Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Fitted Leather-Trim Suit Jacket

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

Helmut Lang Fitted Leather-Trim Suit JacketI know some fashion people for whom Helmut Lang is ne plus ultra. To be honest I haven’t quite acquired the taste yet in 98% of the line — but this jacket even I can get behind. I love the clean line and the flattering seaming; and the lambskin trim seems lux but wearable. To my mind, it would be a great black blazer to keep in your office and throw on over everything.  As always, I love a good sale — it was $655, but is marked to $307 at Last Call today. Helmut Lang Fitted Leather-Trim Suit Jacket

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


  1. As all the elegies and remembrances come in for the late Peter O’Toole, I can’t help but reflect, when reading through his list of follies:

    That society reads these antics as ‘funny and awesome,’ only because he’s a man (and, somewhat because he was considered good-looking.)

    When a young woman does these things, she’s “out of control,” and, well, think of all the hyperbolic handwringing and pearl-clutching over Lindsay Lohan and, for a while, Kate Moss’ personal life.

    I still cheer that Kate Moss, post all the hyperbolic headlines about coke, came back strong in her career. Things are slowly starting to change w.r.t. double standards. Just not quickly enough, though.

    • Miss Behaved :

      I think maybe talent has something to do with it, too.

      If you remember, Angelina Jolie raised some eyebrows back in her twenties when she wore a vial of her husband’s blood around her neck and kissed her brother on the lips, but now she’s known for her charity, intellect, and love of family, as well as her talent.

      • You might be making my point for me without knowing it, by mentioning Angelina Jolie. Think of the criticism she’d get now in her late 30s if she continued her antics from her 20s. Yes, there’s a lot of pearl-clutching about what young people (20s) do, but the broader point is, there’s way more tolerance given to men for these antics. At all ages.

        That O’Toole did a lot of these antics when he was older and kept on doing them is no credit to him, but again, it’s condoned as part of the “boys will be boys,” nonsense.

      • The biggest thing that rehabilitated Angelina Jolie was starting to adopt kids. Then she acquired the glow of motherhood, which made her far more acceptable, culturally.

    • Well – he wasn’t a young man (20s) when most of them happened – he was older, and they seemed to have happened over the span of decades, instead of being crammed into one. If you do crazy stuff once every 5 years, that is different that doing something self-destructive every 5 months.

      And its a retrospective look, rather than a contemporaneous one. To be a true comparison with La Lohan, wouldn’t you need to look at the media coverage when he was of a similar age?

      • mpls – yeah, I think you’re right that that would make a better comparison. Although I think I was too restrictive when I made my initial comment about young women. The broader problem is that women (of all ages) are given way less latitude about these follies than men (of all ages.)

      • Might Charlie Sheen be a better comparison than Lohan? There’s someone who continued self-destructive antics well past his 20′s.

        • Charllie Sheen is an excellent example, closer to our generation than O’Toole.

          But can we think of any women who are roughly the same age (40s) who have been as much of a loose cannon as Charlie Sheen, but who’s also been given as many career breaks and 2nd/3rd/4th/Nth chances?

          • I can’t, but I do try to avoid this stuff.

            To be fair, Sheen did (finally?) suffer a pretty big career hit, losing his role on a huge (why, I’ll never know) sitcom, and he’s pretty much a joke now. As far as I can tell, his career at this point is pretty much limited to playing up that joke role, though he could probably come back.

          • anonymama :

            I think the hit show and the prominent family were also pretty instrumental in Sheen’s ability to skate past consequences, and even he wasn’t able to avoid it forever. But I do think that women are judged differently, and perhaps more harshly, than men. Although Justin Bieber is now getting his share of criticism for acting out, as did Lohan, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus before him.

  2. OB rec NYC ? :

    Reposting from the wknd thread in hopes of more responses…I’m 6 wks pregnant and looking for an ob rec in NYC, specifically someone who has experience with pelvic pain patients.

    • hellskitchen :

      Spring ob/gyn (believe it’s 135 Spring St). I had severe pelvic function disorder and even though I overcame it and became pregnant, I was very nervous about labor and delivery. The doctors at Spring St were great – I particularly recommend Elizabeth Rodgers who was my attending physician when I went into labor.

