Weekend Open Thread

Gizeh Birko-FlorSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Call me crazy, but I feel like Birks are having a resurgence right now. I always see stylish women wearing them around NYC, and if I were to go on a vacation they’d be my #1 walking shoe. They’re still hard to pull off with a girly dress, but for bumming around in shorts or dresses like maxis I think they’re great. I especially like them in their metallic colors, such as this “titanium” pair. They’re $79.95 at Zappos. Birkenstock – Gizeh Birko-Flor (Titanium Birko-Flor ) – Footwear

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Comments

  1. So I just found out that there’s a Trader Joe’s right near my office, as well as a giant Whole Foods and an awesome TJMaxx. I’ve never been to Trader Joe’s, but I know a lot of people swear by it. Do you all have any recommendations for good products?

    • Dried fruit section: chile-covered mangos. Or chile-dusted. Something with chile and mango. They are amazing.

    • They frequently have discount hose, sometimes even the really nice ones. Plus the food stuffs sold by the counter are sometimes ridiculously good.

      • Oops. That was for TJ Maxx.

        For Trader Joes, the frozen Indian lunches are ammmmaaazing. Also, the frozen mac and cheese. And basically everything. OOH! How could I almost forget the ginger lemon cookies!

        • I have yet to meet a frozen Trader Joe’s meal I didn’t like, but I absolutely devour the Indian entrees (I love Indian food in general, and these are pretty legit) AND they have frozen naan (score!). The Sweet Red wine is also a favorite–it tastes like sangria right out of the bottle.

        • The frozen mac and cheese (Joe’s Diner) is very clearly the best non-homemade macaroni and cheese currently available anywhere. I challenge anyone to name a better one.

          • In my opinion it is actually better than a lot of homemade Mac & cheese I’ve eaten.

            Other favorites? Eggplant hummus, dried tart montmorency cherries, organic pb, jams, frozen entrees (indian and Asian are really good). Also if you have picky kid eaters their “kid food” is pretty healthy compared to others…chicken nuggets are whole chicken breast, for example. Also their frozen French toast and waffles are very popular in my house. Their apps are nice for entertaining.

            Let me put it this way. Our nearest tjs is 45 minutes away and either me or my nanny makes a shop there weekly. It’s worth the drive.

    • Cornellian :

      olive tapenade!

    • Everything! The things that always end up in our shopping cart at TJ’s are frozen meals for lunch, gnocchi sorrentina and the large veggie lasagna for quick dinners, jalapeno hummus, chicken sausage, jarred pesto, snack sized packets of nuts and trail mix, a pound bar of bittersweet chocolate with almonds and wine.

      • The large veggie lasagna is my go to for busy nights!

        I also love (and hoard) their veggie gyoza and the vegetable mélange, which is great to throw into anything from tomato soup to scrambles eggs.

        They also have the most delicious bread – forget the name, but its elongated oval slices with poppy seeds and the like.

      • In our house the jalapeño cilantro hummus is known as ‘crack hummus’. Yum!!

    • The shampoo and conditioner are the best I have ever used (including salon brands), sulfate and silicone-free, and like $3 a bottle.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Is that the TJ’s on Mem Drive? (Not that I am a huge stalker or anything…) It’s a good one. It is weirdly tiny in comparison to the size of its parking lot, but it is generally well stocked. I really like:

      TJs Mac & Cheese
      All the frozen foods
      Chocolate covered raisins

    • Truffles! The chocolate ones, not the fungus (although I love that, too).

    • MaggieLizer :

      Handful of almonds, lentil soup, bags of small apples or pears, clementines, soyrizo… I do a lot of shopping there!

    • I’ve found the Trader Joe’s selection is amazing – and you really can’t go wrong in sampling their brand-name items. Makes my mouth water thinking about it. Personally, I love the ready-made frozen tamales – you pop them in a steamer basket and they’re ready 20 minutes later.

    • layered bob :

      I don’t get produce there because it’s overpriced compared to the little Mexican market near my house. But TJ’s shines in the semi-prepared category.

      1) Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauvignon Blanc is an unbeatable-for-the-price summer wine
      2) Masala Simmer Sauce. We eat it over a can of chickpeas and left-over rice as a two-minute meal.
      3) Always keep a box or two of the steamed lentils in the fridge. Open and serve, add to soups, salads, etc.
      4) Lara bars are cheaper there than at a standard grocery store.
      5) Coffee/tea
      6) Dried mango. OMG yes.
      7) Cheese. (Their goat gouda is great.) Also yogurt – my favorite is TJs honey greek yogurt.
      8) Cereal is often cheaper there than elsewhere – particularly some of the “health food” brands. This is also true of water crackers and just-peanuts peanut butter.
      9) Wine.
      10) Frozen foods are reliable and reliably not full of junk – my favs are the berry mixes, frozen hash brown potatoes, pizzas, palak paneer to serve over rice for a quick dinner, and falafel. The falafel is fantastic, imo.
      11) I also like the bags of frozen onions/peppers for sauteeing or fajitas – not now but in the winter they are way cheaper and often better quality than fresh peppers.
      12) Vegetarian chorizo. Not as big a fan of other beans-and-rice -style vegetarian staples as I can find them much cheaper at the local market.

      hmm… yeah, I’m a big TJs fan. It’s great for just having things on hand/in the freezer when my other dinner plans fall through and I need something a little quicker/easier – lots of interesting semi-prepared or frozen ingredients than can be easily thrown together.

      I also find that TJs is well-curated – whatever products they have are pretty reliably interesting and delicious, and they’re constantly adding new products and culling old, less-popular ones.

    • FormerPhotog :

      Cookie Butter! Almondictive bits!
      I do all my shopping there – good cheese selection – I’m currently in love with the Extraordinary Cheddar. The frozen haricots vert are a staple, as is the chicken breakfast sausage (actutally, any of the chicken sausages). I love the Middle Eastern Flatbreads and the Whole Wheat sandwich bread, too.

      Good coffee and tea at good prices, fantastic nuts and dried fruits. I do find most of the fresh produce, other than bagged greens, to be not so good, and prefer to get that at the local produce store, though.

      • I know I am so going to regret asking this, but *what* is cookie butter??

        • Um, Delicious, that’s what!!

          It is a spread made of gingerbread cookies, also called Speculoos, it’s a Belgian thing… sort of….

        • FormerPhotog :

          Banned from my house. ;)

          It’s a spread, also known as speculoos or Biscoff (branded). It’s basically like peanut butter made out of lightly spiced shortbread cookies, and it is ridiculously delicious. I like it with peanut butter, Nutella/ TJs Cocoa-almond spread, apples, waffles, crackers, a spoon, my fingers….

        • I knew I would regret asking…that sounds soooo good!

          • Romans et al. :

            Biscoff is addictive! Found it in their brand store on the embarcadero in San Francisco. Happily local grocers are just now starting to carry it in Texas. The company’s website has it as well. If you love it, it’s dangerous as it can be a total substitute for peanut butter :) They also make cookies which are just as great – used to get them on airlines. Oh, the Biscoff. Makes a hard, busy day at the office worthwhile, just waiting for the Biscoff Break.

    • Cheese! An plants/flowers. Both are SO much cheaper than at WF.

    • Frankly, it’s hard to think of anything I don’t like at TJ’s. Some particular favorites are: chocolate-chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, Tarte d’Alsace, basically any of the frozen pizzas, their private-label wines…

    • ChocCityB&R :

      TJ rec–Salads and wraps! So cheap, healthy, easy, I have one at least twice a week for lunch.

    • I buy all my groceries at TJ’s.

      I swear by:
      – black bean & corn enchiladas
      – trail mix granola bars
      – green fin white table wine
      – blue fin pinot noir
      – almost all produce–bell peppers are a GREAT price at TJ’s; arugula or spinach; teeny tiny potatoes, apples, etc
      -chipotle lime tortillas
      – sea salt reduced fat pita chips
      – the smooth hummus (not sure what it’s called), but its $2.99 and same size as Sabra
      -the pizza dough (white or wheat) for homemade pizza (only like $1)
      -all flowers!

    • SoCal Gator :

      My original post is in moderation apparently because I used the word “b*lls” to describe the small mozarella ovalini in a favorite salad.

      Here is my revised post:
      Their salads are awesome. I love the Super Spinach salad, the Bistro salad, the reduced fat Greek salad and the Italian one with fresh mozzarella pieces. I also love the huge packs of fresh baby spinach, the aoli mustard, the frozen fire roasted peppers and onions and the Fage Greek yogurt. I shop at TJ’s every single week and buy more there than the regular grocery store.

