Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Cashmere Knit Jacket

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Happy Monday!  I am loving this simple blazer from Akris. The color is unusual, but not so quirky that you’re limited in when you can wear it. I love (love!) the double pocket, as well as the darts for fit. I’d wear it with a burgundy silk blouse and, perhaps, brown pants. It’s $3,990 at Neiman Marcus (limited sizes only, alas). Akris Cashmere Knit Jacket

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Comments

  1. I HAVE to admit that this is beautiful, includeing the color (blue), but who can afford the $3990?

    We are all working girls, and I do NOT know about you, but I do NOT have a sugar-daddy — even when I had Alan, he would not Ever spring for anything over $200 for me, even once we were PRE-engaged.

    The manageing partner would also be nuzzling around me since this blazer does not cover my rear at all. I do NOT want him doing that, either, so I cannot recomend my father buy me this blazer. Fooey!

  2. So pretty! There’s an awful lot of chocolate going on there, but I love the blazer’s details. The pockets are fabulous!

  3. Nice blazer and color, but are you kidding about that price tag?! J. Crew makes essentially the same thing for 90% less.

  4. (Regular Poster, New Identity for this One)

    Well, girls, my husband and I have finally, after 10 + years of marriage, decided that we’re going to ditch the birth control. I’ll be taking my last active pill tonight, then special time, then, well, new territory. (I’m the careful sort- would you believe that I’ve never once, married or not, ever done it without pregnancy protection?)

    I’m 31 now, closing in on 32; I’ve been on a low dose pill for years and years. What are your experiences with dropping bc?

    How was coming off the pill? (Did it mess with you? Screw up your periods? I’ve been on something since I was 19, and feel like I can’t even remember life without it- though I know mine were really irregular and heavy.)

    How quickly did things happen for you? Did you take any special action (aim for fertile times; special positions, diets, etc.) to start trying, or just let things happen? I’ve set up a calandar app on my phone, but it’s mainly to track periods (so I’ll know if I’m late); I’m not sure that I want to try to target fertile times or anything yet.

    Did you tell anyone that you were trying? I keep getting this weird feeling like I want to announce it, but that makes no sense. I don’t even want to tell my parents until something actually happens.

    Cold feet? I’ve been thinking about it like crazy for a year, and now, all of a sudden, I’m going “Why would I want to give up my privacy w/ my husband?” “Why would I want to give up my body?” “Babies eventually become teenagers!” “Why on earth would anyone want to do this?” and so on.

    What do you wish you’d known, been ready for, discussed with your husband, etc. before stopping BC, getting pregnant, having the baby, etc.?

    • That’s exciting!

      I wasn’t prepared for how quickly it would happen — I stopped taking the pill and, boom, I was pregnant two weeks later. I had assumed I would have a few months to get used to the idea.

      As for periods post-pill: oddly, I have stayed on a strict 28 day cycle without the pill. (I haven’t been on the pill for seven years now but before, they were slightly irregular.)

      Good luck! No matter how great people tell you kids are, they are even better. And no matter how much you plan your life, there’s never going to be a perfect time to have them, so might as well go ahead!

    • Don’t have experience in this, but my friends recently started trying and have mentioned it more than once. I prefer that they did not tell me that they are trying, it’s TMI for me.

    • Still Trying :

      Two years off the pill and we’re still trying. It’s really a cra* shoot. It could happen for you this month or it could take months or years. See what happens for a bit. When you do seriously want to try I’d suggest buying the clear blue easy monitor so you determine the peak day. I’d hold off on telling people you’re trying because 1) it’s TMI and 2) you won’t want to deal with questions if you have problems.

      • Bursting out :

        Absolutely agree about not telling people you are TTC, unless you want to deal with the questions every month: “so, are you…?” I could handle that from BFF, but no one else, not even my parents.

        Fertile Focus (covered by health flex spending accounts, I think) can help judge the best time to get pregnant, as can charting (see Taking Charge of Your Fertility, or fertilityfriend.com). After two years of casually trying (i.e., no BC, but also no particular timing), we switched to timing & making sure we were hitting my fertile times.

        Turns out the midpoint of your cycle (eg., day 14) is NOT the fertile time for everyone…. I had been aiming for that day for nearly a year, when my new doc told me I should be aiming for days 7-10. Lo and behold, I got pregnant that month.

        Prior to that, I had cut out/ down on gluten/ wheat, processed sugar, caffeine, soy, dairy, and stress (more yoga/ exercise). I believe those changes helped, too (and they sure don’t hurt). Good luck!

    • No experiece TTC but I can tell you what happened when I went off BC. I went on when I was 12 because my periods were brutally long and painful. All through high school, my skin was amazing and I never had to worry about it. When I was 19, I went off BC because the pill I was on gave me horrid cramps. Six months later, my face looked like a warzone. It’s been five years and I’m still struggling to get rid of the acne that developed. I just went back on BC and can see a marginal improvement but in hindsight, I’d take the cramps over this acne.

      Good luck TTC! My $.02, don’t tell people until you’re actually pregnant, otherwise it’s TMI.

      • totally agree with all of this! wasn’t TTC when I went off BC. my face totally broke out, and I got pimples on my chest and back, which I never had a teenager.

        I went of birth control for reasons related to working out. I had read it’s easier to develop muscle and run further without it, so I did my own little experiment and low and behold it was. So, if you are a work out fanatic, a nice bonus will be you’ll be stronger and a little more defined! you’ll also have more of a sex drive, which was discussed here in the last month. fwiw my periods were regular before bc and while off it.

        good luck!

      • That was my experience too – I was only on BC for about a year, and had a pretty regular cycle before, and since. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that I’m actually breaking out now – mostly the low level extent that I had happening prior to going on BC.

      • Oh this does not give me high hopes. I went on BC at 14 due to acne, and my one concern going off of it this month for the first time in over a decade was the acne problems that would arise. Does anyone have any advice for warding off the inevitable?

    • Having children is a lot of work. It is also, without question, the best thing ever. Good luck!

