Thursday’s TPS Report: Leroy & Perry Leopard Knit Tee

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

Leroy & Perry Leopard Knit TeeFor some reason, this morning, I am in the mood for leopard print. There’s a lot of it out there right now (including this lovely cardigan at Piperlime, or this gorgeous blouse left in lucky size 6) but I think for this morning’s TPS I like this silk/cotton knit tee with “lime zest trim.” I think it would be great under a blazer, or perhaps worn on top of a crisp white button-front blouse. It was $278, but is now marked to $89 at Intermix. Leroy & Perry Leopard Knit Tee

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Comments

  1. What an unusual pick, but I really like it. Good idea about the white button up, depending on the thickness of the tee.

    Question: When I fly, I really don’t care about window or aisle; I just want to be close to the front of the plane so I can get off quickly. But recently, for the last year or so, when I book my flights, the only available seats are at the back of the plane. And I book my tickets reasonably far in advance – like at least six weeks, usually more. What gives?

    • I think everyone wants to sit at the front of the plane, so the airlines have started charging more for those seats. They might fall under “premium economy” now — airlines are doing the same for exit rows as well. Although, anecdotally, every time I’ve traveled in the past year it has seemed like most my flights have been full. I don’t know if airlines have reduced the number of flights to save money.

      • I thought about that, but I never see that option when I’m checking out (except for the exit rows). My flights are almost always full too. I miss the days of half-empty flights!

        • The airline I use does this – you need to pay to sit in the front of steerage. If it’s already full, you don’t get the option and you have to sit in the back. If not, you have the option to pay when you pick your seat at booking (I don’t book through expedia or travelocity, but the airline site).

          If you fly a lot, and if your policies will let you, maybe consider picking one airline and enrolling in the loyalty mileage program? On my airline, if you fly over a certain # of miles each year, you automatically get those front seats for free (if it’s not already full).

          • At least if you sit in the back you won’t have to gate check your carry on!

      • Or maybe they are only showing those seats to people who are logged in and are part of the platinum/diamond/whatever frequent flier club? My husband & I had to get tickets through 2 different sources for the same flights (AMEX using points for one, travelocity with work account for the other) and we were offered different seat availability, although they were mostly in the middle/back of the plane.

      • Yeah, I think some airlines ask you to pay a premium for those seats. I usually pick aisle, but on my non-stop 3 1/2 hour flight on Sunday night, I was by the window. I was so cramped up and miserable!

      • They’ve definitely reduced the number of flights. I feels it!

    • Not sure what gives, but I often switch my seats when I get to the airport. My last few flights didn’t allow me to pick seats at all, but the agent was able to switch them on day of flight. So maybe try that?

    • Airlines often require the back of the plane to be filled first – apparently safety-related, to balance out the weight of the plane – before releasing blocks of seats nearer the front. I’ve been asked to request my preferred seat at the gate and that’s worked out fine.

    • Just a general (obvious) observation, but flying really sucks. We pay a lot of money to be treated poorly. I’m trying to decide if I pay the airlines or the cable company more money for pure abuse.

  2. Thoughts on uniqlo fit? I’m a 10 in Gap, large okay?

    • Fit runs small – I’m a US size 0 or 2 and can wear their t-shirts in S or M.

      • I’d agree. I usually take my standard size (S) for shirts, but size up for Heattech, which seems to run small (since it’s fitted and all).

    • A lot of people have said it runs small, but I don’t find that to be true for me. I’m a reliable xs/0 in Gap/BR and Uniqlo xs/o always works for me. Then again, others have also said the fit is boxy, and the only sweaters I’ve gotten from them (a couple years ago) aren’t. Maybe order 2 sizes and return? Which is probably too much of a pain b/c you’re not in the States?

      Sorry, I guess my answer wasn’t that helpful. But at least you have one person’s experience.

      • That’s helpful. They have stores in the UK so returns shouldn’t be a problem. Was looking at some of the heatwave stuff to survive this miserable winter!

        • I have found the heatwave stuff to run small – it is really meant to wear as a tight underlayer rather than as a standalone garment. I have a couple of long-sleeved tees that sometimes I wear under suits, and I sized up for them.

        • Glad it’s helpful. Also, I’ve never bought Heatwave stuff, only sweaters and jeans. Also, I realized after I posted my comment that the stuff about the States was dumb and US-centric. Obviously, it’s a Japanese company that has brick and mortar stores outside the States! Sorry.

        • They also have the exact measurements of the garments listed on the webpage. Heattech is really very fitted, but I’m a UK 10 and I have a couple of T-shirts and leggings in small. They are warmer than regular stuff in my opinion.

    • It really depends on the product. I do find that many items run small…(but it might just be my weight creep from moving to a desk job this past year). You should be okay with a L. I do find that their fitted products don’t take into account bo obs. I have a dress that looks great but I can’t breathe because it’s meant for a flat person.

    • I don’t find Uniqlo items running small; I wear my normal size.

  3. Sorry, not a fan of this.

    Makeup gurus – what is the proper way to put on concealer? I know that I have the right color for my skin because when the woman at Sephora put it on, it looked great and completed erased my dark circles. However, when I put it on, I still have dark circles under my eyes. Is it a matter of not using enough product?

    • Are you putting it on before or after foundation? What kind of foundation are you using? If you are using liquid foundation I would say you should put your concealer on after, if you are using a powder foundation, I would say you could get away with using it before.

      Also, are you using a brush or your fingers or a sponge to put the concealer on?

      • Good point, I use liquid and was putting on concealer first. Will try the reverse. Also, are you supposed to apply concealer with a sponge or with fingers? I’ve been doing a mix.

        • I think it depends on your skin type to be honest. However, sometimes a sponge will take off more concealer than it puts on, so dampen it first with water so that it doesn’t absorb all the concealer off your face.

        • A concealer brush can be really helpful, especially around your eyes. In a pinch I’ll use my fingers, mostly bc I can’t get the sponge close enough to my eye (w/o getting it in my eye).

          Have you read/seen the under eye inverted triangle theory? I look 100% different applying my concealer that way.

    • You also might try prepping the area with a silicon-based primer. Your concealer will go on more smoothly and last longer. If worse comes to worst, you could always go back to Sephora and ask for step-by-step instructions. Can I ask what type of concealer it is? I’ve never had much luck with any that I’ve tried.

      • Thanks ladies! All good advice.

        DC Jenny, I believe it’s the Makeup Forever brand. Supposedly it’s a professional type of makeup used in the industry.

        • I use a foundation brush to apply my concealor and I apply it after foundation, if I’m wearing foundation. I also use the Makeup Forever Full Cover Concealor and I get it at Sephora.

          • I just got that concealer and love it but tend to not use it to conceal dark circles around the eyes. I use YSL TOUCHE ÉCLAT Radiant Touch instead.

        • I use that concealer and it’s AWESOME. I pat it on with my fingers until blended in (don’t smush). Sometimes it comes out of the tube a bit chalky – in those cases a small concealer brush is really helpful.

    • If you’re putting on under-eye concealer, I would put it on after your foundation and apply it either with your ring finger (of your left hand preferably if you’re right handed) or a concealer brush. Pat it on (a light layer at first) and blend the lines

      • This is what I do. BB cream, then concealer (applied with my ring finger). I like to dab it on, give it a few seconds to dry a bit and set up, then lightly tap it to blend. Then I use a bit of powder to set everything.

  4. In the continuing saga of my boss’ living arrangements…

    Yesterday the plan had been that he would go to my co-worker’s house around 9 because she had to get her car serviced and wouldn’t be home until late, but he didn’t like that idea. So he suggested that they both leave work early so that he could get into her house earlier…

    Today they just had a long chat. Because she and her husband didn’t come back until late, he didn’t see them. But tonight he plans to come up and join them and watch tv, etc. He said he is really looking forward to sitting and socializing.

    I just don’t understand how he doesn’t realize that this is inappropriate.

    • This is so inappropriate, I wouldn’t know what to do in this situation if it were me. Is she getting compensated at all for housing him? If not she definitely should. I cannot imagine that he wants to come up and socialize with them after work, does she not get any reprieve from having to be “on” all the time? Yuck!

    • This is going to sound terrible – I know you mentioned he’s from Texas, but has he been in this country a long time? My family is European and I could totally see them doing this (the expecting to socialize part). If not, I have no words.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I also thought maybe he is not (originally?) from here and doesn’t understand the social norms aspect.

        I mean in the end, it’s your boss and your coworker’s deal, and it’s your coworker’s responsibility to speak up if she feels uncomfortable. But MAN would this make me uncomfortable. I know moving and relocating even locally can be really stressful and confusing – I have done stuff like stored stuff in a coworker’s garage while moving myself, helped my boss move, etc, but this situation is way beyond that.

