Thursday’s TPS Report: Long-Sleeve V-Neck Sweater

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

Long-Sleeve V-Neck SweaterIt’s the last day of the Brooks Brothers semi-annual sale, with savings up to 50% off — I haven’t been through the entire selection yet but at a quick glance it looks like there are a lot of great basics at reasonable prices. Take, for instance, this merino v-neck sweater — simple, good quality, and a neckline that’s flattering yet totally work appropriate. It was $118, but is now marked to $59 (and it comes in 6 colors). Long-Sleeve V-Neck Sweater

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

Psst:  I don’t know what it is yet, but Last Call by Neiman Marcus is promising something big at 11 AM CT, and advising you to “fill your shopping carts now.”  Stay tuned…

(L-3)

Comments

  1. Pardon the TJ. Regular poster, going anon for some advice.

    Long story short, I’m much closer to one set of grandparents than the other. This has been a function of geography, and the fact that my dad’s parents have generally been very unwelcoming of my mom. Growing up, they gave my parents a lot of grief about not visiting as often, and guilted my dad for not being a good son.

    They also had a habit of comparing grandchildren and gossiping amongst the family. For example, they would do things like include a whole section about every other grandchild’s good grades/sports achievements in their Christmas letter, without a single mention of any of my siblings. My parents did a great job of shielding us from this, but I remember once overhearing my grandma telling others at a family reunion that my younger brother had developmental disabilities, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    I’ve always maintained a polite relationship with them, writing thank you notes, calling on holidays to wish them well. Recently, however, my mom let it slip that my grandparents were very abusive towards my dad when he was young.

    Am I an awful person for wanting to cut contact because of this? How does one even go about doing so? Do I just ignore all letters, emails, and calls and hope they get the hint? I’d like to tell them off, but I don’t think any good would come of it. Thanks ladies. It’s so nice to have a community like this to vent about such things.

    • Cornellian :

      To be honest, I would think twice about cutting them off totally. I may be in the minority here, but I think you might strive for the path of least resistance. I would worry about how they would treat your father and mother if they saw your immediate family as ignoring or spiting them. It might be better to let your dad fight his own battles, keep as much distance from them as possible, but not take any hard stances on ending your relationship with them totally.

      That said, if this is really tearing you up/you’re worried they’ll become abusive to you, it’s an entirely different matter.

      • This is a tough one and one that I’ve grappled with quite a bit. My grandfather was an abusive alcoholic and my dad, as the oldest, bore the brunt of it. He’s been sober since before I was born and has a cool but amicable relationship with my grandmother. However, there has always been a distance between my little family and my grandfather and his wife, one that I didn’t understand til I was over. We’ve never been close and I always felt the odd one out amongst my cousins.

        I’d prefer not to see him, he hasn’t played a positive role in my life and doesn’t seem particularly proud of me and my successes (but my 23 jobless cousin with a wife and a baby, super proud). I dislike the guilt and manipulation. But I see him occasionally because it makes things easier for my dad (although I better be getting fed tacos before or after if I am going to play show pony).

    • I have had a similar struggle as I have gotten older and learned “the truth” about my grandparents. Ultimately, I decided to let all my grandparents have sort of a “second chance”. I just think of them as totally separate people than the people that raised my parents. Maybe it’s unhealthy to compartmentalize that way, but my parents seem to be able to do it, and I think that’s their call to make, and I respect it. I don’t blame you for wanting to cut off your grandparents, but I think you ought to follow your dad’s lead in this situation.

      • I second the advice to separate the “parent” from the “grandparent” in your mind. Hold people responsible for what they do now, not what they did as parents decades ago. But it sounds like they have plenty of misbehavior as grandparents to account for anyway.

        And I second the advice to follow your father’s lead. He could probably use your support, however he chooses to deal with this.

    • What I’m struggling with is that my dad has limited all interaction with them right now (he’s in therapy and is working stuff out). In the meantime, I’m sort of being thrust into the middle. My grandma will call me instead, asking about what I’m doing, what my siblings are up to, etc. My mom hates giving any information to her, and gets angry if anything is passed along, so the phone calls are extremely awkward, as I try to be as vague as possible. I’m just growing very frustrated trying to keep both sides happy and would rather be left out of it all.

      • If your parents aren’t comfortable with it (rightfully so) then just shut it down. Dodge calls for awhile if you want, especially while your dad is figuring stuff out. There’s no need to be rude, but you can just put the disclaimer that you’re *really* busy right now and hope they’re doing well and will be sure to catch up more when you can.

        • Have you talked to your parents about this? In your situation, I would like to hear what my parents think.

          • This is a good point. I know my mom would prefer I ignore them, and my dad I think is slowly learning to send boundaries through therapy. It might make sense for me to ask them if we could do a group session, just so that we’re all on the same page with regard to what is best for him and the family as a whole. Thank you for the advice.

          • *set, not sure how one sends boundaries…

    • I believe that titles are mostly meaningless. We don’t get to choose who gets these titles of family members, but we do get to choose who we keep contact with, and with whom we sever contact.

      If someone carries the title of “grandfather,” but acts like a manipulative, nasty jerk, then I think it’s important not to be blinded by the title. I think it’s appropriate to prioritize your mental health and happiness over being able to “check the box” and say you’re on “good terms” with nasty grandparents.

      Life is short, why spend any extra time and energy on people you don’t particularly like, who aren’t particularly kind, and who hurt the people you love?

    • health care anon :

      I am so sorry. I have the same situation with my sole surviving grandparent. I’m looking forward to the advice.

  2. Two Cents :

    Decided to boycott BB after the horrendous customer service at their store on Newbury St. in Boston. Terrible manners and really snooty.

    • Please go on a shopping spree elsewhere, then walk into the snooty store and do your best Julia Roberts “Remember me? You wouldn’t help me the other day? Huge mistake. HUGE!”

    • YES! My husband has a particular sales person there that he can’t stand, and will refuse to go in the store if she’s there. (And she’s always there.) Did you deal with a small white woman in her 50s/60s with a chin-length bob? She is very mean.

      • Seriously, how has someone who’s really mean managed to stay employed in retail sales this long? I suspect that she has one very big client who likes her, and whom she is super nice to, so she makes her commission #s with that client.

        Or, she has pictures of the store/regional manager in compromising positions. Any other fun theories?

        From a sociological perspective, I’m always fascinated at how the world allows @ssholes to thrive and flourish.

        • Susedna, I had a weird experience like that at a store in my neighborhood. It’s a beauty supply store and the manager was shockingly rude to me. Like, going out of her way to be rude when all I wanted to do was to pay for something. I looked the place up on yelp and there are 20 unfavorable reviews, all of them talking about how awful she is. She doesn’t own the place (it’s a chain) so I cannot for the life of me figure out how the store doesn’t do something about her. Compromising photos indeed!

          I have friends who were wonderful at their jobs and have been laid off so it shocks me that someone like this woman can keep hers.

      • Ttwo Cents :

        You know, I can’t remember if it was the same woman. What was really annoying is that she was falling over this guy who had just bought probably $2K worth of suits, but she treated everyone else so, so poorly.

  3. Ooh, a pick that I recently purchased! I love BB merino – unlike Jcrew merino, which makes me itch like crazy, it feels smooth and is a good thickness for warmth / non see through. This sweater in particular is great for the longer torso-ed and shorter limbed among us – I am 5’4 with a long torso, and the bottom drapes around my hipbones nicely, but the sleeves end perfectly at the base of my thumb.

  4. TO Lawyer :

    Awe man someone please explain to me how after over a week off where I did virtually nothing, I am now sick and have to go to the office. I’ve been here for an hour and don’t think I’ve actually done anything productive. I’m not sick enough to stay home but sick enough to feel awful and cranky.

    Ok sigh – just needed to vent. Sorry for whining!

    • Oh no, that’s the worst. Can you pop out for a warm drink?

    • Ugh, sorry, I’m in the same boat. Was sick yesterday and still sick today, but at work because, well, work needs to get done in person.

    • Same here. Sore throat off and on and a migraine, brought on by the mbta system.

      The irony of the T is that when it’s super cold (below zero with windchill), you’d think they’d try very hard to run on schedule so that passengers don’t have to wait out in the cold, but apparently the trains are susceptible to the temperature because they break down like crazy. I had 2 broken down trains today. Made me regret dragging myself out of bed…

      • Same happened to me on the green line. I thought about saving up so I can take a cab every day it’s below 25 degrees. Not very practical, but I can dream… Anyway, I feel your pain. Literally, in my fingers and toes.