    • I just went through this earlier this year, and my experience was pretty good. I started taking the pill at 21. My periods were very irregular before that. I would often have cycles of 2 months or so. I was really worried that my cycles would be crazy when I came off the pill. In early February, I stopped 4 pills into a new pack. I had some spotting a week later for about 4 days. Starting the next month, I settled nicely into a fairly regular cycle (usually about 30 days). We sort of tried to target the fertile times in March-May, but didn’t work too hard at it. In June, we didn’t target much of anything because my husband had just had surgery. On July 1, I made a note that I felt a little crampy too early in my cycle and had a little light pink bleeding when I went to the bathroom. A week later, I got a positive home pregnancy test. So, overall, it took about 5 months from last BCP to positive test. We didn’t do anything special (positions, diets, etc.). I did take prenatal vitamins and kept up my regular workout routine. I was 29 when I stopped taking the pill and 30 when I actually got pregnant.

      It’s totally understandable to feel a little nervous. It’s a giant life change. I just remind myself that the alternative is to never have tried at all, and I (personally) am not ok with that! So – good luck! Everyone has a different experience, and I wish you a good one!

      • Oh, one more thing: We told a very few people that we were trying. My husband told his brother, who had just had a baby. No worries there. We also told another couple who are close friends – mostly because it came up in conversation. I would resist the urge to tell people who will bug you about it, just in case it does take a while.

    • A very close friend of mine, who’s your age, recently did the same thing and kicked the BC pill to start trying to conceive.

      She did share with me that while she’s only been off for a month, her cycle isn’t the regular 28 days she’s used to. She said her first cycle was like 33 days, and she has no idea when she’ll get her period again, so she warned me that it does take your body some time to figure itself out. She didn’t mention any side effects though.

      I personally like that she’s sharing what she’s going through with me. I’m 8-9 years younger than her, but we’re close friends and very much alike, and I enjoy getting a preview of what my life could look like a few years down the road. I don’t really want to know the details of her sex life, but I do like discussing with her the potential work/life balance issues of motherhood, how she’s overcome some of her reservations to having children, etc.

      • I’ve thought that I might discuss it with my younger sister, who is at about the same age difference as between you and your friend (she got married a little over a year ago and is about 2 years out of college and into her career). I think I’ll hold off and see if it comes up, though. We get along great, but are not particularly close- that is, I don’t just call her up to chat or anything.

        Otherwise, I don’t want to tell anyone, I know. I guess I’m just excited about when I might start telling people when something happens, and my mind wants to jump the gun! (Speaking of which, I should probably check in with my husband to see if he plans to say anything to his (very gossipy with no real sense of privacy) family. Don’t think that he will, but he might just not think about it in the same way.)

    • When we started trying I initially tracked my periods so I would know when I was late also, but the website I used also marked when my most fertile days were and so we aimed to have sex on those days and got pregnant right away. We did tell our close family we were trying, just because we tend to overshare, haha.

      It is a life change–being pregnant and having a new baby–but it is so worth it!

    • Diana Barry :

      I would not tell anyone that you’re trying, unless they are super super close friends.

      If you don’t get your period within a few months from stopping the pill, go see your GYN (at least) or a reproductive endocrinologist. I went off the pill and didn’t get a period for over a year after going off. My gyn was not very helpful except to give me a referral to an RE. The RE gave me provera to start a period and then clomid to stimulate ovulation. (This was about 1.5 years after I stopped the pill.) Luckily, that worked the first time! It is not uncommon for your body to fail to ‘wake up’ after going off the pill, and to need a kick start.

      Luckily, my cycles have been regular after having my first kid. (I haven’t gone back on BC because of clotting/hormone issues.) They are 33-35 days, though, so I needed to track via temping to determine when to try for the next one. I ovulate on day 19 or so, not on day 14 as in a ‘normal’ 28-day cycle. For me, temping has been enough to time things so that we were able to conceive #2 and #3 after 2 months and 1 month.

      Good luck!

    • In House Lobbyist :

      We just did this about 2 years ago and just started trying again for him a brother or sister. You should start taking prenatal vitamins now. My dr said to start them when I came off BC. Also she said to have sex every other day from day 10-16 of your cycle. It seemed to work great last time since we got pregnant the first month we tried. Good luck!

    • I wasn’t TTC when I stopped the pill (at 28), but my sister and several close friends all got pregnant on their first cycle off the pill. I’m not sure if this is medically sound information or not, but several of them claimed that one possible response to stopping the pill is that your ovaries might release more eggs than usual for the first cycle or two. In my case, it actually took quite a while for my cycle to return at all (nearly 6 months) so, you might want to prepare for the event where you A) get pregnant right away, or B) not for a while.

      Other things that I experienced: more acne (as others have mentioned), changes in body odor (not necessarily worse, but definitely different, which is really weird), and very tender breasts (for a few weeks, it was somewhat painful to even take my bra on and off!).

    • I can’t believe no one has said this yet, so I will: If you haven’t yet read Taking Charge of Your Fertility, do so immediately. It tells you how to recognize your fertile times, know when you’re ovulating, and gives some minor home remedies for potential problems. Very useful book to read, even if you don’t decide to go all out and time everything.

      My period stayed very regular at 28-29 days when I went off 6 months ago to TTC. That turned out to be a problem bc I know from reading TCYF that I had what’s called a short luteal phase, which prevents the embryo from attaching to the uterine wall. I used the advice in the book (vitamin B6) to now lengthen my cycle, meaning that I now have a less regular period but a better chance of conception.

      My skin has been a NIGHTMARE since I went off and is getting steadily worse. And I had great skin as a teenager and before I started BC at age 21. I seriously look like a volcano has erupted on the side of my face. My husband is very distraught. LOL. Actually, it’s not funny. It’s totally killing my self-esteem. But I’m hoping my skin will normalize soon, and I’m trying out some new cleansers.

      • Oh, also, my libido has increased like crazy. It’s great! I’m not sure you could pay me (or my husband) enough to get me to go back on hormonal contraceptive despite the acne.

        • I was going to mention this too, and it’s one reason why i’m considering going off it again! thats good to know about the 28 day cycle! maybe that’s why i never got into any trouble when i wasn’t on bc and wasn’t super careful! i think i’ll read that book for input on not conceiving!

          • TCOYF is a great book that every woman should read, frankly, whether TTC or T*not*TC, or just to understand her body. The author (I forget her name) presents information about how to avoid getting pregnant without hormonal BC. It’s a more scientific, accurate method of the Catholic Church’s “rhythm method” — i.e., knowing when you are fertile (not estimating, which often happens with people attempting to use NFP or rhythm method), and avoiding unprotected sex during those times. She advocates barrier methods for those five days a month.

