Coffee Break – Eden Satchel

Oooh: there are a lot of colors of this Botkier totebag on sale. I’m partial to the colorful ones (such as the green and purple one pictured, but there’s also a red/pink and a lavender/blue), but there are more sedate colors as well such as a butterscotch, a dark brown “tmoro,” and plain old black. Prices vary depending on the color — Amazon has them marked from $211-$531, while Zappos has them from $415-$595. botkier Eden Satchel

(L-4)

Comments

  1. Bluejay says:

    The cleaning service post last week was prescient. I started a new cleaning service in January, and I came home yesterday to find they’d broken two things. The month before, they spilled bleach on my rug. Since they’ve cleaned my house exactly 3 times and damaged my property 2 out of 3 times, I decided to stop using their services. And unfortunately, a service that my friend recommended is not accepting new clients.

    So, can anyone recommend a good cleaning service in DC? I’d generally prefer bonded and insured small businesses. Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      I really like Your Pampered Home – local business, super-responsive person in charge, very flexible with schedules, etc., good job cleaning.

    • http://uniquemaidservice.net/

      I’ve used them monthly for the last three years. They’ve never damaged anything.

    • rosie says:

      We use Lili’s Cleaning. I *think* their website is http://www.liliscleaning.com/default.html. We found them through word-of-mouth at our apartment complex, so we’ve only ever communicated with them by phone. I can check when I get home to see if the number matches.

      We have been happy so far. They aren’t super-reliable in terms of timing, which we don’t care about, since they let themselves in, but could be an issue. We also had one last minute cancellation early in our relationship with them (have been using this service for about 4 months). It also took a while for Lili to start using green cleaners, but I think it was a communication issue–she wanted to do what we were asking, she just did not understand what we meant at first. Fine with our dog. She says insured and bonded.

      • I used Merry Maids and loved them. Not sure if they offer green services, but you could certainly ask (or ask that they use your products).

    • Bluejay says:

      Thanks ladies! Will check those out.

  2. This is a GREAT purse – bought the small lavender lizard/ivory version from the Botkier website. Very well designed and easy to use. Has a shoulder strap too. The large version is pretty large — looked much too big on me and I’m 5’10″ tall. Unless you like to carry a bunch of stuff, consider the small. Also ordered – and returned – the blue/purple colorblock version. It’s pretty but much brighter than it looks on line or in magazine ads.

  3. Susan says:

    Great bag! Love the flash of color on the sides. Awesome pick, Kat!

  4. How does one go about finding a career counselor or coach? I looked on Yelp but didn’t find anything promising. Does anyone have any recommendations in Philly area, preferably someone with experience advising people in creative careers (marketing, etc.)?

    • I would be interested in the DC area if anyone has recomendations. Graduated 2 years ago and have no idea what I want my next steps to be.

      • For DC, about 8 or so years ago I used Ability Potentials http://www.abilitypotentials.com/ They were spot on with my assessment. I recently had a 1 hour consulting session with a career coach and she had some good recommendations, but I ultimately did not pursue it because I am not spending money right now. Here is her LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/valliswerdlow

      • cc — I replied, but post is in moderation. Check out Ability Potentials and Valli Swerdlow.

        • Thanks eek the other comment never came through. DId you have personal experience wih ability potential? thank you

          • Yep — I took the test, went back 1-2 weeks later and got my written assessment (approx 15 or so pages) during an hour long follow-up session. If you decide to get aptitude testing, please please please don’t google beforehand, ok? I think if I’d known what types of tests I’d be given and what they are designed measure, I’d have been more focused on doing well on each aspect. There is no right or wrong answer. The results were fascinating – described me to a T. (said I shouldn’t be a lawyer because I’d get bored…ahem!).

            Let me know if you don’t see the links.

          • Thanks eek, one more question do you mind telling me prices? And is the only follow up the session after, or do they continue to work with you? Thanks so much for answering my Qs

          • cc – tried to post this in weekend open thread…but my comment won’t post. Hopefully you see this.
            —-
            cc — I saw your follow up from yesterday. I *think* the Ability Potentials was ~$300; I don’t know what it would be in this economy, 8 years later. The quotes I got from the career coach ranged from $1k-several thousand depending on the package. I wasn’t really interested in doing it, but since I got a free session as part of a seminar I attended, I figured what the heck. She provided good stuff and suggestions for me, but it’s not something I need right now. If you’re completely stuck and don’t enjoy your work and don’t know what you want, I’d do the aptitude testing. If you enjoy your work but don’t know how to brand yourself, move to the next level, know what things you should be doing, I’d try career coaching or read up on management blogs.

