Weekend Open Thread

Tibi Printed silk one-shoulder dressSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

So let’s ignore the fact that this silk one-shoulder dress is curiously among The Outnet’s selections for “power pairings” (you know, to wear to work), and instead focus on the great sale — take an extra 30% off at checkout, no code needed. (A reader actually alerted me to the sale and also suggested code LOVETHEOUTNET would add an additional 20% off at checkout, but I couldn’t get it to work for me.) Anyway: this Tibi dress was $345, was then marked to $155, and with the extra 30% off it comes to $108. Nice. Limited sizes only, of course, but lots of fun pieces. Tibi Printed silk one-shoulder dress

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  1. Any tips for applying powder without getting it all over the place?

    I have started using medicated foot powder to prevent smelly feet (working great!) but the powder gets all over the floor when I apply it. I guess I could put down a newspaper or towel, but I would rather learn how to apply it nearly if possible.

    • Neatly, not nearly :)

    • I do the same thing when I wear flats with baby powder. I actually just figured this out, like last weekend, even though I’ve been using baby powder for over a year–I simply stand in the bathtub!

    • I just stand in the tub. Lazy, but effective!

    • I am usually applying it shortly after I am done showering in the morning, so the shower is all wet. I guess I could sit on the side and keep my feet off the tub. not perfect, but a definite improvement. Thanks!

    • Maybe you could be A Fancy Lady and get a huge blush brush and use it exclusively to apply foot powder to your feet?

    • I shake the powder into my empty shoes at close range. I never apply it directly to my feet. Seems to work just fine – I’ve been doing it for years – but I do leave powdery little footprints if I have to take my shoes off for some reason.

    • Tip the powder into a large ziplock bag, dip feet in bag.

  2. Here’s a doozy –

    Quick story: bought a home high during the boom, now house is worth $150k less that what we owe.

    Was fortunate enough to purchase a new, better fitting home for our family at a lower rate/much lower mortgage.

    Renting old home for $1200 less per month that what we pay for the mortgage.

    No one will let us refi, we have no “hardship,” but we could do a lot with an extra $1200/month.

    What would you do in this situation? (Granted, I’m so afraid of screwing up our credit score I’ll probably be locked in paralysis forever. Just wondering what a bunch of intelligent women think about this.)

    • Not Creative :

      I am not a finance expert, but it seems to me that there may be a way to get more creative with your tenant. If s/he wants to purchase your home (or if you can find a new tenant who does), can the tenant contribute toward that $1200/month deficit in some way that will benefit you both?

      • Our current tenants are not interested in purchasing a property. I’m not sure about the latter situation, but it could be worth looking into.

        And I’ll admit, it was probably silly of us to purchase another home when we totally could have made due with the current one… but it’s nice to be in the black with at least one major asset and have an actual backyard.

    • Vegas Baby :

      You should consider a strategic default. Yes, your credit score will take a hit, but it recovers fairly quickly. Assuming you don’t need stellar credit for a major purchase (which should be the case since you just bought a home to live in), you can ride out the year or two it takes to rebuild your credit. Alot of the time, you can save a ton of money with a strategic default. Also, make sure you check in to the tax implications.

      • May make sense financially and people do this. But calling it “strategic” doesn’t make it any better from an ethical standpoint.

        Can you talk with your lender again and see if they’ll propose any alternatives? Many are far more accommodating and willing to identify options than what they used to be.

        • Anon for this :

          I’m not advocating strategic default, but it’s worth noting it’s a contract breach. Businesses do this all the time; only when it’s applied to people do the ethics get added in. Assuming there was no fraudulent intent at the outset.

          • Agreed. When you’re taking 1L contracts, this is efficient breach. Ethics don’t come into it; the bank has already priced the risk of default when underwriting the loan and you price the risks to you when you decide to do it.

          • Agree

          • +1. And I do think OP should investigate default, at the very least to understand what it would entail and potential consequences.

          • MissJackson :

            Agree with this.

            The banks would like you to feel like it’s “unethical” to default, but it’s really just business (and the banks themselves make strategic decisions — including breach of contract).

        • Bellydancer :

          It isn’t unethical (or at the very least, there is plenty of debate on that point). Banks walk away from their investments all the time: they decide it makes more sense to suffer the default penalties than to continue to pay for something that was overvalued. This is comparable to breaching a contract and being willing to pay whatever preset damages were established under the terms of the contract.

          • well, ethics do enter into it. People have a tendency to say “let the bank take the loss” but the banks are not stand-alone entities. they are part of a system in which we as consumers and investors and paycheck earners all ultimately pay for the defaults of others.

          • But shouldn’t that risk be priced into the interest rate on the mortgage?

          • Herbie, if that was directed at me, no, the events of 2008 to present were not priced into mortgages, but obviously the losses from that period have greatly affected us all, not just the banks.

          • Sorry, but it’s more than the bank that suffers when you walk away. The whole neighborhood feels the effect when you let a home slide into foreclosure. (But f anyone after who has stayed current and wants to sell theirs anytime in the near future, right?)

          • I don’t mean trying to tackle the Great Recession through mortgages.

            But when a bank sets an interest rate on any loan–car, mortgage, spaceship– shouldn’t it account for the risk of default in the interest rate it sets?

          • Anon for this :

            Herbie, yes. They should.

          • that’s like saying auto insurers should set rates to cover intentionally staged accidents, or stores should mark up prices to cover shoplifting. In reality, they do, but there’s no denying we all pay for it.

          • Okay, MamaBear, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that walking away from a mortgage is anything like shoplifting or submitting a fraudulent insurance claim. The latter two are designed to part an owner from goods/money through deception and false pretenses. The owner is not a willing participant in shoplifting and is only a willing participant in a fraudulent insurance claim based upon a misunderstanding of the true facts. A bank, on the other hand, enters into a detailed contract with a homeowner (contracts which are drafted by the bank, I might add). Furthermore, being in the business of making loans, the bank is aware that default is a risk with any type of loan. How is this different than any other contractual relationship where A owes B money? There’s always the risk that A is unable to pay, which makes entering into a contract all the more advisable—it gives B the opportunity to spell out B’s legal recourse in the event of default (terminating services or provision of goods; venue/jurisdiction/choice of law in the event of a lawsuit; mandatory arbitration; requiring A to pay B’s attorney’s fees in the event B prevails in court).

            For example. Joe Shopowner opens a videogame shop and sends Activision a purchase order for 100 copies of Call of Duty. Activision sends him the 100 copies of CoD with an invoice, terms net 60. This is Joe Shopowner’s first business, and he grossly underestimates the working capital he needs to get the store up and profitable, and it turns out he just kind of sucks at business. His videogame store fails. When it’s time to pay Activision, he doesn’t have the $. So he tells Activision he can’t pay and is instead closing up shop, and he lets Activision know that they can come get their 100 copies of Call of Duty if they want them. Let’s assume that this version CoD is widely panned, and demand has dropped precipitously since Activision originally provided the 100 copies to Joe Shopowner. Even if Activision reclaims the 100 copies and manages to resell them, it will only make 20% of what it originally thought it would, minus the $20 UPS fee to ship from Joe Shopowner back to Activision. So Activision’s going to take a bath on this deal.

            What’s the difference?

      • I’m pretty sure Suze Orman gave this advice last weekend.

      • Does this vary by state? I know in our state if you default on a mortgage, you are liable to the creditor for the deficiency between the amount owed and the fair market value of the property (if you owe more than its worth), so even a strategic default could open you up to a judgment. At least, I believe that’s how it works, I don’t do foreclosures, so I’m not an expert in that area.

        • I would check the tax consequences for sure. A friend lost her job, lost her home, and declared bankruptcy and then got 1099s from her mortgage lender for the amount she defaulted on. Because of the bankruptcy she didn’t owe taxes on the 1099 income but I’m guessing someone in your situation might owe taxes on that.

          • Yes, check for tax consequences, but I seem to recall that there is currently a short-term exception in place for debt forgiveness related to foreclosure and/or short sales, so check for that, too. And in my state, you can have a deficiency judgment entered against you, but in the current climate, this is rarely done for individual homeowners. It can happen, though, which is part of the reason a short sale approved by the bank is a better option.

        • Yep, there are some “recourse” states and some “non-recourse” states. Important to know which you’re in.

        • I agree with KLC. There ARE tax consiquences. I remember when I was dateing Alan, he did a paper on it for his job, and it was INCOME b/c of the forgeven debt’s. I had to help Alan write the paper, so I know.

          Does any one in the hive have an opineion about whether it is good to go back to your law school as a ALUMNI speaker? My law school sent me a letter and they said they want me to come back to DC to speak to 3L’s about job oportunnities in LAW, and to be a MENTOR for a 3L thinkeing of comeing to NYC, b/c I am an expierenced JD now admitted to the bar and in good standeing.

          Has any one in the HIVE done this? What is your expereince here? Should I respond. I am ALREADY VERY busy on the job with the manageing partner giveing me alot of work, and I hope to get a few day’s off soon.

          Thanks for your input.

          • Do it. Helping your 3Ls is a good thing to do.

            And tell us when you’ll be speaking.

    • How much of the loan have you paid off? Could you reamortize the loan? If you’ve owned the home for a few years and have paid off a chunk of the original debt already, this may be a way to reduce your monthly mortgage payment.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you looked into whether you are eligible for a HARP 2.0 refi?

      • Will look into reamortization. And Anonymous – we are not eligible for any refis – we either don’t have the right servicer or b/c it’s no longer our primary residence.

        • Yeah, I have to say. I think you have backed yourself into a bit of a harder place by moving out of the home already. If you are really opposed to the strategic default as suggested above, I would advise you to consider moving back into this place for a bit and renting house number 2. You will qualify for much better mortgage terms and more assistance programs if the home is owner occupied.

          • This. Also, the Obama administration has proposed another refi program as well. It requires Congress to act, so don’t hold your breath.

            However, most (like 100%) of the programs that are out there require owner occupancy.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Just to make you feel better, I’m sort of in your shoes too. Bought during the boom then had to move for work. We rent a house in new state and rent out the house in old state. The rent has never covered the mortgage but not to the extent of your deficit. We are also not THAT upside down. We are going to try selling it this year and paying the difference. I have also heard that you can’t qualify for a short sale unless you are behind on your payments. There are also tax implications of short sales and the missed payments can hurt your credit. Kind of sad though that the bank can’t “help” the people who have managed to stay afloat rather than forcing them to stop paying bills they can pay just to get out of the situation. I have no idea if you stop paying if they then look into what is in your accounts to see if you could have afforded the payments. The upside down part isn’t our big problem. Finding buyers interested in our property, at any price, seems to be the problem.

      • Want to add – that I’m also in the same situation. Even when we were living in our home (before moving to new state for job), we weren’t elibile for the refi (and that was only 9 months ago). We are lucky we have good tenants, who want to renew for another year. We just haven’t approached the “do you want to buy our home” – conversation. I’m not sure how to bring it up without bluntly saying it.

        • Could you come about it in a round-about way by saying something like, “Just so you know, we’re interested in putting the house on the market in the near distant future, so toward the end of your lease, we may need your cooperation for showings, etc.”

          That brings it up and puts the ball in their court to talk to you about the house, if they want to buy it.

    • How much was your down payment/how much is already paid off? I assume this is not the case, but if your house is worth 150K less than when you bought it and you could sell it now and pay off the mortgage in full, I would just sell it and consider it a loss that I can write off on my taxes. It sucks but it is a sunk cost. The question would just be a) how much would $1200 extra help you now, and b) can you make this benefit you in some way on your tax returns.

      On the other hand, I know a financial advisor who thinks that you should always hold on to your first property – you could consider that $1200 as a sort of investment and I am sure over time, eventually, the property will recover and maybe even be worth more than you paid for it…

    • Anon (but regular commenter) :

      I represent lenders in residential foreclosure cases and I practice in a state that has one of the highest rates of foreclosures. So here’s a few things from someone who actually practices in this area of law –
      A lot is gonna depend on what state you live in as how this will actually play out.
      If you default and the bank forecloses you could be on the hook personally for the difference between the fair market value of the home and what you owe. Right now alot of the lenders aren’t pursuing the deficiencies, but that’s mostly because most borrowers don’t have the funds to pursue. Sounds like you aren’t quite in the same boat. In my state it’s a 5 year statute of limitations to pursue the deficiency, so they may not come after you now but things could be different in a year or two. Basically, whether you’ll have to pay the difference is a big gamble.
      Since this is no longer your primary residence, you won’t qualify for any of the gov’t assistance programs and will have limited options as far as lender-specific modifications. Some lenders I represent won’t even modify non-homestead properties.
      Another problem is that you might make TOO much to qualify for a mod. Some lenders base loan modification offers on what you earn and some base it on your monthly expenses. If your lender does the former, you may not qualify. You’re able to pay the mortgage on two homes, so financially you’re probably not doing horribly.
      It sucks, but if you can stay afloat making both payments, I would try and tough it out until the market gets better. As others have said, you will take a hit to your credit – how hard and how long that hit lasts, I can’t tell you. But the first point I raised about the deficiency I think would be too big of a risk to take.

      • Anon (but regular commenter) :

        Also, I forgot to mention the tax consequences. Someone mentioned up-thread about the Obama administration enacting a short-term act regarding debt-forgiveness on short sales/foreclosures, etc. That only applies for primary residences/homesteads. So you will get a 1099 from your lender on the difference between fair market and what’s owed. That amount will be treated as income and you’ll have to pay the taxes on it.

  3. I posted this late in the morning thread in response to the discussion on shopping bans, so was hoping to hear some more thoughts/ commiseration/input/words of wisdom:

    Shopping bans don’t work for me, I feel like what most women with this issue really need (myself included) is to change their attitude about shopping/acquiring/consuming. A lot of it comes from boredom at work and the draw of pretty fashion pictures and daydreams of what to wear where. If I were actually out of the office, frolicking in the sun I’d shop a lot less and enjoy my time and the clothes I already own much more.

    It’s really unhealthy, I’ll be the first to admit. And much like dieting, shopping bans have only led me to relapse and binge. While I am not in debt and spend only a modest percent of my net salary on shopping, I still think it’s too much, as evidenced by my overflowing closets and desire for more pretty things I will seldom wear. Ideas like Project 333 are great in theory, but they are really the same concept as a shopping ban. They don’t address the underlying problems of boredom, fantasizing, procrastination and consumerism.

    Can anyone else relate – that a shopping ban is a bandaid for a larger issue, or a relapse waiting to happen? I am trying to be measured about it, though I continue to consume (this website certainly doesn’t help with its great daily offerings!). I guess I’m feeling more doom and gloom about it than the other commenters.

    • I find that avoiding magazines and certain websites are helpful. I didn’t subscribe to any mags other than cooking ones for awhile, and when I see InStyle and peruse through it I definitely get the sense of “Oooh-pretty! Need it!” and my wardrobe seems completely inadequate. I *only* come to this site, but usually for the comments and not so much for the fashion. Most of it is way out of my budget, anyway.

    • Dear freshjd, Here is what I wrote in response to you earlier:

      I agree that the right approach is that you purchase good items (fit well, go with many other things, work/life appropriate, good color, well made, not trendy so will wear many years) at good prices as you find and need them — instead of going overboard. Much like the appropriate approach to eating is eating real food (not cr#p) when your body needs it (and not when it doesn’t).

      Question about the 333 thing: For an entire year you can wear only 33 items, including shoes and accessories? How is this possible? What if you live somewhere that is bathing-suit-hot in the summer and down-coat-cold in the winter? What am I missing?

      I will add that if you approach your wardrobe with this kind of diligence, it can take just as much time as the constant shopping, but cost much less than, and create less bulk than, the constant bingeing.

    • 2/3 attorney :

      “If I were actually out of the office, frolicking in the sun I’d shop a lot less and enjoy my time and the clothes I already own much more.”

      This – couldn’t feel more the same.

      • Me too. I used to pretend that shopping was better than eating my feelings, but they have the same triggers for me. So if I can avoid the triggers or know how to manage them, I’m a lot happier all around. I’m still a sucker for a deal and love shoes, but I’d rather be out doing the things I like to do, which rarely includes going to the mall and spending one of my two free days a week inside or hours on end shopping from home.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes but how to curb the internet shopping demon? That is my real killer, not in-store shopping which is much rarer.

          • So far I have done three things that work for me: 1. I never order anything from my primary email address, so all of the subsequent deal emails go to that other account that then if I hear about a good sale on something I need/have wanted for a considerable amount of time I can go find the email with the discount code. 2. I unsubscribed from those sale agglomeration emails. Most of the online shopping I do on a whim is “That is such a good deal! 65% off? Yeah, I don’t need fur lined moccasins but how can I pass them up?” It also helps that I have big feet and am a common clothing size so a lot of the things I like and might actually buy are already sold out by the time I get around to actually going to the website. Especially with the stuff that is featured on here it really helps that I’m on the west coast, so by the time I get up, get to the office, and log on, my size is usually gone. 3. Spend less time randomly on the computer when I’m at home. There are only a few websites that I go to regularly that aren’t for shopping, so if I’m not at home sitting on the computer/ipad, I’m much less tempted to go get it to then spend money.

          • I hate having credit card debt so it really limits how much I shop on the internet, unless a site takes Paypal. Don’t get me wrong – I love to shop, but I won’t load up my credit cards. I only have two credit cards (and one is a store AmEx) and I try not to have any more on them than I could comfortably pay off in a month or two, unless I have an emergency. Even then, I have so little debt that I could pay it off altogether with a little of my savings.

          • Set up a filter so all those Gilt/Ruelala/Jcrew/etc. e-mails automatically go to a folder so you don’t see them.

            Leave everything in your online shopping cart for a minimum of 2 hours or even a full day. After that time is up, come back and see if you still neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed all that stuff. I find I end up doing a lot of internet window shopping where I put a bunch of stuff in my cart because I need ALL THE CLOTHES. If I force myself to wait on clicking that buy button, I’ll usually end up coming back a few hours later and just closing out the window because the impulse is gone.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Something that has worked for me is not pulling the trigger on any online purchases during the week. I save everything I want in the shopping cart, and if I still want it on Saturday morning, then I go ahead and click “submit order.” A lot of the time the urge has passed by then.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I’ve never had a problem with binge shopping, but I have had a problem with binge eating, so I imagine it’s much the same. And I agree with you, it’s not a problem that can be cured on the surface level or with “will power” or determination. Food, like clothing, is a human necessity, so you can’t forgo it completely. In order to have a healthy attitude around it, you have to be able to find healthier alternatives to dealing with stress, boredom, procrastination, etc. and leave the clothes (and food) to the place it rightfully belongs (as fuel or to cover your nakedness in a work/fun appropriate manner).

      In order to get over binge eating, I had to pinpoint my triggers (for me that was loneliness, boredom, sadness, frustration, a desire to treat myself to something nice, release of pressure and stress). Food was doing an excellent job of relieving all of those emotions, but the cost was too high.

      Next I had to find an alternative, and let me tell you, there was no one-size fits all alternative that did the job that food did for me. Sometimes when I’m lonely, calling a friend will help. Sometimes I have to play with my cat. And sometimes, and this is the worse, I just have to let the feeling pass and realize nothing will stop it completely.

      And that was the second step for me, realizing that I can’t sublimate all of my negative emotions anymore. Sometimes I have to feel bad. And feeling bad, like feeling good, doesn’t last forever. This is not the same as will power. Will power is pretending you don’t feel it, or that you are stronger than the bad feeling. Will power is clenched teeth and sweat and tears. Sitting with a negative emotion is less work, but monumentally harder, because there is no release when you “give in” like will power gives.

      The final step, was letting go of perfectionism. That allowed me to recognize that although I would occasionally make a “mistake” and binge, this was not an all access pass to just give up on “the program” and try again anew next year. Instead, as with all change, I had to remain consistent even in times of difficulty, and not beat myself up if I didn’t live up to an impossible standard of perfection. The most important thing was to renew my commitment, each day, each moment.

      I think this approach would be helpful to ending shopping binging. I don’t think viewing it as consumerism is helpful. Consumerism is judgment, and is akin to me telling my overweight self that I binge eat because I’m greedy.

      So in sum: acknowledge that you are trying to fulfill a need in a manner that causes more problems in the long run, and look for alternatives to fulfill those needs. Accept sometimes you won’t be able to fulfill those needs. Don’t ever give up on ending the negative coping behavior, even when you make mistakes. Rinse and repeat until the end of your days…

      • This is beautiful. Thank you for writing it.

        • I agree. I deal with binge eating too and I’m trying to figure out healthier alternatives. I’m starting to creep into overweight territory. You said two things that resonate. . . about how it sucks but sometimes you have to just sit with the negative feeling, and that willpower is denying those feelings are there. Wow. Good stuff.