        • Bursting out :

          Fascinating about everyone’s experiences dropping hormonal BC and getting acne… the good news (for me, anyway), is that once you get pregnant, it totally clears up. My skin hasn’t looked this good since I was ten years old!

      • I have a couple of related questions. First of all, have any of you mentally been able to get off of the pill and just have casual “relations” (not sure if saying the s word will get me blocked) for the first few months? I would really like to do it casually before I start obsesssing about it, but I am quite the OCD type (as I’m sure most of us are), so I’m not sure if that’s possible.

        Second, it works out for my new job to start trying next summer (so that I can get full maternity leave because I would have been there for over a year by the time I deliver, assuming I get pregnant right away), and that’s when my husband and I had talked about starting TTC. Then we realized that 9 months from late next summer he’ll be taking his oral boards, meaning if I got pregnant within the first few months, he would either be studying like crazy or taking his orals. We’ve put off starting to try for so long, and I turn 3o next year. Everyone says not to put off trying for too long because of your career, and we’ve already done that so many times. Do you think we should wait until the fall? I’m mentally and emotionally ready, so it’s kind of frustrating to have another thing stopping us.

        • Re your first question: me. I went off the pill in January, and enjoyed a six month period of “not NOT trying” before I became pregnant. I would recommend it, especially if you’re OCD; I felt like it gave me some time to get used to the idea of starting a family, I liked that I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself (because as an overachiever, I would probably disappoint myself), and I liked that it made “relations” more about DH and I, rather than procreation. But, I had a miscarriage in September, and so I think I’m going to be more purposeful in TTC going forward.

          Second – I don’t know much about oral boards, but I imagine the studying/examination time is a few months at max. The chances of you successfully concieving when you first begin to try, and thereby giving birth right within that oral board crunch period, are very low. I wouldn’t count the oral boards as a reason to delay TTC.

          Good luck!

      • Heartily recommend the suggestion to read Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It helped immensely with getting the timing right. I also used a Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor, which, combined with TCOYF, gave the exact day that I ovulated.

    • AgencyCounsel :

      We did the exact same thing two years ago. We didn’t do anything special or out of the ordinary of our regular lives. We didn’t tell anyone, but found out four days before Christmas that we were expecting which was a great gift for our families. We have a wonderful 15 month little girl.

      I wasn’t prepared for how brutal being pregnant in the summer in Texas could be. I had to have a planned c-section, but wasn’t mentally prepared to go into labor since she decided to come early. She is truly the most interesting person I’ve ever met and can’t want to see her at the end of the day.

    • How long it takes will depend.

      For our first, I was about your age and we just stopped preventing. It ended up taking almost a year, but since we weren’t actively trying, that was fine and a wonderful surprise. I highly recommend this route because I wasn’t stressed.

      For our second, it took little time, but it wasn’t as much fun because we were activly trying to get pregnant. I knew a lot more of the signs by then and could pretty much pinpoint when I was ovulating without doing any charting, temps, or crazy stuff. I got pregnant the first month, then had kind of a rough miscarriage, had to wait a few months, and got pregnant again within the first month of trying again.

      Sometimes I think the worst thing that you can do is to get too anxious or clinical about it.

      Have fun and good luck!

    • Today is my first day back at work after an 8 week maternity leave (*tear*). I went off the pill last December and got pregnant that month! As much as I thought we were ready, when that test turned up positive my first thought was “OMG we’re not ready, what did we just do?!” But then of course we calmed down and were excited. I think it’s natural to feel ready and then second-guess yourself and be scared and think of everything you’re giving up or think about how different your lives will be.

      I don’t know that it’s something you can really prepare yourself for. One thing that has come as a surprise to me is how little time my husband and I now have for each other. Newborns are so high maintenance and we’re so tired that we spend so much time focusing on our baby and once she’s finally asleep at night, we just want to go to sleep. So I feel like we need to do a better job finding time for “us.”

      But with all that being said, being a mother is totally worth all the sacrifices, sleep deprivation, extra fat/stretch marks on your body, and everything else. At least to me. I have the utmost respect for those who do not want kids as it’s a hard job. But if you do want kids, it will be worth everything negative that comes along with going off BC, being pregnant, giving birth, and having a child. Good luck!

    • Awesome! Today ends my first week post-pill, and I have nothing to add! I haven’t noticed any changes yet, but I know they’re coming. We won’t be TTC until spring, but wanted to have time for my body to adjust to not being on hormones. Good luck. I also feel the need to announce, but there’s nothing to announce yet!

    • Research, Not Law :

      I stopped BCP far in advance of TTC, so I can’t speak to that specifically. But my transition off the pill was super. I’d been using them for ~6 years. I lost the extra weight I’d been carrying, my cycles were longer (32 days), and that’s all. By far the hardest thing for me was anticipating my period, since frankly it had been so long since I’d needed to pay attention to anything other than pill color. I just marked my period start on the calendar each month.

      How long it takes to conceive varies dramatically from person to person – and to a lesser degree pregnancy to pregnancy. I believe your hormone levels return to “normal” within 3-6 months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant before or guarantee that you’ll get pregnant after. For what it’s worth, I got pregnant both times with one try. No prep or charting; just unprotected sex. We don’t discuss our conception plans, but that’s a personal decision. I think some degree of cold feet is normal, as it is with any life changing decision. As for advice… I honestly don’t think anything will prepare you for the experience. It’s physically, emotionally, and psychologically challenging, but amazingly rewarding and magical. If it’s the right time for you, just go for it.

      • I don’t think anyone’s commented so far on what you should discuss with your husband before you start trying to conceive. I think this is a critical issue. You should definitely talk about your expectations about your roles as parents and whether and how you’re willing to change your life to make room for kids. Do you expect to share childcare responsibilities 50/50, or will one of you take on a greater share of that responsibility? Will either of you downshift at work to make more time for family. If not, do you agree about how to handle childcare?

  5. Threadjack. I posted this on the weekend thread, but I thought I’d try again here. Has anyone tried Vaniqua and/or Aldactone for unwanted facial hair? I’d be interested to hear thoughts/experiences on either one. Thanks!!