    • Yikes. I find tea with honey helps a bit, and hopefully the day won’t be too hectic and you can slip out early!

      • Tea, honey, and Advil are my cocktail of choice for days like that, maybe with an orange or three for that Vitamin C. I hope you feel better soon, OP!

    • Have you taken anything? I can’t take cold medicine; it makes me feel worse, but a couple of Advil usually masks the yuck for a few hours.

    • SoCalAtty :

      Me too – I’m not sick in the sense of “I have a cold” sick, but I’ve been shaky and dizzy all morning and spent most of it with my head on my desk. I think I may be dehydrated – I worked out pretty hard last night and it was my first work out “back” after being off/sick for about 4 months, so I may have overdone it…I’m just sipping water and trying not to throw up (again)…

      I also may not have slept well last night, I’m not sure but I feel like I was having weird dreams. Today needs to be over I think…

    • lawsuited :

      I’m sick too with a flu or something. I’ve been in the office, but warned my co-workers that I am tres grumpy and heavily medicated. I worked like a crazy person over the holidays, so I may take a sick day/vacation day tomorrow. Hooray! (Kind of.)

  5. TJ re: sleep anxiety: I’m really not a generally anxious person, but lately I’ve had a terrible time falling asleep even when I’m exhausted. I’ve been trying to make sure that I go to bed on the earlier side so that I can wake up and work out or go into work early, but as soon as I get into bed I can’t stop thinking “I should really really fall asleep NOW so I get enough sleep!” that I can’t drift off. I’m usually actually tired even when I get in bed, so it’s not a function of me fighting my circadian rhythms, I don’t think. I just can’t seem to shut off my brain, and I wind up not falling asleep till 2 AM or later and then I’m exhausted all day. It’s not a problem on weekends, so I think it’s a purely mental rather than physical problem. Has anyone else dealt with this?

    • anxious anne :

      I dealt with this for many years and tried all sorts of things like yoga, pre-bed stretching, no TV, etc. I would wake up from a deep sleep with my brain going full speed. I talked to my doc about it. Amazingly a low dose of an antidepressant did the trick. My brain will turn off and I can sleep.

      • +1 to everything.

      • +2. I had this issue when I was younger (like 10-12 years old) and nothing (not even adult-strength sleeping pills) worked. However, the lowest dose of Zoloft solved the issue instantly.

      • I use half of a Klonopin (sp?) from time to time for just this purpose. It’s an anti-anxiety medication, and it wears off very quickly so that I’m normal in the morning.

      • anxiety anne :

        So happy to hear I’m not alone on this!

      • For me Ativan worked wonders and helped me sleep again. I was having some anxiety during the day, too, though.

        • +1 Love Ativan to help me sleep. I have also had good success with Ambien, but I know it has more side effects than Ativan.

      • Not that kind of doctor :

        I’ve had this problem my whole life. Ambien has been the only thing that helps– and it has made a world of difference. I also have a number of friends who have found Klonopin to be a big help.

    • Things that work for me when I’m too sad or anxious or whatever to fall asleep: reading myself to sleep, or putting on really familiar low-key music (headphones, one earbud in and then just pull it out when I am falling asleep). My husband has “sleep headphones” – headphones inside a fleece headband you can sleep in – and he listens to podcasts until he falls asleep.

      Also, what are you doing before you go to sleep? Any screen time (TV, computer) is a bad idea (it has to do with the screen flickering and how your brain reacts – something like that). If you can’t relax your brain enough to sit on the couch and read a book or magazine, try doing something mindless like dishes (also helps b/c you feel you accomplished something) or knitting – something that uses your hands but not really your brain. A shower or bath might help too, or a cup of non-caffeinated tea.

      Not to knock modern chemistry (extremely valuable when needed) but think about your sleep hygiene first and if there’s anything you can change to help you transition from go-go-go to falling asleep.

      • I do this too, I have guided meditations and ambient music on my mp3 player that I listen to as I am falling asleep. It helps to entertain and quiet that part of my mind that would otherwise be racing.

    • East Coast Anon :

      I actually use the tv to help turn off my brain. I set the tv sleep timer for 30 minutes, turn my back to the tv, and close my eyes. I fall asleep to the sitcom rerun dialogue instead of the thoughts in my head.

    • Oh yes, this is a problem for me all the time. Things that work for me:

      1. Try to remind myself that the things I’m thinking about do not need to be solved now, and switch actively to thinking about something else.
      2. When that fails, put in headphones and listen to a sleep sounds/ambient noise app on my phone. Sometimes this provides just enough distraction that I can calm racing thoughts
      3. When that fails, put on a vapid sitcom episode I’ve seen already and try to fall asleep to that, as East Coast describes.
      4. Sometimes, I’ll get up and eat a small carb heavy snack (eg, a piece of bread with jam). Eating something carb rich helps promote serotonin production and having something in my stomach makes me feel more sleepy.
      5. And when everything fails, I try to remind myself that it’s not a crisis if I don’t fall asleep immediately. Even just laying in bed quietly is at least somewhat restful, and even if I don’t fall asleep ever the worst that will happen is that I’ll be groggy the next day. Sometimes giving myself permission to not work towards falling asleep actually helps me fall asleep.

      Sorry you’re dealing with this, it can be highly annoying. Just last night I fell asleep to my sleep sounds app, only to later wake up my SO because I forgot to set the timer and somewhere in the middle of the night my phone ran out of battery. Sigh!

    • My friend turned me onto color meditation when my school’s health center wouldn’t do anything for sleep anxiety (they make you try everything else first). There’s an app, but the gist is, focus on a color (Red), until you see everything in red. Then you go to orange… and focus on that… in the order of a rainbow. I’m usually asleep before green.

      • ooh I’m going to try this — thanks!

      • Anon in ATX :

        I used to do alot of visualization exercises when I had trouble sleeping. My favorite was imagining myself as a diver swimming deeper and deeper. I also like to imagine myself writing numbers on a chalkboard, for me it works better than just counting down from 100 or whatever.

        DH has one where he imagines a table piled up with clutter. He then imagines himself sweeping everything off so the table is clear. He says it helps clear his mind when it won’t shut down for sleep.

        Good luck!

    • I would try to limit my screen time before bed, maybe do some relaxing yoga/stretching, and make a list of all the things I need to get done so I don’t have to worry about it.

    • I have this problem too. There are a few things that work for me. I try to remember a story that I know but don’t feel much connection to, like a book I read or a movie (shh I like to do Twilight), and usually the combination of it being boring, something I am not invested in, and me actually being tired results in falling asleep. The other thing I do is try to alphabetically list items in a category, like fruits or vegetables. It’s the same boring/uninvested/tired combo that eventually puts me to sleep.

    • A few things I do when this happens to me: (1) I imagine I’m on an innertube, on a peaceful lake. When a worry pops into my mind, I put it on another innertube. It’s still nearby so I can go back to it if I want, but it’s not on top of me anymore. I wind up bobbing on the soft waves with a bunch of bobbing innertubes around me, but I’m just feel light and free on my own tube. (2) When I was little and couldn’t sleep, my mother wouldn’t let me get up or read or get into bed with her. I was supposed to just lie in bed because, she said, just lying there was giving me the rest I needed even if I didn’t sleep. Whether she was right or not, I don’t know, but it keeps me from freaking out about not getting sleep. It’s 5:00am and I’ve gotten two hours of sleep all night? It’s okay because I’ve had six hours of peaceful rest.

    • I am a banana. :

      I used to have this problem. I put my cell phone out of arms reach of my bed and got rid of my red digital clock (I’d keep looking at it to see the time instead of relaxing and falling asleep). When all else fails, try taking a hot bath before bed…with a glass of red wine or hot peppermint/chamomile tea.

      I think above all else it helps to have a routine so that your body knows it is time to go to sleep. I get in bed right after my face washing/tooth brushing rigamarole and I think my brain knows that means it’s time for bed.

      Good luck!

    • As odd/simple as it sounds, when I can’t fall asleep and thoughts are racing through my head, I try changing up my pillows by adding or subtracting a pillow, switching from a firm to a soft pillow (or vice versa) even if I’m perfectly comfortable. Also, if it’s cold, try putting on socks or going to the bathroom. For some reason anxiety kicks in when something small is not quite right.