      • Nope. Born and raised in Houston.

        I know technically it’s an issue between them, but I think it also raises the question of professional ethics and whether he can be impartial. He’s beholden to her. He’s not paying for anything. I just think it looks bad and he should know better.

        • I may be super stingy, but the not paying for anything is one of the things about this that really bothers me. I mean he is using their house/utilities and not compensating her for it. I feel like this would be an HR nightmare!

        • I’ve lived in Texas. Parts of it can be another world ;)

          Do you have any clue how the coworker feels about the situation? Did she offer to put him up for a night or two in a pinch (which I could totally see) and then get stuck with this? Is she loving the idea of having her boss “owing” her for this? An affair is the boring obvious suggestion–is it that?

          Even if you don’t want to be the person who runs to HR to report, could you perhaps suggest they check in with the new employee on how the transition/adjustment is going?

        • this is SO WEIRD

        • Anon for this :

          He really should seek guidance from HR on this. Based on what you’re saying and the fact that he’s a supervisor, my company would want to know. Now, if I were in your shoes, I would have a duty to report if the female colleague got more positive/negative attention than other employees or if the female colleague was complaining about him. Why on earth would he go into such an HR gray area?????

      • It’s reallllllllllllllly funny you mentioned this. This has been a longstanding point of tension between my so & my parents… that when he is visiting he doesn’t see the need to say hello & socialize every time he walks into the same floorplan as them & that they think he is incontrovertibly rude for not doing this…. ahhh cultural differences.
        As for the boss, kind of bizarre.

    • Does this also not bother your co-worker who is housing them? Her husband? No one thinks it’s a little odd? I understand wanting to be hospitable and help someone adjust to a new location, but…I would NOT want any of my supervisors to be around my apt when I’m relaxing…or even want to see them that much! Boundaries, people!

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        I think Bunkster mentioned that her coworker comes from a different (non-U.S.) culture?

        There are some cultures where employees are expected to behave obsequiously towards bosses, and she and her husband might think that housing the boss is part of that.

    • It sounds like a weird situation, but I don’t see any reason for you to obsess about it. It’s between boss and coworker. Live and let live.

      • Word. It is indeed unusual, weird, and, in my humble opinion, not that smart, but it is really any of your business, either? As long as it doesn’t affect your ability to work with either of them, I would accept that people do dumb things sometimes, and focus on my job.

        • Completely agree. No need to obsess over it. Its odd, but not worthy of repeatedly mentioning. You also have no idea about the arrangements between he and this co-worker. She may not be telling you the whole story or all the details.

          • i understand the live and let live mentality, but i would be bothered too. esp if bunkster and the housing-providing colleague are peers. i used to fume about my boss having lunch every single day with my only other peer. their socializing gave my peer unfair advantages over me. but i never felt like i could do anything about it, so i just fumed to myself.

      • Yeah I agree, no need to get up in there about it.

    • How silly. Mabye he has a CRUSH on her? I would NOT risk haveing him around, b/c the HUSBAND would get jeleaous.

      I did NOT win my motion on the pleeding’s yesterday. The plaintiffs’ counsel said there was “a MATERIAL issue as to the fact’s and requested an evideintieary hearing. What was wierd is that he also served my PI with a subpeena duces tecum askeing HIM to bring with him to the hearing all information he has in his posesion showing the date of acruel of the injury. My PI has NEVER been subpeenied before and he is NOT anxious to testify here.

      But I also think these are NOT the PIs record’s to bring! That is a fatal flaw I say. I say they are hearsay from the PI and MUST be subpeenied from the plainetiff’s employer, if at ALL! The manageing partner agrees, so I will have to make a motion to squash the subpeenieing of these records from the PI. It is all before the same judge and he like’s me so I should win. Yay!!!

      What does the hive think? Is there any lawyer’s who do litiegiation that have some precedent on this motion for me?

      When the PI went to the employer, it was the employer showed him HIS time cards showeing that the plainetiff was OUT with this suposed injury over 3 years 2 month’s and 10 day’s ago. That was beyond the statue of limitation. So I said those records were NOT the PI’s but the employers’ and they could NOT be subpeenied from the PI but they have to get it under the business record’s exception from the employer under the CPLR. I have to get cases on this, b/c the judge does not like to do his own research. FOOEY! I have to do so much work to win! FOOEY!

  5. To KC re Slippers :

    I have worn Haflinger GZL Grizzly clogs as slippers for several years and they are awesome. Warm with very good arch support (I have higher arches).

    They’re $110-115 on zappos.

    –SunnyD

  6. Two of my close girlfriends are very generously throwing me a baby shower in a few weeks. I’d like to get them a nice gift, somewhere in the $75 range (for each). Any ideas? I’m terrible at buying gifts and would like to avoid gift cards if possible.

    • There’s the cheesy shower thank you gift of a cute umbrella or bath stuff with a note that says “hope you’re next shower is as great as mine was.” Otherwise, I would go with wine, baked goods, flowers, bath stuff, candles, kitchen gadgets, or some combo of the above, depending on what they like. Nice mug with Vosges hot chocolates? I could easily spend $75 on Vosges…

    • For one of mine, I bought Kiehl’s products (nice scented body lotion) and some nice chocolates. For another, I got a nice monogrammed throw blanket from Lands End (or maybe LL Bean) for each person.

    • Goosebumpy :

      Sephora has some great gift packs with a wide variety of prices. I picked out a few with items that I loved for my shower-throwers so I could say “no, for real, those lip balms are the BEST.”

    • I’m a fan of flowers. Not romantic roses, but a nice mixed arrangement, delivered, is good.

    • Given the time of year, how about a decoration for their houses? A wreath or potted plant or something.

      • Ooh I second this, but I always love flower type gifts– or you could take them to an amazing dinner/girls night out?

    • A friend gave me a mani/pedi + facial when I hosted her shower. I was thrilled.

      Another friend gave us different gifts. The bride gave me some camisoles like the ones she has that I’d complimented (and was too cheap to buy myself) and she gave the co-hostess some make-up products that the co-hostess wanted. Also thrilled with my camisoles and it worked great that she gave us different gifts (in fact it showed how much thought she had put into them).

  7. Question re: cheerful messenger bags for weekends. I am looking for an all nylon one, with lots of pockets, to run errands etc. For some reason, the only one I have found that I like is the Skip Hop Jonathan Adler Duo Diaper Bag in Flame Yellow (which is grey and yellow bag). I am not a mom. Would it be weird to use it as a regular weekend messenger bag? Does anyone know of any similar alternatives that are not diaper bags? Thanks (ps link to follow).

  8. I’m never gotten the t-shirt over a button-up thing. Isn’t it going to look sloppy when the buttons poke the thinner tee material?

    • I’m partial to the look, although I do long-sleeve tees, not short-sleeve. I’ve said it here before– got the inspiration from this pic of Marissa Webb, who basically has impeccable taste in my book. I think it looks preppy and put together with very minimal effort.

    • I was just going to make this very comment! Maybe it’s a body-type thing, or something, but I cannot even imagine wearing a t-shirt over a buttoned shirt. The linked pic of Marissa Webb is really cute, but things never look like that on me. Of course, I also really dislike the long-sleeve-over-short-sleeve thing (so one reason why Marissa Webb looks better – in that pic she might as well be wearing a crew-neck sweater).

    • AJ, agreed 100%. I would wear this t-shirt as a casual weekend look but never over a button up. That just sounds wrong. Regarding the Piperlime “blouse” – I thought a blouse must have buttons? In any event it is way too bright for my taste, I would have a hard time gathering the nerve to wear it. (My wardrobe is mainly black and grey)

    • I love this look in theory, but it is not at all flattering on my body type. I wind up looking rumpled and like I’m crammed into clothes that don’t fit. Boo.

    • Me, either, only as a teenager about 40 years ago.

      And who pays $278 for a t shirt? I know people here have different spending habits, but this seems absolutely insane for a t shirt, no matter your income.

  9. My mother wants a new digital camera for Christmas. She hates that when she tries to take pictures of my kids its hers isn’t fast enough – it takes forever to power up, takes a long time to take and display a picture and then half the time the kids have moved and their eyes are closed or whatever. I think part of it is that it has a ton of settings and she keeps accidentally bumping it into weird settings. Does anyone have a decent easy to use camera that is Grandma friendly and not huge and not $1000?

    • I have a Panasonic Lumix, and I think that is what many of my older family members have as well, in some form. Sorry I cannot recommend a particular model, but I would take a look at reviews to see if you can find one that will work for you. Definitely under $1k, and I think it’s fairly fast to power up and switch between modes.