          • When I went, the followup session was the one hour and I don’t remember if they offered other packages for continued coaching. But, I still get their quarterly newsletters.

          • Thanks eek, it sounds like the testing is for me. If its less than or around even the 500 mark I think it might be worth it for me. Really appreciate your response! I am in the stuck category. Have been in retail and it is so not for me, but it is a good job in other ways so I want my next step to be a really good job that I can grow with. Unfortunately, some days I think that could be anywhere from chef to secret agent. I think that test might be a great place to start.

    • Susan says:

      I know someone who’s a career coach– strictly as a friendly acquaintance. I have never hired him, so I cannot post an evaluation of his work.

      However, he seems to know his stuff and has done coaching at a pretty diverse bunch of companies: typical corporate places, non-profits, as well as worked with people with more of an entertainment/marketing focus.

      Google “Jeffrey Emil Diaz” — he teaches at Columbia University’s School of Social Work part-time, but I believe he’s willing to travel and the NYC- Philly distance isn’t that much. I believe he has his own website, so you can reach out to him, arrange to hear his philosophy, find out pricing, and see if it’s worthwhile to set up a session.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks very much, I looked him up. Although he is impressive, he seems quite focused on organizations and individuals at the executive level and working with . I am looking on my SO’s behalf and he’s not even close to that.

        You or others may remember my post from a Weekend thread a month or so ago–I was the lawyer with the graphic designer SO who had a long-term unemployment problem and couldn’t pay his bills. Some people in that thread recommended career counseling and we are ready for that step, but I think what I have in mind is help revamping his job search strategies rather than how to be an effective employee.

        • No suggestions for a career coach, but good luck! I remember your post, and I hope things are going better for you and your SO.

        • OP — many career coaches do sessions over phone/Skype, but because of your SO’s situation a local one would probably be better in order to take advantage of their network/connections/knowledge of local area. Good luck!

  5. Anon Canadian says:

    I was just checking out the new Mad Men Collection at the Canadian Banana Republic website (which btw seems to have far less pieces than last year, but I digress) and I noticed that they’ve started listing the models’ heights. I don’t know if I’m behind on this info but I thought I’d share just in case :)

    • AnonInfinity says:

      I like this! It can give an idea if the dress will be too short on (not-model-height) me.

      • Anon Canadian says:

        Apparently the models for the Mad Men collection are 5’10″ and 5’11″. That lets me know that I’ll definitely have to get the dresses in petite, I’m only 5’0″.

    • Duchess says:

      I love (LOVE!) the elbow length Draper dress, but alas alack, I’m much too pale and light haired to be able to pull off a white dress. Makes no shopping for Lent much easier, luckily.

      • I love that dress too, but also not in that color. Generally a little disappointed with the collection this time. I also like the non-floral version of the Joan sheath, but would only wear it in a darker color. Nothing else caught my eye.

        • canadian anon says:

          Right? The dresses and styles are nice, but the colours are so limited.

          • I do like that they all have sleeves. I really like the khaki one with the polka dot belt.

          • I had that exact thought. I love the dresses, but would feel too church-y to wear the white to work, and am just not a pink person. The floral Joan sheath would be my pick of the offerings as they are, but either of the Draper dresses in a different color (red? green? blue?) would be gorgeoussss

    • phillygirlruns says:

      i wish they’d also list what size the model is wearing and whether it’s tall or regular. at 5’4, i’m often on the cusp of regular and petite sizes, especially since i’m not really petite at all – just short.

      and i LOVE the joan sheath. LOVE.

  6. SunnyD says:

    When I wear cardigans, I often button only the buttons in the middle–leaving two or three at the top and one to three at the bottom unbuttoned (obviously I wear a shirt underneath). But when I wear a thinner cardigan (think silk), the two pieces at the top of the neck (where the top button is) just flop over–they won’t stay standing straight up against my skin. How do you keep your unbuttoned cardigan tops standing up? I need Vi*gra for cardigans!

    I hope someone understands what I’m talking about; this is more difficult to describe than I’d anticipated.

    • Can't wait to quit says:

      Double stick tape. Seems fussy, but boy does it work and make the whole thing look very put together. Work when you have a button-up shirt on under a cardigan too.

    • Ellie says:

      I know what you’re talking about, have not found a solution, and can’t wait to try Cant Wait’s idea.

    • I had this exact problem today and am going to try Can’t wait to quit’s suggestion too!

    • Nonny says:

      Or, if you don’t want to use double-stick tape and are dealing with a cardigan that you want to keep in the rotation for a long time, stitch grosgrain ribbon inside the button band of your cardigan – this will add structure without weight.

