Wednesday’s TPS Report: Short-Sleeve Faux-Leather Ponte Sheath Dress

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

Vince Camuto Short-Sleeve Faux-Leather Ponte Sheath DressI’ve been eyeing this short-sleeve ponte sheath dress for a while, and it’s finally hit a price too good not to post. Hooray for a lined dress, smart seaming, a ladylike hemlength, and a hidden back zipper. There are faux leather inserts at the neckline, which presumably is why the care instructs you to “dry clean.”  Check our previous discussion on the difference between “dry clean” vs.”dry clean only,” but for my $.02, I’d probably try washing the dress on delicate, faux leather inserts and all (maybe with a spot test first?).  I love that “everglade” color (pictured); but it also comes in black. The dress was $179, but is marked to $101 today at Macy’s.  Vince Camuto Short-Sleeve Faux-Leather Ponte Sheath Dress

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  1. hellskitchen :

    I love this dress. The color is gorgeous. Plus yay sleeves. And I have a Macys gift card waiting to be used. Thanks Kat.

    • I love the length of the sleeves!! actual “Short” sleeves, not cap sleeves!

      • hellskitchen :

        I do too. I used to think this length would cut off my arms i an awkward way but I tried on a couple of dresses with sleeves this length, and they were surprisingly flattering.

    • Me too. I love SHEATH DRESSES, especialy those that have littel sleeve’s b/c with sleeve’s, Frank can NOT even try to sneak a peek.

      We have a suprize Holiday Party planned for next Tuesday that I forgot to tell the HIVE about. Margie organized it all herself, and all we have to bring is “ourself” she says. The whole firm, including the suport staff get’s the day off and we are all meeting at 9:00 am Saturday @ the manageing partner’s house (fortunateley NOT the one in the Hamton’s) for a holiday breakfast, and after we socialize until noon, Margie has hired 4 limo’s to take all of us to some fancy place for lunch in Manhaset (which is on the North Shore). That is the surprize b/c the manageing partner onley knew about the breakfast. Yay!

      The manageing partner is in charge of manageing the catererer’s who are cookeing breakfast for everyone and he already has thenm prepareing thing’s. We all put in order’s for what we like best — I asked for Walnut French Toast with REAL mapel syrupp. I told the manageing partner that I was watching my wastline, and that if I have to have syrupp, I do NOT want cheep, fake syrup like they give out at IHOP. I want the REAL stuff b/c it is better. Margie agreed and it will cost alot, but I said that I bill alot, so everyone agreed.

      The lunch place in Manhaset is suposedly very swanky. I do NOT want to eat alot, so I may have a cob salad, or else pasta primevera. My tuchus is already busteing out of my dresses and it is still 2 week’s until Christmas. FOOEY! Then there is new year’s and I think that by then I will be a size 6. Doubel FOOEY!

      Fred called again, but I told him please do NOT call me any more. There must be women in Purdey’s that would marry a feed store manager, but I am NOT one of them. I told him I want to be married soon so I want to be fresh and ready in case my prince show’s up and that will NOT hapen if I am hangeing around him or any feed store manager. He said OK, but was disapointed. Who asked him to start grabbeing my boobies? Not me. I did not make any oveture’s toward grabing at his body, so FOOEY on men that get grabbey at us. YAY!!!!

  2. Baconpancakes :

    Aw man, I’d been eyeing this dress for months, but I went ahead and got the Stay-for-Evergreen dress from Modcloth instead. Do I need two green sheath dresses? This one is more teal than pine, to be fair…

  3. Gail the Goldfish :

    Does any of the attorneys out there work a large regional firm in the Southeast? I’m trying to figure out what typical salaries for a 2nd or 3rd year associate are at a large regional firm. A firm asked my salary expectation and I don’t want to lowball or be so high that I don’t get an interview, so if anyone wouldn’t mind sharing their firm’s starting salary or second or third year salary, I would appreciate it.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      *Do any of the attorneys… That will teach me to revise posts before I’ve had caffeine. Sigh.

    • I don’t work for a large regional firm, but I am an attorney in the SE, so I have a little bit of knowledge. What I’m getting is that salaries appear to be in the 70s for that range. I know that in 2007, the large firm I clerked at was starting new associates at 77K, which was considered a normal amount, so you can kind of extrapolate from there (I doubt it’s gone up much, given the market). Smaller firms seem to pay less.

      Good luck! The Southeast is a really nice place to live, and you can live very well on these sorts of salaries (in case they sound chintzy to our high cost of living northeastern friends!)

      • I think it also depends on where in the SE. Working in the Atlanta/Charlotte/Miami, etc markets are different that working in the smaller outposts.

        • Right – I’m thinking smaller markets (Chattanooga and Knoxville) – ATL is probably a bit more, and FL more than that. But cost of living is tiny here, so we’re probably living better. :)

    • It depends on the city. For a market like Tampa, salaries are around $115k for a second or third year associate. For South Florida, it is around $140k.

    • Biglaw SE, formerly regional law SE.

      This may help you:

      Charlotte is a bit high for NC and maybe a bit lower than ATL; I have a feeling that much smaller (but still big for here forms — Smith & Ward, maybe) firms drop off quite a bit.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Thanks everyone! It’s in a larger city-think Charlotte, Atlanta, etc. The firm is what I would imagine to be the “big law” equivalent, except they’re regional rather than national.

        • Does the NALP salary report still exist? Some of those regional firms report salaries to that. They also try to stay competitive within each market so you may be able to guess based on other firms in the city.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            Yes, but it seems like only the biggest national firms report for this particular city. I think I’m just going to assume 15-20k lower than those firms and hope that’s about right.

    • anonymous :

      Richmond, Va. regional firm offered 85K at the end of my summer associate program (if that’s helpful)

    • You should really avoid telling them. I know it’s awkward, but it will only work against you. Ramit Sethis has an awesome video series on this, including specific wording to use, just google it.

    • Finishing up my first year at a mid-sized ATL firm (150 attorneys). Starting was $125k and I think they increased for the class that just started.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I worked at this type of firm. As a 3rd year lateral, I started at $120,000 in 2007. Our Atlanta offices made about $15,000 more but had a longer partner track.

  4. Equity's Darling :

    I don’t love the length of the sleeves on this dress, though the everglade colour is lovely.

    We have a potluck at work next week (in addition to actual christmas parties), and I have no idea what to make. Suggestions?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Do you walk to work or drive? If driving or cabbing is an option, I’d say Swedish Meatballs, but maybe that’s just because that’s what I’m making for my party on Saturday. Also cheese balls are classic and there’s some more fun recipes that aren’t just port wine and walnuts on Martha Stewart. Cranberry pistashio biscotti, if you’re willing to make it, is my favorite thing ever (send some down to DC if you make them?), and everyone loves maple-glazed brussels sprouts, if you use enough maple.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      We do daily potluck at my office between thanksgiving and new years. Everyone picks a day…Tomorrow I’m bringing ham & cheese sandwich casserole like this:

      www dot amusingfoodie dot com/2010/11/this-is-not-your-average-ham-and-cheese

    • Agree on the sleeves. It’s an awkward length if you need to wear a sweater over it.

      As for the potluck, either bring something that can be served at room temp, refrigerated or easily heated in a microwave. I brought curried lentils with rice for our last potluck because nobody else thought to bring vegetarian items. I’ve also made the no bake nutella cheesecake (doubled) in my large tart pan and it is a *huge* hit. In fact, at our choir Christmas party, where people often say there are too many desserts, a couple of the guys decided that it ought to become our signature dessert for that party. And it’s sooooo easy to make. Little things like tortilla rollups are easy to serve. Just nothing complicated for you to get to the potluck.

      • Equity's Darling :

        I am vegetarian, so I’m pretty tempted to make a vegetarian dish of some sort (though really, I’m sure all the meatball suggestions would go over like gangbusters in my office, I don’t know that I can handle making them).