    • Pretzel_Logic :

      Been there, done that. Things that have helped me: 1) Regular workouts. I can’t stress this enough. Getting my sweat on helps my body tire out and my brain stop spinning. 2) Melatonin is magic, I’m pretty sure, and I don’t get groggy after I take it. If you’re really wound up it doesn’t work as well, but it’s what I use when I need to adjust my sleep schedule or when I’m just slammed and need to make sure I conk out. 3) When I’m laying there awake for hours, I list things I’m thankful for. It sounds trite, but that really helps relax me and reminds me that whatever I’m anxious about is small in comparison (even if it’s a big thing, like employment). I still don’t wake up very well, but honestly, that’s how my family rolls. We’re all like that. I hit the coffee hard in the morning but try to stay away from it after about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, even though I’m not particularly sensitive to it.

      Good luck with sleeping! I know how painful and annoying it is (and even debilitating) when my brain just won’t let me sleep. I hope you find something that works for you. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor, either, they may have something pharmaceutical if natural things don’t work (family members swear by Ambien).

    • anon sleep deprived :

      I have managed my sleep problem without drugs (athough some of the suggestions here sound really good). I do some restorative yoga poses over an hour before bed, and use some massage balls to release stiffness in my neck and back. Then I take 1mg melatonin 1/2 hour before bed. Once in bed, I concentrate on feeling cocooned in my cozy flannel sheets (or in the summer, feel weightless in my silky Egyptian cotton) and I controll my breathing like this: I chant in my head “IN two three four OUT two three four” as I breathe in and out, slowly slowing down my breathing. It’s a variation of yoga breathing and it helps if you practice this while meditating or when you are awake ahead of time.

      If I don’t chant in my head, then my brain will always go to bad thoughts, unfinished projects, unpaid bills, unknown worries. Focusing on the counting prevents me from thinking anything else, if you know what I mean. If I’m really tense I’ll listen to a meditation tape before getting into bed, and continue for a bit with the headphones in bed. If I wake up at night, I do the chanting thing over again to fall back asleep.

      HTH

    • Been there... :

      My experience with this actually turned out to be rooted in how much coffee I was drinking (about 3 cups a day).

      I did not feel like the coffee did much to wake me up, but at one point, I decided to stop drinking it because it was upsetting my stomach.

      A completely unexpected side effect was that my anxiety levels went way down and that I could sleep more restfully and didn’t feel like I was constantly in a panic mode all of the time during the day when I was awake.

    • SoCalAtty :

      I’m kind of “wired” so my brain doesn’t shut off, and the lowest dose of Ambien has solved that for me. The tiniest dose of xanax works too (.25 mg), but that is apparently more habit forming than Ambien so I only use the xanax when it is really, really bad.

      I’ve found that if I can be militant about my bedtime routine, after about 2-3 weeks I don’t need anything at all…but that is a tall order, because it has to include basically 0 stressful things after about 7-8pm, it takes me that long to wind down. That doesn’t happen too frequently.

    • JM/semi anon for this :

      I name the countries of the world, alphabetically, in my head. I find it needs more focus than just counting, so I am less likely to get distracted by all the other random thoughts. Also, Melatonic.

      Note: This plan only works for regular everyday work etc stress, not OMGSOMUCHANXIETY stress.

    • lawsuited :

      Okay, so I saw a sleep counsellor a couple of years ago, and adopted the following strategies to help me:

      1. Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, even on weekends and holidays. Apparently you can’t “catch up” on sleep, so sleeping in messes up your sleeping pattern without providing extra rest.

      2. Turn off all the screens in your house 1 hour before you go to sleep. The light (and other stimuli) from computers, TV, etc. keep your brain active long after we stop looking at them.

      3. Keep pencil and paper next to your bed. If you think of something as you fall asleep, or wake up and remember something, you can make a note of it rather than staying awake trying to remember it. I actually keep my smartphone next to the bed and email myself when this happens.

      4. Set your 2 priorities for tomorrow. I can fall asleep knowing I have a plan, and if I’ve completed the 2 priorities I set for the day then I can go to sleep without guilt.

  6. momentsofabsurdity :

    A friend was just laid off, and it came as a total shock to her. She’s really down for a bunch of reasons, obviously, and I want to do something nice for her. Problem is she’s in another state so I can’t take her out to drinks/to get a mani-pedi/whatever. Anyone have any suggestions?

    • Care package? Bottle of wine, bubble bath, and a good movie?

    • Where is she located? Maybe someone else can take her out for drink. I would, but I think you and I are in the same state. Also, right now I think baileys and hot cocoa would be the most appropriate.

    • The worst bit can be ‘what to with all those long hours of the day that used to be occupied by work’, at least once the initial shock’s faded. Maybe you can let your friend know she has a standing invitation to visit you whenever she needs some fresh air from coping and figuring out her next move ? (assuming you’re in a position to put up a visitor at home that is)

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Not sure if this would help in a job loss situation or if it would be annoying but I moved for my first lawyer job and didn’t know anyone in new town. My husband spent the month after the bar away at a training. I was done with bar studying and my job didn’t start for a couple weeks. Instead of enjoying the time initially I got super anxious. My friend looked up a couple places that could use immediate volunteers, on a drop-in basis in my new location. (Animal shelter, soup kitchen). She suggested the next time I was sitting at home going crazy to drop in and see if I could help out there. I did and ended up volunteering almost full time until my job started. I don’t think this suggestion is for everyone but if she seems to worry “what will I do with my time” maybe giving her similar suggestions could help. Bonus if it is unrelated to her job so it is clear it is a hobby and not networking.

        • That’s a great idea! I’d also second the idea of some type of care package–chocolate, wine, light books or DVDs. But most importantly, just let her know you’re there for her, and that she WILL get through this.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Thanks guys! I like the idea of a care package. I’d include wine but it seems like it’s hard to ship wine across state lines so I guess it’ll be an add-your-own-wine kinda kit!

    • all these suggestions are great. Also, just keep calling/texting/emailing. Just having that contact from someone, knowing that they are thinking about me, can help stave off the ‘I’m a failure’ or the ‘omg, what am i doing!?’ feelings.

    • I was laid off before and the best gift I received from my out-of-town friends was a $50 giftcard to Starbucks. It served two purposes – it made me feel okay to indulge in an overpriced latte even though I didn’t have a job, plus it encouraged me to set-up informational interviews with people at Starbucks, where I “treated” and got some great leads and advice on where to look for jobs. After a couple of months, I used up the card but I also had a new job.

      • This would have been an amazing gift when I was unemployed for the reasons Hollis mentioned. Plus it lets you get out of the house and search/apply for jobs at Starbucks which is a little less isolating than waking up and having nowhere to go and no reason to shower.

      • +1 In general, I’d recommend stuff that will get her out of the house. When I was unemployed I felt really guilty spending even small amounts of money so I basically stayed home 24/7 because it was the easiest way to not spend money. She can stay home and watch movies and take a bath for free. So I’d recommend Starbucks cards, gift certificates to a restaurant you know she likes (if you don’t know, then look into OpenTable gift cards that can be used generally on lots of restaurants), even gift certificate to a women’s clothing store she likes so she can treat herself to new clothes she wouldn’t otherwise be buying.

  7. recent grad :

    Does anyone use a humidifer in their office that they can recommend?

  8. There’s a musician playing in my city this weekend who I absolutely love (and who I probably won’t have many other opportunities to see live). I just found about the show, tickets are selling out, and I don’t have much time to find someone to go with. Somebody please reassure me that I’m not a total loser/dork for going to this show by myself?

    • anxious anne :

      I’d call you brave for going solo. Go! Have a great time!

      • I actually make a point to go to the movies alone once in a while. It’s a different experience for sure. I won’t pretend there’s no feeling of self-consciousness at any point, but it’s worth it. I feel like I’m taking myself on a date. I say get a ticket now–you can ask around to see if you know anyone else going, but if in the end you don’t you will either enjoy a great time solo or perhaps meet some friendly people at the show who share your love for this act.

        • I love going to the movies alone as well. I say go for the concert alone. You’ll enjoy the music, and you may meet someone there to hang with, or run into someone you know.

        • I love going to the movies alone. I usually reserve this option for movies that I’m iffy about.

          If the movie sucks, I get up and leave (as quietly and unobtrusively) as possible. If I went with a friend or my DH, I’d feel obligated to stay if they wanted to stay.

          I love leaving a sh!tty movie– just because I wasted my money, doesn’t mean I have to waste my time, too.

    • You never know who you could meet!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Totally not a loser for going solo. You can’t even talk to someone during a concert anyway so its not like it will be obvious that you are not part of the group to your right or group to your left. While I have not yet been to a show solo, I have met many solo people at shows. If you are comfortable, post your city and maybe one of us will go!

    • Do it! If it’s an artist you love, you’ll regret missing it. I’m still kicking myself for not seeing two bands that have since broken up.