    • Anonymous says:

      I never button my cardigans and buy them in a size smaller than I would ordinarily buy if I planned on buttoning them. They seem to lay much better without that extra material, and don’t gape in the back. Obviously this wouldn’t work though if not being able to button is a dealbreaker for you.

    • Can't wait to quit says:

      One hint though – if you have too much lotion on your skin, the tape won’t stick to it.

    • Eloise Speghetti says:

      I know exactly what you mean! I started getting v-neck cardigans only if they are this material. But I may try the double sided tape on the others.

    • Circe says:

      I *only* buy v-neck cardis for this reason.

  7. Monday says:

    Am I losing it? I need some shopping help if anyone knows what I’m talking about. I keep seeing Gap ads featuring what appears to be a women’s button-front shirt in white with a classic black windowpane pattern. Yet I haven’t found it in the store and can’t find it online. Has anyone seen this shirt at the Gap? (I know that my chasing an item like this is weird, but it’s just Monday style I guess!) Thanks…

  8. afl73 says:

    Love the colors, but I will no longer buy a bag I can’t get into from the top with one hand.

    • SF Bay Associate says:

      Ha, that’s my criteria for NOT buying a bag. Way too easy to be pickpocketed if a person can into the bag with one hand.

  9. EC MD says:

    I might have just rewarded myself with this after a miserable 9 day stretch of call…blue and green for me.

  10. I find bags that are big but meant to be carried on the arm to be very frustrating. I currently have one, and today I had to carry more stuff than usual and my arm still hurts from the weight. I love the look but it kills me. Never again! I know this bag comes with a strap but I don’t think that looks quite right with something this shape so my quest for the perfect shoulder bag will have to go on…

    On an aside, can I just vent: found a really cute red purse on NM’s website yesterday morning, at about 60% off, thought let’s not be impulsive, and an hour later it vanished. Sometimes, I think I need to be way less responsible with my money.

    • Diana Barry says:

      Ditto. I have a Cole Haan bag that I am using right now that is pebbled leather, nice, but HEAVY. Doubly heavy when I put in my water bottle and wallet. The new lime green Kate Spade one I bought for spring (yay!) is less heavy. I made sure to take all the padding out at the store, put my stuff in, and heft it around to check the weight.

      • You know….my CH bag is surprisingly heavy now that I think of it (esp when compared to larger bags that I own).

    • Eleanor says:

      This happened to me during one of the recent J.Crew X%-off-final-sale-items sale. I had been wanting that dumb pink tweed pencil skirt all winter, and it kept popping in and out of my size, and $120 seemed overpriced, but it finally went on sale in my size! I added it to my cart, then spent so much time debating whether I really needed a shirt as well, and checking and re-checking to make sure I had the right size, that it disappeared from the cart. Sometimes it’s better just to buy something and not think about it!

    • mamabear says:

      For shoulder bags, I like the look of the Coach classics. I haven’t liked Coach, really, in about 10 years or so, since they started with the logo and all the gee gaws all over everything, but I like the reissues of their old styles. I even have my original “Willis” (don’t remember whether it was originally called that, I don’t think so) but it’s black. For some reason, I used to only carry black handbags. I’m interested in the reissue they’re calling the “Stewardess” in the lighter brown.

      http://www.coach.com/online/handbags/-handbags_coach_originals-10551-10051-12589-en?t1Id=62&t2Id=12589&tier=2

      • Lovely – if only Coach just stuck to the classics :)

      • phillygirlruns says:

        my parents got me the coach “court bag” as a college graduation present. i used it for my first summer working for a judge and then lent it to my mother for a job interview…she swears she gave it back to me but i haven’t seen it since. disappointing, since there have been several times over the past 8 years or so that i’ve thought “hey, that would be really convenient to have right now.” and yet i just don’t feel like shelling out a few hundred bucks for a new one.

        and AW HELL it’s been 8 years since i graduated college. faaaaaaaaark.

  11. bored bored bored says:

    Threadjack: I am bored, bored, BORED at my job. Literally, some days I just sit at my desk and read blogs all day long because I have no work to do. And, I dislike the industry I work in. I’ve tried to start strategic projects, but no one values them or has time for them. Even requests that are “urgent” get pushed to the back burner, so I end up blocked on the few projects that I still have open (ie: “We need a new website TOMORROW”. So, I rush around like a crazy woman to get mock-ups, content, domains, etc., send it to my superiors and it’s been a full month and they haven’t even looked at them. I guess that request wasn’t sooooo urgent after all?). When I was first hired, they had a lot of tasks that needed to be done, but now that I’ve done all those, they have no real “vision” if that makes sense. They don’t want to grow my area, so I just twiddle my thumbs all day. I’m currently job hunting, but that’s slow. I hear many of you talking about 60-80 hour workweeks, and I am kind of jealous of you. Sure, I’d probably burn out eventually, but sitting in the office for 8 hours with no purpose is KILLING ME. I like to be productive, give me some more work to do, or let me leave and enjoy the sunshine until I get my killer-hours job! Any advice on how to either be less bored, get more work, or get a different job?