    • I have tried both! In my experience, Vaniqua wasn’t worth it because my insurance at the time didn’t cover it. And while you do get a large tube that could last a while, I thought the effects were pretty minimal. Part of that was probably my fault – I’m terrible about remembering to apply creams (eye cream, zit cream, moisturizer, etc…) so I wasn’t as consistent as I should have been. With Aldactone, I could pay my monthly co-pay and I was better about taking it daily. I think that taking something that aids hormone balance internally is more effective than applying a topical cream. That being said, my Aldactone does was fairly low and I didn’t notice any mood or other hormonal effects, YMMV. Either way, I think both are worth a shot!

      • Oops, that should have said “my Aldactone dose.” It’s Monday. And I know I said both options were worth a shot while being fairly negative about Vaniqua, it’s really a very personal call. For me, my facial hair made me extremely self-conscious and I was willing to try anything to reduce the growth.

    • I used Vaniqua for years…I have very dark ‘stache hair and it really slowed the growth – made it so I could go 6-8 weeks between waxing, whereas otherwise I need to go every 3-4. so the $80/year (my tubes seemed to last that long) were paid for by the fewer waxes I needed pretty quickly. I had friends who it completely stopped the growth.

      One thing – Vaniqua is considered a “class C” (I think) drug – when I got pregnant my OB told me to go off it immediately. that kind of freaked me out, and I haven’t used it since (knew I was going to have a 2nd kid). Haven’t done any research on why / risks / etc, though. might be something worth asking your doctor about.

    • I thought Vaniqua was pretty worthless. It wasn’t covered by insurance so was pretty $$ and didn’t make a huge difference even though I used it religiously for more than a year.

      I did laser removal a couple of years ago and it was the best money ever spent. I only wish I had done it sooner. If you’re Caucasian and the hair is dark, I can’t recommend the option enough. Seriously. It was life changing.

      • Anonymous :

        I would love to try laser, but most of my unwanted hair is relatively light (somewhere between red and blonde), so I don’t think it would work on me. I’ve considered electrolysis, but haven’t tried it yet.

  6. a passion for fashion :

    I love this and the color. I dont have 4 grand for a blazer, but if it did, this one would be high on my list. The color is very pretty and as Kat suggested, very versital. i think you could wear this at least 3 seasons of the year.

  7. Rural Juror :

    Does anyone have recommendations for dry shampoo? I want to try it out and see how it works for my hair. Should I go for a drugstore brand or splurge?

    • I tried the Tre Semme one and was disappointed. It did make my hair look less greasy, but it felt terrible, like I had hair sprayed it too much. Also, spraying it in and brushing it out took a surprisingly long time.

      (PS love your name)

      • Agreed–don’t use Tre Semme. I used to, and consistently realized halfway through the work day that I still had huge white patches where it hadn’t blended in.

        Klorane with Oat Milk has never let me down. It’s about twice as expensive, but it’s great stuff and you don’t need much per use.

        • Diana Barry :

          I also use Klorane. It’s great – I just have to remember to shake well first and then to hold it far enough away from my head, to avoid the white patches.

          • I third Klorane, it’s ‘Gentle’ and i have liked it much better. I have a very sensitive scalp, so the others make my scalp itchy all day. Klorane doesn’t cause this problem. The price is worth it, since it takes me a long time to go through one bottle.

      • a passion for fashion :

        I love the tresemme dry shampoo — i use it 2-4 times a week and it works wonders. I’ve tried the expensive brands (20-30 bucks a can) and some in between (5-10 bucks a can) but for me, the tresemme is by far the best, and its only 4 bucks a can. It also lasts longer that the other brands.

        I spray it in my hair and brush gently a minute later, then style as usual. And, my hair often looks better on day two. FWIW, I have kind-of thin, fine hair.

      • I really like the tresseme one! i have it for normal/oily hair and I have dark hair. i dont’ spray it right on top of my hair, i kind of lift sections and spray it, and then put some right on my hairline and don’t get white patches. I have very oily hair though (use dry shampoo and wash hair everyday.) I also noticed that using a lot of aerosol hair spray with alcohol (a good non-sticky formula) is just as good if not better than dry shampoo.

        • Always a NYer :

          What non-sticky hairspray do you use?

        • Hmmm maybe I’ll try your method next time. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll mail the rest of the bottle to you :) I hate having to throw out product that didn’t work out for me….

        • MissJackson :

          I’m kind of confused. I recently bought the tresseme one, but the stuff that I have is more like a mousse than a spray. I pump it into my hands (it’s foamy), and then distribute evenly into my hair (focusing on the roots), and then towel to ‘remove dirt’ as per the package instructions. I’ve never tried any other brand, but I’ve been amazed with this stuff — it really works for me with none of the weird side effects that others are describing. Not sure if I have some different formula or what, but I like it.

          • a passion for fashion :

            There are 2 kinds of tresemme — one for curly hair, and one for other hair. the other one is the spray that is like a white powder, you just brush/finger through your hair after you spray it. it sounds like you use the curly one.

      • I didn’t like the Tresemme on my thick curly dark hair, but it works great on my daughter’s fine curly dark hair.

    • My favorite is Suave! I’ve used both drugstore and salon brands, but Suave is my favorite by far.

      • Research, Not Law :

        This! It’s really great – don’t overlook it. Works well and makes my hair look fabulous.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Third Suave. I’ve been through 3 cans of it (it’s changed my life — I only wash my hair about twice a week now). I used tresemme first, but even on my blonde hair I found it too white and sticky. Suave blends better, does not seem as sticky, and costs less, too.

    • I’ve used Psssssssst, per my colorist’s recommendations. You can find it at a drugstore or on Amazon. It costs about $4-5. It does leave some white residue, but you just need to blend it in with your fingers or a brush.

    • Ojon is my favorite, but it can get a little pricey. Pssst is my favorite of the less expensive brands.

      Like Nicki G, I sometimes use hair spray and have found that I get pretty much the same results. One that I use Living Proof, the other is Big Hair (I think, it’s in a red can). I still prefer dry shampoo, but the right hair spray can definitely be used in a pinch.

    • i actually just use straight cornstarch. you have to make sure to brush it out so it doesn’t show up on your hair (i have dark hair) but it works great and has no smell.

    • The Suave works well and is easy to find at any Target/Walmart/CVS/etc, though I would recommend Pssst if you can find it.