      If tickets aren’t crazy expensive, you could always buy two and send out a group text/email. I’m always surprised when a friend and I share an obsession with an artist and it’s somehow never come up!

    • Thanks for the reassurances, ladies! I just bought my ticket and I’m super excited. I travel solo a lot (for work), but going to a concert by myself is a first! For those who are curious – the show is BB King in Clearwater, FL.

      • Of course you have to see BB King. He is a living legend! I saw him a few years ago in a small theater and he was amazing. Go, go, go!

      • anon in tejas :

        you have to go! he’s awesome in concert!

      • I am a banana. :

        Only time in my life I’ve fallen in love with an 87 year old man. You will love it.

        • Everyone I know who’s seen him live say it’s incredible. I’m so excited to go! If any blues fans have satellite radio, I highly recommend listening to his station (“BB King’s Bluesville”). He actually hosts a show over the weekend with another one of the DJs where he picks the playlist and talks about blues history and his experiences in the industry between songs. It’s really cool to listen to.

      • You’re awesome for doing this. One of my favorite memories is actually attending a show by myself some years back- I was able to focus fully on the band and had a blast. Didn’t feel weird there at all.

    • If that’s dorky, then count me in. I have a subscription for dance performances in a city which I visit for work – I usually end up giving tickets away when it becomes clear that I’m not in town for a particular performance but the few I’ve actually attended have usually been solo. Live performance is such a special treat – I figure I’m lucky to attend and solo does not bother me.

      I’d say go for it.

    • how expensive are the tickets? its totally fine to go by yourself, but i’d buy two and gift one to a friend

    • I enjoy shows solo all the time. If I like something, I’m going to go. Plus, you’re not supposed to talk during a concert anyways and half the time between sets people are on their cell phones anyways. Plus, if you hate an opening act or something, you can leave and don’t have to worry about another person finding you. Really it’s freeing.

    • GO GO GO. I go to shows by myself all the time. It’s like the least weird thing I do by myself.

    • You are very cool for going solo. :-)

      It means you pursue what you’re interested in without constantly having to be surrounded by the protective bubble-wrap of friends. Not that that isn’t enjoyable and fun, but good on you to do something on your own.

    • Go. I got into the habit of going to concerts etc. by myself when I was living abroad. At first it was difficult but I got to really enjoy it because I could do exactly what I wanted and didn’t have to worry about anyone else. An added bonus: you can usually find really good single seats in a theatre even if most of the seats have been sold already.

    • I actually love attending events by myself!

    • The best concert experience I ever had in my whole life was solo. I got tickets gratis a the last minute, DH was working, and none of my coworkers liked the band, so I went alone. It was awesome.

  9. I bought some boots that had a White Mountain branded logo on them at TJMaxx a couple weeks ago, but after wearing them the logo rubbed off the footbed and revealed a Merona label underneath. Does anyone know what’s up with that? Are these some kind of weird counterfeit or is it normal for companies to rebrand their stock before selling it off to discount stores? I looked it up and I see that both brands have a shoe that looks like the one I bought.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have seen tags ripped so you can’t read the “major name brand.” Apparently, some brands don’t want to be associated with discount places. I’m surprised that Target would do that though. It is usually more of brand that you can’t buy outside of that store like American Eagle where I see the tag redacted.

    • I don’t know anything about this, but it would bother me for sure.

    • If they both sell similar looking boots, its possible that both boots are made in the same factory, and the reason that they ended up at TJMaxx was because they had some kind of mix-up/hybrid between the 2 different boots when they were made (Merona soles with White Mountain uppers, for instance), or made as White Mountain but stamped Merona, hence the double stamp. I work in manufacturing (but not clothing) and I know there are often factories that make both a name brand and a generic or private label of products that are nearly identical with only slight tweaks between the 2, so I imagine it is the same with clothing as other products.

      • Ally, The same thing happened to me. The boots were purchased a couple of days after Christmas and after being worn about half dozen times, the label partially wore off to reveal “Merona”. Did you return the boots or keep them? If returned, what was your experience?

  10. Not to get all Kanye on you, but this is the BEST SWEATER OF ALL TIME. I am buying two more.

  11. A-line for curves :

    Shopping TJ: I’ve been eyeing J.Crew’s A-line sterling skirt in heather acorn, and my size popped back up in stock. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get into the store to try it on yet, and it’s final sale. I’ve got a very bodacious bottom, and a substantially smaller waist, and the no.2 just rides up and turns around constantly, so I’m hoping the sterling skirt might be better suited to my body shape. Any curvy ladies have reviews of this skirt?

    • Have you called customer service to get the measurements? That might help your fears.

      Also, I think others have suggested this before: get it as a “gift” with a gift receipt and if it doesn’t fit, return with the gift receipt for store credit.

    • I have both the sterling and the no.2 in the same size. The sterling is slightly narrower in the waist as compared to the hip than the no.2 is, so if your problem with the no.2 is that the waist is too wide for where the skirt is supposed to sit, you’ll be good with the sterling in the same size. Other issues of note – the sterling does not have a vent in the back, so although the skirt is a little fuller than the no.2, I have to check my (admittedly not most ladylike) stride sometimes, and the pocket placement is not as flattering on me as the plain front of the no.2 (the slant of the pockets doesn’t match the slant of my hips to waist line, but I liked the mint color enough to keep it anyway).

    • I have this skirt (in the acorn color!), and I wear the same size in it as I do in the No. 2, but it doesn’t ride up on me like the No. 2 sometimes does. I am also a pear shape, so a No. 2 that fits my hips is slightly too big in the waist. I do not have that problem with the sterling skirt. I wouldn’t call any part of me bodacious, though (I am one size smaller on top than on the bottom), and the sterling feels like the same material as the No. 2, so there isn’t much give in the fabric. Basically, the sterling is indeed more friendly to pear shapes, but it’s still not cut for a hugely significant waist-hips differential. I’d get the same size you get in the No. 2, but expect it to fit a bit better. I’m happy to answer more specific questions if you have them.

    • Charlotte :

      Hmmm… interesting that you ask about this skirt. I own both the No. 2 pencil and the Sterling skirt, and I am considering selling the Sterling skirt, as it just doesn’t suit me, for some reason. I am a pretty solid 6 in the No. 2, but the 6 in Sterling is tighter in the waist. I have about a 10-inch differential in my waist and hips.

      Other thoughts: Beside the point, but I found that after one wearing the Sterling pilled terribly. Also, although it’s supposed to be A-line, I found it to be more bell-shaped on, as in more fitted through the waist and hips and then slightly flaring. Now that I think about it, I feel that it fits me weirdly because the waist and hip area might be straighter than on the No. 2, if that makes sense…. Anyone else have this experience with it?

  12. Another anxiety question :

    Anyone have problems taking even harmless, properly delivered, well-intentioned constructive criticism? I was just chatting with my boss about something and he asked me to not do something a certain way again. He wasn’t mad, explained why it was important, did it nonchalantly in a discussion about something else, yet I’m now a ball of anxiety. I try to take criticism well in person but I do find I get a bit defensive and try to explain or justify what I did. I’ve worked on that for awhile and now I can accept it well in person but then I go internally beat myself up over it. I know it wasn’t a big deal. I know my boss isn’t even mad. I know I won’t get fired. I know I should just focus on the work I was doing. Instead, my stomach is in knots, it feels harder to breath and my heart is racing. Over a stupid, little, minor criticism. This also doesn’t happen every time and I can’t predict when I will be fine or when I will be anxious. Anyone have this and what do you do to fight it off?

    • Cornellian :

      I don’t have any good advice, but you’re certainly not alone. I’m thinking I’m going to start some sort of e-mail or journal to myself when people do this (or when I notice something about myself). It sounds counter-intuitive but I think writing it down may make me feel like I’ve dealt with it, have a place to reference, and can move forward.

    • I used to get Anxeity when the manageing partner corected me on thing’s but now, I am teacheing him alot more on legal issues then he is teacheing me, and I am not anxious when he lecture’s me about legal thing’s b/c he is just tryeing to help me become more of a lawyer,and to think more like a lawyer, like the old profesor did in the law school movie.

      So just say to yourself that you are there to LEARN and that all criticism has at least one thing you can learn from it.

      The lady from the bar association called to tell me there were a coupel of typo’s in the powerpoint that she cleaned up for me. I was very happy she did that for me b/c I would NOT want the manageing partner to be standeing up there and then have some sniveling doosh waive his hand and say: “HEY, there are 2 typo’s here? Didnt you prooferead it?”

