Coffee Break – Cynthia Doctor Satchel

Ivanka Trump Cynthia Doctor SatchelOoh: cute textured bag from Ivanka Trump. I think the quilted synthetic leather looks really lux, and a bit foreign and mysterious — I looked at the picture here and wondered, what is that? Considering the price, I knew it wasn’t ostrich or some other exotic animal — but in real life, people won’t have the price to guide them. I think it’s really fun. It’s $150 at Zappos. Ivanka Trump – Cynthia Doctor Satchel (Black) – Bags and Luggage

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Comments

  1. Samuel L. Jackson’s twitter feed w/ Olympics commentary is priceless. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s very passionate.

  2. Unhappily Married :

    That’s a very cute bag but it kills me to spend $150 for fake leather!

    And since I apparently killed the last thread with my long post and it took a lot to get the courage to put it out there and I really would like some feedback, I am re-posting my threadjack here. Would appreciate any input, especially from the “hang in there” crowd.

    I have been with my husband for 16 years, married for 13. If I met him now there is no way I would have dated him more than once or twice. I was a very different person then and being with him felt familiar and comfortable in ways I now know were and are unhealthy.

    I have been in therapy for years and have improved my self-image quite a bit, but I have realized that my husband is not capable of changing to be the kind of partner I long for. I have been on the brink of divorce (lawyered up) twice, and both times he has talked me into staying with promises of change, and both times the change has been short-lived. I feel like we are now well into “fool me twice, shame on me” territory.

    The “stay” list goes like this:

    1. He loves me as much as he can and he would be devastated if I left.
    2. I’d take a significant financial hit including possible spousal support obligation.
    3. No guarantee I’d be happier.
    4. The thought of going through the process makes me quail.
    5. I may well end up a lonely old woman.
    6. When we are getting along, we have a good time.

    The “go” list goes like this:

    1. I am freakin’ miserable way too much of the time and I hate to live my life this way.
    2 Bottom line is he’s got no empathy or compassion for me and he doesn’t really have my back. He will always put his wishes and desires and feelings ahead of mine.

    Any thoughts? Any hints on how to enjoy the good parts without letting the bad parts ruin it? Anybody come back from being super unhappy in your marriage and ended up happy?

    • Reposting my comment from the earlier post:

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Honestly, I think your go list is as long as it needs to be. If those two things are true, then you’re better off separating. I’ve been married for 7+ years now, and I think the entire basis of our marriage might boil down to: we have each other’s backs and we put each other’s wishes and desires ahead of our own. If your husband refuses to do that, and refuses to permanently change, life is way too short to be miserable and unhappy.

      • Honey Pillows :

        “We have each other’s backs and we put each other’s wishes and desires ahead of our own.”

        I think that’s a fantastic litmus test for a relationship, JJ.

        • Always a NYer :

          +1

          • Thanks! It’s not absolute, certainly. (Guess who has two thumbs and ate the last piece of red velvet cake the other night without checking with her husband?). But, when something really important/happy/devastating/game-changing is occurring, being confident in your spouse is priceless.

      • anon-oh-no :

        I would put a “sometimes” or “when its necessary” or something like that after “we put each other’s wishes and desires ahead of our own”

        If you are always putting your spouses wishes and desires ahead of your own, that doesnt work either and can create resentment. But having each others back most of the time, or when it counts, is very important, and having the ability to put your spouses wishes and desires ahead of your own is also important. at least in my opinion

    • You can’t *guarantee* that you’ll be happier. But could you be more miserable? It sounds like no. Have you been to therapy or anything? But honestly, if he has shown no empathy or compassion in 16 years — its not clear to me that that is likely to change.

      Imagine if your daughter or sister or friend told you this plus and minus list. What would you say?

    • Rose in Bloom :

      I don’t have any advice, but just wanted to say I’m sorry you are going through this. Hugs and I hope you are able to find yourself in a happier situation soon, whatever route you choose.

    • anon for this :

      I posted something a few weeks ago on this…I haven’t been married as long as you have (together about 7 years, married 4), but have been struggling with a similar question. Several commenters recommended “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay,” which was a good tool.

      I haven’t made the actual step of leaving yet but have made the decision. It really sucks – my husband is not a bad person and there are no clear-cut dealbreakers like violence, addiction or infidelity, but he pushed me away for so long that I am just not attracted to him any more, and I cannot count on him as a real partner in life. The comment that got through to me was something along the lines of someone realizing that being married didn’t make her life better…so by leaving, you’re really just breaking even. Couple this with my repeated thought process recently that I could be OK with continuing my marriage if I could only find someone else to have s x with, and there you have it. (Note: not endorsing the idea of having an affair in an attempt to stay married and not hurt your partner’s feelings. Just pointing out how absurd things are starting to get for me.)

      Take all this with a grain of salt, because as I said I haven’t actually left yet. The thought of growing old alone has certainly occurred to me and it’s a little unsettling, but I’m also not going to receive a medal in my 80s for staying in an unsatisfying-at-best marriage for my entire life.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      OP – I replied on the prior thread. I just have one more question for you: why do you want to hang in there? I think your choice of words is significant: you’re trying to hang on to the past or wait for some undetermined thing to happen (like for him to change) instead of growing or moving forward together. What about your marriage makes you excited for the future? What about your husband makes you excited to see him when you get home? How do you see your lives progressing and moving forward?

      If you’re trying to hang on to something that was once upon a time a good thing, I think you should think about how you want your future to look instead. You say you’ve done a tremendous amount of personal growth recently. Do you see him growing and changing with you as you continue move forward, or do you see him holding you back?

    • First, sorry you’re going through this. It sucks. I was married for 9 years and have been divorced for 6. I was miserable but probably wouldn’t have initiated a divorce if he hadn’t. That said, I am so much happier.

      So as for your 3-5:

      3. As TCFKAG says, you’re miserable. No guarantee you’ll be happier, but I’m guessing that if you get out from under this, the relief will be incredible.
      4. This was easier for me because he initiated it and probably the reason why I have such a hard time with breaking up. That said, tear off the Band-Aid. It will be worth it.
      5. You won’t. Once you can blossom into a non-miserable person you will be free to develop a life as *you* want it. What I discovered is that I really enjoy being independent, making decisions for myself, deciding how to spend my own money, digging into projects, only having myself to clean up after, deciding when and what I want to eat and do, etc. etc.

      Go to therapy. I did it partly because I was blindsided and devastated, but also because I wanted to make sure I was emotionally healthier coming out the other end and that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.

      Hang in there! And let us know how it goes.

    • K...in transition :

      I don’t have the whole story (obviously) so this comes as much from a friend as it does from a friend who happens to be a therapist, but here’s how I see it:

      1. He loves me as much as he can and he would be devastated if I left.
      JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE LOVES YOU AS MUCH AS S/HE CAN DOESN’T MEAN IT’S THE TYPE OR AMOUNT OF LOVE YOU NEED… AND THAT’S OK.
      2. I’d take a significant financial hit including possible spousal support obligation.

      3. No guarantee I’d be happier.
      THE ONLY THING THAT SEEMS GUARANTEED (BASED ON THE RECENT PAST) IS THAT STAYING GUARANTEES YOU WON’T BE HAPPIER.
      4. The thought of going through the process makes me quail.
      REMAINING HERE INDEFINITELY LIKELY WOULD LAST MUCH LONGER THAN THE PROCESS.
      5. I may well end up a lonely old woman.
      YOU SOUND PRETTY LONELY NOW… AND WOMEN DON’T GET “OLD,” THEY BECOME VINTAGE AND CLASSIC!
      6. When we are getting along, we have a good time.
      THE SAME COULD BE TRUE OF THE PAPERBOY, NO?

      Is the money you may lose and the temporary discomfort you may feel worth the risk of having better and being happier? Or are you happier in a familiar state of discomfort? It’s up to you, of course, but it sounds like that’s the only decision left to make. lovelovelove whatever you decide!

      • Good point K. There is no guarantee that you’d be happier if you left but you know that you certainly won’t get happier if you stay.

    • SpaceMountain :

      Any children? And I see you are in therapy, but what about couples counseling?

      • Yes, I was going to ask this as well- have you tried couples counseling? If not, is he willing to try it? Since you are really wavering, I think it will be helpful to know you tried absolutely everything to make it work before you decided to go. Relatedly, is he in individual therapy or willing to go?

        What is it that you long for in a partner that your husband can never offer?

