Thursday’s TPS Report: Tamsin Blazer

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

Tamsin BlazerThis blazer by Cartonnier caught my eye (pictured on the Talla dress) — it looks like a great shrunken blazer to wear over winter dresses and other fall/winter/spring outfits. I like the tan and black color scheme, and the nubby look to the fabric. The fan print almost reminds me of art deco patterns. The blazer was $138, but is now on sale for $69.95 at Anthropologie. Tamsin Blazer

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
(L-4)

Comments

  1. Kat – I’d love it if you considered a piece on snow boots for commuting to the office. I walk about a mile to and from the office each day and try to find comfortable yet somewhat office appropriate footwear. I keep my heels at work and change every morning. Flats are easy for summertime, but in cold east coast winters my commute often requires trudging through snow banks. Any suggestions of boots to keep your feet dry and warm without looking like you’re ready to hit the slopes?

    • I agree with this request! I have been trying to figure out what snow boots would be appropriate for me to wear to walk to school, and I would love something professional enough that I can wear it post-law-school in the winter as well.

      • Mom just got me a pair of UGG boots!

        My dress boots had poopie on them so I donated them to the Salvation Army! They said they could clean them.

        I need to look for LEATHER b/c the swade I have will NOT make it thru our salty streets in NYC.

        I am calling Myrna’s freinds freind, Luke. I have a hard time thinkeing that I could MARRY a guy named LUKE. Mom says it is not a common name. FOOEY!

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Why do the boots that you immediately change out of anyway need to be “professional”? I understand not wanting to commute in sparkly purple Uggs, but what’s wrong with a pair of proper winter boots?

      FWIW, most of the commuters I see are in some version of Uggs, Hunter boots with heavy boot socks, or Sorel or LL Bean boots like these: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/43281?feat=506588-GN2&page=women-s-bean-boots-by-l-l-bean-reg-10-quot-shearling-lined.

      • +1

      • Those LLBean boots look amazing!!

      • Agreed. I just had this conversation with my dh about my new winter boots. I have these http://www.zappos.com/kamik-rival but mine are grey. Anyway, dh asked if they were cute enough for me. I told him for winter boots function was way more important than form, and these boots have great traction. We’ve had a ton of snow these last 2 weeks, and I often walk a mile to the train. I haven’t slipped in the snow once. My old boots that were cuter would have had me sliding all over in the snow because they just didn’t have the traction.

        • Equity's Darling :

          Yes, so much yes. I wear my Sorels when the streets are snowy/icy, and my leather boots when its dry. It’s 100% impractical for me to wear anything other than winter boots with rubber bottoms when the weather is bad, as I literally have to trudge over unploughed intersections.

          On that note, CKB, did you hear the CBC this morning and people ranting about the city not clearing to the asphalt? Do you know why they do that here, because where I grew up definitely does that, and where I went to school did that also, so the fact that they don’t do it here confuses me.

          • Not in Canada, but my dad has remarked how the MT town he grew up in rarely plowed to the asphalt – and maybe didn’t even salt, but did sand. That could be because it was consistently cold enough there for the salt not to work, and so you wouldn’t get complete melt anyway.

          • It’s fairly common by me to not plow to the asphalt at all or for it to take weeks to plow it to the asphalt. Part of the reasoning seems to be that the weather warms up slightly, so some of the snow on the roadway melts naturally. A major concern each year, as well, is the city budget. It can quickly become prohibitively expensive to plow roads to the asphalt or to plow city neighborhoods.

            In my experience, AB is far better at caring for its roadways in winter than MT.

          • National_Anthem :

            MT Atty, you think MT isn’t great at caring for it’s roadways in winter… until you move to Spokane.

      • Carrie Preston :

        +1 life is too short to worry about looking “professional” every second (e.g. you can take my bright red hunter commute boots out of my cold, dead, hands)

      • Agreed. I wear knee high leather boots if it is dry, Hunters with fleece socks if it is raining but not icy, and boots similar to these from landsend if it is just disgusting out:http://www.landsend.com/products/womens-powder-run-boots/id_258677 (mine are black with black fur trim)

        I am tempted by these though: http://www.landsend.com/products/womens-winfield-boots-with-sock/id_244219

      • +1. My biggest commute pet peeve is seeing women tottering around in shoes that are inappropriate for the commute (on public transit). I always see women in heels holding up a line of people on the stairs or slipping in puddles while wearing basic flats with no grip at all. Can’t we all agree that’s it’s okay to wear proper winter boots that will keep us warm, dry, and hopefully safe? Why is it even a thing that women have to discuss whether Sorels or L.L. Bean boots for the commute are okay in the winter? Yes, it is very much okay.

      • kjoirishlastname :

        I want those so bad.

      • Then let’s rephrase the discussion as one on functional, wearable winter boots. I think it would be particularly helpful for people who relocated to a colder climate and aren’t familiar with what they need.

    • I wear these – the wedge is enough to keep my pants out of the slush, and while they’re not gorgeous they look just fine with most work pants:
      http://www.zappos.com/la-canadienne-elizabeth-black-suede?zlfid=191&ref=pd_sims_p_ab_1

    • anon-oh-no :

      I went on a mision for something you describe for days that it was snowy or slushy and i had court — i’d prefer not to change out of boots and lug them around the courthouse (in the summer, flats can easily go in my bag). I basically found nothing. I scoured stores and the internet in a wide range of prices, to no avail.

      Bascially wanted something water proof w/ a bit of a heel (likely a wedge for comfort and ease of walking in snow), but otherwise pretty plain such that one wouldnt notice them when I step up as my case is called.

      The pair of la canadienne’s that anne-on suggests seems like it might work, though most, if not all, of my pants would still drag with that wedge.

    • I use black Hunters (adding the thick sock inserts for winter), and tuck my pants in for the walk.

      • ExcelNinja :

        I used to walk about a mile to work in Ottawa, Canada and wore black Uggs with my pants tucked in. They were wonderfully warm and surprisingly waterproof, though the suede was ruined after two winters.

        I would have loved a pair of Sorels but they don’t come in my size, boo :(

        I went through one winter in Ottawa with “cute” high heeled boots and a “cute” white wool pea coat and then realized I was being an idiot considering it regularly gets to -30C with windchill.

    • I just wore these under a pantsuit for a meeting in the snowstorm on Tuesday.. Not the greatest but no one noticed. I was able to wear a pair of pants that dry fairly quickly and luckily the snow wasn’t slushy yet. If there had been slush, it would not have worked as well.

      http://www.zappos.com/sperry-top-sider-gosling-black-quilted

    • I bought columbia bugaboots two days ago. We had heavy snowfall and I needed something quick, they ran out of Sorrel Joan of Artic in my size otherwise I would get that. The bugaboots are definitely warm, incredibly sturdy and good grip when walking on icy slushy urban streets but I still find them little too stiff in the ankle.

