Splurge Tuesday’s TPS Report: Dalmation Print Cotton Jacquard Pencil Skirt

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

Sonia Rykiel Skirt - Dalmation Print Cotton Jacquard PencilI love this skirt. The contrast hem, the high waist, the matching belt — gorgeous. The pattern reads more “abstract” to me than “brown dalmation” (do such things exist?) but either way it looks fabulous. One minor complaint: for the price you’d think they could afford to throw a zipper in the mix, but perhaps the pull-on style is just fine. It’s $640 at Bloomingdale’s. Sonia Rykiel Skirt – Dalmation Print Cotton Jacquard Pencil

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Comments

  1. Pretty for a night out.

    I currently trying to purchase something on the JCrew website and it keeps telling me my size and color are ‘out of inventory’ even though both the size and color appear in the drop-down boxes. Oh well. It’s probably a sign that I don’t need yet another pencil skirt!

  2. There’s something very Auntie Mame about this skirt, but I say that as a good thing. Fun pick.

  3. writergrrl :

    Love the skirt, but I’m not feeling the belt. It looks like a robe tie to me.

    Ladies, I could use your help. A dear friend got accepted into her dream graduate school recently. She’ll be leaving for the US in a little while, and it will be her first time both in the country and in a Master’s program. I’d like to put together a little care package of odds and ends for her, but I’m stumped as for what to add beyond spice packets (we’re both from India and learnt that lesson well on previous trips abroad) and her favourite teas.

    I’d love some suggestions, especially for stuff that’s cheap and and/or small, since she won’t have much spare luggage space. DIY stuff and/or things that require a bit of time are fine, since I have some time before she’ll leave. Oh, and generic product ideas versus specific brands would be great, since I don’t live in the US/Europe.

    TIA!

    • How sweet of you! This might be sort of obvious…but what about school supplies? And pictures of home, of friends, family, put together in maybe crafty picture frames? My college roommate/best friend gave me a picture of the two of us in a crafted frame before I moved for law school (almost 5 years ago (GOOD GOD REALLY?!)) and it’s still sitting on my night stand to this day.
      What state is she coming to? That could make a difference as to what would be available there, or what she might need when moving here (Maine vs. Florida would be very different, for example.)

      • Oh, and any candy or treats that are specific to India? I know there are times when I crave brands or restaurants you can only get back home, and I imagine it’d be even moreso coming from out of the States!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I love the idea of some cute craft picture frames (or even a cute ribbon-bulletin board with some pictures tacked in — a friend gave me one before I left for a college and I had it up all four years). Also suggest homemade spice packets, but most of the premade ones will be available in Indian grocery stores here, depending on where she is moving.

      Also – India -> US, I would definitely include (if you know them) some of her favorite toiletries, like nice shampoo, conditioner, etc – of course, we have all those things here but her favorite brands likely won’t be available. Additionally, though I don’t really recommend using them, she isn’t going to find any (or at least, will find very very few) fairness creams here. If that’s something she uses, that might be something to include.

      This is a big one but – my mom has complained that an Indian style pressure cooker doesn’t really exist in the US, and still uses her one from India. That might be way too big but would be something to warn her about?

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Oh also this is weird but – - maybe a drying rack? Not sure if they sell the foldable ones, but I know when my friend (who grew up in India) came here for college, she was weirded out that we wash all our clothes together once every one to two weeks, rather than washing our undergarments and laying them out to dry every day and said she was annoyed there was no place to hang clothes to dry them except the communal laundry room. That whole thing might depend on where you guys are from, though.

        • Drying racks are pretty easy to find at Target and other similar places, though. AND, I’d think that they’re rather large to put in luggage.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Yeah good point. I don’t even know if that’s true for all of India or if it was just true for my friend or her region. I think they do sell smaller foldable ones, but if luggage space is at a premium, which it sounds like it is, it’s probably not worth it.

    • I second the picture thing, something tiny to place on a desk or a bulletin board (particularly if they are living in halls or crappy rented accommodation). Does her computer have a built in webcam? Wireless mice and those little baby speakers are nice too as are headphones (which I somehow destroy on a monthly basis and hate having to replace).

    • writergrrl :

      Wow, so many great responses already! She’s going to CA, but not very near Silicon Valley/Indian expat central, which is part of why I’m stumped.

      The picture frame idea is brilliant- I need to go poke at some of our mutual friends and ask for pics. And conspire to get one of the pair of us. (There goes my evil plan of studiously avoiding any cameras…)

      momentsofabsurdity, very good call about the fairness cream- I hate them with a hatey hate, so I’m very conflicted about whether to include some or not. And I remember getting a mini drying rack from Ikea when I was in France, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

      I’ve heard that getting any kind of pain meds in the US is a PITA, and my friend gets horrendous cramps every month (I don’t remember the name of her meds here, but think triple-extra-strength Advil rather than Tylenol.) Would a few strips of her go-to meds be overdoing it, or will she be fine with what’s available over there?

      • Yes, include drugs. You want what you are comfortable with (says the girl who is seriously considering buying some Tylenol PM off of Amazon UK and is hoarding Excedrin). I also stock up on fancy homeopathic drugs when I’m on the continent (yes, total placebo effect, I know)

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Totally include drugs – she will likely find *something* here, but it will probably be more expensive and it may not be as strong as what she’s used to. That said, if you do include drugs, make sure you tell her what they are in case customs searches her bags!

        • Definitely let her know. Also – be sure to check with US Customs and Border Security (they do have a website) regarding what medications you are allowed to bring with you into the US. If it requires a prescription in the US (even if it doesn’t outside of the US), you may have issues bringing it into the US without planning ahead and having certain written documentation.