        • Unhappily Married :

          We tried couples counseling some years ago and it was a disaster. He ranted about my shortcomings while I wept and the therapist basically did nothing. He is in individual therapy now (a condition of my de-lawyering last time) and there have been some improvements but it’s kind of too little, too late. No children together and mine from first marriage (argh!) are grown and gone and no love lost between them and the spouse.

          I have told him I want to go to couples counseling and he has agreed but it will need to wait until he finishes a big work project. Whatever. I will be patient becuase yes, I do want to feel like I tried everything.

          And the thing I long for is somebody who truly cares about me and my needs and my feelings and is occasionally willing to take one for the team rather than having to have his way all the time. It’s just all about him and his needs and his feelings and he has no concept that there even IS a team. My therapist thinks he has some kind of narcissistic and/or antisocial personality disorder.

          Gah. When I type it out it sounds pretty bleak.

          • LadyEnginerd :

            I’d argue that it sounds bleak on paper because it is. If I hadn’t journaled and said out loud to my mother all of my doubts about my emotionally abusive ex, I wouldn’t have been able to leave. It’s hard to see your thoughts clearly when they’re in your head and not staring you in the face on paper. As it was, I had to set myself a deadline and take over a month to go ahead and set myself free.

            If your marriage is too low of a priority for him such that he’s too busy to go to couples therapy, then I think you already have your answer as to how therapy will play out (again). I think it’s time for you to quietly put your financial affairs in order, lawyer up, and get a clear vision of what your future would be like without him. Then you can attend couples therapy to clarify what your future would be like with him and make a clear-headed choice as to which you will choose for yourself.

          • I replied in the previous thread, but I’ll recap briefly:

            Leave. Lawyer up and leave now. He sounds like he really sucks as a human being. He either is too narcissistic to want to change (hence his 2 failed attempts to change, despite promising to) or he’s a liar who just wants to keep his cushy status quo.

            Your therapist also sounds worthless. A good one will call someone on their BS and have sound boundaries, and will tell someone, “no, X is legitimately her fault, but Y is your fault, you have to accept responsibility for Y, etc.”

          • It does sound bleak. Seems like one of those things where typing it out/saying it out loud helps you get perspective.

            You can always file for legal separation and continue to try the couples counseling. A separation isn’t a divorce, but it is a clear sign that you are moving that direction if he doesn’t make any changes.

          • i'm like this too :

            As close to “hang in there” as anyone seems to be on this thread:

            Are you sure that the improvements that you expect from your husband are reasonable and achievable. If he is in therapy and making forward progress, maybe you could have a special therapy session with him and his therapist and talk about what reasonable attainable goals are in this type of situation. It does seem like he is doing what you want – ie, therapy and positive improvement, but is not enough for you.

            I don’t think that his failure to rush into couples therapy is a big, negative flag as you seem to interpret it. Is he legitimately busy at work? Do you trust him to be invested in the therapy if he went today with these deadlines at work looming? You have been married for 13 years – can you give him a few months before you make a decision?

            Also, given that you have been married before, maybe you could think about what factors made leaving the first marriage the right decision for you and how this situation compares.

            Honestly, it sounds to me that you have already decided to leave and are just looking for validation. You do not talk about your spouse or relationship with respect and do not seem to be approaching the situation looking for legitimate solutions. IT just doesn’t seem that your heart is in staying.

          • Seattleite :

            I’m sorry.

            Your H sounds a lot like my XH. My therapist (who was also his individual therapist and our couples therapist) taught me to always replace “I hope,” “I want,” and “I long for” in my thinking with “I am engaging in wishful thinking that…”

            Because it is, and you are.

          • Good luck with marriage counseling with someone who might have ” some kind of narcissistic and/or antisocial personality disorder”. Spent years doing that with my ex (it was his proof he was ‘trying’) and after thousands and thousands of dollars, it finally became very useful as the place I was able to say, “I’m done, we’re getting a divorce.”

            I also answered on your other thread, but I’m wondering now if the fact that this is your second marriage is hanging you up a bit. Just from what you’ve written, you know what you should do- sorry, he just sounds like such an ass. Who the hell cares if it’s marriage #2 or 3 or 4… if you would not even date this guy now, you are wasting his time and yours. When one of my friends told us she was going to ask for a divorce, an older woman in our group said “Sometimes that is the kindest thing you can do”. Let him go, live your life, let him live his, and find out what it is you do want in a partner.

            And I also wanted to feel like I tried everything- which is why we spent so long in pointless, painful marriage counseling. But now I wonder what was behind the “I’ve tried everything” mindset. Seems like it was more for me to prove something to people- see how hard I tried?- than anything I really had my heart in. By the end of all that I found him repulsive. We both would’ve been better off if I had just been strong, tried not to prove to anything, and left as soon as I realized his best just wasn’t good enough.
            Good luck to you. Stay strong.

          • Merabella :

            Have you tried reading Stop Walking on Eggshells and other books about narcissistic and other borderline personality disorders? Maybe this would be helpful to you in sorting out what your feeling.

          • girl in the stix :

            The first, but not necessarily the only, person to truly care about you and your needs and feelings should be . . . you. Once you value yourself, you will find the strength to make the decisions necessary to be happy.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      My rant:

      Looking at your go list, how is this even a debate??? I’m feeling ranty, so please forgive me if this comes off as harsh. Other ladies here will be more kindly and sensitive, but you are selling yourself so short and valuing yourself so little (is that redundant?) that it’s blowing my mind. If this is you after improving your self image “quite a bit,” that makes me really sad, and also makes it apparent why you married this guy in the first place.

      This guy is not going to change, not now, not ever. He is getting a pretty good deal as it is, so why would he bother to change?

      Re: your stay list -
      1) who cares? if you’re unhappy, i don’t see why it matters at all that HE is happy. apparently he doesn’t care that you are unhappy.
      2) that sucks, but is it worth your sanity? you can always make more money, some way, somehow
      3) but you are guaranteed to be unhappy if you stay
      4) yes, of course it will be hard, but you know the outcome if you stay, and you have a shot of being happy if you leave
      5) the risk of that is better than being saddled to a man who makes you “freakin’ miserable” for decades? a man that has “no empathy or compassion” for you? “doesn’t really ahve your back”? “always puts his wishes ahead of you”? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? you will make friends, and may find love. what you have now is nothing at all.
      6) yeah, so? so he’s not evil 100% of the time. that doesn’t mean that he’s worth staying married to.

      It seems to me that this stranger on the internet cares more about you than your husband does. If your list above is accurate, please, please get a divorce. You are worth so much more than this.

      • Two cents :

        +1. Agree 1000%. Hang in there, OP, but it seems clear that you need to get out of this marriage.

      • Unhappily Married :

        SF Bay, this made me cry. In a not altogether bad way.

        Thanks.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          You are welcome. I offer you love and hugs and the truth: YOU ARE WORTH SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER.

          • I will second: YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THIS. NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE NOT. I really really hope you leave, sweetie. And in the meantime, I am sending many many internet {{{huggss}}}

    • My Second Marriage Is So Much Better :

      reposting my comment:

      My Second Marriage Is So Much Better July 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      I believe that if you make a thoughtful decision after careful analysis and your very best efforts many times over, but it still is not working, your best option is to leave.

      Anecdotes:

      I left my first husband when I discovered several years into our marriage that he was one year into an affair. I never looked back. The decision was very easy because I have a zero tolerance policy about fidelity. Our marriage wasn’t bad (not like what you describe), but there were issues. It took no courage to leave because of the affair. It would have taken more courage than I had to address the other issues and eventually leave. I think he did me a favor by forcing my hand.

      That was 16 years ago. In the interim:

      * I spent many years single. It was fabulous.

      * I had a one year relationship that sounded a lot like yours: high highs and low lows. After extensive therapy (individual and couples), I left. It was a very difficult decision for me to make, and the chaos that I let that decision cause in my life created problems for me professionally. Several months later, he came back. I had told him not to contact me unless and until he had worked on X, Y and Z. He had not, but I did it anyway. The resuscitated relationship lasted only a few weeks and was hideously bad. I wish I had not done it.

      * 2 1/2 years after that, I met my now fiance. We have been together 6 years this week. (I know; I call him my husband because we are all but married, pending his kids getting through college and their insane mother being out of our life.) I never knew how much a strong and healthy marriage could add to every aspect of your life. That sounds naive. I met him at 40, and I should have known that by 40, but I didn’t. When I think of all the time I spent not being with my husband, I am not sure what to think. On the one hand, I needed to go through all of that to be able to be having the relationship I am now having. On the other hand, I wish I could have had this relationship all along.