    • Whole Foods will have an excellent cafeteria where you can eat lunch.
      For Trader Joe’s, google Trader Joe’s Fan – you’ll find loads of recc’s there.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I LOVE Whole Foods for lunch. Their premade sushi is great for quick and mostly healthy, and they always have good salad + hot food. I can also take the chance to pick something up for dinner and replenish the fruit I keep in my desk, so it is great!

    • Totes McGotes :

      Honey sesame cashews…. nommm

    • I get Walnut’s, Soy Milk, Bannanas (19 cent’s each) and the EMPIRE Ground White Turkey Meat ($4.99), which I used to BAKE for ALAN.

      I used to get my Bread there, but with my tush NOW beeing what it is, I have STOPPED buyeing BREAD. FOOEY!

    • -Pounds Plus chocolate bars (so cheap and great quality chocolate)
      -Chocolate chips (so cheap and much better than Nestle)
      -Cookie Spread (if you like Speckuloos)
      -There’s also 99c dark chocolate speckuloos bars at the checkout- so good!
      -Almonds
      -Dried fruits. (for dark chocolate cherry oatmeal cookies…)
      -Cheese section is awesome.

      Frozen:
      -Haricot verts
      -Vegetable masala burgers (less like a burger more like a delicious carb-y patty)
      – GF Waffles (first purchased by accident, but I keep buying them!)
      -frozen fruits (again, depends on your area but these are the cheapest and best selection for me)

      I used to like their peanut butter but they keep changing it. (why no more organic creamy Valencia?!)
      There’s a new “crunchy with flax seeds” that my room mate *loves*.

    • TJ Green Curry Simmering Sauce. Sauté some veggies with chicken or whatever meat and then add the sauce. Put over jasmine rice. Awesome easy curry dinner.

      • Belle et Rebelle :

        Love the Green Curry Simmer Sauce! I just plop some still-frozen fish filets in the pot with the sauce and let it, well, simmer for a while. Meanwhile cook up some rice – very good and easy, too.

    • Shelled roasted pistachios!

    • Also in the love-everything [that's vegetarian]-at-Trader-Joe’s camp. Current favorites:
      – Japanese fried rice (frozen). Recent favorite fast dinner is fried rice with TJ’s teriyaki baked tofu and their bagged kale, cooked and dressed with sesame oil and sesame seeds.
      – Frozen melange of potatoes, mushrooms and haricots verts. (I forget the exact fancy name.) Really great for brunch; I use it sometimes to make scrambled tofu, but it also would be great in or with scrambled eggs.
      – Frozen rice medley of rice, wild rice and barley. It’s ready in two minutes and is a great side dish or base for a stew or beans.
      – Pre-cut veggies: aforementioned kale and other greens; winter squash; mix of squash, turnips and sweet potatoes. Not super-cheap but really convenient — sometimes it’s the only way my family gets any veggies. I can’t find the time to peel and cut a big squash, but I’ll get a couple of packages of the pre-cut stuff, toss with olive oil and seasonings and put in the fridge for one of the non-cooks in the family to throw in the oven while I’m on my way home.
      – FTO coffee, very reasonably priced
      – Everything chocolate – cocoa almonds with sea salt are amazing.
      – Low-fat sliced swiss cheese
      – Glazed pecans. Not too sweet; I put them in salads and on top pumpkin pie

    • wow, I was going to jump in, but I think you gals covered… like.. everything there is!! ;o)

    • Love TJs.

      My staples are the little frozen cubes of garlic, basil and cilantro. They don’t go bad and are easy to keep on hand.

      Love the spinach salad with blue cheese and cranberries.

      Frozen food is great and some of it is pretty healthy. I keep some of the deserts on hand for unexpected visitors.

      Love their Mint Melange tea.

      Almonds, dried tart cherries and dried mango slices. Lara bars.

      Their sublingual Vitamin B combo is good and kids always liked their gummy vites.

      My store has a great selection of cheeses, plus cream cheese, smoked salmon/lox and hummus.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Can it be that nobody has mentioned the Two Buck Chuck?

      Ladies! I’m shocked!

      Or maybe I’m just not as picky about my wine as you all are…

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Not sure if you can get this at Trader Joe’s outside California, but often the Trader Joe’s brand wines are excellent. They buy overflow grapes from really high quality wineries (check the small print on the back of the bottle – it’ll say which winery the grapes are from) and the cost is usually around $10. I particularly like their Dry Creek Cabernet and Syrah.

    • Dessert Doctor :

      I haven’t been to a TJs in a while, but in the fall they have wonderful pumpkin-related products, like pumpkin butter, pumpkin granola, pumpkin bread mix, etc. Seriously delicious. They also carry these amazing chocolate-covered, peanut butter filled pretzels that are highly addictive.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Two buck chuck for have around the house wanna have a glass of wine (Although 2 buck is now $3.99)
      Frozen mac & cheese – my kids love it – also perfect to heat and make 2 lunches for the kiddos
      Honey wheat pretzel sticks with TJ honey mustard
      Some really good frozen veggie mixes – I mix with fresh and they are yummy
      Their ice cream is really good too

      WF – Most of what I get at Whole Paycheck are my meats, because I can get them packaged in meal portions rather than having to split them on my own. When they have a sale, I stock up – something is always on sale
      Great yogurt choices, especially if you like high protein yogurts

      TJ’s is hit or miss – if you have a good one, you’ll find lots of stuff, if not – there’ll be finds but you’ll have to stalk the store. I always buy interesting food stuff there, like vinegars, mustards, jams etc… also interesting stuff for home, like towels, kitchen tools etc….

      • Man, I miss two buck.

        We drank it almost exclusively in college. Then I moved to PA where TJ’s can’t sell booze due to the state liquor laws. And then we moved to an area with no TJs.

    • Flowers! They have gorgeous bouquets for $10. I even used them to style a photo shoot (yeah, I’m not a lawyer, I just like this site!)

      • Yes on TJ for flowers, wine, chocolate, nuts, Indian frozen meals, and yogurt. Produce is not so great…honestly the produce at my Safeway is better and cheaper. Don’t buy my meats at TJ either and have been mightily disappointed by a number of the frozen meals, salads, I’ve tried. I kinda don’t get all the TJ love.

    • another anon :

      trader joe’s:
      chocolate covered almonds
      handmade whole wheat tortillas
      tzaziki
      spinach/kale/yogurt dip – with their pretzel thins
      pecan granola
      buts in general, especially the cashews
      dried berry mix
      pita crackers
      kalamata goat cheese
      grated parmesan

    • – “Truly Handmade Tortillas”
      — Lemon curd
      — Cheeses, especially Cabot extra sharp cheddar and Old Amsterdam aged gouda
      — Pound Plus dark chocolate
      — Tzatziki
      — Canned solid tuna in water
      — Nuts (pine nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts)
      — Dried fruit (I especially love the dried sour cherries)
      — Unsweetened applesauce (in glass jars)
      — “Pilgrim Joe’s Cranberry Orange Relish” (available only in the fall, but ah-may-zing)

  2. Yay! I love OPEN THREADS!

    I have a threadjack! There is a posibility that the nerdy guy will join our firm, and if this is the CASE, the manageing partner said I will have to move my office. I think that is STINK-O!

    I do NOT think this is FAIR b/c I have been here longer, and he should sit by the copier.

    How can I get the manageing partner to let me keep my office?

    • Maybe if you stopped treating the manageing partner like a DOOSH he wouldn’t send you to another office.

    • What’s more STINK-O, though? Moving offices or the managing partner’s BAD BREATHE?

    • Have you asked WHY the manageing partner wants him in your office? Is it so he can keep a closer eye on the newer associate. Maybe a little distance between you and the DOOSH wouldn’t be so bad!

      But if you really don’t want to move, why not address it in a calm way with the manageing partner? But you’re going to have to have a better reason than “I don’t wanna”. How about: “this office is closer to my support staff and the attorneys I work with most.”.

  3. Romans et al. :

    Did anyone see this week’s what not to wear show? With Desiree from PR? The pink blazer at the end, with a bow/tie front….swooning. Have tried shop style and got nowhere.

    Maybe something via John Lewis Co but it’s horridly pricey and UK.

    Ideas?

    The show’s website won’t list what she got/where online for a week at least and it’s sure to be sold out a la K. Middleton.

    thanks, hive

  4. I just returned a pair of these to Zappos. The foot bed is meant to be foot-shaped, but I guess I have mutant feet because the contours were all off on me. I have a similar pair from Clarks that are super-comfy, so I will have to stick with those.

    • FYI, these are the Clarks. I recently wore them for a full day of sight-seeing, including museum-going, which usually kills my feet, and they were just as comfortable as sneakers, if not more so. http://www.zappos.com/clarks-poster-signet-navy-nubuck?zfcTest=fw:1

      • I can’t wear Birks because I have a longer second toe that doesn’t fit within the raised edge of the sole. But those Clarks are super cute! I’m tempted to buy them, but some of the reviews said the toe post is stiff and painfully rubs the skin between the first and second toes. Was that your experience, DC Jenny?