    • We had a Nikon CoolPix point and shoot camera that took great pictures and was fast. It was small and easy to carry and I am pretty sure was less than $200.

      • big dipper :

        This! My mom used one for years and she loved it. The settings were really easy to use.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Our coolpix (I think it’s an S3000 or something – one of the tiny, colorful ones) does well getting shots of our kids. Our Canon DSLR does better, but that’s to be expected.

    • iPhone 5 takes really quick photos in succession and is really simple to use.

      • Really? My 4 is dying. One of my complaints about it is how slow the shutter is. You may have just bumped me to an early upgrade.

      • Yes. Go check it out in the store. It’s fast enough to capture great action sequences at my kids’ basketball games.

    • I’m on my second Canon PowerShot. Point-and-shoot at its best, and currently around $130 on A m a z o n. It’s also virtually indestructible, if any of the grandkids ever get their hands on it; my first one only died when my friend dropped it in a cup of beer, not from any of the times I dropped it on concrete, shoved it in my purse without a case, etc. etc.

    • DH and I both have Canons for our pocket cameras. Whenever the urge for a new camera comes up, we check KenRockwell.com for his latest recommendations, and dpreview.com for detailed specs.

    • SpaceMountain :

      The memory card can make a big difference in speed. Get one of those class 10 SD cards for her.

    • research lawyer in SV :

      Try looking up David Pogue’s reccomendations for a pocket camera. He has never steered me wrong yet.

      I am about ready to replace my Canon PowerShot SD880 because it is starting to die. I’m looking at the S100.

      My husband on the other hand is getting ready to replace his Casio Exilim EX ZR100 with a zr300 ( because after some severe abuse it is starting to die) and it has some very nice features including slow motion video, multiple exposure shots, and every parent’s dream mode of Quick take 30 pictures as I start to press the shutter and then pick the best one. David Pogue reviewed the ZR100 with the line that it could turn back time it was so fast.

  10. TJ.. First time poster, long-time reader. My career is great, but it’s taken over my social life too much. I want to date more, and online dating is not a good medium for me. The last thing I want to do after a long day of work is look at a computer again. Suggestions on what to do? I’m open to making friends and dating, just need to get out of the work focus.

    • Jacqueline :

      While I completely understand why online dating doesn’t appeal, I wouldn’t count it out entirely — it’s a better servant than a master, but it’s still worth a try. Just tell yourself you’re going to put in 20 minutes a day, three days a week. It’s good to put your dating energy into several places at once — you never know how you’re going to meet the right person.

      But besides online dating, I’d just put energy into ramping up your social life. And make sure you’re doing things that involve men, ideally single men! It can be easy to fall into a pattern of girls’ nights, book clubs, and drinks with a girlfriend — all of which are important and valuable, but they won’t get you dates. If you don’t have any parties on the horizon, maybe start by hosting a gathering or two to get yourself back on the social circuit and get people to start thinking of you as a person who brings people together and who they’d want to invite when they have parties. You don’t necessarily have to have a blowout bash (although more power to you if you do!) — even just a dinner party, a TV show watch, or a brunch can get things going.

      I’d also try joining something new just to broaden your horizons and put you in the path of a fresh new group of people. Try a volunteer organization, a college alumni drinks night, something like that. Classes are great for their own sake, but in my experience, they are not the best places to meet men.

      Good luck!

      • Jacqueline :

        I should add that while I haven’t had much success with online dating, it was only after I signed up that I started having success in OFFline (i.e., meeting guys in real life) dating. I don’t know if it was just that by signing up I was subconsciously expressing that I was ready to meet people or what, but suddenly they started turning up everywhere! So if for only that reason, I’d sign up to keep momentum going during dry spells.

      • MaggieLizer :

        All great advice here. I’d add meet up groups and professional organizations to the list of social things you can do to meet men. There might be other singles-oriented groups in your city you can check out, too. Also work your network – tell your friends you want to get out more, ask if they have any single male friends they might invite to a happy hour with you, and if you’re close enough to their SOs ask them too. As for online dating, if the websites aren’t blocked at work, maybe you can do dating stuff over your lunch breach or come in a few minutes early and do it first thing in the morning?

    • I’ve seen “If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?” recommended in a couple of places and finally broke down and read it. In spite of the title, I think it actually has some good suggestions about how to go about looking for a date (or a mate, or whatever suits your preference). The first third of the book is focused on your attitude – recognizing your own ambivalence towards dating/being in a relationship, how to be more approachable, etc. – and I think those are really helpful things to think about, especially if you’re always in work mode. Good luck!

      • +1 on this rec, although I kept it in my dresser drawer since the title was so embarrassing. It has a lot of good exercises to help you think through the ideas presented.

        • Oh, and just as a data point, I met my now-fiance on Match, but I tried lots of different things (different web sites, speed-dating, volunteer groups) per the advice in the book. Good luck with your search!

        • Ha! That’s exactly where I keep my copy, too :)

    • In the year+ since I’ve started working after law school, in order to address this situation I’ve (i) joined community groups, (ii) gotten involved with my church, which led to them asking me to join a particular group to work on a project, (iii) gone to young adults group stuff through my church, and (iv) accepted most social invitations I get from casual friends, or friends-of-friends. I also once went to a bar and had a drink by myself and actually met a couple of non-sketchy people this way. Finally, I’ve found that having casual dinner parties (like, I make a pot of soup or chili and serve some bread with it, and other people bring drinks) and inviting everyone I know casually is good – people really like someone else making them dinner, and inviting people to your home does a lot to solidify a friendship.

      I’m a big introvert, so this stuff takes a lot of energy for me, but I’ve found it helps if I meet people directly after work to do things, rather than go home first. If I go home, I don’t want to leave. I also try to keep in mind the end goals (friends and dating) when I don’t feel like doing these things because I’m tired.

      All these activities have yielded a number of casual friends, social activities, and dates, but not any close friends or any dates I’ve been enthusiastic about. I don’t know if that means my strategy is bad, or if close friendships and a meaningful relationship just take a long time/need serendipity. In any case, good luck with this. If there are other readers of this site in your area, many people on here seem to be on the lookout for friends. Too bad I think I’m the only c-r e t t e in my city!

      • Forgot to say I also go to alumni group events and volunteer for a professional organization, as others have mentioned.

    • Thanks Gals for the encouragement! I’m going to try.. and remember to stay positive. I’ll definitely do a couple of things from this TJ :)

      • other commenters’ suggestions are great. another thing i did w/r/t dating is let all my friends and acquaintances know i was open to going out on dates with whomever they thought i’d have fun with. as an introvert and someone who previously dated very little, it was initially hard and awkward for me to say. but it helped 1) to get a lot of random dates and meet people i’d have never met, and 2) to force myself out of a loner rut, which i tend towards, and 3) to stop myself from self-sabotage by mentally shooting down potential dates before they had a chance to materialize.

      • How about one of those ‘Its Just Lunch’ services, if it’s offered in your city? After all, everyone has to eat! I did the online dating thing for a while and it was fun once I started. I looked at it this way: I worked hard to finish school, get good grades, get a good job, and a good career; and I worked hard to find the perfect house, spent (and spend!) hours fixing it up, cleaning, etc. So, with home and career established, it was time to put that energy into finding my perfect guy! Good luck!

    • BTW, I’m in NYC area. Are there professional organizations (real estate/finance), speed-dating, etc that you recommend around here? I work from home, and I think that’s part of my inertia – it’s hard to get out of the house. I’ve tried eharmony, but the length of the process frustrates me. I’m thinking of trying okcupid next or match. I’m starting to get active on meetup, but does anyone know any good groups?

      • I find OK Cupid to vary a lot by location, FYI. When I lived in the PNW, it was full of normal people. Since I’ve moved to the ATL, the signal to noise ratio has significantly declined. And the frequency of messages soliciting me for adulterous noonday liaisons in downtown hotels has increased exponentially.

      • ES – I’m also in the NYC area and lean more towards the introvert side of the spectrum.

        Not sure how old you are, but have you tried joining a recreational sport? I expanded my friends by around 50 people (men and women) by joining a sport for fun. I’m 30, if that makes any difference. I met my last boyfriend, whom I dated for a year, from a club sport. I also met some great people when I studied kung fu several years ago. I am not particularly athletic, but doing group sports is a great way to meet people, get fit, build confidence, and join a built-in social group.

        I’ve also had success making friends by joining volunteer organizations, going to Meetups (I’ve gone to literature, ladies social groups, and sports), building a social network (actually met friends from twitter and yelp, believe it or not), and studying martial arts.