        Maybe a quinoa salad, so that the gluten-free folks can get in on it too?

        • I agree, I always find that there are more desserts and not enough actual food. I can’t eat too much sugar on a full stomach so I always appreciate more hearty dishes.

          I have done simple quinoa salads that have gone over great! You could do a winterey version, roast some squash/root vegetables with maple syrup. Add goat cheese and dried cranberries with the quinoa. something like that, serve room temp. ok, now im hungry

        • Anon in NYC :

          Oh She Glows has these amazing looking lentil mushroom walnut “meatballs,” that she paired with a cranberry sauce (but she also suggested her mushroom gravy, which also looks amazing). I don’t know what the reheating options are in your office – it’s not clear how these would hold up to microwaving.

        • Or some sort of quinoa bake? Vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free and tastes nice cold.

        • This is somewhat seasonally inappropriate, but I will recommend this dish because it is delicious, vegetarian, and everyone I’ve served it to has loved it:

      • Another vote for a vegetarian option. I don’t eat pork or beef and often have to scrounge for food at potlucks. NOLA, the cheesecake sounds delicious. Can you post a recipe?

    • If you’re looking for something easy (minimal time from you) , that will get devoured. Sticky, sweet and salty.

      I’ve frequently brought these co*ktail meatballs for potlucks –*cktail-meatballs/ (replace the o in the link)

      I usually tend to buy the meatballs at IKEA, though, so it is basically just the marinade that I make and plop the meatballs into. I have also been known to substitute the cranberry jelly with raspberry jam, because it was what I had in my cupboards.

      It’s not super fancy, but I’ve rarely had to bring home leftovers – and when I’ve made it at home and had leftovers, my sister’s boyfriend ate it all for breakfast.

    • I like to make homemade yeast buns – they go over very well whenever I’ve brought them.

    • You can make brownies, and give ones spiked with pot or ex-lax to people who are deserving thereof. That’s what I am making. Recipes are on the Internet!

    • I made a greek salad with chickpeas (based loosely around the smitten kitchen recipe) for my last work pot luck. The vegetarians in the office were very grateful there was something other than bread and cookies for them to eat.

      • +100 on this, I brought Smitten Kitchen’s greek salad for lunch today and added white beans for extra fiber. If you use cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers, prep time is really quick.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      Cheese puffs are always a big hit when I make them. I only have a hard copy of the recipe I use, but here’s an online one:

    • I make these cheddar chive biscuits all the time for larger gatherings and they’re insanely good (and terrible for you), I apologize in advance:

  5. Oooh….that’s so pretty! But I’m pregnant so I probably should resist.

    • Congratulations EB0220!! I think this is news, right? Hope you’re not feeling sick!!

      • Aw, thanks! It is somewhat news! I found out two weeks ago but I think I just posted a quick question about whether I should call my endocrinologist’s office immediately or wait until a missed period (I called immediately). I’m not feeling *too* sick although the nausea does seem to be ramping up. I just keep telling myself it’s a good thing!

  6. My new year’s resolution is to get our finances in order, so I’m looking for a budgeting app. It has to be able to sync between two phones (i-phones) and hopefully a desktop, and be easy to use and keep up with. (We’re really bad about this.)

    We tried to use Mint in the past, and I don’t really like how it pulls the information directly in – it kept losing the connection and screwing things up, (and I would never get around to fixing it), and I didn’t like having to go back and re-categorize things. I think that it would be easier to just manually enter and categorize each purchase. Suggestions? TIA!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      You Need A Budget (YNAB) is great for this. It syncs between all my devices. Unlike Mint, you do have to input all transactions manually, which is really the key for me being on top of my finances. The important thing for me was to develop a habit of inputting things every day at first and now I do it every 2-3 days. It only takes a few minutes to do once you get everything set up. They also do regular free webinars to teach the system, fundamentals (the system is based on 4 rules), and more advanced/specialized topics. I highly recommend it to pretty much anyone who asks and personally credit it as a huge factor in turning my finances around.

      • I’ve seen that mentioned before, but avoided it because of the price. Is there a free/cheap version, or is it really worth the $60 I’m seeing on the site? (I know there’s a free trial, but I don’t want to fuss with changing.) That seems kind of outrageous in a world of free/$2.99 apps. Other than the webinars/training, what is it giving for that price?

        • wildkitten :

          It’s a program, not just an app. And it does what you’re asking – syncs between phones and desktops. I don’t think there’s a free/$2.99 program that does the same thing. You can watch the webinars before you buy it, to see if it makes sense to you.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          It is really a desktop computer program. You need that in order to make the apps work. I think they are working on a fully functional iPad app that won’t require you to have the computer program, but there isn’t an expected release date for that.

          I think it is fully worth the $60. I used to overdraft my checking account a few times a year, so by fully utilizing the program and focusing on it, I saved at least the $60. I bought it on the recommendation of my dad but did do the trial first to make sure. I’d recommend doing that even if it means you’ll have the hassle of switching. I think it’s a 30-day trial now so you can really see if you’re likely to use it and if the methods work for you.

          I feel like I’ve become an evangelist for the company (like I am sometimes with Zappos) because I’ve received great customer service in addition to getting a great product. It’s also a pretty small company that I feel is worth supporting with my money.

          I really can’t say enough nice things about it. The key really is though to make sure it is something you will use consistently. A friend of mine goes back and forth on using it and I think that is because its just not the right system for her style. I’d at least give a webinar or the free trial a shot.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Sorry, “desktop” doesn’t need to be there. It is computer software that has mobile apps that sync with it.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I guess I didn’t really answer your question about what makes it worth the price aside from the webinars and customer service I mentioned.

            Technically it is stuff that you could do with a pen and paper or excel spreadsheet. It is very straightforward in that you create your budget categories and can set them up however you want. So you can have a housing category and then subcategories for rent, cable, insurance, electricity, etc. You title all the categories however you want and then budget an amount for each. You also add it all your bank accounts, credit cards, debt accounts like student loans, etc and determine whether you want the transactions to affect your budget or not. So for example, my checking account affects my budget but my student loan accounts do not so I budget my payments then when I make those payments the budgeted amount goes down to $0 but when I add interest to my student loan account it doesn’t affect the budget. I have some off-budget savings accounts and my Roth IRA and stuff as well and budget the amount I want to transfer into those accounts for long-term savings goals.

            The thing that makes the program stand out for me is the customization aspect. Granted, I haven’t used Quicken, but I’m not sure what else exists that has this level of customization. For example, I can split transactions into multiple categories if I want to. So if I pick up prescriptions and groceries at the store I put part of the amount into my medical category and the rest to groceries. You can also set up any individual subcategory to carry over to the next month if you go over or leave it to only affect the one month. So of I budget$200 for clothes each month but spend $250 this month I can have it set up to either show the next month as $150 to make up for this month or $200 if I don’t want to make it up.

            Finally, it is based on the rule that you spend last month’s income. The goal is to get at least a 1 month buffer so that you enter this month’s income as something to be budgeted next month (but you can input it either way). So at the top of the computer software screen you see the income available to budget for the month, the amount you under or overspent the previous month, and the total amount available to budget for the month that is affected by everything you input into the categories. So if you do $0 based budgeting and give every $ a job (another one of the “rules”) even if that $ is going into an off-budget savings account you can input all the categories and tweak them so it equals $0 left to budget. Then throughout the month if you realize you are going to overspend in 1 category but won’t need all the $ budgeted for another you can easily adjust the amounts. That just makes it really clear to me that if I want to go out to eat again and I’ve already spent that amount that I could do it if I moved the money from somewhere else like my clothing budget (like a virtual envelope system). That part helps build better habits. There may be other programs that do any or all of this, but I don’t know what they are and I really like this one.

