Splurge Tuesday’s TPS Report: Shay Top

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

 A.L.C. Shay Top I’ll be honest: I have mixed feelings about this blouse. But after seeing the sixth “professional” character on television wearing it (starting with Robin on How I Met Your Mother, and most recently a minor character on Bones) I went on the hunt to figure out who makes it. I like the choker and the flowy body — but the deep v-neck may be a bit of a problem for the office. I might try it with a higher v-necked camisole beneath it in a neutral color like white or black to “raise” the neckline. A.L.C. has many iterations of this style out right now; this one is marked from $260 to $182 at ShopBop. A.L.C. Shay Top

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Comments

  1. Anon for this from yesterday: How did last night go? I really hope you were able to make progress with your husband.

    • Anon for this :

      h, thank you for thinking of me! I was just logging in to update from yesterday and to thank those who shared stories and words of wisdom.

      I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would want to hear in his shoes, and spoke from the heart. h, your example was very helpful to me. We were able to resolve the problem and I think are stronger for it.

      Again, thanks to everyone – this community is a pretty great place!

      • K...in transition :

        so so glad!

      • I was catching up on your posts from yesterday and am happy to hear this :) The community here really is amazing!

      • So glad everything worked out well!

      • That’s great news! I have to second about this community. I was feeling so down yesterday afternoon but I was reading comments to my post while cooking dinner and it made me feel so much better.

        • I agree, even when I’m reading people’s responses to other people’s problems, it makes me feel better about life and the world ;o) Love this place.

          ANd, Anon for this, I’m so glad you worked this out! Makes me all warm and fuzzy, partnership is hard work sometimes. Thanks for letting us know!

      • As much as it stinks, some of the best relationship growth comes from a little conflict. Argh. (and, rawr!)

  2. Love, love, love the color of this. Could never wear it to work, but it’s a pretty after-hours top! Something about the neckline is so interesting.

  3. 2/3 attorney :

    This is really cute for a date or a party, but it doesn’t seem work-appropriate to me at all. Says she who tried to convince everyone a hot pink lace dress was cool for the office.

    • I agree. Men would be lookeing to see what they could see, and I do NOT want them stareing at me to see anything. Also, it is to expensive!

      The firm sent over the case’s yesterday. Of the 10, I think I can settel about 5-6 of them. YAY!!!!The firm did NOT even contact the plaintiffe’s to see if they would settel, but did a long bench memoranda for each case that will be VERY helpeful to me. So I called the first plaintiff’s counsel and he is this guy, Brian, who I see in court alot. I think he went to Brooklyn Law School and he has tried to talk to me before. He was very freindly. I told HiM I was takeing over this case from the other firm and he was happy that I was approcheing him about a settelment. But he wan’ts $1500 and I said that was to much. I told him $750. He said it was unliekeley the cleint would acept, but he would get back to me. We will see.

      Harold called AGAIN last nite. Does’nt he realise that I am NOT interested in him or his father? I do NOT want anything to do with either of them but do not want the manageing partner to get mad. Harold smells and his father is old enough to be my father (almost). FOOEY!

      Jim also is askeing me about Saint Louis. He said we will be there for 8 night’s. OMG, I do not know if I can be with him for that long! FOOEY!

  4. anonymous :

    home in bed due to a pilonidal cyst… hips killing me since I must remain on my side, lack of sleep causing me to be pretty weepy/whiny today… anyone have any tips/tricks/experiences to share?

    • My sister had one of those, so I know they are awful. Have you tried putting a pillow between your knees while you lie on your side? It takes pressure off your hips and lower back. Feel better soon!

    • Go to the doctor and get it cut open and drained. I’ve had a pilonidal cyst that’s recurred three times over 15 years. You can try soaking it and hope it opens on its own, but that makes a bloody (literally) mess. There are surgical options, but it’s an incredibly painful surgery and not always successful in preventing recurrence.

      • OP here… no health insurance = can’t afford a doctor. it also means I can’t see one to get any prescriptions so no pain meds either. :(

        • Oh, that sucks about the insurance. Soak in a hot bath a few times a day and that will help it burst on its own.

          However, do you have a spouse or very close friend with a strong stomach who might help you lance it? It’s not necessarily the greatest idea to do this on your own, but I was told that if it bursts on its own the risk of infection is higher than if you lance it cleanly (I had it lanced twice and it burst on its own once). Have your friend use a sterile razor to cut a very small cut at the top of the cyst. Have plenty of sterile gauze on hand. Your friend should press very carefully on the cyst to drain as much fluid as possible. Then you want to try to keep the cyst open for a few days to let it keep draining. When I had the cyst drained, the doctors twisted a little bit of gauze into it to keep it open and then bandaged it with more gauze and medical tape. I had to change the dressing a couple times a day, and it took about 5 days or so until there was no more fluid seeping from the wound and I no longer had to keep the wound open. Also, make sure you use plenty of antibiotic ointment to try to prevent infection.

          Again – I don’t think this is the greatest idea to do without medical supervision. But it’s doable, and probably safer than letting it burst and hoping for the best. Plus, if it drains completely, it’s less likely to recur in the near future.

          • By the way, the second cyst was lanced by a doctor, but I was in a developing country doing volunteer work at the time and it was hard to get to a doctor, so a friend did all of the follow-up bandaging/cleaning and it was fine. That’s why I think it’s doable.

    • Hang in there. It will get better. They are such a painful problem. Have you seen anyone for it? Sometimes they need to be drained (gross I know) and that can relieve a lot of the pain and pressure.

      Also, I know they are a horrible horrible problem, but do not get talked into an operation for one without seriously considering the pros and cons. We (surgeons) used to operate on them a ton, but looking back at the data, there are a ton of wound complications and recurrences after OR. It’s a painful, long term procedure, and may not give you the results you need. Okay, enough unsolicited advice.

      Have you tried a bath? That can feel nice. Also, ibuprofen or aleve can help with inflammation. If you are feeling systemically sick (fever, aches, etc) go see someone. Ice can help too, for about 15 minutes three times a day.

      • OP here… no insurance so I can’t see someone. This is the 3rd one I’ve ever had. 1st was 9 yrs ago and was drained and that helped, 2nd was 2 yrs ago. I was pumped full of antibiotics (which only gave me a lady garden infection) and it never came to the surface so I just took the pain meds prescribed and was on my sides for 3 weeks til it started to go away on its own. Horrible. Will keep trying baths though sitting, even in water, hurts.

        • Try a sitz bath. You can get one that fits right on your toilet for short money. My husband gets these cysts about once a year and does baths in epsom salts to relieve the pain.

      • OP: no insurance so I can’t see someone. This is the 3rd one I’ve ever had. 1st was 9 yrs ago and was drained and that helped, 2nd was 2 yrs ago. I was pumped full of antibiotics (which only gave me a lady garden infection) and it never came to the surface so I just took the pain meds prescribed and was on my sides for 3 weeks til it started to go away on its own. Horrible. Will keep trying baths though sitting, even in water, hurts.

    • lucy stone :

      These are the devil. I had one my junior year of college that was just awful. I understand you don’t have insurance, but if it isn’t better in a day or two, please go get help for it. In the meantime, I’ll agree with everyone else who said to take lots and lots of baths, or if you can’t bear to have the pressure on your tailbone, put hot compresses on it.

    • Dessert Doctor :

      I’ve had two of those at this point, and they are so painful and awful — I definitely commiserate with you. The first one I had I ended up going to the emergency room for because I didn’t know what was going on beyond the fact that I was in progressively worse pain over the course of several weeks. I second the recommendations for a pillow between your legs/knees. After getting the cyst drained, I also would lay on my stomach as much as I could stand it just to give my hips some relief. Warm baths have helped, too — I generally add some antibacterial body wash (like Dial) to the water. I hope you feel better soon!

    • Hi OP. Where do you live? Depending on where you live, there may be free or reduced care available. If you contact the “Payment Assistance” or whatever department of most major hospitals, there are generally people there who can help guide you through applying for subsidized care or a payment plan that would allow you to be able to afford care. In addition, you *can* negotiate with your doctor’s office as to the price of care — most doctors will negotiate on price. Finally, depending on where you live, there may be a free or reduced cost clinic where you could be seen for this problem — or at the very least to be able to be prescribed pain meds until the problem clears up. In addition, if you have a PCP who you just haven’t seen because of your lack of health insurance — they probably have a social worker in their office who can help uninsured patients figure out how to get care.

      Anyway, there are resources out there….I know they can be hard to access when you’re in pain, but this sounds really sucky right now!

    • I had one that I had to get cut open and drained twice, as my PCP failed to pack it so that it could drain before healing. I was in so much pain – ibuprofen didn’t do anything for it. I went through 20 Vicodins in about 2 days. I would consider going to an urgent care center and having them lance it for you and getting a scrip for the pain. The pain was so awful for me that I would not hesitate to put this on a credit card.

    • You have my sympathies. Had one last year and literally could not even walk it was so painful. I went to a dermatologist (didn’t know what it was at the time), he lanced it, left the wound a little open to drain and sent me home with antibiotics. I felt great within a few hours.

      I know you don’t have insurance, but I checked the bill that ,my insurance paid and the total cost was less than $1,000. That is still a serious chunk of change, but is it worth it to lie in agony for a few weeks?

  5. anon for this :

    Has anyone else seen the OSU marching band’s video game halftime show? (u… tube) An amazing band that plays songs and forms symbols from classic video games. My inner nerd almost can’t handle it!

  6. K...in transition :

    just read something about how, with more and more states legalizing medicinal pot (and thus fewer jobs testing for it in order to hire or remain employed), more professionals are partaking… probably everyone will go anon. if they answer (understandably) but I’d love to hear the hive’s thoughts on this, considering that most here wouldn’t fit the old stereotype of broke underachiever living in mom’s basement smoking their lives away haha

    • I’m from a jurisdiction with more liberal laws and 0 percent likelihood of being drug tested for normal, non-police/security clearance type jobs. I am a professional, I partake. Obviously less now than in school, but if it’s available, I’m happy to do so on the weekends. I see it now, and have always seen it, as an alternative to drinking.