        • The decoration on the top rubbed a tiny bit on the first wearing for one of my feet, but not enough to cause a blister or anything. After that I had no problems at all.

    • I think Birks are supposed to be vaguely foot shaped, and then the cork sole eventually conforms to your specific foot. But if they aren’t comfortable enough to walk around in them from the get go, they should definitely go back.

    • backtowork :

      I had a pair of Mephisto sandals similar to this that I wore for a summer travelling in Asia and Europe. Never a blister, never an achey foot. They held up for years. I currently have two pair — one in brown leather, one in black patent leather. If I didn’t work in an office that demanded close-toed shoes, I would live in them.

    • i LOVE my gizeh birks. they’re “ice pearl onyx” (not sure if this color is available this year, bought them last summer) — a nice neutral-but-pretty metallic blueish-grey. so comfortable and great with summer dresses.

  5. I love my Birks–although I prefer this style to the two strap ones we wore in high school. With socks.

    • I like them, too, and I’ve long been a hater-of-Birkenstocks. The soles are finally giving out on my trusty Rainbows (seven years of hard use later), so I might try and see if I can try them on somewhere. Although it feels weird to consider being disloyal to Rainbows.

      • I think they can be re-soled. Seem to remember a friend doing this.

        • Yeah, I’ve had shoes and boots re-soled before, but the Rainbows are really past the point of that. Like, my right big toe has worn a hole almost all the way through the sandal. The material that separates my foot from the material of the sole is cracking off. So really–they need to be replaced.

    • I actually love Birkenstocks and find them kind of sexy in the right circumstances. Okay so maybe sexy is the wrong word. But I think they can be attractive provided you choose a great color (I like the metallic or bright patent red, black or burgundy) and make sure to have a great pedicure (bold or dark colors look best here) and wear them with non-frumpy clothes.

      • That may be the first time I’ve ever heard Birks and sexy used in the same sentence.

      • anon in SF :

        I was a long time birk-hater too (going high school in Seattle in the late ’90’s will do that). But in the past few years, I’ve had two pairs of the Gizeh sandals. One in gold metallic, and currently one in bright red patent. I always wear with a great pedicure, and I don’t think they look too crunchy. I’ve worn them on a couple of summer trips in Europe, and found them very comfortable even on big walking days, and I didn’t feel like they were terribly ugly.

        • sugarmagnolia :

          I wore the gold color at my (outdoor) wedding a couple years back. I needed a flat shoe that could handle traipsing around in a nature preserve, and they were the only thing I could think of. They looked great (and I had a fairly sedate pedi color).

    • I have these http://www.zappos.com/birkenstock-mayari-black-birko-flor-trade?zfcTest=fw:1 and I think they’re a prettier take on the birk as well.

    • Research, Not Law :

      RR, I think we are exactly the same age.

  6. Yay, weekend! Happy Friday, all!

    So I tried to post this question yesterday, but I think I got to it too late in the day. Has anyone ever had any experience with ordering custom-made suits? I ordered a custom package from a local company (which a lot of my male coworkers have been happy with), and am sort of feeling the sticker shock. I’m excited about the idea of having clothes that actually fit and have all the features I actually want, but it’s more than I’ve ever spent at one time on clothing. Anyone had any experience with them? Were you happy, or regretting it? And any advice for what I should look for when I go back for the fitting?

    Thanks!

    • I’ve never done custom made suits, but for custom made clothing, in general, my suggestion is to take something currently in your closet that you like and have that ready to show them when you go in to describe what you want them to have made. Think down to the tiny details as well – pockets, neckline, zipper, hook and eye, buttons, inside lining, etc.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i posted about this a while ago. in february i ordered a suit (jacket, skirt and pants) and one button-front shirt from a tom james rep recommended by a stylish and well-dressed male friend. AFTER ordering, i asked around on here and had several horror stories that boiled down to “tom james doesn’t do women’s clothes well.”

      i placed the order in mid-february; the suit came in about 8 weeks later. the skirt and shirt fit great; the jacket had to have a couple tweaks and they needed to let the hem out in the pants a bit. i ordered their midrange fabric and while the suit really does fit me like a glove, the quality of the material is only OK. overall, i feel like i got a j.crew suit for theory prices…and i’d just rather buy one or the other if that’s going to be the case, you know?

      the other major benefit is that they came to me for everything – ordering, measuring, fitting, etc., was in my office. it only took up about an hour of my time total over three visits, which is much more efficient than shopping, tailoring, going to pick up, etc. personally, that’s not really worth the extra cost to me, but i can see how it might be to someone else.

    • I’ve had pretty much all my professional wardrobe made for me for years and it is WONDERFUL. It helps that I live in Asia and have access to terrific professionals. During the years when I didn’t, I was travelling enough to be able to pick up stuff at least a couple of times a year (while trying to avoid losing/ gaining weight in between).

      The wonderful bits include having a bunch of standard templates which work for my shape and needs. I basically have 2 jackets, a handful of dresses, a skirt and a trouser which I keep re-making in different fabrics. My dressmaker orders a nice tropical-weight stretch wool for suits and I supplement with more interesting fabric, mostly traditional prints and weaves from different countries.

      The not-so-wonderful bit is that it took time and $$ to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Part of the problem was communication (dress-maker : “do you want it fitted or semi-fitted ?” me : “er well I want it fitted but not tarty”) and part was working around a tailor’s skills and training (mine does feminine Jackie-o type silhouettes very well but not anything ‘boyish’ or ‘relaxed’). Sticker shock is definitely a problem and made worse when you have to write off whole items because your imagination failed to meet your dress-maker’s training.

      Some specific advice :
      – Move around during your fitting – don’t just rely on looking at the mirror. Can you sit ? Can you move your arms ? Does the jacket look good open ? It may help to think about 2 ways a jacket can be fitted – it can hang off a sculpted shoulder (some people consider this ‘Italian’ tailoring) or it can be molded to fit the body, often with a high tight arm-hole (‘English’ tailoring). The former is more comfortable at the risk of looking a bit 80s. In trying to get something to fit more sleekly, you are pretty much down to playing off comfort vs. big shoulders vs. tightness around your torso when you sit vs. (somewhat) constrained arm movements.
      – Some of the necessary tweaking to ensure fit may seem counter-intuitive eg. fixing creases on the torso by tightening arms/ shoulders. Bring along a jacket whose fit you like so that you can show your tailor what you mean, rather than rely on imagining how it will look once the dress-making pins are removed.
      – There are usually 2 ways to cut a jacket – with a standard pattern for the torso and small modifications for length, arm measurements etc, or with a wholly customised pattern. If your tailor is working with a standard pattern and you have to tweak a lot to get the right fit, ask if he can cut a paper pattern of the final version so that you have your own customised pattern for the next order. It may not always be possible if they are outsourcing a lot of the job but it is definitely worth a try, at least for the jacket of your suit.
      – Check skirt and trouser tabs and closures. If there are any spots where a snap button will help things sit more sleekly, ask for one to be sewn on.
      – If you are getting a sleeveless dress made, ask for snaps inside to hold your bra-strap in place.
      – Try to get extra buttons, particularly for the spots which are visible externally.

      Have fun – this may be the start of an expensive habit !

  7. Neighbor help :

    Fellow ‘e t t e s, I need help with a common problem for apartment/condo dwellers: my new upstairs neighbors.

    A few years ago, I purchased a condo on the ground floor of my two-story building. Won’t be making that mistake again, but for the time being, I’m stuck here.

    Despite the upstairs unit being carpeted, the stomping is insanely loud and rattles my windows and light fixtures. On top of that (no pun intended), the new tenants keep, um, peculiar hours. Moved in on a weeknight beginning at 12:30 a.m., regularly walk around between 2-5 a.m.

    I never mustered the courage to speak to the previous tenants (the owner rents the unit out so they change every year or so). I am hoping a new set of tenants is a new opportunity to say something. As much as i want to just leave a note, I know that’s not the right answer. 

    So, two questions for the hive:

    1. What’s the best way to inform them of the thin floor/ceiling issue and politely ask them to be aware of their heavy-footedness?  FWIW,  I haven’t met them yet.

    2. Has anyone had luck with insulation or other modifications? I can pretty much make any changes I want within my own unit.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help preserve my sanity.

    • I would just nicely mention it, in a you probably had no idea but this seems to be loud in my apt, sorry to bother, but could you try to be quieter. They probably have no idea of the acoustics.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Agree. Unless you really think they are purposely stomping around to piss you off, I would just nicely say hey, welcome to the building. Just so you know, the floor and ceiling aren’t very insulated, so even regularly walking around is loud. If you don’t mind stepping quietly during nighttime hours, that would be great. Thanks!

