Coffee Break: Reversible Striped Infinity Scarf

PORTOLANO Reversible Striped Infinity ScarfLord & Taylor is having a big, online-only sale that ends today. I’m liking this Portolano reversible striped infinity scarf, available in white/black/blue as well as a nice charcoal/berry mix. It was $110, but with the sale (code BIG) it comes down to $66 today. PORTOLANO Reversible Striped Infinity Scarf



  1. I love this Scarf, Kat, and just read that it is made out of a fabric blend that includes wool, angora and cashmere. I LOVE Cashmere. I asked the manageing partner if he will reimburse for a SCARF and he said ONLEY if I wear it INSIDE THE OFFICE, at depo’s and in court. I am NOT sure if this is goieng to be to warm to wear inside, particulearley b/c it is so HOT in our office and I was planning and wearing it TO AND FROM work with my down jacket and FITBIT!

    Why do thing’s have to be so difficult? He said that Madeline was getting testy b/c onley I get an allowance, but I reminded him that Madeline does NOT go into court and sit’s on her tuchus all day reading tax book’s! He agreed, and said that he WOULD reimburse, but NOT to tell Madeline. YAY!!!!!!

    Willem is stopping by today (I did NOT invite him) b/c he want’s to take a picuture of me to send home to his mom and dad. I said why would they need that, and he said that they wanted to see what his girlfreind looked like. I said I am NOT his girlfreind just b/c we went to the Barclay’s center, and he said that his parent’s think I am his girlfreind b/c I was out with him after midnight, and in their world, a girl that stay’s out after midnight with a guy who is NOT married is either a girlfreind or a harlot. I d id NOT even know what a harlot was until I looked it up. FOOEY! I am NOT a harlot, but I also am not a girlfreind. I think they think that I am doeing alot of sexueal things with Willem that I am NOT doeing. DOUBEL FOOEY. I think when he show’s up that I will NOT let him take my picture unless he explain’s to mom and dad that we have NOT been sexeual, even the night of the Barcleay’s Center! FOOEY!

  2. Anon for this :

    When is it acceptable to cut off a family member? You know how there are bad relationships where the: Significant Other basically behaves very badly, checks out of all responsibility and even stops being respectful….but won’t break up and wants you to do it?

    I have a family member doing the Family Edition of the above to everyone at every family gathering. This family member has the added charm of making occasional misogynistic comments and jokes to the horror of everyone, but nobody steps up to call him on it either.

    • Errant Orbiting Body :

      In my experience, which is sadly plentiful in this area, everyone’s trigger and timing is different. Some family members will put up with a lot more, for a lot longer, than other family members will.

      If you happen to be the first family member to say “when,” be prepared to be ostracized and blamed for causing the problem. Somehow, when there is a dysfunctional, unhealthy constellation, and one orbiting body decides to be the first to correct her orbit, all the other bodies in the constellation, whose own orbits are now intersecting with her new, healthy orbit, will blame her for messing things up, instead of realizing that the rest of the constellation should probably correct their own orbits, too.

      The other thing I have observed is that kids (under 18 or over) seem blind to their mother’s bad behavior. They may complain about it when it happens to them, but they forget it ever happened by the end of the day, woe to you if you remind them of it, and they refuse to see it when mom does it to someone else, even if they are standing right there watching it happen.

      I guess what I’m saying is that if it is the right decision for you, do it. But be prepared to have to stand strong when others blame you.

      • Anon for this (OP) :

        Thanks so much for this reply.

        The family member I want to cut off is my brother-in-law. He is my husband’s younger brother and he has been at odds with his parents for decades. He is 50 years old now and has cold-shouldered his parents for over 2 decades, but his mother, my mother-in-law, won’t give up, and wants to include him for holidays and family celebrations of birthdays.

        He often comes to these events with an attitude full of anger, resentment, and indignation. Spoiling for a fight. As if he’d burst in flames if anyone so much as said the wrong thing to him. And it’s easy to set him off. I am beginning to wonder if my mother-in-law, who’s a card carrying old-school feminist, is merely a paper tiger when it comes to her younger son. All her principles about fair play, no sexist jokes and whatnot, seem to go out the window because she’s so desperate to see her son. But he’s acting out, at the cost of everyone, and frankly, letting him behave so badly for decades hasn’t made him one whit closer to her. She’s admitted that he never calls her, and if she ever stopped calling him, then she’d never have news of him.

        And yet, my saying that I wanted to just check out of some of these family celebrations is causing her to imply that I’m selfish. I haven’t asked that she disinvite her son or anything like that, but I’d like to not have to attend so many of these family events where I know we’ll all be dealing with the oppressive atmosphere full of tension and awkward silences.

        My husband supports me fully but it hurts to have my mother-in-law thinking I’m the villain. I’ve generally had a good relationship with her, but it’s clear that everyone will be sacrificed on the altar of her futile pursuit of her younger son’s affections.

        • oh so anon in VA :

          Are you my sister in law? Because you just described our family situation to a T.

          • Anon for this (OP) :

            I can let out a sad chuckle here, can’t I? If you are in this situation, I am so very sorry. I have sympathy and empathy and shared frustration.

            I told my mother in law that I understood that her son is important to her, and I encouraged her to work on her relationship with him, but offline, at more low-key, low-pressure settings, like inviting him out for coffee rather than the full onslaught of Christmas plus me and my husband.