      • same

      • I knew a lot of people in law school who were a little too into smoking pot, and assume that they still use it.

        I would rather that people occasionally smoked rather than drink alcohol. I just consider booze more dangerous because of drunk driving and fueling violence. I am never worried about pot heads becoming violent!

        • What about pot-impaired driving? This is just as serious as alcohol-impaired driving. At least with alcohol there are known correlations between alcohol & impairment; with marijuana you don’t know the potency of the weed – and it’s been made pretty clear that today’s pot is not your father’s Oldsmobile – it’s significantly stronger and can seriously impair users when they are behind the wheel.

      • Anonforthis :

        Same. Though, a little more than on weekends. I also consider it an alternative to alcohol, which I hardly ever partake in.

      • Anon in NY :

        Same here, though it’s not legal in my state.

    • Regular poster. I don’t smoke (once or twice in college, but that’s really it), I have no problem with it being legalized and regulated. I don’t believe the hype that it is entirely harmless, but I also have no problem with people putting what they want to into their own bodies.

      I support regular fitness for duty testing for any job where being unfit for duty would pose a risk to safety. Fitness-for-duty testing isn’t limited just to drugs – also sleep deprivation, alcohol, illness, etc. I see no point in testing or punishing people for what they do on their off time from work. Obviously, I also support laws that ban driving under the influence of any substance that would alter judgment or motor skills.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      There was a pretty long and contentious post about this in the past. I’m happy to read it again. I just want to point you towards it in case you don’t get many responses. The prior post had to do with a reader passing up a job opportunity when she learned she would be drug tested.

    • For what it’s worth, I believe that courts have found that even if pot use is pursuant to a prescription, an employer can decline to hire you on the basis of a positive drug test. So I’m not sure how much impact it’s having in reality.

      • I did some research on this recently. I think you are right – employers may choose not to test for it if it’s more prevalent/accepted, but they certainly don’t have to accommodate it and can still make hiring/firing decisions over it (absent some specific state law to the contrary).

        (Obviously, this isn’t my official legal opinion, but my personal opinion from reading several cases on the subject).

    • I find the abuse of medical marijuana so frustrating. CA has made a joke of it, and it’s hurting efforts to spread it to other states. I’m all for general legalization, but all of this bs I have a random pain 20 minute doctor visits is keeping terminal cancer patients from having legal access.

      Which isn’t really your point at all, I just have rage about this. Pot would probably help . . .

      • As a California, physician I totally agree!

        It makes me crazy…recently I saw a 19 year old with appendicitis, and totally unrelated to his treatment, he had a medical marijuana card. I asked him why, and it was due to “chronic pain from his wrist fracture as a child.” Really? REALLY? I don’t fault the kid — tons of kids want to smoke pot and I don’t really care, I live in a ski town and pot smoking is very very very common. But that physician? Who is running a cash business to provide those cards? Disgusts me. And I’m for the legalization of pot (though I think it’s similar to alcohol in that many or most people can use it regularly or occasionally without a problem, but a small percentage of the population will have life-altering issues with it) .

        Sorry, early morning ramblings.

        • +1, and it’s (always!) great to have your perspective, EC MD.

        • As the wife of a medicinal user, I agree with you ECMD. My husband has to get his card from the “pot doctor” in Berkeley. It’s all cash, $200 a year, and that guy must be raking it in.

          But I’m glad my husband can buy it legally now.

          I personally hate the stuff (tried it a couple of times, said never again) but he does really well with it.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Anecdotally, recreational use seems to be pretty widespread, but use on a regular basis I think is uncommon. Oddly enough, I’ve heard much more about pot in biglaw and midlaw than I have about coke or speed or whatever study drug the kids are using nowadays. Or maybe the cool kids just don’t include me in their raunchy coke parties, who knows.

      • I wonder if some of this may be generational? I don’t have much (any) direct knowledge, but my impression of my peers growing up is that they were much more likely to smoke pot than become involved in “stronger” drugs. Conversely, I think that for several decades, coke was seen as the “upper class” drug. Now that my peers are law firm associates, do you think the drug use culture among professionals could have followed along, resulting in less coke and more pot? Or was it always more likely to be pot? Maybe I’ve been misled by TV and movies… :)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m from a very liberal area where it is extremely common for people to smoke. I know a number of very professional people who do so, as well as many non-professional people who do. Some of the people in each group smoke regularly. In the non-professional group, only a portion of those who smoke regularly are your stereotypical stoners.

      I grew up thinking that it wasn’t that big a deal, although I personally wasn’t really that interested, so may view may be very different than the view of others. I think you can be a professional in a powerful or important position and smoke, occasionally or regularly. To my mind, there are also people who drink occasionally or regularly and mantain these positions as well. I think they are similar, although I realize each has different effects and legal consequences. Either one (drinking or smoking) can become a problem, but I don’t think partaking in either is non-professional so long as it doesn’t become a problem/addiction/etc.

    • I really don’t have strong feelings on the subject, but if medicinal pot is being legalized, why would that mean more professionals are using? Because they get a prescription or because they can find it better? If the latter, I don’t think there will be that much of an increase. I’m a don’t break the law type, so even if I knew a friend who could get it for me, if I didn’t have the prescription I wouldn’t use it.

    • Federal laws still exist, so no, not happening, and I don’t know anyone who does.

    • I am all for legalization and I still think it’s wrong and a huge invasion of personal privacy that companies can pre-hire and randomly drug test employees.

      Can someone in the legal profession (any laywers on here? ha) explain to me why the issue of drug testing hasn’t been found unconstitutional – or something like that – yet? If we can’t legally have dress codes, how on earth is it legal to require an employee to give you their blood or urine? It is too weird.

      • One quick answer is that the constitution generally protects you only from “state action” — so, for example, while the government can’t censor your speech, Kat could delete any comment she disagreed with, if she wanted to. Private employers can, constitutionally-speaking, do whatever they want in most cases. What limits them is statutory laws, passed by legislatures. So as long as there’s no law against something, it’s permitted. Congress could pass a law forbidding drug testing (well, maybe they could — a state legislature almost certainly could, though), but until they do, there’s nothing forbidding such testing. Our laws have come down on the side of employers on this issue. Since you have no “right” to the job being offered, they can require you to jump through any number of hoops to get it.

        Also, who can’t legally have dress codes (if that sounds snarky, it’s not intended that way)? I’ve never heard of a dress code being unlawful or impermissible; lots of employers have dress codes, uniforms, etc. — some of them (I’m thinking of Hooters) even mildly offensive!

        • I should have said (although it’s probably obvious) that I’m (over)simplifying some of these issues a bit for clarity.

        • re: dress codes, it might just be CA, but I recall some pushback when my prior employer tried to tighten down a business casual dress code.

          The pushback was along the lines of something about if we weren’t wearing uniforms provided by the employer, then they couldn’t tell us how to dress. HR held a “town hall” and said that technically that was correct.

          As a result, I’ve always understood professional dress codes to be more of a guideline. As a manager I can advise employees that they were not dressed professionally, but I don’t really have any consequences. (Fortunately, this has not been a problem with my immediate staff.)

          • Hmmm. Either this is a CA thing, or my employer is doing something illegal. We have to wear company logo shirts to work every day and they provide guidelines on the pants/skirts and shoes we wear. The shirts must be purchased through the company (but can be paid via payroll deduction over a period of time).

          • Based on a summer job eons ago, I think you are right about CA. I believe your employer can strongly request that you wear all black (say you work at a department store or as a host/ess at a restaurant) but if they want you to wear something more specific they must provide it to you for no cost and a replacement.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            This is a CA thing :). If the ER gets too specific about EE dress code, then ER has to provide items that meet that dress code.

      • And there are some safety-sensitive positions that the Federal gov’t requires pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing for, even for private companies. I believe the idea is that there is a rational basis for the testing based on how the effect of drugs/alcohol would affect the work those positions perform.

        • anon for this topic :

          I agree. If a potential candidate, or even a current employee, refused a drug test, I’d be highly suspicious. While it seems like an invasion of privacy, if one has nothing to hide and their job requires it, I see nothing wrong with it.

          • But isn’t “you’ll do it if you have nothing to hide” kind of the point of protecting privacy? I mean, if I have nothing to hide, I should be happy to let the police search my house, eavesdrop on my conversations, and read my medical records, all sans any notice or warrant. And even though I am generally a law-abiding citizen, I am not OK with any of those things. Because I believe in my right to privacy.

          • in the house search, eavesdrop, read medical records, there are plenty of law abiding things you could be doing in there. (cooking dinner, gossiping, treating an illness.) In the drug test context, they are only looking for the criminal activity (the drugs) So its like a DUI checkpoint. there is only legal pee or not legal pee. there is nothing else they are testing for.

          • Yes, meara, that’s the point of privacy. BUT, you can bargain away a lot of your rights, including privacy. The government can’t just randomly require your blood or urine without a warrant, but it can if you would like to be employed by them. If I want to be employed by the CIA, I would likely have to submit to a very invasive background check and give access to a lot of my personal information (financial, medical, etc) which would probably be impermissible otherwise.

          • Sure–and don’t get me wrong, I work in the pharmaceutical industry (not a euphemism!) and so every job I’ve had has required a drug test. I’m just saying the argument that “you should be happy to take it if you have nothing to hide” is a terrible argument when it comes to your rights.

  7. anonymous :

    Following up on my post about sexual harassment. The job continued to keep putting me in situations where I was alone with this person and, when I requested to be moved elsewhere or to have someone else in the room, they waited a day and then fired me, said it just wasn’t working out and refused to give me a more specific answer (am in a right to work state and was a new hire). the week before my reporting this, my reviewer called me “amazing” and told me how glad he was to have hired me, so I know this isn’t about my job performance. I have called the EEOC and they are mailing me some papers to write things down, but I am so so frustrated. I’d had the job short time so I will likely just remove it from my resume but what a rough way to return to the job search.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Get an employment lawyer stat. This isn’t just sexual harassment. You had an adverse employment action because of it and the clock is ticking. You probably also have a whistle blower case. You need someone with knowledge on your state’s laws. If you list your state or region we can provide a referral. I can provide a suggestion for most of New England.