          • So much wisdom in the middle of a string of comments on a Friday afternoon. Thank you for writing this.

      • srsly brilliant! ;-)

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Thank you so much for posting this.

      • eastbaybanker :

        Wow. You are officially the most evolved person here. I mean that sincerely.

      • ChocCityB&R :

        You guys are so sweet, thanks for pumping my head up and making me feel wise ;-) . I’ve struggled with binge eating since I was a little girl, and I like to spread “the gospel” of what I’ve learned along the way as much as possible for people with similar struggles. (Luckily you guys don’t see me everyday and have to hear it constantly like my friends and family).

        I’ve found that sometimes the solution is simple, but still far from easy. I struggle with binge eating every day, but each day I feel a little further from needing it, and that gives me hope :-) Besides, there are worst things to struggle with, and I figure potato chips and carrot cake is a lot less dangerous than other things I could use to cope with negative feelings.

        • Just to add my appreciation for your insight and the great clarity and elegance with which you’ve communicated it.

        • kira kira :

          Chiming in here with thanks from someone who struggles with both the eating and the shopping :)

      • Anon for this (but regular poster) :

        As someone who struggles with some of the same issues, thanks for your honesty and for posting this. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    • I just wanted to reiterate that I think you’re onto something and I feel the same way. Recently, I’ve been taking a good, hard look at how much time I’ve wasted either shopping, wanting to shop or just feeling plain bad about what I already own. And that doesn’t count the mental gymnastics of wondering how I’m presenting myself, whether my body looks good, whether the fashionistas would approve, blah blah blah.

      What usually works for me when I get into these spirals is to stop reading fashion blogs (which are worse than magazines IMO, because they make this cycle seem attainable). I’ve also set up a filter in my email account that sends all shopping-related emails to a folder. I can look at them if I need/want to, but I don’t have 50 sale emails staring me in the face everyday. Since setting up a block in February, I’ve accumulated 1,676 store emails in that folder. That’s freaking insane.

      Now, if somebody could give me the magic key for being happy with what I own and not making up reasons/occasions to buy new crap, I’d be golden.

      That was cathartic.

      • I tried unsubscribing from the sale/store emails and most blogs, but I have a compulsion to just brainlessly log into them daily anyway. I impulsively log on to RueLaLa, Hautelook, Ideeli and Gilt the second 11am and 12pm roll around… I’ve nabbed so many great ‘scores’ from these deal sites that I always think I’m gonna miss out again. It’s like I’m a heroine junkie looking for their next hit! I’ve tried to get more choosey and add to cart then walk away, but in general I would be fine for all year and beyond I imagine. We all would be.

        • Yes this does cut into my productivity at work, but like I said my job is really boring and it’s too soon to leave without looking like a job-hopper. I have no billables or deadlines, so I struggle daily with trying to motivate myself. Plus I am expected to stay as late as others while there is no need, and no one is allowed out for lunch. There are only so many articles on my industry I can read before turning to personal entertainment. Sheesh, I feel like the worst worker ever.

        • Actually, this is why Gilt, etc. are totally brilliant if you think about it. My totally non-science based speculation is that you probably do get a physiological high, the same as you would say gambling or doing another pleasurable activity because the things you buy are exclusive! time limited! only a certain number! other people might snatch it up if you don’t act quickly! you just got something purportedly at deep discount, you sneaky you!

          I thought I read somewhere–though I can’t find the link now– that the deals on the flash sale sites aren’t actually *that* great.

        • Try something like leechblock. It’ll basically stop you from going to blacklisted websites. I did that for Lent this year, I wanted to stop refreshing some websites all day long and wasting time. After just 10 days I already felt so much better. I pulled the blocker at the end of Lent and I really only check my trigger sites once a week now. It’s no longer a compulsion.

    • I probably shop too much, especially if I’m stressed or upset. I’ve made peace with it though. I like clothes and I only keep the things I really like so I don’t really see it as a problem.

    • For me, it was boredom and lack of a financial goal. When I had nothing to do, I shopped, to fill time (as pathetic as that sounds), which was different from shopping once in a while as a stress-relieving-make-me-feel-better activity. Saving up for a major purchase or vacation really helps. Reminding myself of a long-term goal always helped me to get over the short-term thrill of shopping, to the point where shopping isn’t that fun anymore.

      • Several years ago I went from full-time to 60%-time, cutting my income by 40%. Given that I am the primary breadwinner in the family, it was a huge household income hit.

        RE shopping, for me some of the attraction is about the thrill of the hunt, in that I love a bargain and have only ever shopped sales and clearance racks. I have been able to satisfy the need for the thrill of the hunt by taking up thrift shopping. Much of my clothing and virtually all of my kids’ things come from thrift stores, usually for under $10/item (and in the case of the kids, a dollar or two). I have also bought furniture, household goods, and things to make over (e.g. a wooden tray transformed by paint and Mod-Podge, for a Christmas gift).

        I still shop “real” stores, but only when I have to.

    • D Train South :

      I can completely relate to this. What I have recently come to realize is that I often spend my time shopping for the life I could be living (but am not) if I got off my a$$ and stopped watching TV, snacking/drinking and Internet shopping (often all at the same time). The greatest evidence of this is the fact that I have a fantastic wardrobe — all of which is one size too small — and a not so great “emergency wardrobe” for my overweight actual self. I am completely familiar with what is in the “too small” wardrobe, but barely know what is in the one I can fit into, because those clothes are typically bought quickly without much thought, to (in theory) tide me over until I can wear my real clothes again. Exercising instead of shopping would be a lot better on my waistline and wallet, which means a lot more productive toward getting me closer to reaching any of my goals in life. I made this epiphany this week, and look forward to implementing a very different routine. It didn’t hurt that I’ve had a bit of a health scare recently, which woke me up to a few things.

      • AnonAnon33 :

        D Train South — I’m in the exact same position. I have an entire closet full of clothes that I buy in my “I will be there next month” size — 1 size smaller than I have been in three years — and only a half dozen skirts that actually fit me right now. I think I have 5 pairs of jeans that are my “ideal” size that I have never worn, and two that actually fit me that I bought on super sale, because why spend money on a pair of jeans I’ll just wear for a few weeks? It makes me feel better to know that I’m not alone in having this tendency to buy things in my “ideal” size. I decided this week when I was out of town for work that once I got back to town, my habits would change so I could end this silly charade. So know that you’ve got someone out there going through a very similar struggle!

        • Anonymous NYer :

          I pretty much have 2 entire wardrobes, because I’ve been my “only going to be this overweight for a few weeks” size for about 2 years now…and I have so much cute stuff that’s 1-2 sizes too small – can’t bear to get rid of it, a lot still has tags and is great quality, it just doesn’t fit…

        • Ladies, you’re definitely not alone as I am guilty the motivational shopping as well. I haven’t bought a new pair of nice jeans in years because I always want to wait until I get to my “real” size and splurge on a really expensive pair because then I truly “deserve” it after all the hard work and sacrifice it would take to get there. I have some clothes that I love but just can’t bring myself to wear because they are just out of size-reach and thus, unflattering. I used to hang them conspicuously around my room so I would have to look at the garment I couldn’t wear, hoping that it would inspire me to work out. I’ve also kept a picture on my home computer desktop for a year because it was a shot of me in a bathing suit from a shockingly unflattering angle, thinking it would shame me into getting out and running more. All led to vicious cycles of self-loathing that… you guessed it… led to more unhealthy nutritional habits to “feed” the disappointment in myself (be it with food or shopping for clothes that would look stunning on the body I desperately wanted to have). This cycle has been more or less present since high school.

          Then a couple weeks ago, while on a solo hike, my subconscious transitioned my thinking in a way that nearly brought tears to my eyes. (Yes, alone on a trail.) Instead of viewing working out and shedding pounds as how I would rid myself of all the “mistakes” I’ve made (i.e. that extra large helping of ice cream last night), or correcting the “wrongs” I’ve done (i.e. letting myself go)… I just thought to myself… I want to eat wonderful healthy things and become more active so that after all these years, I can just give myself the body I have always wanted. The healthy and svelte shape I’ve wanted even more than those peep toe pumps I’ve had my eye on for six months.

          It wasn’t for anyone else or for any pressure from society, but just because I deserve to feel good and feel sexy. Every. Single. Day. All of a sudden, I became willing, and dare I say enthusiastic about putting in all the “work” and effort necessary to give that “gift” to myself. And somehow now, it has became less about finding the strength to resist all the same cravings and “mistakes” and more about honest-to-goodness joy in eating foods that are great for me and working out because it’s my gift to myself… that body I’ve wanted to flaunt around since puberty (and privately chastised myself for never having the “willpower” to achieve).

          It’s a subtle shift in mentality, but it has been a giant revelation for me. I’m happy to say though they are quite snug, I was able to get into my skinny-skinny jeans yesterday… an accomplishment I’ve not had in 2 years.

          On the off chance that this concept strikes a chord with any of you lovely ladies, I offer it up with full endorsement. You too deserve to have that beautiful, healthy body you’ve always wanted to sashay down the office corridor. Why don’t you take the time to give yourself the gift you’ve wanted longer than anything you’ve ever obsessed over on any fashion blog.

    • I have no advice, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone. The infamous Sally McGraw once posted something about HALT – recognizing that when one is feeling hungry, angry/anxious, lonely, or tired, one is more likely to engage in less than desirable behaviors, like over-eating or over-shopping. I am trying to assess these feelings when I find myself idly surfing through retail websites.

      Honestly, I don’t know what to do about it either. I shop too much, but it’s not financially a problem (I save about 25% of my gross salary and have no debt whatsoever), so my only incentive to stop is recognizing that I just have too much stuff. I don’t hate my job, but don’t love it. I think I shop because I think that if I have different clothes, I’ll have a different life?

      It’s hard.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I am not clear on the purpose of your shopping ban. Do you self impose because you shop too much, or because you are diverting your shopping money to something else? I don’t think it works if its about shopping too much…. My shopping bans are always about wanting to use disposable income on something else, other than new clothes…..

    • I have never done a shopping ban. I have a tendency to do very pointed shopping – i.e I need lighter weight jackets because I’ll be in NYC a lot this summer. So I go shopping for lighter weight jackets. I don’t think that’s a shopping problem.

      However, I do notice I sometimes have a problem with good deals. I get sucked into buying things I don’t really need because they are such good deals. This is sort of a storing-up-in-case-of-famine type hoarding, really, if I break it down. I end up wearing most of the great deal stuff far fewer times than I will wear items I pointedly shopped for and probably paid more for.

      I noticed my impulse shopping was creeping up so I looked at behaviors that were contributing. I noticed I had been buying shoes and bras and kids clothing at night after a glass of wine when my defenses were down, so I deleted all shopping related apps from my iPad. If I really need to go to Zappos on my iPad, I can use the browser. But it’s no longer as easy to just pop in and see what they have. I also unsubscribed from merchant emails.

      I noticed that I would sometimes stop at a shopping center on my way home from work on the (fairly rare) occasion I knew that I had a little free time. I stopped doing this. I thought of it as running errands at the time, but I came to realize that it was shopping as a personal hobby, and I needed to find a new hobby. So I resist stopping there any more, and that has reduced my monthly spend.

      My strategy now is to wait and do big shopping trips in person a few times a year. I did one three weeks ago to buy those items for a warmer work climate, and I have already noticed the pieces I’m wearing most are those that I paid the most for. (A lafayette sheath dress and an eileen fisher 3/4 sleeve linen knit cardi, which surprisingly has shaping.) I actually took back a couple of items that I think I bought because they were good deals but didn’t really meet my immediate needs, and that felt good.

      And I’d like to give props to the commenter last week who said she had broken her expensive handbag habit because she realized she mostly carries work bags. That resonate with me. It’s true – traveling most of the work week now, I have no need for a handbag. I have a rolling bag and a Jack Georges tote/laptop bag and that’s all I really use. That poster’s wisdom was responsible for me not taking the bait on all the great handbags on sale at NAS.

      (And if I may pat myself on the back, all I have purchased so far from NAS are tights for me and school pants for my son.)

    • interested :

      I’m interested to read the resposes to this question too.

    • You say a lot of it comes from boredom at work, which I can totally relate to – I shop when I am stressed or bored. I finally took to deleting all the emails from stores without looking, and searched for other things to keep me occupied. Some ideas, which may or may not work for you – could you get away with doing an online language course while at work? Particularly for a country you may want to travel to. Then you could also have the travel planning goal – both as something to research and as a reason to save up money. Or if you have any other non-work, non-fashion interest – maybe look for blogs on that topic to read. I have my blog roll that when I don’t have urgent work I go through – that might give you a similar kind of routine. Or can you discreetly have an e-reader of some sort and load it up with books? I can set mine next to mine keyboard, and it won’t be obvious that I’m reading unless you walk right up next to me (which no one ever does).

      Also, what ChocCityB&R said so well.

    • It sounds like you are worried because you feel shopping somehow detracts from more important things in your life. Does it help to think deeply about what those important things are – your saving and giving goals, your family priorities, the time you spend ‘frolicking in the sun’, the novel you want to write etc ? Fix your commitment to your important things if need but if you are happy otherwise, why not just enjoy shopping as a fairly harmless pastime and pack your under-used kit off to Goodwill a little more frequently ?

      And in case it helps anyone whose internet shopping issues stems from boredom in front of an electronic screen, my 2 cents : ballet on youtube. Or your favourite [dance] [sport] [romping kittens] on youtube. My thing is dance and my fallback when idling in front of a screen is to watch a 5 – 10 min clip of someone filling the stage with big leaps or a crazy number of turns. The internet is a wonderful thing for delivering these snippets – it doesn’t have to be about shopping sites.

  4. NY help please!

    I’m going to NYC on business and will have probably one day and two dinners to myself (I know! Lucky me!) I have to admit that I haven’t been to NY recently at all, and the last time I did all the touristy stuff, I was a kid. Could you please recommend (a) a few top-priority touristy things that I might enjoy doing since it’s been soooo long, and (b) the best food/drink (pizza and any other recommendations you might want to share) that’s easy to get to from midtown manhattan?

    Thank you so much ladies!

    • The Neue Galerie did not exist last time you were in NYC. They currently have a great, but totally manageable, Klimt exhibition. They also have a nice restaurant.

      Rooftop of the Met Museum for a drink (you didn’t do that as a kid!). (I personally would spend the entire day at the Met, but YMMV. The Islamic Art wing was reopened after a multi-year renovation last fall and is spectacular, if you are looking for a targeted approach.)

      Best bagel and lox in the city: Russ & Daughters on Delancey. Take-out and walk to the park 2 blocks West.

      • Take a trip around Manhattan on the Circle Line boat. Takes about 3 hours but totally worth it, especially in good weather.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Go to a Broadway show!! I paid ridiculous scalper prices for “Book of Mormon” and found it was worth every penny, but there are a bunch of good shows for less if you’re not quite as fanatical as I. You can get same day tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square.

    • Anonymous :

      Eataly is fun and would also be good for a solo dinner.

    • If the weather is nice, take a walk on the High Line. It’s a lovely view and gives you a different perspective on the city. There are several food options along the way, or you can go to Chelsea Market in the old Nabisco factory afterwards, which has all kinds of casual restaurants and food counters that are great for eating solo.

      I second the idea of going to a Broadway show. If you don’t want to leave it up to chance, and you have some time to plan before you go, google “broadway discount codes.”

      And finally, I love love love the Empire State building at night for touristy NYC stuff. Buy tickets online to skip the line. I believe they have live music after 10pm on weekends.

  5. ChocCityB&R :

    Wow I’ve had a loooooong couple of weeks and had to disconnect from [this site]. I feel so out of the loop. There should be some kind of weekly summary or newsletter of all the best comments and discussions.

    Anyway, two completely different questions for the hive:

    I’m trying to get back to the gym after a several week hiatus, and am dreading that first workout pain/nausea I typically get when I take long breaks. Beyond buying cute new workout clothes to distract me (though recommendations for that are welcome) what can I do to combat this?

    Also, what are you ladies reading (fiction) lately? I have a book club coming up and I need to make a suggestion, but I hate just going to the NYT bestseller list and not finding some jewel by an unknown but excellent author. Bonus points if it’s a woman of color!

    • kerrycontrary :

      I’m reading Gone Girl next and then Shanghai Girls. I just finished Truth and Beauty by Anne Patchett. I believe all 3 are pretty popular to the masses, but I’ve been enjoying my reads lately. I also love An Education. They made a movie out of it but that’s only part of her life-story, and it would be great for book-club discussions to talk about women’s empowerment and sexuality.

      • karenpadi :

        Second anything by Ann Patchett. Wonderful author. But then, the only “literature” I read is by Margaret Atwood and Ann Patchett. I just don’t like most authors or the genre.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Second Gone Girl. Big fun.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        Wholeheartedly second Shanghai Girls. I’ve just moved on to Dreams of Joy (by the same author) and it is equally amazing.

        Some other recs

        Anything by Paulo Coleho (but especially The Alchemist and The Devil and Miss Prym)
        Songs of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip
        Fledgling by Octavia Butler
        Anything by Michelle Moran (I just finished and fell in love with Cleopatra’s Daughter)
        Set This House in Order or Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff (both are a little out there in a good way and I will buy anything he puts out after reading those two)
        The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds (an old one, but I always can go back to it)
        Liquor, Prime, and Soul Kitchen by Poppy Z Brite
        Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

        I could keep going, but I will stop. My “mild” reading obsession is the reason I had to shut off one click shopping when I got my Kindle Fire.

        Happy reading whatever you pick.

    • manomanon :

      ooh ooh ooh!
      Fiction books- read The Truth About Unicorns by Bonnie Jones Reynolds- it is so so so good and just creepy enough to be mysterious.
      While the author is not a woman of color it is a spectacular book! It was originally published in 1972 but re-released more recently and I read it on the recommendation of my roommate and could not put it down.
      I do not however have tips on getting to the gym since that is a massive struggle I have too

    • SF Bay Associate :

      New embarassing pop hits on my ipod help. Staying really, really hydrated throughout the day, and a protein shake right after the gym help me feel better physically. I also focus on a quote I found on pinterest:

      “Wow, I really regret that workout.” – said no one. Ever.

      So basically, I try to remember that making the choice to exercise is good, and that any regret will be temporary.

      And my most favoritest workout capris ever are part of Nordie’s Anniversary – the Under Armour Shatter capris. They are awesome.

      • I just read a quote that I found similarly inspirational (especially in the renewed-commitment-to-exercise context): If you focus on results, you’ll never see change. If you focus on change, you’ll see results.

      • I almost had a “regret that workout moment” yesterday. I have been doing some very hard physical work at work (we’re moving a whole section of our building to accommodate a new department and had to be prepared for the professional movers to start on Monday). After killing myself all day, I still went to the gym and lifted weights then went home and got on the treadmill. It may sound crazy but my muscles felt better after that than they did the night before when I didn’t work out! I did sit there for a minute at the gym thinking “Why the heck am I here?”

      • Senior Attorney :

        I go to the gym for a 6 a.m. class, and I always tell myself that although I am unhappy to be getting out of bed, 7 a.m. Senior Attorney is going to be super happy, and I should do it for her! It always works, and 7 a.m. Senior Attorney is indeed always supremely grateful to 5:40 a.m. Senior Attorney for having dragged her sorry self out of bed!

      • I did say that once. The day after my 21st birthday, I woke up at 9 AM, put on my workout clothes, and hit the treadmill. About 10 minutes into my run, one of the worst bouts of nausea/headache I’ve ever had started to set in, and I almost had to crawl back to my apartment I was so sick. Realized later that I was probably still drunk when I woke up… :)

        But so long as you are making the decision to work out while you are sober, I completely agree with the above sentiment!

    • I Am Forbidden, woman leaves fundamentalist Jewish sect (based on author’s own experience)
      City of Thieves, really captivating WWII in Russia fiction

      Gave those the most stars of anything I have read recently.

    • I just finished The Paris Wife and it enjoyed it well enough. A friend recently recommended Beautiful Ruins, which I plan to read next.

      Have you read The Glass Castle? It is not fiction, but it is a fascinating read.

    • Re: gym, prophylactic pain reliever (and perhaps anti-nausea) medication.

      Re: reading, it’s not an unknown, but I LOVED Pillars of the Earth, and I don’t usually read his stuff.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Not strictly fiction (more historical/religious nonfiction wrapped in fiction-ish narrative), but in my opinion a jewel by an unknown female author is: The Woman Who Named God – Charlotte Gordon. Do check out the reviews on amazon, because it’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea.

      As to the gym: I watch a TV show on the treadmill and run hard during the ads and walk when it’s back on. I think it’s the perfect way to ease back in.