    • Amelia Pond says:

      Umm are you secretly me? I am having a similar issue, in that I get everything done by Wednesday and then my projects and suggestions that I work on Thursday and Friday are ignored/ nothing done with them. So I am job hunting. So not advice just commiserating

      • bored bored bored says:

        How’s your job hunt going Amelia? I just wonder if I’m doing something wrong, because I am hearing dead silence. I’m qualified and everyone that meets me tells me that I’m great, passionate, doing really well, etc. but I never get interviews. I’ve had people pass my resume along directly to the hiring manager, and NOTHING. I wonder if I should pay someone to re-write my resume or something… I just can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.

        • Amelia Pond says:

          Unfortunately I am only getting interviews for positions that turn out to not be what the posting describes/not a good fit. I am not a lawyer, I do project management and consulting so it may be a completely different market. I did have a career coach re-write my resume after my last job and work with me on how to job hunt (the only perk of my entire department getting laid off) and I was told that gave me an edge for this job. I am also networking a ton and that’s how I have gotten all my interviews thus far.

          • bored bored bored says:

            I’m not a lawyer either, and I’m hunting in two major metroplex areas. I see postings all the time that I am qualified for, so I don’t think it’s a dearth of openings in my field (as it seems to be for the lawyers, per discussion on this board). I guess I’m glad to know that it’s not just me, but it’s disheartening to hear that so many people who are willing and able to work are stuck being bored or job hunting.

        • bored, I don’t think it’s necessarily you. It’s just how things are right now.

        • Oh my God we ARE the same person. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong, either, except job-searching in a recession.

    • Me too! says:

      Same here! I feel I kind of got tricked into relocating for this job and they do not have anywhere near enough to do for any sentient adult :(
      Makes me question my whole life, what am I doing etc. etc. It is miserable!
      Thanks for posting this!! (Wish I could be more helpful).

      • Me too! says:

        Oh and I am applying for jobs constantly, it is super tough. Haven’t been at this job very long and I guess honesty in my cover letter isn’t going over that well. I have gotten a few interviews though, now it is just hurry up & wait.

    • Nonny says:

      OMG, if you aren’t Amelia you must be me, except I *am* a lawyer, unlike Amelia. I just decided I couldn’t take it anymore, which is one of the reasons I have been job-hunting. I don’t see any prospect of things getting better here. I think it is a product of my small city and not this particular firm, though the firm itself has some issues too (viclawstudent, cover your ears if you are hoping to stay here).

    • anone says:

      Story of my life! I just started a new job hoping I’d solve this problem, since I was so bored at my last one. I get paid more now, but still bored as heck reading blogs all day, plus I need to put in face time for political reasons so I sit here way longer than necessary daily. UGH, what to do…can’t look for another job 2 months in…plus it could be a lot worse I imagine.

    • Eloise Speghetti says:

      I feel your pain. I could never be bored. I have the perfect job. Want some of my work? Haven’t had a day off in…actually I choose not to look at my calendar because it will be too depressing. Seriously, I leave to use the restroom, and I come back and my phone is blinking, there are three post-its on my screen and two files on my chair. I have to read this blog to stay sane and realize it’s always going to keep coming and never going to end.

      • bored bored bored says:

        Haha, Eloise, if you’re offering… what field are you in? I’ll let you have a nice long vacation! We could job share! I’ll take the insane hours for one quarter while you travel the world/read/go to the spa, whatever it is you like to do in your free time, and then you take it for the next quarter while I travel/read/etc.! It’s perfect!

    • Same boat. I finished all of my stuff for the day by 9:42 (I clocked it). And that extra work I asked for, that is only tangentially related to my job (direct quote from boss, “Well, Person X over in completely different office is supposed to do it, but he never does, so you can handle it if you want”); shilling for extra extra work was unsuccessful. So I sat around reading policy blogs and refreshing Corporette for the rest of the day.

    • Been there says:

      freerice [dot] com doesn’t work for that long but at least you’re increasing your vocab and delivering rice to hungry people

    • enjoy it while it lasts, really, try to. rare in most working life.

  12. Anon for this says:

    Just overheard someone blatantly talking about me and how my mistakes make her job harder. I have been thrown into a new assignment and I am still adjusting to some of the routine tasks. Any thoughts on how to handle this?