      • Ibuprofen (Advil) generally comes in 200mg dosing over the counter here and you can get bottles of generics for pretty cheap. If you get a prescription, they give you 800mg doses. But its the same medicine, just a bigger pill. Getting narcotics and muscle relaxants will require a prescription. Short answer, she will probably be fine although she may have to play around with a few different doses to figure out what works.

    • Yes! I take sooooo many bottles of shampoo and stuff with me when I leave the country for an extended period of time.

      On the “school supplies”–this has always been an issue for me moving between Germany and the US because they use binders the way we use file folders. For a few years I took along folders and files, but eventually I got into their system (tricky, because their hole punches have 2 holes where ours have 3)–just in time to return to the US. These days, I mostly use magazine file, because those are available in both places and the difference between A4 and 8.5×11 doesn’t matter with them. Anyway, point is to find out if she wants to use the system she’s familiar with or go native, and then figure out how to be of assistance there.

      If she’s going to an area that doesn’t have an Indian community, she might like decorations for holidays or just for her room. Small or foldable, obviously.

      A box you’ve packed would be really special, of course, but if practicality is what you’re going for, you might want to call/text a few times in her first couple weeks to hear her impressions and what she’s missing. Then you can hop on line and pow! the UPS driver will be dropping off a package of just what she needs.

    • GirlMeetsWorld :

      Definitely yes on drugs (incl. homeopathic.. all that is way cheaper in India plus some prescriptions in the US are OTC in INdia) and local foods/snacks! Maybe a calling card to call India? (Dial 011 91.. from the US). How about Bollywood dvds/cds? Pin/voltage converter? Laundry detergent (only b/c it can be expensive here and she might want to do laundry right away?) Very nice of you to do this!

      • GirlMeetsWorld :

        One more thought, depending on where she’s going.. a list of addresses/phone numbers/maps of important local things? Ie, local library, coffee shops w/ free wifi, closest Indian grocery store and reg grocery stores, cell phone stores, restaurants, etc.

    • I was an international student in the US more than a decade ago but my mind is going completely blank on what stuff to get from India. Indian pressure cooker definitely helps to make big serving of daal when you are student and don’t cook often, both healthy + cheap. I still use mine from 10 years ago. Spices and all are fine, especially the basics, but don’t really need to load up on tons of turmeric/cumin etc, small quantities are sufficient. Indian snacks are a big hit, especially packaged namkeen, again you get them here too but helps to have some initially.
      For clothing, Indian shawls come handy as wraps and scarves.

      I still remember my second day in the US, getting myself to a Walmart by public transportation and hauling back a ton of everyday stuff to the dorm — I was all by myself and felt a huge sense of accomplishment after coming from a pampered environment where I never had to do a single grocery shopping. Next day my American roommate drove me around to all the stores to get stuff I needed, said I should have just asked her before, she is still one of my closest friends to this day.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Don’t know what what part of India you’re from–but the things I usually get from India are:
      1. snacks (like Haldiram’s, but the better varieties from local stores)
      2. sweets
      3. Good lord no fairness creams. And you can get them here–I think even on Amazon.
      4. Body oils/hair oils (esp. almond or coconut oils)
      5. Real pashmina scarves/shawls, because the ones they sell here are no good. Silk scarves–again, way better.

    • hellskitchen :

      Based on my experience, I’d say beauty/makeup items that she’s not likely to find here would be good things to pack. I’d say no to stuff like shampoo, shower gel etc because the tiny bottles you get in India don’t last too long here but take up valuable space. Basics like that are very cheap in the US. Instead I’d suggest stuff like nice face masks, especially those with Indian ingredients like sandalwood, neem etc which you can’t easily find here. Or makeup if you know her shades, because as a student I wouldn’t want to spend too much money on niceties like that. You could buy a nice going-out clutch and fill it with makeup or beauty stuff so she can use both.

      And a big yes to photo frames or even other reminders of home… they really mean a lot when you are away from home. Perhaps small cloth wall hangings that don’t take up too much space. If she’s a grad student and ends up being a grad or teaching assistant, she may be assigned a desk that she may want to decorate.

    • Desi snacks!

  4. Love the skirt, but if it’s a pull on style there’s no way it will fit both my waist & my hips/thighs.

  5. I’m having a baby at the end of July, and my hubs has a big presentation at work in the first week of June. I’m wondering if y’all think it would be safe to plan a babymoon in the middle of June, which would be about six weeks before the due date. I should be safe to fly, but will I feel like it? I am in the south, and I was thinking of a trip to either Colorado or Maine. Thoughts?

    • I thought most airlines were pretty iffy about people flying that late in pregnancy.

    • SpaceMountain :

      Your doctor might not want you to fly in the last trimester. Plus, flying at that stage sucks. You have to get up to pee every half hour, and you are so big you can’t squeeze past anyone in the aisle.

    • Is this your first baby? My OB recommended against flying when I was that close to my due date. I also think you’d feel more comfortable and more in the mood for a babymoon if you pushed it up to well in advance of your husband’s presentation.

    • My OB was fine with us driving 5-6 hours away for a trip 6 weeks before my due date. But, she suggested that we check to see if there was an accessible hospital with a NICU near where we were going. I was pretty uncomfortable by that point in pregnancy (also had a summer baby in the South). Would you consider something closer? We did a weekend in Asheville with a spa day at Grove Park. It was a great babymoon and got us some cooler temperatures.

    • Diana Barry :

      Is it possible to go earlier – say, in early May or late April? I had brief (long weekend) babymoons at 27 weeks and at 16 weeks. The 27 week trip was fun, but I was already big/tired and didn’t want to do too much. By 34 weeks I wouldn’t have been good for much. The one at 16 weeks was much better – we went hiking, I had lots of energy, wasn’t too big to be uncomfortable, etc.