      • YES. This was incredibly inappropriate, and also illegal.

      • I am in Ohio (I might be the only Ohioan here, not certain though). With no job, I cannot afford an attorney and I am nor sure I can prove much since, though I do have a copy of my complaint that I filed, the review was only verbal and the retaliatory behaviors weren’t in writing either.

        • I think there are a few more Ohio people here but I don’t know anyone to help. I just wanted to leave you some support.

        • At least consult with an attorney. You may be able to do a contingency basis fee.

        • This may be a case an attorney would take on a contingency basis (no attorney fees unless you collect a judgment). Also, your own testimony is your evidence (and testimony of others you’ll subpoena. Seriously, go for a consultation with an attorney who specializes in employment law. There is no risk in doing that.

          • This. And EEOC cases usually come with attorney’s fees if you win, so if it’s a good case, a lawyer should be happy to take it contingency.

            The path to winning can be a long one, though, especially depending on your state. Sounds like it’s totally worth pursuing, if nothing more than for the moral win, but know going in that it might involve some frustrating bureaucracy.

        • Also, check with your local legal aid agencies. I know our local group takes on the occasional employment case.

          • And/or, legal aid attorneys may be able to point you towards a non-LA attorney who will take the case on contingency.

        • I am in Ohio, and you should definitely talk to an attorney. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to him/her, and as others have said s/he may take your case on a contingency basis.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Email me at projectmundaneart at gmail and tell me where in Ohio. My boss can refer you to an employment lawyer in Ohio that takes cases on contingency but he wants to know where you are located first.

        • You don’t need money to hire a plaintiff’s attorney. Most of them work on a contingency basis (i.e., they’ll likely take 1/3 of whatever you get — if you get nothing, they get nothing).

        • I am SO sorry. I remember being horrified when you first posted. Seriously, please contact a lawyer today. I will contribute to your legal defense fund. DO NOT JSFAMO, please.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Yep, this is a great contingency case.

          • Just got here, and I am of no help on this issue, but I wanted to say how awesome it is to see all the lawyers giving support and advice. Thanks guys, and good luck to the OP. I’m impressed that you’re following through on this, as well you should.

  8. Pretty top! I wouldn’t wear it to work, but like someone else has said, it’d be great for going out.

    Threadjack: I just got invited to a Halloween party where the theme is to dress up like a book – but NOT like a literary character. The example given was to wear a baseball costume, complete with a catcher’s mitt emblazoned with the number 22 (Catch-22!)

    Some of the ideas I came up with are …

    Jane Eyre: “Jane” nametag + scuba mask (air!) or crown (heir!)
    Harry Potter: fake mustache + spade
    50 Shades of Grey: just wearing all the grey clothes I have

    Since you ladies are so smart, I was wondering if you have any ideas (or, if you’ve dressed up like this in the past and don’t mind if I bite your idea!).

    As averse as I am to spending money on a Halloween costume, I’m even MORE averse to finding a spot in my tiny NYC apartment to store it. So the less novelty-type items I have to buy, the better. TIA!

    • tape cartoon-style balloons on your pants with orders on them –> bossypants?

    • I like the ideas you have come up with already.

      Little Women- tape/glue/sew Polly Pockets or similar small dolls on your clothes
      A Tale of Two Cities- do you have anything emblazoned with city names on it (I’m thinking NYC hat, Chicago shirt), add a fake animal tail.
      Texas (Michner)- Cowboy boots, jeans, etc.

    • Devil wears prada! You will have to acquire red horns, but you could either do all red outfit and carry a Prada bag (or “Prada” – just make a fake label, it’s Halloween), or wear a Prada (or “Prada”) outfit and just the horns.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Tape a printed out image of the NYC skyline on your front, and another of the Chicago (or Boston or San Francisco, or whatever) skyline on your back. Wear a tail. You’re A Tale of Two Cities!

      Dress up like a caterpillar and eat all night. You’re a Very Hungry Caterpillar!

      Buy/make a kite and wear athletic gear (shorts, ipod, waterbottle, etc). You’re The Kite Runner!

    • Love all these ideas :) Knew I could count on you guys to come up with some great ones. Thanks!

    • Dress up like a bird and carry a bottle of tequila. Tequila Mockingbird!

    • You could dress up like a hitchhiker (you know, backbacker gear or kind of hobo chic) and then stick stars all over yourself and have a sign that says “Ask Me Anything” and go as “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

      You could dress all in red and then wear like a red sign board with a letter printed on it (Dear John letter or something) and go as the Scarlet Letter.

      Moby D*ck — um you could dress up as Moby (the musical artist) and then involve a d*ldo somehow…but that might be a bit racy. Not sure what kind of party this is.

      The Portrait of a Lady: You could just go as yourself and put a frame around your head.

      Catcher in the Rye: You could get catcher gear and then get some rye bread and stick it all over you.

      Of Mice and Men: Stuffed mice and stuffed men….some creativity involved I suppose.

      Okay — I’m going to stop reading lists of book titles, because I could probably do this all day. :-P

    • Research, Not Law :

      Birdcage veil = The birdcage

      Such a fun theme!

    • anonymous101 :

      “50 Shades of Grey: just wearing all the grey clothes I have” — love this idea, another idea to do this would be to get fabric swatches or paint samples to stick all over yourself in all the shades of gray.

      What a cute theme!

  9. 2/3 attorney :

    Oh, Clockwork Orange would be easy (wear orange and attach clock hands).

    Huckleberry Finn: wear all navy with a fin on your back.

    Could attach a bunch of purple balloons to you and be Grapes of Wrath.

    Wear a red shirt and green bottoms and attach stuffed farm animals to you = Animal Farm (red for barn, green grass)

    Wear a crown and attach a bunch of plastic flies to your hair, shirt = Lord of the Flies.

    Wear a big belt around your waist and attach a plastic crab = Tropic of Cancer.

    Wear S & M style accessories, handcuffs = Of Human Bondage.

    This is too fun, I could go on all day.

  10. I like this top, but I wouldn’t wear it to work – it’s not just the neckline, but the shoulders – while sleeveless is OK, IMO, the way that these are cut to come in more than just sleeveless seems more suggestive/sexy than professional to me.

  11. San Jose Tailor :

    I need to have a blazer taken in. Can anyone recommend a tailor in San Jose or Bay Area (or even any to stay away from)? Many thanks!

  12. Good morning, ladies — I’m seeking some fashion and travel advice!

    I’m super excited to be headed to a friend’s wedding in India in a few weeks. There is essentially a week’s worth of evening activities scheduled in Delhi and Goa. There’s a cocktail reception, sangeet/mehndi, party on the beach in Goa, and then the Hindu wedding ceremony. During the day, I expect I’ll be engaging in various sightseeing activities in the two cities.

    So, here is the collection of questions I put to your brilliant hive-mind:
    1) Based on what others have told me who have visited, for general sightseeing and visiting around Delhi and Goa, my usual summer-weather outfit of sundresses might be a little…immodest? The suggestion has been, oh, wear linen pants and a loose top (I own neither). Are a bunch of maxidresses and a light weight shirt/cardigan/wrap the way to go? Will I feel out of place in a knee-length summer dress, or are people overstating the case?
    2) According to the groom, only one of the above evening events is “black tie,” and the others are “casual dress” (the male centric answer was “you know, linen, summer suits”). I’ve been told western dress is expected of us non-westerners — or at least, we are not expected in saris (the bride’s family is not Indian). Do you think your standard c-tail dresses that I’ve been wearing all summer to weddings in the U.S. should be OK here for the non-black tie events?
    3) Are there any amazing do-not-miss activities or sights in either Delhi or Goa?

    Thanks, all!

    • Can't Wait to Quit :

      I went to India this spring for my birthday! For day time sightseeing I was comfortable from both a temperature and a modesty standpoint wearing cropped khaki pants that were just above the ankle with a tapered leg, and a cotton Indian Kurti (tunic). I got the Kurtis on eBay and you probably have time to do the same if you find a U.S. seller who will ship them quickly. The sizing works by taking your bust size and then adding 4 inches for a fitted look, or more for a looser look. They are generally cut with an hourglass figure in mind, so the hip measurements are not much of a problem.

      Your cocktail dresses will probably be just fine for the non-black tie evenings. Bring along some money in case you decide you want an Indian style formal outfit – saris can be tricky, but they make beautiful salwar kameez and other outfits and you may find yourself tempted to get one.

      As for sightseeing, all of the “usual” tourist stops in Delhi are quite interesting – I especially enjoyed Humayun’s tomb, which is a predecessor to the Taj Mahal and was quite lovely. You can see my whole travelogue at http://www.tashastriptoindia.wordpress.com.

    • The streets in India are beyond gross, with sewage, trash and manure. I would not do maxi dresses because you’ll end up with the bottom of your dress being filthy and rubbing on you ankles. I would do cropped pants with closed toe shoes that you’re willing to throw out later for sightseeing. I would feel uncomfortable touring in a sun dress in India. I got enough stares from men and unwanted attention when I was fully covered.

      • I am a banana. :

        I bought some trousers and kurtas when I got there from Fab India, that would be my suggestion. Agree with Posita about ditching the maxi dress idea.

    • Generally speaking, in Delhi it is more important to have your legs fully covered than your arms. So a long skirt or pants and short sleeved top should be fine. Consider bringing a long linen or cotton scarf that you can use for additional coverage around your neckline or over your head if you find yourself being stared at.

      Goa is a beach resort, basically, so dress codes are a little more relaxed there. But I still wouldn’t recommend shorts unless you are actually on the beach.

      Having said all that, as a fair, light-haired Caucasian, I have gotten stared at plenty in India despite dressing very modestly and in fact wearing salwar kameez half the time in order to blend in. I’m not sure of your ethnicity, but if you are a fair Caucasian, you’ll just have to do your best and accept and ignore the inevitable staring. Hollywood portrayals of Caucasian women do not work in our favour here.