      Another way to think of it is this: you have X years left on this Earth. Do you want to spend them in a bad marriage? Or do you want to spend them happy, either because you are better off on your own, or because you find a better mate for you?

      One last (financial) way to think of this is: You are going to have to support him financially whether you are married or divorced (I assume this based on your post). Would you rather be giving him money AND be in a bad relationship and unhappy? Or would you rather be giving him money and be happy, either alone or in a good relationship.

      Reply

      My Second Marriage Is So Much Better July 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      “I believe that if you make a thoughtful decision after careful analysis and your very best efforts many times over, but it still is not working, your best option is to leave.”

      I should have added that I obviously think you have satisfied this standard. And then some.

      Read more: http://corporette.com/2012/07/31/can-older-women-have-long-hair-and-still-be-professional/#ixzz22EWkulkL

    • My Second Marriage Is So Much Better :

      And this time without the link, which threw me into moderation, and I know you are reading IRT:

      reposting my comment:

      My Second Marriage Is So Much Better July 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      I believe that if you make a thoughtful decision after careful analysis and your very best efforts many times over, but it still is not working, your best option is to leave.

      Anecdotes:

      I left my first husband when I discovered several years into our marriage that he was one year into an affair. I never looked back. The decision was very easy because I have a zero tolerance policy about fidelity. Our marriage wasn’t bad (not like what you describe), but there were issues. It took no courage to leave because of the affair. It would have taken more courage than I had to address the other issues and eventually leave. I think he did me a favor by forcing my hand.

      That was 16 years ago. In the interim:

      * I spent many years single. It was fabulous.

      * I had a one year relationship that sounded a lot like yours: high highs and low lows. After extensive therapy (individual and couples), I left. It was a very difficult decision for me to make, and the chaos that I let that decision cause in my life created problems for me professionally. Several months later, he came back. I had told him not to contact me unless and until he had worked on X, Y and Z. He had not, but I did it anyway. The resuscitated relationship lasted only a few weeks and was hideously bad. I wish I had not done it.

      * 2 1/2 years after that, I met my now fiance. We have been together 6 years this week. (I know; I call him my husband because we are all but married, pending his kids getting through college and their insane mother being out of our life.) I never knew how much a strong and healthy marriage could add to every aspect of your life. That sounds naive. I met him at 40, and I should have known that by 40, but I didn’t. When I think of all the time I spent not being with my husband, I am not sure what to think. On the one hand, I needed to go through all of that to be able to be having the relationship I am now having. On the other hand, I wish I could have had this relationship all along.

      Another way to think of it is this: you have X years left on this Earth. Do you want to spend them in a bad marriage? Or do you want to spend them happy, either because you are better off on your own, or because you find a better mate for you?

      One last (financial) way to think of this is: You are going to have to support him financially whether you are married or divorced (I assume this based on your post). Would you rather be giving him money AND be in a bad relationship and unhappy? Or would you rather be giving him money and be happy, either alone or in a good relationship.

      Reply

      My Second Marriage Is So Much Better July 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      “I believe that if you make a thoughtful decision after careful analysis and your very best efforts many times over, but it still is not working, your best option is to leave.”

      I should have added that I obviously think you have satisfied this standard. And then some.

      • Just to jump on this train… Both my SO and his oldest sibling are on their second marriages. Both never thought they would get married again. Both are in relationships with true partners who have their backs. Not everything has a fairy tale ending but if you’re miserable now, why not at least give yourself a chance for a fairytale?

    • I wasn’t truly happy until I left my marriage and my life is so much easier now (I am with a wonderful man that is a much better match for me). Nothing else to add because everyone nailed it, but I wish you much peace and happiness. This is so hard.

    • I also answered you in the other post, but since you’ve moved here, here’s what I said;

      I’m divorced and now happily remarried. The worst part is worrying about taking that final step, out of the marriage and on with the rest of your life. However, it’s not as bad as you fear. In fact, you’re probably not prepared for the immense relief you’ll feel once it’s done.

      Being in a marriage that makes you miserable is like being in prison. Even if the other person is really a very decent person (as was and is my ex), if he’s not the one for you, he does not deserve to eat up the rest of your life.

      Unless you believe in the hereafter or reincarnation, this is it. This is your life. Live it in a way that you won’t regret.

      • “The worst part is worrying about taking that final step, out of the marriage and on with the rest of your life. However, it’s not as bad as you fear. In fact, you’re probably not prepared for the immense relief you’ll feel once it’s done.” This. A million times.

    • I don’t think you’re going to get many people weighing in on the “hang in there” side. You sound like you’re waiting for him to become someone he’s not. If you said that you missed the person he used to be, or that you remembered a time when you were happy together, or that this seemed like a rough spot, or anything at all like that, then I might vote for giving it some time. But you’re saying nothing like that. You’re saying “I need X; my husband is Y. This makes me miserable. How do I stop being miserable?” You stop by leaving. You’ll be happier because you won’t be disappointed every day in the fact that your husband is still Y and not X. So even if you never find a person who’s X, you will at least be done with the disapointment. And you’ll at least have a chance of finding someone who DOES give you X.

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I can’t imagine having to make this decision, but it sounds like you are very, very unhappy and I honestly cannot think of a reason to tell you to stay.

      A marriage is many things, but above all a partnership; if he’s not your partner, what are you getting out of it?

    • I could have written your post. I am at almost the exact same place you are, but maybe a few weeks past. Have you checked out information about passive agressive syndrome and the victem spouses on the web? Does this apply to your relationship?

    • I’m surprised no one else has mentioned this, but have you considered trying a separation? One of you moves out and signs a 6-month lease, you attend weekly counseling together, you go on with your life, and at the end of the 6 months you reevaluate whether you want to divorce or get back together. It sounds like a lot of your fears about divorce have to do with being alone and having to manage things like finances and the divorce process. This would give you some time to think through whether those fears are justified, and would also give your husband some time to think about whether he’d rather change or stay the same and lose you. You should really consider it.

    • Another Voice :

      I’m late to the party, but with all the comments about reasons to break it off, I just have to speak out. As a child of divorce, it was probably one of the best things that happened to my mom and probably one of the worst that happened to us kids. Divorce has a tremendous, long lasting impact on children. So if any parents are out there reading this thread, and are in mediocre (nonabusive) relationships and considering divorce, don’t kid yourself about the impact on the kids. Maybe you deserve a better partner, maybe you could be happier alone or with someone else, but the reality is that it will probably be better for your children if you just tough it out in the marriage. Financially, emotionally, etc., children do better when they are not shuffled from house to house, parent to parent.

      I once read an article that suggested that the children should get the house in the divorce, and the parents should swap places every other weekend, etc. Sounds horrifying, no? Yet, somehow it is OK to impose on your children a situation similar to one that you would never accept for yourself.

      I know there is a flip side to my tale, and sometimes divorce is a better option (hello, physical or extreme emotional abuse), but often I think parents are just completely selfish when they choose the divorce option to move on to greener pastures. Be mature, take the high road, learn to live with this person that you once loved so much that you married and procreated, and just rise to the occasion as a parent. Try to convince your partner to do the same, and raise your children together in this 18-year commitment that you began when you brought them into the world.

      To all the childless people, yeah, I pretty much agree with many of the things people are saying on this thread.

      • I’m sorry it was so hard on you, but I must chime in with the opposite experience. My parents stayed together “for the kids.” They really shouldn’t have. There was no physical or extreme emotional abuse. They were just very unhappy, and they didn’t love each other, but they made the best of it, so while it was calm, there was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, sadness, and frustration in my house. I never had friends over. Their relationship gave me a terribly skewed view on what a normal relationship looks like and the expectation that I would never be happy, just like my parents weren’t, because happiness isn’t something you should expect or seek – it’s a luxury for lucky people. I don’t think there are any good solutions here, but I wish my parents had gotten divorced a dozen years before they finally did, after the kids were all out of the house.

        • Anne Bronte :

          My parents actually got divorced when I was a child, but got back together — in part, my mother says, for my sake. They have been miserable ever since and they are aging together in the most bitter, corrosive fashion possible. My childhood was fraught, and I couldn’t agree more with the notion of happiness as a “luxury for lucky people.”

          Nine years ago I wanted out of my marriage and I must have asked everybody on the planet (friends, Internet friends, cab drivers) for permission before I pulled the trigger. Ultimately it was the best thing for both of us. But even if you think you’re already out the door, be prepared for this to be excruciating for a while. You may not feel the full weight of it until it’s all over.

          Then again, this is just one lady’s experience!