  2. Hi ladies, I have another moving-related TJ.

    Everyone was very helpful when I asked about Cambridge a few days ago– thank you! I’ll be needing a new couch (my roommate is keeping our previous couch). I want to spend ~$1k. Does anyone have good experiences or suggestions for finding a couch in this price range? What do you look for in a couch? What do you think are the best fabric types? What stores should I be looking at?

    My last couch purchase was a complete failure. I bought a Martha Steward brand couch from Macys about a year ago (for about $1000), and it has not held up well. The cushions have all lost their shape, the fabric is pilling. In general it looks like a mistreated 10 year old couch. I don’t want to make those mistakes again. I’ve also never found Ikea couches very comfortable, so I’d like something a step up from that. Is that possible in my price range?

    • I have the same issue. I want to replace two 20-year old couches, in the same price range. I seriously considered having them reupholstered, but that’s an expensive project too. I have been doing a little research but have no definitive answers.

      Sadly, I don’t think that $1000 is enough to guarantee that a couch will hold up well. I think brands like Thomasville and Ethan Allen are superior quality, but also high priced. I’d avoid discount places like Bob’s Discount Furniture. Macy’s posts reviews so I would consider a very well-reviewed piece. I also think Macy’s may offer some kind of “couch insurance”, which might actually be worth it (even though I don’t usually purchase extended warranties and the like). Finally – I heard good things about West Elm.

      • I got my leather 3-cushion sofa from Thomasville during an amazing sale about 6(?) years ago for $1300. It had been something like $2400. It’s held up wonderfully!

    • My parents got a couch (& loveseat & armchair set) from Sam’s Club ~15 years ago that has held up very well. I have no idea how much they paid but I highly highly doubt it was more than $1500 for all 3.

    • Clementine :

      I have a Pottery Barn Basic Comfort Roll-Arm sofa in a cotton twill. The whole thing is slipcovered and accordingly I can take it off and wash it. I LOVE it. It’s a really simple, clean looking couch and is perfect for just hanging out.

      It’s very comfortable, made in the US and was about $1000. I don’t like microfiber personally and with a dog, a love of red wine and not wanting myself to feel like I’m living in a museum, something with removable, washable covers was pretty cruical.

      West Elm is like Pottery Barn with a more modern edge and owned by the same people so I would expect the same quality from them.

    • I have a Crate & Barrel Davis apartment sofa. I don’t remember the exact amount I spent, but if you can buy it when it’s on sale, you can get it for close to $1100, plus delivery costs, I think. It’s a nice size for an apartment and seems to be looking good six months later. It has a tweedy brown fabric, which I like – goes well with lots of things, would probably hide stains.

      • Another vote for C&B. We have their Troy couch which I don’t think they make anymore, but was pretty perfectly apartment -sized. We’ve had it for going on four years now and it still looks great, no sagging or anything. The microsuede fabric is pretty stain resistant too.

      • I own a Crate & Barrel three-seater sofabed and matching “chair and a half” (that’s what they call it) with a white slipcover. These were actually hand-me-down pieces that I got for free from a former boss of mine and WOW. They are amazing! I can bleach the slipcovers anytime and the furniture is wonderful and sturdy. I would say these pieces are around 15 years old and they’ve held up great. I have no idea what they cost at the outset, but it might be worth checking out Craigslist, etc. for a resale piece that’s higher quality but used (so it’s more in your price range). My 23-year-old self had no idea how lucky she was to get these for free!

        I did have a local upholstery place make new seat cushions for the sofa, b/c the originals were way squished down after years of use. Still, a ~$500 investment over the life of the piece seems like peanuts to me. Good luck!

      • Another vote for Crate & Barrel. If you’re not in any rush, they have awesome sales a few times a year where you can get 10, 15, or 20% off some of their sofa. We got ours during a summer upholstery sale where we got a decent discount, free delivery, and any choice of fabric for the price of stock.

    • I went with West Elm and spent about $1000 on a sofa (the Everett) when all was said and done (taxes etc). I love West Elm because you can get any of their sofas in any of their fabrics and colors, which was crucial for me because I have cats and they will ruin most fabrics. Something went wrong when they delivered the couch and one of the feet was not installed properly, and when I complained they sent someone out within a few days to fix it. I also bought a chair from them and a washer was missing that I needed to put one of the feet on; they said I could just buy it at a local hardware store and they refunded me $50 (the washer cost approx. $.50). So they have great customer service as well as great designs and flexibility in fabrics/colors.

    • Diana Barry :

      Ikea or Costco! We have an Ikea couch that has done very well (including use as a guest bed) and I think it was about $700.

      • Yes! Ikea couches are not necessarily bad. It depends on what you are willing to pay for – there is a big difference between a $200 futon model and something a little sturdier. I have an Ikea Ektorp sofabed, which I bought about 7 years ago. It is nice and firm as a sofa, with good cushions, and so comfortable as a sofabed that my overnight guests have commented it doesn’t feel like a sofabed at all. So definitely worth looking at Ikea.

      • oil in houston :

        second Ikea, they’re actually very comfortable, and can be stylish if that’s your style

      • I’m sorry to say that my IKEA couch has aged *terribly* in the last 5 years, and I don’t plan to purchase this kind of item from them again. For what it’s worth…

    • In Boston, I’ve had pretty good luck at Jordan’s Furniture. It’s just your standard large furniture store, but the prices are reasonable and they are good about delivery. The designs aren’t as hip as Room & Board or Crate & Barrel, but you can get good quality, American made furniture for reasonable prices.

    • So this won’t actually help the OP (no stores in Massachusetts) but I purchased two couches from American Signature Furniture 7 years ago and they’ve held up very well. I think each one was around $600 (so $1200 total). And we have a large fluffy dog who sits on the couch with us, and a cat, and my SO tends to strew the pillows around when he’s “nesting” on the couch. They don’t look brand new anymore, but they look d*mn good for 7 year old, inexpensive couches.

    • anon-oh-no :

      if you have a dania furniture around you, that is a good place to start. Also, I have found that leather holds up well. these days, there are lots of options for leather — colors, styles etc. We bought leather couches becuase we have 2 small kids and had a cat at the time, though she has since passed :( out cat was declawed, but there have been no issues with rips or anything from her hind paws or the kids. The couches hold their shape and never get dirty.

      Although a big leather couch is much more expensive, we have a beautiful chocolate brown love seat-ish size couch that was $700 (from Dania).