    • Bellydancer :

      By women of color, not that much is coming to mind, but I did love The Street (Anne Petry, U.S.), Nervous Conditions (Tsitsi Dangarembga, southern Africa, forget exactly where). I just read The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint and loved it, but by a white guy, or maybe Native American. Someone to Run With (David Grossman, Israel) is a great novel, a little on the long side, but my book club loved it. The Poisonwood Bible is also great, and set in Africa, although by Barbara Kingsolver (white). On Chesil Beach (short, great). Room, by Emma Donaghue.

      • Bored today :

        Hi, fellow bellydancer!

        Re: dealing with workout pain – try to relish it. As long as it’s muscle soreness and not pain-pain, it means you’re working hard and should be proud of yourself. You’re getting stronger and that’s awesome. Channel your inner Eye of the Tiger.

    • I always want to get back into the swing of working out with great gusto, but I find it’s a lot better if I limit my workouts to every other day instead of every day for the first week back. Otherwise, I get really sore and end up having to take 3 or 4 days off.

      I’m reading Bring Up the Bodies, which is the sequel to Wolf Hall. I’d suggest either of those books for your book club. Really great historical fiction.

      • I’m trying to read Wolf Hall and I am having the hardest time getting into it. I think I might need to start over and really pay attention to who each character is, because it is a book I think I really should enjoy.

        • I usually prefer to read fluffier books, but Wolf Hall was worth the extra effort to keep track of everything. Having said that, I started Bring Up the Bodies a month ago and have read literally 10 paperback romance-type novels since then and am only 25% of the way through BUTB. But I think it will be worthwhile. Wolf Hall is epic, amazing drama, and written in such a way that I felt edified, not just entertained, while reading it.

          Trying this again because after getting the posting too quickly message literally 12 times, my comment just up and disappeared.

          • That is me with Young Adult fiction and probably a good part of the reason why I can’t remember who anyone is. I’ve been reading to for about a month, maybe 5 weeks, and have read at least another book a week in between.

          • @oclg – 4 of those 10 novels were the Twilight series. :) I think we would be great friends.

        • I hated Wolf Hall, and I love historical fiction. I think a lot of it is that I am a practicing Catholic, and the demonizing of Thomas More was hard for me to swallow. At the time, I was even going to the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, VA, so it was particularly tough. I feel like I need to say, too, that I’m not stupid, and I know atrocities were committed by the Church and More in the name of the Church, but it was VERY one-sided and very pro-Protestantism when nothing is ever as black and white as I felt this book portrayed that time period.

          So long response to say, you aren’t alone in not liking the book.

          • I’m Catholic too, and a lawyer to boot. It’s fiction. Didn’t bother me. It probably was pretty accurate in depicting Thomas Cromwell’s perspective, actually, and if you know your British history you know that what goes around comes around for Cromwell.

    • I have been on a reading binge recently. I really liked Gone Girl, and would probably provide some interesting discussion topics for a book club, as would I am Forbidden. I also recently read The Innocents, which is a modern day update to The Age of Innocence, and All Woman and Springtime, a novel about trafficking and North Korea and The Snow Child. Silver Sparrow is a coming of age story written by a woman of color that I liked. Not fiction, but if you are at all interested in non-fiction I really enjoyed In the Garden of Beasts.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        A friend of mine was raving about Gone Girl yesterday. I’ll have to try it.

        Also, book recommendation threads are my favorite. I need to start keeping a spreadsheet of all the recommendations.

        • I just finished Gone Girl this morning. Loved the first two thirds, and wanted to punch all of the characters in the face and throw the book in the garbage in the last third. But, I did make it to the end in 3 days, which is saying something because I will grow bored with books and just set aside for months on end or abandon altogether. The wild twists just became….too much. Torn about whether to try another of this author’s books, because I did like her writing style.

    • I just finished Elegance of the Hedgehog and thought it was a beautiful book.

    • Ooh, ooh, I am currently reading an AWESOME book, The Killing Moon, by NK Jemisin. It’s fantasy (slightly ancient Egypt inspired, but you have to look for it), and it’s awesome so far. Her first book, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (different series/world than the one I’m reading now) is among the top five fantasy novels that I’ve ever read. Really brilliant. And you can send my bonus points, because she is a woman of color (and a seriously funny blogger, can I get points for that?).

      Even if fantasy’s not usually your bag, I recommend her. Really great, different stuff. Not swords and elves and the same old faux-Tolkien that you see all over the place.

      • I didn’t realize there was a new book by NK Jemisin! Now I have to see if the library has it.

        • There are two! They published them both at the same time! GET IT!

          • I saw that the library had the second too! Just reserved the first, as in my experience if you order multiple books in a series at the same time the second always arrives before the first does. :)

    • Not a recent book, but Hush by Eishes Chayil is incredibly powerful.

    • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker has just come out. She is not a woman of color, but she is a friend of mine, so I thought I’d recommend.

      The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan (also a friend! This makes me look much more fabulous than I actually am) is a wonderful book by an Indian/Canadian author. Came out in 2008.

      Big Machine by Victor LaValle was the best book I read in the last 12-month period, followed by Pym by Mat Johnson. Both are biracial (African-American/white) guys, both addressing race, neither falling into the category of identity fiction (well, Mat Johnson, maybe). Very fresh work.

    • I have a subscription to Runner’s World and reading it always makes me want to go out and be active. Not that I’ll look like the models in the magazine, but reading about other people enjoying exercise makes me think “I want that!” and then I’ll go work out. I also give myself permission to stop any work-out any time. So what if I go and do ten minutes and pack it in? If I do want to stop, I tell myself I can stop if I just do five minutes more. Usually (1) once I’m dressed for working out and in work-out mode, I don’t stop; (2) if I do stop, doing “just five more minutes” over and over again will get me to the end; and (3) if none of this works, I figure I really am tired/not feeling well and let myself stop without feeling guilty.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I feel the same way about the Athleta catalogue. I want to be active like the women in it. And I play the exact same “you can stop any time, just go” and “just five more minutes” mind games with myself.

    • A Discovery of Witches. It’s been out for awhile, so maybe you’ve read it, but I really enjoyed it. I thought the quality of writing was really high.

      • And now the sequel is out!

      • I second this. One friend recommended it last summer and all our friends ended up reading it. I’m currently reading the sequel and really enjoying it. I think they are a great mix of history, fantasy and romance.

      • I loved this review of it on Goodreads:


    • Backgrounder :

      Not fiction but I loved the Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

      Re: workouts…I found that trying something new (whether it be a new class (capoeira, anyone? or new work out clothes) gives me motivation to get back in the swing of things.

    • Regarding the gym: start out slow. If you are doing cardio, resist the urge to do anything fast. It really is better to ease into it and build up your body’s tolerance, both as endurance and as the strain you put on your bones and muscles. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eventually challenge yourself and push yourself, but the first week or so start building up gradually. Also, when I am feeling unmotivated, I give myself permission to have an easy workout, so for example instead of a challenging run on the treadmill for an hour, I will just walk for 20 minutes instead. Usually, once I get going I am able to do that run instead, but it helps to give myself permission to take it easy sometimes.

    • kira kira :

      She hasn’t written something recently but have you read anything by Zadie Smith? I love all her fiction…

    • My apologies if this posts twice, but it looks like my first post got lost…

      Here’s a link to my book list:

      My employment situation has changed again, but at least I’ll have more time to read…

    • Anne Shirley :

      @Kat yes! There should be a weekly roundup of top discussions

    • I saw that Zadie Smith has a new book out, and you can’t go wrong with Zadie :-).

      • kira kira :

        After posting my rec above, I went to check Amazon to make sure I hadn’t missed something and saw that she has a book coming out in September. So excited!

  6. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    So I’ve always been told that “To Whom It May Concern” and the like are all the kiss of death on a cover letter, but I want to apply to a posting that gives no information except the area of practice, firm location, and application requirements. I’ve tried Googling to see if I could guess what firm, but given the area and location, I cannot be sure enough to address a cover letter.

    So, my question to you ladies is, how should I address my letter?

    • Ask A Manager always says that there’s no need to go to extraordinary lengths to track down the name of the hiring manager and a generic salutation is fine.

    • If done a “Dear Sir or Madam” in these cases. If you’ve done as much searching as possible (did you call and ask how to address the letter) then they don’t want to release the person’s name and all the cover letters will be addressed “to whom it may concern” or “dear sir or madam” and that’s what they want.

    • I just use “Greetings”. I also don’t have a new job yet, so take it as you may.

    • Former MidLevel :

      In this situation, something like “Dear Sir or Madam” would be fine. The advice you received about avoiding generic salutations only applies when you know (or with reasonable dilligence could find out) the individual name. Good luck!

    • Dear Sir or Madam seems better to me than To Whom it May Concern. The latter seems like you’re writing an open letter; you know that the recipient will be concerned with your letter, you just don’t know the recipient’s name. But this is a personal preference and I’m sure either one is fine.

    • Another Zumba Fan :

      Dear Potential Employer

    • emcsquared :

      How about “Dear Recruiting Coordinator” or “Hiring Manager”? Then the person who opens the mail can quickly route it where it needs to go.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Thanks ladies. I’ll go with Dear Sir or Madam.

      TBK, unfortunately there is no information to call. The link takes me straight to my state bar associations website.

  7. First time mom :

    Pregnancy threadjack, please skip if not interested:

    I am 11 weeks pregnant and have lately become nauseous in the evenings (I am completely fine in the mornings and most afternoons). It has only happened for the last week, but I’m essentially non-productive after 6 pm. I also get EXTREMELY hot in the evening, and these hot flashes are usually followed by throwing up and or/dry heaving. I have no appetite for dinner and can only eat an english muffin with peanut butter.

    My question is – has anyone taken morning sickness medication, either Reglan or Zofran or something else? I wouldn’t call my symptoms extreme, but I am worried that I am so out of it in the evenings, and I can’t just stop working at 6 pm every day. On the other hand, I’m almost through the first trimester and am wondering if I should suck it up and hope that this passes. If anyone has had luck with OTC meds, that would be helpful to hear about too. TIA.

    • I never took prescriptions, but used a variety of preggo pops, ginger candy (the kind from Trader Joe’s was a lifesaver) and 7-up. Some type of B vitamin was recommended to me, but it just made me even more nauseous.

    • I had pretty significant nausea and vomitting all day long with this pregnancy. One trigger I found was getting dehydrated. If I got too dry, the whole day was a miserable mess of vomitting, laying in bed, moaning, etc. (insert drama here). I bought myself a big 20 oz pretty plastic (BPA free, of course) cup + straw and sipped all day. I also was very careful with what I ate — I found that while I wanted heavy or greasy foods, I definitely felt worse afterwards.

      Finally, even with being pretty careful, I resorted to zofran on a regular basis (I got a prescription from 30, and between 8 and 14 weeks probably used 20 of them). Zofran is currently the medicine of choice among OBs for pregnancy related nausea/vomitting. I say, get a prescription and use it. There’s no honor in gutting it out and being miserable. If you feel better soon, that’s great, but zofran was a miracle for me. One tip: I think it made my constipation worse (TMI, I know) so keep up with other stuff.

    • No meds recommendations, because I didn’t end up taking any, but I wondering if you may need to have a light snack or two in the afternoon. During my first trimester, I got the most nauseous when I hadn’t eaten anything after lunch. Try bring fruit and/or nuts to work to nibble on. I’m sorry you’re feeling so bad!

    • D Train South :

      I know it sounds like hocus pocus, but I’ve found Sea Bands to be extremely effective for relieving nausea. Worth a try . . .

    • I did not take meds, but just wanted to express sympathy. This sounds terrible. I was lucky, and found that as long as I didn’t wait to long to eat, I would only be nauseous, but not actually throw up. Your story makes me incredibly grateful.

      I can tell you that all nausea ended about week 13 for me. There is an end to that misery!

    • Have you tried the travel bands that press on acupuncture point? Very effective, not just for puking on boats :-)..

    • My OB’s offer a Zofran prescription routinely. I took it with baby #1 because I was travelling abroad and didn’t want to deal with morning sickness on an airplane or with strange food. Helped a lot, but I still needed to snack every two hours or so. I’m currently at 11 weeks with baby #2, and have lost 3 pounds so far due to nausea (can only eat a quarter of a meal at a time, it seems). Baby’s still tracking fine and I’m making do with Seabands and ginger gum, but if I don’t put on any weight in the next 4 weeks or so I’ll be taking up the doc’s offer for another round.

      My friends who were recently pregnant took Zofran with no issue as well. I agree with EC MD below, you’ll need to deal with the constipation but it was well worth it.

  8. hoping more people see this here… Any tips for taking a professional looking photo? My usual hair/makeup routine always leaves me looking less than polished in photos – almost as though I have no makeup on. This isn’t a formal head shot, but will be sent around to colleagues/members, so I’d like to look decent.

    • Two cents :

      I’m pretty sure Kat wrote a post about this a long time ago (although it was geared toward formal photos for law firm websites). At any rate, I think a lot of the guidelines would be the same so you may want to check it out. I would suggest buying those oil blotting wipes from CVS to get rid of excess oil, and wear more makeup (foundation, a light powder, light blush, and a neutral but brighter than usual lipstick). I would also wear your hair down or at least half up/half down (unless you never do normally) – it tends to look better in photos.

    • Merabella :

      I haven’t taken headshots, but I realized this when I had my last license photo taken (the only amazingly good one I have ever had).

      I did black liquid eye liner slightly thicker than usual and neutral eye make up, red lips and more blush than usual. The photos came out looking very natural – while I felt like I had a TON of make up on, I probably was just slightly more made up than the average lady.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Talk to someone who has done stage makeup. You want to be halfway between what you would wear on stage to be seen in the audience (trust me, it is a TON) and your regular makeup. Stage make-up light. You want make up that is a little less neutral than usual and wear it a little more obvious. So, thicker eyeliner, extra layer of mascara, a color eyeshadow that is not skin tone colored, etc.

    • You need brighter and more make up; lights wash out any photo. As anyone who is on the stage (dance, theater, singing, etc) will tell you, you look like a clown in regular light but on the stage, you look normal.

      • Yes. Definitely more makeup than you normally wear. Heavier foundation. Thicker eyeliner. Etc.

        • thicker, and darker colors. Black, not brown; dark eyeshadow, not subtle flesh tone.

    • a couple of thoughts — if this is for something important, I’d consider getting your makeup professionally done. The pro’s really know how to do good on-camera makeup. If you’re doing your own, in addition to the tips here about wearing more than usual (which I agree with), I’d suggest making sure your eyebrows are groomed/done & wearing real lipstick rather than a pale gloss. it also helps to know your angles — look at photos of yourself that you like before you take your pics.

      • ps – use eyedrops (the whitening kind) right before your pics too, makes eyes sparkly & bright.

        • Be sure to avoid makeup with SPF – I hear that SPF reflects off the camera flash and makes you look washed out!

    • Thanks! I really appreciate it. It’s not so serious that I feel like I need a pro, I just don’t want people to say wow, look at that very tired lady. I will practice with the makeup tips this weekend.

  9. Personal Shoppers/Stylists? :

    Has anyone used a personal stylist? I am so out of my league with choosing clothes that look good and fit properly, not to mention accessorizing with anything more than my diamond stud earrings and a watch. I also absolutely HATE to shop, which is probably why I end up with a bunch of random stuff that was either hastily tried on, “fits” as in buttons/zips, but is not spectacular/finished/polished and largely just sits in the closet.

    Now that I need to build up a wardrobe for work (new associate, big law) this seems to be the time to stop wasting time and money on random pieces with no sense of style and put together an actual “wardrobe.”

    The idea of having someone make these decisions for me sounds amazing… do non-celebrities do this?!

    • Merabella :

      Get thee to a Nordstrom’s personal shopper! Seriously. This will help you.

      • AnonInfinity :

        Have we discussed before what amount would be worth it for a Nordstrom’s personal shopper? $2000?

        • No, much less. I’d say anything less than $250 is unreasonable, because you’re not going to be able to get an outfit for anything less than that at Nordie’s. I’d budget about $300 per outfit that you want, but there’s no expectation that you’ll spend a lot on your first appointment.

        • What do you mean by “worth it”? If “worth it” for the personal shopper, $0 because for Nordstrom, it’s a way of building clientele. Even if you don’t buy much/anything, they want you to learn about what’s in the store and have a good experience so that next time you need some item of clothing, you’ll think of them. I’ve had friends use personal shoppers at Nordstrom’s and Lord & Taylor, and these friends probably don’t spend $2K on clothing in a year, let alone one outing.

          If for the client, I think that depends on your field/office. Women who need very nice tailored suits for work will probably want to spend more. At my totally casual office, I could probably get a very nice (for me) work wardrobe for less.

          I think the personal shopper route is a really good way to go for someone who wants to dress better but doesn’t want to/is not interested in spending a lot of time shopping. A good personal shopper will help you find things that suit your body and lifestyle, which will probably save you a ton of time, and a good deal of money, in the long run.

          • AnonInfinity :

            I meant more for the personal shopper. I wasn’t sure if they want you to spend a certain amount for it to be worth their time, but I guess if the store is paying them, then it doesn’t really matter.

          • It doesn’t cost anything to use the personal shopper at Nordies. Even if you have only $100 to spend, they will help you. They are awesome.

        • I’ve gotten wonderful service and once I only spend $300. I think they look at as it as an investment in your relationship for lower amounts.

    • Do it. You can start out small and tell the personal shopper you have a budget of say $500. If you like what your shopper puts together for you, you can spend more or just come back. I can’t recommend the service highly enough.

    • I do. In my non large city its $50 an hour and totally worth it. And she isn’t limited to Nordstrom. My sister lives in a bigger city and I think she pays $100 an hour with a 4 hour minium. Do it. I hate shopping and I look far less frumpy than I used to. I hire her now at least twice a year to help me make up outfits and to get new stuff.

      • Personal Shoppers/Stylists? :

        This is what I was thinking of, though the Nordstrom PS might be a good baby step into it… How did you find yours? I just googled [my city] personal shoppers and came up with a couple. I am positive none of my friends have done this before, not sure where I would find word of mouth recommendations.

  10. Mark your calendars for the next DC meetup: Wednesday, July 18th at 6:30, upstairs bar at Clyde’s in Chinatown.

  11. I read this article and immediately pondered why we’re eating fondue. Link to follow.

    • Lady Mondegreen and the Miracle of Misheard Song Lyrics


      • also anon for this :

        They killed the Earl of Moray and Lady Mondegreen!

        My favorite mondegreen is from Dave Barry – Help me Rhonda: “Since you put me down, there’ve been owls pukin’ in my bed”

        • Oops. that was me. Too tired to think. How the heck did I get that name?

          • Really strange. I used that moniker for an anon response a while back, although I’m sure I’m not the only one. But I swear it’s happened to me once or twice that I’ve posted and someone else’s moniker showed up, which makes me think that someone else in my office using the same IP address is posting at the same time.

    • Fanute that fondue!

  12. Networking question:

    My husband met an attorney at work function who is starting a company that I would be really interested in working for at some point. My husband mentioned to her that I work 40 h/p/w from home. My husband is a bit forward, so he also told her that if she ever needed help with anything I could probably be of service. According to my husband, she seemed receptive to the idea. I just signed a contract to stay another year at my job, so I am in no hurry to start something new. I doubt she is in a place to hire anytime soon either. However, I am very interested in her company and would love to work there at some point in the future. I am also just interested in hearing more about what she does. My husband got her business card for me. I plan on sending her an email, but I am struggling with how to approach this. Any thoughts on what I should/shouldn’t say.

    Any thoughts? Thanks ladies!

    • Visting NYC :

      Also, how should I address the email? From what my husband said, she graduated law school only a few years ahead of me. Should I still go with the standard “Dear Ms. XXX”?

    • Former MidLevel :

      I would probably say something like: “Hi, my name is ____. You met my husband, ___, last week at _____. It sounds like we have a lot in common [or similar interests, etc.]–I was wondering if you would like to grab lunch sometime.” At this point, your focus should be on getting to know her as an interesting person, not just feeling her our for a job. If there is such an opportunity, let her bring it up.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I concur! I would think you were trying to get me involved in a pyramid scheme if you wrote something about wanting to meet and pursue business opportunities.

  13. mintberrycrunch :

    Cute tankinis – do they exist at this point in the season? I love the polka dot one at jcrew, but it’s sold out in my size. I’m desperate for something cute & sassy in my size (12/14) for a beach trip with all much tinier friends :) Bonus points for underwire. Any suggestions on where to look?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Lands End Canvas usually fits a bit big and I think this one is cute (bonus – it’s on super sale!)

      • And regular Lands End too – will have lots of options, and there’s probably a sale of some sort on at least some of their stuff. But they do size a bit generously, so consider trying a couple sizes. The return policy is pretty good too.

    • Anonymous :

      Victoria’s Secret has a couple of different tankini styles, albeit with limited color/size combinations at this point in the season.