            All of that stuff happens on the computer program. The mobile apps allow you to see the current amounts available for each category for the current month, the amounts in each of your accounts, and to input the transactions. They all sync together so if you change the budgeted amount on the computer you’ll see the new amount on your phone and if your SO inputs a transaction you’ll see the new amounts available for that category and the available balance in your accounts.

            Sorry for the long responses! I hope that helps!

          • Senior Attorney :

            Thanks for all this. I have used MS Money for years, but since separating from Mr. Senior Attorney my data file is kind of “this is old news”-y, and since Microsoft isn’t supporting that program any more I’m looking around for something new. It’s important to me to be able to enter everything manually, and I’d love to sync all my devices. I will definitely have to look into YNAB

      • +1 for YNAB. We used Quicken for years, but its budgeting function was terrible. We tried Mint, but were unhappy with it for similar reasons. With YNAB, I really feel like we are able to know exactly where our money is going, and it makes it easy to plan for future events. None of the other options we looked at came close. Have been using it for 2.5 years or so at this point, and plan to continue.

      • +1. I purchased YNAB last week–it’s worth the money. I needed a bird’s eye view of our finances, in addition to a monthly budget. I have a feeling it’s really going to help me more purposefully pay off my student loans and save for retirement because I understand what I have “left” at the end of each month. In the past, this money has just been hoarded in a savings account because I wasn’t keeping track of income vs. expenses (we aren’t very spendy), which wasn’t the best investment strategy.

      • Middle Coast :

        I use YNAB – I got it half price during a sale which they seem to run 2xs a year. Get on their mailing list and they will contact you when it goes on sale.

        I find it works well for me, the main thing is to keep it up-to-date, then it only takes a few minutes a day. It resides on your home computer, you can buy aps to update via cell phone or tablets via a dropbox account. This is also good as it keeps a backup copy somewhere other than your pc. I set up a separate dropbox account just for YNAB for security reasons.

        They do a good job educating you on how to use the system and the forums are helpful for answering questions and different methods of setting up your budget catagories. They are very focused on a long term view, which has helped me to eliminate my debt and establish some retirement goals.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      I use GoodBudget (formerly EEBA –Easy Envelope Budget App) and a pretty standard free checkbook app. Goodbudget can be synced with my accounts, and I think that it can work with Mint too. I haven’t used it to its full abilities, but my understanding is that it is a virtual envelope system. The checkbook app is just helpful for me to keep on top of what I’m actually spending. The $4 at starbucks this morning, for example.

      But I’m with you. I need to get better at it.

  7. Threadjack: a recent post talked about what to get for your guy/any guy.. well what do I get my boyfriend’s mom??? She likes knick knacks but I don’t really like encouraging that habit. She likes candles.. I’m thinking a Yankee candle or two and calling it a day. Not looking to spend an outrageous amount. Help!

    • My favorite Yankee candle this time of year is Cranberry Chutney. I have one of the three wick tumblers. Everybody raves about the scent when they come to my house. I think a candle could be a nice idea. Nix the knickknacks.

      • I’ll have to give Cranberry Chutney a try. I can’t believe there are no actual Yankee Candle stores in the city of Chicago. I’m making a trip to the burbs to finish up shopping.

        She doesn’t really cook and is adhering to weird dietary restrictions currently so that eliminates a lot of awesome ideas. I think a Yankee Candle or two is a go. She’s sort of home goods/decorating obsessed (hence the knick knacks) so she’ll know that I didn’t just get her a $5 candle from the store but she also wouldn’t spend the money on it herself.

    • I would go with a gift card, unless she’d find it too impersonal. She can pick out her own candle or knickknack. ACMoore, Michael’s, Bed Bath and Beyond. Probably others I can’t think of right now.

    • Is she a foodie at all? Gourmet olive oil, vinegar, flavored coffees/teas, are all nice small gifts.

    • Food or a plant? Candles are a version of “consumables” too since they ultimately get used up. I like the Rewined candles. They all smell great.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think a nice candle is a great idea. My boyfriend’s mom reads an incredible amount of books, so an Amazon gift card goes over well with her. What does your boyfriend normally get her? Could you bump up the amount he normally spends a little and give her a gift from the 2 of you?

    • I got my MIL a set of spices/grill rubs from williams sanoma for $30 and probably will get her a book I recently enjoyed.

    • Anthropologie has great candles. The capri blue ones are my favorite.

    • link to that recent post for guys? I’m in a shopping rut on what to get my boyfriend of a year that I absolutely adore.

    • My mother in law loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeees pretty smelling soaps… and she can put them in the guest bathroom! For holidays I also regularly send them regional candy (Sees is always exciting for east coast people) &/or wine champagne for the holidays & new years. Plus it’s something that can be shared or put when there are guests.

      • Also, body shop has some awesome smelling candles too and it’s pretty much in every mall ever & they usually have sales.

  8. Queen City :

    Is anyone else here in Charlotte, NC?

    • Me! Well, actually just across the state line in SC but CLT metro.

    • I am — yay for others!

    • Yes! Although I am a recent transplant (< 1 year), I've only moved a few months ago and enjoy it so far, except it seems tough to make friends here. Maybe once the warm weather returns it will get easier. Any tips?

      • I am somewhat new, too (~1.5 years). I have had a good luck meeting people via kid activities and my own activities (running and biking in my case). It took a year or so to build momentum, but I feel like I know a decent number of people now. What part of town are you in?

        • I’m in south Charlotte – Dilworth area. No kids, but joining activities other than the gym may be the way to go. I guess it’s just hard to put myself out there!

      • Back Home :

        The Junior League can be a good way to meet other women in the area. There are two in the Charlotte area – Charlotte and Gaston County, NC (west of Charlotte). Most Junior Leagues accept new members in the Fall but some leagues will also have a Spring Provisional class. I think that your experience really depends on the individual League (size, average age of members, volunteer and community focus, etc.).

        Also, if you went to a medium/large university, there may be an alumni group in the area. I live in SC and there is a pretty active Purdue group in my area, so it doesn’t have to be a Southern school. Again, I think your experience will vary a lot depending on the specific group. My alma mater has alumni groups hundreds of miles away that are very active and plan lots of social and charity events, but some groups only do football viewing parties.

      • It depends what you’re interested in. I make a lot of friends through athletic and outdoors things. Meetup dot com has some good local groups for running and outdoor/hiking things — I haven’t tried any of the other groups yet, but those are definitely good. I find that having dogs helps me meet people a lot — I take them to Dog Bar or one of the parks, and tend to meet other dog owners that way. If you’re a runner and interested in maybe doing a marathon or half, the Charlotte chapter of Team in Training is an excellent way to meet folks. (They’re also doing bike races and triathlons.)

        I know a lot of people who make friends through church, neighborhood associations, and professional groups. None of those are necessarily my cup of tea, but they can definitely be worth exploring.

        • Thank you all so much for the responses, I really appreciate it. This community is awesome! I will definitely check into Junior League and Team in Training. Unfortunately there isn’t an alumni group here for my university, but I just need to keep trying.

  9. I like this dress but I don’t understand why stores use descriptors like “hits at the knee” instead of giving length measurements. Doesn’t where the dress hit totally depend on how tall you are (as well as, for certain styles, how large your bust/rear is)? Just seems like a completely unhelpful descriptor unless you happen to be the same height and shape as the model.

    • Yes, I much prefer actual measurements. I’m only 5’0″ so something that hits a the knee for a regular height person is probably below knee length on me.

    • Absolutely, I’, always grateful when sites offer exact measurements, not only the length, but overall. Descriptions like “fitted” or “tailored” aren’t really helpful. Pret-a-porter and its sister site have exact measurements and I find it soooo helpful. Sometimes, if the item you’re looking for is popular, you could try googling it and maybe some blogger has reviewd this particular item an you could compare your measurement to hers. But really, it would really be so helpful if retailers just give exact measurements so you could look at them before you buy … and the store would benefit from that too, since that could mean less returns.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Definitely! I’ve finally figured out the best skirt length for me and measurements like inseam are vital for me. I randomly found a pair of capris last year that didn’t fit overall but were the first pair I’d ever found that were the perfect length. Now I keep trying capris with that inseam (which seem rare) in hopes that I’ll find the perfect pair. Most capris are ankle pants on me and ankle pants are sometimes the perfect length for normal pants on me.