      I also like Batiste, though you need to go to beauty supply stores to find it or order it online (like Sally Hansen). It’s not so much better than the other options that I go out of my way to buy it.

      A side note – I have bangs, and my scalp is normally not oily on second day hair, but my bangs need a refresher. For this, I sprinkle baby powder on a brush and then tap it into my bangs and the hair directly around my face, then brush through thoroughly. It doesn’t weigh my bangs down or give them a strange texture like dry shampoo does. I have dark hair and it doesn’t show, but I’m careful to start with a small amount and brush it out thoroughly.

  8. Barrister in the Bayou :

    So I tried a bunch of perfumes over the weekend and narrowed the list down to four; in no particular order: Chanel Chance Eau Tendre, Bvlgari BVL II, Michael Kors Gold and Paco Rabanne Lady Million. I noticed that I liked a wide range of perfumes, but my strongest aversion are perfumes that smell like powder and perfumes that are “green” or “grassy”.

    I’ll probably start dropping hints and see what I get for Christmas and my B-day before making the jump.

    Thanks for all the great help ladies!

    BTW: today is a Flowerbomb day ;-)

  9. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Ladies, I have a two part question. First, in two weeks I am going to Chicago to visit a friend and she has asked me to compile a list of things I’d like to do/places I’d like to go. Outside of general tourist locations, I don’t know, so I turn to y’all. What’s great to do in Chicago?

    Second, she’s told me that I need to be prepared to go out, so I want to take my new peep toe booties, but I know it’s going to be cold, so what kind of hosiery can I wear with peep toes?

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. I love the shape of the jacket, but the color…not so much.

    • Chicago! Amazing city. Have you been before? If so, that’s a consideration. Also (forgive me — I know you’re a regular poster) are you coming from a rural area (where you might, for example, want to take advantage of big-city shopping)?

      Here are a couple of suggestions:

      + Shedd Aquarium — this never gets old for me
      + Garfield Park Botanical Gardens — off the beaten path and completely amazing! Right by the green line El stop so very public-trans accessible
      + An architectural tour of the city by boat, if you’re so inclined/interested
      + Taking in a show at Second City, where tons of big SNL names got their start

      This is just a taste — Chicago is one of my hands-down favorite cities and I can give you lots more ideas if you feel like sharing more about your likes, dislikes, etc.

      • just FYI the garfield park botanical gardens are under major renovations right now, so i’m not sure how much of the space is open to the public. the greenhouse glass took a real beating in the hailstorm that happened earlier this summer and they’re still working on repairing/replacing it.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        Hey ANP,
        Thanks for the suggestions. And for future suggestions, I have never been to Chicago and I will be coming from Denver, CO, so if there are shops that are out there, but not in Denver, I would love to know. Also, if there are any plus Corporettes in Chicago, are there any good places for plus clothing?

        • Agree with the comments below about Devil in the White City and peep toe booties being a no. On the more fluffy-lit side, Time Traveler’s Wife is also set in Chicago (delightfully so).

          Make your Second City reservations early. The late show on weekends (or maybe Saturdays only?) is followed by a bonus free improv set which is pretty fun. Lots of bang for the buck there.

          Did not know about GP Conservatory being under construction.

          If the weather is nice, take a long stroll along Millennium Park and check out the Bean (Google it). If you like the arts, Chicago has a ton of it in public spaces. Bean is easily accessible after a trip to Michigan Ave.

          Tea at the Drake is quintessential Chicago. For a sky-high view of the city, I recommend a drink at the Signature Room @ the Hancock Bldg — though pricey for a drink, cheaper than getting onto the sky deck, which is one floor below the bar anyway.

          Have your friend take you to the REAL Billy Goat, under Tribune Tower — popularized in SNL skits of yore.

          Will stop now. Can you tell I love this city!? Email me at the address in my profile if you have questions or want more info.

      • Second the architectural tour and Second City!

    • When I lived in Chicago five years ago, there was a great place you could make your own perfumes (and lotions, etc.) in Lincoln Park. I used to go back and get new bottles of my own specially-created fragrance each time I visited. He keeps the details on a card, and he can also do mail order refills as I recall. Might be a fun thing to do to kill an hour if you’re in Lincoln Park, which is a cute neighborhood to window shop in generally. The place is called the Aroma Workshop, and here is the yelp page:

      http://www.yelp.com/biz/aroma-workshop-chicago

    • I haven’t spent a ton of time in Chicago, so I am no expert about specific things you should do while there, but I recommend that you read Devil in the White City before going. I loved the book and loved thinking about it as I walked around Chicago.

    • Second the architectural river cruise in Chicago. I did one earlier this month. They leave every hour or so from Navy Pier and take an hour. Great way to see the whole downtown. And ask your friend to take you to her favorite place for deep dish pizza.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      I’ll keep it short: I am a huge fan of zoolights at the lincoln park zoo, if you happen to be there when they’re up.

      Peep toe is bad because of the rain more so than the cold. Check the weather before you wear them and you should be fine without hose as long as the temperature doesn’t plummet dramatically in the next two weeks (Jan/Feb is usually way worse than Nov/Dec).

      • Second City Lover :

        Absolutely avoid peep toe booties. Winter here is much more manageable than visitors think, but I wouldn’t want to ruin my new shoes because Chicago weather continued to be its unpredictable self.

        If you like plays/theater: the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass etc are all big names doing phenomenal/exciting/new work by amazing local actors close to the Loop (or in it). I’ve always felt that the Chicago Shakespeare Theater was overrated, and certainly overpriced.

        If the weather isn’t gross (ie decide the day of), take the architectural boat tour! You won’t regret it.

    • Mountain Girl :

      The only time I haven’t lived in the mountains was the 2 years I lived within walking distance of Michigan Ave. Of all the Chicago museums I love the Field Museum. The Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Museum are also very good but not sure if you want to spend all your time in museums. If I had to choose one it would be the Field Museum.

      And you must visit Michigan Avenue – even if you don’t want to shop. If you are travel date is during Thanksgiving week you might check to see when the Festival of Lights Parade will be held. I am assuming it will probably be the 19th but google it to be sure. I’m not sure what the Christmas window displays at Marshall Fields are like since they were acquired by Macy’s several years ago but that in itself was almost worth the trip to Chicago. Have a great time. You are picking the perfect time to travel.