      • OB rec NYC ? :

        Thanks for the rec! I am recovering from vulvodynia and still have periodic symptoms, so the thought of labor and delivery terrifies me. Hoping to find a dr who has had patients like me before and has good advice re: c section vs v@ginal delivery in this situation.

        • hellskitchen :

          I know exactly how you feel. I was convinced I would have to go through a c-section but once the doctors helped me understand my options I found myself prepared for a v@ginal delivery. They didn’t try to press any choice on me, just helped me understand my options. And Dr. Rodgers was so amazingly supportive during my delivery.

  3. Need some Christmas dinner thoughts. We’re doing lasagna (classic with bechamel) and I’ll do some with eggplant and mushrooms and one with sausage and mushrooms. Salad, bread, pumpkin bread pudding and nutella cheesecake for dessert. I was thinking I might want another veggie side dish since I don’t just want a giant slab of lasagna on the plates. Any suggestions?

  4. This jacket :

    The trim around the neck is OK, but the wrist trim I do not like. I think it might also wear quickly and then what do you do?

    Also, could Last Call get a better mannequin? Everything on it both looks bad and in a way that suggests it would look even worse on me.

  5. In-Law gift? :

    I know these TJs may be boring, but I am getting nowhere trying to come up with a gift for my in-laws. My husband doesn’t have any ideas either. They’re the kind of people who just have the things they want, period. And I have to do this every year! They’re vegan and don’t drink. They like France and French things. They are not very physically active. They live in a place that they feel is sort of short on culture and definitely short on vegan cuisine. Any ideas based on the above?

    • This jacket :

      Can you find any local chef that does cooking classes or a tasting table for vegans / French things (do those things even go together)? Some sort of local farmer you can get to come by and drop off things? I’d go for an over-the-top experience-type gift.

      • These are neat ideas, but if this gifting is for the upcoming holiday season, maybe not so good to set the precedent at “over-the-top experience gift.” Otherwise, the poor OP will be running into this problem every single year.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Could you sign them up for a subscription to something? I’m thinking something like Birchbox, but for vegan snacks or some other type of product they’d enjoy but find it difficult to get. This article here lists vegan subscription boxes – I can’t speak to if any of them are good, but maybe it’s a place to start.


    • Miss Behaved :

      If your in-laws weren’t vegan, I’d suggest this book:

      It keeps popping up in my recommendation and looks really good.

    • Famouscait :

      How about a Harry & David gift basket with pears and nuts?

      • Or a Harry and David fruit of the month club membership? Vegan baked goods from a bakery that ships? What about magazine subscriptions–vegan magazines or whatever they would consider cultural?

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 for Harry and David.

        I’m probably the age of your in-laws and I would love a something-of-the-month subscription.

      • I’m surprised that Harry & David comes up here as often as it does as a gift idea. I feel like it’s the classic “Don’t know what to get, don’t really care” gift— just no thought at all. I can see sending fruit or snacks for a condolence or new-baby gift, since the practical aspect might be appreciated, but even then, a bunch of factory apples doesn’t seem very thoughtful.

        • Hmm, I love fruit so I disagree. Also, those baskets/subscriptions are pricy. The thought is what counts, but if someone really doesn’t care, they can get off much cheaper.

        • I have always viewed Harry and David as more of a corporate gift than a personal one. Our office loves the monthly seasonal fruit boxes – it is such a refreshing change from the constant stream of sugary snacks we receive.

        • We get a tower w/royal riviera pears every year from my ILs. We love the pears, and the other items are fun treats to have.

        • There are definitely cheaper options out there, that are just as nice. We did one for my grandparents that did a mix of snacks and fruit – and you could choose which months you wanted to send, so you didn’t have to do all 12 if you didn’t want.

        • I hear you, but I honestly wish people would buy me those pears. I love receiving them, they’re consummable and I would never buy them for myself. They’re so much better than a more “thoughtful” gift that I have to find a place to store.

          • H&D sometimes has deals on the pears, and I think I got them once with a living social deal. Treat yo’self.

