Tuesday’s TPS Report: Alois V-Neck Dress

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

Diane von Furstenberg Alois V-Neck DressI can’t quite put my finger on what it is that I love about this dress so much. Is it the pockets? The rectangular detail? I do love all of those, plus the wide shoulder straps, high back, and very slight A-line. It is a slightly deep V-neck, although I’m hoping that can be helped with tailoring or with a camisole/slip/bralette. It’s available in Heron Blue (pictured) and Ash at Saks Fifth Avenue for $375. Diane von Furstenberg Alois V-Neck Dress

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Comments

  1. a passion for fashion :

    For those of you so inclined to spend some money on shoes, Neiman and Bergdorf are having fantasic sales on designer shoes right now. And there are really good shoes available and many sizes. I had to narrow it down to three pair, but i could have spent some serious cash :) Shopping ban be d*mned

    • The best shower gift I ever gave was a fire extinguisher. Every kitchen/home should have a little one, and so few do. What says “I care about you, and want you to have a long life together” more than safety equipment?

  2. Rural Juror :

    Stunning dress!

    Help for a bridal shower gift idea? It is for my future sister-in-law. I have never been to a bridal shower before. What sort of gifts are typical/ did you get for your shower and love? She’s 30 and already lives with fiancée, not registered anywhere for the wedding, and doesn’t need household items due to the established home. Thanks!!

    • Hmm, it sounds like they have enough stuff so I might do something different like a gc to a spa or similar.

      • Totes McGotes :

        Agreed; also I might consider something like a beautiful platter. Or, aince she doesn’t seem concerned about stuff, maybe a charitable sonation in their names?

    • Blackbird :

      First of all – it’s very odd to throw a shower for a couple who doesn’t need anything for the home seeing as how that’s the whole point of a shower. But, with that in mind, here are my suggestions:

      Night out – GC to favorite restaurant and/or local attraction (e.g. museum, movies, theaters, local sports team, festival, beer tastings, wine tastings etc…). Or a GC to bedandbreakfast.com.

      Stock their bar with liquor or wine.

      If you know their taste (and know it well), you could do something decorative for the home.

      GC to Home Depot or Lowes for the inevitable home repairs on the honey-do list. GC to garden center for flowers or garden supplies. (Or anything from these stores that you think the couple might appreciate).

      Sorry my suggestions seem to be GC focused… but that is why people are supposed to register! Otherwise, buy a gift for the home or kitchen and give a gift receipt!

      • I was thinking along these lines too…no disrespect to showers, but my understanding is that they are for giving gifts. Therefore it seems to me that the bride would in fact like a gift–otherwise she wouldn’t have had a shower, or would have made very clear that e.g. “this is just a get-together! Charitable donations only, if you like!” Hence OP’s confusion.

        • Amelia Pond :

          My sister is in a similar situation (older, established household, not registering for gifts) and my mother insisted she have a shower. The shower is more for my mom, aunts, and the older ladies to coo over the ring and the bride. My sister would be happy without gifts at the shower (or not having a shower at all).

          • This! Often times the shower isn’t really for the bride, but for the older lady crowd to get together. I would suggest something that she and your brother can enjoy together. Maybe a GC for a romantic dinner together away from wedding planning, or cooking class for them to do together. Since they are already established this is a way to give them something meaningful.

    • a passion for fashion :

      A lot of times at bridal showers you give lingerie. You probably wouldnt want to do something to s*xy for your future sister-in-law, but I gave my SIL at her shower a really pretty white silky robe and matching nightgown.

      • Constance Justice :

        I would add, know your audience! The lingerie at showers thing was totally new to me a few years ago. In my circle, bridal showers are put on by the bride’s family. I would be horrified if someone gave me lingerie at a shower hosted by my mom, granny, and assorted family members would be hosting.

        • Maine Associate :

          Cue HIMYM Season 2 episode where Robin brings Lily a battery operated toy as a gift for her bridal shower, attended by Lily’s older family.

        • Constance Justice :

          hehe I love that show! Also, please excuse my grammar in the post above. Clearly its time for coffee #2.

        • Yes, knowing your audience is key! A number of years ago, some friends and I were helping throw a shower for a dear friend. As we set up the food and decorations, we all discussed the gifts we had brought. One girl shared that she was going to give a sex manual. She thought it was hilarious. Knowing that the bride’s mother, grandmother, and 13-year-old cousin were all going to be in attendance – and given the fact that the bride is the most modest person of all time – the rest of us knew that this was a terrible idea. We convinced her to give her gift privately, after the party. Disaster averted :)

        • a passion for fashion :

          Knowing your audience is important, but my suggestion was to give something modest and tasteful so that you wouldnt be embarresed in front of family members. And I chose white so it was more wedding-night related.

          • I think your gift sounds lovely and appropriate!

          • Constance Justice :

            I wasn’t trying to knock your suggestion. Clearly much more appropriate than the s*x manual mentioned above! :) But pretty much anything eluding to bedroom behavior would have my mother clinging to her pearls, so to speak! I don’t think I have ever seen even conservative lingerie as a gift at these types of events.

            In this case, it sounds like the bride is question is having a shower purely to appease family. If it is truly just an excuse for older ladies to get together, I only note that people like my uber conservative family do exist.

            For what its worth, a passion for fashion, I personally think your gift sounds lovely, and I would be thrilled to receive it, outside the prying eyes of my judgy family. :)

        • As long as it’s not too sexy and revealing, I think a long silky robe is still appropriate. You could always get a small gift and pair it with a gift card. Think fancy slippers with lingerie gift card or a nice small platter or pitcher with crate and barrel gift card. It’s always nice to get a gift card to a local place too along the same line.

          You could could also get something from Things Remembered. They send me an e-mail everyday it seems like full of stuff you could engrave like a nice picture frame or maybe one of those wedding certficate holders.

          The last thing I saw that was cool was a gift card to a photography place that uses your wedding photos and makes a book out of it. Not sure if that person used the same photographer or what but the book looked awesome when I saw it later. Really cute. Covered in little kid finger prints now but at the same time, it displays the wedding photos in a montage-y way without worrying that the photos will be ruined.

        • Friends of my sister-in-law threw her a lingerie shower (yep, said so on the invite) and invited all the female family members. This included her own mother and her future mother-in-law, sister-in-law (future husband’s sister) and future niece, 8 years old. I was totally wierded out by the whole thing.

        • Ha, my mom was the only person to give me lingerie at my shower. She said she’d be d*mned if she’d let me sleep in DH’s boxer shorts on my honeymoon. Although my maid of honor got me wedding underwear along with similar commentary about how it’s not right to get married in fruit-of-the-loom bikinis that come in a three-pack. I loved it, and at the same time wonder who else knows about my uns*xy lingerie/sleepwear preferences.

    • gifts that have been a hit:
      personalized cookbook with family recipes and photos from tastebook.com (shutterfly might do this now too)…has the added benefit that you can print extra copies & give to other family members as presents as well! This takes some legwork, though, in terms of gathering info.
      Private wine tasting arranged at a local wine bar.
      Selection of interesting liquers – think “stock the bar” – could add drink recipes that use them.

    • Anonymous :

      If she likes to cook, a set of microplane graters is good. Sort of, fancy-ish Williams Sonoma stuff, useful but nice.

    • It’s interesting because often in cases like this, there will be themes (like a bar shower, etc.). You could get them some nice barware. I love the Mikasa Cheers double old-fashioned glasses because there’s a different pattern on every glass – easy tell tell which glass is yours! I also have the Cheers cordial glasses – which you could include with a cordial like Nocello or limoncello. Other options we’ve discussed (for wedding gifts but it applies) are either pottery (serveware – like this: http://www.potsalot.com/viewproduct.php?id=58) or a small crystal bowl. Depends on the couple’s style.

    • I did not have a shower, because I did not register and requested no gifts at the wedding. However, we did get some gifts, which we loved.

      * Gift card to restaurant for a date night.
      * Kitchenaid Mixer (expensive but if you could go in with someone)
      * Immersion Blender

      Plus, in retrospect, I would have loved some nice sheets or really nice towels. People often skimp on this stuff for themselves, but it definitely adds a bit of luxury to your every day life. (In my humble opinion, you can never have enough linens.)

      • Agreed! I think that sheets/towels/pillows/etc. are things that I never really would have spent money on myself, but LOVED getting from others. Maybe a nice throw blanket for their bed?

        Ditto also on the kitchenaid – made ice cream with mine Saturday night, would have never bought it for myself, but now I can’t imagine life without it.

        • Agreed on the sheets/towels/pillows. I think the cooking class idea is a good idea too, if you want to give them an experience (and they like to cook). Or, if they’re taking a honeymoon, find out where they’re staying and give them a gift card for a spa treatment.

      • Mousekeeper :

        On the going-in-with-someone note, a great shower gift would be my absolute favorite piece of cookware – my Le (La?) Cruiset Dutch oven. It will run around $200, but an enamel-lined pot is essential for cooking things like stews and sauces that are tomato-based or have wine in them. Because it is so heavy (cast iron), it will cook something slowly and evenly on very low heat, and you can pop it in the oven.

        • Oooooh my Le Creuset French oven is one of my favorites. I got mine at an outlet store (in Foley, AL) for a great price. I have the oval and I can’t remember how many quarts it is, but don’t get the biggest one – I would never have been able to lift it!

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Great idea. I absolutely adore my Le Crueset oval dutch oven, which is basically indestructible and incredibly versatile. Whole chicken. Soup. Stew. Bread. Curry. Risotto. Carmelizing onions. We also adore our Le Creuset grill pan. They sometimes go on sale at Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma, and the “old” colors are at the outlets for 20%+ off. Crate & B also has a version which I imagine works just as well, just without the french cachet, for a lot less money.

    • Cookbooks are always nice if she cooks (I love Mark Bittman’s books they’re modern and not pretentious (let’s be honest how often are you cooking quail eggs or a souffle?))

      If they like to entertain you could always get them things like a nice table cloth or ice bucket – these are things that are nice to have, but you don’t always feel like you need them.

      Lastly, maybe put together a wine stuff collection (wine chiller or electronic bottle opener, cool stoppers, drip stop ring, wine coaster, and 1-2 bottles of wine). Wine might seem a little more appropriate to give than liquor (depending on yours and hers family) at a shower.

      • I was going to suggest acookbook, if they cook. I like Mark Bittman, too, but something totally frivolous (whoopie pies, cupcakes, etc.) would be fun, too. You could combine it with a pretty apron or oven mitts–Anthropologie has some nice housewares like that.