    • Charmed Girl :

      Athleta– I went from full on panic this week at the start of a two week beach vacation to feeling good b/c of them. They have a great selection of cute tankinis and extra bonus points for the bra sized (and underwire) tops. LOVE!

    • I have this one and am your size. I love it!


  14. renter's dilemma :

    Hoping the hive can provide some advice for me on my living situation. I think I already may know the answer, but I’d like more opinions.

    I currently rent a 1 BR in a large city that is a nice size (big bedroom, plenty of closet space and room to entertain) with great amenities (in-unit w/dr and a gated outdoor parking space). The rent seems reasonable to me — it’s about 31% of my take-home pay, but I invest 15% in my 401(k), so it’s actually closer to 18% of my actual monthly salary. I’m still able to save a decent amount on top of 401(k) savings. I rent from the condo owner, and she’s great about letting me decorate/paint the way I want to. I’ve never felt constrained by renting, really; nor do I feel like I’m throwing my money away because I still save another 12-20% out of each paycheck (on top of 401(k) saving).

    However, the apartment is in a neighborhood that’s somewhat far from downtown. It’s also very tranquil, calm, and family-friendly. I like being in a peaceful area, but sometimes it almost feels TOO family-friendly, since I’m single and feel like I don’t fit in in the land of double-wide strollers. It’s not prohibitively far, but it’s probably a $20 cab ride home from downtown or work. I can take public transportation, but it takes 45-55 minutes.

    I’ve been thinking about moving closer to downtown, just to be more in the middle of things. However, my rent would go up a minimum of $300-400 a month to do so, and I’d probably end up going to more expensive shops and restaurants as a result. I can definitely afford it… but should I? It seems silly to move only to rent again. On the other hand, even though I can afford to buy (not downtown, but in a neighborhood more like where I’m living now), I’m really, really hesitant given the current state of real estate and the fact that I know many people who are trapped by their mortgages. I would like a change, but is it worth all the money and hassle of moving? Should I just appreciate what I have?

    If you were me, what would you do? Stay put or rent a pricier apartment downtown?

    • If it were me, I would try to go out where you think you want to live for a month. Pretend like you live there so to speak. See how you like the area, if you like going out more, etc. $20 cab ride a few times in a month is a lot cheaper than committing to a year’s worth of higher rent and moving costs.

      To be fair, I live in a more suburban setting and like it. I go out when I want to (usually via cab for the same reasons you mention) and am grateful to have a larger/nicer apt when I want to stay in.

      • Also, try living with the higher expenses. Stick the difference btwn current and proposed rent (and expenses) is a savings account and see how comfortable you are on the remainder. I know you say you could afford it, but it might be interesting to see what it would be like to actually live on it.

    • I made a move like the one you describe 3 1/2 years ago and have never once regretted it. I think you should do it. It sucks to be single and live in a neighborhood of mostly families.

      • Reposted to avoid moderation (for the word regr e t t e d, seriously?)

        I made a move like the one you describe 3 1/2 years ago and have never once regr e t t e d it. I think you should do it. It sucks to be single and live in a neighborhood of mostly families.

        • Can someone explain to me what it is about the name of [this site] and similar words as above that get flagged? I feel like I’m missing some sort of curse-within-the-word that is perhaps obvious.

          I’d been here a while when this wasn’t a problem, and I’ve been back a while and it’s been a consistent problem – I’m sure this was discussed sometime in between when it started, but what’s the issue, exactly?

          • For whatever reason, Kat decided that any mention of this site, or any shorthand reference to this site (e.g. ‘ r e t t e s) should go to moderation. Presumably she did this to protect her ownership of the site name and control how it’s used, but it’s a huge pain in the neck because a ton of words contain those letters. Also a pain in the neck, Kat, if you’re reading this – when I copy text from a comment, it adds the comment URL to what I’ve copied. Then I paste it into google, forget that it added the comment URL, and can’t figure out why there are no results. (Or I paste it into my reply and it gets flagged for moderation because this site’s name is in the URL). Really, really annoying.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            C o r p o r e t t e and any of it’s derivatives (for example, ‘ R e t t e and anything that appears in like reg r e t t e d) gets moderated now, I have no idea why though.

          • Thanks for the explanation, Bluejay. I am with you, it is quite annoying! Hadn’t realized it was by design (as opposed to in keeping with some broad rule of a standard filter setting)… Hmm.

    • well, I did the opposite of you – I used to live close to downtown SF & after about 5 years there, moved out to the more “family friendly” part of town w/o the family to go along with it. I really liked being closer to the action/downtown areas/cuter neighborhoods, but my place there was a lot smaller, it was crowded generally in the neighborhood & parking was harder for guests so I didn’t have as many people over as I do now. I think it’s a really personal thing, but personally, I’m happier a bit more scaled back & taking the occasional cab. I also got “older,” that is I lived downtown adjacent in my late 20s/early 30s when all my friends were going out after work & it was a ton of fun. Now in my late 30s, this doesn’t happen as much so I’m also fine with being a little farther away.

    • I’m going to give you completely irresponsible advice. Do it.

      You have the rest of your life to live in a quiet, calm suburb (and may not have much choice in the matter as you begin to have kids), but this is a rare time in your life where you have both the financial means and the independence to make a housing choice that completely suits you.

      I’m paying the downtown higher rent myself to do it, but I love that my place has become the gathering spot for friends because of the central location, I can roll out of bed and grab a morning coffee, the exercise I get going car-less, how accessible a lot of free or low-budget entertainment is…

      That said, I made a few compromises – I did give up my car. It’s just not worth the expense when zipcar, car2go, rentals, etc. can fill the gap. That alone almost helped me break even on the rent difference. I walk as many places as possible. And I gave up in-unit laundry (which really only matters to me once a week).

      You have to decide what YOU really want. And it might be worth living at the higher rent for a few months before taking the plunge. But considering how well you are doing financially, I don’t think a couple hundred dollars a month is worth holding back on a move if this is something important to you.

      • Totally agree Hunter. Every time I start thinking I should move into a cheaper place, I realize it’d require me to get a car and it’d come out the same in the end. Financially the same that is, because I’d lose most of my life too, most of what I like about my life :-).

        • renter's dilemma :

          Such a good point. I partly chose to live where I do because of the parking spot, but it ended up feeling so suburban, and I resent paying for a car that has basically forced me to move to an outer-ring neighborhood so I can park it! I end up driving 15-20 minutes to go everywhere — the gym, Target, Trader Joe’s. If I paid more in rent but ditched the car and was truly able to walk/cab/train it everywhere, I think my quality of life would improve.

    • renter's dilemma :

      Thanks for the advice, all! It was what I needed to hear.

      I think I’m going to at least look at a few places before I totally rule the idea out. I just got an unexpected (!) raise at work this week that will help to cover the extra expenses. Maybe this is the time to try something new… and if not, at least I know I’m happy enough where I am.

  15. Visting NYC :

    Question for all you NYC Corporettes out there.

    My husband and I are taking my parents to NYC for a few days at the end of July. We have most of the trip planned, but I am still trying to find a good place to eat around our hotel (48th and Lexington area) for the night we arrive. My parents are a bit older, so I don’t want to walk too far since I am sure they will be tired from travel. Any tips?!

    Alternatively, my mom really wants to go to the Chinatown/Little Italy area so they may be up to heading down there. I know this area has chanced a lot since I was last in NYC so I am not quite sure what is good around there any more. Are there any restaurant recommendations for this area?

    I also would love to hear any other NYC travel advice! TIA!

    • There’s a Greek seafood place, Avra, right by your hotel on 48th between Lex & 3rd. It’s a bit pricey, but really lovely and you can order family style – a few salad/appetizers, then a grilled whole fish and a side veggie.

      What used to be Chinatown and Little Italy has turned into an upscale shopping/dining/drinking district, but some of the old stuff still exists alongside the new. What type of cuisine would you be looking for?

    • I think The National is supposed to be good, it’s in a hotel right around that area… Maybe 50th and Lex? There is also an Asian-Latin fusion place called Zengo at maybe E. 40th and 3rd Ave. that has a nice atmosphere and good foot, but it is pricey for what it is. I agree with the above poster that Avra is very nice, though also pricey.

      I don’t know many Chinatown or Little Italy restaurants (LI tends to be pretty touristy), but immediately north of there in Nolita there are tons of great options. Rubirosa has great pizza, Public is a beautiful restaurant with amazing food, Balaboosta (Mediterranean, on Mulberry St.), and Lure Fishbar are all worth a try. A bit further up in Noho, I’d recommend Il Buco (there’s a restaurant and a separate wine bar where they serve a full dinner as well), Gemma, and I’ve heard Acme is great.

      Have fun!

  16. No Accountant :

    Savings vs. paying down debt –

    My husband and I have both just started new positions and have about $2200 left over every month after paying expenses and minimum debt payments. Our monthly expenses are about $3000/month on a reasonable and sustainable budget. Our student loans are at 6.8%; everyone knows about savings interest rates. We have $6000 in “access in 5 minutes” savings; beyond that, we have an investment account with ~$70,000 that was an inheritance that we could liquidate within a week or two if there was an emergency, although it is designed to ultimately be about 50% of my husband’s retirement, so it would need to be a major emergency. We also have retirement accounts on schedule.

    I know everyone has an individual risk/reward feeling, but knowing that we have emergency money, “true” emergency money, and that we really want to get out from under those dang student loans, what are your thoughts on keeping our emergency savings to a minimum and just throwing an additional $2000/month at the student loans? We’d be able to be done with them in about a year and a half.

    We are both very debt-averse and share the dream of having the loans gone and the mortgage paid off in 5 years…we could do that if we did not contribute additionally to our savings (we do contribute to our retirement). Thoughts?

    • AnonInfinity :

      If the student loans are weighing on you mentally, I think you should pay them off. My thought is that, after my needs are met, money is for peace of mind and to spend on things I want. Paying off the student loans will give you peace of mind, so go for it!

    • Given that you have a strong preference to pay off your debt, I think that should be your priority. However I would continue to pay off debt and also increase your emergency fund, but just save at a slower rate (or drop a bunch of money into your account in one fell swoop and then turn to your loans). I don’t think I would feel “safe” with anything less than 3 months of savings, which is another $3000 for you (this is me personally – you and your husband need to figure out how much money you want to have in the bank before having to dip into the investment account).

      If you haven’t done this already, I think a good exercise would be for you to sit down and work out what the payments need to be for you to be debt-free in 5 years. Perhaps you don’t need to put all of your extra money into debt. Mint actually might be a good resource for this – they have a goals tab that you can use.

      • karenpadi :

        This. I would up the emergency savings to at least 3 months’ living expenses then use any extra money to buy “peace of mind”–whatever that is.

        At 6.8%, I would probably attack the student loans first, then the tax-deductible mortgage (I assume your mortgage is less the 6.8%).

    • Paying off debt IS contributing to your savings. So long as you have a comfortable emergency fund, yes, pay off the debt.

    • $70,000 is destined to be half of your husband’s retirement? Good luck with that. Is he planning to work until he’s 85?

      • Yeah. I have a financial advisor. She calculated it out, and I realized I need to have over $200K to live on for each year I’m going to be alive after I retire.

        Uh oh.

      • Its an investment account so I am assuming she is planning on the 70k growing a lot while it is in there

      • Yeah,
        It’s $70K right now, growing at the market rate, he’s 29 years old, and he’s putting $10-15K a year in every year for the foreseeable future…so all of your sarcasm in “good luck with that” is not appreciated. I think he’ll be fine.

        I seriously cannot stand negative sarcasm on the comment threads.

        • You said that 70K is half of his retirement, implying that he plans to retire on (70K*rate of return)*2. If he’s 29 years old and adding 10-15K a year to it, that’s obviously not true.

          • My mistake. Clearly I should have said it’s CURRENTLY 70K. I didn’t realize that other people had the ability to determine what would be in their investment accounts 30-40 years in the future. Somebody clearly misinformed me about the market not being a sure thing. I bet you are an amazing investment manager.

          • OP, for someone who “seriously cannot stand negative sarcasm on the comment threads,” ….

          • I know. I just hoped she saw how it felt to be on the receiving end vs. the giving end.

          • The “making someone feel as bad as you” technique doesn’t really work that well. Let’s try to be nice.

        • Feels… fine? like nothing? I guess I’m not that sensitive to casual sarcasm….?

    • $70K from inheritance that is supposed to be half of your husband’s retirement does not an emergency fund make. You have $6K in an emergency fund, not $76K. Knowing that you have a mortgage and student loan debt, I’m here to tell you that $6K is very likely not nearly enough for 2 people.

      I get why you want to pay down your debt. I’d strongly advise you to bulk up your emergency savings first.

      • 6K is two months of expenses (she says they spend $3000/mo). Isn’t that enough of an emergency fund for most people?

        • I believe current wisdom is saying 3 to 6 months of living expenses as an emergency fund, depending on your job situation.

          Also consider having a “life happens” fund – separate from the emergency fund (for in case you lose your job) and more as a “crap, we have to do a major repair” on something fund. Start with a thousand, or whatever cushion makes you feel comfortable. You’ve got a start on the emergency fund, so I figure you can fund it some each month, while still hitting the student loan debt pretty good.

        • Yeah, I didn’t see that first part about them having two months of expenses when I wrote my response. (I saw it almost exactly 30 seconds after I clicked that “Submit” button.) That’s a really great start. It comes down to risk tolerance. For me, 2 months still wouldn’t be enough. I also don’t know whether that $6K is *all* their savings, emergency and non. So that’s something to think about, too. I do definitely sympathize with wanting to blast away that student loan debt, though.

      • This.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve been trying to save up an emergency fund and pay extra on my loans as well and I currently make about double my actual living expenses. That can change on a moment’s notice though, so I’ve been trying to build up my emergency fund to 6 months for now with 12 months as the ultimate goal. Its probably more than necessary, but it makes me feel a little safer since I’m a document review attorney and never know how hard or easy it will be to get a new project. The plan I’ve been following is to contribute 1/4 of the extra to my loans and the rest to my emergency fund until I reach 6 months of living expenses. Then I’ll do 50/50 until I reach 9 months and then 75/25 after that.

      I think you just need to decide which is more important to you right now. If the loans are stressing you out, then contribute to those. But I’d suggest getting your emergency fund to at least 3 months of living expenses.

  17. Time Wasting :

    Help!! I have become a huge time waster and am totally unproductive. I know I have a lot of work to do, but I can’t seem to focus on my projects or build up the energy to get anything done. I procrastinate by reading articles, checking this website, chatting with people in my office, anything to avoid my work. As a result, I am getting more and more behind on my work, and I need to break this cycle of being overwhelmed by how much I have to do. Any tips to get motivated? I keep just giving up, leaving for the day and saying that once I get some rest I will be recharged and ready to go the next day…but then I show up and fall into the the same bad habits. Any tips to just buckle down and be productive?

    • No advice, but if you figure out how to solve this problem, let me know. The Pomodoro technique doesn’t work for me because I have no discipline.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Do you have the ability to take a couple of days completely off to recharge? Sometimes that helps me.

      It also helps me to get started before I check anything online. If I start the day off productively, it’s much easier for me to keep that going rather than getting productive after I waste a bunch of time in the morning.

      Obviously today is a less productive day as I’ve posted at least one million times on this website.

    • A few things that have helped me when I hit this cycle.

      Clean up my office. Organizing papers, filing, creating clear stacks/new files for projects, wiping down my funky desk helps me mentally and also reminds me of things I forgot about (oh yes draft memo on X which was hidden under a week’s worth of reading).

      To do list. Old fashioned paper to do list. Being able to cross stuff off is way more satisfying then hitting delete. put everything on it – big or small.

      Print off relevant emails for projects – This way I do not have to actually go into my email account and I can do some of the work I need without getting distracted by incoming messages.

      Once I have those things together, I start usually on one or two small things first. I usually complete one, start pondering a bigger project/do set-up, then attack another small project. Finally, I usually commit a weekend day to coming into the office and finish the list. It’s nice because I can work at my own pace without distractions. I leave outlook closed (flashing emails always get me) and when I’m hungry I go to a nice lunch and/or dinner. Usually this is enough to restart me to my normal work habits, plus it makes me reflect on how crappy it is to give up a weekend, so shouldn’t i just get my s**t together during the week. I hope this helps!

    • AnonAnon33 :

      Can’t wait to see good advice on this! I’ve been there entirely too many times.

      I would make two suggestions: first, try showing up to the office as early as you can while you get caught up. I find that there are a lot of distractions once people start coming in, and also that I lose focus by late afternoon, when I want to go DO something that isn’t work. When I’m in a crunch, I find that I’m really productive if I get to work super-early (6 or 7AM) — I get a few hours uninterrupted work, and there’s really nowhere else (other than my bed) I want to be or anyone I could talk to. A week of that might help you get back on track.

      Second suggestion is to come in on the weekend, close your office door, and just get stuff off your desk. There won’t be the usual co-workers and phone to distract you, and hopefully the knowledge that you’re giving up your weekend will make you buckle down so you can avoid being in the same spot again.

      Good luck!

    • emcsquared :

      Do you have an office buddy at work who might have the same problem? If so, maybe try a thrice a day check in system – first thing in the morning, send each other your to-do list for the day (keep it short; no more than 6 things, even if they are small). At lunch and at 4 pm, you have to call each other and say what you’ve accomplished. If either person hasn’t gotten through their list, both people have to stay until the lists are done.

      This method snapped me out of a bad funk at my old job, but I don’t have a new procrastination buddy so I’m pulling through the current funk with bribes (this site!) and mini-tasks (just open the search engine and select your sources for now…then type your search terms as your next mini task…etc).

    • when I get like that I write down each task I have to do in bite size pieces, in the order they need to be done, and am only allowed internet/chat/snack etc. after crossing off one task. e.g., (1) read brief (short internet break to check email!), (2) research response to point 1 (get water and say hi to coworker!), (3) draft 1/2 of response to point 1 (send email about evening plans!).

  18. Book Talk :

    Because I wanted to see what all the fuss is about, I started reading 50 Shades of Gray earlier this week and probably won’t finish it. The entire concept creeps me out too much. (Prude?) S#x aside, the character dynamics are disturbing. And the writing is really, truly bad, and this is coming from someone who sets the bar pretty low for fluff reading.

    However, I’m in the mood for a light summer read, so bring on the recommendations.

    • I haven’t event attempted to read 50 Shades yet b/c I’m turned off by the really bad writing that everyone always comments on.

      If you want romance, I suggest. Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. A total of 8 books plus a short story epilogue for most of them. I devoured them like crazy; seriously good.

      • Backgrounder :

        THIS. A friend of mine lent me the books on Kindle and…Ack! The writing is horrid.

        As far as romance I love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (actually reading Drums of Autumn at the moment)

    • Oh so agree!! I am by no means a “high brow” reader, and I thought 50 Shades was the most poorly written book I have ever read! And I loved The Hunger Games, Twilight, and the Sookie Stackhouse books!

      I am reading The Outlander series right now and am really enjoying those! I have also recommended Georgette Heyer books here (try any!)

      • Backgrounder :

        Selia – posted too quickly before I saw your rec…a fellow Outlander fan! :)

        • I am half way through the second book now! It is definitely one of those series where I read way too long at night because I want to find out what happens!!

    • Suzanne Brockman’s Troubleshooter/Seal Team 10 series. Action, adventure, romance, and characters that continue from book to book (if you are into that sort of thing).

      Also, J.D. Robb’s In Death series – near-ish future crime mystery romance stuff (Nora Robert’s is the author, under a different pen name).

    • Have you read Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series (all the books have a number in the title)? Funny, fluffy, not great writing but not painfully bad. I may have low standards, but these books actually have made me laugh out loud a few times.

      • I second this! They are very good for light, fluffy books, especially the earlier ones.

    • I have been reading a lot of fluff on the treadmill. The Death, Taxes (Tara Holloway) series by Diane Kelly is fun. Also, the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series by Jenn McKinlay.

    • This is exactly how I felt about Girl With a Dragon Tattoo.

      • Jenna Rink :

        Me too! It was recommended by so many of my friends, and once I read it I started questioning what kinds of people my friends are! What a terrible, terrible book.

    • Honestly. I totally judge people who like 50 shades.

      • Let me volunteer myself for judgment. I liked 50 Shades but I can’t figure out why!! The writing *IS* super terrible! The plot *IS* super stupid! The protagonist is fonduing annoying! *sigh*

        • Same, but you know why? It’s a completely formulaic romance novel, with some pretty tame S&M elements thrown in. If you like formulaic romance novels, there’s no reason you wouldn’t like 50 Shades. There’s very little difference (other than length) between 50 Shades and, say, a Kathleen Woodiwiss or Johanna Lindsey novel. I thought it was an entertaining enough read.