            She shot this idea straight down because she said her son had rebuffed her too many times over the decades for things like a quick coffee meetup. She also said that she doesn’t enjoy his company and couldn’t take a one-on-one meeting with him. I was oh so confused by this. So why inflict him on everybody if you can’t stand being with him yourself? Who’s selfish now? (I didn’t say this, though.)

            Then I asked her if my husband and I could host. I have heard that neutral territory is helpful if there’s family baggage. We have had oh so many years of these sad, angry Christmases where her (younger) son comes in spoiling for a fight, and she ends up in tears over his angry remarks, and then we all sit in silence and misery over a meal that suddenly tastes like dust in our mouths.

            But she shot down the idea of us hosting. Even after all these years!!! She said, “No, I want my children to come home.”

            Sometimes, I don’t even know where to go with this. I actually want to suggest that we all do family therapy together, because I value my relationship with my mother in law, but I don’t value it more than my sanity, honestly.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          I kept trying to come up with a post to answer you, but your post is hitting too many hot buttons for me right now, so I’m going to suggest reading this instead:

          • Anon for this (OP) :

            Thank you thank you thank you for posting that link.

            I read that piece and was nodding my head so much in recognition. It is exactly how I feel about this. I am being held to a higher standard, and it is unfair. I don’t even want to disinvite my brother in law and I have told my husband if he wants to hang out with his brother, he should do so, but without me.

            I just don’t want to be part of a big charade. I would be happy to keep seeing my mother in law and father in law at other things. For the record, I meet with her fairly often for theatre, concerts, and coffee dates. Or she meets with me and my husband. These are all very enjoyable times and I hope she won’t want to cut me off in retaliation for avoiding these big family gatherings full of awkwardness and potential landmines.

            It also is a hostage situation in many respects because my poor, sweet mother in law is allowing her younger son to act like a jerk with little to no restraint. I have, in my many many decades on this planet, had to read the riot act to someone really out of line, but those people didn’t have their hooks in a hostage.

          • Anon Family Drama :

            I was the person who posted about a difficult sibling coming into town, so i can relate. Especially with the mother who insists we do everything together, then breaks down crying after said sibling has said mean things.

            I can ESPECIALLY relate to the “being held to the higher standard” – it’s exhausting. It’s unfair. I totally get it. Throw in a demanding job, and I sometimes feel like no matter what I do, people will expect more, more, more.

            I wish I had better advice. Just commiseration. I will continue to be the ‘better’ person but I am not afraid to put my foot down when enough is enough.

            My biggest fear is becoming like my mother when I’m older- creating situations that cause arguments, but continue to do it because “we should.”

            My only explanation for you is that some mothers (actually probably all) feel a bond with their children, no matter how terrible, and just cannot let them go/get some space/set boundaries. I have learned to accept that as a person with no children (yet), I cannot understand this and I shouldn’t try to. I have to respect that feeling, and be at peace with my decisions and how I react (which is to stay calm, and yes, be that ‘better’ person).

            Hope that helps.

        • Anon in NYC :

          Is the only time you have to deal with your BIL at the holidays / birthdays? Honestly, for the holidays I would say to just deal with it. It’s awful, but your MIL will not give up on her son. For things like your husband’s (or your) birthday, you obviously have a right to request that your BIL not be invited. And, honestly, if your BIL is in his 50′s and he’s the younger brother, I have to imagine MIL is in her late 70′s/80′s… I would just let her have the holiday she wants.

          In a parallel situation: my BIL (husband’s brother) is a jerk to his mother, but my MIL will not give up on him. And she is routinely hurt because BIL doesn’t call her, the only time she sees the grandkids is when she forces an invite from BIL, and she is literally the absolute last resort for things like babysitting. And my MIL is a lovely person. There is no justification for the animosity. It’s frustrating to hear how upset my MIL gets – especially because I (and DH) have told her that she needs to distance herself from the situation – but it’s her son so I imagine (as a non-parent) that it’s hard to do that.

        • yet another anon for this :

          I wanted to add – I think everyone has a family member like this, the difference is how the family chooses to deal with it, and how close the family is so how often it becomes an issue.

          I had a similar issue where I felt like I, by nature, am kind of easygoing – not because I try or anything, I just have a hard time getting worked up over things (seriously, I could not believe the range of things that my in-laws get worked up over) and over time it got taken for granted that I would just go with the flow – my preferences/needs were simply not accounted for. It exploded when after years of accommodating everyone’s various peccadilloes and demands and issues, my one very small very reasonable issue was, at best, ignored and at worst ridiculed. I told my mother in law that I was sick of being held to a higher standard and from now on I was just not going to accommodate the issues that I personally thought were dumb (basically all of their issues). I got A LOT of guilt and I really had to stand my ground – a lot of her telling me I was the problem, a lot of me telling her that the fact that she saw it that way reinforced my belief that she held me to this ridiculous standard while tolerating everyone else’s bad behavior. But things changed and now everything is, tentatively, better, in that I think my in-laws are actually afraid to impose their weird issues on me. So things can improve.

          What really helped, though, is that my husband was on my side and ran a lot of interference. When his mother suggested that he talk me into being more rational, he would tell her that I was being completely rational and that she wouldn’t dare suggest to his other siblings that they/their spouses were being irrational when they threw down their demands (he did have empirical evidence on his side).