    • Every shower I have been to has included copious gifts of lingerie, and often kinkier stuff too, mostly for laughs. If the invite didn’t specify a theme for the shower, lingerie is the default gift.

      • Totally disagree as to it being the default generally. I think unless lingerie is specified, the default is kitchen stuff, but I may run in a more traditional set.

        • Research, Not Law :

          I disagree, too. I’ve actually never been a a shower where lingerie was given. If it had been, it would have been very awkward. Housewares are definitely the default. Lingerie is kept to the bachelorette parties.

        • I have never seen kitchen stuff at a bridal shower, except once where it was specified on the invitation that the bride would like gifts from her wedding registry. Where do you live? Maybe it’s a regional thing.

          • It may be regional (I’m in the Northeast), but I also always see kitchen gifts at bridal showers, along with general household items. Lingerie is usually given at the bachelorette party, if at all. I did attend one bridal shower that included some lingerie, all given by slightly older relatives. It could be generational, or regional, or some combination of the two.

          • BigLaw Optimist :

            And I have never been to shower where lingerie was the default gift! My sister and girlfriend got me some at mine, mostly to embarrass me, but the default is always kitchen stuff for us. I’ve never been to one where it wasn’t the default!

          • I definitely wonder if this is regional. I’m with the people who say default is kitchen stuff or things off registry unless a specific theme has been identified. I’m in Virginia and typically lingerie is reserved for the bachelorette.

          • Sorry for the delay in responding. I’ve lived on the west coast, in the northeast, and in the southeast. Been to bridal showers in all locations and only once (in California) showed up and discovered that it was a lingerie theme. I was really embarrassed that I hadn’t gotten the memo, but even more embarrassed watching the bride open lingerie from her many many aunties and her mother-in-law-to-be.

        • I’ve lived all over the US and agree that lingerie is not the default. Definitely not.

          • We’ve only done lingerie at a bachelorette party, never at a shower! I would have been mortified to open it in front of the extended future in laws!

      • My shower was attended by my mother, my future mother in law, all my cousins, aunts, my mom’s church friends, oh and by the way, my cousins kids who range in age from about 4-13. Needless to say, there was nary a stitch of lingerie in site.

        In my circle, any gift like this are usually saved for the bachelorette party, if there is one.

      • Hmmm, I ‘m in moderation. But suffice to say, my shower was a family affair that included children. So no underoos were in site.

        Bachelor**** parties (I swear I think that’s what got me in moderation) are usually where those sorts of things are exchanged between friends in my set.

      • whoa absolutely not the default gift. Ive been to a ton, and its almost always stuff from the registry. lingerie is default for many bachelorette parties, not a shower!

      • whoa absolutely not the default gift. Ive been to a ton, and its almost always stuff from the registry. lingerie is default for many bachelor— parties, not a shower!

      • a passion for fashion :

        maybe it is a generational thing. I have also lived all over (multi west coast and east coast cities, as well as multi mid-west cities) and thought lingerie was the default, though have been to showers where registry items were given, or specific theme — like kitchen

        • Yeah I seriously cannot imagine ever going to a shower and giving a kitchen item. And I’m an Evangelical Christian. I live in the mid-atlantic region.

  3. That’s gorgeous!

  4. wrong name! :

    TJ: I just replied to an email to a hiring manager and used the incorrect name. Think Holly vs. Hollie or Jamie vs. Jaime. She replied back and didn’t mention it, so I replied with her correct name, and didn’t mention it. Do I mention it during the interview, or just let it go? This is why you don’t reply to emails before a full cup of coffee, darn it!

    • Don’t mention it! My name has several possible spellings too. As soon as you switched to the correct one after the first error, it just isn’t a big deal. I think it’s safe to assume that by the time of your interview she will have forgotten, and calling more attention to it will be unnecessary and awkward.

    • I would let it go if you’ve already replied and used her correct name. I’m willing to bet that she might not have even noticed if she has not had her coffee yet.

    • Constance Justice :

      I think as long as you replied back with the correct name, you are fine. My name is something like the Holly example above, and it is not uncommon that people misspell it accidentally. A slip up really isn’t a big deal. What gets to me is when they repeat it over and over.

    • wrong name! :

      OP here, thanks for the reassurance, I’m kicking myself over it, but I will assume she either didn’t notice or let it go, since I corrected it immediately. Thanks!

      • I misspelled my now-colleague’s name when sending my application in for this job – I was mortified when I figured it out; he did not even notice. (I know because I asked him much later, after I took the job!)

        So skip any explanation and proceed with her correct name, IMO.

      • Yeah, I’m a “Mary who’s really Marie” – If I get Mary the first time, I sort of roll my eyes, but it’s an understandable mistake and I’ll likely forget about it in about 3 seconds. I really hate it when people I’ve worked with for a year keep writing Mary. That, I do hold against someone.

      • It happens to me all the time! One time is no big deal.

      • Yeah, I notice every time it happens, I get a little twitch of annoyance — for me, my name is right there in my e-mail address so it’s extra “why can’t you copy (or copy/paste) properly”? But it passes in a twitch, honestly! One mistake is not a big deal! I save my ire for the repeat offenders.

  5. My friend is preparing for her first _federal_ criminal trial; she will be appearing for the defendant. She is a sole practitioner, and this is her first time going through this process. I know there are a lot of attorneys out there. Does anyone have any manuals or trial prep guides that they swear by? Or, if you’re willing to spend the time to write, any “must do” tips for her about preparing for trial? She is SO nervous, but working nonstop. Any wisdom you have to pass on would be greatly appreciated.

    • I’m not sure if this is exactly what she’s looking for, but I like NITA’s Modern Trial Advocacy: Analysis and Practice.

    • I like both the NITA and Mauet’s Trial Techniques. And don’t forget the jurors are people- connect with them. They are not experts in the law or the facts, and will rely on you to orient them and lead them through all of the information being thrown at them.

    • Speak up and preserve the record for appeal in case she loses. Even if the judge is cutting her off, she needs to at least try and make it clear that she was attempting to make an objection or whatever argument.

      • Yeah, from my experience in appeals, I have to say this is one of the most important things that I think would be easy to mess up. If she’s done state trials, she’s probably used to it, but making a good record is so, so important. Especially in federal criminal actions, where appeals can go on and on and on.

  6. Kontraktor :

    Hubs and I are trying to book a long overdue vacation. We’d like to go to Hawaii. We’re pretty much settled on Honolulu/Waikiki for now because we just want an easy trip where we can sit on the beach. We probably won’t do too many nature type excursions this time around. We’re looking to go early September.

    Anyway, any recs for hotels in that area? Everything just kind of looks overpriced and not that nice. We can go up to about $400/night but would really only want to spend that sort of money if the place would be knock your socks off. Realistic preference is more like $200-300 a night. We’d like easy beach access and beach views (and an overall ‘nice’/somewhat more upscale feel to the place). We wouldn’t be opposed to a BnB or boutique place, but casual searching hasn’t turned up much in that realm.

    Which hotels are worth it? Where do you like? Do you want to make an argument that I should go to Maui or another area? I’m willing to listen to those recommendations to if it means we’ll get a better experience. We’ve not had a real vacation in years. I think this trip might even be longer than our honeymoon. So, we want to relax and enjoy ourselves.

    • Rural Juror :

      I stayed at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Wikiki. It was a good deal as it’s about 1 black from the beach (3 minute walk) but still very prime location and a nice pool area. Rooms were clean, just like any other Sheraton. It is right off the main shoppin street in Wikiki (can’t remember name it’s been a few years) but I loved the location for shopping. We went to Maui also, it was a lot more relaxing but I prefer a city life type vacation. Depending on what you’re looking for Maui may be better. Lahina is a cute little town on Maui where you can still do shops and restaurants but the Maui vibe will be much more chill. I stayed in a rented condo in Lahina and the pool was To. Die. For.

      • Rural Juror :

        Sorry for typeos – phone typing. Also stayed at Fairmont Kea Lani in the Wailea area of Maui. Not much going on other than resorts, but beautiful.

    • SpaceMountain :

      The Hilton Hawaiian Village. It’s huge and has everything you want, including live penguins and great drinks at the beachfront bar. Aaaah.

      • Kontraktor :

        Glad to hear this might be a good option. I took a look at it and it’s on my short list. Is that the place that has flamingos too? I was looking on trip advisor and saw a place that had flamingos. I think it is because I now seem to recall seeing pictures of penguins too. It was on the short list because it was actually really affordable.

        • SpaceMountain :

          Yes, flamingos! The penguins are cuter, though. :) And did I mention Mai Tais on the beach?

        • SpaceMountain :

          Wait — do I recall you are a military family? If so, the Hale Koa is fabulous, right on Waikiki (next door to the Hilton, actually).

          • Kontraktor :

            Yep, we are military. I checked out that hotel, but even with my husband’s rank, it didn’t seem like that good a deal and the accomodations seemed a little bare bones. We may not be able to afford ultimate luxury, but I think we want to splurge a little and find a good balance between somewhat nicer accomodations and price. But we haven’t ruled it out though.

          • SpaceMountain :

            Yeah, the Hilton is nicer, so if you can get a good deal there, stay at the Hilton and shop at the Exchange at the Hale Koa. The Hale Koa is nice, though. With military ID, you can also use the Hale Koa pool, even if you are not staying there, if you want a change of scenery. And if you get a car to drive around the island, you can drive to Bellows AFB on the windward side, which has one of the most beautiful and least-populated beaches on the island, b/c you need military ID to get in. It’s gorgeous, and I bet you’ll get the whole beach to yourselves in September.

          • Kontraktor :

            Is September a totally fail time of year to go? I don’t know a lot about the high/low seasons there and don’t want to end up in 5 days of rain and downpour and tsunami.

            Thank you for the tips about where to go with our military IDs! That’s great/perfect inside info. We wouldn’t have thought of those things more than likely.

          • SpaceMountain :

            My in-laws live there, plus I used to have work there, so visited fairly regularly. I just hope your husband isn’t like mine in that his idea of a good time is touring battleships and submarines, because unfortunately there’s a lot of that there. September is a great time to visit. The weather will be fine and the crowds will be smaller b/c school is open.