      Also, YMMV obvs, but I wouldn’t want to travel after 32 weeks. I had a baby at 36 weeks and have friends who had theirs at 30 and 33 weeks. These were all first babies and so no history of complications, etc.

    • I thought you couldn’t fly at 8 months? I guess that it would be more like 7.8 months but I know my sister was not feeling up for a flight at that point in time. And I think you’d have to get certification to fly right? To prove you weren’t 8 months? I think it might feel more relaxing to treat yourself at home or a close drive for a bit.

    • You probably CAN travel by then (per your doc of course) but I’m in week 39 of my second pregnancy and will chime in to say that I really didn’t want to be traveling by that point. I concur with other posters who say “go earlier!” Then you can really relax and enjoy your trip without being uncomfortable, tired, etc.

    • I think you and your babe will know if you’re ok to travel better than the doc can tell you, but that’s mostly my attitude talking. I do remember helping Mom clean out her closet when I was in college or a couple years after and coming across a kit my dad had assembled to take with them on a plane in case she went into labor early (He’s an MD and had delivered babies before) She did not–I was born 3 weeks late.

      But if you decide not to go that far…CO and Maine sound like you’re avoiding the heat. How about going up into the mountains or out into the ocean on a boat big enough that it has a doctor on board?

    • Have you been to CO before? Or do you already live at a high altitude? I went to CO when I was about 12 weeks pregnant and the altitude did a total number on me. I had problems catching my breath, I was exhausted, and I couldn’t walk more than a few blocks (slowly) without needing to sit down. Just something to consider.

      • [insert clever name here] :

        I second this. I was in CO when I was 18 or 20 weeks pregnant and it was tough. I’m in relatively decent shape otherwise, but did really have a tough time catching my breath at times when we were hiking or walking around. [I have been in CO or other moutainous areas when not pregnant, and there was a noticeable difference.]

        At 32 weeks, I was pretty uncomfortable. I couldn’t even sit through an entire theater production and left at intermission. The baby was kicking in really painful places, my back and joints were throbbing, I had to pee, I was burning up, and the list of compliaints went on and on. As a result, I’m not sure I would recommend a long flight where you can’t move or do anything to make yourself feel better. At least a car trip, you could get out to stretch or adjust temperature if you need to. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting around in a cramped plane.

        Just my two cents.

      • Counterpoint :

        I went to Colorado at 26 weeks, and while I had more trouble with the altitude than I normally do it was not unbearable. (and FWIW, we stayed at 9,600 feet and did very light hiking around 12,000 feet).

    • My doctor “grounded” me from air travel around 32 weeks for my first pregnancy. For second, I wasn’t “grounded” until 34 weeks, but that was only after an uneventful first pregnancy that went to full-term. I’d try to schedule earlier.

      The other thing to keep in mind is, even if you & your doctor decide you are up for flying at that time, you probably won’t know for sure until a few days before you step on the plane. Booking an earlier trip will save you any hassle & cost associated with last-minute cancellation/rescheduling.

    • Check your insurance. Some health insurers will not cover the birth at an out-of-network hospital (depends on the type of insurance you have) if you elect to travel out of your network area that close to your due date. I know mine wouldn’t.

    • If you’re okay to fly, highly recommend Maine. Fly into Bangor and drive down to Bar Harbor. Gorgeous.

  6. I love this! Too bad it’s so expensive. I’m always curious how many of the r e t t e s buy these early-week items.

    • I’ve never bought anything recommended on the site, but that’s about 70% Kat and I having completely different taste and 30% the price of many items.

    • Cornellian :

      I’ve always wondered that, too. I’m not sure I’ve ever bought a recommended piece, although I do like hearing other peoples’ experiences with products.

      I think I have a couple of Wednesday-price point items in my closet, but mostly Thursday and Friday, for sure, as a first/second-year big law associate.

    • I’d never spend my money that way.

    • Diana Barry :

      I bought one Leifsdottir blouse that was featured at $75, but I think that’s all.

      • To me, a $75 blouse is different than a $640 skirt. The blouse is at the high end for me, but if it was “special”, I could reason that most of it had to do with quality. But prices in the hundreds? Not happening, even if I could.

    • a passion for fashion :

      I’ve purchased way to many things recommended, or on the website of the recommended item.

    • MaggieLizer :

      I’ve purchased a bunch of the lower-priced items but never one of the splurges. I really like it when the recommendations come from somewhere I never thought to look for work clothes (Target or Lands’ End come to mind) or a site like Amazon that’s just overwhelming (to me) to browse through. I’ve also bought a bunch of stuff recommended by the commenters here, like the Dress and the Skirt.

  7. Soooo, some of you may remember that about two weeks ago I mentioned that I was planning on opening an Etsy shop. Well, it’s officially open! There’s not too much up for sale at the moment, but if it goes well I’ll definitely start making more stuff to add.

    So check it out (and tell everyone you know) (I promise this’ll be the only time I plug the shop here)!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/thepaintedmuse

    • You make me long for my days of creativity! I might have to keep an eye on your shop Jess, cute stuff!

    • Ooh! I’m glad I saw this. I just emailed the “Let her sleep” sign to my sister. I want to buy it for my nieces’ room if it matches what she’s doing in their room.

    • Cute stuff, love the bright colors. Maybe when I’m settled into the new place, I’ll see if one of these signs would suit.

      (Oof. After lots of packing and shuffling off to the storage place to drop off boxes for the past 3.5 days, I’m finally back at work. And so glad to be working and not packing stuff in boxes. )

    • Welcome to Etsy!

  8. Diana Barry :
    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Very interesting! The idea of using data to drive HR policies seems entirely reasonable, and I’m surprised Google is alone in it.