    • Divaliscious11 :

      When your presence makes me unhappy and causes hurt. It is perfectly acceptable to love…from afar. I can’t tell you the enormous relief I felt when I decided that 2 of my family members had caused all the distress in my life that I chose to deal with….

    • hoola hoopa :

      One of my husband’s sisters is like what you describe.

      I don’t think you’re ever going to have success cutting brother-in-law out of the holidays so long as your in-laws are alive. Your choices are either to skip the family events or put up with him. Unless he’s dangerously toxic, I would personally maintain what sounds to be an otherwise positive relationship with your in-laws. So here’s some ideas on how to get through it.

      My first thought is that this isn’t your family member to disown. I think that’s accurate, but it’s also a helpful coping mechanism. I hate spending time with this SIL but I dismiss her as not my problem and her insults roll off easier.

      Is it only his parents, the angry brother, your husband, and you? I know this is counter to your point, but it helps if you can bring in more people to serve as a distraction. Thankfully my husband has quite a few siblings and they all have families, so we water down her effect.

      I try to focus on how hard it is for my in-laws. Parents love their children no matter what, so it’s really painful to be apart or to have them treat you so badly. So I try to enter with the mindset that I’m there to help my mother-in-law and father-in-law (who I like) get through it. It can be easier to be strong if you are being someone else’s rock.

      Is there a pattern to the behavior or does the event follow a predictable script? You can try to be out of the room or even out of the house during the worst of it if you can see it coming. My SIL is worst at the beginning when she feels like she needs to prove something, so I make myself really busy in the kitchen and avoid eye contact. I’ve noticed my father-in-law always suddenly needs to chop more wood or find something in the garage. By the time we’re sitting down for the meal, she has said just about everything she’s going to say. When a different SIL hosts, she has the meal early so that by the time angry (and notoriously late) SIL arrives everyone is happily chewing and ignoring her.

      Develop an alternative tradition. Spend two days with your in-laws: one day for the blow-up with brother-in-law and another to actually do something fun, happy, and loving so that you all get a holiday.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I have the SIL situation as well. I finally just said “you’re welcome to all of the time / family events you want to have with her, but it may or may not be with me, and I will happily find something else to do, even if it is just staying home and watching a movie you don’t want to watch anyway.”

        That’s worked, so far. There is nothing wrong with a married couple doing different things on holidays. Once I realized this, it was SO much better…I can go out with friends, have some alone time, clean my house…we see each other all the time, so it isn’t necessary for us. If you have kids I think it would be different, and more difficult, but you could probably find an alternate tradition with them as well.

    • What’s not clear to me from this is why you, and not your husband, is dealing with this. With in-law problems, it should be the person who is blood related to all these people who has to deal with it. I would work on getting your husband to talk to his mom. If he doesn’t take the lead and back you up, then nothing will ever get accomplished.

      • Anon for this (OP) :

        For the record, my husband backs me in terms of agreeing with me that his brother is a jerk and that his brother’s behavior is unacceptable. My husband also backs me in my desire to not be part of the family gatherings where my brother in law will be there. He knows I want to see my parents in law at other occasions and will initiate lots of contact. He knows I really really like them. He doesn’t think my wanting to avoid his younger brother in those few settings where he’ll be included is “selfish.”

        He has slowly come to realize that yes, the relationship between his mother and his younger brother is dysfunctional.

        But, my husband is part of this family and this dysfunction has been going on so long, he didn’t see exactly how messed up it was until I said something about it and have been saying something for oh so many years. As you can guess, we are not young people. This is just an issue that has dragged on forever.

        I admit that in the early years, I was disappointed that my husband never said anything to his mother, or called his brother aside and told him to behave better to his mother or at the very least, be civil over Christmas dinner instead of barking at her and making her cry.

        To take some ownership in this problem – in the early years, when my brother in law would spout the occasional random hateful misogynist statement, I was so bewildered, I didn’t know what to say. They were also either at restaurants that were just too ear-splittingly loud for me to be able to hold a real conversation or debate and it wouldn’t have been the right occasion. I just thought things would somehow get better. They never have. And I feel like I missed the opportunity to make a change.

        And yet, my middle-aged self says, it is very very hard to change, even if one wants to. I don’t see any impetus for my brother in law to change. And it’s not my job to “educate” him and try to force him to change anyways. His wife would stonewall me anyways, as she hates our mother in law and father in law and at every family gathering, she sits as silent as stone and responds to as few direct questions as possible and always with as few words as possible. There are times when I pretend she’s a Soviet-era sleeper agent, trained to never ever give anything up, because in all the years I’ve known her, I know very, very little about her because she won’t deign to talk to any of us. And she completely controls her husband’s social schedule. They are very traditional, and she’s is the “social secretary” and gatekeeper.

    • Errant Orbiting Body :

      If you decide to try to sit through the family dinners that include BIL, one tactic that I have tried is to pretend that you are an anthropologist on a field mission. Just observe the natives in their habitat, see which behaviors they exhibit, take (mental) note of how many times they do X and in response to which stimuli. Report back to your colleagues in the lab (e.g., your girlfriends) later.

      Two years ago, I had to go to a large family dinner at my stepkids’ mom’s parents’ house for my stepson’s birthday. For various reasons, my attendance was not negotiable and — no matter how inappropriate his mother treated me — my demeanor had to remain beyond reproach the entire visit. Many women on thissite suggested he anthropology route, and it helped a lot.