        • Really? This does not have to be a big deal. Sometimes the number and depth of responses to questions like these are a little bit funny. All these high-powered, uptight women… afraid to ask the upstairs neighbors to be quiet.

    • I think it’s best just to be assertive, even if it’s awkward. Don’t wait for it to go away, because it won’t, and don’t tell yourself you can just live it with, because it’s clearly bothering you. They might not even know you can hear them. This could be a good way to meet them!

    • Agreed you could nicely mention it and hope they change (but if they’re just acting normally just at odd hours, I wouldn’t expect much change). Is there an HOA manager you could speak to?

      My bro lived in a similar situation and bought a white noise maker to create a constant noise while he slept. I live off of a very busy road and turn on a box fan at night to drown out the noise. Am sleeping so much better since I started using the box fan at night.

      • This. I have an apt above me, and while I don’t think the floors are as loud as yours, I just keep fans and white noise machines going and it pretty much drowns out noise outside my apt enough that it doesn’t bother me anymore.

    • I’ve had mixed experiences ranging from very good reactions to very bad. I think the best way to go about it is to knock on their door at a time when they aren’t doing it (say, the next morning) and say “Hi, I’d like to introduce myself, where are you from, etc etc…oh, by the way, I hate to be a pain, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that the ceilings in this building are super thin so if you could just be aware of that late at night, I’d appreciate it!” They’ll probably be okay with that and maybe it’ll do the trick. Good luck!

    • Unfortunately, they aren’t really doing anything wrong. Like no one tries to stomp, you know? If it was music or furniture moving or something like that, I could see it changing. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to say anything, but just be warned that probably, nothing will change. So I would focus on what you can do.

      Do you sleep with any white noise at night? I use a fan every night. Its a small one and I dont even have it blowing on me, it just drowns out a lot of little “nighttime” noises.

      Second, I def believe redoing the ceiling with soundproofing would work, just because that’s what its for right? and plenty of people live with upstairs neighbors without hearing all the stomps.

    • another anon :

      It sounds like they just recently moved in, so I would go over with some sort of welcome offering (baked goods, a bottle of wine, a plant, whatever), chat them up a bit, and then mention the noise issue politely. Could the issue be that they are wearing shoes inside? If so, it might help if you ask that they remove their shoes inside. Also, it sounds like they might have weird work hours, so I would make sure to go over at a time when you know they just recently got home,or when you can hear them moving around–waking them up probably won’t make them want to help you out.

      • This. I know they’re just renters, but try to be at least somewhat friendlier to them. When you actually know your neighbors, you make more of an effort to avoid annoying them (for example perhaps they’ll take their shoes off). But you have to put in the effort first.

        I’m not saying you have to be besties with them, but trust me that in neighbor relations you catch many more flies with honey than with vinegar.

      • Totes McGotes :

        I don’t think you can ask them to take their shoes off inside… I think the best course of action is to actually make friends with them so that they *want* to accommodate you by doing things like not wearing shoes inside. That is where the food/wine/plant/whatever comes in.

        • yeah… I’d give a big ol eyeroll if someone tried to ask me not to wear my shoes. I don’t think there is a way to say that on your first meeting that doesn’t come off as boundry crossing

          • viclawstudent :

            I had landlords once where I was living above them and they told me right off the bat that the floors were thin and asked me not to wear shoes inside. I complied quite happily (that’s what slippers are for!) Of course it’s a bit of a different thing if it’s not the person that actually owns the rental asking you, but still, I think I’d be totally amenable to that request if it was put to me politely (and perhaps included a bottle of wine).

        • I said jinx and it disappeared. Is that a moderatable offense now?

    • K... in transition :

      I’d approach it slightly differently… something more like, “I just wanted to introduce myself, I own the place right below you. Not sure if you noticed yet but the ceiling/floor is super thin, which means I can super hear your footsteps and probably you can hear my tv/music. I’ve noticed you guys walk around pretty late so you probably sleep in too? I was thinking we probably ought to make a deal from the get that I’ll keep my tv/music down before noon if you guys walk barefood/keep your footsteps as light as possible/put down rugs/whatever after midnight/whatever is a realistic time for you” This way it’s not accusatory, you’re offering to be helpful (and it’s probably something you don’t do anyway), and they feel more neighborly than kids being lectured.

    • I introduced myself to my upstairs neighbor as “Hi — Im So and so, and i live in the apartment right below yours” which immediately made a light bulb go on in his mind about “oh – somone lives down there!). It was actually sort of funny to watch his face as he came to this realization. The only thing that I would add is that you waited to come up until after they finished moving in because you know that involves lots of moving boxes and furniture, etc. but did want to let them know that the apartments are poorly insulated even for every day noise. Good luck!

    • just Karen :

      Unfortunately, sometimes buildings just carry sound a LOT – I can hear what sounds like someone stomping around upstairs (or at least walking heavily), when only my cat is up there – who weighs 11 pounds. That said, the ugly textured ceilings do absorb some sound, but for nighttime, a sound machine is a better bet. This one is pricey, but fabulous:
      http://www.amazon.com/MARPAC-SleepMate-Electro-Mechanical-Machine-Sleeping/dp/B002GTR902/ref=dp_cp_ob_hpc_title_1
      It’s like a fan amped up to be louder rather than the usual digital recording.

    • Rose in Bloom :

      We own an upstairs condo in a 2 floor building where the floor/ceiling is really thin. My neighbors have never complained, but we purposely have lain carpets down and take our shoes off and don’t play loud music/TV. I know they can hear us because the floor creaks when we walk even in bare feet, but it is the best we can do. FWIW, I would not be offended if they asked us to keep it down although I don’t know what else we could do.

      This is a big problem in our complex and I have heard two solutions. Apparently the systemic issue is that the hardwood floors (don’t know if that is compounding issue for y’all) that are in every unit were not properly laid down or not laid down tightly or evenly enough so that the noise is more likely to echo. As such, if the upstairs unit were to lift up / relay the floor, it might fix some of the problem but I don’t know anyone who has done this.

      Several of my neighbors have done the following: something called a dropped ceiling. I don’t know too much about it but the downstairs neighbor lowers her ceiling a few inches and somehow it prevents noise from getting through. The two neighbors who have had it done says it helps a lot, although you can still hear sometimes.

      Hope this is helpful!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      You could introduce yourself and tell them, the floor/ceiling between our apartment is a bit thin, so if I am making too much noise, please let me know. Often the extension of the courtesy is enough to cause them to reciprocate. and you first conversation isn’t a complaint…..

    • Neighbor help - OP :

      Thanks everyone – I really appreciate the suggestions.

      Yeah, I know I’m totally overthinking this, but I’m just trying to fix what I can while being a friendly neighbor who doesn’t impose too much on their normal activities.

      Much appreciated!

  8. This past month my husband has been increasingly snippy with me and generally mean and stand offish. I believe I know where it is coming from but I don’t know how to address it/ how not to feel guilty about my decisions. I will be heading to a top tier business school at the end of July and he will not be moving with me (6 hours away). This decision was made for multiple reasons (his daughter is in the city we live in now, the town I am moving to is very small and would limit job options, and I want to be able to devote myself 100% to studying and networking). To complicate things, while he just earned his undergraduate degree (took him a long time to finish as he had no family support- emotional or financial), he didn’t get into any of the master’s programs he applied to and will be continuing to work the same two full-time jobs he works now. To put things plainly, I think he is mad because I am moving forward and he is standing still. He isn’t happy now but he isn’t taking any useful steps to change things.

    I have tried to get him to talk to me about what is going on. I have offered him support in his job search. I am trying to be happy about my decisions and I know this is my chance to do what I need to in order to grow my career. How can I talk to him/make him understand? How do I stop feeling guilty for putting myself first?

    • Anon 3L - GRADUATED! :

      I really don’t mean this to be mean, but are you sure that he isn’t upset that you are moving 6 hours away without him? I would be devastated if my spouse made a unilateral decision to move away, even one for his career, that left me behind.

      • Yeah. I’ve never been married or anything, but that kind of jumped out at me–like, you’re moving six hours away, to a place it doesn’t sound like your husband could feasibly go, between the daughter and the job prospects; and happy that you get to devote yourself “100% to studying and networking.” Again, never been married, but it’s my feeling that when you agree to get married (or agree to be in some form of serious, long-term, marriage equivalent), you are also agreeing that you do not ever get to be 100% all about yourself, 100% of the time. There’s always someone else you need to be taking into account.

        So um, yeah. Not saying that you shouldn’t go, and I know several other [readers of this site] make multi-location marriages work, but I really would encourage you to be more understanding of the fact that your husband is having trouble with this.