          • Kontraktor :

            I think my husband luckily (this time around) just wants to sit and enjoy the beach, but I couldn’t say he wouldn’t want to see a million battleships if this were a more routine thing. We do probably want to go see Pearl Harbor though. Thanks again for all the great info, this is very exciting. I’m especially excited for the Hilton rec, as I didn’t know if it would be a little over the top/gimic-y, but it sounds like it’s fun and nice!

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I personally really don’t like the Village – it is so corporate, so touristy, and so huge… you really could be anywhere (aside from the ridiculous tiki/luau theme). No local flavor at all. OTOH my friend had her honeymoon there and loved it. It really depends on what you’re looking for.

        • Kontraktor :

          Where have you stayed on Waikiki? I am finding it hard to search through reviews because the really really nice stuff seems very overpriced, and the less expensive stuff seems potentially gimicky or just a bit yucky.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Yes, Waikiki is very, very expensive, especially the closer you get to the beach. It’s a top international destination that draws a lot of serious wealth, so the nice places are very, very pricey. I agree with your assessment – nice is overpriced (except it’s not “overpriced” because that’s what the market is there), and the less expensive stuff is often gimicky or yucky. My extended family acquired a condo a few years ago on the edge of the Ala Wai canal (the farthest you can be from the beach and still be in Waikiki), so I haven’t had to pay Waikiki prices in a while. However, I’ve been in most of the nicer-ish hotels in the area.

            My bucket list hotel is the Halekulani – definitely go there for drinks at sunset, when they have aloha singers and a gorgeous view. The Royal Hawaiian was just renovated and should be beautiful. The Moana Surfrider is also beautiful if you want to be on the beach. These are all going to be expensive.

            It really depends on what you want to do. When I am there, I am rarely in my room, so I just need somewhere that’s clean and comfortable and in Waikiki, and not paying for gimicky theme-y ick nor a fortune for a room. I’m either out doing an activity which I booked myself, or hanging out in the lounge/deck of one of the nicer hotels, nursing tiki drinks and enjoying posh scenery and service, or on the beach, which I walked a couple blocks to from where I am staying. Bonus points if there’s a minifridge in my room so I can make my own breakfast and save that money. The Ohana hotels aren’t bad for that, nor the regular Marriott, or the Outriggers. But I’ve been to Honolulu many times, so I am very self-sufficient when I am there.

            Maybe you want that posh service in your hotel and being steps away from the beach, a concierge to take care of you, and service on the beach with equipment rentals and drink orders. Unfortunately, you’re just going to have to pay through the nose for it, if you want to stay in Waikiki… perhaps you should rethink the Hale Koa :). Or, go in a totally different direction and consider a condo rental… but maybe you want your room cleaned every day, and room service, and a concierge. Or… consider Kona, where your money will go a lot farther.

            FYI – the Village is also FULL of families… kids everywhere. That may or may not be appealing to you. As I am currently childless, it does not appeal to me.

          • Kontraktor :

            Thanks for all this! I appreciate it. Awesome to know the Moana Surfrider could be a good option between nice ammenities and a little more charm, as they are having some specials right now that put it within our budget.

            We so rarely go on vacation that I do think slightly nicer accomodations are important to us for this trip, but we are also practical and want to strike a balance. My husband has been to Waikiki a couple of times for work and agrees it’s a bit crowded and whatnot, but I’ve never been and think it would be good for a first time. We like to eat a lot and would enjoy being in the city to have access to tons of different types of food. We also both want to see Pearl Harbor so I feel that makes tripping to a different island a little more difficult right now. Add in a day of snorkeling/kayaking at the north shore beach Space Mountain recommended and some lazing about on Waikiki and that’s the whole trip.

            I definitely want to do a more rural/secluded/nature vacation in Hawaii at some point but I guess for the first time it might be okay for us to be a little more in the hustle bustle. Thanks again :)

          • Didn’t read through all of the replies, but just wanted to throw out there that Maui is much much nicer (IMO) than Waikiki – which I thought was really overcrowded and kind of dirty. If you really want relax, sack on the beach in Hawaii, please consider Maui instead.

    • I went to Maui because I was part of a friend’s wedding party there a few yrs ago.

      Maui is every bit as overpriced, if not so, especially Kapalua, although it’s gorgeous.

      No real recommendations here, other than my expressing delight that you and your husband get to spend some nice vacation time together! :-)

    • I know you say you want to stay in Waikiki and I’m not really trying to dissuade you, but take a look at the Kona side of the Big Island. The Kohala coast is gorgeous, with many big resorts and lots of great beaches. My sense is that it’s a better deal than Waikiki (you could get a lovely room for under 400 — if you wanted to go to the top of that range I’d recommend the Mauna Lani, which is lovely, nice service, and has a patina of “old traditional Hawaii in addition to a nice beach and pool, golf etc) . You could spend the whole time on the beach there (the Hapuna Prince is not as nice but is cheaper and the Hapuna beach is gorgeous) also the Mauna Kea is spectacular with a beautiful beach and in your price range.

      Anyways, I don’t know Waikiki, and there’s not a ton of shopping and other diversions in Kohala, just really beach (and plenty of outdoor stuff, which you say you don’t want). But it’s gorgeous and there are direct mainland flights from SFO and San Jose (I believe you are in Bay Area)

      • Military Spouse :

        I second the Kona coast recommendation on the Big Island. My husband and I stayed at Mauna Kea last August, and had a wonderful time. Mauna Kea’s military discount was substantial (I want to say close to 50%), which made the resort affordable for us. I loved everything about it. If you’re looking for a “sit on the beach, just want to relax” experience, consider somewhere like this rather than Waikiki, which can get pretty crowded — although probably less so in September.

        Also — for touring Pearl Harbor, there’s a military tour that is different from the regular tour. You leave from the Admiral’s boat house, have a specific tour time (no waiting in line), and a very informative tour.

      • Kontraktor :

        Thanks guys these are great!! We are not 100% settled on Waikiki, we just figured, hey it’s easy, maybe we’ll do that. But we would be willing to go elsewhere for the right deal and a good experience. I will check out your recommendations! If nothing else, it’s good to have some ideas of things we might want to do in the future, as we have sort of told ourselves that we want to get to Hawaii a couple of times during the assignment here, so I would totally be up for a beachy/natural/outdoor trip at some point too.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        It depends on what she wants to do in Hawaii. I have been to Hawaii many times and I’m not fond of Waikiki itself either (bummer to hear the Hale Koa isn’t that nice – it looked pretty nice every time I got to ride through it on the airport supershuttle, and I imagine it must be great to be surrounded by people who really “get” you). Waikiki is crowded and teeming with tourists, and the beach isn’t that great if you’re measuring it against all Hawaii beaches, but it is convenient to important things like Waiola Shave Ice, Leonard’s malasadas, Jimbo’s udon, and Ala Moana, and Honolulu itself is beautiful and interesting (Iolani palace, for example, plus great restaurants from one to four stars). Hanauma Bay (get there right when the park opens and be gone by noon to get the best experience), Diamond Head, the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and Manoa Falls are not too far away from Waikiki. Waikiki is also a good base of operations if you want to go up to the North Shore for a day or two, which is very beautiful. If you’re on the Big Island, there is a lot less variety in what to do – Kona is gorgeous and peaceful with beautiful beaches, the hikes are amazing, the volcano is spectacular, and it’s much more “local” feeling than touristy Waikiki, but it has a lot less variety than Honolulu. After many trips to Hawaii, I slightly prefer the Big Island, but I can totally understand the appeal of Oahu. I wouldn’t turn down a trip to either :).

        September is the perfect time of year to go. August is way too hot for my taste.

      • I’ll second flying into Kona. If being on a beach is important, I think you could be very disappointed in Waikiki. It’s very, very crowded.

        There are so many easy to rent condos. Is that a possibility?

      • SV in House :

        We love the Mauna Lani and go almost every year at Thanksgiving!

      • In the Pink :

        Late to the convo. We love Kona and the Big Island in general.

        Cannot speak highly enough of the Mauna Kea Observatory tours. Been around a long time and we’ve gone 3 times.

        http://www.maunakea.com/

        You could also check out rooms at the Volcano Inn in the volcano national park … it is half way from Hilo and Kona…you drive up into the rain forest and orchid growers. Might be off season with Sept. rates. and thus, cheaper than Kona?

        Have a great time whatever you do!

    • long time lurker :

      I went to Waikiki, North Shore of Oahu and Maui, and I have to say Waikiki was my least favorite. Yes, it was cool to see Pearl Harbor, but the main area of Waikiki reminds me of Vegas with Gucci, etc. stores all over the place. Re: Pearl Harbor: Get there early. I thought it was worth doing (just did the Arizona) but as someone pointed out it could be a huge all day tour of battleships etc which I would not be into and some guys would be. There is the cool hike up the crater nearby (Diamond Head) (but you said you probably wouldn’t do any nature excursions). You can easily rent a car though and explore the rest of Oahu as it is not big. Note gas prices in HI are very high. I loved the North Shore, my favorite part was watching the sunset over the waves at Turtle Bay resort (you do not need to stay there to do this – go for cocktails at the restaurant – the hotel is tres pricy).

      Maui had the better beaches and snorkling in my view (stayed near Lahaina) and lots of things to do within driving distance. A lot of people rent condos in Maui and that may be an option for you if you choose Maui.

      Enjoy!

      • Kontraktor :

        Where did you end up staying in Waikiki?

        • long time lurker :

          We stayed in the Miramar, which I would not really recommend. It was right in the middle of the action, but the room was small and barebones. We only stayed there two nights, so it was not a big deal but for a week or more I would have wanted something nicer. The did have a nice pool on the roof w/ a cute little bar, that we enjoyed.

    • Hi Kontraktor –
      I’m going to push for Maui, and specifically Ka’anapali, over Waikiki if what you primarily want is a relaxing beach experience. IMHO, Waikiki is all about shopping and glitz and is frenetic. The beach is also not that wide . . . and it’s very crowded. If you do want to go to Oahu specifically (because flights are cheaper or easier), I’d recommend either staying at the Kahala resort (which is apart from Waikiki and has its own beach) or renting a beach cottage on the Waimanalo side (or on the North Shore). We have had great luck renting with Nalo Winds — have stayed in the Beach Bungalow and the Hula Hale. Waimanalo Beach is miles long and usually deserted.