      I think the point in the article is fair though – it’s a reasonably unique case, in this economy, to be thinking of “we have X amount of money to give away, how do we do that in the most effective way?” when most companies, or even whole industries, are less concerned with retention than they are with how to continue to afford the people they already have.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Oh, I love this! Thanks for sharing. I adore this sort of thing. Not only am I a data head myself, I work for a company that attempts this on a much smaller scale. It’s interesting to perhaps catch a glimpse of the future.

      My coworkers and I have several times discussed and agreed on the advantage of base pay increase vs bonus. I think there are lessons for companies without Google’s unique money issue.

      It’s interesting to me about the effect of encouraging large retirement investments rather than smaller, manageable ones. That strikes me as counter-intuitive.

      I enjoyed the cafeteria learnings. Notable that none of them revolved around the food offered.

      I solidly agree about the cost effectiveness of ample maternity leave, as I’ve seen high quality and highly experienced women leave the workforce for an extended period ‘only’ because they struggle the first few months or want to be part-time for the first year. Hiring and retraining someone is a huge drain in cost and productivity – and not good for morale.

  9. It is Dalmatian, not Dalmation, unless the good folks at Rykiel patented this term for yellow spots on black.
    I like the skirt a lot, but if I dropped $640 on an item, it better not be misspelled :\

  10. I am sure that this has been discussed at great length before, but I’m hoping you ladies can help.

    If a person needs a basic black pump, should she ideally have both suede and leather? I got the Cole Haan Chelsea (the high one) in suede and Ivanka Trump Janie in patent. The Ivanka Trump feels a bit more manageable in terms of heel height. But the suede ones are really pretty, and they’re (sort of) comfortable, and they were on sale. I have a hard time finding pump-style shoes so feel a tiny bit reluctant to take them back if they (pretty much) work.

    Thanks for listening to this pressing problem.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I have two pairs – one patent (Jessica Simpson, who knew they would be SO comfortable) and the other regular leather (Ivanka Trump). These are the plain ones – I then also have another couple of pairs which are not just plain pumps, but I think this is enough so it isn’t necessary to have suede ones. I have Ivanka Trump suede ones in teal (which I love) and I think that’s enough.

      I don’t wear black shoes that often, I have more coloured shoes, yet I still have more than one pair, so if you wear black a lot, why not? Keep them both if you will get wear out of them!

      • Thank you for the advice! I love colored shoes but don’t wear them much in the winter because I wear a lot of dresses and so there is the issue of tights. I can’t wear patterned tights or anything too ambitious color-wise because I have chunky legs and it’s not good. What do you wear in winter with your colored shoes?

        Also, I am WAY into Ivanka Trump shoes. I have Linear (the suede wedge) in three colors.

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          I LOVE Ivanka shoes, I have only the two pairs, but I want more, they are so lovely.

          I do tend to wear either plain black opaque tights or just regular nude hose with my coloured shoes. I’m not sure where you are geographically but this might not work as well if it’s snowy! Today I’m actually wearing black shoes, so I have black tights, but it is fur-reezing in London today.

    • Sidenote on Cole Haan – apparently Nike sold them (I don’t remember where I heard that rumor), so the continued use of the Nike Air technology that some people like (or hate) may be in question after the transition period is over.

    • locomotive :

      I have black heels in 3 types: patent, suede and regular leather (plus variations of heel heights…I do have a shoe problem). But the way I see it is that both patent and suede are a bit dressier/more informal than regular leather. So for work I typically wear a regular leather heel but wear the suede or patent ones out a lot more.

    • a passion for fashion :

      keep them both if you like them; you will wear them. I’m not the best person to ask about black shoes, given that i have 36 pairs of all black shoes, at least 12-14 of which could be considered a “basic” black pump

    • When I think of a BASIC black pump, I think non-patent leather. But if you like them both, keep them both. I have black pumps in patent leather, non-patent leather, and suede and I find that I wear them all.

    • I guess this entirely depends on how conservative your workplace is because, despite the fact that I own about 80 pairs of shoes, not a single pair is plain black pumps. In fact, I needed “funeral shoes” and ended up with pointy-toed black lace pumps.

    • I do NOT like suede and niether does the manageing partner. They get very dirty and he does NOT want me to look ruffled with sloppy shoe’s especialy when I am in court. So I have 9 west pumps in Black, and I also have black patent leather pumps for the winter that can be cleaned with a tissue. He reimbursed me 20% when I bought these LAST fall before SANDY! FOOEY!

      I have been SO busy this morning that I did NOT even get a chance to say HI to the HIVE! But its not my lunch break and I did NOT go with the manageing partner to Lambs Club b/c he uses that place to get cleint’s. Yay!

      With the free time I have here, I can RELAX and NOT worry about impresing peeople. I have 17 cases I am workeing on for Roberta so I asked her does ANYONE in your company actualy work and NOT get injured?

      She laffed and said that a book fell on her foot so mabye she would be my next case! FOOEY! I like Roberta and would NOT want to make MINCE MEAT of her in court! That would NOT be nice.

      Some doofus keep’s calleing me up at work and then hangeing up. I do NOT know who it is and my office has NOT invested in caller ID phone’s. The manageing partner say’s the building is NOT wired for it, but I am NOT sure he is right. The other office I went into had better phone’s then this one. I do NOT think the manageing partner want’s to invest in phone’s. FOOEY!

  11. Dominican Republic TJ! So, my girlfriends and I are planning a 30th birthday girls’ getaway in early August. There are differing levels of comfort w/ roughing it and traveling abroad in the group, so we’re thinking somewhere warm & tropical & with a resort feel to keep everyone happy. Since we’re coming from all over the US (and some abroad, where getting a US visa is a huge pain) we’re thinking the DR could be nice. Any recommendations for a fun resort that’s not crazy expensive? Or a fun, chill town that’s not too difficult to reach for some of the less experienced travelers, but that has beautiful beaches? I know the DR has a more small towns & local culture + beaches side, and then a side that’s all resorts. Thanks ladies!