      • This is why I don’t have much hope for humanity. Nepotism reeks in all its forms. If I saw my daughter treating her son’s stepmom horribly in my house, I’d call her on her bad behavior. Letting it go is perpetuating unfairness. Sturgeon’s Law applies to people, too, unfortunately.

    • I know I’m late, but one last thing – you don’t need your MIL’s permission to skip an event or host your own. I know that can be a complete upheaval to your normal thinking, but it’s true. You can make other plans, you can stay home with just you and your husband, you can travel to Hawaii. All of these things are possible regardless of her opinion on the matter. You can gently tell her “We won’t be able to make Christmas this year, but we’ll see you on New Years!” but all future discussion will be about her reaction, not about your ability to go. (“I’m flattered that our presence is so important to you, hopefully that will make New Years that much sweeter!”)

    • Silvercurls :

      One more latecomer’s opinion: I like the way you’ve presented this so calmly and taken the trouble to emphasize that the relationship between you, DH, and your in-laws (especially your MIL) is one of mutual warm regard and enjoyment of each other’s company. You come across as a genuinely sad onlooker, with compassion for your MIL who is on the receiving end of a lot of rudeness from your BIL.

      I also like the suggestions from R–take a break, be willing to discuss future get-togethers, and keep conversation “about her reaction, not about your ability to go [to something that you are choosing NOT to attend]“–and Errant Orbiting Body–in your mind, transform the experience into something an anthropologist would observe. (IF you’re feeling really grouchy, pretend that you are a Zoologist!)

      Finally, compliments to Hoola Hoopa for her suggestion to get out of the room when BIL launches his hostility. Go to the bathroom, get yourself or someone else a drink of water (or more ice), step outside to catch up with someone having a cigarette break…

      I’m sorry you’ve had so many years of dealing with this unpleasantness.

  3. TJ – I had the most amazing chocolate souffle type muffin this past weekend (from Red Barn organic bakery).

    Does anybody know of a recipe that creates a soft, airy choclate muffin (but somehow not the traditional cupcake crumb)?

  4. Need to vent :

    I am so upset right now. I’ve worked 7 days a week for over two months straight and thought I had things worked out so I could take the four-day Thanksgiving weekend off. I just found out I am going to have to work the whole weekend. I am so burnt out and exhausted and stressed out that I could cry. I don’t even see the point of traveling to be with my family since I am going to have to work constantly. Ugh.

    Sorry for the rant. I like the scarf!

    • Famouscait :

      I am jumping on this hijack. Sorry for your work situation – that sucks.

      My vent is that my MIL has renegged on her agreement to keep our dog over the holidays, so I’m struggling to find a place to board him over Christmas in Nashville. Given that he can’t arrive early to take a temperament test, this is really challenging. DH says it’s just this one time. but I seriously think its a power play that she will also use on future grandkids. She’s just like that and I don’t have patience for these types of games.

      On my side of the family, my sister and mother have been inundating me with calls of “What should I bring?!” for Thanksgiving food this week. Look up your own $&*& recipe. Make your own %%^& shopping list. I never agreed to organize the food and as the only one working full time, feel like I have the LEAST amount of time to devote to this right now! (It didn’t help that my SAHM sister waxed poetic about how much better it is to grocery shop during the week, as opposed to the weekend. I wouldn’t know. I only have time to shop on the weekend.)

      Happy holidays. End of rant.

      • It’s too bad she won’t take the dog, but are you actually thinking ahead to whether she’ll babysit for future grandchildren? Why would someone offer to take a dog (or a grandchild) over a holiday and then take it back? If she’s just flaky like that, I’d just mark her down as unreliable and not have any expectations about having her help.

        If I misunderstood, please clarify.

        • Silvercurls :

          + 1,000. Consider this an early notification NOT to use this Grandma for any child care, not even in emergencies! (Would she leave coins on the coffee table within reach of an infant? Forget to use wipes when changing the child’s diaper? Etc.)

          As for your SAHM sister, maybe you can fantasize about telling her that during the week you’re too busy neglecting your toddler’s growing-up-years to fit in any grocery shopping. (Don’t actually share this with her unless you want to make a down payment on years and years of tiresome replies. She sounds like someone who cannot imagine that what works for her life Does. Not. Work. The. Same. Great. Way. for someone else!)

      • wildkitten :

        Can you board the pup (for longer) where you live, so you can do the temperament test? I know you didn’t ask for suggestions, but that would probably be worth the extra cost.

      • Need to vent :

        Can you use a dogs utter instead of boarding your dog?

      • Nashvillian :

        Have you tried Pet Resorts of America in Nashville? Not sure how you feel about caged boarding, but since they do separate all the dogs, they do not do temprament testing beforehand.

      • Can you just ask them to make a specific thing, e.g. mashed potatoes, without giving more details?

      • Anonymous :

        Try It saved me once when I had to go on a business trip. You board your dog in someone’s home as opposed to a facility. There is an option to choose homes without other pets and users can review hosts and they are posted online.

    • UGH! i am so sorry, i am in the middle of a battle for my time off, but nowhere near as bad as nonstop for 8 weeks! that is horrible, and completely unfair. sending Internet Hugs if it helps.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Maybe it would be worth it to go see your family anyways? Depending on how supportive they are of course, but maybe you’ll feel like you got a bit of a break if you got to spend some time with your family and had thanksgiving dinner and you can work during the day, but spend quality family time in the evenings or something?