      If you’re not set on Oahu, and can find decent prices for flights to Maui (they may be cheaper if you fly through HNL), I highly recommend either the Hyatt Regency or the Sheraton on Black Rock. Both are on Ka’anapali. Traveling in Sept. you should be able to find some package deals that come with a rental car and breakfast every day for between $250 and $300/night for a oceanfront or partial ocean view room. I like both Costco Travel and Pleasant Holidays. Staying on this south end of Ka’anapali, you can walk up and down the waterfront beach walk to various restaurants and bars and not have to get in your car again unless you want to. Very, very relaxing. The beach is better at the Sheraton (and the Sheraton has better snorkeling) but — again, IMHO — the Hyatt has slightly better restaurants and also has waves breaking in front of the resort. I prefer this b/c I like falling asleep to the sound of the waves.

      September is a great time to go! It will be a lot less crowded than the summer months but still warm/hot enough to enjoy being on a tropical island and getting in the ocean/pools.

    • new york associate :

      Arghh, a giant post just got eaten by the Internet. Highlights:
      *Go to Maui, not Waikiki.
      *Get a hotel room on Priceline. You can definitely get a nice resort room for $300 in September in Maui.
      *September is a great time to go — you’ll get a few showers (but we also got rainbows, which were gorgeous!) and the prices were lower because it’s the off season.
      *I recommend the Kaanapali beach hotels — I personally vouch for the Westin, which is also on sale on Priceline right now. Friends just stayed at the Sheraton and had a good experience. Right on the beach with views from most rooms, great pools, snorkeling with sea turtles right down the beach, easy proximity to restaurants, people who will bring you a drink while you sit on a lounge chair. Heaven, and not as expensive as the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton.
      *When in Maui, a great and easy adventure is a two-day trip to Hana. Drive to Hana, stay overnight, and explore the waterfalls and beaches on the second day before returning to Kaanapali. You can also do this as a one-day trip. In Hana, I recommend staying at the Luana Spa Retreat (in a yurt!). Totally fun.

      • Out of curiosity, when are the best months to visit any/all of the islands? Kona is sounding pretty great. I don’t want to go to touristy spots or go shopping — just the beach every day and good food/drinks at night. If I can get my parents/siblings together, we’d probably enjoy renting a condo or a timeshare for a week. I’d be flying out of LAX. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi again –
      Since you want to visit Pearl Harbor and the North Shore, and wouldn’t mind some of the hustle and bustle (plus diverse food options), it sounds like Waikiki might work well for you guys after all. Given all that, I definitely second the recommendation for the Moana Surfrider — esp. if you can stay in one of the rooms in the historic original building.

      The Halekulani is truly lovely — we stayed there on our mini-moon — but it has no beach at all. I’d again second the recommendation to go there for drinks at House Without a Key to hear live music and see the wonderful hula performers. I also LOVE the breakfast at House Without a Key for an everyday option. The Sunday brunch at the Moana Surfrider topped even that — it’s amazing.

      Given that it sounds like you and your husband like to eat as much as my husband and I do, I wanted to recommend these add’l places for serious eats: Alan Wong’s (weird location on the second floor of an office building outside of Waikiki); Nobu (in Waikiki right across from the Halekulani); Eggs & Things on Kalakaua for pancakes for breakfast; pho in Chinatown; Leonard’s malasadas; Waiola Store for shave ice in Honolulu; Legend Seafood in Chinatown for dim sum; and Shirokiya on the top floor of the Ala Moana mall for an amazing Asian grocery store/food court/festival-type delicious experience.

      • Kontraktor :

        OMG thank you for the food recs. We seriously could spend an entire trip eating and stuffing our face. Too bad there are only three meals in a day! I will keep all the Waikiki recs but will bring up Maui to the hubs as well. We are not 100% sold on Waikiki which is why I came here to ask. Thanks for all this great info.

  7. sleepless in sc :

    Hi, I’m a longtime lurker and love to read this site during breaks at work. I’m hoping to get some reassuring words from the hive. I just found out last night that I’m pregnant. I just got married at the end of April, so I’m four weeks pregnant and I’ve been married for six weeks. Eeek.

    I’m 38 years old and over the years I’ve had so many friends go through struggles with infertility, so I thought getting pregnant was going to take a long time and many months of trying, if it happened at all, so this is a shock to me. I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. So many changes happening so fast.

    I’ve wrestled with insomnia over the last five years, and I was hoping it would get better after the wedding when we could settle into married life. But it is the worst it has been in quite awhile. And now I don’t know how I’m going to be able to hold down my job and go through pregnancy and then take care of a baby when I’m so exhausted and can’t sleep. Has anyone been in this situation before? I’ve heard of pregnancy making women sleep 12 hours a day and progesterone having a calming effect, but I feel very anxious and there is no sleepiness in sight. Any reassurance or words of advice?

    • sleepless in sc :

      I should probably add that I just met my husband last June, so it has been a whirlwind. I was rolling with it pretty well until the positive pregnancy test last night. Can’t think straight right now

    • Sometimes the anxiety that comes from not sleeping makes it harder for me to sleep. I’m sure the anxiety that comes from being pregnant and newly married makes it all the worse.
      I can only suggest the usual route – trying to limit your excitement before bed – ie not watching TV, working out too late, eating/drinking too late. I would try to create a calming atmosphere for sleep. Sometimes the clock next to the bed makes me freak out because I keep thinking “now I only have x hours to get some sleep.” Maybe move it away from the bed, or get a clock that doesn’t have the glow in the dark numbers so it isn’t distracting.

      Best of luck to you, and congrats on wedding/baby!

    • Many practioners recommend unisom + B6 to combat nausea and morning sickness. So, if you are having trouble sleeping, know that unisom is probably a safe way to get a good night’s rest.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Unisom is excellent. You must get the sleep tabs, not gels (they are not pregnancy safe). They’ve been tested in pregnant women; totally safe – and very effective! They also help curtail nausea. (Someone told me that it was actually developed as an anti-nausea med, specifically for morning sickness, but it made everyone so tired that they just sold it as a sleep aid). B6 didn’t help me at all but seems to work wonders for everyone else.

        I slept great with my first pregnancy but had terrible insomnia with my second. I ended up taking half a unisom for about the first seven months. It was not habit-forming.

    • I have had good results from listening to guided meditations at night. I particularly like Shakti Gawain.

      • And congrats! That does indeed sound like a whirlwind, so it’s natural that it’s taking you some time to process. I recently got engaged, and I’ve had some sleepless nights lately just processing those, “What does this all mean?” thoughts too”

    • I realize this must be so overwhelming, but I think it all sounds wonderful! As a single 33 year old, I’m worried about not being able to have kids, so it sounds so great that you’ve fallen in love and didn’t have trouble conceiving. Try to relax and know that sleep will come. I read a book called Say Goodnight to Insomnia many years back and found it really helpful with my insomnia. Good luck and remember that some changes are fantastic!

    • I only have very general advice, unrelated to pregnancy and insomnia, but whenever I’ve dealt with insomnia from anxiety, I’ve found it useful to just get out of bed and go watch TV. Lying in bed thinking just makes it worse. I have a few favorite shows that I only watch when I have insomnia (USA Channel shows — Monk, Psych, Royal Pains — totally stupid shows but entertaining and light). I find that I’ll often fall back to sleep while watching the show because my mind isn’t racing and focusing on whatever is making me anxious. And if I don’t, at least I had an enjoyable night watching TV instead of stressing out.

      My only other piece of advice is that I have several friends and family members who wanted to get pregnant but then were totally freaked out and upset when it actually happened. But over time, that feeling went away. It’s totally normal.

      • This is what I do too. I know the conventional wisdom is that screen time can exacerbate insomnia, but I need something to pull my mind out of that spiral.

      • I totally agree with this advice. I just accept that I’m having trouble and go to the couch with a nice blanket and pillow and watch boring stuff. Like infomercials. It usually makes me sleepy within 30-45 minutes so that I can go back to bed. It’s all about breaking the “omg I can’t sleep” anxiety cycle.

        Also consider asking your doctor if there are sleeping pills that are safe to take while you’re pregnant. When I’ve gone on serious insomnia fits (like not sleeping every other night) my doctors have put me on Klonopin (heavy duty) and Trazodone (lighter duty). I find that knowing they _will_ make me sleep helps me to get through the anxiety loops and can then ween off them after a few weeks.

    • No advice but congratulations! Sounds like a wonderful (if hectic) time.

    • Congrats! You thought you had months of trying ahead of you, but you avoided the potential heartache and anxiety there. You can do this!

      • Congratulations!!!

        It’s normal to feel tired but not be able to sleep during your first trimester (or at least, it was normal for me), even without the psychological aspects. Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible and try going to bed extra early with a book so you don’t feel like you need to fall asleep *right away.* You may also find that you feel a little calmer after a few days and after your first OB appointment. You have lots of time to prepare and enjoy your newlywed days before there’s a baby on the scene. Good luck!

    • Dear Sleepless,

      Congrats on the marriage and pregnancy!

      Is there a favorite (short) book or story that you have on hand that you’ve already read many times and know the ending to? I find that in times of stress and anxiety, I don’t want any additional iota of uncertainty. I find re-reading an old favorite to be very comforting. Maybe that will help. I’ll read those “comfort books” in bed and fall asleep mid-chapter.

    • Hormonal insomnia is not unusual at all. Since you just found out your pregnant, I assume you haven’t seen an OBGYN yet. When you have your first appointment, mention your insomnia and see what s/he suggests.

      Also, I assume you haven’t had time to discuss much with your husband. Once you’ve settled some of your concerns, that should alleviate some of your anxiety and allow you to sleep better.

      • ps – congratulations! I know it’s stressful now but you’ll be the happiest woman alive once you meet your precious son or daughter.