        If you are artistic, you could join 3rd Ward and take classes. One of my friends met some great people in his photography class.

        I’ve gone to career-related networking events in the past (City Bar, real estate, compliance events, etc) but don’t find them useful for the social/dating side of things.

        I’ve also had some success with OkCupid, but with the ratio of men to women in NYC, I’ve found that as a woman, you have to expend some effort in messaging men, rather than waiting for messages. It can be frustrating, but don’t get discouraged. We’re all in the same boat. I actually met two of my best friends (who are men) several years ago by dating each of them for about a month and then not having it work out (one was from OkCupid and one was from Match). Having slogged through some other mediocre dates, I have no regrets as I met two of the greatest friends I have.

        • A little color: I’m 28, Asian, female, and curvy – not fat. I’m actually an extrovert, believe it or not. I’m just in a rut. I just haven’t been motivated in the last few months. I’ll definitely join a club sport. I’m in NJ, so I’ve heard of one – NJ Zogsports – don’t know if it’s any good. I’ll definitely try that next – exercise never hurts anyone. And okcupid, and I’ll be prepared for the noise. But I think there’s noise anywhere you go. I did okcupid once in Philadelphia, and I did get a lot of noise and adulterous lunch dates. Hopefully NYC will be better :)

          THANKS!

          • ES, we maaay be in the same geographic area and it sounds like we have similar situations. I’m always looking to make new friends if you’re interested!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’m n NYC and OkCupid worked extremely well for me and my now live-in boyfriend. We met this past January through it. I also had a number of other dates, which were all a bit of an adventure but overall it worked out well for me.

  11. I need gift help for my 21 year old brother. I got him a bottle of tequilla for his birthday a few months ago, so I’d hate to get him another booze gift (not even sure how much he really drinks). He’s sort of a weird kid, goofy and quirky. He doesn’t seem to be into sports or electronics or any real hobbies besides going out with his friends. He’s on an extended break from school and lives in our parents’ house while working at a bank. He likes to dress in a flashy sort of way – as in, you’re never quite sure whether he’s being serious or dressing to be “ironic,” so I’m not sure what to get him in clothing. I looked all over ThinkGeek, but nothing caught my eye. We’re a big family, so I usually try to keep individual gifts in the 25-35 dollar range. Help!

    • Funky, colorful socks that he can wear to work or with jeans? I think fun socks say the person has a sense of humor.

    • Would he be open to doing something hobby related? I feel like livingsocial/groupon would have some cool things?

      Cool, but ironic clothing to me says funky bow tie. Or pocket square. Or really cool belt. Or if clothes aren’t his thing, what about a good book if he’s a reader? Season of his favorite show? Or something he could get into (dexter/breaking bad) etc?

    • Does he like steampunk? You could get him some sort of gadget, like maybe the light switches at UnCommonGoods website

      • Maddie Ross :

        Second the Uncommon Goods website. I asked about it on here a couple weeks ago and did end up ordering some things for xmas presents. Everything shipped quickly and safely and the transaction was smooth. And I was really happy with the “quirky” gifts I found for my similarly quirky younger brother (as Lyssa describes).

    • one of my brothers is the same age and also has a quirky style. Things he likes: fake LV (like a street vendor belt), weird street vendor belt buckles, thrifted canvas backpacks or messenger bags, button down shirts from thrift stores or H&M type places that he can wear over tee shirts; geeky stuff like like “ninja” socks; thrifted musical instruments; gift certs to his favorite hamburger place; nice plaid scarves (y’know, to wear ironically)…that’s all i can think of right now and they are specific to him, but might prompt some inspiration. What about a game? either a video game or a fun card game like cards against humanity? If he’s at all competitive, both Pit and Set are cheap and super fun.

    • big dipper :

      Two thoughts, only really applicable if he has a smartphone –

      1. I’ve seen some cool/quirky smartphone case covers. You could give him one of those and an iPhones or Amazon gift card for the “balance” of your gift budget. Links to follow.

      2. Spotify Premium membership. In case you haven’t used it, it’s a fantastic music service. If you pay $10/month, you can “download” basically unlimited music to your phone for offline listening. My younger brother got me one for my birthday ($10/month, he did it for 3 months) and it was amazing. At the time they didn’t have gift cards, so he gave me cash and a cute card with sign up instructions.

  12. Does anyone have suggestions on what to give my two best friends’ children? They both have two children (4 children total):
    Friend A: a boy 3 years and a girl 1.2 years
    Friend B: a girl 2.5 years and a boy .9 years

    They are also really good friends, and will know what I got the other one as Christmas presents. I am closer to Friend A’s kids by a lot, but that’s mostly location.
    The kicker? We’re supposed to spend no more than $15 per kid (it is our bajillion-kid-gift-giving policy). With the internet, everyone knows how much everything costs.
    I don’t have any kids yet, and I don’t want to get them something that isn’t appropriate developmentally. I also don’t want to get them books unless they are fantastic books to be kept and cherished – both of my friends take their kids to the library 2x/week and get all the books they want.

    I will see them in two weeks. I don’t live very close to the city so amazon is usually my other best friend. Any suggestions are appreciated – I am at a loss.

    • I’ve just discovered Plan Toys for children:
      http://www.amazon.com/PlanToys-Plan-Preschool-Baby-Car/dp/B003COZK7E/ref=sr_1_2?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1354808603&sr=1-2&keywords=plan+toys

      I got my nephew the punch and drop toy. They’re cute and parents appreciate that they’re not plastic.

    • Just to give a counterpoint on your books piece — my mom took us to the library weekly where we each always took out our full allotment of books (I think they had a 10-book limit per kid) but the books we owned and had on our own bookshelves were still loved and treasured. Around those ages, I think our favourite was a giant book of illustrated nursery rhymes my mom would recite to us while we turned the pages.

      What about cute winter accessories (hats, mittens)?

      • In House Lobbyist :

        As a Mom of a 2.5 year old boy I would suggest books. We read lots of books and he is beginning to be able to recognize the words based on the pictures of his favorite books. Crayons and reusable sticker books are good. Wooden blocks are big hits too. Melissa and Doug toys are generally sure bets and are easily available on amazon.

    • darjeeling :

      Could you get one or both sets of siblings this cardboard castle to share? My similarly aged kids would LOVE this: http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Discovery-Kids-Cardboard-Play-Castle/6014007/product.html

    • Another counter point to the books, as the mom of 3. Board books are perfect for those ages and if you own them the children can love them as much as they want & you don’t have to worry about them being chewed on or ripped like you do for library books.

      Also, as the wife of an self proclaimed early literacy expert (teacher who has taken many early literacy courses) it is a good thing for children to have books that they read so often they memorize. It helps with learning to read later on.

      I personally vote for Dr Seuss board books for the older two and board books with textures or some other type of interactive element for the younger 2. You rarely see the interactive types of books at the library because they are ruined rather quickly when being loved by dozens, if not hundreds, of children.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Agreed.

        Also agree with suggestions of puzzles (Melissa and Doug wooden, 12-24 pc for older, shapes-12 pc for younger), duplos (great for both ages), Little People sets, stacking cups/blocks for younger (I like the M&D ones), veggie cutting set for older (M&D and Plan have sets). Like the idea of a cardboard play house to share, *if* the home has space for it. I’d add art supplies (*washable only*).

    • Playdoh all around! Also dress-up sets (superheros, princesses, fireman) for the older kids.

      Babycheapskate dot com has a section called “Toys that get played with” that is very helpful.

      • As a mother of 3, I beg you: Do not get Playdoh. It makes a huuuge mess. My favorites for this age are Stomp Rocket (or junior stomp rocket), Sandra Boynton board books, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (book), toy lantern.

    • My 15 month old loves his big Legos even though he hasn’t really figured out how to use them. I also second the Plan Toys recommendation. I know you said no books, but he also really loves to “read” to himself. Boynton books are great at his age.

      • a passion for fashion :

        yes — the big leg os are great. We got them for my now-5 year old about 4 years ago and he still plays with them (though is starting to move on to the little ones). And, now his 2 year old sister plays with them a ton. they are gender neutral, but you can get pink ones if you wanted. I think you could get them for everyone.

        Also, yoyo dot com, which is part of the diapers and soap dot com group, has a feature where you can search for toys by age, gender, and price. so you could try that

    • I would look at Melissa and Doug toys. We have the sandwhich set and the wooden cutting set. Both get a lot of use. We also have the magnetic doll/clothing set (we have the boy version and my son loves it) and the train set, which also gets a ton of use!