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      There’s something in the water. Not as bad as you, but third week of crazy hours starting, wolves snapping at me from every timezone, closing something overnight tonight and two new instructions to complete with deadline of tomorrow.

      I agree that it might be worth going to see your family anyway as there is something a bit more relaxing about working from home if you can manage it. Of course depends on your family/your ability to focus, but it might give you a bit of a break at least mentally.

    • Need to vent :

      Thanks for the sympathy. Working from home is hard because I have a toddler who is shy with strangers (e.g., the extended family he doesn’t know well) and who will stand outside the door and cry if my husband tries to keep him away from me while I’m working. Plus no one in my family has a non-9-5 job and they constantly complain about how much I work, how I’m missing critical time in my child’s life, etc. You know, because I clearly love working on holidays and need a guilt trip on top of everything else.

      • I feel for you; it’s tough working from home with a toddler. Can your husband take him out somewhere fun (an indoor play space or even Barnes and Noble with the train table)? Weather permitting, is there any local attraction that might be fun for him while you work?

        As for the guilt trip, I wish there were a way you could tell your family members to get a life. Most people have to work for a living!

      • Stay home with you, your hubs and kids. Work from your house and enjoy the time to just relax? If they’re going to guilt trip you the whole time then sc*w it, stay home and work in your PJs!

  5. (regular poster going anon)
    Divorce related TJ – should I go for a larger law firm that has lots of manpower or a smaller one? The larger one says that their billing practice is to bill at the rate of whoever worked for that portion – partner, associate etc. so I am hoping that financially the difference won’t be exorbitant. But from a “what’s best for me” perspective, is it better to have a large team of people or work with 1-2 people in a small firm, perhaps even with the partner directly? Any stories or words of wisdom?

    • I’ve written about this before but I have a friend going through something similar so I’ll chime in… My friend went with the large, fancy matrimonial. Idea was that junior associates would do all the basics at a lower rate, senior partner would supervise and make sure all was well, and my friend would get the fancy firm at a lower cost as result. Reality is junior takes a long time to do even basics, bills at half cost but double time, senior then bills for overseeing/correcting work, and my friend has a $40K bill and they’re not even at the trial yet.

      Honesty, I would just go with the smaller shop. You don’t need tons of people on your case – matrimonials aren’t corporate litigation. You want to work with one person, maybe two, and you really don’t need “resources” so much as someone who is responsive and capable and going to work hard to protect your rights. I think in most cases, a “team” is really just not necessary. There are a ton of really great solo or small firm divorce attorneys.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        To add to this: I know someone going through a divorce right now using a one-woman shop, and the “basics” have all been done by an experience paralegal (20ish years as a matrimonial para) billing at an extremely low rate. Attorney will handle the negotiations/trial/etc. when it’s time for that, but friend is still in the early paperwork stage and has been extremely pleased by how low the bill has been so far, and with the quality of the work/attention/etc.

      • Thank you for that perspective. The firm said they employ law students as well and reflecting on it, I think you are right – having the partner check a law student’s work would certainly drive up costs.

    • Anon former family law judge :

      There is no way I would hire a big firm for my divorce unless it were very, very, VERY high-bucks and high-stakes. If it were me (and it was, not long ago), I would hire the best small firm or solo lawyer I could find.

    • Anonymous :

      No advice about a law firm, but hugs and sympathy to you. I hope you are taking good care of yourself, and know that you’ll get through this okay. Divorce sucks – whether you initiated it or not.

  6. My lovely friend invited me to her extended family’s Thanksgiving this year, since I’m an orphan-by-geography. Her family is Jewish (mine is not), and will be celebrating Chanukah as well. The plan is for each person to bring “a Chanukah grab bag.” My friend’s mom’s email said to bring a gift between $10 -$15 that would be appropriate for all genders and ages. Any ideas for a good thing to bring? My friend and her parents are the only people I will know there.

  7. Legally Brunette :

    There were a few threads in the last few weeks about great Thanksgiving recipes but I can’t find them. Could someone please post the link(s)? I am hosting this year and looking for some inspiration for 1 or 2 more vegetarian side dishes. Thanks!

  8. Wondering :

    I live in Boston. Over the weekend, I saw a woman in Beacon Hill wearing a gorgeous royal blue military style coat. Hip length. Anyone by chance know where I might be able to buy it? I wish I had stopped the woman on the street to ask her!

  9. My husband and I have been TTC for almost a year. It took us about 3 months with my daughter so I was getting super frustrated. I took a test today and was fully expecting another negative result….but….it was (faintly) positive!! I’m trying not to get too excited but I’m having trouble concentrating at work. Thanks for letting me share anonymously!

  10. Moving On :

    Okay – I need a kick in the pants.

    Mistake #1) FB stalking ex-bf. Mistake #2) Googling the new girl. Now I’m just depressed that it’s 2.5 years later and I’m still stuck in the same job (that I’ve been trying to leave for 2 years) and I haven’t rebounded relationship wise either. Its a relationship that wasn’t working for various reasons, so it’s better to be out, but I still stuck in this funk where I think about him way too much. What am I not doing that I should be?

    • Therapy? Enjoying your life? Getting out and doing things? Live the life you want and the life will come.