          • Contralto and Anne Bronte,

            You put into words some of the conflicted feelings about my childhood. While I have a number of wonderful, happy memories growing up, your points about an underlying tension really resonated. At a certain age, I stopped having friends over and was always in a state of unease that yelling would break out. There’s no way of knowing if a divorce would have certainly been better or worse, but I do wonder if a more decisive attempt to address the underlying issues would have been better for all parties involved. As a kid, I often felt powerless and had immense guilt at being the reason my parents were unhappily together.

        • Another Voice :

          But the other side to the other side is . . . since your parents never got divorced, you don’t really know that it would have been better. Divorced, they may have still been unhappy, but poorer, and they may have taken their frustration out on you instead of on each other. We all wish for happy, loving parents. But if we don’t have them, divorce is not a magic anecdote and often makes things worse for the kids.

          • Another Voice :

            I meant antidote, not anecdote. Sheesh. Also, this was more a response to Contralto rather than Anne Bronte.

            Read the literature, there are many studies on this. Children are often better off in a conflicted marriage than a divorce.

      • Um, ladies, this is all very well, but the OP clearly said above that they have no children together.

        • Another Voice :

          Yup, I just posted because I’m sure there are parents reading this thread and I think that too many people make the divorce decision on what is good for themselves individually and they sweep the impact on their children under the rug or justify it with a silly excuse (“the kids will be happier if we are happier”). When you are the adult in the situation, you have to act like one.

          • Ada Doom Starkadder :

            Adults make sacrifices, sure. But let’s not confuse adult with martyr.

          • Another Voice :

            If the decision is to make yourself or your kids suffer, then yeah, I say that you have to be the adult on that one. Even if it makes you a martyr.

      • I have to whole-heartedly disagree with your post. My parents divorced when I was younger, and I think it was the best possible outcome for me. They were extremely unhappy with one another and it was obvious to all of us. My mom was going to stick it out because that is how she was raised, but she was miserable and it showed. My dad finally left, it hurt, it sucked, but in the end I think that it was an important lesson that I take with me as an adult. My husband and I are both children of divorce and we talk often about what kind of things we are willing to stay for in a marriage, and what things are deal breakers. I agree with you that divorce shouldn’t be the first option, you should try and communicate your issues out and go through counseling if necessary, but to say that parents should continue to be miserable for their kids is just as damaging as an unnecessary divorce.

        • Another Voice :

          I’m really glad that it worked out for you and your parents, but the research shows that your situation is the exception rather than the rule.

          I’m probably taking this thread too seriously, but I am continuously astounded at the selfishness of my parent’s generation and their ability to constantly put their own needs above everyone, including their children. I’m hoping the younger generation can do better, and part of that is sucking it up and making your marriage work once you have brought children into it. Options are just a lot more limited and decisions are more important when innocent lives are involved.

          • The consequences of divorce on children are bound to vastly differ from family to family. There are just too many variables and different emotional thresholds to say that “sucking it up” is the best solution for everyone once kids are in the picture.

      • Could not disagree more. As a kid, I often wished my parents would get a divorce. The constant yelling, berating and my mother’s tears and self-sacrifice to this day make me feel guilty. I wish my parents had found people they truly loved and respected early on. Many of my childhood memories still make me shudder.

        • Another Voice :

          Any parents still reading this–instead of taking all these little anecdotes as good excuses to get out of your marriage, please, please, please, please read the long-term studies on divorce and really think about the impact on your family before you pull the trigger. In some few cases, divorce is the better answer (usually very high conflict and abusive situations). But probably not in your case–most divorces are considered to have come from “low conflict” marriage during a rough patch. The long-term evidence (there are many studies out there) is that children will do better in a conflicted home environment than in a divorce. My point is that you should really try to understand what you will do to your family before you force a divorce situation on your children.

          And baylaw, did you ever consider that your mother knew that the yelling and berating might have become worse in a divorce situation, and that your parents did make the best call for your family? Hard to know now, but it is extremely unlikely that your parents could have found a happy marriage with someone else after a divorce (look at second marriage statistics), and highly likely that you would have continued to to have to deal with yelling and berating from the abusive parent (perhaps more, and more directed toward children), exacerbated by a less stable environment with less financial resources for your family to deal with the bumps and grinds of daily life. Just because something was pretty awful doesn’t mean that the alternative would have been better. (Yes, I realize that applies in situations where the parents got divorced too.)

          • Anon for this... :

            …because I don’t want to get mired in this discussion.

            However, I just have to chime in that I have read the research, and I don’t think it supports your position. First, a lot of the studies — especially the early ones that are still most often referred to — are deeply flawed. For example, in many cases the families studied were recruited by offering free psychological counseling to divorced parents and children. As a result, the self-selected samples were already biased towards children and parents with psychological issues. Even a lot of the more recent studies seek to compare children of divorce with children of “happy” intact couples. It doesn’t take a professional to see why this is an unfair comparison. Frankly, some (many?) of the studies are knowingly skewed in this way so that they can be better used by anti-divorce advocates (groups like Focus on the Family).

            Current research from unbiased sources (such as the American Psychological Association) generally agrees that marital conflict, compared with divorce or post-divorce conflict, is definitely harmful to children. The research is much less clear whether divorce itself, separated from the marital conflict that generally precedes it, is actually harmful, and if so, to what extent. Most credible sources agree that, at the very least, divorce itself is not nearly as harmful to children as we were previously lead to believe.

            More importantly, no empirical evidence proves that either staying together or getting a divorce is the right thing for every couple or every child– that’s simply not how research works. Statistics are trends, not predictions or proof.

          • Senior Attorney :

            First, hugs to the OP. I hope you find some peace whatever you decide.

            As for the “divorce is harmful” debate, I will say from working in family law court for several years that the very very worst-case scenario, bar none, is where the parents get divorced and the conflict continues and/or escalates. If you grew up in a high-conflict intact home and wish your parents had divorced, it’s very true that it could have gotten even worse had they decided to split.

            That said, I am firmly on Team Only You Know What is Best for Your Children and if your gut is telling you that getting out is best for your kids, it’s very likely that’s true.

          • My parents started having major problems when I was around 10-11. The following years were a state of constant high tension, screaming, “discussions”, us children acting out and suffering from various self destructive behaviours, not wanting to invite people home due to the unpredictable and explosive situations that did occur. Causes were mood disorders, narcissistic behaviour etc. This lasted til I was 21 when they finally divorced after another woman entered the picture. All of us children suffered by living in a toxic and horrible environment and had to pretend to the outside world that it was normal at home. The divorce was a relief. Seriously think about the level of stress and drama you will inflict on your kids if you try to make a broken marriage work.

  3. Research, Not Law :

    Styling suggestions, please!

    I adore Boden’s Casual Belted Dress (link to follow) and plan to buy it in navy or maybe pewter. However, I’m feeling uncertain of how to style it. I want it to be a work horse in my fall work wardrobe, so I need a few ideas before pulling the trigger. I can picture it with some of my vintage bracelets, but then I’m stuck. Textured/colored tights and boots are out (I’m self-conscious about my muscular legs), and a necklace or scarf doesn’t seem right. Would it look good with a knit blazer? My office is casual.

  4. How much would you spend on a scented candle? I found one that I adore but it’s $50. Is it ridiculous to buy it at that price or should I get it knowing it will last for months and make me happy every time it’s lit? Thanks.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      While I wouldn’t spend $50 on a scented candle (I’d be more apt to try and find the smell in another, cheaper candle), if you have the disposable income and it makes you happy, I don’t see what’s wrong with it.

    • I am always reluctant to spend a lot on a scented candle because there is no guarantee it will smell much when lit. If I knew it would, I would consider it if I really, really loved the smell. But more typically I draw the line at $20 or so.

      FWIW, the best smelling candle I ever found was a Renuzit Jasmine scented candle that used to retail for around $4. It made the whole room smell like real night blooming jasmine, amazing. Alas, they don’t make it anymore or anything remotely like it.

      • Totally agree that you never know. I am very sensitive to perfume and even perfume-y scented candles. I bought some fun candles at Bath & Body Works and even though they were supposed to be mint chocolate or whatever, they had this undertone smell of perfume to me, so I gave them all away. I love the berry scents by Yankee Candle, although I hate the cutesy jars so I buy the tumblers with the metal tops. Cranberry Chutney just smells like Christmas to me. I also have had good luck with Pier 1 – their biscotti scent was so awesome, people would come down from my bathroom and ask me what the scent was.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        My roommate works at this boutique jewelry store and they have the most amazing/super expensive candles. She brings them home and they smell incredible when lit and last a long time. Knowing this information makes me sad because I’m moving out in a few weeks and will now have to buy these candles myself and debate myself about whether they are worth the money.