      Also, Ikea now has some nicer couches and also sells leather. we have 2 black leather chairs from there that we bought about 6 years ago (maybe $150 or 200 each) and they still look brand new.

    • Boston Interiors is your best bet. Their couches hold up well and are very reasonably priced.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Try Cardi’s:
      http://www.cardis.com/main/index.php

      They have stores in both MA and RI and are quite reasonably priced. I got my couch about 8 years ago at Alperts. I can’t find a website for them, but they are just down the road from the Cardi’s in Seekonk

    • Senior Attorney :

      If you can find what you like at Costco, the quality is great for the price. I got my bed there and have been really happy with it.

      Also, it’s tricky because you can’t see it in person before you buy, but I have bought a chair and ottomon from Home Decorators dot com and was so happy with them I bought another set of the exact same thing. They have very good, detailed reviews, the shipping arrangements are reasonably convenient (you can schedule delivery in a half-day window), and they have sales from time to time.

    • I bought a floor model at West Elm for about $600.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      We’ve had great luck going to regular furniture stores–I can’t remember which ones I shopped at when I lived in Cambridge, though–or to places like Macy’s and buying a floor model. Also, Macy’s often has furniture sales. You can probably get a higher quality piece for $1K if you wait for one of those.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I love Bob’s Discount Furniture. Their faux leather is great. I have had two couch sets from them. One fabric, one faux leather. Only traded because we were sick of vacuuming dog fur.

  3. Has anyone bought the halogen cashmere from Nordstroms? I have a cashmere problem (well, I don’t consider it a problem but some people might). The sweaters are 79, come in great colors, but I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on durability.

    • J. Crew help!! :

      Yes! I am wearing the brown v neck for the first time today. It’s deliciously soft (I noticed major difference in softness between colors). Unfortunately I can’t speak to the wear yet, sorry.

    • I have one from 2 years ago – it is soft, but has not held up as well as the Lord & Taylor cashmere which is similarly priced. The Halogen is a thinner sweater and more prone to pilling.

    • Cashmere aficionada here. I do not find Nordy’s cashmere good quality at all. It is quite soft, and that is because the yarn is not well twisted. If cashmere is not well-twisted, it pills. Of all store brands, I find that Lord & Taylor’s is the best (they have a sale launching today, I believe). If you buy in multiples this time of year, you can get cashmere down to about ~60 per. In-store, they have even better deals if you hunt around (got 3 boyfriend sweaters for ~$52 each on Black Friday, for instance). I have also had good luck with _some_ of Bloomie’s store brand cashmere (again, depends on the twisting). Avoid Macy’s and JCrew as their stuff pills like the dickens and looks really schlumy after less than a season. Land’s End also has very high quality cashmere, but is cut boxier. Hope this helps.

      If money is no object, hit up Brora.co.uk, knowing that their sizes are ~4 off from US sizes.

      • Thank you so much for your well though out dissertation on cashmere. I think you and I could get along quite well. Well I will take the sweaters out of my shopping cart and head over to Lord and Taylor. Thanks!!

      • Lady Tetra :

        I second the point about Lands End — I bought a Uniqlo cashmere sweater and a Lands End one around the same time, and the LE has held up way better, with less fuzzies getting everywhere and almost no pilling (just a bit under the arms).

        • But, but, but… Lands’ End runs SOOO big. I am a regular small and even their petite XS knit tops are gigantic on me. (I do tend to wear fitted tops though – some people might say tight – oh well).

      • Flying Squirrel :

        If you really want to splurge on great quality, I highly, highly recommend Michael Kors (not MICHAEL MK) cashmere. It’s woven so tight, it feels like a t-shirt. They are super pricey, but you can get them on sale for what I think is a good investment price. Right now NM has a few in the $400 range, but I suspect they’ll have late December sales where they are half that.

        I have sensitive skin which makes most wool unbearable, and so I’m a bit of a cashmere afficianado. I’ve bought cahsmere at all price points, and nothing comes close to comparing. I also suspect that with the tight weave these will last forever.

        The other brand I like is Hayden which you can typically find on Bluefly. They often have sales/promos so you can get them for around $100.

    • I haven’t tried the Halogen cashmere sweaters but have been happy with the Only Mine brand. The sweater ran big and has held up great for a year with no pilling.

    • I’m an Neiman’s cashmere fan. They’re all on sale right now for ~100-130 depending on the style.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        They’re also on NM Last Call for around $50-60 a pop, although the size and color selection is a little more limited than on Neiman’s regular retail site.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I have one from last year. I wear it often and it hasn’t pilled or stretched out. I got it last year as they were clearning out their winter items and plan to pick up another (or two) that way this year, too.

  4. J. Crew help!! :

    I have two J.Crew No 2s (tall) in wool that I got half off.. so I’m really trying to like them. But they just don’t seem to be cut for me. I have tried three sizes. The 2 fit well, maybe a bit too tightly, in the hips but was way too tight in the thighs. The 4 fits well in the thighs but sits really low, on the upper hip rather than at the waist. I can take them to my tailor but won’t have time until the weekend. Any thoughts on the tailor-ability of these skirts?

    For reference, the Halogen Seamed pencil skirt in a 4 is flattering but a touch big on me- it slips lower over the course of the day. Theory pants fit me best but I’m in between a 6 and 8. I have somewhat muscular thighs and am lacking curves in the hip region.

    • They are very tailorable. I I like the fabric and colors, so I have several of them, but I’m more pear-shaped than the skirts are. I have my tailor let out the hips or take in the waist (depending on what size I get), and it works beautifully.

      I will comment, as I do with most J.Crew clothes, that the older skirts are better fabric and seem better-made. Grr.

      • J. Crew help!! :

        That seems to be the story everywhere. I thought the fabric seemed pretty nice and heavy though. When you have the waist taken in, do they add a seam in the waistband or deconstruct it and resew it? If I remember correctly, the waistband has no seam except at the zipper.

        • Isn’t that why we pay for tailoring? For a decent tailor, removing the zipper, nipping the waist and putting the zipper back is not a problem.

          • Check out the article in today’s WSJ’s Personal Journal section. It’s all about tailoring women’s clothes, what can and can’t be done and approximate prices.

            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303560204579250693129776518

            We have become so desensitized to the disposable clothing phenomenon that we forget we often (almost always) need to tailor pieces to fit us properly. There is no standard fit model in women’s clothing manufacturing so a 6 in one line is not a 6 in another brand (and also year to year within the same brand). It’s frustrating! I recently decided to stop buying the disposable stuff/poorly made stuff (including a lot of J. Crew) in favor of buying less but better quality for my work clothes.