        • Thats how I feel about the original Twilight series itself. Whenever I re-read it and enjoy it (yet again) I still shake my head at my silly self. Who knows. Usually my tastes are more mature.

          On the flip side, I DO think the movies are awful.

    • anon here :

      The concept doesn’t gross me out all (but hey, I’m into BDSM). But as I told a friend – “This should have remained available for free on the internet – that’s exactly where it fits.” It’s not absurdly worse than most fan fiction or self published erotica – it’s just that no one expects either of those things to be very good, and they really aren’t.

      The writing got got marginally better in the later books – but very marginally. However, it’s worth reading just so you can read the reviews on Amazon, which are hysterical.

      • Book Talk :

        Also hysterical is the You.Tube video of Ellen DeGeneres doing a book reading of 50 Shades.

        • That basically made my month.

          I’m just now checking out the Amazon reviews (because let’s face it– reviews were wholly irrelevant to my decision to download the 50 Shades books), and they are greatness.

        • Merabella :

          Gilbert Godfrey reading 50 Shades is also hilarious.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      The dynamics are ick because its Twilight Fan fic, so they same, uncomfortable male/female dynamics are present. I enjoyed the Twilight books, but I am not a teen who might think this male/female dynamic is something to be admired or emulated. The writing is just crap – lol.

    • I’m reading Perfect on Paper by Janet Goss right now for a light summer read. I’ve only just started it, but I like the writing so far and it’s frothy enough for the beach.

  19. SoCalAtty :

    So I’m really struggling with this TTC thing (I’m 31, if that matters). I’ve been at my small firm for 6 months, so even if I got pregnant right this second, I will have been here over a year by the time I needed leave. I’m happy enough here – not miserable, decent pay. They know kids are imminent for me, but with them having only 3 employees there is no FMLA or anything like that – just my vacation and whatever unpaid leave I take, and since my husband is relatively busy I can probably afford at least 2 months.

    Here are the things making me nervous:
    1) We don’t have savings, because we were stupid and paid off some debt and made a purchase and used it, planning on filling it back up in 5 months or so, and then my husband’s work hit a slow period and we ended up needing it for bills rather than savings. We’re almost back on track, but I would essentially only have the time TTC and pregnancy to save again. That is probably ok, and I could maybe get 20k in the bank over that time.

    2) While we were planning on just getting financing to re-do our detached garage that is about to fall over, which would include a studio for my husband’s office so we can make the 2nd bedroom into a baby room, our WF mortgage person noticed the drawings of our dream house and told us he could finance the whole project. So now there is a possibility we’ll be tearing down everything (all 700 sq ft of it) and rebuilding from scratch. We’d get a little studio to stay in during that time, but that’s a big project, and potentially would require a chunk of our paychecks for “extras” that always happen during construction. It would also add $1k month onto our mortgage payment which, while still keeping us at about 35% of our gross for housing, would make it iffy if I were to lose my job. Any temp doc review job would more than cover the issue though, so it isn’t like I need a high salary for the risk I’m taking.

    3) I have a lot of dang credit card debt left over from law school, life in general, and my year of unemployment. No problem paying slightly above the minimum payment, but it makes me nervous having a baby and having a ton of debt.

    4) Maybe this is the real reason – I’m terrified of having kids. I’ve got 0 family support so if I need help, I’m SOL. Husband’s family will be 0 help as well. Also, what if I don’t WANT to go back to work after? We can’t afford that…not yet, anyway. Certainly not if I do #2 above.

    Maybe I should just go for it and let it work itself out, but I’m one of those people that have to have a precise plan, and it is making me nervous.

    • We’re TTC, too, and have some of the same worries (although we do have family nearby, for which I’m extremely grateful). We have a very comfortable savings account, but I’m currently the only paycheck (husband is starting a business and right now it just costs money instead of bringing any in — hopefully he’ll start earning by the new year, but we can’t bet on it). My firm offers only unpaid leave and I can roll over only five vacation days to the new year so we’ll be essentially self-financing my maternity leave. If I only take three months, we’ll be fine. But I keep worrying about what if it’s twins and I get put on bed rest? What if there are complications and I need more than three months? But I’m in my mid-thirties so we’re just going to go for it. I figure there are plenty of people with far less money than we have who make it work. (Although how they do is beyond me. Never mind college, have you seen the cost of daycare!? And there aren’t scholarships for daycare.) We’re just going to jump in with both feet and figure it out from there.

      • All of your worries are valid ones. And so is your desire to “live life” while TTC. But you are relatively young, and could get pregnant in the next 30 days. You should consider that as a possibility. Maybe try to work on saving a tiny bit more for 6 months as was suggested above?

        On the other hand, I believe that everything happens for a reason. I have credit card debt for the first time ever and my husband is only working sporadically for peanuts. I have almost no savings. I started this job just a few months ago. But I was TTC at 39 and got lucky and am pregnant. Our tenuous financial situation stresses me out sometimes, but I am still 100% happy I am having a baby in 3 months.

        In 25 years, I will , and probably live in a slightly smaller house than I would otherwise. I might not retire until I am 70. But I will be be happy that I chose to have my child and not regret that decision one bit, I just know it!

        Pollyanna-ish I know, but money and things are just not as important to me at 41 as they were at 30.

        • Just wanted to say congratulations! (Also your story gives me some hope as I’m 39 and TTC.)

    • Motoko Kusanagi :

      TTC aside – why aren’t you paying off the credit card debt before a home improvement project that will require you to temporarily relocate to a studio and add $1k/month to your mortgage? It seems like that might give you more financial freedom and peace of mind – you sound a bit frazzled right now.

      • I agree. I think you would benefit from a financial planner discussion. Paying to tear down your house and rebuild it while paying to live in a studio while still having tons of cc debt seems a little crazy.

        • SoCalAtty :

          CFM: I agree, I do, but there is a big part of me that doesn’t want to put life off anymore. The studio would be about $700/month for 6 months, and then that expense would go away and I could start socking it away to cc debt. I would also get a 4 month”hold” on my mortgage where I wouldn’t have to pay while building, so that would cover the rent.

          The way I see it is I’m putting off paying off debt for 6-8 months in exchange for building my dream house. All objective financial advice would tell me “no,” but there is also the fact that my husband’s financials won’t be “mortgage ready” again for another 2 years or so (he is taking over the family business, so instead of W-2 he will be self employed soon, no income change just ownership change), that the interest rates are so great now, and that residential construction contractors are hungry right now so I can get the dream project done for normal project prices.

          We have a financial planner, and a great CPA, and the both say general wisdom would say “no,” but that we’ve got kind of a perfect storm going here.

          Worst case I have a studio over my detached garage I can rent out! Going rent for that in my area is around $800/month, so I might do that anyway.

          • You shouldn’t take on debt just because you qualify.

            Could that sort of attitude have contributed to your credit card debt?

          • I agree.

            And I don’t believe in “dream houses” or dream-anythings. I think that we can afford what we can afford, and work with that. No more, period.

            Lose the idea of “dream house.”

      • SoCalAtty :

        That was the plan. Originally we were only doing the garage, which, because of the interest rate would have added principal to our mortgage but actually made the payment go down. When WF revealed that I could build my dream house now, instead of in 3-5 years, with financing at 3.85% it seemed like too good of an offer to pass up, credit card debt aside.

        You’re right, very frazzled right now – too many gigantic decisions looming.

        TBK – I kind of feel the same way. I have friends that do it on 1/2 of what we will be able to do it for. My idea of a budget for cleaning/daycare and assorted baby needs is about $1k a month. I’m trying to contact local daycare places to get a good handle on it, and my cleaning lady of choice is $100/week so that is where I got that number. She was actually the live in nanny for the 2 kids (that are now grown) for some of our friends, so I may be able to work out some sort of “gap care” with her if we need help outside of daycare hours.

        Forget saving for the kids’ college – I had to pay for it myself, so can they! I’m only partially kidding, but I plan to spend the money on education while they are under 18 so they can get into the college of their choice. Of course I’ll contribute some to their college, I’m only kidding, but I’m going to expect them to kick in too.

        • new york associate :

          Don’t know where you live, but $1000/mo for cleaning and daycare is wildly under budget for my (admittedly expensive) area.

        • Stephanie Plum :

          You live in SoCal right? Please tell me where you can get cleaning and daycare for $1k per month. The numbers I hear from friends are closer to $2k!

          • new york associate :

            Yeah, I would say that we’re at $2000/mo, with one kid, and that doesn’t include other baby-related expenses (health insurance, diapers, clothing, etc.).

          • SoCalAtty :

            Yes, SoCal. San Fernando Valley area. I got on the waiting list today for my first pick infant care center which is in plenty of time, and it will be $900/month for 6am-6pm infant day care M-F, with all of the teachers/workers being credentialed, live-scanned, and trained in infant first aid/CPR. Teacher to infant ratio 1:4. I provide food & diapers. Cleaning for me is $100/week, but I only do 1x a month now. We’ll go to 2-3 possibly with a baby. So I was darn close.

            For me, personally, our existing house would be just fine until the kid hit about 5 – It is 700 square feet with only 1 bathroom – but if we don’t take the construction financing now, I can certainly see circumstances in which we wouldn’t be able to get it for quite a while because the way my husband is changing the way he gets paid – changing from W-2 to self employed. I’ve done a lot of sitting back with our plans worrying about stretching the budget, so we haven’t moved forward…so I think I will take the advice, put off TTC for 6 months, save every penny I can get my hand on, and THEN start TTC.

            The increase in our mortgage payment is negligible, because we are going from 6.8 to 3.85, so even with the added balance we are nowhere near our mortgage (with taxes, insurance, and PMI) being 33%. I think it is 28%.

          • new york associate :

            Wow! That’s a great deal on daycare! I think your plan sounds great. I wish you lots of luck that it will all work out!

      • Working Girl :

        Yes. You need to get rid of the high interest cc debt before you tear down your home and build a new one. You can live in a smallish space. The debt is going to cost you a fortune in the long run if you are paying just over the minimum.

    • Can I ask why the rush for a baby? You seem to have a LOT going on at the moment and are still young. If you’re in good health with no fertility issues why not take 6 months and address the financial concerns. Meet with a financial planner and address your identified short and long term concerns (plus short/long term baby costs) in the mean time and really work out a plan.

      If your fertility is a concern, then work with your dr to determine the best time and go for it.

      Finally, no kids myself but as an observer, you’re never going to be able to precisely plan out anything with kids. It seems that’s the way the universe is, so do the best you can!

      • SoCalAtty :

        L: Good health, but I don’t know if I have fertility issues because we’ve never tried. I know 31 is young, but I also have my ob/gyn friends telling me that I better hop to it because TTC could take a minute, and even if I start now I could be 33+ before I actually give birth. Not that big of a deal if all goes well….but I don’t want to push my luck, either. There are lots of stories who did that and were fine, and some that weren’t.

        I guess I just have a crazy confluence of events going right now! Worst case scenario is I cut our budget way back and don’t leave my theoretical sparkly dream house for a year. Fair sacrafice for getting to my goal 2 years early.

        • But you’re creating that “crazy confluence of events” yourself. If you feel you can’t pass up the house demolition (and I agree with Hel-lo that you should probably think that one through a bit more), then just don’t get pregnant for a bit. Six months isn’t going to make that much difference, but creating utter chaos in your life is never a good thing, and isn’t going to be a good scene to bring a kid into. You sound too overwhelmed by everything to make any good decisions, if I were you I’d take a couple weeks off right now and try to calm down before marching off into upheavals.

        • goirishkj :

          No great words of wisdom here, just commiseration. DH and I staarted TTC before it was financially advisable because I was convinced it would take a while since I’m aalmost 32. I got pregnant right away, so it can happen. I’m terrified about finances right now, but things do happen for a reason and I tend to be over-paranoid about finances in general. It sounds nuts, but trust your gut.

    • Gotta save, girl. You can start loving your someday son or daughter now by creating a cushion for her from the falls that inevitably and often and expensively come with a new life. She doesn’t need you to give her a new house or even a nice nursery. She needs safety. Start that now by saving. Not to rich wealthy perfection, but to stop spending, keep working, have some protection reality. You can do it.

      • Truer words were never spoken. You can’t control everything, but the old maxim “luck favors the prepared” is something worth remembering.

        Re. TTC, six months one way or another isn’t going to make more than a minuscule difference if at all. Getting that debt paid off with make a huge difference.

  20. Need some good hive advice and I know you awesome ladies always come through! I have worked in policy my entire career (about 12 years). Seven years ago, I decided it was a good idea to get my law degree. So I graduated from a T14 three years later, knowing that I wanted to continue doing policy work. New policy job started right after graduation so I did not take the bar. Fast-forward a few years … I’m still working in policy (now for the Fed) and due to our hiring freeze, I have been given more and more responsibilities, most of which is legal work (paralegal-ish stuff) because they know I have a law degree. So the funniest thing happened – I really, really like it and I’m starting to think I may want to work as an attorney (not necessarily for the government). So my problems are (1) I’m not certified and wondering if I can handle taking the bar while I’m working FT (I do work “only” 40 hours per week) and (2) do you think anyone would hire someone in my position as an entry-level attorney? Of course OCS says, “Yes! And Yes!” to my questions, but I’d like some real life opinions, ‘rettes. And of course the status of the economy for the attorney job market doesn’t help matters…

    • Former MidLevel :

      As far as the bar goes, yes, you can handle it while working 40 hours a week. It won’t be fun, but it is possible. As far as hiring–I think it depends on what you want to do, where you are (or how flexible you are about geography), that kind of thing. Frankly, BigLaw might be tough. But there are all kinds of attorney jobs out there. If I were in your shoes, I would try to talk to people in the types of jobs you might be interested in and ask their advice.

    • Definitely invest in a Bar Review class. There’s a lot of Torts, ConLaw, etc. that you have forgotten.

      Studying for the Bar sucks. It will take a toll on your family and your relationships. You only want to do it once.

    • Can’t add anything from the perspective of law firms but my guess is you’d be very interesting for in-house at financial institutions. Most feel completely buffetted by regulatory changes and the general direction has been to increase budget for compliance and legal staff, even while cutting from elsewhere.

  21. Chi-Town Realtor Recs? :

    Re-posting from earlier thread – Any recs for a good realtor in Chicago? I am a first time buyer looking in South Loop, West Loop/Fulton River District but open to other areas as well. TIA!

    (Thanks for the rec on the previous thread, Frustrated Academic :))

    • Formerly Chicago :

      Try Donna Noble – she’s at @properties. She drove me around the South Loop and West Loop when I first moved there a few years ago, was very helpful, informative and never pushy. I ended up in a great condo in the West Loop as a result.

  22. 1st Birthday Gift - Follow Up :

    I had posted a few weeks ago that I wanted to make a personalized ‘what are little girls made of’ “recipe” gift for the first birthday of my BFF’s daughter. I wanted it to be more than just “sugar, and spice, and everything nice”. People had some great suggestions for the types of qualities that they’d want little girls to have/be aware of when they’re growing up. Well, birthday has come and gone, and my friend loved the recipe – she said it made her teary for the first few weeks she tried to read it – and she liked the idea so much that she’s going to have one made up for one of her friends who is pregnant.

    The qualities I included were (“equal parts”): sass, determination, grace, confidence, imagination, smarts, compassion, humility, curiosity, independence, spunk, resilience.

    And then “to taste”: laughter, magic, glitter (because who doesn’t love glitter?!), sugar, spice, and everything nice. I felt I had to stick the original rhyme in the recipe.

    And then I had “instructions”: Mix all ingredients together in a little girl. Slowly add experience, knowledge, and wisdom. Add friendship and love. Bake for a lifetime.

  23. I know we just had a grammar/misspelling/you name it pet peeve thread, but how about “antidote” when the speaker means “anecdote.”

    Just heard two different speakers at a 400+ person conference do that.

    My favorite was “antidotal evidence.”

    • I was at a conference recently, and one of the attendees said, “epitaph” when he meant, “epithet.”

      So I’m evil and I said, “as a minority, I’d like a racial epitaph on my tombstone.”

    • The “antidote” in space of “anecdote” is very common here and I’ve even heard highly educated people at this university use it. Drives me nuts. And I’ve heard “antidotal evidence” as well. I try hard not to laugh.

    • Strange, I’ve never heard that one! That would really bug me!


      Sorry. I needed all caps for that.

      • Could it be like fish and fishes? Yes, fish can be singular or plural but if it’s more than one sort of fish you can call them fishes…Input can be singular or plural, but if it is more than one kind of input you can call them inputs…?

    • Exasperate for exacerbate. :headdesk

  24. I’m getting really tired of my hair and don’t know what to do with it. I know I’m not in the market for a bob or anything else that requires actual hair-doing every day and don’t have the facial structure for a pixie. I have a ton of hair and it is really thick and have a haircut/style that works pretty well. But I still want a change. I’m considering dying my ash blonde hair to something more strawberry blonde, but can’t really find a picture of a person with the hair color I want. I’m really really fair so I can’t go too dark without changing makeup and I would like to stay away from that for the time being. Who do you think has a really pretty hair color/whose hair would you have if you could?

    • meee too! :

      Tell me what you decide! I’m in a similar boat with the hair type, except my shoulder-length (actually longer when straightened/flat-ironed) hair looks completely wild right now. Not in a good way. My favorite hair cut of all time was a chin bob, shorter in the back, with a side part. The waviness of my hair came out in an adorable way, and I spent maybe 10 seconds getting ready every morning. Wondering if I can still get away with this look nearly 30 lbs later. Sadly, I don’t think I can :(

    • Try making a consultation appointment with a hair colorist. You won’t actually do anything to your color that day, but you can go over your options and get advice on what color will flatter you and what upkeep would be required.

  25. WestCoast Lawyer :

    I’m thinking about purchasing a tablet and am having trouble deciding between the new iPad and the newest version of the Galaxy tab. The iPad seems to have a more intuitive interface (and I’m not tech-savvy enough to make use of all the customization you can do on the Galaxy tab), but I’d really like to be able to edit Word and Excel documents and the reviews of the iPad apps that I’ve seen to let you do that all seem to indicate that the functionality is somewhat limited (also, I’ll be using this for work sometimes so don’t want something that would require me to store these docs on the cloud). I’ll probably spend most of my time using the multimedia/web functions and checking email, but it seems like for those tasks they are pretty comparable. Any suggestions?

    • so I am an apple user & just love my ipad. I’m not sure it’s something that you can really edit documents on – I’ve never tried that or tried any related apps. One caution I’d have though about the galaxy (or other makers) is that a lot of apps (at least the cool/popular ones) are designed for apple products & just don’t work as well on non-apple stuff. I suffered w/ a droid for a couple of years before I finally was eligible for an iphone upgrade (bad timing w verizon and my plan) & was constantly frustrated that the “cool apps” were either unavailable on non-apple platforms or that they didn’t work. I just find apple stuff sleek, easy to use, and powerful enough for my needs. My computer/phone/ipad, etc. have never crashed or done any of the myriad of other frustrating things that non-apple stuff seems to do. (apple should pay me for this post)

    • I love my ipad. But on MS Office documents, it is not ideal.

    • Business stuff (word docs, etc) is much easier on the Galaxy Tab. Plus I think it’s prettier.

    • Every so often I research to see whether MS Office functionality has improved for iPad. And it still hasn’t. AFAIK, the apps will eat your pleadings formatting and won’t let you insert footnotes. Still using my netbook as a result.

  26. Donating clothing :

    I’m planning on some summer cleaning this weekend and have two questions.

    1. I was planning on getting the donation slip for my taxes. There are tons of clothes that I need to get rid of though. Like piles as tall as I am an bins of stuff. (I have a hard time getting rid of clothing. It just staty in the bin if it doesn’t fit when rotating seasons and I just buy new bins. Judge away but not too harshly please.) how much can I expect to actually write-off without the IRS going crazy?

    2. The clothing is clean. Laundered before storage and put into bins. If I was going to ever wear it again, I would launder it first though. A friend told me I didn’t need to for donations as Goodwill/Salvation Army/whoever would launder it before putting it on floor because they are required to. Is this true, that I can donate as-is?

    • You don’t have to launder them again before donating. Most people who buy from Goodwill (and care) will launder it before they wear it anyway. You should donate as-is.

      • SoCalAtty :

        Donate as is, and they will give you a donation slip for your taxes. I would check with your CPA to see what is an allowable deduction, though.

    • 1) Goodwill has a website that tells you the value of your donations. Very helpful for tax purposes.
      2) The condition sounds fine (as-is).

      Good for you for cleaning and donating!

    • Seattleite :

      My CPA tells me that “garage sale prices” is the way to value donations – least likely to flag audits. Not necessary to itemize the donations, but “four bags of winter clothing, one bag of shoes, one bag of handbags – $XX” is the way he likes to see it.