    • It’s simple. Just go talk to her. Something like, “I happened to hear you mention that some of my work is having an impact on the things you work on. Can we talk about it? I’m still adjusting to some of these new tasks, but maybe we can find a way to alleviate your frustration. It’s important to me that we can work well together.”

      Then let her go ahead and vent! Nod and tell her you understand, ask some questions, make some suggestions or mirror back what she’s saying. And voila. You’re the bigger person, they’re diffused, and maybe you have some useful new information to apply to those new routines.

    • 1. Approach the person during some down time and mention that you overheard her discussing her frustrations with your work.
      2. Ask her what you can do to do a better job. Let her know that you want to do a good job for her and for the company.
      3. [This one is the most important.] Do whatever she tells you to do. There’s nothing worse than someone asking how they can be better and when you tell them how they still don’t improve.

      Be direct.

    • Catelyn says:

      If she/he knows you heard, you should address it and maybe ask for advice on how to do better. If not, internalize and move on.

    • I am a banana. says:

      Not proud of this, but I’m sure I’ve said something like that about other people I’ve worked with before. I would swing by her office and say, “I’ve heard that you have some suggestions about how I can improve my transition into X assignment.” Triple edged sword – it reminds her that walls have ears, shows you care about your job, and might actually leave you with some words of wisdom. Added bonus – she will be wondering who told.

  13. eastbaybanker says:

    A side note on Botkier:
    I have been turned off of the brand after buying a bag from the company directly, and having the stitching on my bag start to fall out after a year of occasional use. Not what I expect from a $400 handbag. I contacted the Botkier and they would not offer an exchange or repair or even an apology or polite reply! I ended up getting the bag repaired at a local luggage repair shop, but I would never buy a purse from Botkier again. The quality doesn’t hold up to the price tag.

    • eastbaybanker says:

      Pardon the typo! That kind of day…

    • Anonymous says:

      well, that is good to know.

      I have irrationally hated Botkier ever since they started (10 yrs ago? or such) because their bags had 8 million gewgaws and long tassels on the zippers. I just thought they were vile then and have dismissed Botkier ever since.

      Not very nice of me, eh?

  14. Woods-comma-Elle says:

    Hurrah – Nordstrom now ships to the UK. I am debating buying The Skirt.

    The reason I discovered this is I was also buying myself a bag with my bonus, but the one I want I could only find on US websites. Sadly the customs and shipping charges are half the price of the bag!

  15. stink car? says:

    Stink Eye’s earlier comment made me think about a comment stream I regularly get and don’t know how to handle –

    My husband and I (no kids) own three vehicles. One is a massive pickup truck for when he has to pull trailers, etc for his work. One is a Subaru station wagon, that we’re only driving on long trips right now. And the one we drive to work in nearly every day (we carpool) is a 1989 Lincoln Town Car. It’s dented, I bought it in high school (I’m 29 now), one side panel is missing, it has 264K miles, and it runs GREAT. (Can you picture it?) (It’s okay to laugh. It’s huge and fits 6 people comfortably).

    Here’s the deal – we’re using this old car because it runs great, we couldn’t get $500 if we sold it, and because we’ve made a pact to not buy a new car until we pay off my student loans, unless an emergency arises. We have been working hard at it and only have $16,000 to go and will get it done this year. Then, we’ll both be 30, own our house, and have absolutely no debt. However, I don’t necessarily want to explain our financial goals to every person who comments. But everyone comments/asks questions/give unsolicited advice – people at work, at church, our families, thinking that we’re in dire financial straits because we don’t drive the nicest possible car that we can afford. It’s sort of the financial equivalent of walking up to a pregnant woman and rubbing her belly. We try to laugh it off, but…

    (1) When did it become okay to ask a person how much they make/if they have credit card debt/why don’t they buy a new car?
    (Really, just confirm these people are way out of line and I’m right to be slightly offended)

    (2) What is a tactful way to deflect this? I don’t want to get up on my soapbox about our views on living debt-free, and I know that to each person who asks the question is brand-new to them, but I’ve had to answer “It works for us – if it’s not broken, we’re not going to fix it” about two hundred times.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      I think I would just laugh and say “With the cost of gas these days, we’re just driving this one until the wheels fall off.” If they push further, I’d change the subject or ignore them. Most of the time, in my experience, people are either well-meaning and won’t push further, or they are just trying to feel better about themselves and their financial situation, in which case, there’s truly nothing you can say which will help.

    • One approach is to not answer and turn the tables back on them. You could say, “You don’t like my car?”