      I probably wouldn’t plan on wearing peep toe boots the whole time. If it is rainy or slushy you are going to be miserable. Chicago is a walking city and you need good shoes with closed toes.

    • Bursting out :

      Try to get a reservation at NEXT, dinner as theater. Hands down the best food I’ve had in a vaunted foodie city.

  10. (as with TTC threadjacks, if you’re not interested, please skip)

    Any other stepmoms out there? Having a particularly difficult time recently with a 16 year old SD and her mom, who is perfect in case you haven’t heard — even though she won’t talk to us about SD’s school, health care, college plans (or how to pay for them), car insurance or basically any other item one needs to raise a teenager. Yes, she was the one who left the husband, house and kids, but still, she’s perfect and SD knows it.

    Any commiseration welcome. But word to the wise that “she’ll be away at college in 18 months” will only remind me that mom, who can afford to, is refusing to help pay, so that will be affecting when I can retire and how. Not a happy subject for me.

    • I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but apparently this is common behavior for teenagers at that point in their lives even if there’s not a complicated step-parent situation involved. The theory is that they’re subconsciously making things really unpleasant at home so that they can bear to leave it. I know I was a god awful brat at that age and have a great relationship with and am very appreciative of my parents now.

      • Why would you pay for her car insurance? The kid needs a job.

      • @ Em

        It’s a very good point. My fiance (we won’t marry until SD is out of college) and I spend a fair amount of time trying to determine what is regular teenager behavior that we should ignore and what is abnormal behavior caused by either SD reacting to her mom or channeling her mom that we should address.

        • This is none of my business so you don’t have to answer, but why are you delaying marriage another 5 or 6 years for her?

          • I’m guessing financial aid considerations…

          • My dad and former step-mom didn’t wait (married when my sister was 16), and I think the fact that they didn’t contributed to the eventual end of their marriage. They had totally different parenting styles and introducing my stepmom into my dad and sister’s more roommate-like dynamic created a lot of problems and resentment. There are definitely benefits to waiting.

    • That is a bummer. My only advice/commiseration is that you and your husband need to talk about your approach to SD’s college years. How much can he/you comfortably pay without endangering your own savings and retirement? Once you figure that out, Husband can let his daughter know that he has X amount to contribute to college expenses, and she needs to keep that in mind when applying to schools. If she wants to go a school that’s more expensive than that, she needs to talk to her mom or figure out a game plan for scholarships/earning her own money.

      Good luck with all of it.

      • I was in this situation as a SD. My dad & stepmom were very up front about what they would pay for and wouldn’t, which helped me plan. It helps to be very clear about this. My mother ended up paying for nothing during my college years even though she could have. I felt uncomfortable talking about my mom’s unwillingness to pay with my dad/stepmom because even though I knew my mom was flawed, I didn’t particularly want to discuss this with them/didn’t want to hear their criticism. I am now very close with my stepmom & dad and view my stepmom as another mom, but that relationship took years to build.

        PS: some states require parents to contribute to their kids college educations if they are able, you may want to look into this.

      • Anonymous :

        This was what my mother and step-father did for my college. My father contributed nothing and my mother said she would give me $X a semester. After seeing the lack of financial assistance from the schools I applied, I picked the instate school. With my mother’s financial assistance, living at home and working full-time, I made it through undergrad without any loans. Good thing because my law school loans are the same as my mortgage!!

    • No personal experience, but might it help for you or your husband to go back over the divorce documents (specifically, the parenting plan) and see what, if anything, it says about college (paying for, etc.). If it doesn’t say anything, I’d say that she’s not obligated to do anything, and you should write her off. Then the 2 of you can sit down with SD and have a long conversation (take her out to her favorite restaurant or something) about what she wants, both for college and for things like cars beforehand, what she is willing to contribute (part time job, babysitting, scholarships, etc.) and what you and your husband can do. Come armed with the financial details of at least a few area state schools (including housing and living costs, not just tuition) and an agreement between you and your hubby about what you can offer. You can mention that her mom’s not contributing, but don’t make a thing out of it. She’ll mature enough to understand it soon enough.

      Bear in mind that there’s nothing wrong with a teenager getting a part time job to pay for car insurance/gas, and there’s nothing wrong with going to a state school and working through college. I did those things, and am better for them.

      • I think there are some states where non-custodial, divorced parents are required to continue paying child support into college. Might be worth checking on that too.

      • It may also be possible to go back to the court to require that the non-custodial parent contribute to college. My SO’s ex was able to do that with a child from one of her other ex-husbands. (All I know about family law, I’ve learned from her situation, and boy have I learned a lot!).

        Although it doesn’t sound like you’re not being given information, one thing that BF has done has to contact the school to get grades/teacher info etc directly from them about his D and not rely on her mom for the information.

        Many sympathies, although my BF’s D and I have a good relationship, the stepmom/stepanything gig is hard one.

      • Sorry to break this to you, OP, but this is a conversation that the father and the daughter should have themselves (preferably with the mother) without the stepmom-to-be there. I am a early thirties stepdaughter (formerly a sixteen year old step-daughter), and to me my step-parents had no role in these kinds of conversations. They were for my parents and me alone. You are not even married to her father. Although you say you will have to retire later if you marry after he pays for her college education, this doesn’t matter. Your fiance’s daughter’s college education is probably a priority to him, and you have to accept that.

        • Probably not a conversation OP has with the SD, but definitely a conversation she has with the fiance. If OP and her fiance are doing any sort of co-mingling of finances (even just living together), she still gets a say in what they/he can afford to pay. And he doesn’t have an obligation to foot the entire bill to an expensive college just because SD wants it.

        • Anononny-no :

          While in an ideal world, the mother would be a part of the discussion, the OP makes it clear the mother isn’t participating.

          If the OP is going to be involved in funding college and/or her finances (including retirement) are going to be affected by SD’s college plans she most certainly has a right to be involved in the conversation.

          Furthermore, while parents (step and otherwise) should prioritize their children’s educations, common financial wisdom cautions against damaging parental retirement funds in order to pay for college.