    • soulfusion :

      Congratulations! I’ve just recently weaned myself away from close to a year of almost non-stop insomnia and I have received and tried many, many things. Not all of them worked. Even sleeping pills didn’t always work. But I’m off the sleeping pills and I now have a good routine that is working for me. First, each night I set a time to start getting ready for bed that is at least 30 minutes to an hour before I want to be asleep. For example, last night it was 10 because I wanted to be asleep by 11. I have a washing face/brushing teeth ritual that while not too lengthy it is surprising how much it can perk me up and give me a burst of energy after I could barely drag myself off the couch so my best routine is when I take care of all of that closer to 2 hours before bed. I turn off the tv and put my phone and computer away. I’ve tried various meditations and yoga before bed when I know I’m carrying a lot of anxieties but for me the best thing is reading. I make sure my room doesn’t have any other distractions (clock faces away from the bed, all phone alerts are on silent) and is a good temperature and then read until my eyes get droopy and I usually drift off right away. If I’m not asleep within 10-15 minutes (although I don’t look at the clock), I continue reading until my eyes are droopy again. It took me a long time to reach a point where this routine works but (knock on wood) I haven’t had a sleepless night in a few months. While I don’t think the acupuncture helped me, I know many people who swear by it and I think if I had tried it before I was at the desperate point when I couldn’t get more than 3-4 hours of sleep a night it would have been more effective. My acupunturist even put these little mustard seed things in my ears that stayed there for a few days. Worth a try. Oh, and no napping, no caffeine and no alcohol (the last two are probably out with pregnancy anyway)! Refraining from indulging in any of these can be ridiculously difficult when you are trying to break the cycle but have to be alert and attentive. I tried the guided meditations and ambient noise apps for my phone but I found them more distracting for some reason even though I love a good guided meditation in a yoga class. I also tried listening to a book or other audio program but I would struggle to stay awake more than I would with a book where once I shut my eyes I had to put the book down and many mornings I find my kindle under my pillow and I often have to turn back a few pages and re-read.

      Sorry for the lengthy and somewhat repetitive advice but mostly I wanted you to know I’ve there and know how terrible it can be. Best of luck and congratulations on all of the life changes!!

    • I have trouble falling asleep when stressed, but something that has helped me a great deal are audio books, as long as they are not too exciting. There are free apps for Librevox where you can download books that are in the public domain for free. The Art of War has been my go to for a few months now b/c the volunteer narrator has a great sleepy low voice and it’s very simple/no exciting plot. Otherwise, audio lectures/ and podcasts work or you can download the NPR app and the programs on Fresh Air put me out. Benadryl and melatonin also make me drowsy enough to fall asleep but don’t make me a zombie the next day.

      • AnonC has it right. This changed my life. An ipod shuffle can be used by touch in the dark. I load it up with books and then even if you aren’t sleeping for some reason or other at least you’re not lying there fretting. The mental health improvements of not buying into the anxiety are at least as significant as the extra sleep.

        Jeremy Irons reading Brideshead Revisted kept me going for a year. Now, I’m sure if I heard his voice while I was driving I’d drop off straightaway.

    • Talk to your doctor about it. I dealt with serious insomnia for a period of my life, and after seeing my doctor, I went to see a bio-feedback specialist. One session with her gave me enough insights to eventually overcome my insomnia. It’s really not a big issue in my life anymore. When I have trouble falling asleep, I just read for a while and refuse to freak out about it. This helps me break the cycle of anxiety. But everyone is different, so it helps to speak to a specialist who can cater their advice to you. Plus, it’s just so reassuring to speak to someone who has seen this kind of thing all the time.

    • sleepless in sc :

      Thanks so much everyone for your encouragement and advice. I’m going to print out your comments and read them when I feel overwhelmed. I normally take Ambien or Klonopin when I’ve had too many nights in a row of poor sleep. I’m going to check out the Unisom. I think I tried it back when the insomnia first started and didn’t have any luck, but it’s definitely worth another try.

      I’m also going to look for the books and audiobooks. I tried watching TV last night and couldn’t focus on what was going on in the shows. But maybe once the initial shock passes, TV will help.

      Biofeedback is something I’ve never tried, but I’m intrigued especially since it would be a good non-medication option. I do need to find a doctor soon. After the wedding I moved into my husband’s house in a neighboring city, and I haven’t found doctors here yet.

      I realize how lucky I am to have gotten pregnant this fast. I was stuck in the single phase of my life for so long, and went on so many dates from speed dating, internet dating, set-ups by friends, etc, and could not get my life to move forward. And now it’s the complete opposite, everything is happening so fast. The changes are overwhelming. Thank you again for all your kind words and advice, I really appreciate it!

  8. Has anyone ever shopped at dorothy perkins online? I just discovered the site and they have some really, really cute dresses that are inexpensive (like 50-80 bucks) but I dont know anything about the fit or quality. Any intel on this brand will be greatly appreciated.

    • I’m meh on Dorothy Perkins. I pop into the shop every so often because I think they have cute colors and patterns but never end up with anything. I think it depends on your size (seems to run small) and things are often ‘skater dress’ style, so gathered waist and quite short. If you were petite, they’d be perfect but 5’7 me just looks like an overgrown child.

      Modcloth might be worth a look and then you don’t have to deal with international returns.

      • Have you had good luck with ModCloth? I’m too big for DP, but I love, love, love some of the designs on ModCloth and would love words of encouragement.

    • I’ve bought a few of their dresses. They tend to run small, at least in the UK – I usually wear UK 10-12 but I needed to buy a 14 at DP. Quality is good, I’d say (I happily wear my dresses from there to work), and they’re also good at making clothes that fit short girls like me.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I love the dresses, I have tons and they are usually good quality for the price. I’m short with big boobs and the fit tends to be great for me.

    • I ordered a couple of things from there that I liked, but I do have a couple of caveats. I ordered a sweater, and when it came I found that it had decorative buttons on the shoulders, which weren’t mentioned in the product description or visible in the photos. Also, I ordered a jacket that I loved, but it came out of the box with a horrible formaldehyde smell. It dissipated after two vinegar soaks, a couple of machine washes, and some time hanging outside in the sun, but it was pretty annoying that have to do all that before I could wear it.

    • I find their dresses short. I’m 5’10″ and long-waisted, and their maxi dresses don’t quite reach my ankles, while the “waist” hits me mid-ribcage.

  9. Recently came across Project 333 on the Vivienne Files, I think I’ve been inevitably doing this because I have so few clothes right now. Do you have any pieces you swear by/can’t live without? I’m lifting my shopping ban July 1st and I’m trying to come up with things I should add to my wardrobe.

    • I wear my straight leg, ankle length ponte pants from Ann Taylor at least twice a week. They are stretchy enough to be really comfortable, but polished enough to be reasonably dressed up. They are my go-to for casual Friday, air travel, and days when I am having trouble forcing myself go to work and bribe myself by wearing a really comfy outfit.

    • A solid black unadorned blazer if you don’t have one. I put it over dresses to business-them-up, and they go with almost all pants and business skirts. Plus they work with jeans on the weekend with the sleeves rolled up.

  10. TJ: Curly haired members of the hive! I have a question for you, I recently (like 6 months ago) learned that I have curly hair from my stylist at the time. This was news because I had straight hair growing up and it apparently got curlier as it got thicker.
    I really like curls and my hair has been slightly more manageable of late because I know they’re in there but-
    I can only get them to have any form of definition if I fill my hair with mousse and various curl enhancing products which then makes it crunchy, and even with those it doesnt last all day so by 3 or 4 my hair essentially looks like Hermione Granger’s very large and bushy with no defined style.
    Any tips on how you make your curls stay curly?

    • Constance Justice :

      I think you will find that every curly haired woman has to go through a process of elimination and that there is not one silver bullet. Everyone has their own tricks. That said, I use Bumble & bumble curl defining cream on sopping wet hair and air dry. Good luck!

      • PharmaGirl :

        This is very true. I’m a curly girl and B&B does nothing for me! Air drying definitely makes a huge difference in curls. The hair dryer separates my curls and causes frizz, even with a diffuser.

      • I love B&B curl defining cream, although I use it on damp hair.

        manomanon, have you seen a curl-specialized stylist? One may be able to help you find products that work for you. It took me, oh, 15 years to figure out how to style my hair – hopefully as an adult with disposable income you’ll find something that works much quicker.

        • PharmaGirl :

          How did you find a curl specialist? I always ask if salons have someone who specializes in curls and they always say they do. Is it just trial and error until you find someone who ‘gets’ your hair?

          • Naturallycurly (dot) com has a directory with some reviews, too. Or if you like the Devachan style of cutting, you can look at their website for a list of salons with certified stylists.

            I found mine through trial and error, just by calling salons. I have always had good luck at Aveda salons, and have been seeing my current stylist for around 8 years now.

    • No tips, but I’m right there with you on just recently discovering my hair is now curly! It’s weird, and I’m a little sad that my silky, straight hair is a thing of the past, but I’m rolling with it. So far I’ve been having some success with mousse, but it’s not perfect.

    • Totes McGotes :

      Kinky Curly Curling Custard changed my life! Check it out online, or at Target or Whole Foods.

    • Sulfate free shampoo. Get a cut from someone that knows how to cut curly hair (if you can find someone that cuts in the style of Devachan in NYC, I would try that–you can either go to their salon or look up salons that have a Deva-trained stylist in your area). If you play with your hair and run your hands through it all day, stop.

      • Oh, and I like Ouidad leave-in conditioner (I put it in towel-dried hair after I shower).

      • Constance Justice :

        This! My stylist is fantastic and makes sure that my cut looks good both straight and curly. Love her.

        PS to rosie: thanks for the heads up on the sulfate free products at Costco! Already making a world of difference. :)

      • Boat Shoes :

        I agree with getting your hair cut by a specialist. I’ve had curly hair my whole life, and have tried pretty much every product out there, and I’ve found that products don’t matter nearly as much as a good haircut.

        The previous poster recommended Deva. I go to a Ouidad stylist and I think her cuts are the best I’ve ever had. The Deva and Ouidad methods are different, so it’s worth checking them both out to see if you prefer one over the other. The cuts are expensive but last so much longer – with a standard cut my hair would start to triangle out at about 6 weeks, and now I can easily go 3 months without the cut losing its shape.

    • My hair is naturally curly, so I don’t have any issues with it staying curly. It sounds like you’re using too much product (I usually have the crunchy issue when I put too much product in my hair). I love the Kerastase products (Oleo Curl line) for a soft hold. The products are a bit expensive though. I usually start with the Elixir Ultime Oil (similar to a Morrocan oil), and then use the Oleo Curl definition cream. I have different starters depending on whether it’s rainy or if I’m going to use a hair dryer.

      I usually have a 2-pronged approach to product: first, I put in something to combat frizz (try the Garnier Fructis smoothing milk); second, I use some sort of thinner gel (try Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity gel — be careful with this though. Too much will be crunchy).

      Agree with one of the previous posters – for people with curly hair, there will never be a one size fits all!

    • big dipper :

      I recently went through a similar experience (hair was always wavy, it’s gotten curlier and curlier over time and I just didn’t notice).
      Beach spray. My hair always looked best at the beach – defined curls, no frizz, etc. And then I saw a bottle of surf spray/beach spray in a drug store – problems solved!