    • I imagine that tourist areas (like Goa) will be less conservative, but I would really recommend wearing skirts that come to your mid-calf or pants (I mostly wore light pants). For tops, I just made sure I didn’t wear anything too tight or low-cut. I also highly recommend bringing or buying a few light scarves–I got so much use out of mine. Great for wrapping around your upper arms/chest area if you suddenly feel like your clothes might be a bit too revealing. The thing is, if you’re not Indian (i.e. actually from India, not Indian-American) then you will stick out and get stared at. A lot. I had people taking my photos like I was a freak/celebrity a lot. You will probably want to do whatever you can to minimize this and be respectful of the culture–for me, that was covering up above my mid-calf, my upper arms (cap sleeve was fine) and chest (nothing low cut).

      Have a great trip! I loved Agra (near Delhi–where the Taj Mahal is).

    • Indian here…

      1. maxi dresses are fine but will get very dirty if you plan to walk on roads etc with them. midi or knee length skirts are a much better option
      2. forget the linen stuff, they will be super crumpled. the only people I’ve seen wearing that stuff in India are foreigners:)
      3. wear anything knee length (bermudas/cropped pants, skirts etc). avoid miniskirts
      4. sleeveless is fine, people. I have worn sleeveless stuff for the last 25 years
      5. try to avoid baring cleavage unless you’re at a party or whatever. that said, every indian woman in a sari will be showing some amount of midriff, toned or not
      6. wear indian outfits and pile on the bling for the wedding/parties. when else are you going to get a chance?
      7. goa is super, super informal and everyone is in a swimsuit or bikini at the hotel pools. beaches…honestly cannot recall as it’s been a while. goa is 90% roman catholic and the churches etc are really nice
      8. delhi has some fab islamis monuments…humayun’s tomb…etc. google them.
      9. visit the taj but do not miss the agra fort next to it.
      10. delhi will be cold from nov-feb. in jan, temps can fall to 1-2 degrees C.

      whatever you wear, modest or not, you will get stared at, especially if you’re blonde/redhead. just accept it. i get called “exotic” when i travel, likewise you will be a “bird of paradise” in india.

    • Buffybot– things to do in Delhi …

      * The spice markets. They’re amazing.

      * The Jama Masjid – largest mosque in India. Beautiful.

      * The Red Fort.

      * Qutb Minar

      I assume you’re headed out to Agra to visit the Taj. Take a side trip to Fatehpur Sikri. You won’t regret it. The Victory Gate is amazing.

      I really didn’t do anything in Goa other than lie out by the pool (hey it was after 2 weeks of kicking around Rajasthan in pretty low-rent accommodations), so no suggestions there.

      If you have the time/inclination to get out of Delhi a bit, I loved loved loved Rajasthan. Jodhpur is hands down my favorite city in India; Jaipur has some nice stuff to see as well.

      Have fun!

  13. e_pontellier :

    NYC Meet Up! October 17, 8PM.
    Since we have ‘r e t t e s coming from Brooklyn, Newark, and the East Side (at least), how does everybody feel about Hells Kitchen? Email me (e.pontellier.r e t t e [at] gmail [dot] com — no spaces) if you think you’ll be able to make it! Thanks everyone!

  14. Calling All Pears :

    Next time you are feeling a little down that your thighs are ONCE AGAIN too big for that tight fitting skirt…check this out. Our office did a wellness screening, and on the pamphlet it said:
    “Fat that is carried around the hips and things, giving one a “pear shaped” appearance, does not carry the same risks for disease as does abdominal fat.”

    I had no idea that hip/thigh fat was “healthier” fat. Of course, less fat everywhere is better, but it did make me smile a little.

    • I have read that this is one reason why men tend to be more negatively impacted by extra fat than women – because men tend to carry more in their guts. Interesting, though I tend to think that they’re still making most of that up as they go along :)

    • Well, yes. Having your vital organs surrounded by fat is very different than having fat padding your muscles.

  15. Apologies if this double-posts — one day I will learn not to use the dreaded “c-tail” word and avoid moderation:

    Good morning, ladies — I’m seeking some fashion and travel advice!

    I’m super excited to be headed to a friend’s wedding in India in a few weeks. There is essentially a week’s worth of evening activities scheduled in Delhi and Goa. There’s a c-ktail reception, sangeet/mehndi, party on the beach in Goa, and then the Hindu wedding ceremony. During the day, I expect I’ll be engaging in various sightseeing activities in the two cities.

    So, here is the collection of questions I put to your brilliant hive-mind:
    1) Based on what others have told me who have visited, for general sightseeing and visiting around Delhi and Goa, my usual summer-weather outfit of sundresses might be a little…immodest? The suggestion has been, oh, wear linen pants and a loose top (I own neither). Are a bunch of maxidresses and a light weight shirt/cardigan/wrap the way to go? Will I feel out of place in a knee-length summer dress, or are people overstating the case?
    2) According to the groom, only one of the above evening events is “black tie,” and the others are “casual dress” (the male centric answer was “you know, linen, summer suits”). I’ve been told western dress is expected of us westerners — or at least, we are not expected in saris (the bride’s family is not Indian). Do you think your standard c-tail dresses that I’ve been wearing all summer to weddings in the U.S. should be OK here for the non-black tie events?
    3) Are there any amazing do-not-miss activities or sights in either Delhi or Goa?

    Thanks, all!

    • SouthAsian :

      I’d recommend covering your legs. If you are not desi, people will be staring, I mean STARING at you wherever you go. Sleeveless is fine and feel free to carry a wrap/shawl with you. It’ll come in handy when you visit temples and wish to cover your head out of respect.

      Also, that groom is CLUELESS when it comes to women’s attire. All events require sparkle. Feel free to indulge in wearing salwar kameez. Wear all of the sparkly jewelries. At the same time. Bold makeup. Subtlety is not the name of the game here.

      • Agree – maxidresses are fine for everyday, don’t have bare legs, don’t have too much cleavage. For wedding events, be sparkly! And if you want to wear a sari and there’s somewhere you can get one made where you live (or if you have time to get one in India before the wedding), go for it.

        If the groom and bride both grew up in the States, a c-tail dress is probably fine for the wedding itself. Indian-Americans are not going to be alarmed at the sight of legs.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      You probably will feel okay in a knee length skirt or dress (I brought two white American friends to southern India and that’s basically all they wore) but any shorter than knee length would be somewhat inappropriate and make sure your decolletage is covered up. Both Delhi and Goa have tons of tourists, so you won’t stand out. That said yes, you will feel the MOST comfortable in tunic tops and leggings/loose pants (tighter pants under salwars is very common in the south, but I imagine it would be in the north as well, so this wouldn’t draw too much attention).

      FWIW, I’ve never been to a wedding in India where the American female guests wore standard cocktail dresses/pashminas. It might be because a lot of them wanted the opportunity to wear a sari or salwar kameez or lehenga, but I have seen some older women in festive suits. I have seen it at Indian weddings in America though, so I’m sure it wouldn’t be totally inappropriate.

      I recommend if you have time seeing the Taj in Agra (you’d have to hire a driver but it’s absolutely worth seeing) and the Red Fort. Goa is alllll about the beaches and there are tons of tourists – I have seen people in bikinis, etc, in the hotel-owned beaches, but I would not go onto a public beach wearing one.

      • I wore a cocktail dress to a beach wedding in Goa, but it was not low cut, came to my knees, and wasn’t fitted through hips/buttal region. And I had a wrap for my bare shoulders.

    • hellskitchen :

      You can wear your sundresses in Goa – you should be perfectly fine as the dress code is very casual there. For Delhi, maxi dresses should work but carry a scarf. Morning and late nights in Delhi can be chilly especially in Oct/Nov. You can also wear jeans/pants and tunic tops for sightseeing etc. For the wedding itself, I agree – even if the event is not black tie, sparkle, brights are expected. Wear dresses in bright colors and more formal fabrics – silk, satin, chiffon instead of cotton or linen. In fact, avoid linen in India… the humidity will do a number on it in 5 minutes. You can easily buy salwar kameez in Delhi or if you have printed colorful dresses, you can pair them with leggings in coordinating colors. Young women in India now often wear tunics and dresses with leggings instead of the traditional salwar kameez so you should blend in.

    • By the way, not sure what time of year you’re going, but Delhi got cold at night when I was there in January! Maybe 50 degrees–so bring some sweaters.

    • I went to an Indian wedding earlier this year, but in a different region. To echo SouthAsian – definitely cover your legs, and be prepared for stares. In tourist areas, it won’t be as extreme. But If you’re in smaller towns, people will be curious about why you are there. The staring is constant, and off-putting at first, but generally not threatening. My friends and I got a lot of very confused and curious looks.

      A maxi dress is fine, but wear it with a scarf. Make sure you have no visible cleavage. The general rule is high necklines and long hemlines, but sleeveless is fine. And wear lots of jewelry-there is no such thing as too much sparkle at an Indian wedding. Costume jewelry is fine, if you don’t want to travel with expensive things.

      And don’t forget extra luggage for the amazing shopping!

  16. My office is freezing this morning so I’m drinking tons of tea and hoping it heats up soon, but having such a hard time focusing because it’s so cold, so of course, I’m spending lots of time around here.

    I read the sales thread from yesterday… I thought the apology advice was really helpful – I’m (unfortunately) the same way – when I’m angry or upset, I say things I don’t mean but are really hurtful. I’m actually really lucky that not much fazes my SO so he doesn’t get upset otherwise it could definitely blow up into a disaster. I’m working on it though!

  17. To Allergies PSA (and to anyone else who cares about me whining about my allergies):

    I went to the ENT yesterday. Finally. The doctor stuck the scope up my nostrils and took pictures of inside my nose. That was an odd experience. I have a deviated septum and a swollen thingamagjig in one nostril. Which explains why things are so awesome when I take steroids. And why my firebreathing game is so off when I’m not. And why I’ve been a mouth-breather all my life.