    • A lot of people really like the DR. I did a girls trip there last year. We flew into La Romana and stayed about 20 minutes away. The beach was nice, but we definitely needed to know some Spanish. Not sure how much Spanish you would need for other resort areas. It was fun because I was with my friends but overall, I wouldn’t go back to the DR. We were relegated to the resort and the terrible “snorkeling excursion” which didn’t include any snorkeling, and had to eat the bad resort food. But, a lot of people really like it so YMMV.

    • Cabarete is beautiful and is a mecca for wind and kitesurfers. It gets a fun mixed crowd from around the world.

      I haven’t been in about 5 years, but we used to go every year.

    • Senior Attorney :

      A friend really enjoyed the Hard Rock all-inclusive resort in the DR. I can’t really speak to the price, but they are having a special right now: http://www.hardrockhotelpuntacana.com/special-offers.aspx?phonalytics=93c&gclid=CJb5xqfO_LQCFWlxQgodEGIAaQ

  12. PSA: Wellies and narrow staircases are a recipe for disaster. I am currently bruised from head to toe and can’t turn my neck. Be careful in the snow, people!

    • just Karen :

      oh no! I’m so sorry – ibuprofen and tea and cookies?

    • Yikes! I have slippery hard wood stairs and have slid down them once and slipped and fell another time. I now go down very carefully and always wear socks with grippers.

      That said, you will want to take some ibuprofen tonight or you may wake up unable to move tomorrow. I got lucky when I slid down most of my stairs – just one deep bruise, but that can be worse the next day.

    • Yikes! Get a good night’s rest and maybe see a chiropractor tomorrow to make sure nothing’s been majorly thrown off alignment? *hugs*

  13. Spanish magazines, etc. to read :

    Hola!

    I learned Spanish in school and have not had many opportunidades to practice. I used to think I was just bad at conversing with native speakers, but that I could read OK. No es verdad! I picked up a copy of Hola recently and was amazed at how much I strugged to read it. It’s not Cervantes — it’s a celebrity magazine with pictures. Ayyy!!! Is there anything a bit simpler that I could subscribe to that might help me get better? My chidren are beginning to learn it in school and it would be OK if it were not aimed at adults. Where I live doesn’t have a lot in the way of things at local newsstands.

    Gracias!

    • No recs, but my thought is that celebrity mags are probably harder than classic literature, if you are coming for a school learning background. Idioms and colloquial slang don’t always translate well, and probably aren’t covered in HS.

      • OMG yes. The slangy stuff in the celeb magazines is impossible. Do not feel bad. I almost cried the first (and still the only) time I tried to read Hola.

        One of my favorite magazines to read here is called Mujer Hoy. It’s a weekly written in accessible language, and has a decently interesting mix of current events, women’s issues, and beauty- and fashion-related stuff. They’ve got a website (http://www.mujerhoy.com/), so you could scan that and see if you think it would work for your purposes.

        • Whoops, didn’t see that you were okay with kids’ stuff. I’ll ask the teachers at my elementary school tomorrow if they have any recommendations, and will post back if they know of anything good.

          • Spanish magazines, etc. to read :

            I was thinking that my Spanish was so bad that perhaps I read only at a children’s level (I know that People comes in a Spanish version, but am shying away for now) :) But the website looks fun — maybe that for mama and Iguana por las muchachas? I had a penpal in high school and really enjoyed looking through the magazines she sent. This may be fun for everyone. Gracias!

            I will share with you all my favorite memory aid: “abrazo” means a hug — “a bra so snug invites a hug” [I hope I am not misremembering or getting this just wrong, wrong, wrong.]

    • I bet you can download ebooks in Spanish, or magazines like the one you just found challenging. When I was first learning German, I read children’s picture books.

    • There’s a children’s magazine that has no ads and is all in Spanish.
      It’s called Iguana and is from Cricket, publishers of BabyBug, LadyBug, Spider, etc.

      http://www.cricketmag.com/IGA–IGUANA-Magazine-for-Kids-ages-7-12

    • I’m reading the Harry Potter books in Spanish. There’s vocabulary I have to look up, but it’s not bad since the original is aimed at younger readers.

    • If I can piggyback on this — does anyone read any particular online sites in Spanish that would be helpful to non-native speakers hoping to brush up? Recommendations for newspapers, blogs, etc. that I could add into my RSS would be great.

    • I also find it really helpful when you have the article written side by side in English and the other language. I always force myself to read the French version of the articles in the Air Canada magazine, and just look over at the English side by side to check when there’s an idiom I don’t understand. So maybe you could find something like this for Spanish. Also, there’s a great podcast called “News in Slow French” and I think they have the same in Spanish. It’s real news events from the week broadcast in French (or other languages) but they speak much more slowly than a native speaker would. It’s helped my understanding of the spoken language a lot.

    • I grew up speaking Spanish in the home and I can’t really read People en Español. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t understand many of the words and can’t figure them out from context. Might also be because I don’t know anything about the stories covered (I flip through it at my aunt’s)
      So I agree to try something more familiar

    • lucy stone :

      I’d love this also – 8 years of Spanish in school and now whenever I have a Spanish speaker in court I am saying “mas despacio, por favor” over and over. I wonder if there is a Spanish version of Highlights.

  14. CravingMusic :

    What are your favorite JAG Jeans? Specific style names and/or links would be appreciated.

    • I have 2 pairs. One is good, the other one (mid-rise, straight leg) is almost-Holy Grail. I think it’s the Sydney style but cannot verify this right now. If you have a Nordstrom in your area, I recommend going to the store and trying on a bunch.
      My body type is hourglass with a bubble b^tt.