      I swear it’s magic. When I blow it straight, my hair has tons of volume and nice waves (a la Kate Middleton). When I leave it curly, I have defined curls and waves and almost no frizz. In the humid summer, I use a few drops of Garnier’s anti-frizz serum to deal with the frizziness.

      Anyways, your description of your hair (looking like Hermione’s by 3PM) sounds similar to mine, so it could be worth checking out. I’ve been using David Babaii’s bohemian beach spray, but there are tons of comparable alternatives on Amazon.

    • Having the correct and high quality product is key. You’ll have to play around until you find something that works for you. I have ended up using exclusively Deva Curl products (shampoo/conditions/gel). naturallycurly dot com has good suggestions about what products work for different types of curls.

    • I’m also wavy/curly/wurly. Here’s what works for me:

      I limit sulfates and silicones in my hair products. I use gel (Ecostyler Krystal), not mousse (I need more hold than it sounds like you do), and scrunch it in while my hair is wet. I then use a diffuser (if you’re interested in my diffusing method, I’m glad to share).

      In the end, this makes my hair crunchy. I wait until it’s dried and then put a little bit of curl creme on my hands (maybe a pea size) and flip my head over and scrunch my curls to break the cast of the gel. I still get hold this way, without crunchy curls.

      It sounds like you may not be using products that your hair likes. It may be worth stopping around naturallycurly dot com and reading up on the different hair types and seeing what works for other people whose hair is similar to yours.

    • Be Curly cream by Aveda helps avoid the crunchy look for me. Stick to creams not mousses or gels.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Curly hair is awesome and you’re going to be so happy with it once you find the right mix of products. Here is what works for me: sulfate free shampoo and moisturizing conditioner, then TIGI Catwalk Curl Creme ($13; a little goes a looong way), Garnier Fructis Curly Gel Spray (I only use about 3-4 sprays over the areas I tend to get frizzy and this helps it all set. My trick is called “noodling” – you take a wet strand of hair and twirl it on your finger – this creates gorgeous frizz free curls. I also never use a hair drier, ever. I just towel try. Once a week I’ll use some hair oil – I like Garnier Fructis Apricot and Maroccan Aragan Oil. I also like the Organix line Maroccan Curl Creme.

      One of the tricks is to wash your hair only every 2-3 days. On the non-shampoo days I spray my curls with water and then with the gel spray, scrunch and voila! Good luck and remember that most stores will let you return stuff that does not work out – so be bold, try stuff, and return it if it does nothing for your hair.

      • Recent grad :

        Silly question, maybe. But what are the best sulfate free shampoos and conditioners? And how can you be sure they are sulfate free?

        • My favorites are the Nourish ones from Trader Joe’s – $3 a bottle and way better than any $30/bottle ones I’ve tried.

          Most sulfate-free shampoos are proud of it and say so on the label, but you can check out brand listings and reviews at naturallycurly (dot) com.

        • Just a note: if you’re getting rid of sulfates, also watch out for silicone in your conditioner. I cut sulfates without cutting silicone, and I got some nasty hair buildup because my sulfate-free shampoo wasn’t removing the silicone coating my hair.

          The most common silicones in conditioner end with -cone or -xane.

          • Oh yeah – agree. Naturallycurly also has a listing of common silicones and what to look for on ingredient lists.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Time to get some product samples from some of the curly sites and just test them out until you find what works for your curls. I always suggest trying 3x, you may have too much, or too little product and it usually takes three attempts to figure out if its you or the product that isn’t quite working right. I think a lot of the top lines do 2 oz bottles, because of air travel, so you should be able to minimize expense. I think curly mart sells a lot of samples. Personally, I co-wash with Hair Rules Quench Conditioner and use their Curly Whip product but I also use Ouidad, Kinky Curly Curling Custard and something else I found at Whole Foods. I used some other products when my hair was shorter, that don’t work as well now that my hair is longer because of the weight of my hair. Its trial and error… Good luck! Oh, and if you don’t already have one, get a diffuser. Air drying usually works best but I’ll knock off the top layer of wet with the dryer so I don’t have drippy hair. Also plopping helps (lots of you tubes to explain)…

    • I have similar hair. I just bought L’Oreal EverSleek Humidity-Defying Leave-in Crème, and it is amazing! You apply a bit when your hair is damp, and I apply a bit more when dry and styling, and it really defines curls without weighing them down or giving them weird texture. I’ve gotten three compliments on my hair since buying it last week!

    • TurtleWexler :

      Everyone has given great advice, but one thing I will add is to touch your hair as little as possible once the products are in. I have loosely curly hair that loves to separate and frizz, and the more I try to fix it, the worse it gets. If you absolutely must touch it, do so as minimally and gently as possible and use sopping wet hands so you can reactivate the product. It kills me because I was always accustomed to raking my fingers back through my hair to get it off my face, but since I’ve embraced curliness that is a recipe for disaster.

      • Amen to this. I just recently realized I could style my hair curly (not sure why this took me so long to figure out…but it did), and I basically have to not touch it all day. If I run my fingers through it (which was my habit when I wore my hair straight), the curls lose their shape and I just look messy. Also, I rely on a lot of product, but do what someone above mentioned – when it’s completely dry, I scrunch it to “break” the crunchiness – that gives defined curls without that wet look.

    • Dessert Doctor :

      I have *very* curly hair, and adore the Curlisto line of products from Christo’s Fifth Avenue salon in NYC (you can order them online).

      On a related note, does anyone have suggestions for good curly hair stylists in DC/Maryland? Since moving from NYC (and leaving my amazing stylist), I haven’t been fully happy. I tried a place in Bethesda that was okay, but am wondering if there’s someone better out there.

      • Check out Fiddleheads in Dupont Circle. They have stylists trained in the Deva method.

      • I generally fall back on Aveda when I am in a new place, so I have been using Avatar (Aveda salon in Silver Spring). I am pretty happy with how they do my hair (also very curly), although no one has made me feel as good about my hair as a Devachan cut.

      • Gabby at VSL salon in Dupont!

      • Jennifer at Bang Verizon Center has been taking very good care of my curls for several years now.

      • If Baltimore is not too far, try Ann at Sprout. She’s not a curly-haired experts, but she gave me the best haircuts ever (I have fine hair, loose curls that tend to frizz). It’s an organic salon too.

    • Praxidike :

      I have wavy/curly hair. I have a lot of HAIR, but the hair itself is fine (if that makes sense). When I want it to be curly, here is what I do: 1) minimal shampoo, just at the roots; 2) light(er) conditioner than usual, just at the ends; 3) squeeze hair out manually, then bend over and “fluff” hair at the roots with my fingers, blot with towel (scrunching!) until it’s damp; 4) work product through hair, scrunching; and 5) proceed through morning routine, scrunching whenever I think of it, adding product if needed, until hair is mostly dry (note: this can go through the morning drive, too). This generally leaves me with very nice waves, but not curls, and they stay through the day and into the next day.

      As for product, I use Aveda. I don’t use their “curly” line of shampoo/conditioner because I vary between blow drying my hair and letting it do its wavy thing. I use their “Be Curly” creme (I have hair a little longer than shoulder length and use a dollop about the size of a nickel or a little larger) and work it through from ends to roots. After I scrunch it through, I use a little bit of a very light gel called “Confixor” (also from Aveda) that gives the curls a lot more definition without weighing them down or making them crunchy. I generally use a dime-sized dollop of confixor on both sides of the head, again working my way from ends to root.

      So, that’s what works for me. I tend toward frizzy hair if I am not careful, and this combination of products also (thankfully) takes care of the frizz. Good luck!

    • (1) Shag haircut. Seriously. Only thing that has kept my very, very thick, loose curls defined and curly without turning into a pyramid. (2) Garnier spray gel – but don’t spray it. Step out of shower, put hair in towel turban for 30 seconds to 1 minute, plop some spray gel in your hand and distribute evenly. Allow hair to air dry for 30 minutes, scrunch, leave alone for another 20 minutes, scrunch again, both to perk up the curls and to disrupt any crunch. Good to go all day!

    • I’ve fallen in love with the Curls line of products, available at Target. The shampoo didn’t do much for me, but I swear by the Coconut Curlada Conditioner and the Goddess Curl Gel. I also really like their Lavish Curl Moisturizer, which they suggest using as a second day product but I just use as a defrizzer/curl-reviver if necessary later in the day. (Or as a first line of defense when I was in Denver and my hair, which is used to the DC swamp, had a complete freak out at the lack of humidity.)

      As others have mentioned, it’s going to take you a while to figure out what works specifically for you and your curls. Personally, I’ve had terrible luck with sulfate-free shampoos, and if I don’t wash my hair every day I end up with a limp, nasty mess. So, don’t take anybody’s advice here as gospel. Experiment and have fun with it!

      Good luck!

  11. I have a DVF dress that is similar to this one that I absolutely love.

  12. Love, love, love this dress.

  13. momentsofabsurdity :

    PSA – At Lands’ End Canvas, all shoes and accessories are 60% off, today and tomorrow. Free shipping with $50 orders if you follow the link through their FB wall.

  14. Barrister in the Bayou :

    Ladies, I need the collective wisdom of the hive. A close friend of mine is about 7 months pregnant. I know what I am getting as a shower gift, but I would like to get her something else – something that is strictly for her to use/enjoy. She just got her PhD and her and the hubs just sold their condo and got a house (and are in the process of moving)… needless to say, they have a lot on their plate right now.

    Any recommendations?

    • If she wants to frame her degree, a gift card to a place that would do it? I know the expense is a huge deterrent to a lot of people right after finishing, but framing it promptly gives a nice sense of completion and achievement. In the new house, space to hang it probably won’t be a problem.

      Mine is still in its cardboard tube :(

      • I think this is a great idea, especially because she may be getting more kudos as a future mom than as an academic right now. I was so annoyed by how much framing cost that I never did it. Ultimately, DH got me some cheap-o, ill-fitting, ugly frames on Amazon.

      • soulfusion :

        The only reason my degree was framed was because some of my extended family members pitched in and bought me a simple custom frame from my law school’s bookstore. Of course it still took me close to ten years and an office move to pull the trigger on framing my BA degree so I could hang them both on my wall. I think this is a great gift!

    • When my friend had her baby, me and another pal joined forces and made a little “mommy care” set for her use – nice candles, lotions and soaps (she likes that kinda stuff). Depending on your friend’s personality, you can do something like that, or get a superfluffy terrycloth robe that she snuggle in with her new baby.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Gift certificate for a pre-natal massage?