      • Totes McGotes says:

        I like this one; and then you can sit there silently with raised eyebrows as they splutter to explain why they asked… and keep digging the hole deeper.

    • AnonInfinity says:

      Your name makes me laugh — This is the nickname my husband and I had for his old 1989 Civic that we just traded in a couple of months ago. (I use that term very loosely… we got all of $300 for it.)

      Anyway — when people would ask us why we didn’t get a new car, we’d say, “We like this one and don’t want a new one.” People usually don’t ask anything else after that. Sometimes people realize they’re being rude if you look confused and say, “Why would you say that?”

    • Ellie says:

      I would be biting my tongue not to make a snarky remark back about that persons older bag/clothes/house/anything else. Yikes. People are so nosy and rude. I would look very offended. You’re a much better person than I am.
      Sorry, that probably wasn’t very helpful.

    • Niktaw says:

      I’d think you’d only have to explain it to family once, no?

      This is not about driving “the nicest possible car you can afford”, but rather about dents and the missing panel. If the car looked well-maintained, you’d parade it as an antique/memento and would have gotten compliments, not prying questions. As it is, you not only appear poor, but also sloppy.

      Mind you, I am very frugal and support living below means, but still.

      • Right I was going to mention that line. Its not your refusal to drive the nicest possible car you can afford- youre not in a 2000 civic, your driving a car that’s over 20 years old and looks like a dump.

        I think its none of their business but still, they think you are sending a message with that car.

        For deflecting, I would just laugh it off with something like I’m too attached to it!

    • When people ask you about the car just laugh and say, “Don’t worry, we can only drive it until it stops working.” Then change the subject.

    • rosie says:

      I would just laugh and say that you’re keeping this car around for sentimental value, and move on.

    • Seattleite says:

      1) They are out of line;
      2) “We have other priorities.” (And privately pity them, for having so little vision.)

    • I would say, Why would I want to take on a car payment when this one is paid for?

    • TCFKAG says:

      (1) It hasn’t become okay — what is wrong with people. Apparently barns are more common than I think.

      (2) I might go with “You know when they offered cash for clunkers….we couldn’t give up our clunker!” And leave it at that. Or say…I spend all my car money on shoes. :-P

      • That’s what I always say when people comment on how I bring my lunch to my big firm job and cook dinner at home every day. “I shop too much to eat out.”

    • Lilly says:

      “I choose not to throw substantial amounts of discretionary income at a depreciating asset” is my answer to similar inquiries concerning my ’03 SUV with a 4 year old dent in the rear bumper that seems to bother everyone but DH and me. If I’m feeling charitable, I may follow this with a big smile and mention that we’ve enjoyed seeing north Africa, Europe , Central America and various cities in the US instead, because we do love to throw discretionary income at travel experiences. It seems to make the point that people may chose to spend their money as they wish and it’s nobody’s business but their own. So far it has worked.

      • I like this answer! And I couldn’t agree more, I’m very happy to drive my ’99 Camry, which still runs great, if it means I have more money for vacations and wonderful meals in fancy restaurants (and loans and the bank).

    • Bunkster says:

      The people I know must be more polite. In my family, we drive our cars until they literally stop running. My car is almost 11 years old. My brother’s is 15 years and my dad’s is 18 years old.

      I like that “we have other priorities” response, though.

      Oh, and 23 years is impressive! I hope mine lasts that long.

    • Bluejay says:

      “Oh, the car has sentimental value.” And if they press, “It has a REALLY comfy backseat.”

      • Anonymous says:

        Priorities! I have a coworker who sometimes makes me feel bad about my clothes – she will say, “I hate those cheap __ suits.” Or, “I only shop at __.” Then one day, a few of us were discussing student loans and I learned that she hasn’t paid a penny on hers in five years. Most people live beyond their means.

  16. Dallas area meet-up? says:

    Would any Dallas corporettes be open for a meet-up the week of March 12-18? If so, time and place suggestions?

  17. Yay!!! says:

    Any recommendations for pregnancy books for a first timer? What to expect has really bad reviews on Amazon.

    • Fiona says:

      I am not yet pregnant but thinking about it soon, and my sister gave me The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy recently. It’s helpful and informative and funny, although not all that medically detailed.

      • Anon Canadian says:

        I’m also not yet pregnant and have only been off the pill for a couple off months but I’ve been researching pregnancy books for a while. You know, borrowing them from the library to decide which I want to spend my money on.

        My two favourite so far are The Mother of All Pregnancy Books by Ann Macdonald and From the Hips by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.

        MoA is a really good resource book, lots of info but not to cold or scary.