    • As a mom, I would appreciate a joint gift of something classic that they can use for a long time, like a set of wooden blocks (the ones with ABCs on them or just plain wood). Or something you can buy add add to for years, like the Little People sets. They might be a little young now, but those are the types of toys that will last for generations and kids will play with for years – my mom still has our blocks & little people and my sons love playing with them, even the baby who just turned one likes to stack the blocks & knock them over.

    • My go-to gift for 1 year olds is the “cool tools” busy box. It’s great, packs in a lot of stuff.
      For 2 yr-olds, I get those magnetic drawing boards. Look for one with stamps.
      For 3 yr-olds, there is a baking set at Bed, Bath and Beyond that has taken on a couple different forms over the years. It includes a tacky plastic apron, so I supplement with something cuter.

      Ikea’s toys are cute, imho, and they have a “starter” train set that’s totally compatible with the pricier Thomas and other train sets.

      I second Plan Toys, Legos (the 3 yr old might be ready for a basic bin if there’s a place to play away from the baby) and Melissa and Doug.

      My favorite website/catalog is heartsong. Old-fashioned, imagination-based toys that are actually fun.

      Most toy websites will suggest toys by age, so you don’t have to worry about being developmentally appropriate. Just think about the kids’ personalities and remember that they can always grow into stuff.

    • In the Pink :

      Check out Met Kids catalogue – Metropolitan Museum of Art.

      For the youngest, stacking cups and cubes are great. The kind that nest AND stack.

      Then you could move on to a wooden jigsaw puzzle for the 2 year olds, the kind with little knobs on the pieces.

      For the three year olds, what about wooden blocks? Unfinished and unpainted of course.

      Second the HearthSongs cataglogue too.

      The number of age appropriate books is too long to mention, but that’s always a great idea. You could do a set for the siblings….like the older one gets the “Ping” book and the younger the “ping” stuffie that would come in a set … that would raise the price to a total of $30. If you can get away with it, I think that’s my favorite because of your price limits. You could also get wood blocks and then the nesting containers for the younger one, and everyone would have fun all the time – together. Sad that dominoes, even the large sized ones, are too small still for the littlest kidlets.

      Oh, can you get puppets? Sock puppets, mitten puppets? Might be cheaper than the whole hand, whole character Folkmanis line of puppets….

    • I always give books. Anything by Eric Carle should appeal.

  13. MaggieLizer :

    Recommendations for a nice synthetic/non-down (due to allergies) comforter or duvet? I’m kind of leaning toward a duvet because my washing machine isn’t big enough for my comforter and I’m apparently too lazy to take it to the dry cleaner’s as often as I’d like to wash it. I’m overwhelmed by the options and I’m not even really sure what I should consider when choosing one. TIA!

    • I have a synthetic down duvet from Macy’s (Hotel Collection). I got it as a wedding gift, but I would totally buy it again in a heartbeat! It is warm, but not too hot, and I have successfully thrown it in the dryer for a fluff a few times with no issues.

      I can’t do down, because I’m allergic, but I think that this holds up really well.

    • Garnet Hill. They carry both their own down-alternative comforter (http://tinyurl.com/a22zfpl) and Primaloft products (http://tinyurl.com/aruezh9 or http://tinyurl.com/auuu3g6).

      I love their bedding in general, and we have the GH Essential Primaloft for my allergic stepson. It’s great and washes beautifully.

    • Have you looked at the Primaloft ones? It’s a synthetic insulation that is often used in high-performance outdoor gear. The comforter will be under a different brand, but if you do a Primaloft comforter search on Amazon, several should come up. I can’t actually vouch for their comfort as a duvet, but I have Primaloft in a puffy jacket (that would otherwise be down) and it’s a fantastic insulator and feels really nice and cuddly.

    • I will forever and ever buy comforters from Company Store. They sell down and down alternative, and I’ve had both, and I love them. The thing I like most is that they offer comforters in a variety of weights so you can pick what works best for your body temp, the season, etc. As a testament to the durability, I have had one comforter since I started undergrad and it is still going strong, despite hundreds of washes and tons to wear!

    • We have an extremely warm wool duvet that we got from Amazon. I love it, you never have to worry about the stuffing shifting around like with a down duvet.

    • The Company Store – all kinds of duvets with different insides and warmth factors.

  14. Blonde Lawyer :

    My husband and I just bought a house and now I need Hive advice for 2 things -

    1.) A bunch of my costume jewelry was in a drawer of a bedside table. After the move it all has this weird film on it and some of it is discolored. The only thing I can think of is it sat for awhile in a cold moving truck and then got brought into a warm house. Maybe condensation formed and it rusted? Any tips on cleaning this? It is not real silver or gold.

    2.) My new place is all hardwood. My feet and legs are KILLING me. I have hard wood at work and had wood laminate at my old place and never had this issue. Maybe it is because I’m running around doing stuff or maybe there isn’t sufficient space between the floor and the boards. I’m hoping it is not just wood placed over concrete or something. Anyone have a favorite slipper or “house shoe” that is ergonomic and provides lots of support. When I worked in a jail the floors were tile laid over concrete. The only thing that helped was nike shocks. I guess I could buy a pair to just wear indoors but I would prefer something more slipper like.

    • I have all hardwood floors and wear Birkis (check Zappos – plastic Birkenstocks). they aren’t the cutest, but very supportive (particularly when cleaning or cooking). I’ve had mine 7 years.

    • long time lurker :

      in the summer i wear flipflops around the house. yes they are supposed to be bad for your feet but i found some at a_thleta that have arch support and feel really good. in the winter i wear those keens slippers. (my H calls granola lady shoes but whatever).

    • Diana Barry :

      Do you have rugs? We have rugs everywhere and I have never had trouble with the floors at our house. A rug in front of the sink also helps, if you are standing washing dishes.

    • I have stained concrete floors and wear Birkenstocks whenever I’m not too lazy to just sit on the couch all day. I go in and out to the yard too often to just wear socks.

    • I use LL Bean’s “Comfort Mocs Slides.” I think they’re intended to be for outdoor use, but they are so comfortable.

  15. Need to Improve :

    Ladies, I have been reading this website for years and posting infrequently, and I think this is a wise and understanding group. I have a problem and I would like to hear your thoughts. I am a senior associate in a very high-pressure BigLaw job. When I am under a lot of stress (huge deadline, partner breathing down my neck, etc.), I think I can be a little curt with staff. I never have yelled at anyone, but I know there are moments when I am not super nice if I think someone is screwing something up. I want to change this. I think that it is important to communicate displeasure to people, but I want to change the WAY that I do it so as to be gentler. I think the problem is a factor of (1) my being an impatient person; (2) my having grown up in a household where people did not understand how to regulate anger or have appropriate emotional responses.

    I don’t want to be this way. I want to be better. I am in general a kind and caring person who has a lot of compassion for the suffering of others. At the end of the day, I probably care more about the personal tragedy a co-worker is going through than your average “clock in, clock out” employee. But if things start to go wrong and I am under stress, I do not like the way I act.
    What should I do? How can I change my ways? I am trying to be more conscious of the way I interact, every day. Is there a book I should read? Class I should take? Has anyone experienced this?

    • Good for you for being willing to express your displeasure–it can be so frustrating to feel like you’re screwing up but don’t know how to fix it. So keep on letting them know.

      Maybe it would help to just acknowledge that you’re feeling stressed, don’t want to take that out on them, but…

      You say you don’t raise your voice–do you lower it? That can be very effective.

      Good luck–your staff is lucky to have you

    • Since I was a child, I’ve known I have a temper. I’m really the only one in my family with a temper so I have no idea where I got it.

      At work, my temper does try to get the best of me. My best strategy is to take deep breathes (cliche, right?), remind myself to regulate my tone, and answer in as few words as possible. With staff, if I feel like I’m losing my temper, I will go out of my way to thank them for their work to reassure them that I’m not mad at them. With other attorneys (who should know better than to do this stuff…grrr), I put on my “crisis mode” cap and deal with the issue. I let myself vent and relax as soon as possible. Sometimes I take a walk around the office and sometimes I leave the office.

      I think what helps most is that I think about my temper as something that is a “work secret”–the people at work shouldn’t know about it.

    • Diana Barry :

      Have you talked with any of the staff about it? Do you have an assistant/trusted person with whom you could speak?

      The reason I ask is bc you may be perceiving yourself as more curt than other people do (would a man worry about that?). If not, and they perceive you as curt, harsh, etc., then I would try karenpadi’s suggestion of the “work secret”. When I started thinking of certain behaviors that way, it really helped.