    • It’s not ridiculous. I try not to think of these types of purchases in absolute dollar amounts.

      If you can afford it and it doesn’t blow your “fun budget” (whatever that amount is) for X time period, go for it. After all you “adore” it, so it sounds like it’d be worth it. :-)

    • I say go for it. That said, the Henri Bendel triple-wick candles are a particular weakness of mine. They are $65 but smell amazing and last forever.

    • anon-oh-no :

      someone recentlty gave me a scented candle that cost in the $50-60 range. While i would never spend that on my own, particularly since im not that fond of candles, i must say, it smells fantastic — even when not lit — and i love having it around. so if it makes you happy and you have the money, then buy it

    • Anonymous :

      If you really love it, and it makes you happy at the end of a long day, get it. I find that you get what you pay for with fragrance. Also, better candles last longer.

  5. Senior Attorney :

    Yes! Colored shoes! And a scarf in winter! And yes! Bracelets for sure!

  6. There are so many real leather bags one could get for this price point (Online Shops that sell Tuscan leather wares, Zara, Oxford Satchel Comp, Korean Ebay Stores) that I probably wouldn’t shell out 150 for a faux leather bag, because unfortunately I can almost always see when something is faux leather. And while I think that is fine for a lot of things, I prefer my work satchels to be leather.

  7. momentsofabsurdity :

    Thanks for the recommendations for a funeral appropriate, breathable dress under $50 yesterday everyone. I went to Marshall’s after work and picked up a black jersey dress which is a bit cocktail-y but with a cardigan and black skinny belt and gray pumps, should be just fine for the church and the burial.

    It was only $14.99 so I am trying to overlook the fact that it has a hi-low hem and I hate hi-low hems. Oh well. At least I won’t feel bad if I don’t wear it again.

  8. Ponte Knit :

    I would love to hear your thoughts about ponte knit.

    • My thoughts, in order of thinking: Love it. Wear it all the time, including the blazer I have on right now. Feels comfy like pjs. Especially great for travel. Not for days when you want to look especially polished.

    • Anonymous :

      I am wearing a T a r g e t ponte knit dress today, and I love love love it. GREAT for travel, seems wrinkle-proof-ish, air-dried over-night.

    • Good for casual, even business casual wear, but not for formal situations.

    • I wear ponte knit often, but they vary wildly in quality. I think in a business casual office — the thicker, more substantial ponte dresses are perfectly fine (especially when dressed up with appropriate jewelry, etc.)

      I also have a couple of ponte dresses that with appropriate styling can be dressed up for business-cocktail or semi-formal/cocktail type events. Those are my favorites.

  9. Boston Legal Eagle :

    Hey group,

    I really appreciated reading all of the advice everyone here gave about studying for the bar, and I was hoping to get some health insurance advice for this in-between period between ending school and starting work. I will be starting at my law firm in October, which is when my new health insurance program will start. Unfortunately, my law school’s insurance ends on August 22.

    My question is – should I purchase some sort of short-term health insurance for September? I have been looking at MAhealthconnector, but I am not finding anything geared toward short-term options. I am wondering if I should just go without insurance for those few weeks or if I should pick a plan of some sort. What did you all do during this transition period?

    Also, I am MA, where we get a penalty for not having insurance, if that makes a difference.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Are you eligible for COBRA through your school insurance? If so, you can purchase COBRA retroactively for 60 days, if you have a medical issue during that time. which should save you some money.

      You’re right, you may face a tax consequence for going without health insurance – I’m not well versed enough in the MA law to know, sorry! I do know that when I only had MA based healthcare for 1/2 of the year (since I had been on my parents plan the other half) I didn’t have a tax consequence for it.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        No COBRA or GradMed for us, unfortunately. We basically got a letter from the school telling us to fend for ourselves on the MAhealthconnector website!

    • The penalty for health insurance in MA for a month is actually pretty low, compared to the actual cost of Cobra. And you CAN retroactively elect Mass health if something happens.

      But….I’d still buy mass health for the month. If you’re going to have no income during that month, it won’t be THAT expensive and, well, for my own sense of security, I always always always want to have health insurance.

    • You should shop around and figure out what has decent coverage should you need an ER visit etc. Do NOT go without health insurance, your new plan could deny you if you have a pre-existing condition, because for adults that provision hasn’t kicked in yet. Something is better than nothing, so figure out what rates you can afford and go from there.

    • I was going to post something similar to this, as I also need temporary insurance until October (can’t do COBRA, whomp whomp). Someone listed a temporary health insurance comparison website somewhere, but I can’t find it or remember what it was called, and googling has not turned up the website I remember exploring. Help please?

      So for the OP, yeah, I want insurance for August (yup, I’ve been procrastinating; very uncharacteristic) and September. I will almost certainly go for the cheapest thing available, since I just want to make sure I’m covered in case of some kind of hit-by-a-bus-while-running or bad-fall-off-a-horse scenario.

      • anon in DC :

        How’s it going with your gentleman caller? Apologies if this is rude but I’m curious. I read that thread very late and didn’t get to comment. Hope all is well and you both are having fun in the lady garden ;)

        • Ah, the Gentleman Caller. Things are. Well. Late last week we had a bit of a heart-to-heart, and we have parted ways romantically, but I believe we will remain friends. It came down to the fact that he wouldn’t commit 100% since I will be leaving in September, and didn’t think he could do nine months of long distance on two months of relationship; and I wouldn’t continue throwing him lady-garden parties without the possibility that we would, as it were, go the distance. Since then, he’s been on vacation with his family, which, I suppose, has been good, as it’s enforced some actual separation (instead of the clinging hugs and puppy-dog eyes of our only face-to-face interaction since the breakup). We’re supposed to see each other when he gets back this weekend, and I can’t help hoping that he will have had some kind of epiphany in the Carolina mountains resulting in his willingness to give long-distance a shot, because I miss him and his face and his stupidly inconvenient man-bits like a m*****f****r, and still occasionally cry randomly because, really, I like him so so so much more than any other person I’ve ever been with. But it comes down to the fact that no matter how much I want to be with him, if he won’t be with me on terms I can accept, there’s nothing I can do about.

          In conclusion, sorry I can’t provide happy-skippy updates involving a calendar full of lady-garden parties. It was hurting less by the last time we banged, though! Three cheers for repeated, sustained effort.

          • My dear, I still get a chuckle out of the “lady garden” metaphor, so thanks for that little ray of sunshine.

            Sorry things have come to a parting of ways (at least romantically) with the Gentleman Caller just as the other issue became less uncomfortable. Good for you to stick to your principles– there’s something to be said for knowing what will make you unhappy and heading that off at the pass.

          • aw, sweetie! I’m sorry things aren’t working out at the moment ;o( but thank you for coining the term ‘lady-garden parties’ and yes, huzzah for repeated, sustained effort! {internet hugs}

          • Sorry to hear things did not work out. You do, however, have a way with words. As if that’s any consolation.

          • Can I have his number?

            Just kidding. I’m sorry about this. It’s probably best to be honest now and not expect him to wait for you, and 9 months will be over before you know it so perhaps you will meet him again once you return.

          • Thanks, ladies. It is what it is. I wish it were different, but it’s not, so there’s nothing left to do but JSFAMO.

            And Bluejay–I snorted. Thanks for the giggle.

      • I used ehealthinsurance and got a policy with anthem through them.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Thank you everyone. It seems like the consensus is to just pick a plan off of the healthconnector website, and list my information as “unemployed, no income” for now? This would get me a lower rate and I wouldn’t have to answer the questions about whether my employer provides coverage. As I said before, my school didn’t provide any COBRA information, which I took to mean the program wouldn’t apply. Am I wrong about this, is there a way to still be COBRA eligible without employment ending?

      Aah this is so frustrating, I feel like law schools should be prepared for this!

      • My school did not provide Cobra. I believe schools are exempt from this requirement as they are not technically employers.

        Use MassHealth. There are people who can help you figure it out I believe — but my understanding is its not too complicated.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Any chance your employer would let you on the group plan early? It doesn’t hurt to ask. A simple “dear employer, I recently learned from my school health insurance company my coverage is ending on x date with no option to purchase gap coverage before I start with you on y date. Do you offer an option for incoming attorneys in my situation?

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        PS: I really feel for you. I was married during the bar and luckily on my husband’s insurance. If he didn’t find work in our new location prior to me moving for bar prep, we would have lived in separate states until my job started so that I could remain on his employer’s plan in old state. In my opinion, that is a sad state of affairs in this country. I wasn’t eligible to get an individual plan because pre-ACA I was considered non-insurable due to Crohn’s disease, outside of a group plan.