      • Second this suggestion. I had a spa day at 7.5 months pregnant and it was wonderful and just what I needed. If I also had to move at that time, I really would have needed a massage and a day to just relax.

        Or, a gift certificate for a pedi/mani. At that point I wasn’t able to bend over and do my own toes…

      • Second this. Find a place that does prenatal massage and get her that. That’s all I would want at that stage of pregnancy

      • Research, Not Law :

        Yep. This.

    • PharmaGirl :

      What about a survival kit for when she is in the hospital? I think there was a thread on this before with great suggestions… slippers, bathrobe, candy, water bottle, etc.

      • Post baby, I had a hard time those first few weeks finding time to make something to eat. How about a cute basket of healthy snacks she can eat one handed/over a baby’s head, a cute cup/water bottle to keep her hydrated, some light reading that she can read at spurts while feeding or DVDs of her favorite shows (there is a lot of couch time in those early weeks), lightly scented body wash or some other make her feel human product, that sort of thing.

    • I had asked this once before and got a ton of great suggestions. Went with a cute dress she could wear 8 months pregnant at an outdoor wedding with a cute fan and a gift card to lingerie at Pea in the Pod (I think). I guess post-natal bras are not so sexy. Also, a Pre-natal Yoga DVD I found for like $5. She has a masseuse already but the massage gift card was highly recommended by the hive as well.

      If none of that works, print out a gift certificate to help for a day with moving. Even if they have movers she will need to unpack and set up babies room, etc. Even if people offer, I am really bad about asking for help (until point of break down). Putting in a cute little card might help.

  15. Pockets! Hooray!

  16. Blonde Lawyer :

    I tried on a bunch of stuff at Target last night and thought I would throw out some feedback in case anyone is thinking of buying the same stuff:

    1.) Target has some maxi length skirts made out of yoga pant material that fold over at the top. They are unbelievably comfortable and I plan to live in mine. They run a little large in the waist so I sized down but they are a little snug in the toosh a la yoga pants. Ellen, these are not to wear around the manageing [sic] partner.

    2.) If you need a conservative dress for a casual wedding – target has a purple tie dye maxi dress that buttons up to cover all my cleavage and I am large of chest. The dress has wide straps that will cover a traditional bra and it is floor length. It looked a little frumpy/matronly on me but it would be great for an occasion where the dress code requires such a look.

    3.) There is a converse dress that is solid navy blue jersey on top, some kind of cross over style and a blue tie dye bottom. The top is tight and the bottom poofs out, kind of like a ballerinas outfit. As I said, I am large of chest and this is one of the few dresses cut to cover the girls just so that actually fit me. It also had large straps so I could wear a regular bra. I didn’t get it because even though it looked great, it showed a TON of cleavage and I will be vacationing with the in-laws. Awkward. Would be great for a vacation with friends though.

    4.) There is a dress that comes in blue, black, green and pink that is a fake silk, blousy on top, has a thin tie waist and then hangs sort of straight down. The sleeves are open with long ruffles. This dress was GORGEOUS but the only one in my size had a split in the seam. It didn’t seem cheaply made. It looked like someone tried on a dress way too small for them and had to rip it off. I will be looking at other stores to get it in my size b/c I loved it. It is the only dress I have ever tried on that is baggy in the chest, covers all of the chest, but doesn’t make me look preggo. Perfect for lunches on vacay with the inlaws.

    • I hate these Target posts. They make me want to buy ALL THE THINGS. Which…is the point, I suppose.

    • BL–I know you probably thought of this, but per #4, since you love it: if you bring it to the counter and show them the split seam, they will probably sell it to you (final sale) for a large markdown. It’s damaged and can’t be sold at full price, if at all, so they want to get rid of it. Of course, only do this if you’re prepared to sew it up. If the rip is only in the seam, though, even the most basic hand sewing will probably do the job.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Thanks, Monday. I can’t sew and am super busy plus lazy. If I bought it, it would live in a bag in my room for years. I’ve had pants in my car for months that just need to get dropped at the tailor. I live close to many a target so I think I’ll be able to find it. It might even be online too, I haven’t looked yet.

    • I spent 20 mins on the Target site this morning, trying to find the FAB top I bought this weekend to show you all, but I don’t think its online yet.

      Its an orange-and-blue Ikat print, tie-bow neck, sleeveless but covers your bra straps, blousy top by Merona. It was like $20 and I love it — and it hits some big trends for this summer (blue, orange, ethnic print, tie bow). It falls very straight so it may be a tunic for some, but I tuck it in (tall) and it still looks good! LOVING.

      • I bought that top this weekend, too! I love it. I’m tall and also planning to tuck it in to pencil skirts for work.

      • I'm Just Me :

        Was it this one?

        http://www.target.com/p/merona-womens-bow-blouse-assorted-colors/-/A-14006226

        They had several prints in the store that they are not showing online. I think that may have been an orange/blue one (I had about 3 of them in my cart at one point), there was a zig-zag stripe in oranges/rusts/browns.

        I bought the purple floral one this weekend and mentioned it on the weekend open comments. I love it. I wore it yesterday with The Skirt in black and a coral/tangerine-y Merona cardi and got a ton of comments. It does need a cami under it.

        • Yes, that’s the cut but not the print.

        • MissJackson :

          Oooh, I bought the yellow/blue version (from the link) this weekend. I had to size down (despite being large-of-boob) to a small (I’m usually a medium, and even a large in some high-end labels)– it’s still plenty blousy for my taste in the smaller size. Love it!

          • MissJackson :

            And I also bought the top that someone here recommended (maybe phillygirlruns?) — it’s sort of a chartruse and grey abstract print, silky in the front, knit in the back. So flattering and cute! (Looks amazing with the chartruse trina turk/bannana republic necklace for anyone who snagged that). I also bought the pink abstract print. For this style I bought my regular size (it’s also quite blousy, but I preferred the look of the medium to the small(.

        • phillygirlruns :

          love. target’s got some really great stuff right now.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I bought the great value dress in navy that has the 2 straps that crisscross in the front and I love it! The v-neck cap sleeve dress. It is seriously comfy and looked perfect for a birthday party in the park that I went to over the weekend. It’s my solution to the frumpy clothes at home problem.

      I got a few others that I returned though. I didn’t like the Trapunto dress in the southern pine color. The fabric seemed like it would always be wrinkly and it wasn’t flattering on me. Im not sure what I was thinking trying a dress wi such a high neckline because those never work with my boobs. I also returned the blousey top value dress. It was the same fabric as the v-neck one I kept, but also not flattering. It was the same size as the v-neck, which fit perfectly, but it seemed too tight so there wasn’t really any blousing going on.

    • Is it the Mossimo or the Merona maxi? The two look pretty similar, but based on your review, I want the one you have!

    • As a recent graduate, I love that there are suggestions for things I can actually afford! Thanks! :)

  17. still need a handle :

    two questions, both pertaining to problems resulting from too many late nights eating at my desk.

    1) My mouse is sticky. I’ve tried everything but nothing seems to get it clean. Any ideas?

    2) I am developing the dreaded premature white hairs. I have about five or six at this point–too many to pull out. Is there a sort of permament-marker-for-hair that I can use to cover them up?

    Thanks!

    • Where is it sticky? The top? Spray a napkin with windex and wipe the mouse clean. If it’s the bottom and there glue in grooved areas, then the pads of your mouse are missing. Just scrape that stuff off. Orrrrrrr, you can just get a new mouse because reasons.

    • I’ve always used something called “household alcohol” here, to clean everything sticky (keyboard, mouse, library books, cupboards, sticker glue …). Maybe it’s a fancy name for rubbing alcohol, but the smell is less nasty.
      Try it on a small part of your mouse before.

      Or buy one of those sleek, cute mice to make up for all those late nights :) (I would!)

    • Maddie Ross :

      Can you replace the mouse? This suggestion is completely the opposite of “green,” but whenever my mouse or keyboard get too “gunked” up from eating at my desk, I ask my tech person to replace them. If you can’t replace, and just need a quick fix, I’ve had good luck glopping purell (the original alcohol based kind) on the sticky part and wiping off.

      • I use a marker for hair but it is not permanent (e.g. washes out when shampooing). However, marker is so easy to reapply so it’s not a total pain. It’s the TouchBack hair marker. Amazon sells it. It’s about $20 but lasts a good long time.

  18. PharmaGirl :

    This dress is stunning. If only I had a smaller bust and a larger budget.

  19. The Nerdy Guy is NOT coming to work for my firm after all! Yay! I can stay in my office!!!!!

    Acording to the MANAGEING PARTNER, the nerdy guy said he did NOT like the overeall compenseation packege. I do NOT know what that packege was, but I am very happy!!!!

  20. Need advice from the hive. I have been tasked with planning our family reunion for August 2013. We live in Boston and my husband and I thought that renting a big house in the Cape for a week would be great. There will be 14 adults and 8 children ranging from 6 months to 9 years old. We recently moved to Boston and don’t know anything about the Cape.

    I have been doing research online and some folks have said that the waters are still pretty cold, even in August, and that they would not recommend young kids swimming in such cold water. This worries me, as the last thing I want is to plan a beach vacation and then not have anyone in the water.

    Are the waters warm enough in August (meaning, in the 70s) and if so, are there particular areas of the Cape that are warmer than others? A few friends have mentioned Buzzards Bay. And any particularly nice beaches? We went this past weekend and many of the beaches were very rugged and full of shells — not ideal for folks lounging around on the beach. TIA.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Yes, there are parts of the Cape that are warmer than others. I’m not sure exactly where the line is drawn (it all has to do w/ the gulf stream) but I remember Falmouth and Yarmouth being perfectly warm to spend the day in the water. There are rocks and shells though. Little ones should wear swim shoes. Chatham also has some beautiful clear water that is rare to find in the northeast. There are some great seal tours out of Chatham. If the water is not warm there, it is worth a trip there to go out on a tour.

    • PharmaGirl :

      Towns on the bay side of the Cape should work. The bay is more protected and the shallower tides make for warmer water (just check the tides before heading to the beach so you know when it will be low). The Dennis/Brewster area is nice for kids/families. Welfleet is also wonderful. The Cape is pretty small so you can always drive to another town if a particular beach or activity interests you.

      Not sure what you mean by rugged but it’s not the Carribean so don’t expect pristine white sand beaches! Buzzard’s Bay is not exactly Cape Cod, in my opinion, especially since you can get there without even crossing the bridge.