    • Totally agree. I feel the same way when reviewers say “the fit is great” without saying more about themselves. The fit is great for you, so what, how does that help me unless you explain that you have a high waist or narrow calves or long arms or whatever.

  10. Is it normal for people to be very specific about the gifts they get during the holidays? This is my first Christmas actually going to my husband’s side of the family and I guess I’m adjusting from the way my family does Christmas. Ever since my siblings and I have all been adults, we’ve moved away from big gift giving and try to make it more about family time, and little stocking stuffer type of things that remind us of the person (ex: travel coffee mug). A few nights ago my MIL basically gave us a very specific list of what she’d like for Christmas… including a new TV, a kitchenaid mixer, and a new iPad. Wha??? These were basically phrased as things she really needs and she got a little upset about it. She’s not quite as financially set as my husband and I, or as his siblings, but our budget isn’t nearly high enough for things like that. This just seemed so gift grabby and weird. I’d totally get the suggestions if finances were an issue and it was really a “need” but these are things that even very very wealthy families don’t just buy casually. It just seems so icky and odd.

    • Every family is so different about this sort of thing. How does your husband feel about her list?

      • Should have included that- he seemed to think it was weird but seemed like they were expected to do it. I guess they usually do circulate wish lists and get what is on them, like it would be unusual to have a wish list item that you didn’t get. Each wishlist is usually 3 items- 1 for mom to get, one for brother’s family to get, and 1 for sister’s family to get. But usually the wish lists are much more normally priced. For example, my husband’s list was a nice bottle of scotch, some steak seasonings, and the google chromecast thing. Brother and sister’s were similar.

        • So it sounds like this kind of list is standard for the family, she’s just gone overboard with the prices of the items this year. Based on this description, she isn’t expecting you to go in on a gift with your husband’s siblings, she is expecting all of them. I would talk to her (or really your husband should talk to her with his siblings). Tell her that her requested items are well over the budget you’ve allotted for gifts. Ask if she has other, less expensive items to add, or if she would like to prioritize the more expensive gifts with the understanding that she will likely get 1 bigger gift from all of you this year.

    • I don’t think it is uncommon to circulate a wishlist. Some people like that, and some don’t. But I don’t know anyone that expects to get everything on the list. It’s a *wish* list, not a shopping list.

      Maybe it’s something your H and his sibilings can go in on together to get *one* of the things on her list.

      • Senior Attorney :

        That was going to be my suggestion. And if you shop around, there are deals to be had on the mixer and the TV.

    • wildkitten :

      That’s totally normal for some families. What does your husband think? Did he find it icky, or did he say that’s just how his family does it?

      • My family does very detailed wishlists (including links to the specific item and coupon codes). Our budgets vary from year to year so I try to include about 10 things at various price points from $5-$200. For the $200 items, my parents will buy those as a joint gift.

    • I find it a bit odd that a grown woman would hand out a list of things she wants for Christmas to her kits. Can your husband and his siblings all contribute to get one of the big ticket items?

    • My husband’s family does way more extravagant gifts than mine, and to be honest, it’s kind of awkward. My family gives things in the $30-$40 range (both from parents and to them), while his family gives in the $250-300 range. His mom asked us what specific items we wanted for $250, and I just felt SO uncomfortable picking out something so expensive. That said, I’ve talked about it with him, and he says he doesn’t think it’s strange or uncomfortable, it is just a difference between our families. So in the end, like others have said, talk it over with him and try to get on the same page – if it’s how it’s always done, you might just have to get over the discomfort.

      • Ciao, pues :

        This was a big adjustment for me, too. H’s family buys more extravagant gifts (as far as price) and they are totally nonchalant about saying they don’t like a gift they’ve received and asking for the receipt to return/exchange the gift. My family spends way less, and are totally emotionally invested in their giftgiving and would be so sad to hear that you didn’t like the gift. I never realized how impractical this is (and how many gifts i’ve kept that i don’t actually like so as not to hurt my family’s feelings) until I got used to H’s family’s way of doing things.

    • As my mother said when we handed her our wishlists as kids: “You can wish for whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get it.”

      We still do wish lists, but the items are usually in the mid-sized price range – books, films, games… With maybe 1-2 more expensive items thrown on, but with no expectations that you’ll get it.

    • We do specific lists in my family, but you do not expect to get everything on the list and we never list anything outrageously expensive (unless our parents OFFER to buy us a new tv for a new apartment, etc…). Most of the items are $30-60 with a few more “expensive” items thrown in like a northface fleece or a new winter coat or new boots.

      I would not qualify a tv, kitchenaid mixer, or iPad as something anyone “Needs”. You need food, clothing, and shelter. We do lists just to make things easier since no one likes to put a ton of thought/time into shopping, except for my SIL which is really sweet.

    • oil in houston :

      the way it is worded is weird to me, but otherwise we do lists in my family. My mum also has an ipad on there, but it’s because she knows we prefer to all get together and get her something nice, and I live in the US where things like this are a lot cheaper than back home.
      I would never buy it on my own though, and she would never get upset if I didn’t get it…. (which I might not, as I wanted to buy refurbished and they seem to have run out of the one I wanted to get her…)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My parents ask us for specific lists, but they also tell us what the overall budget is. We do a sibling gift exchange with a set budget and normally give each other fairly specific ideas. I think most of us come up with more ideas than the budget would cover so that there is some surprise and never include any single item that would go over the budget. We get our parents gifts based on whatever we can afford (or go in together on a bigger gift) and they don’t usually give us ideas because they kindly protest that we don’t need to get them anything but we all like to.

      My boyfriend and I set a limit and give each other specific lists. Again, I like to include a variety that would add up to more than the budget so I can be surprised. He normally has a few small specifics and loves gift cards to reach the limit if there is some room left. He and his parents typically exchange cash or gift cards.

    • I agree this is a little odd. We have always done wish lists in our family, but the *kids* do wish lists. The parents don’t give wish lists to their children. And, they are supposed to be a range of reasonably priced items, not three super expensive ones. (and, let’s be honest, she doesn’t “need” a new TV)

      So, if they do specific wish lists, it is something you will have to just get comfortable with.

      But, in this case, it sounds like there is something else going on if she got upset about it. I think you have to take your husband’s lead on this one, and let him know you support him in how he wants to care for and gift to his mother. I think that should all be done within the parameters of your family budget, however! Good luck figuring this out!

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Yes and no. I’ve totally done away with specific lists (like one poster mentioned links to items and such) because one year that I did that, I received *almost* exactly what I put on the list, but not the specific items. For example, I wanted a specific kitchen knife. Super inexpensive (under $30), available on Amazon. I chose this knife for several reasons, and mentioned them. I didn’t get THAT knife. I got some knives, none of which were what I was looking for.

      So, this year, I’ve not said a peep to anyone about what I want, so as not to build up an expectation with myself only to be disappointed. I have no idea where it will land me. But, for myself, I do keep a running list of (usually clothing) items that are on my “want to get” list, so that when I’m shopping around, I can keep them in mind. Currently on the list: colored cords, knee- or below-the-knee down coat, LLBean duck boots, tights, bras…(Why bras you ask? I’m a funny size and can pretty much only shop online–at $60+ a pop)

      My aunt & uncle (more well-off than just about anyone in the family) have requested no more gifts ever. So, we do framed photos, or photo books of the kids. My mom mentioned something one day about a tablet. So, sister & I are going in on a Kindle for her.

      We do send out fairly specific ideas to family: my youngest son wants anything with wheels, husband wants a circular saw…etc.