        Luckily, husband found work that started around the time of my bar prep and we were able to move together.

      • Agree with this – my biglaw firm offered insurance to cover the gap months between when school insurance ended and our insurance coverage started.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        Thanks, I will try that as well. I’m in a long-term relationship but not married yet, so unfortunately I can’t get on my bf’s insurance. Yeah, it’s situations like this that make me question the idea of “American exceptionalism” that was brought up in the earlier thread.

        • In this situation, my BF and I became “domestic partners” (by meeting the requirements of his company) and I got benefits through them. If his company is big enough, they may provide this benefit even for unmarried peoples.

          • Boston Legal Eagle :

            Ah, interesting! I’ll have to look into this as well. He works for a smallish company that recently got bought out by a big pharma company so perhaps they’ll have this option.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            How long we’re you dating before you did this? My boyfriend suggested it recently, but it kind of freaked me out as being too fast (even though we are moving in together in a couple of weeks) and at the same time sounded awesome since I haven’t had health insurance in over a year.

          • Sorry for the late reply Sydney Bristow — we had been dating I guess about four years maybe at that point and living together for…maybe 1.5-2 years? Its a relatively administrative process at most companies involving proving co-habitations and somewhat shared finances (we had to establish a joint credit card, that sort of thing). But, it was definitely better than no health insurance for me!

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Thanks TCFKAG. I think I figured we might as well wait until we get married (if that happens) because the tiny amount of research I did said you need something like 6 months of financial interdependence. For now, we are planning to keep our finances completely separate because of the ridiculous amounts of student loans that I have. While I don’t expect to get engaged anytime soon, I don’t really think it is more than a year or two off provided that living together goes well. I don’t know, maybe I should look into it more.

    • Your alumni association probably offers an insurance policy and it’s likely to have better rates than other short-term policies.

      • Ooh, this is a great idea. I know my alma mater has an Alumni Association plan. Also, check with your state bar association. I know we get offers from time to time from ours.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        No luck there – apparently MA state law bars the school from providing insurance post-graduation. Strange law, but maybe they anticipate a lot of students going back on their parents’ insurance after graduating and before starting work? I can’t take advantage of the new health care law as I turned 26 in June.

        I’ll look into whether the MA bar association offers anything.

        • Your alumni association may be independent from the school, so this might not be an issue with MA state law. I know that my alma mater’s Alumni Association is completely independent from the university, and I get the feeling that this is pretty common.

    • I had to pay the fine once because I filled out the forms wrong. It really wasn’t that bad (like probably $20 for 3 months or something; I also only filed like 3 months of income that year).

      However, I would suck it up and get catastrophic insurance. It’s probably only a couple hundred bucks to pay the full premium and should something unforeseen happen and you end up in the ER, you’ll be happy you did. (I saw the bill for my last ER visit, for a concussion after a bike fall, and I would have been out thousands- the ambulance alone is $2K, plus any test, imaging, or meds)

      • I had catastrophic insurance for 3 months between college and teaching (when the ACA was but a twinkle in a senators eye) and it was cheap and got me through. I called it my “if I yet hit by a bus” insurance. I’m sad actually that the ACA will make this kind of plan illegal to offer. Its a good gap filler. But its worth looking in to.

  10. Can I do a total TJ for a minute? I’m having baby #2 soon (oh, how it’s crept up!), and some really kind friends want to throw a shower. Totally not expected for a second baby, but it’s sweet. So it got me thinking: What kinds of things am I going to want/need for a second child (same gender)? I feel like we already have everything we need for a baby, but maybe I’m forgetting something or don’t realize that I’ll need with 2 that I didn’t need with 1?

    (And this doesn’t have to be limited to stuff that people would get me for a shower. Just things I need to think about to prepare.)

    • aside from things you would use up (diapers/wipes, onesies, etc.), depending on how old #1 is, are there any things you would need to upgrade? A two seat stroller, or one with one of those platforms for #1 to stand on?

    • Anita (formerly S) :

      Well, obviously diapers and wipes and other disposables. I’ve heard second baby showers are often just for items like that. Is your first still in a stroller? Maybe you’ll need a new one to accommodate both children (front to back or side-by-side). You may also need another car seat.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      No kids, so no real advice of things you might have forgotten – but that everyone can always use cash/gift cards or you can tell people their presence is the present.

      But if you really feel like you don’t need anything, I think it might be nice to have the “party” of a shower (to let your friends throw it and enjoy yourselves) but maybe have people bring toys for Toys for Tots or baby supplies for a local women’s shelter or similar, in lieu of gifts for you?

    • TurtleWexler :

      When one of my friends had her second baby, we had more of a hang out together for an afternoon and eat cake kind of shower than a “gift-y” shower. We did give a few gifts because she already had a boy and her second was a girl, so some frilly outfits were in order. I also made her a diaper cake (cheesy, I know, but fun nevertheless). Another friend who is a graphic designer made a cute poster for the baby’s room. So basically, we didn’t focus on the big or basic things, which they still had from their son, but we did a few little things specifically for the new little girl. But even when #2 is the same gender, I think it’s nice to have a few things that are just for them and not hand-me-downs. I’m thinking of things that might be sentimental later on — a special blanket, personalized wall hanging, etc. Also, depending on how long it’s been since your older child was an infant, you might want to check your baby gear to see if anything has been recalled or safety warnings/updates issued, as some of that stuff seems to change pretty frequently. But I don’t have kids so I’m really not an expert — just going based on friends’ experiences!

    • Hmm, stroller’s not a bad idea. We walk and hike a lot, and have used the heck out of our jogger. It’s so hard to know where #1 will be developmentally and whether he’ll be done with some of these things when #2 will need them. He’ll be almost 2 1/2 when #2 arrives, so things are changing quickly with him. He’s still in the crib, for example, but I keep hoping he’ll be ready to move into a big bed soon (just have to convince him). I guess some of these things can wait. Like a bike seat. Can’t take an infant in those anyway, and it’ll be after winter before we’re ready to bike with 2.

      I do like the donation idea. I have about a million onsies already (#1 skipped through sizes and hardly wore half of them), and would love it if someone who needed them got them instead.

      • I have to share a funny story about this – my colleague had her second baby and they moved their son (around the same age) to a toddler bed. She walked by his room that night and she heard him in there, sing-songing to himself, “I’m a big boy, sleepin’ in my big boy bed.” She said she almost cried.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I second the suggestion to think about what you want to upgrade. I’d also take a stern look at whatever you will reuse, as we decided quite a bit wasn’t up for another tour of duty.

      I didn’t have a shower, but when I was asked, I also suggested gift cards for convenient take-out or delivery. Loved it!

      What we bought for our second daughter:
      – More carseat bases
      – A second crib mattress (big sister took hers to the toddler bed)
      – Video monitor with two cameras (the Motorola – love it!)
      – Upgraded bouncy chair
      – Diapers, wipes, etc
      – New bottle nipples, a bottle drying rack, fresh pump parts
      – Baby books (they’d been largely eaten)
      – Fresh chew toys
      – New bibs
      – Baby socks. What happened to the old ones? I have no idea.
      – Shockingly, more clothes. We used mostly hand-me-downs with our first, and much of it was looking pretty sorry. It would have been hard to ask for, though, since it was mainly filling holes.

      • This! With some comments:

        Carseat–we moved Kid 1 to a new carseat (up to 100lbs) and used the ubiquitous Graco Snap N’Go with carseat base for Kid 2, although I found myself using our single Maclaren for Kid 1 and Ergo for Kid 2 for much of the earlier months.

        I feel like the stroller situation that families settle into varies widely depending on needs (whether you’re in a city or not, how much walking you’ll be doing with one or both, how the old stroller(s) have held up). We ultimately took the plunge for the Phil & Teds double, but we know folks similarly situated (same age kids, approximately same amount of schlepping to and from daycare in NYC) who went with and like the City Mini Double. I have many useless thoughts on strollers/kids/urban environment, which I shall save you from, but happy to get into a horrifyingly detailed conversation about that if anyone wants. It scares me to write this, but we inherited or bought 6 strollers over the course of four years. Fall of Rome, etc.: I hear ya’, and you are correct.

        New mattress–yes. If it’s not too late, and you know a move to a toddler or twin bed is coming for older sibling…pull the trigger now so you don’t end up sleep training two at the same time (or just the toddler while you have, you know, a regular newborn/infant). Sleep training two kids is to be avoided if at all possible. Divide and conquer.