    • Cut Yourself A Break :

      It could be much worse: I read this morning about a man to bought the house next door to his ex-wife and her new partner and put up a large bronze statue of a hand giving the finger, pointed in her direction, which he spotlights at night. I’d say you’re light years ahead of him!

      The only thing that ever worked for me was distraction. Anything and everything: reading, binge watching entire seasons of TV, tennis lessons, cooking lessons, a military campaign to visit every museum in your city, whatever.

      • Orangerie :

        I actually laughed out loud when I saw that article the other week. Petty and immature, yes… hilarious, also yes.

      • Astounded :

        It seems that in my neighborhood, putting up any major …structure like that requires informal, if not formal, neighbor buy-in. I’m wondering if there was opposition not just from the ex but the neighbors on this. Hilarious, though.

    • Moving On :

      To be clear, this hasn’t been a constant funk – just a come and go. Definitely way better than when we first broke up, but still the occasional wave of it that I feel should be gone by now.

      • Don’t be too hard on yourself – I think waves like that just happen sometimes. I find a long run is great for clearing the mind. If you’re not a runner, maybe you have another favorite activity you can lose yourself in?

    • Block the ex and his new gf from fb, that was the only way for me to avoid stalking temptations and also help forgetting him. I really don’t need to know about ex’s beach vacation or pictures of their new home while I am still single, stuck in same old job in same old crappy rental apartment and too lonely to go to exotic places. Even if I didnot search for him, he would always show up on fb search auto-complete when I typed first letter of his first/last name. Definitely distract yourself, pick up a workout regimen if you like. I started going to gym classes religiously after my breakup, within a few months I dropped jean sizes and was esctatic, my ex no longer gets to see me in my hot figure. Binge watching TV shows greatly helped beat the late night or weekend loneliness, I finished all of West Wing and Lost on netflix.

  11. Does anyone know a reputable charity to donate jewelry? I have a gold and ruby mens ring I inherited that for complicated reasons I don’t want to keep and don’t want have remade into a different piece. I’d just as soon donate it as pawn it.

    • Famouscait :

      Your local Goodwill will likely take something like that and sell it on their online site. You could deliver it directly to the store manager with any type of documentation you have about its authenticity. Or, just bag it up and make sure the donation attendant sees it specifically.

  12. do most people here have to work this Friday, or do your offices give you the day off?

    • We have to work – but the unwritten rule is that you can come in a bit late and head out around 2/3…

    • also what about xmas 24th/26th?

      • I’m anon from 4:21 and yes, we have to work the 24th and 26th. Unless, of course, we choose to take vacation days, which most do.

    • I would think that most people don’t have to work.

      • I don’t have to work but my husband does. This (Friday after Tgiving) is one of the few days I really treasure, since I get off but I can ask the babysitter to work with a clear conscience.

      • Anonymous :

        Actually I would think most do. All government sector for instance

      • The stock market is open, so I do. Short day, but I still have to get up at 5:15 and get in here.

    • We don’t get Friday as a holiday at my nonprofit, but I always have enough vacation days that I take it off anyway. Most people here do, there is almost no one here on that Friday, but we are technically open.

      Same with the 24th/26th. We don’t get them as paid holidays, but almost everyone takes them off. The one perk we get is a pretty generous amount of PTO.

    • Small law office, closed on Friday and closed on 12/24 and 12/25 (and Monday 12/23 is a lost day — early-ish lunch with too much food and alcohol and then everyone just goes home).

    • My office is closed on Thursday and Friday. It closes at 3pm on 12/24 and opens again on 12/26.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Off Friday and, as a surprise this year, Wednesday as well. Thanks, boss.

    • Orangerie :

      If the market is open, my office is open. Therefore:

      - half day on Friday after Thanksgiving
      - half day on 12/24
      - full day 12/26

      I’m always so envious of friends who don’t work in finance that automatically get those days off.

    • We work, but I’m in Canada.

      26th (Boxing Day) is a holiday.

      24th – our office closes early (noonish), if it isn’t closed all day (usually announced last minute if the office will be closed so people don’t assume it will be and decline to use one of their vacation days for that day)

    • Our office is closed, but I imagine a lot of people will be working (law firm). DH’s office is closed, but they are forcing their employees to use a vacation day, which is annoying.

      • What? how does this work? they aren’t ALLOWED to work even if they want to but have to take vacation? I could see it being an unpaid day (and if you want to get paid, take vacation) but being forced to take a vacation day seems bizarre.

        • Wildkitten :

          I assume they can work, but they lose a vacation day either way. It’s like closing the office and giving everyone one less vacation, except instead designed to aggravate employees.

        • I think technically it’s an unpaid day , but it’s still frustrating. His vacation time doesn’t roll over year to year so I guess he’d be using the time anyway.

    • Very lucky here, closed Wednesday and Friday of this week and get the two weeks off that contain Christmas and New Years Day. Very small consulting company. I will check emails occasionally, but probably not much more.

    • Office is open but almost everyone is taking leave.

  13. Cooking TJ: SO and I have been eating out way too often lately. We’d like to start eating in more, but we both lack the time, desire, and inspiration to actually cook. Can any of you recommend any websites that offer simple, quick, well-balanced meal ideas/recipes?

    I think one of our biggest issues is that, oftentimes when we actually do cook, the food just doesn’t turn out that great. Maybe we’re just bad at picking recipes?