  15. CravingMusic :

    Ladies, I have a pregnant friend who has recently been placed on bedrest. I want to do something nice for her like send a care package, have meals delivered, or send a cleaning service. She lives in Midlothian near Richmond Virginia and I am not within visiting distance. Recommendations?

    • No recommendations but chiming in to say how thoughtful this is.

    • Does she have an Amazon prime membership? That could be a nice gift — then she could order things she needs (everything from paper towels to shampoo to baby stuff) without having to worry about a trip to the store. Plus it would come in handy when the baby arrives for diapers and such. And it comes with streaming video to keep her entertained while she’s on bedrest, and the Amazon lending library if she has a Kindle.

      • Yup – was going to suggest things she can either watch or read. Maybe pay for a few months of Netflix and Hulu Plus if she doesn’t have them.

        A lot of people think to send dinner, but maybe sending some nice breakfast food would also be appreciated. Does she knit? Or want to learn how to knit?

        How pregnant is she? I read the other day a suggestion that while on bed rest, you can address and stamp all your baby announcement envelopes and that seemed like a great idea.

      • Diana Barry :

        Oh, this is an AWESOME idea if she doesn’t already have it.

      • Don’t forget that new parents get 3 months of Amazon Prime membership for free.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in Midlothian and the cleaning service I use is the Mid-Atlantic Maid Service – they’re great! I don’t know their price for a one-time clean offhand, but they let you dictate the terms of your cleaning. And I work from home, so I know for a fact that they aren’t bothered by the owner being home during the cleaning either!

  16. Ladies, I could use some recommendations for good winter walking shoes. After two separate incidents of foot pain after walking 4-5 miles in my Frye riding boots, I realized that I need something that will keep me warm but that is a little more comfortable. Thanks!

  17. Asheville, NC :

    I’m planning a long weekend getaway for my husband and I the first week in April to Asheville, NC. We’ve never been before. Does anyone have any recommendations on places to stay, eat, things to do, etc?

    • Go to Barley’s. I still have dreams of their veggie pizza. And you have to go to Salsa’s. The story behind the place is awesome and it’s a very interesting combo of Mexican/Carribean flavors that totally works.

      We did the Biltmore which was a lot of fun. The thing I liked was you could go one day (say Sat.) and if you purchased tickets for a special tour or activity for the next day, you could roam around the whole property again. We did a wine tasting and had a blast. The gardens were amazing.

      I’d skip the little village outside of the Biltmore – there were some shops but nothing so amazing/different. I much preferred wandering around downtown.

      Finally, you have to go to the book and wine bar. You can read books while drinking champagne and eating cheese. Nothing more glorious in my humble opinion.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I have no helpful suggestions except that I remember having one of the best breakfasts of my life in Asheville – I’ve tried to find it on Google Maps but I got nothing! In fairness it was almost to the day four years ago, so it might not even be there anymore, but I still remember that breakfast!

    • At Cumberland Falls B&B is a lovely place to stay. Do you like beer? There are some great brewpubs and breweries (Wedge, Jack of the Woods, Green Man, etc) We also really like the spa at Grove Park. There are a bunch of good places to eat in Asheville and plenty of shops to wander through one afternoon. We’ve done several long weekends there and love the area.

    • Tupelo Honey has a fantastic breakfast, including the best biscuits I’ve ever eaten. It’s good for dinner, too, but breakfast is the best. It’s fun just to walk around that downtown area, which has a bunch of interesting shops. If you’re at all interested in architecture, here is a bunch of information you can use for a self-guided tour: . I didn’t find this until after I went to Asheville so I haven’t done this tour (and it looks pretty long), but I wish I had.

    • Just spent my birthday there last month! The Biltmore is great but definitely was expensive and took up a lot of time, so that’s something to think about if you’re on the fence about it at all. We did dinner at The Admiral which was phenomenal, though definitely out of the way so it’s not like you would be able to stumble upon it. Curate was also wonderful – it’s a tapas restaurant with amazing sangria. We stayed at The Residences at Biltmore (not associated with The Biltmore other than proximity) and it was great – condo style with huge bathrooms and kitchens, and very very clean and cozy.

      Another side note – if you’re into J.Crew shopping at all, check out the clearance center in Arden, NC. I got a few steals! It was about 20 minutes away from Asheville if I recall.

    • Brooklyn, Esq. :

      We looooved Asheville. A couple things to keep in mind: it’s pretty quiet on Sunday nights and during the week at that time of year (I assume–we went late March), so plan accordingly. The downtown area is cute and walkable. We wished we had stayed right there so as to avoid drinking & driving (instead one of us was DD, which can be kind of a bummer if you’re celebrating). The Admiral (recommended above) was fantastic. Highly recommended for a nice dinner, though the atmosphere is casual. 12 Bones Smokehouse was amazing bbq–try the blueberry chipotle ribs. Loved Early Girl Eatery for breakfast and The Wedge Brewery for a fantastic place to hang out (and great locally brewed beer)–Wedge is particularly great for people (and dog!) watching, plus they have peanuts! Walking around in the River Arts District was a lot of fun. Asheville has lots of great bookstores–we especially liked a couple on North Lexington Ave. (plus a great record store on the same block), Battery Park Book Exchange (a bookstore/somewhat swanky cocktail bar), and Montford Books (used books, a little out of the way–chat with the owner, she is fantastic).

      Re: the Biltmore, as a fan of historic houses, I loved it (especially the downstairs area–a great look into the American version of Downton Abbey). And my husband loved walking around on the grounds. We skipped Biltmore Village.

      Enjoy it! I can’t wait to go back.