      I will have to be there at the CLE anyway to answer specific LEGAL question’s on the underpinings of do diliegience, but do NOT want him to be embarased by the POWERPOINT.

      I am geting 3 credit’s for CLE for writeing the presentation, although I am NOT even listed as the author and am NOT on the program. The manageing partner know’s a lady who gives out the CLE credit’s and she send’s me CLE certificate’s even if I do NOT go at all b/c she used to work as a secretery for the Manageing partner MANY year’s ago and she know’s that it is dificult to get CLE credit’s, especialy ETHICS credit’s. Yay!!!

    • Diana Barry :

      YES. OMG yes. I was really anxious for the entire month of December in anticipation of my review. And then I was beating myself up over my review (and the few negative comments in it) for probably four DAYS afterward. Also, when I talked about it with my husband, I was really anxious etc. etc., and I couldn’t focus on the positive things in the review, except when he stopped me and said “wait, that’s really good! that’s the best thing you’ve said!” I had no idea until he pointed it out.

    • I have felt the same way, and it’s an awful place to be. I’ve been turning to positive affirmations a lot lately. They might seem silly at first (like I’m lying to myself or something), but I think they are super powerful and really do help. I spend so much time being negative to myself, it’s really worth it to intentionally put some positive thoughts into my brain. I feel so much better right away. A good place to start might be to google “positive affirmations for stress relief.” I like the about dot com article. Feel better!

    • Late to the game, but… have you ever given criticism yourself, like for example done peer reviewing in school? It might take the edge of things if you are familiar with the mindset you have when you give constructive criticism.

    • is it just when you are at work? I get really freaked out over work issues due to a totally unstable childhood. I am constantly afraid of losing my job and my only ever less-than-stellar review put me in a tailspin for months.

    • lawsuited :

      Of course! I’d rather be perfect and not require criticism or correction ever. But, I make mistakes, you make mistakes, your staff makes mistakes, your boss makes mistakes, so correction and criticism are a pretty normal part of working life for everyone.

      I read somewhere that defensiveness undermines one’s appearance of authority and competence. Someone who is competent and has authority to change and improve her work and the work of her staff doesn’t mind taking responsibility for her own mistake or the mistake of her staff member, because she can fix it.

      I try to feel grateful for the criticism because it’s making me better. I make a point of accepting responsbility for the mistake and thanking the person for their comments which makes me feel in control. I continue to tell myself I’m grateful for the person’s help and feel optimistic about how well I will do the task next time. It’s a weird mind game, but it reduces my anxiety, so whatever works!

  13. What are you wearing? The Cold Weather Edition.

    With my new puffy red Land’s End coat, I look like Santa, until I take it off. I’m wearing cranberry-colored cords from JJill (I know!) with a charcoal grey cashmere turtleneck and black suede clogs. No earrings because they’d just freeze my ears.

    • Diana Barry :

      10 degrees this am – I am wearing running tights and knee-high boots under my grey pants today. (And my pants are slightly too big so plenty of room underneath!) Purple print v-neck wrap top from Boden, burgundy cambridge cable cardigan from J Crew, black blazer from J Crew. I also have big hat, gloves, and LL Bean puffy parka.

      I got a lady day coat as a present to myself for Xmas, but haven’t worn it yet bc it’s been too cold!

    • Mauve pink pencil skirt, gray t shirt, white cardigan, and gray heels.

      Welcome to Tampa, FL. The high today is 72*.

      • You are making me miss living in Orlando….why did I choose to move to New England?? The weather (weather?) in my office is always unpredictable. Today I’m wearing a grey and purple work dress form The Limted, with a black cardigan, my purple scarf still around my neck, and my office cardigan draped over my lap. Considering using my winter coat as a blankey for the rest of the day.

        • Anonymous NYer :

          I don’t know if this was intentional or a typo, but I love that you just said blankey. Sometimes all us working women need is to snuggle with a blankey. :)

      • Lady Harriet :

        I live near Naples but am back in Wisconsin visiting family until the end of the week. I’m so glad I don’t live up north any more and can’t wait to get back to Florida!

    • phillygirlruns :

      chocolate brown cowl-neck sleeveless sweater dress (a/k/a work snuggie), chocolate brown tights & tall boots, light brown/tan crewneck cardigan, long pearl station necklace, pearl studs, yurman petite albion ring in blue topaz, rose gold MK watch.

      outwear includes a dark red burberry brit wool coat with a stand collar – i kind of held my breath and impulsed that one at the beginning of december and i’m really glad i did. this sucker is soft and warm and well-made and i feel like a Real Live Grown Up when i wear it. also, black wool fedora, which i am making happen.

    • I feel like I just don’t dress that cute in the winter! I hate it. The main reason, I think, is that I am always wearing tights, and I don’t really like the look of tights with different color shoes. That means I end up just wearing black or brown heels for the most part. The rest of the year, I wear crazy bright shoes, so it makes me sad that they’re all just sitting in my closet looking lovely and lonesome. Oh well, at least I live in Texas where the winters are very short!

    • best temp in chiswick :

      Not terribly cold here today, so cropped black pants and a black blazer over a moss-green scoopneck sweater with green printed ballet flats. Basic cz studs and pendant, navy duffle coat I’d really like to replace, and brown gloves. Man, my winter clothes are BORING.

      That brown cowl-neck sleeveless sweaterdress sounds FANTASTIC.

    • Camel wool coat with fur collar, white cable knit hat, pink cashmere gloves

      black Commando tights, tall black boots with heel, J. Crew Emmaleigh dress in pinstripe super 120, Banana Republic silk blouse in battleship grey, J. Crew cashmere boyfriend cardigan in maroon, grey and “diamond” earrings from T+J Designs, gold watch.

    • It was marginally warmer than the 10 degrees we had yesterday, but still cold. I wore my navy Land’s End “engineer” coat (it has a gray stripe towards the bottom) over a gray Antonio Melani pencil skirt, gray tights, black Frye flats and a purple LOFT sweater. Padparadscha pendant I got as a high school graduation present fourteen years ago.

    • Not really that cold over here! It’s mid-50s and sunny, nyah nyah :) I’m wearing my trusty J. Crew Tippi sweater in flame orange, with black skinny jeans, black leather ankle boots, black and gray knit infinity scarf, and silver shell earrings.

    • Quiet day here since classes don’t start until Monday. I should have worn a hoodie and motorcycle boots! It was so cold in my house this morning (no central heat) that the sweater I picked out first just wasn’t warm enough. So I’m wearing straight leg jeans, a fuschia tank, a heavy embroidered cardigan I got at Free People in NYC and Vince Camuto ankle booties in a light red.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Camel legging jeans (Gap), black Cole Haan Tenley boots, black micro-stripe long tank under teal V-neck sweater and brown/black/grey jacket. Added a down vest, handknit wool mittens and alpaca scarf to scrape off the car – below freezing this morning (cold for the PNW).

    • Pajamas, slippers and a red nose. I’m working from home with a bad cold today.

    • Below freezing here too today, which is not quite normal for us. My trusty black ballet flats and black tights, navy blue pencil skirt, cream silk shirt with bow, mustard vest (yes, an old man sweater vest), gold earrings.

      Outerwear: my basic black knee-length coat and multicoloured, beaded scarf that my aunt knit me.

    • It’s unseasonably warm here today (around the freezing point – not bad for Calgary) and I had to spend some time last night convincing my 7yo that it’s actually NOT spring, even though it kind of feels like it.

      Anyway, black oxford style pumps, black tights, white & black print pencil skirt, periwinkle v-neck sweater, a couple of silver chains, one with a locket. And for outerwear I can get away with my wool blend coat these days instead of my puffer.

    • Grey pinstripe pants, black v-neck sweater, black booties, small sapphire pendant necklace, cheap silver watch. :) Weather forecast sunny and 58 degrees.

    • lucy stone :

      Black puffy Lands’ End down coat, cream sparkle hat, striped sweater mittens, and underneath: purple/cobalt Talbot’s charming cardigan, turquoise J. Crew crewneck tee, light grey Talbots wideleg trousers, purple socks with aqua and grey dots, black Lands’ End Ellery wedges. Watch, wedding set, and moissanite studs – too lazy and cold to accessorize further.

    • Senior Attorney :

      The New Skirt in camel, purple/camel/gray floral knit top, purple trapeze jacket, purple scarf, nude microfishnets, camel/cream high heeled oxfords, purple overcoat, leopard handbag. It’s supposed to hit 70 today in So Cal but I don’t think we’re gonna make it.