    • The NerdWearsSkirts :

      I take picture of the piles I donate, and make a list (short sleeve t-shirt – 5, jeans – 2, etc); that way if I ever get audited I can document the donation.

    • Working Girl :

      The rules changed last year and now there is a very precise way to write off clothing with pre determined values for each thing. You do not need to wash.

  27. unsolicited comments on weight gain :

    A dear friend (grad school roomate), whom I have not seen in many years, will be drving cross-country to visit me this summer. I am touched that she and her family are coming all this way to visit, and really looking forward to seeing her. I love her dearly, but over the years have come to realize that she has a big issue with people who are overweight. I’ve been shocked at some of the comments she’s made – along the lines of “fat people are disgusting” etc. She and her husband are very concerned with weight, and acting/dressing young. She does not exercise at all, but eats very little – skips breakfast, has a tiny or no lunch, and then a regular dinner. She also comes from a family of petite, trim people. In my younger years I used to be slender, but since having kids and getting older I’ve gained quite a bit of weight, to the point where I’m now 2 dress sizes larger than when I last saw her (BMI bordering on obese). I am trying to exercise and eat better, but realize that l will likely struggle with my weight for the rest of my life. She and her husband have made comments on my weight before – commenting that my weight gain is not healthy, offering unsolicited advice on dieting, asking if I’ve lost weight yet. I know she means well, but does not realize how awful it makes me feel that she keeps focusing so much on my weight. As their visit approaches I find myself dreading what they are going to say given my substantial weight gain since we’ve last seen each other. I do value her friendship, and want it to be a good visit, but am already getting upset anticipating the inevitable comments. Any suggestions on how to deal with this? I know I need to not let the comments upset me, but it’s easier said that done!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Gawd, reading this has me all upset and angry on your behalf. You are looking at this all wrong. The issue is not that you “need to not let the comments upset [you].” The issue is that your “dear friend” is acting like a insensitve and cruel b!tch, and has a husband to match. How the f does she think her comments make you feel? Either she isn’t thinking about your feelings at all when she says these things (some friend!) or she is aware of how badly these comments make you feel and then says them anyway . This is your dear friend? The one that you’re anticipating the visit of with dread??

      Look, she clearly has a very messed up relationship with food that apparently borders on anorexic (no breakfast and no lunch? wtf?). I’m guessing she got the message when she was younger that only petite/trim people are acceptable/worthy of love and has felt the pressure to conform to that ever since. How truly sad. And now she’s passing on this message of self-love and acceptance to you. Oh wait, no, she’s passing on her message of body dysmorphia and self hatred to you.

      I’m a stranger on the internet, so I’m just going to tell you straight. Your “dear friend” is not actually friend to you. She’s a mean girl.

      • unsolicited comments on weight gain :

        I hear you, and agree that in her attitudes about weight she is rather appalling, but in all other aspects she is truly a wonderful person (trust me!). No person is 100% perfect, there are things we don’t like about every friend, right? This is hers. I really do think that she sees herself as a big sister figure (she is older than me) and from her perspective, is trying to help/motivate me to lose weight. And she is definitely not the only person to offer unsolictied comments on my weight gain, so I figure I have to come up with some polite- yet -direct response to have on hand for such situations. Or else figure out a way to not dwell on these comments and let them hurt me.

        • unsolicited comments on weight gain :

          By the way, she claims that she is “not hungry” for breakfast, and then “too busy” for lunch.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Ok, I will try to channel my righteous indignation in a more useful direction for you. It sounds to me like she’s picking on your weight because it’s the thing she most fears would happen to herself. And so she’s treating you like her mother/father/evil ex-boyfriend/authority figure treated her, which resulted in her neuroses about food since childhood. Every day, she’s not hungry for breakfast, and too busy for lunch? No, she’s not. She’s terrified of gaining weight and becoming unworthy of love, so she starves herself. It’s just so, so sad, and I mean that sincerely.

            So call a spade a spade, and address the little girl insider her that got these messages to begin with. “Dear friend, I have struggled with my weight, as you know, so I’m familiar with control issues related to food. I’ve noticed you only eat one meal a day. It seems to me like you’re struggling with control over food too, but coming from the opposite direction than I am. I overeat, you undereat. Both are unhealthy. It deeply, deeply hurts my feelings when you talk to me this way. When you say these things, you make me feel like a failure. I was even dreading your visit because I was afraid you would say things like what you just said to me. I know you can’t mean to make me feel so badly, so I’m wondering where this is coming from. Has anyone ever said these things to you? Maybe when you were younger? We all got messages from our parents and society when we were younger that affect us to this day. I think it really helps to recognize that and talk about it. So, let’s talk about it. I learned from my parents to associate food with comfort and love because of X Y and Z. What did you learn about food when you were a child?”

        • Seattleite :

          I think you address it with her ahead of time: “I am overweight, I am addressing it, and I am NOT INTERESTED in what you might think about my weight. I need to know that you and your husband won’t say anything to me about this while you’re here.”

          If they agree to that, great. If they break the agreement, remind them of the agreement and offer to find them a hotel if they can’t restrain themselves.

          Standing up for yourself is a great way to help this type of comment not hurt. It shows Commenter, and Inner You, that you are worth so much more than petty comments.

          • ChocCityB&R :

            Co-signed. This must be addressed ahead of time. You should not be dreading her visit. That is a terrible place to be (and I’ve been there). Don’t subject yourself to that torture, iron out the issue now.

          • I agree that this will take some prep.

            Surely you will be talking on the phone with her before she arrives about arrangements, etc. During one of these conversations, say something like, “There’s one more thing I’ve been worrying about. I want to let you know that I won’t look the same as when I saw you last. I’ve gained some weight. I’m worried that you’re going to be really surprised and I know you’re a good friend and will want to help me to lose the weight. I know you try to be really healthy. I’m trying to be healthy too, but it’s been hard since I had my kids. Could we agree to not talk about my weight gain? I’m really excited about you coming, and I just didn’t want to cloud our great visit with my personal issues.”

          • (For the record, I also believe the good friends don’t put each other down. But if you want to stay friends with her, that’s your choice.)

          • I agree, I think this needs to be addressed in advance, if only so she’s prepared to keep her mouth shut. I’d say something along the lines of “dear friend, I’m so looking forward to your visit. But I’m sorry to say I’ve realized that I’m also dreading it. That’s because I know you have a problem with weight, and you’ve been truly unkind to me about it before..” and then quote SF Bay Associate at length :-)..

    • SoCalAtty :

      Yikes! My step-grandmother was this way. When I was 15 and weighed 105 lbs and was wearing a size 4, she said to me, as I was putting a jelly belly in my mouth, “you better watch those, because you’re no slim chick.”

      So you can imagine how excited I was to visit when in college, then law school, when I gained weight as I got older. I spent countless years in the “I need to not let the comments upset me” camp, and when I finally just cut these types of people out it made life a lot simpler.

      I would come up with a response to use for the first weight-based comment that comes out of either one of their mouths. I’m not good with these, but maybe something along the lines of “look, not everyone has an easy time with their weight and you judging me on this just stresses me out. Let’s just enjoy the visit.” That probably isn’t quite right, maybe another ‘rette can come up with something better.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Gosh this is a stressful situation. I have to say that I’m ashamed to be on both sides of the equation. Because I’ve struggled with weight and self esteem issues my whole life, I’ve had to deal with misplaced “disgust” and “hatred” of overweight people (and still do). At the same time, I’ve avoided seeing friends because of my weight, and the issue is something I’m constantly pre-occupied with. I know where you are right now.

      HOWEVER, despite my negative thoughts about overweight people, I have NEVER, EVER made disparaging comments to loved ones about their weight. I have made disparaging comments about strangers to slender friends and family (something of which I’m ashamed about). Now I recognize there is a difference between “that’s gross” and “you are not healthy” but they are both unhelpful. It’s not as if you aren’t aware of your size, and it’s not as if there is a dearth of “weight loss tips” in the world for you to get if you wanted them.

      You need to be upfront with your friend about how her comments (and her husbands(!) comments) make you feel. You need to tell her that if she thinks she is being helpful, she is not. And hopefully, that will be enough to stop it. If it is not, I hate to say this, but you have a truly insensitive and toxic friend on your hands. It may be best for you to part ways.

    • Honestly, someone who makes you feel this way is not a good friend. If one of them says something, say it’s not up for discussion. If they persist, leave the room, take a walk, go do the dishes, whatever you need to do to get the point across. Unsolicited comments about someone’s body, weight, or diet are rude and awful, and you should not feel bad putting the kibosh on it.

      • Ms. Manners :

        I agree. You could also point out to her that, yes, you are overweight, and that’s a flaw. But everyone has flaws, and so does she. It just so happens that yours are visible to the naked eye, whereas hers are masked to the general public. So remind her that you don’t go around pointing out her flaws, and ask her why she feels the need to point out yours.

        • I don’t think being overweight is a flaw. It’s just a fact like being tall or short or having a big nose. Maybe an overweight person is unhappy with her weight and maybe she isn’t. Maybe she has a healthy lifestyle and maybe she doesn’t. It’s not inherently a flaw, and she certainly doesn’t owe anyone an explanation or an apology for it.

          • Co-sign. Being overweight is not a flaw or some kind of indictment from the universe that a person is unworthy. It’s just a thing.

            For the OP, I, personally, have started saying, whenever anyone around me nitpicks about weight, something along the lines of “I don’t want to hear about or participate in negative talk about anyone’s body. I think it’s incredibly harmful and only serves to make us feel bad about ourselves.”

      • new york associate :

        Totally agree. I’d just say: “My weight is absolutely none of your business, and the fact that you consistently comment on it is inappropriate and frankly, makes me question your friendship. I don’t want to hear a single comment about my body, my food, or my weight, and if you’re my friend, you’ll respect that. If you can’t, please find a hotel.” Then, as per DC Jenny, ENFORCE IT.

        • Yes, this. Your body, your weight, your eating and exercise habits, etc. are simply none of her business. You owe her no explanation or assurances that you are ‘addressing’ the issue and it is perfectly reasonable to make this clear and shut down any crossing of these boundaries.

    • Someone recently described on this forum her ‘coping mechanism’ for dealing with an unpleasant sister-in-law’s insensitive remarks – she just lets the remarks wash over her without responding and sometimes saves up the best ones for sharing/ venting later on with her sympathetic sister. This, to a t, is how I deal with large egos, corrosive personalities or as in your case, a good person with a particularly insensitive spot. With practice, I can do without the venting part which is even better – the nasty moment is over more quickly.

      Is this something you can try ? If you need a pressure valve for venting, am sure you’ll have plenty of sympathy on this board or else someone IRL who doesn’t have a direct relationship with your friend ?

    • I agree with the spirit of the sweetly supportive rette philosophical advice here. Practically, though, since you value her friendship and are strategizing a cheerful visit, not a new life attitude for you nor for her, you could replace ‘too’ big and ‘too small with other opposite but not evilly opposing adjectives, like ‘Republican’ and ‘Democrat’ or ‘Red Sox’ and ‘Yankees.’ Address ahead of time, insist on ignoring subject, and say outight that you’re different but only in this one dumb way, and otherwise so excited to talk about every single other thing but this one. Do it with a laugh– it takes all kinds, etc. No apologizing or preaching for either of you at each other or at youselves

      • I agree. I have to say I am a bit surprised with all the harsh “you need to drop her” comments. If everyone worked this way, I’d have no friends. They’d have dropped me or I them.

    • Stephanie Plum :

      Did you ask for her advice? No. So, the first time it comes up, just say “you know what [friend]? I really don’t want to talk about my weight right now. It’s a sensitive topic for me. If I need to talk about it, can I let you know? Otherwise, let’s please just drop it.”

  28. CPA to be :

    Any Sewanee people on here? YSR and stuff.

  29. K in transition… Are you still doing online counseling sessions and looking for clients? Sorry if you don’t do it and I just misunderstood

    • Try sending her an e-mail: munchkin 1616 at juno dot com
      I believe she is doing sessions, and can really recommend working with her :-)

  30. RE: Pants liners
    I buy most of my suits at Nordstrom in the plus department. (Hitting up the aniversary sale tomorrow!) The pants are never lined. The problem is with drycleaning. The jackets are fine after 1,2, 3, 4, 5+ wears. But after just one day the pants are wrinkly and a little stretched at the waist. I have considered wearing “pants liners” like a slip. Has anyone tried this? Will it help? Any purchasing recommendations?

    Also, a recommendation for Eloquii, which is the Limited’s new plus size brand. I have 3 suits from their winter/spring collection. They are better quality than the Nodstrom suits I think. They only have 1 suit up now, but I bet there will be more in the fall. I know Limited isn’t as classy as some of you like, but for a young, plus-size, not-paid-quite-enough lawyer, it’s great to see them expand the brand!

    • I haven’t tried them, but I’ve seen some from the brand Flexees at Macy’s and TJ Maxx.

    • I wear pants liners constantly (well, in the winter) and really like them. They help with wrinkling, they can be washed a whole lot more often than the pants.. But I regret to say they can’t entirely make up for inadequate pant fabric quality.

    • East Coaster :

      CJ – question about eloquii. How can you figure on the website what their suits are? The suit page has a ton of stuff on there but everything is presented as separates, so I can’t figure out what jacket goes with which bottoms. Unfortunately the product page doesn’t link to the matching item. Am I missing something?

      • Yes, this is a problem. First, I go to the Suits page, which at least gives you a clue that there is a matching set. Then, when I look at the jacket, the pants/skirt are usually on the right side. Also, the colors help. If it is stone grey and so are the pants they probably match. Sometimes other descriptions help. But, basically it is not easy. The first time I ordered the pants were wrong. I called, they gave me free shipping and the same deal on the replacement. So, if you want to be super sure, call.

  31. Working Newbie :

    Cole Haan is going to stop making the Air Talia Pumps altogether and only 2 pairs remain in my size according to their inventory. Finding comfortable narrow leather pumps with a 2-inch heel for less than $150 is really difficult and I really don’t want to start the hunt again.

    Should I indulge and buy them both? None? Just one?

    To buy or not to buy…that is the question.

    • 6PM has Air Talias in just about every size and heel height, probably a lot cheaper.

    • Not true! I actually emailed them because I was afraid they were going to stop making them, due to the low inventory. I was also contemplating buying multiple pairs if they were discontinuing them, because they are the best pumps in the world. Anyway, this is the response I got:

      Dear [Bluejay],

      Thank you for contacting Cole Haan Customer Service.

      We do have the AIR TAILIA PUMP on our web site in limited sizes.

      We will have more in stock in the fall.

      If you would like us to look for your size we would be happy to.

      Kind Regards,

      Cole Haan Customer Service
      Monday-Friday 8AM-7PM EST
      Saturday/Sunday 12-6PM EST

      • Working Newbie :


        I was worried that the only design I am willing to wear for a full day was disappearing for good. I guess I should buy a few more this fall. Maybe I’ll buy some of the cute booties as well.

        The Air Violets are just not the same.

        • I know – the Air Talias are truly amazing. I find heels pretty painful, but these I can walk a few blocks in and stand in for hours.

    • new york associate :

      Agreed. I love the Talias and would cry if they stopped making them.

  32. Clothing storage help needed: I’m 11 weeks pregnant with #2 and am starting to get out my bigger-sized yet-nonmaternity clothes. What do those of you who fluctuate sizes (either normally or because of a pregnancy) do to store the stuff that doesn’t currently fit you? I can’t decide if I should put all of my “normal” clothes away for a year or if it’s better to have that stuff coexist with my bigger/maternity clothes. I want to stay organized and not overbuy…thoughts?

    • Seattleite :

      I pack it away, by size (my size, not the size on the label). I used to keep it out because I had room, but I realized that 1) it just made me feel bad about myself; and 2) it kept me from buying clothes I needed because in my head, I had all these clothes!

      • I packed it away too. It just was taking up space and frustrating me when I was looking for stuff that actually fit. I did leave my nicer stuff hanging in the closet, because I had room, but the stuff that was crowding the dresser is in bins.

  33. anonBrooklyn-ite :

    Hi all,
    DH’s college buddy and his wife live in San Diego and had their first baby very, very premature. The baby is a month old and just made it to 4 lbs. DH asked me to think of something to send them (we are in Brooklyn) and I have no idea!! FWIW, I havent met this couple and they’re mid-30s. I know there are tons of comments on what to send for new babies, but I don’t know if anyone has preemie-specific advice. Thanks in advance for your ideas!

    • Babies born between 3-5 pounds (32-33 weeks) and then get to 4 pounds are likely to survive (98% chance according to the March of Dimes). I’d get something like a photo frame. Clothing, diaper service and things like rattles won’t be useful until later.

    • A photo frame is always good. They also sell kits for baby’s first footprint/handprint, some with ink pads and frames. There are a ton of different versions. They do make onesies and stuff for preemies, which might be helpful because they probably have a bunch of newborn clothes that the baby doesn’t quite fit into. Plus, of course, a heartfelt card letting them know that you are thinking of them and can’t wait to meet the baby.

    • I had a 4lb 13oz preemie this January. When it was time to come home from the hospital I really needed preemie clothes but with all the preemie care had no time or energy to go get them. I most appreciated gifts of tiny clothes (onesies and sleepers and hats being most useful). Now I can’t believe my little guy ever wore them – he’s 5 months and 15 lbs! Also, preemie care takes much more time and leaves one much more sleep-deprived than regular newborn care. A meal service would be an awesome gift (or a gift cert to one of those freezer meal places). Also, there’s a lot of sitting, holding, rocking, pumping that keeps you stuck in a chair. An iPad was really nice to have, along with audiobooks, Netflix or Amazon Prime. Oh, also a gift cert for a cleaning or laundry service would be really really great.

      • Also preemie size diapers. They’ll need about a million when they go home from hospital.

    • I would think that they need the same things any new parents need – gift card for meal delivery, gift card for diapers.com, that sort of thing. Probably they’re extra stressed if the baby is still in the hospital – perhaps a Seamless.com gift card?

      • Former 2lb-er speaking here :-). Most likely the kid will be just fine, and all caught up in less than a year. (and then some actually – ahem-). Since the baby’s likely to zip through preemie-sized offerings at an accelerated rate, I’d follow Bluejay’s advice and stick to the regular sort of baby gifts.

        • Sorry, metric blip :-). I was 2kg, ie 4lb. 2lb would be worrisome, these days 4lb is almost routine..

    • anonBrooklyn-ite :

      Thank you all so much!! Super helpful.

    • probably too late, but doll clothes.
      Sometimes it’s very hard to find small enough baby clothes for preemies.

  34. karenpadi :

    OK, so continuing my promotion of seeing a therapist if needed.

    I love the TV show Necessary Roughness. It’s about a therapist who works with professional athletes. I just love how the show portrays mental “coughs and colds” that require therapy. It legitimizes and validates mental health issues while maintaining the dignity of each patient.

    Yes, it simplifies and over-dramatizes some aspects. But it’s a step in the right direction.

    Love. Love. Love.

  35. Katie Nolan :

    I just want to share this because I’m so excited! For my whole life, I’ve associated running with punishment – going back to middle school when that’s exactly what it was, when the gym teachers standing at the starting line on our school’s track barked out insults cloaked as encouragement in the biting winter cold. But I started Couch to 5K at the beginning of this summer and it’s slowly healing all of those old, awful associations – I actually look forward to running now. I really like it! Last night, I signed up for my first 5K ever and set a major goal for myself: run a half-marathon in April. I’m so excited about the road ahead of me – training, getting stronger, getting fitter, getting more in touch with my body, pushing past those “I can’t” moments – and I just wanted to tell someone!

    • I felt similarly about running growing up, and am about to start Couch to 5K for a run in October- thanks for the motivation, and good luck with your half!

  36. I recently purchased the all saints swinton long sleeved dress (link to follow)

    I’m wondering if the waterfall feature stops it being work appropriate. Thoughts?

    • http://m.allsaints.com/product/?category_id=22&prod_desc_id=5052654010916

    • Hmm your link isn’t going to the dress, and now I’m curious to see it. :)

      • Maybe because I’m in Europe?

        I googled and found some images. Does this link work? http://designerdresses.me.uk/allsaints-swinton-long-sleeve-dress/

        • Ok that link worked. I really like the dress — it looks like it would be flattering! But I think it is a know your office thing. It looks a bit c*cktail-y to me.

        • Totall fine for work IMO, although if the wrap is revealing at all I’d wear a cami underneath. Actually, I really love this dress.

          • Ooh, beautiful dress. Agree that it looks a tad c*cktail-y, but could work for office too, depending on how it fits (not too clingy?).

  37. Lunchboxes :

    Any good recs for grown-up lunchboxes. I’m looking for a solid color. The best luck has been at the container store. Does anyone have one from there or others suggestions like from Target, BBB, or someplace else?

    There is a fridge at work. Freezer space is limited bc 30 people share it and not everyone can bring in 5 days of meals and store them. I’d need a decent sized bag but not too large.