        • When i had a pencil skirt taken in just at the waist, instead of taking in the seam, my tailor added two darts in the back, and put the waistband back on top. It was the perfect fit because it added a bit of shape, and looks like it came like that off the rack, doesn’t look like an alteration at all.

    • Polished Pinstripes :

      The J. Crew No. 2 pencil skirts are very easy to tailor, IF you take them someplace where the tailor knows what s/he is doing. I had a terrible experience at one tailor, who almost ruined the skirt, but after I did some online sleuthing, I managed to find a wonderful tailor who fixed the skirt up, tailored it exactly to my shape and it looks wonderful. I have quite a bit of experience getting JCrew pieces tailored, as there is not a single piece of clothing in that store that fits my body off-the-rack. However, there are only so many stores where I can find good quality work basics, and so I just take the tailoring into account when I shop there.

  5. Diana Barry :

    Ladies – I just bought a pair of Plush fleece lined leggings and wanted to report. These suckers are WARM. I am wearing them with a #2 pencil skirt and boots (so they are masquerading as tights) and they are so much warmer than regular tights!

    A con on fit – I bought the L so as to have the legs be long enough. They are, but the rise is a bit too short and the waist a bit too big (I normally wear a size 6-8 in pants). I am hoping I can retrain them through washing/stretching.

    • I wish they came in a “tall version”! I have a few pairs that I sized up in hopes they would be longer, but I mostly notice the waist is too large and they’re still too short.

    • Olivia Pope :

      Fleece lined tights are my boyfriend. Unfortunately, the brand I bought just got a mysterious hole in the leg and I just got them yesterday!

      I will buy the Plush instead. I cannot live without fleece lined tights in the winter.

    • J. Crew help!! :

      I bought a pair in xlarge from TJmaxx the other day and they fit like a glove. I’m 6′, size 4 or 6, 35 inseam. They’re not too tight but are definitely not baggy. I can’t remember the Brand but I think it started with V, came with a taupe ribbon around the instead of paper label, and was 6.99. I’ll check and update when I get home. Think I need to stock up!

    • Walgreen's Fleece Lined Tights :

      After striking out a few days ago at Walgreen’s, Target and Rite Aid (SoCal), I bought a few pairs at Walmart. Their brand is called George. Go ahead – judge me for spending money at Walmart; I already am judging myself.

      They seem quite nice. They’re for my step-daughter who is in college back East, so I haven’t worn them and neither has she, yet. So I can’t report full details.

      I can report the price: $4.97/pair.

    • oil in houston :

      question on this – I’ve been considering getting a pair for when I go to London next month, but do you not get incredibly hot when you’re inside???

      • Diana Barry :

        Eh. I am always cold so it works for me. If I am going somewhere and wearing my coat (stores, etc.) then I take off my coat so I don’t get too hot inside.

        • hoola hoopa :

          +1

          They remind me of down in that they are very warm but don’t (usually) cause me to overheat like other cold-weather clothing. My weekend uniform lately has been fleece-lined tights with black mini skirt and random top or sweater. I’m cozy but not sweating.

    • Ciao, pues :

      I got a pair of Plush fleece lined maternity tights and they stain my fingers purple when I put them on– even after soaking them in hot water and vinegar and vigorously scrubbing them by hand, and washing them twice in hot water and detergent. Why so much dye, Plush?

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I am wearing a pair I bought on Amazon (I think the brand was Noble – they were around $12) and I’m wondering how I’ve lived my life without fleece lined tights up until now. Love them.

  6. JCrew help!

    You should fit the skirt to your largest part…i.e., your hips. A tailor can nip the waist easily.

  7. My husband bought a couple of packages of pre-made gnocchi from World Market – regular and sweet potato. Does anyone have ideas/recipes for sauces that go well with gnocchi?

    • My very Italian family loves gnocchi- my grandmother used to make it from scratch on holidays :). For me, there is nothing better than plain gnocchi and a great bolognese sauce, maybe some meatballs. For the sweet potato ones, you might think of using them as a side dish the same way you would use mashed sweet potatoes – e.g., pork tenderloin with some sort of delicious glaze, spinach, side of sweet potato gnocchi. Have fun, and enjoy!!

    • PESTO. ALWAYS PESTO.

      *cough* I mean, if you like that sort of thing. Also really good on sweet potato gnocchi is a rosemary-cream sauce.

    • I tend to improvise with gnocchi but this is one of the go-tos:

      Cook the gnocchi according to instructions, reserving a little of the pasta water.
      A bit before you add gnocchi to the water, b/c this will take longer, sauté some mushrooms in a large deep pan with olive oil, s+p. Take out the mushrooms, add more olive oil, add garlic & sauté some spinach. Again, salt and pepper as needed. When nearly done, throw the mushrooms back in and add the gnocchi, toss together, sprinkle a little parmesan and add some pasta water if needed to make it all sort of come together. Super easy & really delicious. Top with extra cheese & salt/pepper.

      Another idea, much more decadent, esp. good for the sweet potato gnocchi is to cook as directed & reserve 3/4 cup pasta water. After gnocchi is drained, add back to hot pot and throw in at least 1/2 stick of butter and at least 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan. Add some of pasta water and stir to create a de facto cheese sauce. Add more of everything as needed. Sprinkle a bit of fresh pepper on top & voila, amazingly delicious and super easy sauce. If you eat meat, you could also sauté some bacon or pancetta to go with, which would be really good with something like sweet potato.

      Pesto also tends to go well with regular gnocchi. I like to add sautéed chopped green beans (cut into ~1 inch pieces) to make the whole thing a bit more interesting.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Wow, I’ve never seen sweet potato gnocchi, but now I have to get some!

    • AttiredAttorney :

      A great pesto on the sweet potato ones might be good. I also like brown butter and walnut sauces on gnocchi!

    • Haven’t tried it with gnocchi but the last time we had butternut squash ravioli, which would be similar, I just sauteed Napa cabbage leaves (leaves only, not the crunchiest parts) in butter (well, vegan Earth Balance at our house) with garlic and a little salt and pepper, scooped in top the pasta in deep bowls then topped the dish with chopped toasted almonds. This idea came from an Italian restaurant that used savoy cabbage and toasted hazelnuts in a similar dish, but I used what I had. It was really fast and delicious.

    • Thanks all! Lo0oking forward to trying some of these ideas. I’ve only had gnocchi once before at restaurant and it was cooked in this delicious, butter sauce. Excited to try some different sauces.

  8. Baconpancakes :

    Please help! The company party is tomorrow night, and I completely forgot to get shoes to go with my dress! It’s going to be freezing tomorrow, so tights will be necessary. I was thinking black tights with a black bootie with a split vamp, but I can’t find any, and I’m worried that will be too casual! I’m willing to pay for overnight shipping, and there’s a DSW near me, but I’m running out of time! For special occasion shoes, I try to avoid paying over $100, but if it’s something I can wear to work, I’m willing to go up to $170ish. (Phew, that’s a lot of exclamation points.)