        FtH I love for the real insights of anonymous parents. There are these bubbles (like in comic books) on every page from “Anonymoms” and a few “Anonydads” full of the honest things that everyone thinks and feels but won’t say because it’s not right or they’re scared of what people will think of them. Some of the quotes are funny, some are heart breaking. To be honest, I never actually got around to reading the actual text of the book.

        I really like the advice that Giraffe? Giraffe! gave about reading baby care books before the baby comes, as well. I’m definitely gonna get on that!

      • Anonymous says:

        Ditto that, and Baby 411 for when the baby arrives (or just before).

      • I am pregnant and hate both of those. Just today I called my doctor after being slightly concerned that I couldn’t hear my baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope (dr friend lent it) because the daily ‘what to expect’ email and other non-medical sources had said that was the big exciting thing this week/month. Well he says it’s total bs. We have the mayo clinic guide to preg and it’s not bad. Mostly though, I just call the doc/nurse when needed and limit time with the books/internet because it almost always does not help but hurts.

        I also can NOT stand the cutesy I’m your buddy tone of these books.. but they are so popular that must work for most.

        • my comment posted below the other responses.. the two i meant are what to expect and girlfriend’s guide. can’t speak to any others.

      • Second this.

      • Mom of a toddler says:

        I like “Your Pregnancy Week by Week.” It focuses mostly on the physical stuff about your and baby rather than the emotional changes, which I liked.

    • Anne-on says:

      What to expect has been rewritten so it’s a lot less scare-monger-y these days. For a good one stop reference it’s hard to beat. For something more light-hearted I liked the girlfriends guide to pregnancy. Your pregnancy week by week was ok, but I didn’t love the weekly format.
      For a baby book, I really liked first time parent by Lucy Atkins. It’s a British book, so some of the terms are different, but it’s a good basic book that has lots of practical advice without freaking you out. Ha, and my husband likes that it has lots of pictures and step by step guides to things like how to change a diaper/give a bath.
      Good luck!

      • mamabear says:

        I didn’t realize What to Expect had been re-written. I used to call it

        “What Horrible Things Can Go Wrong With Your Unborn Baby This Month”

        subtitle “If You Eat That Lunchmeat, Your Baby Will Be Born With Three Heads”

        • mamabear says:

          I guess I didn’t really have a favorite pregnancy book. I had the internet, but that can be just as scaremongery. I do have a favorite new baby book, though. This one

          http://www.amazon.com/Caring-Your-Baby-Young-Child/dp/0553110454

          My kids are ages 9 and 11 now and I’m still using it.

        • My husband has a super favorite book. It’s called the Expectant Father. He found it and it made all the difference- suddenly he got everything. Written by a former Marine, it breaks out each phase into 1- what’s going on w/baby 2- what’s up with wife 3- what actions can you take to address these things. Seriously it is awesome. He got it at a kids consignment shop while I was maternity clothes shopping.

        • Amy H. says:

          Alternate subtitle: “If you get so far off track as to eat an ENTIRE BAGEL, forgive yourself and just ensure you NEVER DO IT AGAIN.”

    • Giraffe? Giraffe! says:

      What to Expect the First Year. I read everything there was to read about pregnancy and labor/delivery–I loved knowing what was going on with my body and with the developing baby. But then….there was a baby, and I didn’t know what to do with it or what was supposed to happen when, and with a newborn there isn’t a whole lot of time to read! So I would recommend reading about infant care and sleep methods (Ferber, No Cry Sleep Solution, whatever) now when you have time. The development of the fetus and the delivery are going to happen no matter what you do or how much/little you prepare. The raising of the actual baby–that’s a lot more on you and your knowledge.

      Oh fine, Mayo Guide was my favorite pregnancy book, and Amalah’s 0 to 40 weekly calendar online is a lot of fun.

    • I actually really liked What To Expect – lots of detailed info. I did not like Your Pregnancy Week by Week – a lot of fluff without much real medical info.

    • Anon 42 says:

      I liked the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and rarely had to look elsewhere. Congrats!

    • I didn’t like any pregnancy books. I mostly used Babycenter. I thought What to Expect was total scaremongering. BUT, I had an ectopic with my first pregnancy, and I don’t think I would have understood what was happening and gone to the doctor as soon as I did if it hadn’t been for that book. They tell you everything that could possibly go wrong, but sometimes it does, and then you’re armed with some information.

    • My favorite was the Mayo Clinic book and the Girlfriend’s Guide. Congrats!

    • I know the title sounds lame, but the “Great Expectations” book — www. amazon.com/ Great-Expectations-All- One-Childbirth/dp/0760741328 (a few spaces added in there)

      No fear mongering; very informative; the only book I consulted (and the only book recommended by my doctor).