    • Lunchboxes :

      Posted in wrong spot & went to moderation.

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Something like these maybe?

      Gel liner but heavy in store wo food or being frozen: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodontheGo/carriers?productId=10032157&N=78865

      Crossbody strap but only allows semi-flat food: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodontheGo/carriers?productId=10028155&N=78865

      Comes w hot pack but only hand carry: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodontheGo/carriers?productId=10031270&N=78865

    • I got mine from Target (Raya by Thermos). They’re actually coolers for, say, a six-pack of cans (which is where I found them – in the cooler section) but they have fun designs and work really well to keep things cool both in the fridge and out. There’s a bunch of different sizes; mine is more of the bag shape than the box shape.

      I just did a quick search on the Target site, and found a bunch of options: http://www.target.com/p/raya-by-thermos-9-can-lunch-cooler-purple/-/A-12969813?reco=Rec|pdp|12969813|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency&lnk=Rec|pdp|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency

    • May's tech dilemma :

      I found two thanks to this site. One was a bento box style thing; my laptop lunches? Something like that. The other was mentioned sometime in the last two weeks or so when Kat did a post on it.

    • I like my Built bag a lot. I usually bring either a salad in one of those containers with a thing to hold dressing on top, or a square ziploc container of pasta or something with a piece of fruit. I put a small ice pack in it and everything fits perfectly.

      • It’s this one, but it’s also available in many different colors, including solid colors.


        • I have this in black. I wish it was a bit bigger because I bring a lot of food to work every day, but it keeps food cold.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I was at Marshalls today and they had super cute ones that were professional w/ a little design. They also came with reusable tupperware containers in them. They were around $15.

    • Take inspiration from these http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1607050048/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=moonthirty-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1607050048#reader_1607050048 If you don’t sew, there are quite a few adorable ones available on etsy http://www.etsy.com/search?q=lunch%20bag&view_type=gallery&ship_to=ZZ&min=0&max=0&ref=auto1

      Much depends on your commute and your climate. I found that in cool SF I could bring almost anything short of ice cream on an hour commute and not risk salmonella. Summer in other places may require insulation and a spot for one of those small iced things for picnics. I do recommend use of oilcloth though, which will preserve your main bag and your clothes from spillovers. You should also give some though to whether you want a separate lunch bag, or something that’ll slip easily into a larger handbag. I get the most use from a “paper bag” made of oil cloth, most flexible in terms of sandwich vs box with more complex contents, but that’s me.

      Bento boxes are adorable, but in France they’re used mostly as a diet device. Supposedly it’s such an esthetic experience that you aren’t hungry when you finish those minuscule amounts. Not only doesn’t it work for me, you should also keep in mind that in Japan your housewife Mom is usually the one who spends hours making them for you..

  38. Lunchboxes :

    Something like these maybe?

    Gel liner but heavy in store wo food or being frozen: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodontheGo/carriers?productId=10032157&N=78865

    Crossbody strap but only allows semi-flat food: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodontheGo/carriers?productId=10028155&N=78865

    Comes w hot pack but only hand carry: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodontheGo/carriers?productId=10031270&N=78865

  39. Ladies, looks like I bet on the wrong horse. My new company just announced it’s closing it’s North American offices. I’m looking for a job again.

    • Midwesterner :

      I’m sorry to hear that, Bunkster. I know you are in a high demand field, so I think you will have success. I recommend taking a couple of weeks off between jobs, if possible. I did that recently and really felt re-energized, both physically and mentally.

    • Oh Bunkster!! That is terrible. I know it is super stressful, and looking for jobs is terrible, but that terrible boss of yours was worth getting away from. I’m truly sorry you are going through this, but I’m confident you’ll find something else.

    • Oh no! That’s awful!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Oh Bunkster, I’m so sorry!

    • I’m really sorry. I sure hope they didn’t know about this when they hired you. Good luck with your search; maybe you can contact some of the other places that offered you a job.

    • May's tech dilemma :


    • Oh, no! I hope they have given you a few month’s warning. The good news is that all your networking and job-search contacts are fresh and current. You’ll be able to land something soon.

      • No matter what, it’s much faster and easier to revive a recent job search than to start from scratch. Doesn’t mean condolences aren’t in order though :-(..

    • Oh no! Can you contact the other folks and tell them what happened?

    • Blonde Lawyer :


      So sorry to hear your bad news. Hopefully your other offer might still have room for you. Good luck! I also hope you are getting a severance!

  40. Midwesterner :

    I feel so petty about this, but here goes: I am not a fashion maven by any means and typically others’ faux pas do not bother me, as I probably commit my fair share. But I have this thing where I react in a strongly negative way to people who wear sunglasses indoors. I saw a woman at the coffee shop this morning. It was dark inside and not even that sunny outside, and she’s sporting her sunglasses, like she’s a movie star or a Kardashian. I’ve heard some people say they to it to kind of shut out the world, but that strikes me as rather selfish and rude to the person taking your order and your fellow human beings. FWIW, my eyes are also very sensitive to light and I always wear sunglasses when I am OUTDOORS. Rant over. Thanks. :)

    • I actually don’t see this that often, but I did see an attorney I know in the courthouse this week wearing sunglasses. She apparently forgot her regular prescription glasses in the car and only had her prescription sunglasses. She did take them off for the actual hearing, but wore them in the courthouse. So, you now, that’s one possibility.

    • I understand, but you should consider the fact that her sunglasses may be prescription. Mine are. Carrying 2 pairs of glasses when I’m just running out for coffee gets annoying. On a partly cloudy day, I’m constantly switching between my glasses and my sunglasses.

      • Yeah that’s me, too. I used to wear my prescription sunglasses a lot (when I could get them that worked – ack) and was constantly switching back and forth. If I was just running in somewhere, I sometimes wouldn’t switch because it’s a hassle. And I’m blind as a bat so going without isn’t an option.

      • Me too. If my hands are full, I don’t even try to switch. People can f-ing deal with it; it’s not my problem if they don’t like my sunglasses. And if I run out just to get coffee or something where I’m not bringing my whole handbag with me, no way am I carrying my glasses case in my hand the whole time.

      • Same here. Prescription sunglasses get smudged if you carry them in your hands and they get stretched out if put on top of your head. Plus, I wear mine in bright stores because I have an eye disease that is distroying my corneas and the light truly hurts me. I am truly incapacitated by bright light.

      • Me too! My eyes are also pretty light sensitive, so I almost always have my prescription sunglasses on when I’m outside. Until your comment, I would have assumed that more people in the coffee shop are going to be irritated with me for holding up the line while I dig out my glasses case and switch pairs (which, frankly, is a pain) than for wearing my sunglasses while I order.

    • I feel you when it is an affectation, but I think it’s hard to tell in any given case unless you know the person. There was one person I worked with who had an eye condition that meant she had to wear sunglasses most of the time, and a couple of others who will frequently wear them inside because of migraines.

    • Sometimes I forget to take my glasses off indoors. When I remember I have them on, I think to myself “God, eek, you are such a tool. Get over yo’self.” And, I remove them.

    • Also, some people are hyper-sensitive to light and must wear sunglasses indoors for the same reasons most people wear them outdoors — comfort, protection, preventing headaches, etc.

    • And then there’s the friend of mine who wore sunglasses indoors a bit because she didn’t want to have to discuss endlessly the black eye she got from the nutcase while trying to buy cigarettes..
      Basically, movie star affectation is annoying, but there can be other reasons so try to not let yourself get so annoyed unless you know the person and they are affected, in which case you have a green light to make fun of them mercilessly :-).

  41. "homeless" :

    Hi ladies, looking for some advice. I’m in the processes of building a house with my bf. The build is taking longer than usual and we are now many months later than we thought we would be. Move in should have been months ago and now won’t be until the fall at earliest. I’ve been living with my parents in my childhood bedroom while I wait for the house to be completed. BF lives in an apartment. For various reasons (transportation, space, distance to work) I cant move in with him but I spend a lot of time there. I’m really just becoming so frustrated by not having a home. As a 30yo woman who was living independently for the past 10 years, living with my parents is a huge struggle. Getting my own apartment is out of the question because I’d only need it for such a short period of time of unsure exact duration. Can anyone help suggest ways to make this time more bearable? I feel like my happiness has taken a huge hit and that I camt really be myself until I have a place to call my own. I need to distract myself but cant figure out how. Work is a struggle right now so I cant just focus on that. I’ve asked bf to try to help me get through this tough time but I feel like he needs more specific instructions on how to do so. I’m at a loss. Feel so helpless… Anyone go through this?

    • Maybe look for a sublet you two can be in together? Living apart would drive me nuts.

    • I don’t have many solutions about being home but have you asked around to see if people need house-sitters? Someone who is going on vacation for a month or so would be ideal. Maybe post a FB message and ask friends to ask their parents?

      My daughter just graduated colllege and is living at home until she starts her grad program and she has the same issues. I suggest a hobby that takes you out of the house – yoga, book club, outlining a novel, hiking. Train for a 5K or 10K. Or look for free things to do like outdoor concerts, movies, Shakespeare in the Park, art walks, wine tastings, garden tours.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Do any of your friends have a spare bedroom you can rent? You might feel more adult living w/ friends than living w/ parents. My husband and I have let friends in similar situations borrow our guest room for a month or so here and there.

    • Hey, no real advice but I can feel your pain. After Hurricane Katrina, I stayed with my parents for about three months and it was rough. They were very generous but set in their ways and I was about 40 at the time. I couldn’t cook because my Dad is so picky, they complained that I talked to my friends on the phone too much (seriously? we were spread all over creation, evacuated everywhere), I had cats and they don’t like animals, etc. etc. I took a lot of long walks on the rail trail during that time, just to clear my head and get exercise. And I made sure to get out of the house on days I wasn’t working, just so we could give each other space. Even then, I had a total meltdown returning there after a weekend back home. Good luck and I hope it gets sorted out soon.

    • It sounds like you’re already doing the best thing, spending a lot of time with bf. But maybe that place could be improved a bit to make you feel more at home? Do you have spots of your own for storage there? Do you have what you need to do what you enjoy most, whether it’s your own music collection, your favorite bath products, a small knitting library :-)?

      Otherwise I’d second the advice to look for some house/petsitting gig. Would save you money too, but would get you out of the feeling that you’re sliding back into childhood. On the other hand, you may consider this an opportunity to establish a better, more adult relationship with your parents. Trust me, it’ll come in very handy when you’re all older and you need to become the one who pitches in with help.

  42. May's tech dilemma :

    I bought a netbook to save myself the hassle of lugging my laptop around, but have since been gifted an iPhone 4S. It’s great and let’s me connect whenever I need.

    I love reading, but don’t yet own anything to read books on the go with. No kindle / iPad / tablet. My husband says this would likely end up under utilised since I don’t even use the net book as it is, and appear to underutilize my library membership.

    Thoughts? Friends swear by the iPad, and I could shell out for it, but the iPhone is just so super convenient I doubt I’ll use the new gadget for anything more than reading on.

    Your thoughts would be much appreciated!

    • It might end up underutilized. Oh well. I bought a nook simple touch, which is just an e-book reader. I really used it a lot for the first 3 months. Then my job got busier, and I couldn’t find books I really wanted to read, etc. But, it was only $80 or so. I did use the library because it was more convenient with an e-reader. (I could place holds at home, and get books at home without driving to the location.) I also scored some super cheap or free books from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I’d say even if I never pick it up again it was worth it. I spent more than 20 hours using it. And, I probably will use it again. And I feel like it will last a while. Sure, there will be faster, larger storage devices. But I think epub as a format will stick around, so I could see still using it in 5 years.

      I also bought a Kindle fire. It’s fun. It has the bonus of magazine reading and video watching. It is wifi only, though, so it might not replace your netbook or phone for connectedness. The disadvantage is it is more lighted screen time, which I was trying to avoid with the Nook Simple Touch. It is also bigger and heavier than the nook, though smaller and lighter than an ipad.

      If you only want to read, I think an iPad is overkill size and price wise.

      • May's tech dilemma :

        Thanks, CJ.

        I’ve been practising for an exam on my iPhone and find the prolonged exposure to the backlit screen taxing. Perhaps I should just get a nook, then. Would you happen to know how getting books for each compares in terms of availability / cost? TIA!

        • Amazon, and therefore the Kindle probably has numerically more books available. However, I was able to find every book I wanted at Barnes and Noble. Prices are the same, unless one might have a sale one week, then the other the next.

          If you are willing to plug a nook in to your computer, you can get Amazon books on to your Nook with a program called Calibre. Obviously not as easy as buying with the auto download, but I didn’t mind it when necessary.

    • It doesn’t sound like you need something as high tech and expensive as an iPad. I have an iPhone and a nook. I love that I can rent books from the library on the nook (you can with the kindle as well). With the overdrive app, you can also read those same books on your iPhone.

    • I use the iphone and ipad a lot for diff reasons. In fact, I like the iPad much more than I thought and get a lot more use out of it than I thought I would. I use my iPad for: cooking (I just put saran wrap over the screen), Netflix, watching movies (I compress DVDs I own, put em in iTunes and transfer to iPad), reading, and I also really like the new app called Next Issue which is Netflix for magazines. Most of the magazines are formatted for e-readers and are quite interactive (touch picture to see before/after, change the paint color in a room, etc.). The battery life is 10 hours, so that is a great bonus, too.

    • anonynonynon :

      I have the kindle and let me tell you – if you love reading, it changes your life! The easiest thing to do is load it with all the books that are on your reading list and just keep it in your purse. When you have a minute on the subway, or just feel like reading at home, you can take it out any time and just scroll through the list to find the book you were planning on reading. It’s very light too, so it’s no big deal to carry it around in your purse. I agree that the iPad is overkill if you’re not a gadgety person. I am, so I have both a kindle, an iPad, and a smart phone and find that I get good use out of all three.

    • Thank you to everyone who advised me on this. Much appreciated!

    • I love my Kindle and read on it all the time. In fact, I probably spend *too* much time reading now that it’s so easy to just get new books. Like you, I considered buying some sort of tablet, but since I have a smartphone I didn’t really need another device for internet/email access, and I prefer the feeling of reading on the e-ink Kindle screen.

      • Totally agree. I initially got my Kindle touch so I could read on the treadmill, but I have ended up reading a lot more since I got it. I used to always have a book in my hand but had gotten away from it until recently. I get engrossed in a book on the treadmill then can’t stop reading. I am spending a lot more on reading, but they’re inexpensive book. Definitely get a case, though. Mine is like a book. Great for traveling.

    • I love, love, love my iPad. That said, I got a Kindle about a year or so before I got the iPad and I adored it, too. The Kindle was truly an awesome e-reader and the only reason the Kindle is rarely used now is that it is inconvenient to carry two devices, and the iPad is definitely coming with me. I tend to think that anyone who gets their hands on an iPad will quickly become addicted, but I’m biased.

    • I have an iPhone, iPad and a Kindle. I originally used my iPhone for reading books, and it was really convenient when I was out and about, but I really prefer the Kindle for reading now that I have it – it’s much easier on my eyes for long term reading, and then I’m not running the battery down on my phone when I want to read a book for a long time while I’m at home. If you do use your iPhone to read, I would suggest seeing if you can change the color settings – I found reading a lighter color text on a dark background (light blue on dark grey is my preference) was easier on my eyes.

      I mostly use my iPad to watch videos and a few other things, but don’t like reading on it for a long time either. I really got it for when I travel for work – I can take my work laptop, which I can’t put anything personal on, and also have the iPad which is much less bulky and lets me have video, magazines, games and Skype. I did get it as wifi only, since I already had the iPhone.

      I will say, if you get a Kindle, keep it in a cover – I used to take mine (kindle keyboard) out when I was reading it at home, and then one day it fell off my couch onto the hardwood floor and the screen was broken. I didn’t hesitate to replace it right away.

      If you are in the US and have Amazon Prime, I think you can borrow books fairly cheaply, or maybe for free, on your Kindle. I suppose the one advantage of the iPhone/iPad over a dedicated ereader is that you can have multiple apps to access books from different stores – so you could shop around.

      Sorry, that was longer than I meant it to be. Hope it helps!

  43. Calling Kate! Both of my friends said they emailed you about your wedding photos and haven’t heard back. I told them you might not have checked the anonymous email address. Anyway, just wanted to let you know.

  44. momentsofabsurdity :

    Argh. I am *covered* in bug bites, even though I doused myself in enough Off at last night’s bonfire to probably get cancer in 40 years. Grr. I’ve tried calamine lotion but they’re still itchy. Anyone have other suggestions?

    • anonynonynon :

      I swear by this little balm that is marketed for Chinese people called “Gwei Hua”. It has menthol, petrolatum, osmanthus fragrans, flower oil, paraffin, eucalyptus globulous leaf oil, pepermint oil, camphor, & clove leaf oil. I use it whenever I get a bug bite and it significantly reduces the itching. I was in the tropics recently, forgot bug spray, and dabbed a bit on – no itching afterwards. Not sure where you can find it (if you have a large Asian supermarket, maybe?) but I’ll post the link in the next post.

    • After Bite. It is sold in the grocery store in the same aisle as insect repellant. In a little white tube. It’s good for mosquitoes, bee stings, what ails you.

    • Second vote for after bite, which is ammonia I think.

      Also- take an antihistimine. Your itches are a histamine reaction, so some Zirtec/Claratin/ Benadryl might help a lot.

    • I don’t know but I’m right there with ya. I have so many mosquito bites that I refuse to go outside at night except to the car and back, and I’ve been wearing pants no matter how hot it is. And this just when I’m finally getting rid of the itchy red rash I got from some new sunblock! Oh summer.

  45. NYT has an interesting article on the challenge of making friends as an adult.


    I recently “broke up” with my closest girlfriend (or rather, she broke up with me), and I’ve noticed that my other close friends have been off doing their own things a lot and I don’t spend as much time as I would like with them. So I found this article pretty damn depressing. I always thought that in DC it was easy to make friends because there are so many other single people in their 30s, but in reality it’s not easy to make close ones and there’s no making up for the loss of a close friend.

    Going to go lie in bed with a cat now. Maybe two cats.

    • As an adult, I’ve noticed that making female friends is like dating women. Yes its not romantic, but you have to be willing to put the same amount of work in. Its definitely not as easy, and different friendships will go through phases.

      Sorry Bluejay. Things will look up. Maybe join a new club or group and make some new friends, like a summer sports club?

      • Yeah, it sucks. And I kind of feel like wallowing rather than going out to do things. I miss my (ex) best friend, and she never even gave me an explanation of why she dropped me like a hot potato, beyond that now that she’s dating someone she’s been super busy. So maybe she was never really such a good friend to begin with.

        I actually have a lot of friends, just not really super close ones. I could definitely call someone up and do something if I could motivate myself. But once the other close ones I haven’t seen recently come back from their vacations and whatnot, and another one finishes her wedding, I think I’ll see a lot more of them (including the soon-to-be-married one – they’ve been living together for ages and don’t want kids, so she doesn’t expect much to change in terms of her lifestyle).

        • I still feel pangs of pain when I think of close childhood friends who “broke up” with me, also without any explanation. The hard thing with friendships is that they tend to fade, without the kind of closure that often (but not always) comes with the termination of romantic relationships.

          One thing that is true for both friendships and relationships is that they don’t work when the interest is one-sided. So the only thing you can do is lick your wounds, treat yourself to something nice / fun, and maybe reach out to some good friends who are away about specific plans for when they’re back. Hugs!

        • I had a close friend break up with me a few years ago. She never told me directly, but I just figured it out over time. I think the reason was basically just that I got on her nerves. Obviously that didn’t feel good. She ended up “coming back” to me, and we did talk through it and move on. We’re friends now, though not as close (at least, yet).

          I’m not saying this is any forecast, and it may not even be what you want after how she’s acted. Just an anecdote…these things are complicated.

          • I’m glad you patched things up with your friend, but… So after having not seen my friend (who lives literally 2 blocks from me) for 2 months and having her bail on multiple plans, I sent her a terse but not mean email saying, in so many words, that I was p!ssed. And she apologized profusely! And made plans with me for the following week! And then guess what – she didn’t show up for said plans. Even worse, the plans involved attending a small gathering in honor of a visiting friend, and I had already told him she was attending, and so his feelings were hurt by it too. I’m done with her.

          • ps – if anyone thinks I’m being unreasonable, please let me know. I’m at a loss here. I tried to call her a couple of times about a month ago, but she doesn’t pick up or call back. In her email where she made plans with me, she gave no indication that anything was wrong.

          • Seattleite :

            I’d be angry too…but it might be worth making sure that she isn’t going through a crisis of some kind. If she’s blaming ‘busy because of new guy’ are you sure he isn’t controlling and isolating her? OTOH, if this is her general MO, write her off with my blessing.