    Here’s the dress: http://shopping.yahoo.com/802755029-stretch-satin-sheath-dress/

  9. Re This Outfit :

    OMG there is a lot of volume in the southern hemisphere. I would look like a triangle.

  10. lucy stone :

    We’re spending Christmas in Florida visiting relatives this year. My husband and I have never spent a Christmas outside of Wisconsin and I’m kind of baffled as to what we should pack. We’ll be in the Tampa area – what do people wear to Christmas Mass? The idea of something other than cashmere, wool, and boots is foreign to me.

    • Granted, it’s been years since I attended Christmas Eve service in Tampa, but I remember that most people generally wore a sweater (probably cotton) with a pencil skirt. Tights would be depending on the weather – it could be 40-some degrees or it could be 80ish. I also remember a lot of 3/4 sleeve wrap dresses that are dressed up with shoes/jewelry, and the like.

      • lucy stone :

        Thanks! Can I wear open toed shoes or is that weird?

        • If it’s warm enough for open toes, I think they’d be totally appropriate. If anyone says anything about your shoes (which I’d be shocked if they did), just tell them you’re from Wisconsin and that it will be months before you can wear those shoes at home and they’ll understand!

        • I think the only thing you CAN’T wear open toed shoes to in Tampa are places where they are banned for safety reasons (construction sites, operating rooms, etc). It’s a casual city and warm climate.

    • It’s remarkably casual here. A nice sweater and skirt work well. Temperature wise, you may want to consider a cardigan over a camisole or blouse. You will see all kinds, to include jeans, but business casual with a holiday twist will be more than appropriate. JJ’s suggestions are great, too.

      • lucy stone :

        Thank you! I’ve only visited in February before and then I was helping my parents move things, so didn’t really care about style as much.

    • Not in Fla but I’m guessing we’re similar. Our weather in December is so up and down. There have been lots of Christmas eves in the 70s. I usually wear a pencil skirt, tights and a fancier top. I have a few velvet tunics. One is beaded. I attend 3 Christmas eve services, wearing a choir robe, but I do need to be dressed nicely for in between.

  11. Ladies whose children go to daycare: When is it crazy to put your unborn baby on the infant waiting list? I am very happy with the center that my toddler attends and would want her potential new sibling to go to the same place. But they have just 8 infant spots, so it’s really difficult to get in. I was planning to wait until my first doctors appointment (around 7-8 weeks) and then put our name on the list. Is that insane? Should I wait until the end of the first tri?

    • I’ve been trying to get on daycare waiting lists since August, but our first-choice daycare requires you attend a tour before you can get on the waiting list, and the first available tour (when I called in August) was in January — so we’re going next month and plan to get on the waiting list then. Most daycares I’ve spoken to have “sibling preference” so it’s likely you’ll be in a better spot than I will. In any event, I’m looking for daycare for September 2014 (when I start working full time), so I felt pretty silly calling around in August (when I was 14 weeks pg).

    • Is there a drawback to putting your name on the list early? Do you get any type of preference if you already have a sibling attending?

      I would probably put the name down after the viability ultrasound (around 8-9 weeks, right?) simply because if I had to shuttle a newborn to one daycare facility and a toddler to another, I might go crazy. Anything to prevent that is worth it.

    • DC Association :

      Well, I live in DC and you HAVE TO put your name on lists the second you know you are pregnant or you may not get in. In fact, I put my name on lists when I was 3 months (because duhr I didn’t realize I was pregnant until then, yes, it’s ture) and I got a spot at one place out of 5 places. It’s never too early.

      • Just out of curiosity – did you have to put down deposits at all 5 places? We’re considering putting our name on more than one waiting list but it’s really hard to justify doing so when it costs over $1k per waiting list.

      • Yep. Around here, the instant you know you’re pregnant (like you peed on a stick this morning) is when you put your name down. I’ve heard of some New Yorkers who put their names down before they’re even pregnant (here I think you need a due date). So my view is that it’s never, ever too early.

    • I don’t think that’s insane, particularly since you have the older child there so it will make a big difference to have both kids go there. Maybe just ask the director to keep it confidential, just in case something bad did happen to the pregnancy since it’s still in the early stages.

    • It may be crazy, but crazy is market for getting infant slots. Some places have a sibling preference, so that may help a bit, but you can’t get on the list too early. One place required a doctor’s note with a due date on it to even get on the list.

    • No real drawback to putting our name on the list early, other than that I am superstitious about making plans so early in the process. I believe we do get sibling priority, which will help. I’ll go ahead and put baby #2 on the list after the first ultrasound next week, assuming everything looks ok. Thanks for the feedback!

      • If nothing else, getting baby #2 a spot early at a place you like is just one more thing you won’t have to worry about.

      • I live in a world where superstition like that is taken for granted, but you know what? Making plans won’t cause anything bad to happen, and in the unlikely event something bad did happen, you would feel just as bad whether you signed up for daycare or not.

    • This was 10 years ago, but I put my name on waiting lists in DC the week I found out I was pregnant. Didn’t get offered a spot until my daughter was 2 years old.

    • Not crazy at all to do it now. I put my now-26 month old on waiting lists the day I found out I was pregnant and he is still on the wait list at one place.

    • anon-oh-no :

      with my second, i told the day care as soon as i found out to make sure we got a spot (though many daycares will work with you if you already have a kid there). with number one, i didnt initially plan to use day care, so i was not on a waitlist until month 7 i think. luckily, it worked out.

    • Goodness, I’m glad I’m not in DC! That is just crazy.

    • Newly preg in DC :

      TJ on this general topic–a question for DC parents.

      I’m newly pregnant, but will be needing only part time daycare (2-3 days per week), starting when the baby is 5-6 months old (we have moderate salaries but flexible hours). I get the impression there is absolutely no reason to try to get on daycare wait lists because they only do the full-time thing. I’m thinking of looking to hire a nanny, but would love some recommendations as to resources and experiences with hiring a nanny (perhaps a grad student or similar). At what point in the pregnancy/after birth should I start looking for childcare in this situation? Any recommendations/experiences to share? This process is quite daunting.

      Thanks!

      • Bargain hunter :

        Congratulations on your pregnancy! I don’t know about day care, but with a nanny, your best bet is to wait until about 6-8 weeks before you’ll actually need the nanny to start. People often don’t know they need a job until about then, and they may be wary of committing to you if it means they’ll have a couple months of unemployment. Because you only need a part-time nanny, it may be easier to find someone closer in time to the date you need care, but it may be hard for someone to commit to you long in advance knowing that they will have to find another gig that works with yours.