      • Anonymous :

        Tried the “not saying a peep” tactic last year and ended up with a random decorative chest that looked like it belonged in someone else’s house. It went to goodwill yesterday after a year in the closet. We use wish lists to provide some specific ideas of things we’d really like to get, populated with items from a wide price range, but SIL does not seem to care. Husband receives equally random and unwelcome items (poker set anyone?). Really, since we don’t see/speak to each other often enough to know what the others would want/need, the entire giving of gifts is based on the fiction of having a close family bond and makes no sense to me. I really wish we would drop it entirely.

        • kjoirishlastname :

          That’s the same deal as my IL’s. DH’s brother & SIL are just odd. Totally incommunicado, despite being 21st century folk with smartphones and all that crazy technology. They have 2 kids, and while it pains me a little to not have a relationship with them, it’s a 2 way street, and we’ve kept driving down ours, in the hopes that they’d meet us in the middle. To no avail.
          To give a sense of what I mean–they live in the same city as my sister & BIL. Like, a mile from their house. We always let them know when we’re visiting, but they never make the effort to try to meet up. They’ve never offered up their home as lodging, which is fine. But, to not make the effort to even just stop by for a “howdy” seems lame to me.

          So yes, we get strange gifts from them: a camping steak/kitchen knife set. Vacuum thermos. Hand-crank flashlight.

          So, we’ve pretty much eliminated them from our list of gift recipients, since there’s never any reciprocity.

        • + 1000

          I am tired of pretending we know each other well enough for a gift. I would like to see my DH siblings, have a meal, laugh etc but skip gifts. Unfortunately as the in-law, the idea was not well received.

    • My mother’s family has always circulated lists – we consider it the norm. For large ticket items, we group together and give one large gift. However, no one has an iPad, a Kitchenaid and other large ticket items on one list. With fourteen adults purchasing gifts, we can usually group together and purchase the large item – but it might be that person’s only gift.

      Usually, I circulate a list of hardcover books, a few pairs of shoes and a handful of items in the $30-40 range. I don’t expect to receive anything on my list, it is a wish list after all.

      • My family has never done wishlists so this is pretty new to me. I put a few paperbacks, and then mostly house stuff as I’ve figured out what we were missing kitchen-wise.

    • This is the approach my family has taken for years. I think this is a “know your family (or spouse’s family)” situation. Every family approaches this differently in terms of lists and budgets per person or gift. My parents still give my brother and me “big” gifts and now that there are grandkids they also give them generous gifts (iPads this year for a 4 and 7 year old). My parents have told us that they want nothing in return year after year because they have all they need/want and it’s become increasingly difficult to buy for them. In our family Christmas has always been a big deal while birthdays after childhood are not that important. That being said, I think your MIL is being gift grubby based on your post/your comments re your husband’s reaction. Despite my parents gifting big ticket items, I would never list multiple big ticket items!

      Since giving a detailed list is the norm in his family, that’s great but it seems like she included only large expensive purchases which has not been the norm in prior years. I think it warrants a discussion with your husband, MIL and perhaps his siblings where you can all go in on one big ticket gift for her.

    • My DH and MIL both asked me for a list. It always makes me feel awkward.

    • My mom always got the perfume or other inexpensive “thoughtful” gifts from us when we were younger/students.

      A couple years ago, she declared the only thing she wanted for christmas was an iPad (she’s the only one in the fam that doesn’t have her own laptop(s)), which made it easy for the three of us (including dad) to split it (and thus avoid getting her cheaper things she doesn’t want/need).

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Go in with other family members to purchase one of the bigger items.

  11. So I realized last night that I have nothing to wear to our holiday lunch next week – it’s slightly dressier than most work days but nothing too fancy.

    I would like to wear something festive but have no ideas. Any suggestions?

  12. TJ- I have received a couple of emails from my stepmom this week that take digs at my dad. I.e., she emails about the time of brunch because my dad “is having trouble getting himself organized.” On the one hand, based on the emails, it sounds like she has asked him to help plan her birthday brunch this weekend, and he is not following up. On the other hand, he is not – and never has been – good at organizing anything so I think her expectations might be out of whack with what is reasonable. From time to time in the past, she has cornered me to tell me my dad is not organized, having a hard time at work, etc. These are not things I can actively help with, and I believe they are things that they are taking steps to address by having my dad see doctors, be on ADHD (or ADD) meds, etc. I have my own issues with her – she is a therapist and I think she has a tendency to define people by their (real or perceived) diagnoses. I am concerned that she will try to corner me again this weekend to tell me how she is frustrated with my dad. I understand that she is frustrated, but I also don’t see any material difference in how he behaves now compared to when they met 20 years ago. I really don’t want to be involved in their problems, but I do want to know if there is something I can do as a daughter if we are talking about a medical or mental health issue. In the past, I have tried to help him get organized for an upcoming move, so I’m not unwilling to help. But I am often at a loss for ideas that help my dad without interfering a larger problem that they will have to resolve on their own. These conversations tend to make me feel like she wants me to be “on her side” and make me feel like she is speaking poorly about my father to me, which I cannot stand. I personally dislike the holidays as it brings issues like this to a head (especially because her birthday is this month and next year will be a milestone – yay.), and I have not been as good about working as I need to be for stress-management purposes, so I could be blowing this out of proportion. I have siblings but I am the oldest, my sister lives out of state (and will not be home for a while), and my brother just doesn’t get worked up about it. Any tips on how I can navigate this situation?

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      My mom has done this in the past about my dad, and I usually cut her off with a “what, exactly, do you want me to do here?” If she’s passive-aggressively trying to hint that you should be helping your dad plan her birthday brunch, you’re giving her an opening to say it outright, and if she’s just venting, she should be able to get the hint that you’re not interested in that kind of conversation.

      • This, exactly.

        Not appropriate to say to your stepmom, but tell yourself this: “not my circus, not my monkeys.”. A wonderful phrase I learned from this site some months ago.

    • I don’t know the exact logistics of how you would do this, but I would avoid taking sides. It seems like the process has started for dad to address the issues, so I don’t know if there is much you can do at this point. In conversations with her, try to stay as neutral as possible and offer help, support, resources.

    • Obviously I don’t know this situation at all- but is there any chance she’s concerned about something and isn’t sure how to start the conversation with you? My grandma had similar conversations griping about grandpa to my mom, and my mom was similarly annoyed/frustrated/trying to stay out of it. Eventually it came to light that grandma was worried about the beginning of dementia in my grandpa and wasn’t sure how to bring it up (because the changes can seem so so so trivial when you’re seeing someone daily that it’s hard to verbalize why something seems wrong). I would try to rule that out and then once that possibility has been eliminated, be very blunt about not wanting to be involved in their disputes.

      • This is a possibility, but I don’t really trust her to determine what is a medical issue and what is something that has been present all along (introversion, disorganized lifestyle) that she is just running out of patience with. Maybe just saying “I feel like you’re asking me to take sides here, which I’m really not comfortable with. But if there is something I can do, I’m happy to try to help.” would cover it?

        • If it’s anything like the situation with my grandma, part of the issue was that she didn’t trust herself to identify the medical issue! And I think she was afraid that is she tried to talk to grandpa about it alone, he would shut it down exactly because who is she to determine a medical issue? Maybe that’s why you’re feeling like she wants you on her side?

        • Ciao, pues :

          Scrooge, this seems like a reasonable response in a difficult situation. It expresses your concern (that she is asking you to choose sides) and your discomfort, but keeps the conversation open and makes clear your willingness to help.

          What is your dad’s response to these kinds of situations? Does he acknowledge that he’s dropping the ball and try to do better? Or is he oblivious? Or does she even bring it up to him? I might focus on helping dad respond to these situations, either by seeking out therapy, meds, medical help to address a concern, or by knowing he can reach out to you for help like when he was preparing for the move. You’re there for your stepmom, too, but it sounds like you might be more comfortable working with dad to address a problem than taking sides with stepmom to criticize dad.