    • I’ve been in MA and used to swim in the water here from May to September regularly growing up. People here have no problem swimming in it most times of year – granted, it is very cold outside of May to September, but it isn’t awful. Considering much of New England brings their children swimming at some point, I don’t see a problem. (People also regularly go swimming farther north.)

      It will probably seem colder to you than, say, Florida water, but it is fine in my non-medical opinion. Especially in August, I wouldn’t worry about it. The water is usually pretty warm then.

      • Ditto swimming from May to September on the Cape. Staying closer to a bayside beach rather than an ocean/sound-side beach might be better for you–water is warmer in my experience, and it should be a little calmer for the kids.

      • Hmmm I’m in the northeast and I think Cape Cod water is FREEZING, even in August. My husband went swimming once on the ocean side and he swam into what he thought was some driftwood — only it wasn’t driftwood, it was a seal. A whole group (flock? school?) of them were swimming near him. The water is SO SO SO cold (August), that seals think its great.

        Stay on the bay side for swimming, definitely.

    • Locomotive :

      I lived in Woods Hole (south tip of the cape, right next to Falmouth, where the ferry leaves for Martha’s Vineyard) for a summer two years ago and swam from June- late August. The water is noticeably warmer in mid-late July and August, but I would say it’s definitely swimmable in June as well. The beaches in that particular section do leave much to be desired (there’s like 3 feet of ‘sand’ and lots and lots of rocks. and pebbles. and poison ivy.) but I know that beaches further to the east (Chatham) are much nicer. Don’t know if the water is colder there though. The towns of Falmouth and Woods Hole are so adorable – lots of little shops, restaurants, and you can drive a little bit east and take a boat to go whale watching too.

      Another thing to beware of (especially with little children and pets ) are the ticks. After a mildish winter those little buggers will be really healthy and on the cape, something like 95+% of the deer ticks carry Lyme. I got it twice during the summer.

      • Two cents :

        Thank you everyone for your comments. We went to many of these cute towns in the Cape this past weekend and the water was FREEZING. There is no possible way that I or any family members would have swum in such frigid waters. Very few people were in the water generally. But, August may very well be much warmer. I’m going to have to look into this more and see if it makes sense to stick with the Cape, or maybe move our reunion to another location entirely.

        If folks have thoughts on Block Island or Newport in terms of water temperatures, please let me know. Thanks!

        • LadyEnginerd :

          August will be significantly warmer than now. Mid-July is when it tends to really warm up, so I’m not surprised you found it cold last weekend. If it were me, I’d rent a place in West/North Falmouth, near Megansett, Old Silver, Chapoquoit, or Wood Neck beaches, since the water in Buzzard’s Bay will be significantly warmer than the Sound or Cape Cod Bay, and is some of the warmest water you’ll find within a 2 hour drive of Boston (north of Boston feels like Maine water. good for lobsters but not good for me).

          You can find historic water temps on various weather websites to compare August temps with what you experienced last weekend, and Cape vs. Block Island vs. Newport, but I don’t recall that small distance south making a ton of difference. The biggest difference is the time of year and how protected the location. Water temps always lag behind air temps as to when it gets warm enough to swim, so it’s often more pleasant to swim in September than in June. If it were me, I’d go for the shorter drive and stick with the Cape and the protected beaches listed above. FWIW, after growing up in the area my very absolute most favorite is Chapoquoit.

          Also, be sure to bring a GPS. Similar to Boston, the roads don’t always go in logical directions.

        • Sweeter Than Honey :

          I live in Falmouth. It’s definitely not carribean-esque here in the water in the summer, but it’s totally swimmable. Swim shoes are a must because of the rocks and shells. We always swam in New England beaches growing up and it never hurt us. It’s great weather here in August.

          If you do decide to get out here, definitely try Quick’s Hole in Woods Hole. Their lobster tacos are fantastic.

    • lucy stone :

      I go to the Cape every July for a family trip. I’ll swim in bay side or ocean side no problem, but I’m from the upper Midwest and have low standards for warm water. We stay in Eastham and if it is a bit cooler that day, we’ll go swimming in one of the ponds or coves rather than to an ocean beach. My favorite beaches are Coast Guard and Nauset Light for oceanside and First Encounter for bay side.

    • new york associate :

      If you want to stay in the Northeast but avoid the Cape, I suggest Cape May, New Jersey. It’s a longer drive, but the water is, in my view, a lot warmer, and the beaches are beautiful. They have tons of big reunion-appropriate houses.

    • Just had to comment on the young kids swimming in cold water… I grew up going to the beach in Maine, which is even farther north and the water is even colder. We often wore sweatshirts over our bathing suits while playing in the sand on the beach and often came out of the water with blue lips from the chilly temps, but we loved it and no one ever suffered from being in cold water. As long as there are rafts and sand toys, the kids will be fine. (FWIW, we always went the last week in July and first week in August because the water is warmest in August but it was more expensive to go then)

  21. Going to a b*chelor*tte party this weekend and we are supposed to give the gift of s*x toys. Any recommendations for specific toys?

    • Jimmyjane dot com has some very tasteful and fancy v!brators, including ones designed to be used during s-x to enhance both partners’ pleasure.

      Otherwise, I usually go with something raunchy and silly- my favorite gift I gave was a candy c–k ring, made from the kind of candy used to make a candy necklace. Everyone thought it was hilarious. I’d steer clear of fuzzy handcuffs – last bachelorette I went to, she got like three sets. If you’d like to be tasteful, massage oil and a bottle of wine is always a nice gift. So are s-xy underoos.

    • I’m in moderation, so check back for suggestions – I’ve been to a bunch of these parties lately.

    • also anon for this :

      Vibrating ring – check them out on adameve[dot]com. Like a little animal with a bullet.

    • Babeland (dot) com should have some suggestions. Maybe a pair of fuzzy handcuffs and one of those “roll the dice” sets?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Check the Good Vibrations website. It’s a Bay Area company that’s very woman (and LGBT) friendly. All their merch is tested and approved by its staff, and there are lots of reviews and guides. Customer service is very helpful and knowledgeable.

  22. I have to give a shout-out to Salma Hayek’s amazing Nuance line at CVS. Everything is all natural, and the am/pm cream and foaming face wash are some of the best products I’ve ever used. I’ve been going back once a week and buying new things — which all continue to be great!

  23. Bachelorette party help! I will be attending a bachelorette party of a good friend in July. I just received the formal invite and the theme is disco-era. I am clueless about what to wear. Knowing the ladies involved, this theme is not meant to be costume-like.

    I typically don’t wear dresses or skirt when going out for a night, but would possibly consider them for this type of event. Any suggestions for a disco-inspired look would be greatly appreciated!!!!! Or even ideas on where to shop, I’m in San Francisco.

    Thanks ladies!!!!

  24. TJ for the DC ‘Rettes: My friend just had a baby and I’d love to send her and her husband some nice pre-prepared food, does anyone have any recommendations? (She’s a vegetarian, but I assume that most places will have veggie choices) Thanks!

    • Do you just want to send her delivery from a restaurant? If you can say what neighborhood she lives in, people can probably make better delivery suggestions.

      If she happens to be in Dupont/Adams Morgan/U Street area, I’d suggest Cafe Green (I think they’ll deliver), Duccini’s pizza, Banana Leaves (Asian), Regent Thai, and Kababji – all have good veggie options.

      You could also give her a gift certificate to seamless (dot) com, which delivers from restaurants all over DC.

    • Souper Girl has a new baby gift package that I think would be really fun and healthy too.

      http://www.thesoupergirl.com/how-it-works/gift/

    • I was just looking at this website healhtybitesfood.com which delivers and has a veggie option

  25. Another question for the DC area: where is your favorite Target to go for clothes shopping? It seems like different Targets have different stuff, so I’m wondering if anyone has surveyed DC-area options or has any recommendations. Thanks!

    • Maryland Targets :

      I’m curious about this too, since I haven’t found a go-to Target around here yet. I think the only one in DC proper is at Columbia Heights, and I just don’t have any other reason to go to that area, so I haven’t checked it out.

      I can speak to a few on the Maryland side:
      Wheaton is almost always very crowded, so I haven’t browsed extensively because I get frustrated with the mob. From what I’ve seen, you typically won’t find an extensive selection of the more work-appropriate choices there. The demographic they’re catering too is predominantly lower-income. Target anchors the mall, so there ya go.

      These next two aren’t Metro-able.
      Silver Spring’s Target is next to a Kohl’s, so that’s the one I usually go to for clothes shopping. Two in one! I wouldn’t say either of them is great, but it’s one trip for two stores.

      If you’re willing to drive a little farther out, Columbia is about a half hour past the MD line (without traffic). That Target is pretty good, and it’s also in a huge suburban shopping complex, but it’s a hike to get there.

      • Sometimes you can find decent stuff at the College Park one (which is right by the Metro); it doesn’t get as picked over as the Columbia Heights one at any rate.

      • There is also a Target in Gaithersburg, but I’ve only been there once and am not sure about the clothes. I would think it would be closer than the Columbia one though, depending on where you’re coming from in DC.

        • ChristinaMD :

          The Gaithersburg RIO one and Columbia are my favorite. I live by Wheaton and Silver Spring, and clothes wise Silver Spring is bigger and preferable to Wheaton, but I usually only pop into either of those food cheap Chobani/food or cleaning products. Clothing or housewares are Columbia/Rio

    • The pickings are very slim at the Columbia Heights location. I do find stuff there sometimes, but the clothing section is small and pretty picked over.

    • The one at Skyline (Alexandria/Fairfax Co., right off 395 on Route 7) is my preferred Target in the area, even though there are 2 others closer to my house. It’s quite large, usually not too crowded (except Saturday/Sunday afternoons) and tends to have a great clothing selection. Followed by the Target Greatland on Route 50 by 7 Corners, but I hate 7 Corners with a fiery passion.

    • Locomotive :

      The clothing selection at the Arlington (off of 50, not metro accessible) Target is pretty good. I do sometimes have trouble finding things from the website in stores – not sure if this is just ap problem with a lot of target stores?

    • Thanks for the tips, everyone! I guess it depends on whether or not my SO will be monopolizing the car this weekend, but I want to go see some of the Target gems in person. I only have one or two clothing items from Target, so I need to get a bit more comfortable with their stuff before I start with ordering online like crazy–just my style.

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