    • TO Lawyer :


      The recipes are easy and usually turn out great.

      • I love Skinnytaste, but I feel like a lot of the recipes require more prep work than we’re willing to do most nights. I think we need a few recipes that an 11 year old could manage (ie not to many ingredients, not too much chopping/prep, etc).

        • Ahhh. I will say if you commit one day to scrolling through recipes that sound good and writing out a master list you’ll see most things have ingredients in common. Then you can just stock up on those and rotate every 2 weeks. Once you do it once, you’re set. Also, I buy only frozen veggies at this point because I’m bad about produce. I figure frozen is better than nothing.

          That said, if it’s all too much for you, make a batch of brown rice twice a week. thaw some protein and get yourself a few glazes/marinades. Pair with a frozen veggie. That and breakfast for dinner one night and you’re golden. The key is also giving yourself permission to have X nights off a week (eating cereal, ordering out)

          • Olivia Pope :

            I was going to recommend something similar to your last paragraph. My go to meal:

            - protein: baked or broiled with a marinade (e.g. salmon broiled for 10, coated in teriyaki sauce, and broiled for five more)
            - rice or quinoa in my ricecooker
            - fresh veggies steamed in the top portion of my rice cooker during the last 10 minutes of the rice cooking.

      • +1000.

        Also, your slow cooker. Doesn’t have to be stews etc, you can also use it to cook meat for tacos, lasagna, etc.

    • Dinner: A Love Story has great recipes too.

    • Check out Blue Apron. They ship a box of food for the week (I think, it’s a couple days at least), that contains what you need for the meals. I believe it’s mostly prepped too!

      • LOVE blue apron. It’s not prepped, but the actual cooking part takes 30-40 mins (less if you’re two people and can split up the chopping). It has completely changed how me and my husband eat.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Honestly one of my go-to’s a lot of nights is a package of hot Italian turkey sausage, baked in the oven for about 30 mins, with a side of roasted veggies. If you buy already-prepped veggies, it is really easy to throw together on a weeknight. My theory is that I’m spending less money on the veggies than I would doing takeout.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Also, Rachel Ray and her 30-minute meals books were hugely helpful when DH and I were learning how to cook. Her recipes are straight forward, and while I found that things would often take more like 40-45 minutes, things really were very easy.

      • We do a version of this. We keep frozen, shelled, uncooked shrimp on hand at all times (Costco). Here are a few easy ways to prepare, none more than 15-20 minutes:

        * defrost 25-ish shrimp. Put entire jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice in large frying pan. When sauce is hot, add shrimp and cook until pink. Add handfuls and handfuls of fresh spinach and stir until wilted. Eat as is or over rice, quinoa or pasta.

        * defrost 25-ish shrimp. Cook two TJs frozen channa masala dinners and put in large frying pan. Defrost one bag of frozen peas and add to channa masala. Add shrimp and cook until pink.

        * defrost 25-ish shrimp. Chop 2 handfuls each of red bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. Saute vegetables in large frying pan on very high heat with a tablespoon or so of sesame oil. When just turning brown, add shrimp. Add a couple spoons of Lee Kum Kee Black bean garlic sauce and a couple spoons of white wine. Stir. Serve plain or over rice or quinoa.

        The first two, in particular, are really fast and easy. And we always keep these ingredients on hand, so you can decide pretty much at the last minute what to prepare.

    • When I was married, I would cook on Sunday. We would eat leftovers for a couple of days then have a mushroom omelet one night a week. We would go out on Fridays.

    • Impossible Pie. Easy to make – as long as you have some eggs, milk and some Bisquick in the cupboard you are good to go. Then you just chop up whatever bits and pieces you have and toss them in (broccoli? kale? spinach? frozen peas? canned tuna? leftover bacon or bits of chicken?). Bonus points if you have a bit of cheese. Endless entertainment and never the same twice.

      • And the reason this came to mind (other than the fact I make it myself fairly often) is that it was one of the first recipes I ever learned, when I was about 8. Just a bit of chopping and stirring, and then you can pop it in the oven and go get changed into your jammies before dinner (an important consideration).

    • Remember that not every meal needs to be from a recipe book. A healthy, filling meal needs only protein and veggies (with some fats or grains thrown in if you want it to be more filling). Focus on learning how to cook the basics – roast/sautee/steam veggies, grill/broil/etc if your protein is meat, or select a vegetarian protein with easy prep (lentils, beans, tofu). Throw pasta or rice or quinoa in boiling water as directed.
      Once you have the basics mastered, there’s no pressure to have an out-of-the-recipe-book meal. Start simple by adding whatever spices or store-bought sauces you like, sprinkle some cheese on top, add some nice store-bought bread. As you get more comfortable in the kitchen you can expand your horizons with more home-made stuff, or open the recipe book – I promise it won’t look as intimidating!

    • Freddie Mercury :

      Check out Simple, straightforward, good recipes.

  14. Muddy Buddy :

    Thanksgiving desserts for 2? My husband and I will be spending Thanksgiving day alone (we’re happy about this), and I want to cook up a delicious dessert that won’t make a ton of leftovers. We’re both trying to watch our weight and don’t want to have 3/4 of a cake or pie left over.

    Any suggestions? We’d rather have a small cake made with butter and sugar than a larger cake made with Splenda.

    • Individual flourless chocolate cakes baked in ramekins?