          • Thanks. I’m sure she does bring it up to him, but I’m not sure what his response has been. I’d guess that it’s he’ll do it later, which works for groceries but not for telling people when to arrive.

  13. I know there’s been a lot of gift threads lately, but thought I would add one (or technically 3) more.
    – Any recommendations for books to get for little girls ages 5 and 7?
    – What about a small toy (~$20 and under) for a four year old boy who’s really into cars?
    – Last but not least, I think this is a universal quest, but I need to get something for my SO’s mother. I’d like to spend $50-100 but I feel like no matter what I give her, it’s never used. She’s recently retired, doesn’t cook much, but likes to read and watch DVDs (but this is risky to buy because she buys a lot for herself). I’m thinking something pretty for the house, but I’ve given a vase, a nice frame, a throw, and a jewelry box already in years past so maybe something else? I’m at a total loss!

    • wildkitten :

      Kindle ?

    • For your SO’s mother – if she likes watching DVDs, maybe set her up with a Netflix account? I’m not sure how exactly it works as a gift though and when the recipient has to start paying the monthly charge. Or maybe Kindle or other type of eReader?

      Or since she doesn’t cook, perhaps gift cards to some nice restaurants or cafes in her town?

    • –For the young girl reader, how about Nancy Drew books. Or Cam Jansen (young girl sleuth with a photographic memory). I also read Pee Wee Scouts at that age (think co-ed Girl Scout troupe that has adventures together).

      –This car carrier (along with a pack of cars) would be really cool.

      –For your SO’s mother, how about a year’s Netflix DVD subscription. Or for reading, does she own a Kindle? Amazon has been putting them on sale recently and the not-color, HD-video ones are pretty reasonably priced.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Would she go to a day spa if it was on someone else’s dime? My MIL doesn’t take herself, but will happily use a SpaFinder gift card if we get it for her.

    • contrarian :

      Let your SO get something for her and emphasize that he picked it. I bet it will get used then! If you can find a remote toy car for the 4yo boy, he’d love it.

    • Miss Behaved :
    • Senior Attorney :

      If the SO’s mom still puts up a Christmas tree, you can’t go wrong with a lovely Christmas ornament or two. Even if she doesn’t, how about sending her a beautiful holiday floral arrangement a few days before Christmas so she can enjoy it? I’ve done that for my mom for a few years and she’s really liked it.

      • Wow, these are all great ideas, thank you! Unfortunately, she already has an iPad for reading and Netflix for watching. I would get her a book or two but in the past this has been hit or miss. She loved Cutting for Stone but also had two of the other books I got her. I was thinking of getting something else by the Cutting for Stone author but I’m worried she already got it for herself. Maybe a plant would be nice + something else. I saved a link to the amaryllis NOLA recommended yesterday, so might do that one.

        The car carrier is on order though – awesome, thank you! And I will look into the books recommended. I always find that 7+ can be a tricky age with books because they are often either really advanced readers or still on picture books and it’s hard to know in advance, esp. since kids change so quickly as they grow. Thanks all! Any other ideas welcome :)

        • A Nonny Moose :

          Try the Amelisa Bedilia series for girls 5-7.

        • I think you can still gift Netflix by paying for a few months worth of subscription – basically you get a code that you give, and then they enter that code to get the credit, so even if she already has it, you can still “give” it.

      • A Roku? The official White House Christmas ornaments are pretty and unique.

        • I was just about to say a Roku! It made integrating all the online stuff super easy for my parents and we could add all the accounts we have for Hulu, Netflix, HBO from them my siblings so that all of us have access to everything now which is pretty great.

          For the little girl, go shopping with her if you can. I had a much older cousin that would take me to the mall and buy me something when I was younger (around the $15 mark in the 80s) & I thought it was just the most magical thing ever & have great memories of her & the experience.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      For the boy: If he’s anything like my youngest (3), anything with wheels will work. We are getting him, as his big present, one of those car roadmap rugs, and a big mix package of matchbox cars. The big Chuck trucks have been big hits at our house–we have the giant trash truck, and several of the smaller trucks too. We also have a lot of the brick-size (kind of hard to explain, size-wise) trucks/cars with “action”. Some have sounds (none so far are too ridiculously loud), some have motion like self-propelled wheels, also. If you’ve never shopped trucks/cars for a boy, you’re kind of in for a treat. They’re actually a lot of fun to check out. There are construction trucks with articulated parts, including some that are big enough and basic enough (not a lot of small parts), as well as rugged enough to be used outside. The Cat(erpillar) trucks come to mind–there are a few out there that are about as big as a shoe box that have articulated buckets/bulldozers. In fact, Walmart (or was it Target?) had some big Little Tykes construction trucks for about $10 a while back.

    • For the 5 year old, I recommend the Fancy Nancy series. My daughter is just turning 6, so I’m not up on books for 7 year olds’, but another option would be to buy the Laura Ingalls Wilder box set for both girls to share. My daughter loves to have them read aloud.

      For the boy, if he likes Lego too, you can get the police car set or police motorcycle set. They’re under $20.

      For your SO’s mother, I suggest a museum membership or a membership to a local botanical/public garden. I think I remember you posting last year that she is not that into “stuff,” has specific tastes and buys whatever she needs, but that she doesn’t take advantage of things like spa gift cards. Two advantages of a membership are that you’re essentially making a donation to a good cause even if she doesn’t use it and it doesn’t take up any space.

      • I agree with Fancy Nancy for the 5 year old, also If you Give a Mouse a Cookie (and all the other variations).

        If the 7 year old can read fairly well, my daughter loved the Magic Tree House series at that age. She also liked Junie B. Jones books and the American Girls books.

        • My 8yo boy loves Geronimo Stilton books, and I know there is a series geared toward girls – with Geronimo’s sister – Thea Stilton. The books are really fun, with different words emphasized in different fonts, sizes & colors. They are mysteries.

          And I also agree with the PP about how fun it is these days to shop for cars for boys. There are way more kinds than a few years ago, and if you live near an Ikea they usually carry the car carpet for significantly cheaper than other stores, IME.

      • You have an excellent memory! I am very impressed :)
        Thanks for all these great ideas.

      • saltylady :

        For the 7 year old, if she’s an average reader and not super advanced, the Clementine series is good. Also, the Ramona series is great.

    • My Stepkids' Mom :

      S. Taylor, “All of a Kind Family”

      Z.K. Snyder, “The Egypt Game”

      E.L. Konigsburg, “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

      E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web”

      S. Silverstein, “The Giving Tree” or “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (Best line: “G-d gave me fingers, Mom says, “Use a fork!”)

      L. Ingalls Wilder, “Little House in the Big Woods”

      For Mom, what about fruit of the month deliveries?

    • AttiredAttorney :

      For the little girl, the first book in the Betsy Tacy series by Maude Hart Lovelace would be perfect.

      • YES! It’s called ‘Betsy-Tacy” and it’s terrific. You can probably get the first few books in the series for not very much money.

  14. Does anyone know of a device you can use to temporarily hem your pants for your commute? I’ve just moved to a new office and now need to walk about three city blocks from my car to my office, and I need to do it in flats, but all of my pants are hemmed to heels, and I’d prefer to wear heels in the office.

    A quick google search has pulled up some cute little pin things, but does anyone else have an easy idea? Or a review of hem pins? I don’t like the idea of hem tape because it seems wasteful, I’d be doing it twice a day every time I wore pants.

    • I tuck my pants in my boots given the weather. I tried pins and tapes and that look isnt for me – it just seemed weird.

    • Miss Behaved :
      • Flying Squirrel :

        FWIW, I made my own (pretty simple design), and they didn’t really work. The magnets are heavy enough that though they stick together, they slide down the fabric. I honestly have never found a good solution, though the stick-on, plastic temporary hem tacks they sell at Jo-ann fabrics may work. Unfortunately, I think they are one time use (or at least can’t be transferred between pants).