        We toughed it out with our handed-down bouncey but it was wrecked by the end.

        I heartily second the new bottle nipple/pump parts–in what felt like a very short period of time those parts went from normal to a yeechy yellow. Replace! And pick up some more kid utensils. I am always amazed at our mysteriously disappearing forks. Where do they go?

        And also ditto on the new clothes. When I circled back to some things, especially hand-me-downs, they were hurting. I always tried to swing by a Carter’s outlet for some new onesies (if you can find them without noxious graphics on them like “Daddy’s Princess” or cheetah print (who puts their infant daughters in cheetah print?! is what I always wonder), they are great quality and stand up to (my extremely) messy kids), as well as the one-piece outfits and plain pants/leggings. That being said, my daughter ended up wearing a lot of boys clothes.

        Good luck. My kids were pretty good and I was still waaaay overwhelmed when Kid 2 arrived. My mantra became: This too shall pass. Plus a beer every night.

    • Food in the freezer. I’ve heard of ‘fill the freezer’ showers and think it’s a fabulous idea for a second baby shower. Even if they don’t do something like that for your shower, definitely have some very easy to prepare meals in the house for those first couple of months!!

      What about seasonally appropriate clothing? My 3 boys were all born in different seasons (winter, late spring and early fall) and I always had to buy some clothing that first year so that, for example, ds#3 wasn’t wearing rompers when there was snow on the ground.

    • Books! If you have everyone bring his/her favorite children’s book. then the results of this shower will last for years as their suitability will be spread out over time! If you get duplicates, then you have one for each child, or one for home and one for the car or diaper bag.

      I’d not assume that child #1 is going to want to share favorite blankets or toys, even if he/she doesn’t use them anymore. It’s not uncommon for the older child to regress when the younger is born, especially when it’s pretty obvious that being a baby gets you lots of attention.

      Diapers and wipes are always good. Formula, if you use it. Baby washrags and maybe hooded towels if you older is still using the originals. Bibs if your original set are too worn or stained.

    • An awesome baby carrier. Strollers don’t always go everywhere you will want to go with an active and mobile older child. A great carrier lets you conquer stairs and playgrounds with ease (not to mention grocery shopping with two).

      I’d go with a Mai Tei (Babyhawk is great). It was the most comfortable carrier I ever used (and I could use it until my little one was about 35 lbs). If that is too “out there” then I would get an Ergo or Beco — which are more in the Baby Bjorn category, except they are ergonomically designed so your baby isn’t hanging by its cr*tch and your shoulders aren’t taking all the weight. I also got a lot of use out of slings, which are easy to fold up and fit in almost any purse, but couldn’t wear them as long. I liked Zolowear or basically any non-padded sling (the padding actually gets in the way of distributing the weight properly across your body).

    • My MIL threw a shower for us for our second baby. I requested no presents, but almost everyone bought us a gift card. We used it to buy a sit-n-stand double stroller, which has really been handy to have!

    • We got a double stroller for our colleague who had a 2 1/2 year old when her second was born. She was ecstatic and used it for a long time.

    • You guys rock! Thanks for all the tips. You’re right; I so need to pull out all the old bottles and chew toys and such and inventory how good a shape all that stuff is in. All excellent suggestions. Oh man, the idea of having a newborn all over again is starting to hit me… It makes me tired thinking about it.

    • I know you probably don’t need a lot of new clothes, but sometimes it’s kind of nice for the younger to have “new, just for me” stuff instead of all the hand-me-downs.

  11. Depending on how far apart your children will be, we needed more car seats and got a double stroller. I did not really have a full blown shower for my second child, but some very close friends and relatives had a small tea party for me where I received some “girl outfits, blankets, etc.” since my first child is a boy. Otherwise, you can always get rid of some of your more ratty, stained onesies and replace with new ones. Plus, diapers and diaper cream are always needed! Since my first two kids are only 17 months apart, we actually needed another crib and baby monitor, too. Luckily, we were able to get a second crib from a friend who no longer needed hers, so that saved us a bunch!

  12. Love this dress (link to follow). Only problem? I can’t decide what color to buy!

    Thoughts? Which one would you get and how would you style it?

    • This is so cute! I may have to have it as well.

      Couple schools of thought on what color, which hopefully help:
      1. Does anything you have look like this? Yes? Pick the most opposite color.
      2. If any one of the colors makes you say “Oooh!!”, that’s the one. I know it seems silly, but I catch myself talking myself out of the option I really love for no good reason, so the “Ooh!” test reigns. Make sure to look at the dress in each color, not just the swatches.
      3. What functionality do you want? Some of these are more “fall” colors, and if the weather is about to change, take that into consideration. Also, if you can make this appropriate for your work place, go with black, navy, or fig.
      4. Do you have a semi-casual LBD? No? Get black.
      5. Do you attend college sports games? Are any of the team colors available?
      6. Want me to just pick a color already? Go with the stripe, it’s the most unusual. Don’t like that answer? Go with black or grape shake, you can create the most options with those.

      Let us know what you decide!!

      • Thanks so much! I’m leaning towards the grape shake, but I wanted a second opinion because there’s so many cute options.

        I’m planning on buying it to wear to the office with a cardigan or a blazer (my office is full-on jeans casual 98% of the time, so I don’t have to worry about wearing a “proper” color like navy or black).

        PS – it’s 10% off today with code TUESDAYS.

        • And I do love the striped option – so much that I’m pretty sure 40% of my closet is striped by now. I’m trying to avoid it because I have so. many. stripes. but it’s hard to resist. They’re so cute!

        • Hahaha. Awesome. The grape shake is a really, really pretty color, and I think somehow still “neutral”. Highly approve :).

          PS- thanks back!

        • Love grape shake. Get it.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      I like fig and grape shake- but those are colors that work with me. (the orange does too, but then I’d never wear it to work).

  13. For those of you who have gone from Big Law to smaller/boutique firms in a big city — did it make a difference in your stress levels/free time/general happiness? Or was it the same stress for less pay and with fewer resources? Does it freeze you out of an in house position in the future?

    When did you make the transition and how did you go about finding a smaller firm?

    Special snowflake details, Patent Prosecution in DC (so not a lot of in house opportunities if i stay here), fairly strong credentials for patent law, but nothing AMAZING in terms of Big Law.

    Thanks!

    • karenpadi :

      Patent Pros in Silicon Valley.

      Moved from midlaw patent/lit/corp firm to BigLaw to satellite office of a large boutique.

      Huge difference in stress levels (much lower–I can set my own billing rate–very important in flat-fee pros work), more control over my free time (don’t get attached to diligence or lit support at the last minute), better people and much happier.

      Less pay, yes. But only about 10% and I have a more transparent bonus structure so I could make more if I wanted. Actually, we have more resources than BigLaw because we only do pros so we only need to support pros. Freeze out? Heck no. We had two people leave to go in-house at clients just this year (public companies–you’d recognize these companies).

      I was miserable so I reached out to my network. Luckily, I knew someone in house who knew all the dirt on the firms in the area. He put me in touch with my current firm and the rest, as they say, is history.

      For smaller firms, personality is key. No jerks allowed. Be sure your writing sample (from Public PAIR–can’t stress this enough) is top-notch. There is some bias among my colleagues that BigLaw Patent people spend too much time doing diligence and “never learn the art of prosecution”–I think it’s BS but it can be overcome with a great writing sample.

      karenpadi at hotmail if you want to talk more specifically.

    • Diana Barry :

      I’m not in PP so have no idea about that practice area, but moved from Biglaw to smaller (30 lawyer) firm in Boston. Love it – it is MUCH better than biglaw. I work 80% instead of 100% and spend Fridays with my kids. BUT, I make less than half of what I did when I left.

  14. Renter's Woes :

    Legal ladies, I need your help!

    I’m renting in DC -and you know how expensive that is. Roommate and I are in a basement apartment, on a month-to-month lease. We found mold all up and down the wall over pipes from the upstairs apartment, and since this is the third time finding a serious mold problem in three years, we gave our 30 days’ notice. However, upon notification, the landlord immediately called a plumber, who knocked huge holes in the wall, making my roommate’s bedroom uninhabitable. (Landlord is a lawyer, btw.)

    According to the plumber, “The holes need to stay open so everything can dry out,” but my landlord’s response is that we can put the bed back over the holes and continue to sleep in this room.

    Since we can’t use the bedroom, we feel like we shouldn’t have to pay rent for the room until the holes are patched back up. We’ve still got a month in this apartment. What’s the legal procedure here?