          • The OP said that if her fiance’s money goes to pay for his daughter’s education, that means he will have less money to help pay for OP’s retirement, so she will have to retire later. She did not indicate that SHE would be paying for her future step-daughter’s college, rather that her future husband would be. It is true that parents should pay for their own retirement, before their children’s college education (becausse there are loans for college but no loans for retirement). Paying for a future spouse’s future retirement instead of your child’s education is another matter.

          • Stepmoms? :

            @Ann

            If my fiancé pays for all of college, he will never be able to retire, which means I will have to work longer than I plan to fund our joint (shorter) retirement.  I suppose another option would be for me to retire and for him to keep working until the day he dies — but I do not choose that option.  

          • Whoa – so the option is either college or retirement, but not both? It seems unlikely that there is not middle ground there. You and fiance should definitely figure out what he can afford to contribute to college and still be able to contribute to his own retirement. SD would then have to pick a college situation based on that amount that Fiance can afford to pay and whatever else she can get mom to pony up. That’s just a life lesson that needs teaching.

          • Agree w/ non. My parents said they would contribute what they could (dad contributed on behalf of mom–complicated post-divorce situation but bottom line, they both contributed) and I was responsible for whatever loans remained when I graduated, which ended up being about $15K. Honestly, I am glad they went about it in this way, as it gave me a sense of ownership than I would not have had otherwise.

    • Stepmom here. Bio mom really doesn’t pull her weight. But at the end of the day, it’s so, so much better for the kid not to know that mom’s a deadbeat. That would suck for him; she’s still mom, and he doesn’t need to know that she can’t be counted on to pay even the meager share the court requires of her. So my husband and I vent to each other about it, but try not not to let the kid in on it. I do like to think that someday the kid will look back and realize how things really were. Kind of like how my whole childhood my dad was my hero but when I grew up I realized it was my mom who had been the steady parent the whole time. It’s hard enough realizing the truth about your parents when you grow up; it’s too much of a burden for a kid.

      • Always a NYer :

        I respectfully disagree with this. Kids aren’t stupid, we (divorced parents here) pick up on more than you’d think. If one parent isn’t pulling his or her weight, the child deserves to know. It isn’t right for the responsible parent to be burdened with sheltering the “deadbeat” parent. Also, I’ve seen cases where the child views the “deadbeat” parent as their true supporter when that isn’t the case at all. No need to say, “Mommy is a deadbeat,” but the child should know that dad is who they can truly count on. It isn’t fair to the child or the responsible parent. Why should the “deadbeat” parent be seen as anything other than they really are? Maybe that would finally be the kick in the *ss they need to step up.

      • I just wanted to offer a different perspective. I my parents divorced when I was a pre-teen and my father began dating a wonderful woman shortly after. They have been married a decade and a half now, she is a remarkable woman and I am constantly grateful she is a part of my family’s life. That being said I know there were many times when I was a teenager that I was short with her and defensive of my mother. This was true despite my poor relationship with my biological mother, who was and is a mess as a person and a parent. Divorce, even when handled well, is a time of transition for children and it seems natural for stepchildren to be protective of parents and struggle with navigating a new kind of relationship with a stepparent. I can only say that I am continually grateful for my stepmother’s warmth, love, and constant patience at a difficult time in my life and, while I may have struggled to appreciate her as a teenager we are very close now. Hang in there!

        • another anon :

          I agree with this. I know the OP is frustrated, and understandably so, but I really think she needs to take a step back and think about this from the stepdaughter’s perspective. The SD has just gone through a really traumatic event in her life (assuming the divorce was relatively recent), and that’s on top of all the normal teenage angst she is going through. It is only natural for her to see you as an intruder into her life and want to stick up for her biological mom. The OP, as an adult, has a choice. You can get into an antagonistic situation with the SD and her biological mom, but that’s just going to create more drama for everyone involved. And honestly, given that you aren’t even married to her dad yet, if he has to choose, it is very likely that he is going to choose his daughter over you. She’s his kid, after all. OR, you can take the high road, and keep trying to calmly discuss the college issues, etc., with her and the bio mom. If you are level-headed and are honestly trying to do what is in the SD’s best interest (getting college paid for), the SD will eventually realize that.

          What you do not want is to set up an antagonistic relationship that drags on forever. I have a friend whose parents are still fighting about their divorce which occurred 20 years ago. My friend has had to go to court within the past couple of years to testify re: alimony issues. We are 35 years old, and because of all the antagonism, she is not particularly close to either of them.

          I guess my point is that you really need to consider what your long term goal is, and try to work towards that in a level-headed manner, as difficult as that may be.

          • Stepmoms? :

            @another anon

            My fiancé and I have been together for five years. We did not meet until his former wife moved out and started divorce prceedings. (Point: the divorce is not particulary recent and I had nothing to do with it.)

            We are not married because: (1) if we marry, I will make SD ineligible for financial aid and (2) mom has inidicated that if we marry she believes she is entitled to more alimony/child support based on my income and assets. (Point: I am not simply a fly by night, not even married so I don’t matter girlfriend but rather a life partner trying to preserve SD’s options and protect myself from her mom.) 

          • But if you are not marrying so that the SD can get financial aid than why the retirement fund problem?

        • Stepmoms? :

          @Sophia

          This is very nice. Thanks for sharing.

      • anon prof :

        I hope you’re right. My stepchild’s biological mom is a complete flake (no job, no desire to find a job instead of coasting on alimony for 15 years, and sees the child only once a week even though she lives less than mile from us). It’s really unfair for the child and everyone else involved.

    • I can commiserate with you. The best advice I can give in this situation is for you and your DH to make your own plans and tell SD that “x” is the amount you will be paying for college. The fact that BM is refusing to pay, does not mean your DH should feel guilty and try to make up for it.

  11. Seeing the Chicago post reminded me,

    Does anyone have any recommendations for places to go/things to see in Denver?

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Oooh, I do. :-D I love the Art Museum and the Public Library (downtown and close to each other) and the Museum of Nature and Science (which is also close to the Denver Zoo and City Park). If you’re going to be here on the 10th, I would strongly suggest staying away from 16th Street Mall (unless you are into large crowds of screaming girls) because of the H&M opening. Others have commented that the Cherry Creek Mall (and the accompanying outdoor area across the street) isn’t anything special, but I like it and suggest it, unless you’re looking for some hardcore heavy duty shopping, then I suggest the Castle Rock Outlets.