      • I, too, hope you that you mean you know exactly what logical and rational emotional place this is coming from, and that you are only asking for the most gracious way to handle it.

        It’s one thing to marry someone with open eyes that their position (military, etc) will involve distance – but 6 hours is really. far. away. There is a huge difference between 3 hours and 6 hours. If my husband did this and explained himself similarly, I’d be devastated.

      • My husband was the one who pushed me to apply to b-school and he has been behind me 100% throughout the whole process. Some additional background information is that my husband has been working 2 full-time jobs and been a full-time student for the past 4 years, so I have made some huge sacrifices for him in order to make that work. It hasn’t been easy and I rarely get to see him as it is. He hasn’t always made the time for me and now I need to do the same. We also did the long distance thing at the beginning of our relationship and while it wasn’t easy, we made it work and I think it made our relationship stronger.

        I understand completely where he is coming from and know that he must be worrying about how this is going to work. What frustrates me is that he can’t verbalize this and instead has been taking it out on me in other ways.

      • I’d be devastated if my partner moved that far away without immediate plans to move back to be with me. I’m surprised you focus on the competitive grad school aspect rather than on the implications this move will have on your relationship.

        • Divaliscious11 :

          No you wouldn’t, you’d be fine. You might be sad, and miss your partner, but you talk on the phone, skype and text, and travel back and forth as necessary…..

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Moving for school is wholly different then moving for a job, and even that isn’t so bad if its discussed and part of a larger plan. Clearly they both were applying for grad programs etc…. so it doesn’t sound like it was unilateral. Married people make these kinds of decisions all the time and the world doesn’t end. Proximity doesn’t define a marriage.

        OP – yes, it sounds like he is trying to process your getting into school and his not. Its fine for him to be disappointed, frustrated and all of those things, but it is not fine for him to take it out on you, and you should feel free to call him on it. That’s part of loving someone too, not letting them kick you because he is down. He will get through his resentment, and it would be awful if he came through it, only to discover he’s crapped on you the whole time. You don’t deserve it. Besides your doing an MBA – 2 years – people deal with far longer separations all the time. Your going to school, not to a war zone, or on a cruise.

        • Kontraktor :

          Have you ever endured a prolonged separation from your spouse? If not, I think this is coming off as rather blase and naive. If so, I guess tell me your tips and tricks because I’m going on 8 years now of not being in the same place as my husband (we just moved in together, but he deployed again recently and this has again reset our clock), and I feel pretty cruddy and horrible about it most of the time. It’s not this easy, at least for me, so if you know something I don’t, please share.

          • LadyEnginerd :

            I think Diva isn’t trying to say it’s easy – she’s saying that they have the capability to see each other fairly often on weekends, unlike a deployment. I’m currently living 3 hours away and exchanging weekends with my SO, but it’s really not nearly as bad as being deployed or somewhere you can’t actually jump in the car and get there in a reasonable amount of time. If I were in her shoes with the 6 hour drive and MBA (which often doesn’t have classes on Friday), we’d be able to carve out at least 1 weekend of quality time per month, if not every other weekend. That’s much, much more manageable than an extended deployment, and my parents pulled off something similar back before cell phones, skype, etc when they had small children.

            Heck, if the OP gets an MBA internship in the same city as her husband, then we’re talking two nine-month stints of separation. Difficult, but it has a finite end and I can see this being much easier on them psychologically because she will constantly be taking concrete steps towards furthering their lives together in their hometown (networking to acquire internship in hometown, then working internship in hometown, and then taking full-time offer in hometown) instead of open-ended separation with no finite end.

            This comes with a caveat: OP, you say you want to focus 100% on classwork and networking, but what does that really mean? If your long-term goal is an MBA-level position in the place you currently live with your husband, depending on your industry it might be wise to be planning monthly trips home that overlap a weekday so you can take meetings and build your network in the city in which you ultimately would like to live.

          • LadyEnginerd – having been in a LDR, 3 hours is SO much different than 6 hours. I would not balk at all at 3hrs (provided I was consulted), but six is … well, it eats up half a weekend just getting to and from.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            Actually, yes I have – in the 13 years we’ve been together we’ve only been in the same state/country for 1 full year at a time, so I speak from experience, not from speculation.

            First, we understand that there is a huge difference between not being in the same place, and separation. We are TOGETHER, just not always in the same state, or country. We decided that instead of looking at his work assignments as a negative, we focus on that is his job and are not in any way a reflection of how we feel about each other. That doesn’t mean we don’t miss each other, or that the logistics of often functioning like a single mom don’t get frustrating, but at no time do I ever think he’s “left me behind.”

            And I probably am blase about it now, because I remember having $2000 a month phone bills when he was in Europe, whereas now there is internet, skype, cheap phone cards etc….. which makes daily communication very easy. Even now, he is back in the US but a 10 hour drive away, and we see him every month.

            Is this our long term plan? No. Do we have a plan in place to be in the same place- Absolutely? But right now, my job is here and his job is there…. But two years, to be in school, and a morning drive away is not that big a deal. I know lots of women doing this and its really about attitude because the logistics are manageable.

            I should also say that I am not the clingy type who gave up all my own interests after I got married, so when my husband is home, he gets my focus, and when he’s not not I do the things I like to do, but between work, the kids, community service etc… there isn’t much time for sad sitting in the house.

            Oh, and hi to all my friends who now know who I am, but I think it was important to explain that this is doable, two years is not a lifetime and that I wasn’t being “naive.”

    • Well, this may not be what you want to hear, but to me, this is a decision that should be made together based on what is best for the fmaily, though from your post it sounds like you made it on your own (I may be reading it wrong). I mean, if my husband decided that it was best for him to move to another city and I wasnt behind the decision, I would be upset too. I think you need to talk to him and figure out what is really best for the family. If the answer is that you going to this school without him, for the limited 2 years or whatever business school is, then fine. That joint decision will likely make you feel less “guilty” and hopefully make him feel like you two are doing the right thing.

      • Agree with anon and anon3L. You called it your decision, but seperating with that much distance should really be a joint decision. It does kind of seem like you are leaving him behind. I think you should schedule some time to talk to him about it.

    • I don’t have any specific advice on what to say to him, but I do think if you don’t get it worked out before you are supposed to move, then you should not move/go to school this year. Try to defer a year and get things sorted out with your husband on your ideas for your respective career paths. I cannot advocate for putting yourself before your marriage in this situation.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      He’s going through a tough time, I’d recommend rather than offering to help him better his situation, you show appreciation for him and his situation, and don’t spend too much time talking about how happy you are that you are “moving forward.” It sounds to me that as a father with two full-time jobs, he is most certainly not standing still. He is working, incredibly hard, and still had the time to apply to graduate programs. To not get into one is a crushing blow, and his self-esteem is probably a bit bruised. From the way you describe the situation, I would guess that your reaction and attitude toward him hasn’t done much to help with his self-esteem and stress level from the aforementioned jobs and parenting responsibilities.

      The approach shouldn’t be about how to make him understand, or help with his job search, it should be about showing him appreciation and kindness in a tough time (heck, he’s going to have to deal with all this knowing that he won’t get to see you as often, which will certainly lead to greater stress) and make sure he knows that you leaving for grad school isn’t you moving forward without him, or moving on from him, because you love him and want to be by his side, not out in front of him (of course that must be true). Then try not too talk much about how exciting it will be for you to start your new top tier grad program 6 hours away.

      That’s my two cents.

    • K... in transition :

      I think the others have covered the idea of his behavior coming from his feelings about you moving away from the family unit. Another idea, assuming that you’re planning to remain in the marriage, what if you try to help him see how your move benefits the family, how you’re collectively moving forward?

      • D Train South :

        This. I think he needs to feel like he, too, is going to get something out of the sacrifice he’s making. I am sure, since this bothers you, that your goal is to help the family unit. However, the tone of your post makes me wonder whether you’ve communicated the idea that this decision is for the common good, not just the betterment of you, with the betterment of him being his solo, continuing struggle.
        If you have the time and resources, you may want to float the idea of getting some counseling before you go for the purpose of getting some tools to ensure you spend the next two years supporting each other well, even if from a distance. A counselor can help you work out the current issues, plus give you those tools to maintain a strong relationship under this kind of stress.

    • If I was your husband I’d be snippy too, because I get snippy when my husband leaves for a week long business trip. I doubt that it’s just about the job and his career. Its also about you leaving, your marriage becoming long distance, and frankly about feeling a bit abandoned (even if he is presumably supporting you in what you want to do — which is probably why he doesn’t want to talk about it).

      Have you tried to discuss that part of it head on? Do you have an established plan for how often and who is going to visit and how you will communicate otherwise?