    • Dark grey, light grey, and red horizontal stripe/colorblocked fitted sheath dress (with 3/4 sleeves), grey Chelsea (Cole Haan) pumps, silver knot earrings, silver knot necklace, and silver/gold watch. Have the black lady day coat from J Crew for when I’m outside. Love Texas weather!

    • EVERYONE in NYC is wearing a black down coat today. And yesterday. And probably tomorrow.

      • frugal doc... :

        Sorry to hear that.

        That is what everyone is wearing in Chicago too. I had hoped NYC was different. It has made me decide my next winter coat will definitely not be black.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Black pencil skirt, black fleece lined tights, black short-sleeve turtleneck, purple/dark grey cardigan, brown boots, purple sapphire and gold jewelry. It’s right at freezing here, and I’m super cozy.

    • SoCalAtty :

      I didn’t put this outfit together thinking it would actually look cute with my silver puffy down jacket, but it does! Black slacks and those Cole Haan black leather bootie / heels I got a few months ago, and a black/white striped 3/4 sleeve scoop neck from White House Black Market (clearance last weekend) and a Fossil belt with a cute silver buckle.

      Under I have my knee high warm riding socks. I know, it’s not THAT cold here, but it’s cold for LA :)

  14. JM/semi anon for this :

    Further Mom update, semi-anon for Google-blocking purposes.

    Mom still sounds good. Today someone from the Mental Health Crisis Team is coming to do an assessment/start a file on her. This is the only referral the hospital gave, but we’ll definitely take it. They’re not 24h, but are open every day and will send someone for well-being checks/whatever if they receive a call. I have drilled into my mom that if she feels like things are off, weird, out of control, she is to call them ASAP.

    Insurance is apparently making arrangements for an adjustor to come and work on an estimate, so they might actually be willing to cover everything (despite the fact that the fire was set “on purpose”), which would be a big relief.

    I went to the doctor and got some anti-anxiety meds, though only about a month’s worth. I know that what I really need to do is find some good coping mechanisms, but in the short term I also need to eat, sleep, and prep trials. So I’m going with the harm-reduction model for now.

    On that note, I ate properly last night and slept pretty well. Mornings are still the toughest, as that’s when I tend to feel overwhelmed with everything I have to deal with.

    My aunt has not responded to my last email where I listed EVERYTHING I have done and asked her to at least wait and see how things go. The Professor is pretty happy with that and so am I.

    I can’t tell you ladies how much your support means to me. I was reading things out to the Professor and he is touched on my behalf and also amazed with what an amazing community we have here. <3

    • Glad to see that progress is being made and that you got some sleep. Keep taking care of yourself.

    • Diana Barry :

      Hugs to you! I hope you continue to get good sleep and take care of yourself.

    • Glad to hear you’re a bit more rested and had some food. Keep taking care of yourself. You’re a rockstar daughter!

      (And good news about the care help and insurance, wooh!)

    • *hugs*

      I’m relieved to hear that you’re taking care of yourself. And an “ELLEN-YAY” for the care help and insurance stuff. :-)

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Awesome. Modern medicine is a god-send and we should all be more open to it when we realize we need it. I’m super afraid of flying and kick myself for all the years I tortured myself flying med-free. It is not a cure-all but certainly helps!

    • JM/semi anon for this :

      Further update: The Community Care people are recommending that a psych nurse make some visits to check on my mom for at least the next little while. This.is.FANTASTIC (and free!).

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        wooooo hoooooo!

      • SoCalAtty :

        Glad to hear you are taking care of yourself and finding good resources for mom! Nothing wrong with some “better living through chemistry” to get you through something and to the point where you can take a more holistic approach to coping with it.

  15. TMI -- post-childbirth stuff :

    Question: After birthing babies, what is normal in terms of feeling like you need to go a lot and being worried if you do something vigorously athletic (say an hour of singles tennis or doing lots of spontaneous jumping jacks) that you will eventually go a little (like a little bit slips out, but nothing that someone else would notice)? I’m not having huge problems, but I’m wondering when (if ever) I will get back to 100% (this was formerly never a problem and I drink fluids like crazy b/c it’s usually hot where I live).

    Possibly helpful background: I had my first daughter after 2.5 hours of pushing. Only a small first-degree tear and no drama in the lady-garden-party department. I got pregnant again after 6 months and noticed that I had to pee all the time (but I thought it was from being pregnant). I was pregnant again after that and had my second daughter after 1 hour of pushing, with everything happening much easier than the first time. I thought that this was more a factor of being frequently pregnant but now I’m thinking that I’ve done something that may be permanent and that concentrating on not having anything happen is now the new normal.

    I am like an eighth grader re this — have not talked to friends / doctor at all. If it were an accute / chronic problem, I might seek medical help, but b/c it’s nuisance / sporadic, I don’t.

    • I’m pregnant with my first and from what I’ve read this is completely normal and not usually permanent – kegel exercises are you friend. I’m sure there are others on this board who can weigh in with their personal experience. I’m also sure your OB hears about it from other patients all day long and it wouldn’t be that mortifying to discuss it with him/her.

      • I’m mortified that I know this but Kim Kardashian’s mother had this problem and her daughters made her go to the doctor to get it checked out (it was on their TV show). I think the doctor just suggested kegels.

    • Diana Barry :

      Sporadic is still a problem. Have you been doing kegels? I would start doing those all the time, including when you go to the bathroom – try stopping in the middle and then starting again – and see your gyn to see if you have any anatomical changes that are measurable.

      How old is your baby? It may be a function of time – I find it improves with time and kegels. Good luck!

    • I can’t jump anymore after giving birth (fifteen months ago) without leaking, even if I have just emptied my bladder. It sucks because I do Crossfit and there is a lot of jumping. I did Kegels religiously (2 hours a day) for ten months after giving birth. I talked to my OB about it and she said that Kegels don’t work for everyone, and if they don’t, the only option she would recommend is surgery because the medication’s side effects are pretty unpleasant. I wonder if there is a genetic component, because my mother has had the same issue for as long as I can remember.

      • If you are doing Crossfit, try stretching more or getting a leg/glut massage. I’ve never been pregnant but in Crossfit, I started leaking on the box jumps (and in other situations). I mentioned it to my massage therapist and she did . . . something (I don’t know what) and totally fixed the problem. It still happened but about a few rounds of therapy, I was good to go. Apparently, it’s a normal condition in women who do heavier/max lifting.

      • I know runners that say they use tampons while running to help them stop leaking. Something about the extra pressure helps. Not sure if it works, but may be worth a try.

      • Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll definitely give them a try. Any reason to get a massage is a good one. Box jumps are fine; I have problems jumping rope and doing other sorts of jumps, like broad jumps.

        k-padi – did you see a sports massage therapist or a standard masseuse? Should I be looking for a massage therapist with a special certification of some kind? Thanks.

        • My therapist is a generalist but she uses deep tissue, myofascial release, and sports techniques as needed. I’d avoid swedish or spa massages and look for a therapist who does therapeutic work.

    • Mine did improve with time (though it’s still occasionally an issue), but my doctor assured me that the surgery, if necessary, is an easy one. So if you continue to have trouble check in with your gyn.

  16. Vacation help needed from the hive:

    Now that all of my crazy year-end deals are done, I need a vacation. I’m planning to go to Spain (Barcelona and some combination of Seville/Granada/Cordoba) in March. Two questions:

    1. Is holy week an extra good time to be in Spain (festivals, etc), or a particularly bad time (all the things I want to see will be closed)?
    2. For the portion when I am in southern Spain, I plan to base in one town and rent a car to go see things. Any recommendations for which town should be home base?

    Hotel/sightseeing/restaurant recommendations also welcome. Thanks!

    • HELLO I CAN HELP YOU WITH THIS. I HAVE ALL THE THOUGHTS.

      First of all (and I know this wasn’t one of your questions, but like I said, all the thoughts), how much time do you have? If you’re only going to be there a week, I would really, really recommend picking either 1. Barcelona and northern Spain or 2. Seville/Granada/Cordoba and southern Spain. There is really a truly insane amount of stuff to see wherever you go, and if you want to chill a bit after your crazy year-end deals, I would pick a more focused area to minimize time wasted on buses and/or Spain’s extremely f**ked rail system.

      As far as Holy Week goes, it’s a bigger deal in some places than in others. I know Seville is known for having a major Holy Week festivals. So that would be good if you like festivals and processions and men in white robes and pointy hats, but not so good if you want to relax. I believe tourist attractions should stay open except on the actual holidays (e.g. Easter Sunday), but I would check the schedules of the specific places you want to go. If you can’t find info online, let me know with a post here and I can call for you.