      • Need to Improve :

        My assistant and I get along well, but she is perfect. She never makes mistakes. I think there is no question that I have an issue with certain other people, and also no question that those people are known for work product that is not as good. I LOVE the work secret idea–thanks Diana and karenpadi. It’s like my ideal self is watching over me, telling my “tempered” self how to behave. I am going to try this, as well as breathing, and really just being conscious in the moment.

    • little advice :

      Perhaps you should try separating the time when you EXPRESS your displeasure from the time when you FEEL displeasure? As in, give people necessary feedback, but don’t do it when you’re upset–do it when you calm down.

      • Need to Improve :

        Yes, this is spot-on. The moment gets to me. For example, we are trying to get something out the door and the person revising it is going very slowly, making a lot of mistakes, etc. Sometimes it is necaessary to express displeasure–i.e., we really should do this a different way, please don’t do x, remember we have a 3 pm deadline–but I need to try to do that without the accompaying FEELING of frustration.

        • Meg Murry :

          I agree with separating the time, and also suggest talking in private. If someone isn’t working up to your expectations and you have a deadline, do what you have to do to get the job done without snapping at them or exploding, but later pull them aside and let them know why what they did wasn’t acceptable – too slow, please don’t do x, etc. Don’t save this kind of thing until reviews, and don’t bottle it up until you explode at them mid crunch time – if necessary, couch it with “this is what you do well, this is what you need to improve”.
          Are you their manager or a coworker in charge of the project but not a manager? I know I had this issue in the past when managers put it on me to get things done by a deadline but I technically wasn’t anyone’s manager. I had more than one “don’t you know this has to ship by 3 pm” explosion before I realized that actually, no they didn’t know, or they knew but since it wasn’t their project they didn’t really care. For me, I wound up leaving the organization with lots of 3 pm deadlines and incompetent employees, because the stress and frustration levels just didn’t work for me, and I was always dancing the line between internalizing the stress and exploding on the other employees.

          • Need to Improve :

            I am definitely managing them–I am the attorney and they are legal assistants. I think the “in private” thing is very helpful. I have to check my impatience–addressing it in the moment is not necessarily going to make it better right then.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Try to make sure your expectations are reasonable too. Just because you “need something by 3″ does not mean it is physically possible to do said job by 3 and do it well. Occasionally, I have had to push back a bit and say “I can get this discovery out the door by 3 but not if you want me to thoroughly review it for privilege first. Would it be better that I do a thorough review and they get it in the morning or that I rush the review and we get it out by 3?” This is lawyer to lawyer. Your assistant is less likely to push back like that. You can’t demand something by 3 and then get upset if there are mistakes just as you can’t expect perfection and then get upset something isn’t out by 3. These are just examples of common lawyer/staff issues I observe. I have no idea if it applies to you. Try to create an atmosphere where your staff will tell you if there is an issue with your request. Also, try not to make everything an emergency or else they will care less when there is a real emergency. My boss does a great job of saying ” I need this out by 3, skip the fancy formatting and spell check. Just get it out the door.” I then know which corner he wants me to cut.

      • Finding a hairdresser :

        I think that’s a great point. We had a conversation on another site a while ago about learning about our own intelligence in relation to others. Many people said that figuring out that they are smarter than the people they work with was huge in helping them develop patience. So if the assistant doesn’t have the innate smarts or the training to let her know the most efficient way to do x, or to do it as quickly as you can, maybe you can remind yourself that she doesn’t have your resources. In my life, this has been poignantly real recently in watching my clever, wryly humorous father’s abilities slowly slip away. I can’t get mad at him for not needing 10 min of phone coaching to deal with an email he received on his cell phone any more than I would a toddler. Your assistants obviously aren’t that bad (you’d fire them) but maybe it gives you an idea of what I mean. All those tests and stuff that said you’re smarter than the average bear? They weren’t lying!

        • Need to Improve :

          Thanks, guys. Very helpful advice. I really appreciate it. I sometimes forget that while I push back when a task is impossible, they may prefer to sit quietly and just do the best they can.

  16. K...in transition :

    with so many seeking gift ideas for kids, just wanted to contribute (something I never thought I’d be saying/doing, as a childfree person) since I’m an Aunt to a 5.5 yr old and a 3 yr old (both girls). Look for items (dvds, toys, etc.) related to the Disney show Doc McStuffins. Not only do all of the girls they play with (and many of the boys) really like the show, it’s a show about a minority female whose mom is a doctor and the girl (Doc), plays doctor with her toys (fixing a stuffed toy who has a ripped seam who needs “stitches” or an electric car who needs to be charged), etc. Great message about independence and women empowerment along with being one of few non-annoying kids shows for adults.

    As for more gender neutral items, Pajanimals is pretty popular with them and their friends too… and please keep in mind that anything that needs batteries are items you should give batteries with and is likely something loud that’ll make your adult friend pull hair out :)

    Hope it helps!

    • I’m expecting a little girl in two months and this makes me so happy to hear that there’s a female doctor character on a kids show!!!!! Yes, I know, caps overload, but it really does make me happy :)

      Sorry to TJ your post K, but does anyone have other suggestions for kids toys/books that show professionals? DH LOVED the Richard Scarry books as a kid, but when I looked at them I noticed how gender stereotyped they were–female receptionists, typists, nurses with male doctors, lawyers, mechanics etc. There’s nothing wrong with either, I just want to show my little girl that she can be whatever she wants to be, as long as she goes to Notre Dame. (Sorry, look at my screen name–we’ve had a good season so this year for once I feel justified in my obnoxiousness!)

      • I loved Richard Scary as a kid, and so did my sister. We are both well adjusted and have jobs where we make good money and aren’t gendered. I think it is possible to like these books without saying that your daughter can only be a receptionist/stay at home mom.

        That said, we also grew up with Legos/Lincoln Logs and Barbies. I think my parents just let us have what we wanted, but encouraged us to be creative and remain interested in a lot of different things.

      • Diana Barry :

        Ditto. For older girls, the Robin McKinley books show strong female heroines. Honestly, I think the best example for my kids is that they have a mom who is a professional, and that both their doctors (pediatrician and eye dr) are women too. :)

        • Lady Harriet :

          I still really enjoy Robin McKinley’s books! Patricia C. Wrede is also another really good author in the “fractured fairy tales” genre.

      • I think your attitude re: gender roles will affect your kid FAR more than even their most favorite books. When the books (or show or whatever) are particularly flagrant, it can be a wonderful “teachable moment”. For example, my brother and I loved The Bernstein Bears book series growing up, and the gender roles in that bear family were out of hand. Papa Bear was always undermining Momma Bear’s “house rules”, and Brother Bear got to have a lot more messy-fun than Sister Bear did. I vividly remember my Mom editorializing these from her feminist perspective as she read to us, and I think we learned a lot. It helped that she was the best possible example of a strong woman, but she was able to strike the perfect tone when she explained how and why we did things differently in our house than the bears did in the books we loved.

        • Funny, Mr. TBK doesn’t want any Bernstein Bears in our house when we have kids because Papa Bear is always portrayed as a bumbling idiot who screws up everything Mama Bear (who knows best) tries to do. I don’t think the Everybody Love Raymond-style couple archtype (bumbling husband/father who’s an idiot but gets away with it, long-suffering and humorless but always right wife/mother) is a good model for boys or girls.

          • Research, Not Law :

            Mr TBK needs to do some re-reading. It’s true in some books, but not others. For example, Papa Bear is the cool-headed problem solver in Messy Room. Then there are plenty without much parental role (Sitter, Go to Camp, Spooky Old Tree, Missing Dinosaur Bone).

            …annnnd that’s the closes thing to a book club discussion that I have had for a long time. Mommy needs more grown-up time.

          • I completely agree that it’s a problematic archetype and it. is. EVERYWHERE. I guess I’m just saying that it opens the opportunity for discussion. For example, there is a Bernstein Bear story where Momma Bear makes a no junk-food rule, and Papa and the kids sneak junk-food and feel icky. My mom would read us the story, but stop at points to discuss how she and my dad made food decisions TOGETHER, and why that worked better, etc. I suppose that there will be opportunities for chats like this even if you consistently choose books that demonstrate equality though, and I definitely struggle with what path I want to take with my hypothetical kiddos.

        • Agree that it’s about the parent’s/community attitude more than any books.

          I don’t know that I would have noticed those stereotypes as a kid, but because the prevailing msg was “you can become whatever you work hard to become” not “girls can’t be X” both my sister and I are professionals…

        • goirishkj :

          OK, I loved Bearenstein Bears and totally missed the stereotypes! So, there you go, I’m guessing it was my parent’s attitudes that affected me more than any of the books. Thanks for the reality check.