      Finally, have you considered seeing a therapist just to try to talk about some of these issues with a third-party neutral. Because its easy for you to see it from your perspective (yay all these great things are happening for me and he’s not supporting me) but from his prospective its totally different (boo, I’m losing my wife for two years and she expects me to be happy about it.) Sometimes those things are hard to see without a third person in the room.

      • Merabella :

        I agree with this. I think part of it is just feeling abandoned, and going through the stages of that. Dr. Jenn Berman (of Couples Therapy on VH1 Fame – which is my guilty pleasure) has a radio show and tweeted about this recently. I think you should look up info for men and women in the military going on leave and the kinds of things they do to keep up their marriages, it is a somewhat similar situation and may be helpful.

        I would also cut your husband some slack. It is hard to have your spouse move away for any reason at all, because you went into it thinking that you would be together – add on top of that bruised ego and disappointment from his own grad school applications and that magnifies it. And you mentioned he had a daughter where he is, did he also have a previous marriage? He might be afraid that of rejection/abandonment from that aspect as well.

    • Anonymous :

      I also don’t mean to be mean, but I think if you are feeling guilty about putting yourself first, it is for a good reason. The way I look at things is that I put my marriage first. Now sometimes what is best for my marriage (looking long-term, not short term) is to put me first. But sometimes what is best for my marriage (again, long-term) is for me to make sacrifices. My husband works off the same approach.

      I would not move away unless my husband was 100% on board with it. That doesn’t mean I would completely give up my plans or dreams — it just means I would figure out how to make them work in a way that is compatible with being married. This could mean putting off B-School for a year, rethinking the program, agreeing to be away only M-F, etc.

      Also, having done a graduate degree with a husband and kids, I don’t think that dedicating yourself 100% to networking and studying is either necessary or wise. You didn’t decide to do this as a single person, and I don’t think it is fair that you want to act like a single person for the next two years. There will be things you will miss out on by not being 100% dedicated to school, but there will be benefits you get from being part of a solid relationship as well.

      If you and your husband are supportive of one another’s goals, then I think you can find a way to make this work without either of you needing to “give in.”

    • Hey MCA- just wanted to throw in a couple of words slightly different than most posters here…

      I posted a couple of days ago about my reluctance to marriage, and included the fact that I moved to a different city than my boyfriend, and the immediate reaction from the hive was that I need to let him go. I think there were a lot of wrong assumptions in those suggestions, and I think I might have been in a similar situation (although unmarried, but in a very long term relationship).

      SO and I have been dating since college. SO got his bachelors, while I went on to law school. When I made the decision to move, it was something we talked about, and there was a possibility of me staying behind, but in the end, if we were to end up together, my move was important for me to grow in my career and, thus, better support our future family. The plan was (and is) that he is following me in the somewhat near future, though overall, we will likely spend closer to 2 years apart.

      It was our decision, and he absolutely supported me in moving on, but he stayed behind in his same job, failed to get into his preferred grad program, and felt stunted. Life was rocky for a while, mostly because I was out experiencing all new things, while he was in the same world, but without me. What finally helped was suggesting that he try to grow in other ways instead of focusing on trying to move his career forward. I was already handling that aspect for our family. He joined some community organizations, and became really involved. It helped him to a) cut himself some slack for the recent turn of events in his career, and 2) feel like he was moving forward with his life, too. It also made the phone conversations easier when I was really excited about my new city, because he had new stuff going on to be excited about, too.

      Good luck with it all!

      • Follow up: I commented to the effect of “if you’d move, leave him entirely,” but it was because I misunderstood your situation. I (wrongly) assumed that when you said you’d move, you’d do so without ANY regard for the long-term boyfriend’s feelings/any discussion as to what was best for the couple as a unit.

        Obviously that assumption was not correct on my part. What makes me pause about situations where one partner moves and the other doesn’t is when it is done with a lack of communication or consideration of the other partner’s feelings (even if ultimately the partner still moves b/c it is best for him/her or the couple as a whole, long term).

        That said, having done the long-distance thing, I can understand why this OP’s husband is feeling upset. Even if he’s agreed that this is the best course of action (not clear from the OP’s post), it’s still really, really hard to have the person you love move that far away, especially after a marriage.

        I’m not saying OP is making a bad decision or is being a bad spouse, etc. I’d just cut her husband some slack for his reaction.

        • I totally understand the misunderstanding (heh)

          I’m just bringing it up because I can totally see it happening that the couple come to a decision, and the one staying behind struggle with it more than the one leaving. I just wanted OP to know she was not alone, and bring up the issue that agreeing that it is the best decision for both parties doesn’t make it easy.

          In short, I think we are on the same page. :)

          • Sounds like it!

            Oh, and in case I haven’t said so – hoping for the best for both you and the OP. Having been on both sides of this in my current situation, it’s just hard and emotional.

      • It wasn’t about the fact that you moved without him. Sometimes, that absolutely is the right decision. But you said that right now, not married, you would pick up and move for a dream job. But if you were married or engaged, you wouldn’t without considering the other person. So in your mind marriage was this thing that fundementally changed the relationship, when really if you are together for that long and that serious, it should be treated like a marriage anyway. You admitted you didn’t, and it seemed like you didn’t want to get married because you wanted to keep him at arms length. It seemed like it wasn’t marriage that was the problem, it was the relationship (ie you didnt want to take the next step forward emotionally)

        • Kontraktor :

          Completely agree with this. This was exactly how I read the situation as well.

          Anon456, I think this statement will apply to the poster here as well, but I think commenters do try their best to give advice based on the information given. There might be ‘incorrect assumptions,’ but only because internet posters only know a poster’s situation by what is in the post and the tone the information conveys. We don’t know anybody or their situation in depth. So, people here can offer unbiased, raw advice based on the very holistic presentation of the situation, but if that advice is curt or unexpected, I don’t think it’s because people are trying to be mean or or taking their opinions totally from left field: I think it’s because they are reacting to the information that is in front of them in the post.

          • I agree. I am just adding to it in case the same misunderstandings were being made here. Just trying to offer a different opinion.

        • can we not delve back into my issues? There were misunderstandings involved. I talked to him first! He knows! GAH!

          And for the record, my sense of marriage is that I would not want to move away from my partner. That is how we view marriage. In this case, I am accepting the fact that not every marriage works the same way, and in terms of keeping a long term relationship going strong, I thought I might be able to share from my experience.

          I don’t think there is anything “wrong” with our relationship. I think there is something illogical about my reluctance toward marriage. In truth, I want nothing more to spend the rest of my life with this man. I only struggle (illogically) at going through the motions. That is all. Oh, and he know this. We are on the same page.

          • Can I just say the more you update it actually seems logical? You don’t want to have to sacrifice for him (and I mean that in a non judgy way) But this is why people said to move on, because he would move for you but you wouldn’t want to have to move for him. And your using marriage as this artifical baratomer (married people don’t move away from their partner) But marriage seriously is just a piece of paper. whats much more important is how you feel. I dont think there is anything at all wrong with your relationship, but your idea about marriage is what’s a little weird. For many people, nothing, not one single thing, changes when they go from non married to married. The reason you seem reluctant about it as you seem to put expectations on it (once i get married i can’t move away) vs. the expectations on you now. Its obvious you think that marriage means certain things have to change, but many people dont feel that way and thats why you got those kind of comments, because i think its rare to have your view that there is kind of an actual ball and chain that comes with a ceremony that doesnt come with a long term relationship. meant no disrespect at all in my posts.

          • Understood. Thanks for clarifying! (I mentioned below, but I’ve had a rough work week so I might just be talking crazy)

            We have talked endlessly about marriage, and what it means to the two of us, and what we are both sacrificing, etc. It is a different definition, but we both come from extremely conservative, traditional families. As in, both sets of parents were married in their teens and have never been apart, and that is what we both know and are comfortable with. We have both faced challenges of bridging our successes and experiences with our traditional home life, and coming to terms with doing things differently than the rest of our family, and we have come to some agreements that make us both comfortable. Honestly, this is probably where the anxiety comes from. And we have talked about marriage and our respective expectations so much that I probably lost sight that it isn’t the “norm.”

            So yea, we are weirdos. But we found each other. :) Thanks so much for following up.

    • Several people have already commented on making this move as a married person and what that might mean for the family, and for his feelings, etc. Lots of good advice there and things to mull over. If you move forward with the decision, I would advice you to talk about specifics on how you will make the long-distance work. Some things to consider:

      – Will you talk everyday on the phone? If so, for how long? Do you prefer phone or Skype?
      – How often will you visit each other? Who will be making the trip?
      – Will you have to study or will he have to work during visit time? Can you come to an agreement that you will prepare ahead of time for visiting time so its quality time with the two of you?
      – What is the longest amount of time you are willing to go without seeing each other (2 weeks? 1 month?) Can you come to an agreement that you will see each other at least once every whatever no matter what?
      – Is the plan for him to eventually move to your new city? Should he be looking for jobs there? Or will you be looking to move back? Set a time for when you will start talking about this (before recruitment season) if you haven’t had that conversation.