            FWIW – I noticed that my 20s and early 30s were sort of a refiner’s fire of friendships. As we came into our own as women, it became clear, often sadly, whether we were lifelong friends or propinquity/seasonal friends. Weeding (and being weeded) was painful. But it opened up room for other, better, friends. I have several friends of 10+ years who are closer to me than my own sisters. I’d met only one of them before I was 32. Hang in there.

    • Bluejay, if this breakup is related to a new bf, you may want to check whether you should be worried for your friend, like is she breaking up with everyone else too? Isolating you from your friends and family is a major tactic of abusers..

      • That’s a good thought, but it’s not the case here. I’m certain about that.

        • Well then unless some other crisis is going on, you’re definitely being reasonable and it sounds like she’s either dumping several friends, for whatever reason, or being one of those people who bails on everything when they’re in a relationship (fooey). I’m sorry. Time may illuminate what has happened, but for now it sounds like you focus on other friendships and admit that this one isn’t what you thought.

  46. Question for the hive – I have a family member currently going through a sudden separation. I was wondering if anyone’s ever gone through a separation and gone back to being happy married or do separation usually just lead to divorce? Also, any suggestions of how to help someone going through this difficult time would be very much appreciated. TIA.

    • Steelers Fan :

      My parents were separated more than once for months or years at a time. They have been happily married for 10 years since the last separation. I think it is not the norm though. They had to change a lot in terms of how they related to each other (especially my dad). My mother’s wise words are that you cannot change someone else, a person is only able to change him or herself. Basically, I think separations usually lead to divorce but they don’t have to. When my parents got back together after a brief separation, they had not changed what they needed to change, so the marriage continued on very unhappily. Then they separated again and very nearly got divorced. When they got back together the last time, they each did not work for almost a year in order to focus on rebuilding their relationship. I think with my parents, they have very strong personal beliefs about the commitment that marriage is, and it prevented them from getting a divorce as quickly as possible.

      In terms of supporting someone while separated, be willing to listen. I think during separations, people may not know whether to go ahead with a divorce or to wait. It took my parents years of separation, but they then worked it out. So there may not be a reason to jump the gun. BUT I would say that it is helpful to identify things that need to be changed and how likely each person is to be able to change. It’s especially difficult since this is family. Are there kids involved? They especially may need someone to listen to them depending on how old they are.

      • I agree that if both spouses are committed to the idea that marriage is a lifelong commitment and are both willing to be introspective and change themselves to make the marriage work, the marriage will survive the separation. I have a family member who separated from an addicted spouse, and that was the impetus the spouse needed to get help. They attended counseling together, and reunited after about a year. I also agree with cbackson that it’s crucial that the spouses’ family support the couple’s decision not to divorce yet.

    • I have not done it, but my ex-h’s brother and his wife were separated for nine months, got back together and remain happily married.

      The biggest thing: as the family, you must be supportive of the couple’s decision not to divorce yet. If they are trying to save their marriage, they need to feel like everyone around them is trying to help them work toward that goal. My ex-MIL was pretty awful, and I knew she was unhappy with my BIL’s wife (who’d had an affair), but during those nine months, she never said a single negative word about her. It’s vital for family members to make sure that their feelings about the situation don’t become the struggling couple’s problem.

      Another thing: if the couple has children, the family’s help in keeping things are stable as possible for those kids is critical. And family members can play a key role in helping the couple have time to work through things – taking kids for the weekend so the couple can spend a weekend together, for example.

      From what I can tell (or could tell; I don’t see them post-divorce), they were a stronger, happier couple after the affair and separation than they were before.

      • Blonde Lawyer :


        Just in case you are not a regular commenter, in Cbackson’s last line, I think she is referring to her own divorce. The couple she discusses, I believe, stayed together.

    • Speaking personaly, while I was never MARRIED to Alan, but I did seperate from him a few times b/c it was to dificult to stay away, but finaly, I decided that it was WAY to emotional to stay with him AND the bottle, so I told him it was ME or the bottle.

      I think he choose the bottle b/c he is STILL drinkeing. FOOEY on men who perfer drinkeing to a MARRIED life with women. FOOEY!

    • Seattleite :

      My own separation led to divorce. But the family members who were most helpful to me had no agenda WRT to saving/ending the marriage – and there were compelling arguments for each. What I needed most was “I love you and I want you to be happy, regardless of what road you walk to get there.”

    • Anon for this :

      My parents separated a few months after my dad started a relationship with someone else. After about 1.5 years, they got back together. While their relationship isn’t one I or my siblings would want to emulate, I think they are reasonably happy together.

      My sister’s separation, shortly after the birth of her first child, led to a final split, about a year later (although my sister kept up her hopes for much longer). She and her partner were trying to work things out for about a year but I was never sure his heart was really in it and with the exception of my sister, nobody in my family was particularly surprised about the outcome.

      I think intention is key. If both parties really want to continue and perceive the separation as a necessary but hopefully temporary step, there is a real chance that things will work out, although the opposite outcome is of course completely realistic. If one party appears to be very committed to the relationship while the other is just going through the motions, I’d be very pessimistic. Couple’s therapy can be damaging to the individual and all the more so in case of asymmetry. In this situation, I would advise the person who is most invested to take a hard look at the relationship and maybe even take individual therapy. If both parties take an evaluative attitude to the relationship, a break-up may happen faster (because the less committed party may just drop out once the other isn’t advocating as much for the relationship), but it will also make the process a more equal one in which each party may stand to lose something.

      • Steelers Fan :

        Agree with this. My parents went to counseling separately. Definitely both must be invested for it to work.

  47. Pros/cons/opinions, please, for casual flat-heeled shoes on weekends. Toms, or Converse sneakers?

    • I like Tom’s and find them comfortable. They have decent arch support (I can’t wear shoes with no arch support because I have high arches and lack of arch support causes my feet to ache after a short time). Can’t compare Converse because I haven’t tried them, but I think the Tom’s are more versatile style-wise.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I’d get a pair of Topsiders – I rarely wear my Toms since I think they make my feet look boatlike, I like my Converse but feel silly wearing them with skirts and dresses. Boat shoes/topsiders hit that happy medium for me. I have basic tan ones, but lately have been lusting after these:


    • I have Lands End Gatas flats, which look a lot like Toms but I find them to be approximately 8 million times more comfortable due to the memory foam insole. I think they look much nicer with dresses than Converse do.

    • I have a pair of both Toms and Converse, and I think both look ridiculous with shorts/skirts. I would suggest a regular flat or sandal if you are going to wear shorts/skirt. If you’re wearing pants, go with Converse. I’ve worn my Toms maybe 3 times because I think they make my feet look really weird. Every time I pull them out of my closet I really regret that purchase.

  48. gross foot question :

    I have a gross foot question that I don’t want to ask my IRL friends. I have never had a professional pedicure because I’m self-conscious of my toenails. I also avoid peep toes and sandals in the summer. My big toenails are quite bumpy on top. They are not yellowed, but are kind of thick at the top edges and sides. My nails have been like this since about late highschool/early college. It started with just one but the other followed after a few years. Now some of the smaller nails are bumpy too but not thickened as far as I can tell. Has anyone had this? Does it sound like a toenail fungus of some kind? Any idea how it is treated and what type of professional I should see (podiatrist?)? I need to get this taken care of (if possible) – don’t know why I waited so long to check into doing something about it.

    • Doctor's Daughter :

      See a dermatologist ASAP. It could be a sign of something serious. An MD will be able to accurately diagnose and treat.

    • anonBrooklyn-ite :

      I would recommend seeing a Podiatrist ASAP. I went to a dermatologist because one of my feet looked 100 years old on the bottom while the other looked totally normal — derm said it was no big deal. I went to a podiatrist a year or so later to get custom orthotics (at 22 years old — thanks, 10 years of ballet) and he immediately told me I had a foot fungus. Awesome. So, nothing against dermatologists, but I would recommend a podiatrist. I put a cream on my foot every night before going to sleep for like 6 months, and now I have beautiful (normal) feet.

      • anonBrooklyn-ite :

        PS: my podiatrist was super cool about it. I was really uncomfortable and grossed out by my foot problems, and he was very chill. If you’re in NYC, let me know and I’ll share his contact info!!

    • I went to a podaiatrist for my embarassing life long ingrown toenails, so podiatrists definitely can handle toenails. It could be a super easy happy fix. For me, he said, cut them short ignore all other advice. So now, I cut my toenails before going to the pedicure, and just have them do everything else.

    • It certainly sounds like a fungal infection. Better get it checked out by a dermatologist.
      The downside is that they take a minimum of six months to clear up, though!

    • Another vote for quick medical attention. Those toenail fungal infections can be a really long haul to get rid of..

  49. Can’t hurt to ask….

    Would anyone ninja-shop me a wedding dress? On a tight budget and feel like I’m banging my head against the wall. Looking for a $500/less dress, knee-length or full-length, with straps/ sleeves and decent b00b converage. I’m considering the J Crew Sophia and Ann Taylor Silk Georgette V-Neck Gown. Both of those are a touch boring but would probably do the job. Any other recommendations? Thanks so much in advance.

    • I had similar specs and decided to buy this one:


      My wedding hasn’t happened yet but I was very happy when it showed up. Great sale price if one of these sizes is you! (I paid full price a month ago because I needed the 2.) I found it to run pretty true to size, which is also what I was told on the phone. I’m usually a 0 and need to get it taken in, but the fit is flattering and it seems durable. I wanted something I could wear again, regularly.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I like this one a lot

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think this one is pretty too


    • I’m going to wear the all saints heather maxi for my wedding next year. Bought on eBay so worth a look

    • There are some nice ones in the sale section at neimanmarcus dot com in the $200s

    • Yay for bar procrastination!!! :)

      http://www.ideeli.com/events/100862/offers/5147354/latest_view/2667670 (hurry, it’s a sample sale!)




    • What size are you? If you happen to be plus-sized, Kiyonna and Igigi have some gorgeous dresses starting around a size 12.

      • Oh, also, check out the website Preowned Wedding Dresses – lots of good stuff there if you don’t mind buying something that’s already been worn once.

        (I’ve been a bridesmaid too many times.)

      • OK, last comment. I love this dress so much I’ve been thinking of buying it in the Navy color even though I don’t have a specific occasion for it. I think in white it would be a lovely non-traditional wedding gown.

        • Ooh, or this one.


        • Gorgeous! As is pretty much everything by Tadashi Shoji.

  50. Seeking Financial Planner Advice :

    For those of you who use a financial planner, how did you find him/her? I would love to find someone that DH and I could meet with yearly for a financial checkup, help us figure out how to meet goals, etc. From what I understand, fee-based financial planners will often offer less biased advice than financial planners who work for a financial services firm. Also, how much should I expect to pay for the services of a fee-based planner per hour? (We’re in a smallish midwestern city, if that matters). Thanks in advance.

    • Do you have a stockbroker? I’d ask them for recommendations.

    • Vintage Lawyer :

      Take a look at the National Association of Personal Financial Planners’ website at napfa dot org. This is an organization of fee-only financial planners who don’t try to sell you products on which they’ll be paid a commission.

    • I’ve worked with Edward Jones agents for years, in several different states, and have never felt like they were trying to sell me anything.

      Check the phone book, and pick a woman.

      If, after meeting her, you’re not on the same page, pick another.

      • I respectfully disagree with this. EJ agents exist to sell EJ products. Sure, there may be agents who are less aggressive about this than others. But an inherent conflict of interest exists, as you already pointed out: “fee-based financial planners will often offer less biased advice than financial planners who work for a financial services firm.”

        I second Vintage Lawyer’s thoughts re National Association of Personal Financial Planners.

  51. So in case my recent breakup/doom to be Alone Forever coupled with being dumped by my supposed best friend wasn’t enough, today I came home to discover that I’ve somehow gotten signed up for a junk-mail subscription to… wait for it… Brides magazine.

    Thanks, Universe. No really. Thanks.

    • Steelers Fan :

      Yikes. Reminds me of the time my friend signed me up for Christian Mingle as a joke…

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      My friend is going through a similarly rough time. I sent her your comment for commiseration.

    • I feel your pain. We are going through a fertility struggle and somehow through the magic of marketing (I’m guessing based on purchasing pg tests and prenatal vitamins on our credit card?) started to receive catalogs for baby things and samples of Parenting magazine.

      • Yep, the magic of marketing indeed! Target will know if you’re pregnant before you know!


      • My roommate has been attending several baby showers and started getting parenting magazines in the mail. I’m assuming it is because she constantly shops at places like Babies ‘R Us. She is in her late 30’s, divorced, and wants kids someday.

      • I somehow got put on a marketing list for people who are pregnant, but on my parents’ address, not my own. I probably haven’t used that address in 6 years? Who knows. But I get formula samples, parenting mag offers, coupons for diapers etc. And they sent me something around the time of my phantom child’s first birthday too! So strange. I don’t have a common name, don’t often shop at kids stores, and have never been pregnant. My older sister has three kids and doesn’t get that kind of stuff. I always figured maybe they somehow mixed us up.

        • Check out CatalogChoice dot org – you can use their free service to remove yourself from mailing lists.

        • It could also be based on your Internet browsing habits, or Facebook friends’ interests. Companies can link your personal info to all kinds of stuff.

    • Sigh. There is unfortunately something to the old “when it rains, it pours”..
      Which would you rather have, a hot bath or a cold ice cream? Do it :-).

  52. Blonde Lawyer :

    PSA: I’m not sure if Marshall’s has the same merchandise in all of its stores but my local one has lots of very nice Calvin Klein sheath dresses, mostly size 4, mostly work appropriate for under $40 right now.

    • anonBrooklyn-ite :

      Thank you thank you!! I will check that out today! If you happen to remember/know — are they long(ish)? I’m 6′ tall and have a hard time finding long enough sheath dresses (mid thigh is just far too much leg for the office).

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’m 5’7″ but mostly leg. Some hit the top of my knee, some were about an inch above my knee, others were not work appropriate in my estimation as they were too short on me.

  53. Anonymous :

    Views on knee high socks with skirts for casual weekend wear? I’m 30, but my legs are definitely my best feature. Can I pull it off, or will I just look ridiculous?

    • About your age, rock this look alot in winter (mostly as I’m always oh so cold!). It does need some thought; some combos look odd, others great, but I say yay

      • I think it is doable, but what about tights? Knee high socks might give off that school girl look.

    • Sorry…it would read a little to Clueless costume party for me.

      BUT, if a Clueless costume party would be AWESOME and should totally happen. So there’s that.

    • I think it would look a bit too elementary school. This very question was asked in the new InStyle. They say that you should keep the socks simple and solid, wear them with boots and scrunch the socks down to look like part of the boots. It doesn’t sound like what you’re describing.

  54. I’ve read all of the older posts about interviews but would greatly appreciate some opinions about hair. I have hair just past my shoulders that needs a trim, and I’d like to take it to just above the shoulder. My question is, is it really best to pull my hair back for interviews? If so, I’ll wait to cut it so I have enough length to put up without a ton of pins. I don’t look great with the half-up style (I feel like I have a mullet), but can practice if that seems to be the gold standard. I look young (and am young), so I have to try a little harder to look professional without looking like I’m playing dress up, and I just feel like the low ponytail looks silly.

    I know I “can” do whatever looks neat and won’t be a hassle, but what is the best, most conservative option for big firms? Low ponytail? Bun? Half-up? Down? Thanks in advance!

    • AnonInfinity :

      It sounds like you’re most comfortable with your hair down, so you should wear it that way. Just make sure none of it is going to cover your face and that you won’t be tempted to play with it.

    • Anonymous :

      If your “youngness” reads anything like mine, hair fully up is probably the best option. I’m 23, look about 20 with my hair down but can pass for 25+ with my hair up (bun, not ponytail). Of course, if there’s any significant difference in comfort/confidence levels between the two options, that’s the most important thing! But if it’s a wash, I would err on the side of leaving your hair long enough to wear it up for interviews.

    • I think a high pony could be a problem for an interview, but I think a low pony is fine.

    • I think hair down is totally fine, so long as you don’t play with it.

  55. Acclimatising across time zones :

    A question for you wise, globe-trotting ladies out there, please.
    I’m flying west (5hour time difference) to sit an exam. I get quite stressed out and the long daylight hours in London together with the exam related anxiety and new sleeping arrangement will probably make me quite insomnic.
    I’m keen to adjust ASAP so as to be alert during a mid day written exam, two days after I get there.
    Do you have any tricks up your sleeve you’d care to share?
    May :)

    • Flying east has always gotten me worse.

      Go to bed and get up at a normal London time.

    • I do not heart jet lag :

      As soon as you get on the plane, set your watch to the arrival city’s time and start living by that time (eat at arrival city meal times, sleep at arrival city sleep time etc).

      No alcohol from a couple days before the flight until after the exam.

      Exercise (even just a neighborhood walk) every day from a couple days before the flight until after the exam.

      Clean food only (no caffeine, no greasy processed foods, no heavy meat, mostly fruits and vegetables and lean protein in their natural states) from a couple days before the flight until after the exam.

      Lots of water from a couple days before the flight until after the exam.

      When you arrive, go to your hotel, leave your bags, and go out for a walk outside. If it is daytime when your arrive in arrival city, stay outside until dinner time, have dinner at dinner time in arrival city, take a hot shower and go to bed at arrival city bed time and wake up at arrival city wakeup time. DO NOT go to sleep before arrival city bedtime (for a nap or for the night). If it is night time when you arrive in arrival city, take a quick walk outside, hot shower and get in bad and GET UP at arrival city wakeup time (no matter how tired you are) and go outside for a walk and eat breakfast and start your day.

      This usually works for me. After two days of this, you should be firmly on arrival city time and functioning clearly.

      Good luck on your exam!

      Extra credit: bring a candle you like or some other comfort item for the hotel room.

    • I find that what works best for me is not to allow myself to sleep at all during travel, go to bed around 10pm in my destination (or if my flight arrives after 10pm, go to bed immediately), take a melatonin supplement before going to bed, and set my alarm no later than 8am. Frankly, though, the second day is almost always the worst in terms of sleep. You’re going to have an uphill battle being well-rested for your exam. Definitely get some melatonin.

  56. I’m starting a new position within my company in a new division (thank god, no more monster boss). I want to get some cool office supplies as a treat. Where’s your go to sources?

    • See Jane work dot com

    • I don’t know about cool, but these are fun: http://www.yourgiftgoddess.com/item_143/Pretty-Tools-Floral-Stapler.htm
      And someone recently bought me a high-heeled pump tape dispenser. Looks like Amazon and Office Depot carry them.

  57. In the Pink for THE SKIRT :

    What’s this I read the the skirt is change and original discontinued?

    I tried to search out a referenced thread but the site search here wouldn’t find it for me.

    I see in the catalogue there’s a two tone, but later on (p.33 item 530869) it looks like the tried and true The Skirt.

    I only keep 2 credit cards so I don’t have the fab Nordies rewards. Sob. makeup counter this weekend (prepping for a black tie wedding and reading at the Mass) really tempted me, but we’ve had credit card fraud twice in our lives and put a block on any new applications…

    So, on this F when the plebs get to shop, I won’ find The Skirt?

    Do tell Nordies insiders. Please tell.

  58. ChristinaMD :

    I don’t know about The Skirt yet, but I just wanted to mention you can get a Nordstrom’s Debit card. Pulls directly from the attached bank account, but you get all the other Nordstrom Rewards/Note earning opportunities. Just wanted to let you know :)

    • Yep, my nordstrom debit card number only works at Nordstrom. I think it’s only 8 or
      9 numbers, not 16 and not linked to visa/MasterCard/discover/AmEx…etc. No fees, no nothing. Transactions take 1-2 days to post to my checking account.

    • OMG, really? OMG.

  59. Yo, Allergies PSA, how are you feeling? As for the surgery, we’re waiting to see if steroids + religious use of nasal sprays will clear enough of my sinuses out. If it doesn’t work, my doc will recommend surgery. I’ll know for sure in a month or so.

    • "Allergies" PSA :

      I am on day 10 of 24 of the Prednisone/antibiotics/Pulmicort spray regimen. As usual, while I am on steroids, my senses of smell and taste have returned. I am taking full advantage of both senses — smelling my way through the farmers market yesterday was a treat for which I am very grateful now!

      No way to tell if this regimen is clearing everything out until the CAT scan on July 30. I have steeled myself for surgery if it doesn’t. Despite my irrational fear of general anesthesia, I won’t live the rest of my life this way. So better to do the procedure before I get any older and before the sinus situation develops any complications.

      So we should know at about the same time. Keep being strong!

  60. Might be too late on Sunday for this, but any ideas for solo international travel? I would love to go on vacation somewhere but am mostly a blank state (anywhere but Central/South America). Any ideas would be much appreciated!