    Also, having numbed nostrils is SUCH a strange feeling. I’m going to go back today for a more detailed discussion on my scans (the doctors office couldn’t locate my scans for some reason). It is unclear now if surgery will help me but I shall found out more today.

    Also, my ENT is really cute. Just sayin’.

    • K...in transition :

      If this becomes an amazing “how I met my husband” story (with you and the ENT), I’d like to ask forgiveness in advance for hating you just a little bit haha seriously though, yay for getting some answers and hopefully a plan so you feel better soon!

    • "Allergies" PSA :

      Thanks for the update.

      Yes, numb nasal passages and numb back-of-the-throat is weird. And I am not a fan of the feeling of having the scope go past my nose into my sinuses, either.

      I’m glad you are talking to him about what to do. Kind of surprised surgery wouldn’t help, but if you can avoid surgery, that is always a good thing. Congratulations. You are well on your way to fixing yourself!

      Hope your massage was good, too.

      We leave tomorrow on our trip. I am armed with Afrin (for plane), sinus rinsing paraphernalia, Nasonex and an inhaler for the wheezing. Walking pharmacy.

      • Yay traveling! I don’t know if you can take pseudoephedrine post-op but my allergist recommended I take one right before I get on the plane and do the whole Afrin thing to clear out my sinuses while landing and to get my ear to pop. It feels absolutely charming to pump nasal sprays on the plane in front of everybody but WHO CARES, I DON’T WANT CLOGGED SINUSES (and eventual sinus infections). There are also ear plugs that can help – they’re called Ear Planes, I think (they’re available at the drugstore).

        I forgot to schedule the massage but I ate badly. I like to think that makes up for it.

        • "Allergies" PSA :

          Good point re Sudafed. My sister-in-law, at whose home we will be staying, has a dog. Naturally — you knew this was coming — I am allergic to dogs. So Sudafed is also in my bag o’tricks. I will take one before the flight. The flight is 15 hours, so maybe I should take a 12-hour about an hour before take-off and another an hour before landing.

          The MD says I can take Sudafed and Claritin now, so it is fine.

          Only real restriction — and this is totally a first world problem — I had a regular Botox appointment scheduled last week. The dermatologist said she couldn’t do it until I had been off steroids for at least 14 days. So I will see her when we return.

          For all the talk here about wine and cookies (and I am a big proponent of both), when I want to really eat badly, my weapon of choice is Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips dipped in real sour cream straight in the tub. That’ll take five years off your cardio-wellness! Glad you enjoyed.

          • Cheetos and sour cream and onion chips dipped in microwaved cream cheese. With cream soda. Prescription for a happy life =).

          • Had a really long work day, and am munching on ruffles dipped in a really rich cream cheese. Feel happier already!

        • Serious travelers and flight attendants/pilots squirt saline in our noses all the time. It’s good for fighting off airplane germs and generally keeping your sinuses healthy on long-haul flights. So you shouldn’t feel weird at all about using nasal spray on the plane.

  18. I like this top, but I think it’s too low for work, and a cami would just look weird and mess up the line.

  19. House selling threadjack. Our house has been on the market for several months now. We recently moved most of our belongings out (job relo.) and are getting frustrated with the whole selling process. All reviews say that it is in great shape and that the upkeep is perfect. Our new realtor is recommending that we have it professionally staged ($$$). Any suggestions on what to expect and if it makes a difference?

    • K...in transition :

      there are many shows on hulu from HGTV (and on the network itself) that talk about staging… they basically set it up with the furniture that makes people see how gorgeously amazing it could be if the people bought it… for some, it helps to define spaces not so obvious, but if you have furniture, you could likely get a library book about it or watch some videos and try to do it yourself. Basically, put just as many pieces as you’d need to show what the space is, no clutter, minimal neutral decorations.

    • e_pontellier :

      Having a house professionally staged makes a HUGE difference. My mom’s a realtor and it definitely helps. It might not pay off right away, but as far as being able to get the best price for your home, I think it will really help. Will be interested to hear with others have to say though. Good luck!

    • Well first, obviously consider whether you are overpriced. But yes, staging can really help. It depends on how expensive it is, but people in general are so influenced by stuff like staging.

    • We are in the market to buy and honestly, I don’t know that that will help you. I actually prefer looking at empty properties. My guess is that you’re priced too high if it is not selling or getting seriously interested buyers. I see so many houses where I am that I cannot believe the prices on and then they lower the rice by 5k every 6 months and wonder why nothing different is happening. I can never figure out why their agent didn’t tell them it was the wrong price.

      If it were me, I’d take whatever money you would put into staging and use it as a “bonus” to the selling (buyer’s) agent. If you advertise it on the listing, this will encourage some agents to bring buyers when they may not have otherwise. I think you would get more bang for your buck than you would using a staging company.

    • We had our house professionally staged when we moved from Seattle. They turned it from a 600 square foot house that housed a professional couple a baby and a dog to a house that looked like a beachy, lovely little gem. The stager did things like found a couch that fit perfectly in our small living room and used other scaled down pieces of furniture so that it all looked appropriate and not cramped. She also did things like pick a color scheme for the accessories so that there was unity throughout the house. When we toured it after she finished it definitely was not our house anymore, but I imagined walking through it as a single professional person that was looking for a small low upkeep house and fell in love with it in a different way. Anecdotally, our house sold in under 6 weeks in 2011 when the market had not really started moving again in Seattle. I’m not sure if that was a part of it, but I definitely don’t regret it.

    • We paid for staging last year when we sold a house to relocate. I think the cost was around $2,000. Our house sold in three days (we had it priced pretty aggressively, however, since my new company reimbursed us for the loss). I thought the furniture, etc was hideous, but I am the type of person that prefers and empty house so that I can envision my own furniture there.

    • My neighbors didn’t stage for the first few months they were on the market. Price reductions did not help. Staging, I am sad to say, drastically increased the interest in their place, and they sold not long after. I didn’t want to do it when we sold our place, but it got really good feedback from the open house. Cost in my metro area was under $3K for two months.

    • Thanks ladies. We are already priced under appraised value and are low for $/square foot in the area. We aren’t excited about pouring more money into it, but we are less excited about endless months of carrying costs.

      • We just staged our place and I was very skeptical, but it turned out really well. It’s not exactly our taste, but we can see how it would appeal to buyers. I personally don’t love seeing empty spaces because it can be hard to determine scale (i.e. how big the room really is – to me, they always look smaller without furniture). The cost for us was about $1200 and I think well worth it. My thinking was that I really wanted the place to sell, and wanted to make sure I had done everything possible to do so. Best of luck.

  20. Meal Planning PSA –
    I just found out if you sign up for the Portion Control plan using emeals – it contains Weight Watcher points! Sweet!

    Also, they announced they are coming up with a Paleo plan this month.
    I’m loving this E-Meals thing so far!

    • Does it give you the meal ideas & grocery list? Or does it send you actual meals?

      • I use Relish (relishrelish.com), which includes WW points in the nutrition information, and generates a shopping list based on number of people you’re cooking for and which dinners you choose. I like it.

  21. Warning: Kid/Mom Question

    Moms, how do you keep going when you are dead tired from caring for an infant? Any tips to make sure you don’t forget things in the haze? My 7 month old is not sleeping, I am exhausted, and I am afraid that I will mess up something big. I would love some advice from the experienced moms out there!

    • Lists and planning ahead. Put everything you need for the next day by the door the night before, put baby’s bag in the front seat so your remember to drop off baby and bag at daycare (if applicable). Give yourself a break on things that don’t really matter. If you have an assistant or subordinate at work, have a planning session where you go over the upcoming deadlines, delegate what can be delegated and calendar/set up reminders for everything. I also think that eating healthy and drinking plenty of fluids can help your body with the sleep deprivation even though you may just be craving junk. It’s a phase and it passes. I promise.

      • +1 to lists! I have a luggage tag on my work bag, the baby’s diaper bag and my pumping bag with all the stuff that needs to be regularly in it. I pack and lay out as much as possible the night before. I carry my dayplanner/notepad everywhere and take notes all the time – I just assume I’m going to forget things and write everything down.
        -Use technology – If someone asks me to do a task or a favor, I ask them to email me – my coworkers (not boss, but colleagues) know that if they didn’t email it to me they didn’t really ask me. I also email myself. I use google calendar alarms to setup reminders for myself, which go off on both my computer and my phone. EVERYTHING goes on both the day planner and google calendar, and I review it about 6 times a day.
        -Delegate or outsource whatever you can. My husband does a lot of the housework and care for my older son, we have dinner at my parents house 2x a week where they load us down with leftovers for another 1-2 meals.
        -Nap wherever, whenever. Lunchtime, midafternoon on weekends, etc. If baby goes to bed early for once, you go too. As soon as I get home I change into clothes that are acceptable in public but that I could sleep it too (t-shirts & loose workout pants, etc) so I can go to sleep at the first instant possible.

    • No good advice. It is trite, but “This too shall pass” the baby will eventually sleep more, and so will you. I took to writing lists. It worked for both house stuff and work. Good luck.

      When you say the baby is not sleeping, do you mean that the baby naps too much during the day and isn’t tired at night? Or, that the baby is hungry at night, or the baby is confused at night? Maybe asking your pediatrician for specific ways to address your baby’s specific nighttime habits would be helpful?

      You’ll get through it!

    • Write down EVERYTHING. During that stage, I learned that I could not trust myself to remember anything. So, I took copious notes during meetings, made a bazillion to-do lists throughout the day, and made a weekly status sheet that clearly stated what the top priorities were & what could slide.

      Good luck! You have my sympathies. This was one of the toughest new-mom stages for me, too. You’re expected to be back in the swing of things, but it is so tough when your baby isn’t sleeping yet.

    • I have an 8 month old and 3 other kids. I hear you. All you can do is outsource where possible (cooking, cleaning), cut yourself some slack (you don’t have to do everything perfectly all the time), prioritize (temporarily put off everything you can in favor of more sleep), and take it one day at a time. These days will fly by and it will get easier once your baby reaches about a year. Good luck!