  18. Giraffe? Giraffe! says:

    Threadjack – has anyone seen those ads for shoedazzle.com? I signed up and was totally surprised to learn that if you buy one thing, they’ll automatically charge you each month for a selection from your “showroom.” I canceled before purchasing anything because that seems like a giant scam / way too close to the Columbia House / BMG CD purchase clubs that ran up my bills when I was in high school. Just thought I would warn others to stay away unless you know you’ll remember to check each month if you actually want the purchase. (Plus the shoes that they picked for me looked pretty trashy and nothing like the styles I thought I’d picked during my initial “style quiz.”)

    • Ellie says:

      I mean, it was founded by Kim Kardashian.

      • Giraffe? Giraffe! says:

        Yikes, if I’d know that I would never have visited the site in the first place. I saw the ad, thought ooh, cute shoes, and gave my “shopping junk mail” email address.

    • CA Atty says:

      There’s a bunch of these popping up, and I actually LOVE the idea (for about…4 months, then maybe not!) but I’ve noticed they try to draw you in with cute shoes, and then you never see those shoes again! I even tried emailing one of them saying “the reason I came to the site and gave you my info was for these specific shoes which I want to purchase. Where are they?” And I got a note back that they didn’t actually sell THOSE shoes, it was “just a generic picture of a shoe.”

    • ooooh, columbia house / BMG…..what were my picks? Alanis, Natalie Merchant, and I can’t remember the other four.

      In Kardashian news….on Watch What Happens Live tonight, Andy’s guests are Nancy Grace and Kris Jenner. Interesting dynamic.

    • That’s the whole point of shoe dazzle, it is a subscription. You can opt out months out though. I think they are pretty upfront about what they are but I’ve never used them

    • fresh jd says:

      It’s the same story with Shoemint; Stylemint and Jewelmint. I ordered super cute jewelry, but now have to log in and press “skip month” from the 1st-5th of each month to avoid being charged. I might call and cancel altogether, though I imagine they’re not gonna make it easy…

    • That whole thing sounded pretty odd to me. An attorney who sings with me asked me if I’d ever looked at it, because she knows I am shoe-obsessed and she said she might try it. I said that I couldn’t imagine just letting some company send me a pair of shoes every month. Then one of the other choir members said that I probably buy a pair of shoes a month, which may be true, but what would be the fun in having somebody else pick them out? And what if I want the same boots in two colors? I just don’t get it.

      • No you choose them every month, its not just random!

        • That makes it a little better, but I don’t know if I’d want to be that tied in to their shoes or buying a pair of shoes every month, even if I do average 12 (or more) pairs in a year.

  19. another anon says:

    Mini-rant here….I got a Title 9 catalog in the mail recently and liked a few things…I just went online to order, and the shipping was going to be $16.95 for two dresses and a skirt!! I find that to be absurd. And their shipping rates are based on the total cost of your order, with shipping costs going up the more you spend. I have never understood why companies do this. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? They clearly make more profit off of you the more you spend, and for items like clothing that don’t weigh a ton, I doubt that it costs that much more to send three items that together cost over $200 vs. 1 $20 item.

    And I can’t find a free shipping or other discount code on the internet that works. So yeah, title 9, you just lost a sale.

    • so anonymous says:

      I sympathize – I’m at the point where I almost refuse to pay for shipping. I do have an Amazon Prime membership ($79/year), which offers free 2-day shipping on everything.

      That being said, I know that companies pay a boatload to ship – think of gas prices these days. So the idea is that even when you get “free shipping,” the cost is being passed down to the customer through the prices. Not that you should buy from them anyway – I think they should get more creative with their pricing structure.

      • another anon says:

        Yeah, I get that when shipping is “free,” I am still paying for it elsewhere. But I have just become so accustomed to getting it for free that it really annoys me to be asked to pay so much. And it really irks me to essentially be punished with higher shipping rates for purchasing more. And that wasn’t even for fast shipping…it was for standard, 7-10 day shipping.

        I have amazon prime too, and that is totally worth it, IMO. Mine renews in December and pays for itself the same month because I buy a lot of x-mas gifts on Amazon. But the thing about Amazon is that even without the prime membership, a lot of the time you have the option of the super saver free shipping–it just takes a lot longer. That’s a business model I can respect.

    • PollyD says:

      Once in a while Title Nine stuff shows up on Amazon or Sierra Trading Post. The pickings are pretty slim, though.

      Had the same experience – I thought the Title Nine stuff was pretty cute, but there’s no way I’m paying for shipping when very similar items can be found at Athleta for free shipping.

  20. I am a banana. says:

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