      Many of these questions probably seem too specific, but its so important to talk about them. I would have saved myself and partner many, many hours of being upset and frustrated if we had discussed our expectations for a long-distance relationship ahead of time.

    • Thanks for the input on cutting him some slack. I agree and the tone of what I wrote was probably not the best- simply venting. We know what it’s like to do long distance and also what it is like to be living in the same house and also on completely different schedules- we rarely see each other now. We have made plans on how frequently we will see each other and who will visit when. We talked several times a day on the phone now and this will surely increase when I move. I am by no means cutting him from my life when I move.

      We have talked about how this will improve both of our lives and have talked about dreams for the future. I know he is making a big sacrifice for me but I didn’t get married to give up my life either. We are a team but we are both also capable of living our own lives. I have told him numerous times that I support any decision he makes and that should he find a better career in a different state/different part of the country, I would support it.

      • Kontraktor :

        As somebody who has spent entirely too much time away from her husband (and with this clarifying information), I would say that the best thing you can do right now is show and tell your husband how much you love him. What irritates me the most about my husband before he is preparing to leave is when he seems not very bothered by it and goes about his business acting like he won’t miss me or it won’t be hard. I know he doesn’t feel that way, but for me, it hurts when his outward actions demonstrate that. So, I would say to make sure you are telling your husband how much you love him, showering him with affection, telling him how much you appreciate his support. I happen to like this (not sure if you guys do), but I find it helpful when we talk about the first time we’ll see each other, when and how we’ll buy plane tickets, how we’ll Skype all the time. I find it helps me to know 100% that we are commited to seeing and spending time with each other because we are talking about our plans like they are hard facts.

        Another thing we’ll do that lessens the sting of being apart: talking about improbable, distant things like they will 100% happen soon. Like, we will talk all the time about when we get and remodel a house, even though that’s probably years away. Or when we’re apart, we’ll talk about the meals we want to cook together, the farmers markets we want to visit, the vacations we’ll take. Again, it makes it seem like the distance is not so permanent because you’re talking facts about every day life like they really aren’t all that far off.

        But, all I can reiterate is to be completely selfless in love right now. You may have the green light to be more self-focussed on your career, but in my opinion, that must absolutely be given back with lots of love and whatever he needs from you to show him how much he means to you.

      • The other thing that no-one has really raised yet is that the experience is very different for the person staying at home vs. the person who is going away. I’ve been on both sides of this situation. If you are the person who is going away, you are going on an Adventure. You will have lots of new things going on, be meeting new people, getting used to a new environment, etc. Even if it is stressful, it is stressful in an exciting way. However, if you are the person staying home, your life remains the same on a day-to-day basis…only it is emptier, because the person you love isn’t there. So I completely support what Kontraktor has said, but also what previous posters have suggested about your husband taking up a new hobby or other activity – it may help him to make some changes in his life that will take some of the emphasis off the fact that you are not there. Just remember that for him, the experience will probably be more difficult than it is for you.

        • Agree with this — it’s also been my experience that LD is harder on the person left behind than the person who’s establishing new routines in a new place. It helps to keep this in mind….

        • Completely agreed. I’ve been on both sides. I didn’t realize until I was the one left behind how hard it is.

      • Anon for this :

        My husband and I have both been gone for extended periods during our marriage, and we agree that being the one left behind is by far the toughest role. For the last many years, it’s been him gone a lot and me at home. I will tell you that the thing that helps the most is for him to appreciate that he is making the choice to leave, and acknowledging that it requires sacrifices on my part that are not of my choosing. When we run into trouble, it’s when he takes the attitude of “hey — it’s my job and I have no control over it!”. Uh, no. There is always a choice, so own that choice.

        I also have to say that if I were in your husband’s place, I would not respond well at all to being told “Hey, Bud! I didn’t marry you to give up my own life,” with the implied “so suck it up!”

        My prescription is for you to do your best to put yourself in his place and dispense copious amounts of empathy and support, while going very easy on the suggestions and helpful hints about his career and education.

      • Hi MCA, I am very sympathetic about the venting part. I went through similar when I relocated to pursue a wonderful job opportunity – my husband was utterly supportive in theory but still had a lot of anxiety to work through in practice, and keeping him cheerful did sometimes feel like an additional task on my long to-do list. Some thoughts :
        – You say you’ve already talked this through plenty. So let the talking part go. There is unlikely to be very much you can say at this point to make either of you feel better. Instead, don’t let your feeling of guilt get in the way of making the most of the next few weeks together, doing stuff which hopefully represents the best of what you enjoy about each other.
        – Can you plan that you both head over to your new location together to ‘settle you in’ or else that he visits within the first couple of weekends ? This is a good way for you both to feel like you are experiencing the new phase in your lives as a couple. And the reality will be that you’ll need a hand with the move and he’ll probably enjoy a weekend away.
        – It really helped my husband and I that we spoke daily (and it was always on me to call). This was even when things got busy – we would step out of work dinners to do a quick version of our nightly call. As it happened, I really did miss him enormously, and kept saying so, and I think he somewhat lapped it all up.
        – Remember that he is probably self-conscious in front of his peers about the gap between his own progress and his wife’s upwards trajectory. Go out of your way to express how lucky you are that you have his generous support to pursue your dream when around his friends and family. Repeat as necessary when you introduce him to your new friends.

        Hope this helps and good luck.

  9. Wanna Be Ex-Pat :

    Ladies, I need interview advice! Before I left my year-long internship, I applied for a full time position over in the UK. I had my first phone interview while still there, they asked me salary and possible start date questions, and my second phone interview is scheduled for next week and I’m absolutely freaking out!!! I’ve never wanted a job this bad and am taking it as a good sign that I’ve made it to the second round. Before any of you mention it, I’m very well aware that I will not get this job and am preparing myself accordingly.

    I’ve been combing through possible interview questions as well as making notes about everything on my resume but I’m still nervous. As an American with EU citizenship, I don’t need a visa. I need to find the wording to convey that I am ready to relocate without any doubt. I have been dreaming about his opportunity since I was ten years old. Any ways to do this other than mentioning that? And for the hiring managers out there, what are the top questions I should prepare for?

    Thank you so much!!!

    • How about: My bags are packed, I’m ready to go. I’m standing here, outside your door. I hate to wake you up to say good-bye…..

      Say basically what you just said, but maybe a little less…eager and you’ll be fine!

    • Former Californian :

      My husband is currently interviewing for jobs in southern California and we are living out of state. I’m an L.A. native, but it’s clear he’s never lived there and prospective employers seem concerned to see if he really knows what it’s all about—in terms of cost of living, geography, potential commutes. For him, demonstrating his knowledge of the area has been helpful. If he interviews for a job in Orange County and they ask where he plans to live, he knows which cities/freeways to mention (e.g. not Santa Monica/the 101). So far, every person he’s talked to has asked where he plans to live.

      Oh, and if the goal is the job or the city and you are fine paying relocation costs, find a way to make it clear that the moving is on you, not them. I’m sure some would disagree with that advice, but if your goal is about getting to place X don’t play hard ball in terms of expecting them to fly you out for interviews, pay movers, set up short-term housing, etc. Many companies are not in the position to do so, given the current financial climate, and you don’t want to become the #2 candidate only because of your current geography.

      Good luck!

    • No reason not to say that this is your dream job, and oh, by the way, you are a dual US-[name of country] citizen so they won’t need to sponsor your for a visa. Seems to me like these are two things the employer will be happy to hear!

    • I agree with others, and I’d encourage you to make your enthusiasm for the job as plain to them as it is to us! They already know where you are, right? So you can bet that relocation will be a topic of conversation without you bringing it up. When they ask if you’re willing to relocate, don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic! Mention that it’s your goal/dream to relocate to the UK, that you are already a dual citizen, and that you’ll be overseas as quickly as they want/need you to be (assuming you can do that). Good luck!!

    • I second the “mention the dual-citizenship” advice. I was all set to move to the UK for a job and then the visa requirements changed. No fun.

  10. Blazer question! :

    Are rolled up sleeves on blazers unprofessional?

    In addition to liking the look of rolled sleeves for casual wear, I am somewhat petite and roll the sleeves up on several of my blazers to avoid the inconvenience of alterations. I work for a business casual professional services firm, and am client-facing only when occasionally visiting clients at their (likely equivalent or more casual attire) offices. Thus far I’ve worn my rolled sleeve blazers to the office, but would probably not feel comfortable wearing them to client meetings, even though a blazer layer is probably more formal than a cardigan-blouse combination, which is what I typically wear for those meetings. Any thoughts from the hive?