        In terms of where to look, I had great luck with neighborhood listserves and (shudder) dc urban mom dot com, where the people are mean but the nanny listings can be helpful. You also might meet nannies at the park who ask you whether you need a nanny. Good luck!

      • I went through care.com and had 50 applicants. Also tried a service with a $5k placement fee, but their candidates weren’t nearly as qualified. Care.com is very easy and will do background checks.

      • anon-oh-no :

        lots of day cares around us will do part time, you just have to ask. Most of them will let you do 3 days a week — not sure about 2 days a week. the part time price is usually a little more expensive, but often still less than a nanny.

    • WestcoastLawyer :

      Our daycare administrator was the first person we told I was pregnant, even before we told our family, and they still didn’t have a spot available when I went back to work so we had to get creative for a few months until something opened up. If it was at all difficult to find a spot for your first, I’d tell them asap.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Even in my little (university) town of 55,000 people, you get on the list as soon as you know. We put our list on THE (sorry, ellen) daycare list, and got a spot when my oldest son was 3, and his brother was an infant. We declined, since we had well-established our nanny routine by that point.

      Still have a nanny, will have one for at least another year while youngest son is in preschool next year. NOt sure what we’ll do when they’re both in public school…

      And, as the conversation seems to be going…we found our first nanny via a university listserv–her previous employers were putting their kid in THE daycare, and no longer had a need for her. We nabbed her up (she had a son the same age as our oldest, and we took him to her house). We found our second nanny via craigslist–we put out an ad, and got quite a few legit responses. We found our third (current) nanny on care.com. We’ve never had bad parting ways with our nannies–the first got preggo about the same time I was with #2, and she didn’t know that she wanted to deal with 2 toddlers & 2 infants. The second went on to teach elementary school.

    • Seventh Sister :

      I would just go ahead and do it if you have identified daycares you like. Wait list stuff is hard.

  12. Commuter Shoes :

    The post above got me thinking – what kind of shoes do you wear for the commute if you’re driving to work? I drive to work, so I don’t know if I need the same kind of boots talked about above, but the parking lot at my job can get icy and it’d be nice to wear something other than heels until I’m inside the office. Does anyone have any requests for shoes that would be comfortable enough for the drive?

  13. TJ: Hi ladies, I need your advice.

    I’ll have been at my new job 3 months on Monday. I started out as a Receptionist/Resume Formatter and moved on to being an Onboarding Admin. I like what I do in Onboarding. However, if I want to turn my temp position into permanent, I was told that I would have to be a recruiter. The Office Manager told me she put in a good word for me with our internal recruiter, and now it’s up to me to tell the recruiter my intentions.

    Any suggestions on how to go about this? I thought I had time to think about this, but the Office Manager is pressing me to do this ASAP. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

    • I think it doesn’t hurt to make your intentions known sooner than later. Your office manager is probably encouraging you to speak up sooner rather than later for a few reasons: 1) so that the internal recruiter knows you’re a candidate before they post the position and begin accepting external resumes, 2) so that if the response is that the position requires X and Y skills, you have time to begin developing those now so that you’re a strong candidate, 3) showing initiative is a good quality in any candidate.

      I would ask the internal recruiter for a meeting, prefacing that you’re interested in the position and would like to find out more details about the selection criteria. Use that meeting to ask about the position (responsibilities, required skills, etc.) and what the application process entails. If the position is something you’re interested in after learning more, let the recruiter know and then you’re on your way to following up with a more formal application.

  14. Skinny cords? :

    Any recommendations for relatively inexpensive skinny cords? I tried on the legging version at Gap and they were way too slim. Ideally I’d like to find black, chocolate brown, and/or burgundy. But under $50. Am I dreaming?

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’mmmmm dreaming of a reasonably-priced-pair-of-skinny-cords for Chrisstmaaaaass… just like the ones I used to wear….

    • Loft has their Marissa fit skinny cords on sale for $40. I have other pants in that style and they are skinny without being skintight. I imagine the cords would be similar.

      • I really like the Modern Skinny cords from Loft. They are not skintight, but are very flattering and seem to come in a pretty good range of colors.

        • Got these same ones less than a week ago. I think for $35 with the 40 percent sale. So far, so good. My main worry was that they would stretch too much. I wore them all day at work this week and while they stretched a tad, I think they will work. Agreed that they are not skin tight. I also like a slim look but not too, too skinny. Looked good tucked into boots. And I was able to get the burgundy color. Good luck!

    • Uniqlo has corduroy pants as well as leggings (which amybe too skinny for your tastes). Unfortunately, the colors you want seem to be available in the leggings version only.

    • I like the Loft variety. I also bought a couple of pairs at Lands End Canvas last season that were great and budget friendly (think I got them 50% off): http://www.landsend.com/products/womens-pin-straight-cords/id_258873

    • Athleta had some on sale… as does Nordstroms (Halogen brand).

    • prof on a bike :

      I feel like I’m always shilling for Coscto on here, but I just bought some Calvin Klein cords in chocolate brown there for less than $20, and they’re great. The fit on me is slim, but not legging tight. I’m considering going back for a few more colors!

    • Eddie Bauer’s skinny and “truly straight” cords are both on sale for $30. And second the Loft suggestion—I bought a maroonish pair in the store recently.

    • darjeeling :

      Boden has some super-cute ones going on sale for $39

  15. Present Help! :

    I need to get a holiday gift for my boyfriend’s father and little brother. Any ideas?? Both of them like scotch, cigars, sports, and Italian food, but I don’t want to get anything that is too alcohol based. Trying to stay under $50 for each present.

      • 16 handles :

        I just got my boyfriend a humidor from Quality Imports (it’s on amazon) for $29.99 that’s intended for storing cigars. If your boyfriend’s father doesn’t have one and likes cigars, it could be a good choice? I also got him a book on Scotland and its distilleries — this could be a good route if he likes Scotch but you don’t actually want to give a bottle of scotch. Alternatively places like Crate & Barrel sell scotch glasses in pairs for well under $50.

      • Present Help! :

        that is amazing. and maybe so far in that direction that it could work!

    • You don’t necessarily have to buy alcohol, but how about some nice glasses to serve the scotch? This may be a bit out of the ordinary, but Tovolo makes these ice cube trays that forms large, square cubes. They are good for drinks b/c they don’t melt as fast.

      Cigars – perhaps a gift card to a cigar store or a humidor to store the cigars.

      Sports – if they have a favorite team, perhaps some clothing or accessories.

      Italian Food – if they like to cook, mayb some high quality olive oil or cheese. Gift card to a fancy Italian restaurant.