          • Saacnmama :

            I didn’t notice the relationship between Ma and Pa Bear until I was reading those books with DS. But I still love “Bernstein Bears go on Vacation”. It teaches lots of good water safety rules and had my son giggling all the way “oh no, he’s going to…” and Pa would hit his head or whatever. Yes, he’s a Farley character, but so well used in that instance. People remember things they learned while laughing better than things they heard while they were bored by, and he wanted to read it over & over.

            Another thing I noticed recently is that most of those books seem to be about a life lesson. We’re they always that way?

    • darjeeling :

      Second Doc McStuffins. It’s our 3 year old’s favorite show, and I like it too!

    • Read this too fast and thought the name of the show was “Doc Stud Muffins” ! Doesn’t sound super gender-neutral, but would probably be a big hit :)

  17. Y’all, I’m a longtime reader/very occasional poster and am throwing myself on the hive’s wisdom. I have a pressing question for those of you with NYC experience: my husband is about to be offered a job in Manhattan. We currently live in DC and have no experience with NYC other than having visited and loved it. We’d be looking at a move in January — short notice! Do any of you brilliant women have a recommendation for a reputable realtor/rental agent/housing fairy who we could trust to help us find a place to live? (We own in DC and would probably sell, but that’s not a given. If we end up staying in NYC we’d like to buy, but that seems unreasonable given that we don’t live there now, don’t know the market, and have a super-quick turnaround time.) Also, I would welcome any other advice re: moving to NYC. Thank you all so much!

    • Hmm, it’s a long commute from Bunkster’s basement

    • Do you have kids? That’s going to figure a LOT into where you want to go.

      • No kids — I have a 10-year-old stepson who doesn’t live with us and is cool with an air mattress when he comes to visit — but I’ll likely be working from home four days a week, so would need a place with enough room to set up a desk/workspace. Second bedroom would be ideal, but I recognize that is kind of a pipe dream unless we want to pay through the nose.

        • Other factors to consider are –
          - do you have a car and plan on keeping it?
          - budget for rent
          - do you have a dog (must you be near a park)?
          - what neighborhood vibe do you want (artsy, family oriented, bars, etc)

          Honestly, NYC is so expensive, I’d skip Manhattan and the trendy parts of Brooklyn completely, esp. if you want a 2 bedroom. For a reasonably-priced 2 bedroom rental, I’d check out Hoboken or Jersey City (if you work in midtown west or the financial district), or parts of Queens (if you work in midtown east).

          I know that there is a “I MUST LIVE IN MANHATTAN” thing, esp for transplants, but trust me, you’ll see plenty of it regardless of where you live in the greater NYC area.

          • ita. Or go directly to the apartment owner/managment company. We used to live in Hoboken and buildings such as 333 River St (333riverpartmentshoboken dot com) are a little generic new construction-y, but a 1200 SF 2 bedroom, 2 bath is around $3500 a month, which is relatively cheap compared to Manhattan or Park Slope. This particular building is on the waterfront and really short commute.

    • Diana Barry :

      Try Cooper and Cooper, run by a college friend of mine. Good luck!

    • long time lurker :

      January is not really that short notice in NYC rental world. While it possible to find an apartment without a broker fee, it takes a lot of effort. So you should engage a broker. Are you looking in Manhattan? There are several largish agencies. I can’t really vouch for any of them as it has been a while since I rented and I had good and bad experiences with the individual agents (whose names I do not recall). Some of the larger ones are Citihabitats, Warren Lewis, Corcoran. I would call a few of these people and set up appointments over a few days to see apartments. Be specific about what you want. Do you have pets? I have a dog and recall that sometimes limiting the number of apartments (there will be dog weight limits). You/husband should have bank statements, names of landlords, etc. ready so they can do a credit check. You will probably also need documentation of income such as a letter from employer as to salary.

      Consider the commute and subway lines and distance to subway lines. I used to live on First Avenue and would have a long walk to the train, it got old after a few years. Consider neighborhoods and what you want. Visit and walk around. Consider amenities. i personally need to live near a good grocery store as I cook a lot.

      Exciting, I hope you enjoy NYC.

    • hellskitchen :

      If you are looking in Manhattan, I recommend Dan Ivanov from Anchor Associates – 646.270.4003. We used a bunch of brokers to find a rental and he was the fastest, most understanding person to work with. In terms of advice, really take into account your work commute. For instance, if you work on the west side, it’s easiest to live on the west side, even if its upper west side because trains run straight up and down. Not to say that people don’t do cross-town commutes but it’s easier if you have a straight shot train from home to work rather than having to change trains multiple times or take buses

    • 1. That’s actually not short notice at all for NY. January rentals are only first coming to market now.

      2. In additiom to brokers, consider some of the large management companies with no fee rentals (I’ve had good experienced with Manhattan Skyline. Tf cornerstone, rockrose, etc – though be wary that depending on neighborhood some of these buildings may be a lot 20somethings. Not sure how old you are or if you care, but wanted to point it out). You can find lists of them online, and most also post their current avail abilities + floorplans. I have not found much value in brokers for rental properties (obviously sales is entirely different).

      3. What neighborhood are you thinking? May be able to give more specific advice with that info.

    • Oh my God, live in Brooklyn! The commute is totally worth the (comparative) tranquility, more neighborhoody feeling, and extra space. Even if rent isn’t that much cheaper (though in my experience, it definitely is), you’ll have more space and more greenery. I would look into Prospect Heights–it’s up and coming and rents are still not entirely unreasonable, great restaurant/bar scene, and not a ridiculous commute.

      • I also suggest Brooklyn if you have really liked living in DC/the feel in the area. Brooklyn reminds me of DC in its feel.

    • It’s doable. You might want to rent/sublet for a little before buying though… I would go with a recommended broker for your needs since (a) you’re not familiar with the NYC market; (b) you have a short turnaround.

      Ditto the east/west commute thing. You would def get more space in Brooklyn. In one day I saw my friend’s $3100 1bd in Borough Hall area which was super luxurious and twice the size of another friend’s $3100 1bd in Murray Hill in a dilapidated walk up.

      I highly recommend Andrew Chung achung.citihabitats @ gmail.com (I’ve been recommending him to personal friends only and kinda want to keep him a secret, and he only takes referrals now). Brokers in NYC are often late/noshows/waste your time. However, I met him last fall in my own search and he was wonderful!

      You can email me at misskimmath @ gmail.com for my real name if you decide to use Andrew or if you have questions.

    • If you do want to stay in NYC, try Anchor Properties (they have a lot of no-fee rentals) and also Jakobsen Properties (I may have spelled Jakobsen wrong, but their website is nofeerentals.com).

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      If you’re ok with an outer borough, I highly recommend Long Island City and Astoria in Queens. LIC has a lot of nice new highrises on the waterfront, but rent is almost manhattan level. Astoria is much more reasonable rent and a more developed neighborhood, but a bit further commute into Manhattan. I don’t have an LIC broker recommendation, but for Astoria, Jenny at Avanguard Realty was good.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        I should add that both are very large neighborhoods and have some sections that are still a bit rough around the edges. If you’re interested in either, let me know and I can let you know specifically where to look

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I definitely second the Astoria recommendation. It depends on where you work, but I work in Midtown and my commute is 1/2 the time that it was when I lived in Brooklyn a couple stops past Park Slope.

    • A little late, but — thanks so much to all of you! So much useful information — and Miss A, I will definitely be e-mailing you about your agent. I’ll still be commuting into DC one day a week so am hoping to stay on the subway lines that will get me directly to Penn Station (job is mostly telecommuting but requires one day/week of in-office time), but these are all wonderful suggestions! Thanks again.

  18. With all the mention of standing desks lately, it has inspired me to try adjusting my work station to allow for more standing time!

    On that same note, you ladies who mentioned you have lower back/sciatic problems: what other ways do you manage those? My only way right now is massage, but I’m sure there are more ways, and better ways than what I’m currently doing.

    • Yoga! Start slow though.

    • It really depends on your specific issue. Yoga is great for some people, awful for others (including myself, and I used to teach yoga). Find a good PT; that’s key. A good Pilates teacher can help tremendously as well. If it’s a disc problem, McKenzie press-ups (and his book “Treat Your Own Back”) might be helpful for pain relief. A TENS machine is also a good friend to have. Good drugs for emergencies and flare-ups. For me, surgery was inevitable.

      • Well, I have many issues. Some are physical. :)

        I have degenerating discs in my back, sublexed patellas for the knees, my hip connects to my spine with scar tissue so the bottom of my spine curves over to the side, and my back/hips/legs just hurt in general. I hated PT when I went, but I’ll have to try again until I find a better therapist!