    • Diana Barry :

      Take a day off from work if you can, and take some naps, ONLY, don’t try to get errands done. :)

      Try not to drive if you can avoid it – if you get sleepy in the car turn up the radio to LOUD and putt he windows down.

      Don’t do activities in the evening and go to bed when you put baby down, like at 7 or 8 – then hopefully you can get a chunk of sleep before baby wakes up for the first time.

      See if baby is teething and/or has an ear infection. The ear infection can present as not sleeping (eg crying when they lie down), and if just teething, MOTRIN and not tylenol.

      Lists, endless lists for work, plus deadlines etc., so the list will remember for you if you can’t.

      Good luck!

    • DC Association :

      Agree with what others have said. Especially the give yourself a break. When you are so tired, who the heck cares if the house is clean or not? What’s the difference? Other suggestions:

      1. Can you get some relatives/friends to come visit for the weekend where they agree to care for baby the ENTIRE time? So…you know you are free to sleep late, just go take a nap whenever the heck you want to, go to bed early, zone out in front of the TV, go for a mani/pedi, etc. There’s got to be someone, especially a grandparent or friend with no kids, someone who has older kids who misses the baby stage, etc. Looking back I wish I had taken more advantage of my mom’s many offers to do this for me. if someone will do it, DON”T think to yourself that you want to spend time with them. They’ll come again when you have more energy and then you’ll enjoy their company more.

      2. Sleeping…yes, do tell us the problem. Is it not sleeping thru the night, teething, what? My son was a great sleeper…until he wasn’t. (was sleeping thru the night at 2 months.) Long story short…he had ear infections and finally got tubes. I swear, as soon as he got the tubes, he was sleeping like a champ again. Turns out he probably had many more ear infections than we knew of, and they were worse than we knew. Poor baby probably had both a high tolerance for pain and was used to it (so to speak) so we were not clued in.

      3. cover baby’s feet at night if they’re not covered (i.e. by socks or footie PJs). My niece slept horribly until…one night she fell asleep with her socks on and was just put in the crib. that was the night she finally slept beautifully. cuz her feet were cold. Yes, this was summertime.

      4. try swaddling. Yes at 7 months. My son was swaddled until he was almost 9 months. The fact that he was sleeping and we were sleeping was all that mattered. I could have cared less about all the comments I got from people saying, “what you are still swaddling him at 9 months?!!!” I said, “YEP and he sleeps. So, what’s the difference?” We had this super industrial swaddling blanket with velcro. You can leave the arms out even, I think it sometimes is the feeling of being cuddled all night that is soothing. We stopped when he started pulling up to standing on his own. You gotta know your baby – my son was not a big mover at night. I understand how it might make people nervous and all.

      5. Is baby’s room too light? seriously, a pitch-black room could help. get some ight-blocking shades.

      good luck to you!!

    • It makes me feel so much better just to know that this will pass eventually. All of my real-life mom friends say that their little ones are sleeping great by this age.

      I am totally going to try swaddling again! She was an awesome sleeper for the first 4 months or so. Our sleep troubles started when she outgrew our beloved Miracle Blanket and then started rolling over, so I stopped swaddling. I have experimented with various positions (flat in the crib, elevated in the Rock N Play, co-sleeping) and none seem to be appreciably different. I don’t think it’s an ear infection (she was just checked last week). I think it might be part teething (I need to find some Motrin). Also, maybe she is hungry? She ate her first ever bottle of formula last night around 3 am and then fell asleep immediately. I will definitely try a completely dark room, and we do use white noise.

      She sleeps ok during the day – usually 2-4 hours of naps per day. We have a consistent bedtime routine, but are not always 100% consistent on the timing. (I tend to adjust based on what her day has been like.) If anything, I think she might be overtired from not sleeping enough during the day. She goes down fine at night, sleeps about 2 hours at first, but then she’s up very often after that.

      • My baby did not sleep through the night consistently until he was 6 months. I was so wiped out that we actually paid a sleep trainer to come for a week. Here is what she suggested:
        1. Swaddling. We got SwaddleMe blankets (they have velcro and go up to 22 pounds).
        2. We also had to change the type of diaper we were using (we cloth diaper and had to experiment with different brands; we even tried disposable overnight diapers but my baby was a super heavy wetter and could soak one in ten minutes).
        3. We would feed him an extra large bottle before bed, and my LC told me to save the milk I pumped first thing in the morning because it has more fat in it.
        4. We also used a white noise machine.
        5. If the baby wakes up at night, give him/her a chance to settle before jumping up. My tolerance for crying was less than five minutes; our pediatrician said that fifteen minutes was fine for older babies. You may want to check w/your doctor.

        Hope this helps!

        • Just curious – did you swaddle arms in, and after your baby started rolling? I thought it was a no-no, but my pediatrician seemed to think it was ok.

          What did you settle on for diapers? We have actually had best luck with the thirsties duo fitted (better than disposables), but nothing works lately.

          I am going to try to the extra large bottle before bed! Actually, I will probably give her some formula and nurse. I seriously might hire a sleep consultant if this continues. I don’t need her to STTN but I would like to get it down to 1-2 wakings/night. Thanks for the ideas!!

          • DC Association :

            I am posting again EB0220 with a couple more ideas…

            -try putting on TWO diapers if she is a heavy wetter. saves the disturbance of changing diapers in the middle of night and offers more protection. one of my friends did this and it worked for her.

            -another trick for me was, I’d put baby down to sleep and I’d stay up a couple more hours…so then I’d “wake” baby for a “dream feed” before I went to bed for the night. So you are waking up baby on your terms and then the belly is full when you go to bed. (I personally prefer to go to bed later and sleep for as long a stretch as possible, rather than going to bed and then waking up halfway thru the night.)

            -I always swaddled arms in but that was me. And I am serious about this – I am in process of passing on/donating all my baby items and coincidentally came across my swaddle blanket (the Miracle Blanket, I believe, based on their website but not 100% sure…very similar to it). MUCH stronger than the Swaddle Me, which we also had but this one is bettert. I am happy to send it to you. I’m serious. Post an anonymous email address and I will write you if you’re interested. I kinda hate to just donate it to goodwill or whatever, and my local charity for moms/babies won’t take used blankets (weird, not sure why)…and would love it to go to someone who’d really benefit from the thing. It was a lifesaver for me.

            -have you read anything from “The Sleep Lady”? I remember a good website and bulletin boards. Her method works.

            Let me know on the swaddle blanket!

          • We swaddled arms in. I also thought it was bad but the hospital swaddled starting immediately after delivery. We used sleep sacks at home for months, but they weren’t doing the trick. Also, I’m not a doctor, but I think I read that the risk of SIDS drops markedly after six months. I figured that the risk of harm to the baby was much higher from me crashing the car due to sleep deprivation while driving him an hour each way to daycare than from swaddling.

            We have used two different nighttime diaper set ups. The first is the Wizard Duo with the Stay Dri nightime insert. That thing could probably hold a five gallon bucket of water. It is serious. The second is an amalgation. We use SoftBums during the day, and at night, we use a mini pad with a bamboo doubler, covered with a Mother’s Ease Stay Dri liner folded in half (it’s basically a piece of cloth). My baby doesn’t really go to the bathroom at night any more, but when he was in the heavy wetting stage (roughly 5-8 months), we would cover that whole setup with a woolie. We didn’t need woolies with the Wizard Duo. I think the key with both diaper configurations was that they had a wicking polyester piece on top, so the baby didn’t feel moisture against his skin.

            Hang in there and good luck!

      • Yes: this two shall pass (advice I’m reminding myself of with a toddler who loves to sneak out of her bed at 4 am).

        Ditto on the swaddling (<3 Miracle Blanket!!), and try Halo sleepsacks as well–they are not truly swaddles but are back-sleeping safe and were super cozy when it got cooler. They are bigger than most swaddles so you can use them past 1 year (or 1 year size). I think it's like having a nice fleece blanket on, which might help.

        Not sure if you've tried this, but often with our kids we'd give them a formula bottle as their last meal before bed–formula is heavier than BM and we found that kept them down longer. Sometimes if you nurse them 1-2 hours before bedtime, than give formula, you can get more bang for your food buck.

        Have you done any sleep training? I'll admit I'm a huge wimp and let my kids go without any training longer than I should have, but I had long maternity leaves so could handle the lack of sleep a little better. I never did the total cry it out, but the modified cry, send-partner-in-to-reassure/deal, repeat. Sleep training is a whole other kettle of fish but maybe one long weekend if you can handle it, it may be worth a try. It helps if you have a partner and you both work together; if I ever entered the room while a baby was sleep training/crying, it's game over (because mom = food, and they won't let up on that front).

        Finally, I will totally own up that we strolled our younger to sleep for a loooong time (i.e.: put her in the snap-n-go and pushed her back and forth until she fell alseep)–like past one year–because she was not so good at the sleeping. (And clearly it's still a work in progress.) I know suburban parents will do the drive-to-sleep thing, too.

        Hang in there. It gets better.

      • is she eating much table food yet? We’ve found a higher fat late evening snack helps – like avocado or mixing some meat into veggies. Just veggies & cereal around dinner actually makes sleeping worse for us, we’ve found its better to just nurse rather than give a dinner thats totally carb-y with no fats.
        You said she had her first ever formula bottle – is your milk supply dropping? She might be trying to nurse all night as a growth spurt to increase your supply, or going through the 6 month growth spurt a little late. Oatmeal, mother’s milk tea & iron suppliments helped me increase my supply somewhat and we sleep better when I remember to take them.
        And definitely try ibuprofin & swaddling – both have helped our family. Last resort for us has been co-sleeping – I put the baby down in his bed around 9, and when he wakes up for the first time around 12 or so I bring him into bed to nurse. He wakes up 1-3 more times in the night, but since I don’t have to really wake up all the way to deal with it, its not so exhausting.
        Good luck! Oh, and I totally second the idea to take a vacation day to just nap! I’m planning one later this week or early next week depending on my schedule. Even a half day to go home and take an afternoon nap can make all the difference!

      • DC Association :

        Oh, I am re-reading and see you did have the Miracle Blanket. But maybe you just need a bigger size? My son was in it til 9 months.