      • Brooklyn, Esq. :

        Almost forgot–you must do Sunny Point Cafe for breakfast/brunch. Incredible biscuits and a real local hangout since it’s over in West Asheville. Great scene.

    • Take a tour of the Biltmore but don’t stay there. The hotel is beautiful but expensive and quite isolated from everything.

  18. Has anyone here sold china dishes? My Mikasa set is no longer being made. I know I could sell it to Replacements but am wondering if I’d get more money elsewhere.

  19. Downeast Basics :

    Anyone know anything about this brand? What do you think? Would you wear any of these to work?
    http://downeastbasics.com/teesandcamis.aspx

  20. Relationship TJ :

    So question for all you ladies in long-term relationships. How you do deal/adapt with a partner who has different emotional needs than you do? If your partner is trying but ultimately can’t meet your emotional needs, is that a sign to move on? Or do you think it’s possible to need less if you know your partner still cares but isn’t great at showing it? Any insight?

    I know the 5 love languages is often a recommendation to questions like this and is definitely on my list to read ASAP.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think the key is here – if someone is trying but “ultimately can’t meet your emotional needs,” IMO, that is a sign to move on.

      If you look at your emotional needs objectively (and I know that’s hard) and can say “Yeah these are rational” (eg, wanting him to tell you he loves you as rational versus wanting him to step out of a big presentation with his boss to call you just to say hi as irrational), and the you’ve expressed what you need to your partner, and they still can’t/won’t meet those needs – I think that’s a sign it’s not meant to be.

      That is not to say you may not be failing to recognize that your partner is showing he cares in other ways (that’s what 5 Love Languages is good for IMO – helping you to recognize that different people *show* their feelings in different ways) but I still think the kicker is – if you need X [and X is reasonable], you have told him you need X, and he is not doing X (because he can’t, because he doesn’t think it’s important, etc), then I would move on.

      This strikes a bit close to home for me, since I recently ended things with someone for complicated reasons that boiled down to: “you can’t meet my emotional needs, through no fault of your own, and I can’t be in a relationship with someone who can’t.”

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Awww not the no-furniture guy? I’m sorry to hear that :(

        For what it’s worth, I agree with this, although agree that the objectivity part is hard.

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          Apologies for the most ridiculous non-sentence ever.

          For what it’s worth, I agree with this, and yes, the objectivity part is hard.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Yeah the DWNF. It sucks but as I told a friend today, I guess that’s all dating is – seeing someone until a red flag comes up and deciding whether you can live with that red flag. I didn’t, so I ended things.

          I’m bummed but I honestly do hope he finds peace, and unlike most relationship endings, where I’m looking back and thinking “Ugh, I should have done x or y differently,” there’s really nothing I think I could have changed so as not to end up in this situation.

      • Relationship TJ :

        I read your account of the ending of your relationship with no furniture guy and it also hit a little close to home. My boyfriend has real issues dealing with emotion – he often shuts down and can emotionally disconnect very easily.

        I think part of his problem is that he is unable to express/feel emotion (due to a little bit of a troubled childhood). I can understand his limitations logically which is why I can’t quite wrap my head around walking away at this point.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Is he seeking help for this? Does he recognize that shutting down/emotionally disconnecting isn’t healthy, and is he trying to work through that? I think for me, it does feel different if someone recognizes a problem and is honestly trying, to the best of their ability, to change, versus if they aren’t trying.

          I definitely understand the feeling of “I can logically understand those limitations” and the impulse to quash your own feelings by saying “Well he’s doing the best he can – shouldn’t that be enough for me?” But I would caution you on holding onto the feeling of wanting to believe it’ll get better. If it stays the way it is right now, forever — could you be happy? You’re not a bad person if you say no, and I think it’s important to understand that. You’re not a bad person if you say “You know, I know you are trying your hardest but it is still… not enough for me.”

          I’ll assume you’re at a point in your life where you otherwise feel emotionally stable – but as I’m sure you know, life is topsy turvy. I think in a serious relationship, where you’re looking at someone as a potential lifelong partner, you have to think – if things get a lot worse – is this trait going to make me seriously unhappy? If one of us is laid off, if my parent or one of our children dies, if we have to move and start over in a brand new place, is his lack of showing me that he cares going to lead me to resent him? Is it going to make a bad situation worse? Is he or can he address it?

          All that said, you’re in it, and you know best. It’s a really rough situation and I’m so sorry you’re dealing with it.

          • Relationship TJ :

            He refuses to get professional help for this, because he’s done it before and it hasn’t made a difference. He claims he is trying (and I have noticed some incremental improvements).

            Something else that is also conflicting is that I know he would be good in bad situations. If a stressful situation emerges, like a parent being sick, it’s likely that I would be really emotional whereas he would be able to stay calm and rational and deal with business.

            I know he cares about me (and probably does love me) – I can see it in his eyes, in his actions, and he’s decently affectionate. But he can’t tell me he loves me. I’ve told him that this hurts me and so we’ll see if there’s an improvement in the next few months. I believe that even though he can’t show it, he cares about me enough that he’ll make an honest effort. FWIW, a few months into our relationship, he had trouble telling me he missed me when we hadn’t seen each other for a while. Now he can say it unprompted.

            We have a lot of issues to work through – or rather I do, because I need to decide if I can live with this. I just don’t know how to make this decision.

        • Been there :

          My very honest answer is that any reason for his inability to meet your needs in a relationship is not your concern. Your concern is only if he is or is not providing what you need. Frankly, if you have not married him yet, then see the red flag for what it is and leave. You can feel sympathy for what he has faced in his life, but you don’t need to (nor should you) take it on as your cause.