    • I like the look as long as the lining looks good and its neat. It does not count as formal professional, but if sweaters are ok than rolled sleeved blazers are I think

    • I think they’re ok for business casual offices, especially if the lining looks cool. But this is a know-your-office kinda thing.

    • I roll the sleeves on my blazers and suit jackets all the time. I think the look is a bit more casual than un-rolled, but I don’t see it as a big deal. Some of my blazers have really cute linings and I like the look of rolled sleeves better.

    • I’m in the same boat and rock the rolled up sleeves all the time, although not in court or client meetings. I do agree that it would be more formal (and authoritative!) in a client meeting, but perhaps have just one altered so you have a perfectly formal suit you feel comfortable in? Then you can roll to your heart’s (and your budget’s) content in general, but look your best and most formal when you need to?

      In general, though, roll away, so long as it’s neat.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i cuff the sleeves of my blazers frequently because i like how it looks, but would not do it as a substitute for alterations.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Team Rolled Sleeves all the way!

  11. Quick: what are your favorite $100 3.5-inch, at least moderately comfortable heels? (each of these could be + or – a little.)

  12. Jump ship... :

    Fellow lawyers, I need your insight on job prospects down the line…

    About a month ago, I developed an idea for a web startup. I ran it by some people, got some great feedback, and I started planning it more. I happened to talk with a friend from college about it — someone who’s had success with his own startup — and we agreed that it was something we want to work on together.

    If we go forward, and the product gains traction after testing, I’ll have to quit my job in order to devote the time necessary to really go for it. And of course, that’s where my hestitation lies — there is a significant probability that the plan will fail (as there is for any startup) and I’ll have to re-enter the legal job market.

    I want to know if anyone has any views on what the job prospects are for a lawyer who left biglaw as a junior attorney to develop a company that didn’t work out. Would firms avoid me because there’s a gap in my legal experience? Would it depend on whether the firm was big or small? Would anyone want me? Assume that other factors — law school rank and GPA, clerkship, etc., are good.

    • Midwesterner :

      I don’t have any advice but I do have a little inspiration.

      http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/06/is-fear-holding-you-back/

    • Would you be able to serve as the start-up’s in-house attorney in addition to your other roles?

    • Constance Justice :

      I did something similar, and was hired by a new firm. It probably varies by the firm, but mine actually appreciated it. The partner I work most closely with said something along the lines of “a good attorney isn’t afraid to take risks.”

      Also, for what its worth, find myself going to a lot of startup panels just so I can learn how the whole building a business process works so I can better understand my smaller clients. If I were looking at a resume with that experience, I would see it as a gold nugget! I can’t promise every attorney feels the same, but I hope this comforts you a little. :)

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      We have an attorney at my firm who was ex-big law, did his own start-up for a while and it didn’t work out, and now he’s back at (sort of) big law. We do a lot of early stage company work so his start-up experience is very much valued.

    • I work in Silicon Valley in corporate biglaw. It’s N=not that uncommon for attys to leave and come back to biglaw (and tout that on their bio as if to say, “I understand your issues”), but most of the time, they won’t come back to biglaw. I’m not sure if it’s due to barriers to entry or that startup life is just better–less biglaw BS!

  13. Networking Issue :

    Networking mistake — I reached out to a former senior associate at the end of last year saying happy holidays and that I’d be in touch after the new year to discuss career issues, if he didn’t mind me picking his brain. He responded quickly and was very gracious – gave me his cell, was happy to talk etc. Fast-forward 6 months – I didn’t reach out for a variety of reasons — was suddenly unsure of my position at my current job (his former biglaw firm) and had to spend a lot of time talking to people here, was miserable and anxious re my current job to the point that I wasn’t functioning efficiently, and got staffed on a crazy matter which was 24-7 for 2-3 months etc. In short, it was a mistake on my part. I recently saw a posting for a job at his co. which interests me. I applied on my own and then reached out to him by email and asked if he had any intelligence (I don’t expect he would – different divisions) and said that I have been meaning to reach out but was crazy on a case and would love to speak by phone or get lunch. No response – it’s been a week. I don’t blame him. But should I attempt to just call at some point? That way if he sounds interested, I’ll know and if he doesn’t, I’ll know to move on. I don’t want to be overly pushy but also don’t want to let a good contact go bc I was too embarassed about a mistake. Right now I’m not sure if this is an intentional thing or he’s too busy to deal with it right now thing (which is plausible bc his entire co. is massively busy with legal matters right now).

    • K... in transition :

      I’d say there’s no harm in calling once. Apologize again for taking so long to set up getting together to chat and see how he responds.

    • Totes McGotes :

      If you’ve already waited a week, I would call. His inbox may have been swamped and he either didn’t see your message or meant to get back to you and forgot.

  14. SpaceMountain :

    I found a cheap pair of Birk-like sandals at Target a couple of years ago that are just as comfy as my 2 pairs of true Birks. Search Target for Capelli T-strap. Unfortunate color choices, however.

  15. Okay, many of you regulars already figured this out earlier in the week, but I’m happy to say that I’ll be 12 weeks pregnant on Sunday!

    Mostly, I’m telling all of you as a followup to early spring, when I miscarried and you all were so lovely and supportive but also totally 100% clear that not telling my husband was not an option. So thanks for the love from you guys.

    I’ve been barfing (a lot) and already have a beer belly (its #2) but am otherwise feeling good. It’s much better to be pregnant as an attending surgeon rather than a resident one!

    Thanks again everyone!

  16. My JSFAMO mug finally showed up at my office! Hurray!! Thanks again, mamabear, for setting that up!!

  17. Follow up? :

    Hive, I could use some advice. I applied for a job that closely resembles a dream job for me, and I think I’m well-qualified. I followed up with HR and ended up speaking directly to the recruiter, who told me they had my resume and would be conducting interviews in a few weeks.

    Fast forward two weeks, the posting is now down and I assume they will be moving forward with interviews soon.

    Do I follow up again to reiterate my interest, or is that overkill when I’ve already spoken to them once? Help!

    • Former MidLevel :

      I think it would be overkill. Be patient. And good luck.

    • Do you know anyone who works in the company? Now is the time to see if you can access your network to get a good word put in for yourself. But no, I wouldn’t re-contact the HR person, especially since they might not even be making the decision about who to bring in.

    • Don’t follow up with HR yet, two weeks is not that long, they are probably making calls to set up interviews soon. Following up with HR will just be irritating.

      But I agree with TCFKAG, if you have other connections to work for follow up, then do that. But don’t harass HR yet.

      • Follow up? :

        Thank you everyone! I suppose I will wait, which is what I knew I should do so it’s good to hear it confirmed so unequivocally. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone at the company so I can’t really reach out to a contact.

        And, really, thanks for calling it “harrassing” HR – that certainly gives me a different perspective on how they would view additional contact at this point.

      • I wouldn’t think that one phone call in 2 weeks would be harrassing. I would think a phone call to let them know you are still very interested in the position and is there anything you need to do would be a good idea. I’m sure that they would like to hire someone who is very interested in the position. This just might be the perfect time to let them know

        • I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but if the HR person originally said “a few weeks” and this is only 2 weeks from then, it is harassing a little bit. It’s just too soon. Following up to show you’re still interested might be ok by email, but even then, I would wait a little bit. And see Ask a Manager for more advice on follow up, she has a whole category on this. askamanager[dot]org /category/ job-search-following-up (take out the spaces)

          You really need to give them more time to get through their process, if/when they reach out to you for an interview, you will have a chance to express you are very interested in the position.

  18. Challenged Writer :

    Does anyone have any advice on how to become a better writer? Either in general or specifically for legal writing would be great. I am a good proofreader for things like spelling and making sure that references are correct and that consistent terminology is used, but I’m a terrible writer. I somehow escaped school without ever learning the parts of speech and I’ve always had trouble with grammar. Someone mentioned diagramming sentences earlier and i think that might help since i have trouble with the basics, but I don’t know the rules on how to do that. On top of that though, I feel like my writing is not clear or persuasive when I need it to be. I’m open to ideas for classes, books, techniques I can use, etc. seriously, anything would help. Thanks so much in advance!

  19. OK, I’m gonna take you up on your offer to call you crazy, Kat.

    Birkenstocks? Stylish?

    You crazy.

  20. Birkenstocks?

    Gross.

    NO.

    • eastbaybanker :

      Thank you!

      I think the only time I’ve seen Birkenstocks look stylish was in a photo of Nicole Kidman looking as radiant as ever on a film set wearing Birks between takes. If you look like Nicole Kidman, go for it. For the rest of us, fuhgetaboutit.

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