    • I just safety pin the back for the commute.

    • I don’t see why you can’t sew little snaps or hooks to your pants. It wouldn’t look that intrusive… Actually I’m going to try this this weekend on a pair of pants I just bought.

    • You know those little plastic clips that hold jacket collars and lapels in place when you order suit jackets online? I’ve used those to hold up pant hems temporarily.

  15. is this too much for an interview? I’m planning to wear a black suit, a blue top (solid color) and this necklace –

  16. TJ- Any advice on writing samples? I have worked for a federal agency for 3 years and would like to apply for a position with another agency. My current job entails drafting decisions for ALJs. However, in terms of subject matter, a certain memo written as a law student is a better fit. Which do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I used law school writing samples when I was 3 years out. I clerked and worked at an agency, and hadn’t written anything that would be a good writing sample that I was free to use publicly. I would be surprised if you were allowed to use draft decisions from your current job as public writing samples, although maybe it’d be ok inside the federal family–definitely look into that if you haven’t already.

    • Seventh Sister :

      If you decide to use a draft of a decision, my suggestion would be to make it clear it is a draft and not the actual decision (even if the entered decision is identical to your draft).

  17. My mom’s been hinting at wanting a pair of short Bearpaw or Ugg type booties for xmas and Bearpaw’s on rue la la so I would like to get a pair for her. She’s an 8.5 usually and the company website for these booties says to order a size up because they run small. Anyone have experience? Should I just order a size 9? I can’t imagine she’d need a 10 and I was originally going to actually get an 8 because these seem roomy but I just don’t know anymore. I’d hate to get her a gift that was the wrong size. Help!

    • Not specific advice, but do you know how your feet compare to hers? So if you ordered and tried them on, could you get a sense of if they’d fit her and, if not, have time to exchange them? I know if a shoe is just a little bit short on me, it’d be perfect for my mom. Just a thought.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I’m a 6.5/7 and wear a 7 in BearPaws – I doubt she’d need a 10. I’d go with a 9 in your situation.

    • What is the return policy? I know I have a tough enough time estimating my own size in different styles of even the same brand. I can’t even imagine trying to guess for someone else. And boots and tennis shoes tend to be some of the trickiest shoe styles to get right on top of it.

      If the return policy is tough or likely to take long or be cumbersome, I’d recommend skipping the deal. No fun being the recipient of something that’s going to be a hassle to have to straighten out if it’s not right.

      • I agree completely. I would only give shoes as a gift from a place with an excellent return policy that I knew would not be a hassle for the recipient. Even if you offer to return the boots to for her, won’t they be gone from the flash sale site at that point, so you would be able to return and not exchange for a different size?

        • L L Bean, which does have a great return policy, has an Ugglike boot. I haven’t tried it but their products are often excellent.

          • I have LL Bean boots — they are great quality, and have held up very well (this is their third season).

            As far as sizing — I’m a 7.5 and I got an 8. They’re a little loose now if I’m not wearing thick socks, but not to the point of sliding, etc.

      • Flying Squirrel :

        Rue La La has a pretty good holiday return policy (until mid-January, I think).

    • There are some bearpaw boots at macy’s at 50% off. That may be easier than ruelala

  18. My son called yesterday with the exciting news that he has been accepted at UCLA Law School. We are really happy for him. After many frank talks about the state of the legal profession and the job market he still strongly wanted to go to law school — he is the son of two lawyers and has a passion for it. So I’m excited he will be able to go to a good law school located in SoCal where he wants to live long term. This is the first school he has heard from so he may have a few good options. He graduates from college this week a semester early. I expect he will show this kind of hard work and dedication in law school as he knows he needs to excel to have any chance in this job market. My cup is full!

    • oil in houston :


    • Senior Attorney :

      Great news! Congratulations to you and your boy!!

    • Silvercurls :

      Mazel tov!

    • Congratulations to your son and to your family. :-)

    • saltylady :

      Congrats– that’s where I went, and it was truly my dream school. Still is. I’m sorry the fees have gone up so much though.

    • First, congrats! Second, please make sure that your son is applying to some shoe-in schools. Scholarship money was incredibly generous from mid-top-tier schools in the last cycle (20s-40s, just below UCLA), and he could easily leverage A LOT more money out of a school he wants to go to, by applying to a slightly lower school (last year, William & Mary, Indiana, Ohio State, AZ state, BU) were throwing money around like it was candy. Even if he has no intention of attending these schools, he should seriously consider applying to leverage at a school he wants to attend. Further, Wash U in St. Louis gave 100% free rides to folks that hit 167, and they are very closely ranked. I am sure he knows about all the websites, but he should check out LawSchoolTransparency and TLS for more information. WashU did not reveal the 167 deal until after their first deposit deadline, but those kids got an enormous free ride…pretty amazing.

  19. I can’t go into details here, obviously, but I just want to throw out a RAWR at jerky opposing counsel for calling me out in front of the entire team for a mistake that I didn’t even make. Thanks for getting me yelled at, bro.

    (He’s at my level, so it’s not like it’s someone more senior correcting me).

    • What does RAWR actually mean? I see it used here in the sense of the old “you go, girl” and googling it brings up “I love you” in Dinosaur. Can anyone clarify?

      • Ha – you know, I think it does usually get used here in the sense of “you go, girl,” but I was using it in more the sense of “Grrr.” Apparently today is not a “use your words” day for me.

        • I wasn’t trying to criticize! It’s one of those things where you think you know what something means, but then you realize you aren’t exactly sure (me, that is).

  20. These TPS reports are killing my bank account. I swear I think I buy something from a TPS like once a week. It’s a problem. Kat, stop having such good taste!!

  21. Help! I need recommendations for narrow calf boots. I have a pair of alberto fermanis that are 12.5 or 13″ circumference, but I other pairs! Any ideas?

  22. NancyNonymous :

    Regular commenter going a bit anonymous for this.

    I have to have laparoscopic surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. Has anyone here had that procedure before? Any advice you could give me in preparing for it? How long were you laid up? How much help will I need in the first few days? Anything I should buy to prepare for it? (But please don’t scare me too much bc I have to do it either way!)

    Thanks all!

    • The procedure is not that bad!! I had laparoscopic surgery to remove endometriosis and fibroids and missed around 3 days of work (although I had the procedure Wednesday so had the weekend to recover as well). I just needed someone the day of surgery to drive me home and get me set up on the couch. The pain was not that bad and I was gingerly mobile by the next day. If you don’t have a heating pad, I would recommend one. Also, be prepared for gas pain in odd places (like your shoulders), they fill your abdomen with air and it lingers around for days after surgery. Good luck!

    • I had two ovarian cysts removed laparoscopically on a Wedesday. I went back to work on Monday because of an emergency. I probably should have stayed out another 2 days. I had to do a liquid fast for a week beforehand and then drink some super-laxative stuff. My doctor also recommended eating liquids afterwards so that my stomach didn’t get too distended and pull on the incisions. I was ok being home by myself afterwards, and just slept a lot courtesy of the prescription pain meds.

    • I hear that the biggest favor you can do for yourself before this type of thing is to shave yourself pre-surgery. Good luck!

    • About 10 years ago, I was supposed to have a laparoscopy to remove an ovarian cyst. By the time I showed up for the procedure though (about a week after it was scheduled), the cyst had apparently grown so large and so quickly that they couldn’t do a laparoscopy anymore and instead had to do a laparotomy (i.e., they had to slice me open to remove the cyst). So what should have been a procedure with a 3-day recovery period became a procedure with a 3-day hospital stay followed by another 4-5 days laid up in bed at home because my abdominal muscles were so shot I couldn’t stand/sit up without assistance.

      Not trying to freak you out, and I’m sure there have been a million medical advances in the last decade that would have made my laparotomy unnecessary today. But just a warning to not count on anything!