          I spent years and almost married a man who could not seem to feel empathy. He disregarded my feelings to extents that were grossly inappropriate (such as not being loyal and feeling that it was justified; ridiculing me in private and in front of others for minor errors or even his own mistakes). I knew his sad history, felt sorry for him, and made excuses for him. Little oddities grew into huge issues. It put enormous stress on me and made me subject to an emotionally abusive relationship. Don’t do that to yourself, please. Walk away now.

          • Senior Attorney :

            This times a million. Breaking up with him is a punishment you are doling out, so whether or not there are mitigating circumstances is beside the point. It’s just you moving on because you aren’t getting what you need.

    • Anne Shirley :

      For me, it’s a sign to move on. Meeting my emotional needs is one of my top relationship priorities. But I think Carolyn Hax’s advice is beat here- if nothing changes, are you okay with just this for the rest of your life?

    • My DH has/feels no emotion whatsoever. He does not understand emotion, and it’s been a huge issue in our marriage.

      With that said, I’ve tried to look at my emotional needs objectively, and there are some areas where I truly do expect too much. There are other areas where he does not give enough. With that said, we’ve both had to make adjustments. He tries more, and I am working on needing less.

      In our situation: it’s working. We’re both adjusting: we love each other enough and are determined to make it work. I think that both partners have to be committed to meeting each other’s needs, and recognizing that sometimes we both will fall short, and that’s life.

      With that said, it’s not always going to work, in every situation. Even if you both love each other deeply, sometimes it just doesn’t work for one reason or another. Anne Shirley’s advice is good here: Do you want to live with this for the rest of your life, or do you want someone/something else that will better meet your needs?

      • Relationship TJ :

        Your husband sounds exactly like my boyfriend – he just doesn’t understand/feel emotion. If you don’t mind me asking, was this an issue before you got married? Why did you decide that you could live with this for the rest of your life?

        I guess in my mind, I’m deeply conflicted. I love him (and know he loves me even though he can’t show it). Further he knows this is an issue of mine. He is trying and has made progress over the past few months. I know he’ll make a great partner and in many senses, our weaknesses complement each other. That’s why I can’t decide to cut my losses and leave him. I want to believe this will get better over time, but I don’t know if I’m being delusional.

        • Anne Shirley :

          I guess I don’t understand how he can love you if he feels no emotion. By “he’s trying” do you mean he sees this as a problem he has and is getting professional help to change? If not, I’d be wondering how he’ll be a good father if he can’t experience an emotion, and if I’d want to be a co-parent with someone who won’t share that with me, but you may not want children of course.

        • Mini novel ahead:
          It was to a point, but not a major issue during dating. We lived over 2000 miles apart, and somehow he still thought I had zero emotions when we got married (even though we had experienced several fights by this point, etc.) We had a short dating/engagement time though, so it’s possible that it would have become an issue had we waited.

          With that said, I knew that he felt zero emotion and did not understand emotion prior to getting married. What I didn’t know is how it would effect both of us. I decided I could/would live with it before knowing that.

          We both got married for the long run, and neither of us want to divorce: we’d rather work it out if possible. This is not to say that there haven’t been rough patches (I mean, who doesn’t experience tumult in marriage/relationships?) where I have actually thought divorce would be easier.

          Again, considering all of this, I would have still made the decision to marry him, and live with/work through this issue. As you said, he complements me in so many ways, and I do the same for him.

          The 5 Love Languages is a good start, but I will warn you that my DH took the test online and was none of them. I sat there with him, and he went through and said that none of the answers applied to him. (I really believe this is the case too, not that he was just being difficult.) It was more beneficial for him to see how I need to be loved than for me to show him love. My love languages are gifts and quality time. He’s made an effort to spend time with me, and he’s scheduled gifts/flowers on his calendar so he has a reminder to do these things for me. I know it sounds slightly ridiculous, but it works for us.

          When we first got married, we fought a lot. After we got married, he never said “I love you,” and so I thought, “Since we’re fighting, he must not love me anymore.” I voiced this to him, and he thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever. He told me: “I told you I loved you. If it changes, I’ll tell you, but until then, I still love you.” That opened my eyes a lot to how he thinks. Everything is a decision, not an emotion.

          How is his family? Emotional? No emotion? Way too much emotion?

          It’s definitely improved in the years that we’ve been married, and he’s actually exhibiting (and I think feeling) more emotion. Again though, it’s different for every couple, and you have to think about how YOU will do in this situation. I’m much less emotional than many of my friends, and so I think I have minimal emotional needs anyway. I think if DH would have married many of my friends, it wouldn’t have worked out, because they need something different than I do.

          • Relationship TJ :

            We’re also long distance and I think that makes it harder because when we’re apart, none of the markers that demonstrate his affection for me exist, because he can’t voice it.

            Everything is a decision with my boyfriend too, not an emotion. And nothing affects him – if we’re having an argument, I’ll think about the implications and probably get upset/emotional. He probably won’t even react, which is hard sometimes because I feel like he doens’t care. I think he does – he just doesn’t know how to show it. He went from being a teenager with a lot of anger to being a very calm and rational man who seemingly can’t express any emotion now.

            Thank you for sharing this – it helps to know that other people are in the same situation.

          • Have you thought about things that would make you feel loved when he can’t express it? Maybe if you can tell him specific things that would make it better for you, he could do those.

            I absolutely understand what you’re saying happens to you in arguments. DH drives me insane during arguments. We’ve just recently started to discuss this more. I hate that he will only think logically and he hates that I let my emotions show. I feel like he couldn’t care less that I’m upset, think about implications like you, etc., and it makes it that much harder to control my emotions and actually discuss something that is bothering me.

            If you ever want to chat, feel free to email me: required2remix (at) gmail (dot) com.

          • Relationship TJ :

            Thank you so much Leigh! I will email you because I really appreciate your insight and advice!

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