    • hoola hoopa :

      Apple or pumpkin pie in ramekins or “pot pie” pans. Half the pastry recipe.

      When I want something for 1-2 ppl without leftovers, I usually buy individual treats from a bakery.

    • Zabaglione.

    • Mark Bittman’s warm soft chocolate cake – makes 4 individual cakes, you can 1/2 the recipe. You can make it ahead, it takes zero skill or effort but is so delicious and indulgent.

      8 tb. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus a bit extra for molds
      2 tb all purpose flour, plus a bit extra for molds
      4 oz nice, bittersweet chocolate
      2 eggs
      2 egg yolks
      1/4 cup sugar

      Heat over to 450 F. Butter and lightly flour four 4 oz molds/ramekins/whatever (or 2 in your case), and tap out the excess flour.

      Use double boiler set over hot but not boiling water to heat chocolate and butter together until chocolate is almost completely melted (you could probably even do this in the microwave but I just use a pyrex bowl and deep pan filled with water).

      Meanwhile, beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric blender until light and thick.

      Beat the chocolate and butter together till creamy. It should be warm.

      Pour into egg mixture, and then quickly beat in the flour until just combined.

      Divide into molds (you can refrigerate if not ready to bake, for several hours. just bring them back to room temp before baking).

      Put onto baking sheet and bake till sides are set but center is still soft — about 6-7 minutes.
      Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit 10 sec. Cake will fall out. Eat immediately (with ice cream if you wish).

    • I have a sweet tooth and love to bake, but I married a guy who doesn’t like dessert and am not brave enough to share food with neighbors/coworkers (it seems like everyone I know is eating paleo these days anyways). This blog been my salvation – lots of recipes for tiny cakes, mini-pies, and small batches of cookies. Everything I’ve tried has turned out great.

    • Amelia Pond :

      When I started living alone I bought mini pie pans and a half size spring form pan. that way I can make everything I usually would, but in a half size. You can find recipes specifically for “mini pie” etc. but usually I just halve the recipe and I haven’t had any disasters.

  15. Leather portfolio recs? :

    Looking for recs for a leather portfolio for use in interviews, etc. It’s a gift for someone so I’d also like to get it monogrammed if possible. $100 or less (bonus points for less!)

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t have a suggestion, but I just want to say that my dear friend gave me this gift for my sweet 16 (I had a lot of Alex P. Keaton about me then) and I still have it, treasure it, and use it.

  16. I was feeling completely overwhelmed this morning. Felt like EVERYTHING was failing – my phone, my laptop, my treadmill, my health. Have made at least some headway on at least the first three. Now I just have to get past tomorrow and have 5 days off…

    At least there’s something to be grateful for!

  17. Are there any downsides to using a broker to buy health insurance rather than doing the research yourself?

  18. J Crew Newbie :

    Hi Hive! Any thoughts on how J. Crew fits compared to Limited, Banana, or Calvin Klein (especially dresses and jackets?)
    Thank you!!

  19. Uggh I just officially lost my “lean in” cred — I cried during my performance review. And to be clear, it was not a bad review, I’m just very frustrated with my job (and have been for a while). I just have no clue how to live this down/act. Uggh I know it’s late, but if anyone has any advice or commiseration, I would really appreciate it. So so disappointed in myself for being such a cliche. :(

    • long time lurker :

      I cried after a partner was (in my view) rather mean and harsh with me about an assignment. I was crying in my office and he barged in without knocking to ask me something. It was right after the meanness so it was obvious why I was crying. I tried to stop, answered his question, neither he nor I mentioned it again. It happens, try to move on and not beat yourself up. I don’t think saying or doing anything to ‘address’ the crying is the right move. Just move on and hope everyone else does too.

    • As I recall, Sheryl Sandberg actually says in Lean In that it’s not the worst thing in the world to cry at work & she recalled it happening to her on a few occasions. Everyone has been there at one point or will be – I know its easier said than done but try not to beat yourself up about it. You’re human, you expressed a human emotion, its ok :)

    • I cried in a performance review about 5 years ago, the review was basically less than stellar saying I am not upto par in one of the projects I had been working day/nights/weekends for past few months. I was shocked and felt so unfairly judged by my manager who basically threw me under the bus with minimal support, guidance or heads up when things were going south. Guess what, that manager has long since been demoted, I am at a slightly higher level than him now in the ogranization and that “bad” project is still running strong day in day out. So I would advice you to take some time wallow in your embarrasement, take some time off mentally from work (use thxgiving break) and then come back and take solid action to remedy or fix anything you can. If you think it is a bad fit with the manager, or job, start looking elsewhere. Do something concrete each day (even a little step) that is positive, definitely don’t look for apprciation from the manager as an indication of your self worth, you are good enough either way. After a while, you will harden and toughen up such that negative criticism will no longer tear up but instead you will learn how to maitain your calm, either shift the blame or own up responsibility and handle it accordingly, you will get there. Now if I am fired or laid off, I am sure I would cry as well, we are all human.

    • We have all glass doors. I was bawling my eyes out in my office once and everyone saw.

  20. Lyra Silvertongue :

    No advice, but complete commiseration :/ Hang in there and be stellar in every other way.

    I cried when I got laid off a few months ago- I made it through the meeting with HR and my department head, but I cried in my office as I was packing up my stuff and the HR manager came in and saw me. Guess I no longer needed to make an impression, but I was still embarrassed.

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