      • My baby didn’t sleep through the night regularly until he was about 10 months old. He’s just a terrible sleeper. Some are like that, seems like especially boys. You have my sympathies. I second the drink lots of water suggestion. If nothing else, it keeps you getting up every so often to go to the bathroom. It really does get better, even though these months seem interminable. (And now I have an infant again and we are starting allllll over… But he seems to be a better sleeper so far. *crossed fingers*)

    • Are you me? No advice, just commiseration. My 7-month old has had 4 ear infections so far and is just.not.sleeping. We’re going to an ENT next week but oh my god, the exhaustion. We’re outsourcing what we can, but I can’t outsource my job, and at this point its the mental fuzz that is the worst. I am quite literally, the stupidest I’ve ever been in my life due to chronic sleep deprivation.
      It gets better eventually, right?

  22. reposting from late Sunday night where it was buried, apologies if I am annoying anyone who has to read it twice:

    BIG THANKS to PollyD, KLG, ABr, Sweet as Soda Pop, shortiek, (and anyone else I’m forgetting) I just got back from my First Ballet Class in Nineteen Years!!!! Woo! It completely kicked my a$$, but it definitely wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. I really can’t do the things I used to be able to, which feels weird, but no one seemed to mind when I missed the steps ;o) The teacher just kind of jumped into where the rest of the class was, but she spent a good amount of time coming over to adjust me on the basics, and was very nice and encouraging after the class that she just wants people to be able to dance and have fun!

    I am So. Sore. right now ;o) but i will def be going back. Thanks to all of you for the advice and encouragement!!

    Meanwhile I am SO SORE still!! (might have overdone it a teensy bit) Any advice for pain relief besides advil? It’s even hard to concentrate at work, and my desk chair isn’t helping ;o)

    • Advice for the future– Take the advil/aleve before you go to class. It might be just a placebo effect, but I swear that it makes it hurt better the next day. Also, be sure to listen to your body in class. For example, I have a bad habit of getting an arabesque higher by gripping my back muscles (if that makes sense) but it will make my back hurt horribly the next day. It’s always a hard balance when you start back up because you have the muscle memory to do things but your muscles don’t have the strength to do what they used to.

      Advice for now– If you have time go get a massage. It helps a lot when you have that lingering soreness. You could try bengay or icy hot today to get some relief. Watch out it can mess up your clothes.

    • While I am not a ballerina (although I’d like to be), do some light cardio after class to get the juices flowing. In my head, ballet counts as strength training and while the soreness does feel delicious, it make things a bit difficult. Someone on here pointed out walking on a treadmill or elliptical very slowly after a workout – it’s worked wonders for my DOMS. Maybe jumping jacks.

    • I’m so happy you had a good experience! As for the soreness, sure, ibuprofen, advil, aspirin, whatever. But I think the real key is to keep going to class – you will be less sore each time. Also, try to get up and walk around more frequently than you might otherwise.

    • Medicinal Marijuana since you’re in Cali. DUH.

  23. Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

    Any advice appreciated.

    My step-daughter’s mom is sending two sets of emails these days. The first set, to my SD and my fiance, agrees to pay half of SD’s expenses for extracurricular activities (this is what the divorce order says and what they have been doing for years since the divorce).

    The second set of emails, to my fiance only, contains threats to sue him if he doesn’t start paying 100% of SD’s expenses.

    Ex-wife was told over the summer that she wasn’t doing her job because she was spending 40-50% of every month on the other coast with her boyfriend. She was given a choice: keep your job, stop traveling to see boyfriend, keep you salary OR take new less demanding job, keep traveling to see boyfriend, take lower salary. She chose the lower salary.

    After she chose the lower salary, she demanded my fiance pay 100% of SD’s expenses. He said yes on the condition that she waive spousal support, which she has never used and which she told him she would never use. But she has the option to ask the court for it at any time, as long as she is alive and has not remarried.

    She refused, threatened to sue, left on a 2 week European vacation with boyfriend. When SD emailed both parents about an extracurricular expense, my fiance said he’d pay half. Ex-wife wrote back to SD and fiance that she would pay half. Then she wrote a separate email to fiance only saying that she will sue him when she returns.

    Advice? SD is merrily walking around the world thinking that mom is great. Meanwhile, fiance and I are consulting with attorney and generally experiencing anxiety — all because ex-wife wants us to subsidize her dating choices.

    • If I remember correctly, you mentioned a while back that your SD is 13 or so. That’s old enough to learn the truth about her mother. I understand you and your fiancé wanting to shelter her but the girl deserves to know the truth. Maybe when she does she could help her mom see that the only person she’s hurting is her daughter and not her ex-husband and his fiancé. Best of luck with this situation.

      • e_pontellier :

        Yeah, she sounds old enough to learn what’s going on. However, she’s probably going to be resentful if this appears to her that you and your fiance are painting her mom to be a bad person / frustrating to deal with. It sounds horrible, all around, so good luck. Wish I had better advice.

      • Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

        SD is 17 and a senior in high school. She deep-down knows that mom’s mental state is not the same as most other people, mostly because it is often turned on her as the daughter, but she doesn’t want to believe it.

        My only concern if we end up litigating would be that we (mom and SD) are all clear that mom is the aggressor here.

        • K...in transition :

          What if you respond to those emails by forwarding them to SD and nothing else? You don’t need to say things that might be interpreted as you talking down on her mom, you’re just providing her information.

          Also, keep these for documentation purposes in court!

          • K...in transition :

            clarification… I mean that, if it comes up with SD in the future when she is an adult or something, then you can forward them to her or show them to her. (and if this time comes, her dad should do this, not you.) For now, put her first, pay for whatever you can manage when mom won’t, and take mom to court for her half…

            heck, take her to small claims for it if necessary!

        • I wouldn’t worry about explaining it to SD. I had divorced parents, and I eventually realized which parent was causing all the problems. I didn’t say so when I was still a minor, but I knew. And now as a full adult with a deeper understanding of the facts, I have an enormous amount of love and respect for the parent who was truthful, refrained from bad-mouthing my other parent to me, and was acting in my best interest the whole time. Those should be your goals (which it sounds like they are).

          If you end up litigating or going through another noticeable procedure, you husband should give a brief, objective, factual description of the situation without bad mouthing the mother. (e.g. showing the two sets of emails to SD and saying “Obviously these two stances are not compatible with each other, and we need to figure out which version is legally correct to make sure you’re taken care of, the budget is in order, and the bills are paid. We will try to get through this as quickly and as painlessly as possible.”) If SD asks any questions, answer them as directly and objectively as possible, again without bad-mouthing the mother (no matter how much she deserves it).

          How your SD deals with her mother is really an issue that she has to work out herself, especially given that she is already a young woman.

    • Diana Barry :

      I would get your attorney on it asap. Does the ex-wife have an attorney with whom your attorney can communicate?

      Also, when you say “she has the option to ask the court for it at any time”, what does the separation agreement/divorce order say? I would show that to your attorney as well. Your fiance may want to go back to court and get a revised order if what’s on the agreement and the de facto arrangement are not the same.

      I would not consider SD’s feelings on the matter. Put those in a box. Let you and your fiance deal with the emails/legal stuff separately, even though you want to tell SD that her mother is behaving badly.

      • Diana Barry :

        Also, sorry, I’m not clear on what the ex-wife “was told”. By whom? Does she have any legal restrictions on her travel in the agreement/divorce order?

        • Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

          Her employer is her mother. Mom is still close with my fiance and she told him about the issues with ex-wife’s performance and her choice. Unclear if she would tell the truth about her daughter if subpoenad to testify.

          We are working with our attorney, and he has seen everything. So far, although ex-wife’s emails indicate she is too (she is using words that she does not know), she has not identified her attorney. If her attorney can exert some client control, we will get the deal we want (it is good for both sides). If her attorney is a hack, she will be emboldened to sue.

          We live in a state where the court cannot truncate the right to spousal support, but the parties can so stipulate. The divorce order includes no such waiver/stipulation. Unfortunately, in addition to the state default that she can ask for alimony if there is any “material change in circumstance,” she can also ask for it if either she is unable to support herself through no fault of her own, or if my fiance’s income becomes large enough that he can support both of them at the marital standard of living. No, neither of them had a lawyer look at the agreement, and I think the mediator was a hack.

          Obviously, we would have to prove all of this with admissible evidence, which would cost more to collect and present than the amount of SD’s expenses.

          No issue about her traveling. There are no restrictions and she mostly does it when SD is with us (we have 50/50). Now that SD is 17, sometimes mom travels when SD is at mom’s house and SD stays home alone for a day or two. We live close, she is a good kid, and it has been fine.

          • I get that this is a really tough situation, but it seems like you are over involved in the ex spouse’s life. Why do you know about her bf and job situation? Why is your fiance still talking to her mother? Also how do you know what words she knows/doesn’t know? I’m sure there is a lot of back story here, but if I were your fiance I would reply to her emails and say, per your earlier email, I am only going to pay half. If you want to meet and discuss with an attorney, we can.

            Its always hard dealing with your SO’s ex, but there must be good things about her, since at somepoint your SO married her and had a child with her. I would try to focus on the good things and resist the temptation to paint her as an evil w*tch, especially for his daughter’s sake.

          • Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

            @ cici

            My fiance moved to this country to marry her in the early 1980s. He was not able to go home to visit very frequently because it was expensive. Ditto re phone calls. And there was no email then.

            So his former MIL, who lives in our town, became a surrogate mom for him. They were married for 20 years and he always had a good relationship with MIL. Among other things, MIL was often the voice of reason who smoothed her daughter’s rough edges. After the divorce, when ex-wife forbade her mother from seeing the kids, my fiance drove them to see their grandma on weekends when they were with us. (I should note that grandma has always been above board with me, too.)

            I guess what I am saying is that, as in many families with mental illness issues, there is a history of dysfunction and one of its components is that grandma and my fiance have always been close, despite ex-wife’s current status with fiance, grandma or kids. That has overwhelmingly inured to the benefit of the kids, who otherwise would have gone long periods (when ex-wife was fighting with her mom) without seeing their grandma. And since their other set of grandparents lives on another continent, that is important.