        My orthopedic surgeon told me that he won’t operate until I am in so much pain I can’t function, and I’m not there yet.

        I’ve been trying to do some yoga stretches to help my hips/lower back but I can’t bend one of my knees without extreme pain, so it seems like it’s hurting more than helping at this point! I’m going to look into the book you recommended.

        • I’m trying to figure this out, too. After suffering for a really long time, a week ago I was diagnosed with facet syndrome/degenerative disc disorder. I’m working on my posture and strengthening my middle and lower back muscles. Pretty much stopped running and now stick to exercise bike, elliptical and rowing machines. I was on a swimming hiatus for a few months because the twisting and popping was too much, but I’m going to try it again tonight. I’m trying to find a balance between aggravating the heck out of it and keeping moving/doing all the right things. Apparently inversion is great and I’ll go back to yoga on Saturday now that I know I can do stuff as long as it doesn’t hurt. I probably made my issue worse by pushing through the pain – dumb. I got some relief from skelaxin/naprosyn, but the skelaxin makes me so dang drowsy, I feel like I should be one of the Seven Dwarfs.

          • How are you working on your posture? I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. After 28 years of slouching, slumping, and not caring; it’s pretty much impossible for me to remember to sit. up. straight.

            Also, what are you doing to strenghten your back muscles? I have stopped exercising completely because it just hurts so much, but I definitely know that this is not the right way to do things.

            Naprosyn really works well for me. I take 2 regular strength with 1 regular strength tylenol and it works wonderfully.

            I bought a foam roller with a hard inner core from Amazon that works great to stretch the muscles. That may help you a bit.

          • Inversions are nice for pain relief, but (just like traction) it’s just a temporary fix. Gaiam sells supported headstand devices that let you stay inverted for a long with with minimal effort (and with no cervical spine compression); you might look into one if you like inversions.

            It’s really important to learn the difference between “good” pain and injury pain. (The more you’ve been injured, the easier it usually gets.) Unfortunately, nerve and disc pain sometimes surfaces after a workout rather than during, so even if you know the difference, it’s not always useful.

          • Constantly having my mom’s voice in my head? Strong core muscles, yoga, and pilates help with my posture. When I sit or stand, I try to distribute weight, sit/stand tall, shoulders back, stocmach in (imagine someone pulling a string through your belly button). Swimming and rowing help engage my back muscles a lot, plus I do strength training and dreaded lunges and squats (always try to have good form otherwise nothing is getting helped). Rowing does not irritate my spine, the twisting from swimming does (my lumbar catches). Cbackson’s tips on posture are good; it is second nature to me now and I know that if i have poor posture, I’m going to keep paying for it. Also, I probably need to switch from a shoulder bag to a backpack to better evenly distribute weight (or ditch mass transit and drive, but I would probably murder someone if I drove every day to/from work).

          • Seriously, people joke a bit about how i’m like a 19th-century governess, because I don’t let my back touch the chair when I sit. I’m a posture fanatic.

          • @Kanye, I definitely understand what you’re saying about good pain vs. injury pain. I’ve had far too many injuries to count, and am not looking for anymore! It just seems like any exercise I’m doing lately feels like injury pain, and I just quit. This is either because I a) have no idea what I’m doing or b) am so tense that everything hurts like hades or c) a combination of the two. You’re right about it surfacing later as well, I’ve experienced that, and it’s pretty frustrating.

            @eek, I wish my mom had nagged me into good posture (along with many other things!) when I was younger. I really think I need to focus on strengthening my core muscles to help with this.

            @cbackson, that’s funny! I need someone like you to follow me around for two weeks with a ruler and smack me everytime I slouch.

          • I just started doing private Pilates sessions, which is so expensive that I can’t stand it, but I am completely obsessed. I feel like it’s building my posture from the inside out — so I don’t need to remember to stand up straight because my core is already trained to do the work. I was always interested and scared of doing Pilates machine work (on the Reformer), but it’s actually wonderful and so user-friendly. If you’re trying to strengthen your core and posture, I really think Pilates is the way to go. I have my own orthopedic and body issues as well, and my teacher has been wonderful about working with me so that I get stronger, not more injured.

        • Leigh: if you have access to a beginning ballet class, you might want to give it a try. Ballet is my #1 recommendation for people who want to work on their posture and proprioception (assuming their bodies are otherwise healthy and mobile enough for it).

        • I also have degenerative discs, as well as bad knees (mesicus partially removed from both). Honestly, the best thing for me? Lift weights. Strength training is one of the best things you can do, as it strengthens all those supportive muscles. Since I started strength training, my back pain has practically disappeared and I can play competitive volleyball pain-free.

    • physical therapy and ongoing exercises afterward. takes months but makes a difference that lasts.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Chiropractor (a good one, not a quack – get a rec), pilates, yoga, personal trainer at the gym experienced and educated in these issues.

    • Physical therapy, a shift in my running shoes and stride (under supervision of my PT – trying to change up your stride freelance can cause more problems than it fixes), and continual attention to my posture. Slumping (while sitting or standing), standing hipshot, and putting more weight on one foot than on the other are your enemies.

    • Martial arts training did wonders for my posture, you work with your core so much and good frame is key to most techniques.

  19. Almost There :

    What gift are you giving your mom for the holidays? I am drawing a huge blank!

    • I do all the shopping from my dad to my mom. I’m giving her a gift card to a restaurant at a very lovely inn nearby so she can get away from him occasionally and have a glass of wine and bowl of soup or something.

      He’s “giving” her an overnight bag, a case for her kindle, tech gloves, a cashmere sweater, a watch, earrings, a cashmere knit cap, and some new stainless steel utensils.

    • My mother always gets jewelry. Because I am lazy. ;)

    • I got her a sweater (pretty much every year). I also got her a heated blanket. Every year I get her a sweater and something else, maybe a piece of jewelry, and my sister gets her pajamas.

    • darjeeling :

      a velvet tuxedo-style blazer

    • My mom is literally the nicest human being alive and requested charitable donations for Christmas in lieu of gifts. I made a donation to a charity she supports as her “main” gift, but the thought of her not having anything open to made me kind of sad. So I am putting together a stocking for her with a bunch of different things – some small (hand lotion, socks) and some big (West Elm throw, Lululemon pullover).

      I typically try to go for things that I know she likes but would never buy for herself (gourmet tea/chocolates, designer perfume, etc.).

    • Ugg moccasin slippers. Apparently they are supposed to be comfortable. She does not need anything; has a huge house which is overflowing. I also buy her stuff for her stocking, otherwise it would be empty – she’ll be getting Nordstrom trouser socks (they hold up so well), a Kiehls gift set, and maybe some toupee tape to avert wardrobe malfunctions.

    • Finding a hairdresser :

      Casual long-sleeve shirt and capris, for those days we in Florida think are cold.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook (Cooks Illustrated)
      Bias tape maker (she’s a seamstress)
      Nice socks (our tradition gift to each other)

    • Lady Harriet :

      My brother and I are giving her a Kindle Fire as a joint Christmas/birthday present from both of us. (Her birthday was the day after Thanksgiving.) She actually wants it more for audio books and the radio than for ebooks. This is the first Christmas that both of us are employed (although still not making a lot of money) so we’re spending more than we have in the past. I might also look into a case and wall charger for it, depending on how much they cost.

    • Mr gov anon and I are giving my mom a bunch of spring bulbs for forcing and a handheld document scanner

    • Saacnmama :

      My parents have decided to have 2 separate wardrobes, instead of schlepping everything back in forth on their annual snowbird migration. I got her an outfit for “cool” (60s) days in Florida.

  20. Hair Extensions? :

    Does anyone use hair extensions? I have been toying with the idea of the temporary kind (clip in or something?) to make my hair longer and fuller on special occasions. Anyone tried it or know of a good one?

    • I’ve used them on a few occasions. Clip-ins. My hair stylist and I went to the beauty supply shop together. I forget the brand I got, but they’re real hair, and they were expensive. Get a case to store the extensions in, or they’re going to get all ratty. If you’re not on shopping-together terms with your stylist, I’d recommend stopping by your salon to discuss what you want, and have your stylist take a pic of your hair so s/he can match color when s/he picks them up.

    • Your stylist can usually order them for you, then you can make an appointment to get them colored and trimmed to the proper length for the particular area of your head you will be clipping them in. I have had these in the past and enjoyed them, and should have taken better care of the ones I had. The only downside to the clip in extensions is that they’re pretty hard to accommodate into a simple updo (like a ponytail) because you can see the clips. Granted, I am not very good at styling my own hair, so that might not be a challenge for others.

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