    • I *think* under DC landlord/tenant law you can put the rent money in escrow and take your landlord to court. But you need to find a landlord/tenant lawyer. If money’s a problem, DC’s Legal Aid Society should be able to help you out or refer you to someone who can.

    • MissJackson :

      This is a pretty good landlord tenant law guide for DC: http://och.georgetown.edu/uploadedfiles/Tenant_Survival_Guide.pdf

      • Anon for this. :

        YES. Also, if you’re a student or otherwise lower income, the DC Law Students in Court Clinic should be starting up soon at Landlord/Tenant Court. Super-helpful. (And yes, yes I was in it while in law school. I think I may have had a case against your landlord.) Anyway put EVERYTHING in writing – your complaints, your responses to his actions, if you plan to withhold rent, the explanation of that, etc. You aren’t considered to be constructively evicted unless you actually move out (and are forced to do so because of the damage or whatever issue), so be careful on saying you shouldn’t have to pay at all, but definitely do check into it, because withholding some rent is probably reasonable. DC L/T law is extremely tenant-friendly. All of this said, it may be best to work it out with the landlord, as it will likely end up a huge hassle. Sorry you’re in that spot, and good luck!

  15. Vacation coming up! :

    We’re leaving for two weeks in Italy at the end of the week! We’re going to a nice restaurant one night. I checked with the restaurant to see if my hubby needs to wear a jacket for dinner. Their response was “jackets are very welcome” but not required. Should I make him bring one? I just hate to waste the luggage space when I know we won’t have dinner anywhere else that he’ll need a jacket. The restaurant is a Michelin 1 star, which would make me lean towards yes on the jacket, but its in a small hotel in the countryside outside of Cortona, so I’m kind of thinking he won’t necessarily feel out of place if he’s just wearing nice trousers and a dress shirt.

    • LeChouette :

      FWIW in my experience Italians tend to dress formally for dinner at a restaurant (even in the country) . . . while you might only have one night where jackets are suggested by the restaurant, he might feel underdressed at other restaurants as well and wish he had brought it.

    • I would skip the jacket. It’s the middle of summer, and I think it is just a bit much to be wearing a full suit to dinner when it’s in the 90s out. You’ll probably be hot and sweaty during the day, and the luggage space would be much better used for a few extra shirts.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I would think that some great slacks and a great shirt would do it. I would hate to lug a jacket around for 2 weeks for one night. It was very, very hot in Italy when we were there 2 weeks ago and most places either don’t have a/c or don’t run it, so the jacket will come off probably very quickly. I would say save the luggage space to bring stuff back :)

    • Don’t bother bringing the jacket. If you get there and he starts feeling all awkward and self-conscious, you can just buy one and bonus! he has a Fancy Italian Jacket.

  16. Any tips for taking care of scratches in cognac leather? Should I just take my bag to a repair shop?

  17. Any tips on sticking to a budget? I draw out fairly reasonable budgets and want to pay down some of my debt, but then I see something (fill in shiny thing here) and have to have it. Or “treat” myself to lunch/dinner whatever. Any tips other than just do it?

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      I like to track my purchases on mint.com – you can create budgets for various categories there too. You could also set up an automatic monthly transfer from your main account into a savings account, for vacations/debt/etc. That way you won’t even have the money in your main account to tempt you.

    • Envelopes filled with cash. Maybe not for things you know you’re going to pay (like rent), that can probably stay in your checking account if you’re going to write a check for it. But put your credit cards in a locked drawer, and keep some envelopes of cash in your house. Label them – Groceries, Entertainment, Clothes, Medical, Transportation, whatever your budget categories are. Put your budgeted amount in each envelope for the whole month. When you leave your house, take only what you need for the day with you (maybe in another set of labeled envelopes so you know whats what while you’re out). When the money in the envelope is gone, its gone, the end.
      A rewarding part can be, when the month is over, anything that is left in the envelopes that you didn’t spend can go straight to your debt. Tangible payoff.

    • I use mint and a combination of asking myself, before pulling the trigger, would I rather (have fill in shiny thing) or (achieve major goal). The answer is almost always (achieve major goal).

    • 1. Make sure that your budget allows for *some* treats. Austerity budgets are very hard not to rebel against.

      2. This works for some people: when you see fabulous new shiny thing, write it down, note the model # and price, and know you can get it next week if you still want it then. Most shininess dims in comparison to long-term plans over the course of a week.

      3. For meal treats, think about whether you would be helped by formal, deliberate meal planning / grocery store excursions. I find it easier to resist ordering take-out when I know the lettuce in the fridge won’t keep another day.

      4. In general, pre-decide. Willpower is tough, but pre-deciding helps. Say to yourself (several times a day, if need be) “I am the kind of person who keeps to her budget. I look forward to being debt-free. When my debts are paid down and my savings are built up, I’m going to _____ (buy a house / travel to Italy / whatever big treat you want).”

      5. Know what your triggers are — is it sale ads in your email? Unsubscribe. Walking past a nice display window? Take another route. Make it easier for yourself to ignore the shiny things.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        #1 and 2 have been particularly helpful for me staying on budget. I built in a small clothing budget and upped my grocery category a bit so I can go out to eat sometimes. I use the “remember/covet/desire it next week” test as well.

        The envelope trick also helped me at one point too. I would withdraw a specific amount of cash each week and it would go in the food or gas envelope and I’d force myself not to go back to the ATM until the following week. I wasn’t always perfect with it, but deciding to pay cash for those things made it a little harder to impulse buy.

    • Oh my goodness, I have *exactly* the same issues. The good news is, I sort of have things under control now (until the next time I walk into J.Crew). Here is what is working for me:

      1. I second what others have said about Mint – I use it religiously and find it really helps me track things. Plus, using it to track my debt repayments has gotten addictive. I do new debt repayment forecasts probably on a weekly basis now.

      2. For incidentals (e.g. buying my lunch at work, morning coffee, etc.), I take a certain amount of cash out of the bank machine on Mondays and it has to last me until the weekend, no excuses.

      3. I only go grocery shopping once a week, with a list.

      4. Part of the budget I have developed on Mint includes a monthly shopping (i.e. clothing) budget. It really helps when going into a store (see above re J. Crew) to think about where I am with my monthly budget and, if I really want something, ask myself whether I can wait for it until my budget refreshes the following month. If the answer is “no”, I probably don’t need the item. When I am feeling especially vulnerable to spending, the simple answer is – don’t visit the shops.

      That’s what has been working for me! I’ve been on “the plan” for over a year now, have seen my debt fall dramatically and have recently increased my monthly retirement savings. Those things in themselves are great motivators to stay on track.

  18. Evening threadjack: If you had $100,000 to spend, that you had to spend on fun stuff (not, paying down mortgages, medical bills, etc.), what would you buy?

    I would buy as many pieces of Lilly Fitzgerald’s jewelry as possible:
    http://www.lillyfitzgerald.com/Welcome.html

    • SoCalAtty :

      Stuff for my horse and several years of horse shows! Shows are really expensive so they fall into the “ooh, shiny” category.

      • I would be super unpredictable (ha) and spend like, nine months in southern Europe; and then I would get a really awesome horse when I got home.

    • I’d take my friend on our wished-for 30th anniversary trip back to Vienna where we met on our junior year abroad. And while I was in Europe I’d travel in style and buy all of the gorgeous Italian shoes and bags and eat gelato.

      I’d also buy myself some fabulous jewelry and those stunning LK Bennett mary janes in burgundy. Or maybe I’d travel to London just to buy them!

    • First-class round-the-world tickets. And rooms in nice hotels. And dinners in nice restaurants. And a little jewelry something as a souvenir from each place I visit.

    • I wouldn’t really buy anything, but would take 6 months off work to travel all over the world.

    • long-time lurker :

      I would renovate our condo, installing a second bath, new windows, really nice new or antique bedroom furniture. None of this is really necessary but it is a want at the time. And I’d take a safari to South Africa and probably take my H out to eat at Per Se or some other ridiculous restaurant. And buy a bunch of expensive wine like Opus or similar. That should add up.

  19. SoCalAtty :

    Random eating out comment: Wow I forgot how much it is to eat at Ruth’s Chris! I went with about 10 other people on a fun group gathering last weekend. With appetizer, 2 entrees, 1 side, and 2 desserts it was like $225 with tip. We didn’t even have wine! I’ve done that kind of damage before, and it was fine because the hotel was free (yay points!) but I don’t do that very often for a reason….because now I’m craving lamb again. Dang it. Not pregnant :) It was just really, really good….

    It must be getting on toward quittin’ time, because I’m thinking about food…

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