      • Several years ago I got my brother, who is a scotch drinker, a fantastic decanter from an antique store. He loved it. You can get some nice ones at Crate and Barrel, but if you have time to go trolling in an antique or secondhand store, you can get some really amazing pieces for great prices.

  16. PSA: totally random 6pm dot com sale in honor of 12/12 where tons of SW sandals are $48 and other shoes are $12 and $24. Supremely hit or miss, but posting it just in case.

    • A lot of “evening” shoes too, which is great if you want to have a pair of satin heels but hate the idea of paying a lot for something you’ll only wear a few times a year.

  17. Curvy cut skinnies? :

    I ordered a pair of curvy cut skinny jeans — since when does curvy = cut like jodphurs? I just need room for my hips / tummy and not for all of their friends. :(

  18. Anyone have a hunch if Nordstrom goes below 40% off on shoes often? I’ve been eyeing a pair and hoping they get discounted further but no such luck since before NAS. Should i hold out until after Christmas? Or just cave!

    • What’s the brand? It’s my experience with Nordies that shoes discounted below 40% are usually low stock (ie, few sizes left). I believe the store will honor price adjustments for two weeks following the purchase?

      • LK Bennett- so they are pricey. And they are low stock in some colours…and have been for awhile. I don’t really need them, but they are pretty (Doris Bootie if you’re curious)

        Yah, Zappos will as well, within 10 days. I just did that with two pairs of shoes I bought there! I love Zappos!

  19. Jessica Glitter :

    Gift TJ –
    My husband has requested a portfolio (letter sized) that he can use to hold a notepad and a planner (oh and he wants a weekly paper planner too). This would be for meetings (local government) and also to take out on field visits (so could be leather, or maybe a tough canvas).
    I have thought of Franklin Covey and Levenger…any other ideas (or recommendations within those brands?)
    Thanks!

    • Try Tumi, they have a ton of very nice, professional portfolios with room for a lot of different documents, planners, etc.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Try the Fire Hose Business Portfolio from Duluth Trading Company. It’s about $75, so about the same as a leather FC portfolio. Great customer service, excellent quality products.

      • IT Chick in MN :

        Duluth Trading Company has great quality, and they are actually located here in the frozen north. I’ve gotten my dad a number of presents from them and he just loves their stuff.

  20. Hi, ladies! I have two calls for help:

    First, I just bought a house, and I’m looking for good DIY resources. Does anyone have a favorite go-to resource for house projects? I don’t have cable, but if you’ve got a favorite website, blog, magazine, or book, I’d love to hear about it.

    And second, I’m looking for a good pair of brogues or oxfords that I can pair with pantsuits to get me through an extremely long trial this winter. I have foot problems, I need them to have a wide toe-box (i.e., not tapered or pointed), absolutely no rise in the heel, and comfortable enough to wear for 12- to 16-hour days. I’ve been looking at Clarks and Born, which are my usual go-tos, but I’m having trouble finding anything that doesn’t look terribly orthopedic. Any suggestions?

    TIA!

    • wildkitten :

      Young House Love.

      • I second them, but you may have to go back in the archives a bit. Their recent stuff has been kind of lacking. They’re good for serious house projects and furniture updates.

        I also really like House Tweaking, which has a very West Elm modern, rustic feel. 4 Men 1 Lady is also one I used to enjoy a lot. I haven’t kept up with it recently, but it’s worth looking into.

      • kjoirishlastname :

        I have to admit I cannot stand YHL.

        Honestly, if you want real DIY ideas, Pinterest may be better. The thing that I think most people don’t realize with YHL is that DIY projects are their only job. And blogging about it. I think that they have really good tips, and some pretty good resources, but if you’re thinking about some DIY, and pursue it through their blog, just keep in mind that those folks don’t do anything else at all. That’s their fulltime job.

        That and creating ridiculously over-the-top birthday parties for their daughter.

        I’ve actually been impressed lately with Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

    • Little Green Notebook. She does amazing projects and they all look so easy! (I’m sure they’re not actually that easy though…)

    • Manhattan Nest and Door 16 are great for ambitious DIYers.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      could you wear a little low bootie? Clarks Christine Club bootie (brown) at 6pm. Or Clarks May Thistle is a little croc-embossed loafer…

      You may also want to look at the brands: Sofft, Softwalk, Merrell, Gentle Souls, Naturalizer, Frye, Fitzwell, Softspots, BOC, Hush Puppies, Aerosoles…

      I would do a 6pm search for the style of shoe, and then check the “Comfort” box to filter results…

    • Diana Barry :

      That Home Site forums.

    • SoCalAtty :

      This Old House [dot com]. No kidding. Go to the how to + repair tab, and there are tons of tutorials and videos. They’re all great crafsman and have good advice for DIY.

    • Thanks, everyone — I will check these out! I’d seen YHL, but none of the others. (And kjoirishlastname, thanks for the shoe recs!)

  21. PinkKeyboard :

    http://www.younghouselove.com/
    This blog has a couple who have done a ton of their own renovations (and their house is so much cuter than mine). jI’m not sure if you need more fixing or renovation oriented but i’ve found them to be a good resource.

  22. Rant warning:

    An administrative assistant I used to work with (I got a new job about 6 months ago) would complain incessantly about her commute to the office (1.5 hours each way). I asked her why she doesn’t look for a new job closer to home. She said pay was the main factor – she hadn’t found anything comparable.

    So I’m having a lunch with a friend of mine on Monday who is a partner in a firm much closer to her home (like cut her commute down to 30 minutes). He mentioned that he is looking for an assistant and that the pay range is wide and could be very generous for the right person. I told him I had a great person in mind. I send the girl a message to her personal email asking if she was interested (also included info about location and pay) and if so to please let me know right away. Two days go by and I hear nothing so I send her an email to confirm that she received my email. She writes back – yes, I received it just been really busy and haven’t had a chance to get back to you. Now it’s Thursday and I still haven’t heard anything.

    I feel like writing back and saying:

    I need to get back to my friend regarding your interest in the position. I thought of you for this position because I thought you were an excellent assistant when I worked with you. If you aren’t interested the polite thing to do is write back thanking the person for thinking of you but that you aren’t interested in making a move at this time. Considering it’s been four days and I haven’t heard from you, I will assume you are not interested in the position.

    Obviously she’s not that interested in reducing her 3 hour per day commute!!! I go out of my way to help someone and they blow me off.

    I’m annoyed.

    • I should be a bit easier on her I guess – maybe someone died, maybe she’s sick. Who knows..

