the IE stylesheet when in IE7 since IE7 is the only one that should see the command to do that. Is it loading both?
I've conducted a few experiments and found that yes IE7 is calling the IE7 style sheet, BUT, for some reason, any adjustments I make to the margin/padding etc. in the non-IE7stylesheet are also appearing when previewed in IE7
How can that be? is it reading both stylesheets at once??
I guess that's what I was trying to say, yes. The IE 7 conditional isn't tell the page to use the ie7 stylesheet instead. It's telling IE7, and IE7 only, to use the ie7 stylesheet alongside your main stylesheet. It is definitely possible for IE7 to still respect the main stylesheet over your IE7 one, so you may need to either be more specific about what style you are trying to feed to ie7. I think you're having more of an issue with your style than with including the file, as it looks like you're doing that fine.