    • I had this done last minute when I was in high school over the Christmas break (fun fun!). What I remember most afterwards was a) being totally out of it because of the high-strength pain meds (like, I didn’t join the family for Christmas dinner because I was too busy hallucinating in the recliner) and b) having pain in my shoulder because of the gas they use to inflate your abdomen. Once that went down a couple of days later, I was much better.

      The surgery prep itself was nothing — an IV, a day surgery, outpatient procedure — and I felt SO much better afterwards.

    • NancyNonymous :

      Thanks, everyone! I guess I was wondering if there were any special foods I should buy (gas pains make me think I should get some gas meds?), comfy pants?, etc? My boyfriend will be helping me get home from the procedure and hopefully working from our home the next day–will that be enough?

      Thanks for all the well-wishes. I have to admit, I’m a little nervous!

      • wildkitten :

        You don’t make the gas – they pump it into you as part of the surgery. So I don’t think gas meds would help.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        Yes on comfy pants. I had laproscopic surgery, although not for that issue. I lived in one of two super lightweight jersey material skirts I usually use as beach coverups. Yoga pants would have worked too, I think, but definitely find something easy on your waistline.

      • Anonymous :

        I didn’t fit in any of my work pants when I first went back to work because I was still swollen/bloated, so I ended up having to do an emergency shopping trip for loose dresses the night before I went back.
        Also, a variety of liquid food to eat while you are recovering.

        I think my husband went to work the day after I had surgery and I was fine by myself.

    • Anonymous :

      I had this surgery for ovarian cysts as a teenager, over a decade ago. It wasn’t too bad (much, much easier than the laparotomy I had the year before). My procedure was scheduled late in the day and I had a lot of nausea from the anesthesia, so they ended up admitting me for the first night and sent me home in the morning. That first day I was pretty weak and in some pain, but by two or three days after the procedure I was doing a lot of reading and was able to catch up on my homework. It was nice to have my mom bring me food/drinks and help me to the restroom, but I think I could have managed alone if I had to, even right after I got home. It was a few weeks (two or three?) before I felt back to normal when it came to walking around school with my backpack.

  23. kjoirishlastname :

    Does anyone have a line on where to get odd-size bras? I’m a 28DD or 30D, which I cannot find in any store anywhere within a 3 hour drive. I know about freshpair, barenecessities, herroom, figleaves, and some of the others. I’ve checked Amazon, and I think that’s going to be my best bet for finding the most affordable bras in the high-end styles. Any other ideas?

    and casting out here, is there anyone in non-NOVA-Virginia? SWVA???

    • Nordstrom stacks several 30″ band sizes and probably smaller; some go on the NAS; free shipping and returns

      • In my experience, Nordstrom never stocks anything in below a 30″ band, and fudging is not a good idea if you need lower. I have learned after many returns to just not bother looking there. OP, the sources you mention are the only ones where I’ve had success.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Ok I’m not sure whether Tyson’s Corner is near you but it looks like there is an Intimacy store there. I’ve been fitted there at a NYC location and they had lots of large cup sizes that can be hard to find. I’m not sure about the small band size but it might be worth calling to see.

      • Second the Intimacy recommendation. I wear a 30DD in most lines and they’ve usually had them available. Unlike a place like Victoria’s Secret, they won’t sell you sizes that don’t fit or conveniently tell you that you are another size, i.e., the one they have in stock.

    • Definitely Nordstrom. I’m a 30DD/E and I find that calvin klein works for me.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Thanks for the replies. I’ve not heard of Intimacy, but have family in both NOVA and Richmond, so there are bigger markets that I can visit. I just hate playing the order/try on/return/rinse/repeat cycle when there are no brick/mortar options–it’s just so frustrating.

      • Trousseau in Vienna, VA is a good stop if you’re in the area. Check out the yelp reviews – they’re pretty amazing. I’m a 32DDD and I know they had band sizes significantly lower than mine. They also offer alterations.

        • I was going to recommend the same store as long as you’re in the area for a visit. I am a 34DDDD, and found a nice selection there. Good customer service, too.

    • Have you gone to specialty lingerie stores? Most should carry at least 30″, but you may be lucky enough to be a larger size in some brands because they’re all over the map.

  24. Hi ladies – my absolutely favorite dress is a by Theory and I’ve worn it to death (it’s a Theory Lazaro Tailor dress). The wool is wearing out and the zipper is pulling. I’ve had it for ~5 years, so I’m happy with its wear (though I’ve generally been unhappy with the quality of several other Theory pieces, including the Betty dress). Anyway, they no longer make it. Is it possible to take the dress to a dressmaker and ask them to recreate it (it has a kangaroo pocket, so is a bit complicated)? If so, would I need to buy the fabric myself? Any recs for such a place in the DC area?

    • A real dressmaker may indeed be able to supply fabric (and charge accordingly).

    • No recs. for DC but this is something a dress maker can do.

    • CapHillAnon :

      Very interested in replies. I have a couple dresses that I’d love to have recreated. I am curious about: 1. being able to find similar-enough fabric; 2. finding a dressmaker with the ability to pull this off; and 3. how much does this cost?

    • Silvercurls :

      No idea re cost. G Street Fabrics might know someone among their customers, students, & teachers. G Street also has an amazing assortment of fabrics. If you sign up with them for emails you’ll get occasional discount coupons.

      You might also check with Washington Checkbook magazine–a local version of Consumer Reports. Subscribers can access their online archives of past articles including the tables that summarize reader ratings on local vendors & service providers.

      Prestige Cleaners (on Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, very near 495) has a good seamstress, Voula, who is praised on Yelp. I’ve only used her to adjust suit jacket sleeves or hemmed lined garments, however (do my own hemming for unlined items). Because Prestige’s good services are higher than my budget prefers I only use them occasionally. I took them a leather-bottomed backpack (formerly used by DH as a baby bag) that had mashed banana plastered over the interior and they performed a miraculous restoration.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      Green and Blue Studio in Dupont does dress-making. I’ve only used them for tailoring, but they did a pretty good job with that.

    • prof on a bike :

      You should try getting in touch with the Slapdash Sewist (link to follow), who makes most of her own clothes and is in the DC area. She could definitely help you source fabric.

      As for cost, it might not be as bad as you think — sewing something from a flat piece of fabric is so much easier than doing alterations (because you don’t have to unpick, can sew things in the right order so you have a better angle for sewing from, etc). I sew many of my own clothes, and I’d say the time it takes me to make a new sheath dress is not substantially more than the time it takes me to take in the shoulders and hems on a purchased dress.

      • prof on a bike :
      • But… in addition to the sewing, the sewer would also be pulling a pattern off of the old dress. Which can be done a couple ways (which can include unmaking the original dress) any of which will be additional time/labor.

        • prof on a bike :

          True, but you only need to do that once, and if it’s a favorite dress it probably makes sense to make it up in multiple colors/fabrics. And since the OP’s original dress is a Theory dress and therefore probably in the $300+ range to begin with, I’m guessing that the cost of having two or three dresses made would be comparable to buying two or three new Theory dresses.

          • Seattle Freeze :

            Exactly. This looks like a pretty simple dress with clean lines – empire waist, princess seams, bateau yoke, and a-line skirt with in-seam pockets in the front – it would be fairly straightforward to trace off a pattern from a dress like this without unmaking the dress. And it looks like even has Theory stretch wool suiting!

  25. Silvercurls :

    P.S. Does CapHillStyle have a list of great tailors? I seem to recall seeing a list of Belle’s favorite vendors. (Yes, her politics are different from mine but I admire her ambition & work ethic.)

    • wildkitten :

      Yup. Go to a Lofton. JC Lofton or Cheryl Lofton. They have different price points and specialties (and are totally separate businesses – I suspect they’re cousins.)

    • A Nonny Moose :

      In DC try Stephen the Tailor in Foggy Bottom. He’s fantastic.

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