    • For a base for exploring southern Spain, if you’re primarily interested in the big three (Cordoba, Granada, and Seville) I’d probably stay in Cordoba, since it’s roughly in the middle. With that said, Granada is one of the most incredibly beautiful places I’ve ever been in my entire life, so I would really consider spending at least a couple of nights there. Honestly, Spain has a pretty effective tourist infrastructure (except for the trains…) so it wouldn’t be a problem to move from place to place, even without a car. Buses are clean, safe, affordable, run on schedule, and way, way nicer than anything you will ever find in America. I definitely understand the appeal of being able to go where you want, when you want, though. But do consider that, for example, from Cordoba to Seville is still an hour and a half (not counting parking, getting lost, etc.)…so if you’re staying in Cordoba, commuting back and forth will occupy a BIG chunk of your time. Unless you really want to minimize your exposure to Seville’s Holy Week madness, I’d stay in the places you want to see.

      • Thanks! I am totally not opposed to buses/staying a night or two in each place if that makes more sense than a car. Total travel time is going to be just under 2 weeks. I am also an aggressive sightseer, so “relaxing” means more “seeing awesome things” than “lazing around in my hotel”.

    • We accidentally went to Seville during “Festiva” the big festival that ends the holy week time, which was so awesome. People are all dressed up in their finest local clothing, there are a ton of events, and it was just really fun and interesting. There also happen to be really good bull fights during that time if that is something you’re hoping to see.
      We went to Cordoba to see the mosque, and even as someone who studied architecture and was excited to see it, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. The city was small and not as interesting (to me) as Seville. If you go, I’d do it as a half day trip, tops.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I did a month in Granada and loved it. Did day trips to Seville, Ronda, Cordoba and relaxed on the Costa Del Sol. We did two weekends on Costa Del Sol via bus. I was in an intense study abroad program with 8 hours of classes each week day but still saw SO MUCH. One thing, if you don’t speak Spanish, it is tougher to get around Granada than Northern Spain. Our group put is there instead of Madrid/Barcelona to force us to speak the language. I found few people spoke English in Granada. Costa Del Sol, however, everyone spoke English and wouldn’t even let us try to speak Spanish.

      I have no idea if any of these things are still there (I went in 2002 I think) but there is a restaurant called “American Bites” that serves American food which is so fun see how Spain interprets American food. It is like Americans saying “let’s go get Italian tonight” and going to the Olive Garden. Granada Diez is their big dance club. We only went once, long wait, high cover, but it was fun to say we had been to the big “IT” locale. The Chupacharia is a shot bar mostly for american tourists but it has something like 1000 shots on the menu. It is SO tiny but for every shot you get a ticket and you redeem your tickets for prizes. Cool when you are there a month. Dangerous if you are there a weekend.

      If you can get out to the Sierra Nevada for a hike it was sooooo sooo beautiful. I think I did Pico de Carne? I’ll have to look at my photo album. Of course visit all the cathedrals, etc. I was there for some big religious festival in June and it was crazy fun. Everyone dressed in traditional garb, lots of street food, rides, etc. I’m so jealous!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      One other thing – the men in Granada can be a little . . . touchy. If you are not forewarned, you may be a little surprised. For example, a waiter would think it totally appropriate to have his hand on my shoulder while speaking with me.

      Oh, and Granada (at least when I was there) still followed Siesta and EVERYTHING closed down during it, except the Corte Ingles. This is a huge department store where different floors sold different levels of goods. One floor would be walmart/target quality/prices another floor would be Nieman Marcus/Saks quality/prices. I thought it was very cool.

    • Spanish Lit major here–and I lived in Spain for several months and have traveled there many times.

      Cosign all of what a. said–if you have only a week, you really need to split the trip. Barcelona is another trip if you are really focused on Southern Spain. You could do Madrid, day trip to Toledo, back to Madrid and then Ave train to Southern Spain. I really love Malaga!

      In terms of where to stay, there are a ton of state-owned hotels called paradores (or parador, singular). A lot of them are in historic buildings (think monestaries, castles, etc.) and a lot of them are on the coast. So I would google and try to stay in as many paradores as possible. There are English-language websites through which you can book.

      I also cosign that Granada is STUNNING. I would spend more time there and slightly less in Cordoba. Sevilla is also awesome, but I could see how it might “shut down” during a holiday time.

      The last thing I’d add is that Spain is _very_ Southern European, so you really need to adjust your “lickety-split” American expectations when you are traveling there. It’s just….slower. So trying to do a breakneck speed trip in Spain can be difficult. You’ll have a much better time if you adjust to taking everything a bit slower. For instance, at a restaurant, the waiter will almost never bring you a check unless you ask for it, because Spaniards interpret meals as a time to relax and take your time!

      Also, be forewarned that Southen Spain is known for its leather goods, so you should try to stock up on some gorgeous handbags or shoes or wallets (as presents for your dad, brother, etc.). The hand-tooling is really lovely and the leather is not expensive by US standards.

      Have so much fun!!!!

  17. Just have to complain – I’m wearing a new dress today (that only cost $25 in the sales last week so…) but within half an hour of sitting at my desk I already spilled coffee on it! And I don’t even usually drink coffee! grrr

  18. Legally Brunette :

    A very good friend of mine just got engaged! I’m thrilled for her and wanted to send her a small gift, along with a card. Any ideas? She’s desi so a bridal magazine subscription would not be as helpful (in terms of ideas for clothes and such).

  19. Purplepear :

    Question: Do I have a right to be silently irritated that my out of state friends are considering having a midweek, 3 hour, wedding and cocktail reception? My husband and I (as well as a lot of the bride’s family) will have to take 2-3 days vacation and spend roughly $1000 on travel and accommodations to attend such a small affair.

    Not going is not an option since my husband will probably be in the wedding. *grumble grumble grumble*

    A weekend wedding or a longer weekday wedding would make me considerably less irritated.

  20. Purplepear :

    Repost to avoid moderation:

    Question: Do I have a right to be silently irritated that my out of state friends are considering having a midweek, 3 hour, wedding and c*cktail reception? My husband and I (as well as a lot of the bride’s family) will have to take 2-3 days vacation and spend roughly $1000 on travel and accommodations to attend such a small affair.

    Not going is not an option since my husband will probably be in the wedding. *grumble grumble grumble*

    A weekend wedding or a longer weekday wedding would make me considerably less irritated.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Yes, you have a right to be silently irritated but definitely don’t be vocally irritated. My guess is that if someone has a midweek 3 hour wedding and cocktail reception, they are doing their best to cut costs. I think all of those things are typically suggested to keep wedding costs lower, but are obviously not as feasible/advisable if most of your guests are traveling from out of state.

    • Why a midweek wedding? I imagine it might be economically advantageous, but really, that kind of annoys me. Like when people have weddings on holidays.

      • purplepear12 :

        I think it’s their dating anniversary? But I imagine the primary reason is the cost.

      • I actually like the wedding on a holiday thing. My friend is getting married over Memorial Day weekend, which is perfect — three day weekend without taking vacation time!

        • I have a secret dream to have a New Years Eve wedding.

          • KansasAnalyst :

            That would be such a fun wedding to attend. One questions though- would your guests be allowed to wear really festive outfits? Nothing trampy, but very glitzy? Either way, it would be a blast. I actually got invited to a wedding New Year’s Eve, but we couldn’t go because of travel plans/hubby’s schedule.

          • I totally would encourage glitz and glam (not the least because I’m Indian and our weddings, even my expected ABCD one where I’ll wear a white dress, are glitzy by definition).

            And now it’s sad that I’ve put so much thought into my future wedding, when I’m not even engaged. Sigh.

          • If I had a NYE wedding, I would EXPECT people to be glitzy!

          • Mine would be Christmas eve. But for very specific reasons and it would be very small (only people who would probably already be there). Not that I’m planning on getting married, but you know, it’s there in my head.

          • I’m for sure having a NYE wedding. Sparkles and champagne all night long? Yes, please.

          • SV in House :

            We seriously considered a NYE wedding, but prices were crazy for receptions and I figured we’d face the same problem every year for our anniversary.

          • We went to a great wedding on a December 30th. Instead of a brunch the next day, there was an evening NYE reception. They rented out a suite at the hotel and had light snacks and drinks.

          • lucy stone :

            One of my sorority sisters had one and it was AWESOME. So fun and fancy.