      As you can tell, I am not that outdoorsy of a person, so unfortunately, I can’t suggest any particular mountains to climb or areas to run, but these are some of the things I love.

      Hope this helps.

      • Thank you! I already have some skiing and hiking planned throughout colorado and utah, so the time spent in denver will just be eating, drinking, sightseeing etc!

    • Beer lover here. Great Divide brewery is a fun stop, and if you go to Golden and do the Coors tour you will not regret it (free, lots of American history in the waiting area, free tastings at the end).

      • Thanks, I was going to Golden anyway so I’ll try to schedule a coors tour!

      • I second this! Great Divide is AWESOME if you like beer. We didn’t spend too much time in Denver when we visited CO last year, but we spent most of that time at REI or Great Divide. Hah.

        I could go on and on about the great breweries in CO and UT….but I’ll restrain myself. :)

    • When I was in Denver for a work trip, we ate at a restaurant called “Rioja” which was amazing. It is also amazingly expensive, so not for the faint of heart in that sense!

      There are a ton of restaurants right in Larimer Square and the surrounding area. :-)

    • Golden City Brewery is a fun little place to visit. It’s in a residential neighborhood next to the School of Mines campus, so it closes early. It’s a fun crowd- a mix of hippies, nerds, and cyclists. :)

      If you are an adventurous eater, The Fort in Morrison (probably about a 40 minute drive from downtown when there’s no traffic) is a fun place. They have all kinds of wild game. It’s pricey, at least for Denver(plan on spending $150 for 2 people). If you like beer, the Cheeky Monk on Colfax, just around the corner from Capitol Hill is a fun place that imports all their beer from Belgium.

      The weather this time of year is really iffy for outdoors stuff. The mountains are pretty much covered in snowpack from now through June, so outdoor activities are winter sports. The snow east of the Front Range melts quickly, and I’ve gone hiking at Garden of the Gods in CO Springs with my family in January. Beautiful sunny day, 60 degrees. The Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is an outdoorsy version of the one downtown, but it can be quite muddy this time of year (when there isn’t snow on the ground).

      I live in the southwest suburbs, so I don’t get downtown much, but I’m very familiar with the outdoorsy stuff near me. :)

  12. Barrister in the Bayou :

    P.S. if all else fails, I can always go to the French Quarter and have a personalized perfume made!

  13. What are we wearing Monday!

    Me: Harvest tweed trousers from Loft, purple cashmere sweater from Barney’s Co-op, black Calvin Klein ballet flats, silver and agate pendant.

    • Ralph Lauren faux wrap dress, black over the knee boots, crystal pendant necklace, gold earrings, black leather bracelet.

      Mondays require very simple color schemes for me…

    • Grandpa chic, here – tan corduroys, navy and red plaid buttondown shirt (j. crew), navy cashmere cardigan (LE Canvas), and a white down vest with white arm warmers because my office is cold.

    • Black’s Law Dictionary.

    • White with big black plaid peplum blazer (WH/BM), red wool tank (BB), “the” skirt in black, and grey w/black bow Mojo MOxy pumps (DSW). Silver collar with grey mabe pearl pendant (James Avery/Maui Divers) and silver hoops (Argenta Silver).

    • Gray side zip pants, ankle length. Gray and black print silk shell. Short sleeved black cardigan. Shiny silver beads necklace. Silver flats.

    • Back from my oh-so-fab London trip!

      Brand new grey Hobbs suit. Love. Here it is:
      http://www.hobbs.co.uk/index.cfm?page=1580

      I did a *leetle* too much shopping while away but feel *no* guilt. :-)

    • Ha…I always play this game when I’m dressed well…but today I’m wearing my least favorite pair of black pants, a button down shirt for Brooks Brothers, and a big dumpy cardigan because its freezing in the office today. So basically, I look kind of a mess.

      Just keeping it real. :-)

    • The Lafayette 148 pants that Kat featured a few weeks ago in charcoal. Black tee from the Loft. Charles Gray tweed-ish blazer with ruffly collar (not finding a picture of it at present). Purply-gray Bandolino wedges. Chunky purple and green necklace. Hair in bun using spin pins. Needed to feel comfortable and put-together today, this is doing the trick.

    • Cognac wool midi skirt, red cashmere v-neck sweater, black boots, multi-colored freshwater pearl necklace and earrings.

      Unfortunately, the buckle detail on the boots is at exactly the same height as the skirt hem and it keeps catching when I walk. Gah!

  14. This is the blazer color a stream of political wives wore when their husbands admitted to marital infidelities a while back (Elliott Spitzer’s wife, Larry Craig’s wife, that NJ governor’s wife). South Park even spoofed it.

  15. Does anyone have recommendations for a “full service” weight loss plan? After all sorts of good intentions about “just cooking healthier food” and “eating real food, not much, mostly plants” and “cutting out the white stuff” and “eating less, moving more,” etc., etc., etc., I’ve realized that I need more structure for a weight loss plan. I’ve had success on Weight Watchers before, but I’m so overwhelmed with work right now that I know I can’t handle the planning/cooking/point-counting that the program requires. What I’d really like to find is a plan that will deliver my meals to me. Can anyone report back from personal experience on Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, or one of the smaller services (freshology is the only one I’ve seen)?

    • Anonymous :

      Where do you live? Most meal delivery services are locally based. I’m sure readers can recommend some in your city!

      If you’re in DC, try Healthy Bites, healthybitesfood dot com.

    • a passion for fashion :

      If youre in chicago (or miami or a few other cities, but im not sure which) the fresh diet is very good. its expensive, but the food is good and they deliver the fresh meals to your door every day.

    • I used mealmovement.com and loved it. (Or, rather, still use and still love it.) I only did lunch and dinner, but it’s delicious and really is a good bit of food. I especially loved the caliente! chicken (but I heated it up in a pan instead of the microwave) and the shaved pork is great with some BBQ sauce. Mediterranean veggies are great, but Scandinavian was my favorite. They deliver all over the US, it works out to about $10/day, and is so, so, so easy and convenient and delicious.

  16. Liz (Europe) :

    Lovely jacket – anorexic model. Yech.

  17. It’s beautiful, but it fits so well, i wonder if there are safety pins all up and down that model’s back…

  18. It’s a very pretty jacket. It’s also more than my take-home pay and more than my car is currently worth… so it goes in the “dream pile”!

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