            PS: I know what words she knows because English is her second language and she is not quite fluent in it, especially in writing and especially with legal terms.

          • Ah that all makes a lot of sense. i didn’t realize there was mental illness. Is that a recent develop? if not, I’m guessing that the SD knows right? I think I would still encourage you to look for the good that was there for 20 years, but to absolutely keep the lawyers involved and informed.

    • First, DON’T INVOLVE YOUR STEPDAUGHTER IN THIS. Let her walk around thinking her mom is great. Her mom sounds like an f— up, and eventually she’ll show her true colors to her daughter. SD does not need to hear it from you. Apart from the fact that she’d likely try not to believe you and would turn against you, kids don’t need to have their illusions shattered early than necessary. Let her think the world is a nice and safe place until life shows her otherwise.

      I’m speaking from experience, both my own and my adopted brother’s.

      Second, you and your husband should act in the best interests of your SD. Assuming you can afford it, pay for your SD’s stuff. It’s important that gets to do her extracurriculars and she shouldn’t have to give them up because her parents can’t agree on something. Consult with your lawyer on this and document all payments beyond what’s required by the custody agreement.

      Third, I think you’re doing it already, but if not, renegotiate the custody agreement and get it in legally binding writing that the mom will forgo spousal support in exchange for him paying 100% expenses.

      • Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

        Got you on 1 and 2.

        On 3, the only way to truncate spousal support in our state is if the ex-wife agrees. She is refusing.

        • I just saw that SD is 17. Is this really worth your emotional energy, since (I assume) custody and support issues will terminate when she turns 18?

          My mom (who had primary custody) was a total deadbeat who had a hard time keeping us above the poverty line, and my dad paid for everything and I never had a clue. He thought it just wasn’t worth it to fight about it.

          • Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

            We don’t have any real issue with paying Mom’s half for the next year (assuming mom doesn’t convince SD to take up horseback riding or some other really expensive activity she is not now currently doing just because dad is now paying).

            But if we are going to do that, we would like mom to waive spousal support so that we do not have to spend the rest of our lives waiting for her to threaten to ask for it or to actually ask for it. She threatens every year or so and uses it as leverage to get what she wants. Under our state’s laws, she can continue to do that until she dies or remarries. I do not want to be 73 and be in court because she has decided she wants alimony.

            She is healthy, has a college degree, has always worked (even while married) and has supported herself just fine for the almost 7 years since she left my fiance. She bought a new house 2 years ago without help from him, for example. She told him during the divorce she would never ask for alimony. Yet we are living under the threat that she will change her mind. We would like her to put her “I will never ask for it” in writing and file it with the court so that we can get on with our lives.

          • Wow, is there no statute of limitations on requesting alimony? I assumed that if you didn’t get it during the divorce you can’t get it, that’s crazy

          • Ah, ok. So the spousal support continues indefinitely, not just until SD is 18? I didn’t understand that.

            This is rough. I don’t really understand why someone in this situation would be awarded alimony in the first place. It sounds like she’s holding the spousal support in reserve for when she might want it – like, she knows she can reduce her hours at her job because she can always request alimony if money gets tight. Can she request it for any reason, or does she actually have to show hardship in order to request it?

            Anyway, I understand your reasons for wanting to take it to court. Try to do so in the way that will be least likely to involve or affect your SD. Maybe if you have proof that she’d previously offered to waive alimony (like one of her emails) it’ll be easier to get the divorce agreement modified?

          • I didn’t finish my thought.

            Maybe if you have proof that she’d previously offered to waive alimony (like one of her emails) and that you relied on her offer to waive alimony and have been paying for SD’s expenses based on that offer it’ll be easier to get the divorce agreement modified?

            Contracts and the bar exam were a long time ago and I know nada about family law, but iirc offer + acceptance = binding contract.

  24. Sydney Bristow :

    Another Halloween party question.

    I’m hosting a Halloween party and I’m a little stuck on the menu. The general theme is classic kids Halloween a la Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Most things I’m making and the decor include candy corn or candy corn colors. I’ve got desserts down. My problem is appetizers. Most Halloween-theme food is meant to look gross, creepy, or scary, which doesn’t match my theme.

    So any idea for Halloween-theme or orange, yellow, and white colored appetizers?

    • I had some peppadews stuffed with a little creamy cheese at a wedding recently — with orange and red peppers, they were tasty and very autumnal.

      I will keep thinking about this. Also, get thee to pinterest! :)

    • How about sweet potatoes sliced, cut into cute shapes (like pumpkins), and then tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted? You could serve them as is (roasted sliced sweet potatoes are my favorite!), or maybe with a dip or topped with blue cheese?

      Oh, and how about spiced pepitas? That would fit the pumpkin theme!

      Or you could cut mozzarella cheese into ghost shapes and serve it on mini pizzas, or layered with tomatoes and basil to make a caprese-type salad.

    • What about popcorn with fun toppings? Cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper,or just paprika if you want the color. You could serve it in something fun, too, if you want to do individual sizes. For a more formal appetizer, you could do a caprese stack with yellow tomatoes instead of (or as well as) red. Something small would be roasted pumpkin seeds. Good luck! This is making me hungry…

      • Ooh, three batches of popcorn: one with orange cheddar powder, one with turmeric for the yellow, and one with white cheddar or plain salt, then mix the dyed popcorn up — that would look super adorable! (I’m definitely stealing that!)

    • Anon for this :

      If you are near a Trader Joes, they have delicious sweet potato chips (orange, round). Serve with a trio of festive colored dips (maybe a roasted red pepper hummus, a sour-cream based dip with onion or chive, and guacamole)?

      Second the peppadews or cherry tomatoes stuffed with herbed soft cheese (pipe in using a pastry bag for speed and pretty presentation).

      Mini meatballs served with a savory pumpkin-spiked dipping sauce, hollow out a pumpkin to serve the meatballs in.

    • Easy: Carrots and bell peppers with ranch or sour cream-based dip, toast points with orange or white cheese, potato or macaroni salad, melon and prosciutto, finger sandwiches with cream cheese and smoked salmon

      Harder: soup served in little hollowed-out pumpkins instead of bowls

      Also some candy corn have chocolate bottoms instead of white ones, so perhaps you could add brown to the color theme?

    • Chunky seasoned sweet potato wedges/fries? With an awesome dip? Oven-roasted yellow squash would work for this, also.

      • FONDUE. YES.

      • AnonInfinity :

        FONDUEFONDUEFONDUE

        Also, after Bunkster’s bark last Christmas season, I am making anything she suggests.

        • Any chance I can get the link to Bunkster’s Bark?

          • Here’s the recipe:
            12 oz semi-sweet chips (prob does not occur with choc chips)
            12 oz white chocolate (I used 3 Ghirardelli bars)
            peppermint extract
            crushed peppermint candy (I used canes)

            Melt the chips with a splash of extract in the microwave. Pour into an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet and spread out. You don’t have to cover the whole pan, but you want to make it a thin cover. Freeze. You only need to freeze for about 1/2 hour.

            Melt the white chocolate with a splash of extract in the microwave. Stir in 3/4 of the crushed candy. Spread over the chocolate on the sheet. Press remaining crushed candy on top and return to freezer. It should be ready in about 3 hours.

            Please note that the original recipe I consulted suggested tempering the chocolate, but that seemed more complex and time-consuming so I skipped it. Also, you can’t temper choc chips.

      • Don’t invited the Biebs. He will cry.

    • You could also do a soup, like butternut squash or pumpkin soup (with spiced pepita seeds on top for a garnish). The nice thing is you can prepare it in advance and then just warm it up day of. If you serve it in shot glasses or little cups, like those little disposable coffee cups with the handles, people can just sip it like a warm cider and then they don’t need to use two hands.

      • Other ideas, since you’re getting a lot of orange ideas, but not so much in the yellow and white categories.

        White: You could do roasted cauliflower. Or you could do tempura vegetables, which come out looking mostly white. You could also make white drinks — like a white russian (which I realize isn’t completely white). White asparagus wrapped in shaved parmesan would also be all white. And obviously if you want to work in some meat, you could do chicken or pork as those are both “white” meats — maybe on skewers or in a meatball form on a cracker. Maybe with some kind of salsa in yellow or orange to add to the color pallete.

        Yellow: Obviously yellow bell peppers come to mind first. If you can still get them, yellow tomatoes are also fun and different ( you could make yellow salsa — also I think available in jarred form). Several varietals of squash are also yellow on the outside, including spaghetti squash which is just fun. Tortilla chips are yellow too (when store bought or made with corn tortillas).

        • Plus you can use turmeric powder to make anything yellow. Even green food turns yellow with copious amounts of spices (don’t ask).

    • We recently saw some orange bell peppers cut to look like Jack-o-Lanterns and then stuffed. They were totally cute.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      You all are my heroes! Seriously, I was so stuck. I bake a lot but when it comes to cooking or non-sweets I’m just not creative or skilled. I think I can make most of the suggestions here though once I manage to narrow down the awesome ideas. Thanks!

  25. Hey ladies,

    First, thanks to everyone for the San Francisco recommendations. We went to Sebo and to House of Prime Rib. Sebo was phenomenal. It was probably my favorite part of the trip. Meanwhile, I think HOPR was Mr. TBK’s favorite part. Plus we’ve had amazing weather so it’s been a terrific trip all around.

    Second, I just want to say how much I appreciate the thoughtfulness and civility surrounding last week’s fair trade discussion. I’m flattered that some of you were so interested in what I had to say. I told Mr. TBK about what I’d written and he said “are you now going to duck and cover?” I was very happy to say that there was no flaming and that everyone seemed to be genuinely engaged in the conversation. That’s so rare even IRL and even rarer online. I hope that if anyone disagrees with what I said, or has any holes to poke in my arguments that they’ll speak up. It’s such an important issue and I’d rather get it right by being shown I’m wrong than just have my ego kept safe by avoiding criticism.

    Thanks ladies!

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