          • anon for this :

            I had a NYE wedding! It was a lot of fun. Plus I am Indian so the glitz was amped up. It’s also nice to have an anniversary when everyone is partying it up so it’s easy to go out and celebrate

    • Miz Bizcuit :

      Would it make you feel better to think about how much money *they* must be saving by having a mid-week wedding?

      • Can you have your husband go alone if he must? Some friends did this (Thursday and Friday. Thanks!) and it has permanently altered how I feel about them. And if I hadn’t gone but sent a gift and a note telling them how happy I was but mid-week travel was not possible for us at the time, I think we would still be close. But now, whenever I get a holiday card or see vacation photos, I think: “Oh, so you have the funds to do that but not to accommodate your guests?” Anyway, I’m embarrassed by my vehemence so please don’t jump on me but yes, you have the right to be annoyed.

        • Purplepear :

          This is so funny. Too add, I think they spent the majority of the budget on the multi-carat ring. If that’s what is important, totally fine, but just elope.

        • Another perspective :

          Another perspective (I am not trying to jump on you, just to explain from the other side a bit): I did a Friday evening wedding because I was being forced to plan a wedding by my inlaws, and we were broke. My husband had to move across country, and neither of us had huge savings. We didn’t want my (not rich) parents to pay for any of it, but they insisted on buying my dress and doing a candy bar that I wanted. (Said inlaws paid for ZERO dollars of the wedding, and did not get us a wedding gift.)

          I would not have been offended in the least if people didn’t come, mainly because I didn’t want to plan a wedding in the first place. But I would be horrified if people thought they HAD to come, and I lost their friendship because of it. We go on ‘expensive’ vacations now that we have more money, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have thrown all that money at a wedding that no one was obligated to come to, and that meant literally nothing to me other than my marriage.

          I think it’s fine to be irritated, but no one is forcing you to take the time off and go.

      • Purplepear :

        LOL by offloading the costs onto us. Vacation days are precious.

        • yeah totally agree. IMO midweek weddings play by the same rules as destination weddings, where you should assume only a small subset of guests are willing and able to spend vacation days on you. how close are these friends? I’d be tempted to say I wasn’t able to be in the wedding party and send a more expensive gift than usual.

          • Purplepear :

            We’re very close friends which is why not going isn’t an option. Unfortunately.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        That one actually makes it worse for me. *They* are saving money because *I* am paying for it in vacation days! To the OP: maybe they’ll also have scaled down or eliminated the other wedding-related events (rehearsal/rehearsal dinner) so you only have to take two days of vacation instead of three? Either way, I think they need to graciously accept that mid-week wedding means some people won’t be able make it … otherwise they’re just being unreasonable.

      • I’m sorry, but that is my number one pet peeve. If you can’t afford to have x,y,z you don’t have them! You don’t screw your friends and family over by making them take time off work, pay to travel etc. It’s rude. I think Friday nights are okay *if* it’s a reasonable location for the majority of your guests (2-3 hour drive). Without outing myself, part of the reason we picked our date far into the future is because with all our friends and family coming, we didn’t want to be the a**holes who skimped, but then made people turn around and drop hundreds to come to our wedding. People act like weddings have to have all sorts of glitz and glam; sure it’s nice, but not at the expense of your friends.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Heck, I think your husband has a right to be out-loud irritated. “Hey wanna be my best man?” “Dude, not if you’re having a midweek wedding! I have to work.”

      Or you could just APW-delude yourself into think their sparkle-fest isn’t an imposition because you know puppies.

      • Hilarious. That website BUGS. I thought I was the only one…

      • Anon in ATX :

        This. If you are such close friends, you should be able to discuss your concerns with them and tell them why mid-week travel is not feasible for you.

        • SubduedExcitement :

          Even really good friends are sometimes touchy about their weddings. A different issue came up with my best friend’s wedding, and I had to consult and think long and hard about whether and how to bring it up to her.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        Me too! Detest the “I’m 22 and was an English major in college and have ALL the deep thoughts about how I’m ready to get married and want to share them with the world”-fest. Gosh, I’m such an uncharitable person.

      • I’m asking bc I’m honestly curious. How is it an imposition to go? If you don’t want to then don’t. Any sane bride will not hold it against you (not specifically talking about op here but if he cant go, then he cant be in the wedding and thats quite all right). Also curious and amused about the APW dislike. What’s not to like? They’re pretty laid back over there.

        • LadyEnginerd :

          Ah, there’s that word… “sane.” Someone associated with the wedding, whether it’s the bride or a relative or a bridal party member is guaranteed to be less than sane. Someone will be offended if you don’t go, and thus there will be negative consequences if you don’t go, therefore it is an imposition. Someone will decide your absence isn’t due to a “can’t” go but instead “doesn’t care enough about the couple to do this ONE thing for them.”

          APW seems to come from the assumption that people are inherently sane, laid back, and in general forgiving people who want to make the couple’s day special. So very, very special and warm and fuzzy. In my super awesome experience, sanity is hard to come by during wedding planning and plenty of other stakeholders consider it their day too (like parents, especially parents who are paying). In my experience, these people get offended when the BRIDE wants an opinion, let alone having sympathy for a mere guest. Of course, that engagement ended despite my bending over backwards. Who knows… maybe I’ll be pooping rainbows and sparkles next time (if there is a next time).

    • MaggieLizer :

      Yeah, I get annoyed by weddings that cost-shift to the guests, but at the same time I recognize that a couple might want to get married on a day that’s particularly important to them or whatever. Do what’s right for you and DH. If you really don’t want to take the time off to go, don’t, and if DH feels the same way then imho he’s perfectly within his rights to decline to be in the wedding due to the timing. If you both have the vacation time, though, going to a wedding is a great excuse to take a week-long vacation to some place you might not otherwise get to go.

    • SubduedExcitement :

      Absolutely, and more so if a lot of people are coming from out of town. When I got married, I would have loved to do something minimal, but threw a huge Saturday night deal instead because 80% of the guests were coming from across the country (including family). It’s not exactly considerate to go midweek or anything other than a full dinner reception when your guests are flying across the country and taking time off work to celebrate with you.

      That said, if your husband’s in the wedding party, he, at least, really has to go. You could opt out though.

    • One of my friends did this – Wednesday wedding so she could keep their dating anniversary and it was a destination wedding. Sure, it was lovely to be on the beach but I had to take a whole week off work instead of just a day or two.

      I agree with the others. See if just your husband can go, and send a nice gift or treat them to dinner next time you’re with them.

    • No advice, but lots of commiseration. I was in a Wednesday wedding two years ago that was out of state for all involved (including the bride and groom and their families). It was so rude, and I am still annoyed by their lack of consideration every time I think about it. I had limited vacation days at the time, so I did not get to take a true vacation that year because of the wedding. I’m really sorry you’re in this situation. And I know people are saying “just don’t go,” but it’s very difficult to say no when your close friends ask you to be in their wedding (especially when, as in the case of the wedding I was in, it’s a very small bridal party and thus you know it’s important for the bride and groom that you be there).

    • Spoken as someone who recently had a non-Saturday wedding (it was Sunday for religious resaons, so not midweek but still inconvenient for a lot of people, almost all of whom were long distance), I think you should not go if its going to be a huge hassle. If the couple has any class, they will completely understand people, even good friends, not being able to come for a mid-week wedding. It’s much better to graciously decline, send a nice gift (for a small fraction of what you would have spent attending), and a card with well wishes rather than go and be unhappy about the time/money you spent getting there. I had guests who did both. I have absolutely no hard feelings towards those who were not able to come, whether or not they sent a gift. We missed them on our day but completely understand they could not miss work and go to such great expense to get there for just a few days. On the other hand, I’m still pretty hurt by a number of the guests (including some supposed “close friends”) who did show up but complained non-stop about the inconvenient time and how much time and money they had to spend and work they had to miss to get there. A lot of people assumed we were doing it to save money and basically called us cheap, both to our faces and behind our backs. That really wasn’t the reason and it was very hurtful (FYI, the only thing we saved on was 10% off our photographer for having a non-Saturday wedding. The venue & food were the same price. I don’t know anything about mid-week wedding prices but don’t assume they’re saving a huge amount of money).

    • lawsuited :

      If they’re planning a mid-week wedding, and inviting out-of-town guests, they must not actually intend for you to attend. Keeping that in mind, you shouldn’t feel at all obligated to attend. (I doubt I would attend in the circumstances you described!)

      If you decide to spend the money and take the vacation days because you *want* to attend despite the inconvenience, then I reckon you need to let go of being annoyed.

      They sent you an invitation, not a court-ordered mandate to attend, right? They have the option to schedule their wedding whenever they please, and you have the option to attend or not.

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