      • If she’s not in the job hunting mode, it can be hard to motivate, get the resume dusted off, put yourself out there, etc. And although she may be complaining about her commute, I didn’t get the sense that she asked you to reach out to someone and is now burning the favor. Your gesture is kind-hearted to be certain, but otherwise appears unsolicited. I am sorry she blew you off.

        • Yeah, I agree. It just seems so easy to say that rather than just ignoring me – I appreciate you thinking of me but my resume isn’t updated…blah blah.

    • I would be incredibly annoyed but wouldn’t say anything further. If she emails back and is interested, I’d forward her resume to your friend. Take the high road, but you’re definitely justified in being upset- she is unprofessional and rude.

      • +1. I understand your frustration, but I wouldn’t send the follow-up e-mail you propose.

        • I wouldn’t really write that – it’s just what I feel like writing. Should I send her an email with a bit nicer tone? Such as:

          I need to get back to my friend regarding your interest in the position. Can you please let me know by the end of the day tomorrow whether or not you’re interested? Thanks.

          • Orangerie :

            No, don’t email her again. The fact that she hasn’t responded means she isn’t interested. It’s rude and unprofessional, yes, but it’s also not your problem to find her a new job so there’s no use in continuing to hound her.

            Just tell your friend the person you had in mind isn’t interested and let that be it.

          • I agree with Orangerie. You were being very nice already, you really shouldn’t be bending over backwards for her.

          • This x1000. Repeat this rule: “don’t work harder on someone else’s behalf than s/he would on her/his own behalf.”

    • I understand your annoyance and would probably feel the same way if I hadn’t had this experience… My admin used to complain vehemently about her commute and not being able to find something closer to home (as well as a lack of upward mobility at our company). I left the company a year ago. I routinely sent her job postings I came across and she did nothing, barely acknowledged most of them or gave me some silly excuse. I also had recommended her to another colleague. She never contacted them. Turns out she has a serious anxiety problem and as much as she wanted to change jobs, the thought of the job search process was paralyzing. I had no idea despite working with her for several years. While it is unprofessional, there may be more to her story than you are aware.

    • Silvercurls :

      Kudos to you for trying to do a good deed for the admin. Even if this particular person couldn’t or wouldn’t respond promptly and clearly (who knows why? but she should have acknowledged your kindness), I hope you’ll continue to look out for other admins if the opportunity arises. It’s good karma for you and encouraging for onlookers. Not everybody takes the trouble to commend a good admin.

      One gentle correction: In future please don’t refer to any admin as a “girl” unless she’s significantly younger than you are. Even then, it might be better to use “kid” because it signifies being younger but only in the chronological sense, without any additional message of immaturity. (Conversely, maturity means that one has gained wisdom, not just that one has survived X number of years on the planet! It’s entirely possible to be old in years without being wise.)

      Please don’t take this as grouchy, snarky, or any other kind of irritability. The “girl” word just struck me as an easily removed discordant wobble in your otherwise lovely gesture.

      • Orangerie :

        Shouldn’t we refrain from using the words “girl” or “kid” unless the individual in question is under 18?

  23. kjoirishlastname :

    I have mani questions. (See what I did there?)

    I’m a recovering nail-biter, and I’m in dire need of something to keep my nails & cuticles neat & tidy or else I trash them. I try my best to only use good polish (essie or OPI), but I just can’t spend that kind of $$ on all the colors I want! I’m also really hard on my hands and can never seem to get a polish to last more than a day or two.

    What are your go-to tools/accessories/treatments for your nails? Any other former biters? What tips do you have?

    • I am a not-quite-recovered biter, but still am a lot better than I used to be. Unfortunately I find that when I wear nail polish, I just change my nervous tick to picking off the polish instead of biting my nails (gross, I know). What helps me more actually is to spend time filing and buffing my nails until they are just so, using one of those big files with sections for shaping, smoothing, buffing, etc. that you can get at drugstores for like $6. Once I get them looking perfect, I am pretty loathe to mess them up by biting!

    • wildkitten :

      shellac, but it’s not cheap.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Do you use top coats? I use Essie’s “Good to Go” (Seche Vite also works well) and not only does it make the manicure last longer, it also “improves” cheaper nail polishes. For colors I use all the time, I still try to buy OPI/Essie, but for trendy or “fun” colors, I’ve been able to buy from the $2.99 rack and still get the manicure to last 5-7 days when I use the topcoat.

    • Former biter here (well was former until I relapsed a couple months ago). I bought a shellac kit to do my nails at home with professional supplies. I have to redo my nails religiously on Sundays or it’s back to picking and biting. I obviously fell off the bandwagon.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Which shellac do you use? Do you do yours at home?

      • I use CND or Gelish. Gelish you can buy at Sally Beauty Supply (they use it in salons too). I buy CND on Amazon because it’s a professionals only product. They have the curing lights on Amazon too for about $50.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a former biter and I also can’t keep polish on my nails for more than 2 days. I’ve just started shelling out $25 a month for a gel manicure. I like Dior’s Creme Abriot for my cuticles at night. It’s pricey but lasts forever.

    • I buff my nails so they are not shiny before I paint them. I use OPI Ridge Filling Base Coat, one coat of color, and then Sally Hansen super shine top coat. I used to bite my nails, and now just tend to pick and fuss at my cuticles. To cut down on that I keep a cuticle nipper and a nail file at my desk so I can take care of anything that would tempt me to pick/bite, and I use a Badger cuticle cream several times a day so my cuticles aren’t dry. Mymani lasts almost a week.

      • kjoirishlastname :

        Glad to know I’m not the only one with a full arsenal of tools at my desk! I also have the OPI ridge filler, and have had good results with that as being a good base for even cheap polish to stick to.

        Thanks for all the responses, girls, I might get an in-salon shellac mani to see how I like it before spending the money on a home kit. Thanks for the suggestions!

        • National_Anthem :

          I’m not a former biter, but I love love love nail polish. I second KKH’s rec for a good top coat – it seriously makes all the difference in the world for polish hanging around. I mostly use Poshe (available at Sally’s, and some drugstores) or Hong Kong Girl (on the internets), although differences in nail chemistry mean some kinds are great on some people but terrible on others (see, Seche Vite. Many love it, but it shrinks like crazy on my nails). Anyway. Good topcoat is important.
          Also, I wouldn’t worry so much about only using “good” polish. Overall, I’m willing to spend sort of an absurd amount of money on nail polish, but some of the drugstore polishes (specifically the new Sinful Colors Shine line) are just as good as some of my super fancy polishes.

  24. Purplepear99 :

    Is it ok to wear a dark lipstick to an office party?

    • I come from a business causal NYC law firm, and I think this would be okay (as long as the rest of your make-up is subtle).

Add a comment.

Questions? Check out our commenting policy. Tech problems? Please report it to the tech team.