        • My mom used to do the Harry & David of the month thing for my grandmother pretty much every year for a long time, and she loved it. There wasn’t great produce in the stores back then, but also she just liked the whole being delivered to her door thing. And she would always hav ea little extra to share with the neighbors before they went bad, so it was kind of social. I don’t think it has to mean “i don’t know what to get you”… i think it’s perfect for people who are vegan and don’t have good vegan cuisine where they live! (as a former vegan)

          However, if there is a local CSA and they are not already members, a yearly subscription to that every year might be nice, too. I think for the older generations, the pressure to get something “new and different” every year isn’t as intense. My dad gets a new sweater every year and he is honestly really excited about it every time ;o)

    • This slideshow has some good things in it, including a monthly gift box set (Vegan Cuts0

    • Are they vegan because they love animals or for health reasons? If its the former, a donation in their name to a local or national organization that has a focus towards animals could be a nice gift. You could put the donation card inside a really pretty / fancy letterpress card or something to jazz it up a bit.

    • anonyomous :

      Do they have a Netflix account? Might be fun to give them a subscription and then some popcorn blanket etc for a French Movie night.

      • Last year I bought my dad a Netflx friendly Blu-Ray Player and a 6 month subscription, he absolutely loves it – I don’t think he watches anything on cable other than the news.

    • We stumbled upon Vedge, a vegan restaurant in Philly, and loved it so much that we bought their recent cookbook http://www.amazon.com/Vedge-Plates-Redefine-Vegetable-Cooking/dp/1615190856/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387210887&sr=8-2&keywords=veg
      You could get them the book along with some of the more exotic spices used in the recipes like saffron.

    • prof on a bike :

      I’d recommend the Millennium Cookbook, which is from the (absolutely fantastic) Millennium restaurant in SF (the cookbook is marketed as veg, but the recipes all vegan). It’s the best cookbook I’ve found for upscale/gourmet vegan food — I usually only cook from it for special occasions because the dishes tend to have multiple components, unusual ingredients I have to track down, etc, but for a couple that feels like they’re lacking culture in their local environs it might be perfect.

    • Both sets of parents are being gifted beautiful wood cutting boards this year. I’m pairing it with food items to cut up on said cutting boards.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, I thought of something else. Every year I make my parents a photo calendar at walgreens dot com with photos of me and my family, and they love it! This year it’s “The Marine in Japan,” last year it was “Mr. and Mrs. Senior Attorney Go to Asia,” (okay, that one is in the trash after the separation, but it was a nice idea at the time!), one year I did one of baby pictures of my brother and me. It’s reasonably cheap (they have discount coupon codes all the time if you look for them), the online interface is pretty easy, and oh my gosh they just love them. Note: If you do this, have the calendars mailed instead of picking them up in a store. The mailed ones are on much nicer paper.

    • anon in tejas :

      if you think that your in-laws would be into a different type of cuisine, this is a highly recommended vegan indian cookbook.

      for some lack of culture means lack of ethnic dining options.


      also, you could get a spice tiffan (see Anupy’s website/blog to order one) with most of the spices needed for these recipes.

  6. PSA: If you are someone’s boss and that person is out of the office for a medical reason, do not visit that person at home or in the hospital. Send a card. Send flowers. Even offer to drop off something at the door of the house, but do not try to come visit with the person. The person will not feel like they can say no, but probably will stress about looking like, well, someone with a medical issue (sick, injured, etc. — probably not as well showered as usual, not wearing nice clothes, hair less “done” than usual, etc.).

  7. Diana Barry :

    Ladies – I need makeup remover help. I know we have talked about it before but I can’t find exactly what I am looking for.

    I have the problem that my makeup remover pads (almay) don’t get everything AND sting my eyes. Then when I wash my face and dry it, I end up with a bunch of makeup on my towels. When I am using a white towel this is a problem, plus then I have to wipe with the towel under my eyes to get the extra makeup off and pull my skin, which is also not ideal.

    What should I use instead? Is there a makeup remover that gets everything off and won’t sting my eyes?

    • Pond’s makes a makeup remover/face cleansing cream that has never irritated me when many other things did. It’s also very convenient, especially for traveling, to have one product that does both things. It comes in a short wide jar with a green lid in drugstores.

      I also use coconut oil to remove makeup and have also found that no matter what it never irritates my eyes. This is even cheaper than the Pond’s, and I use it for moisturizing too.

      Both of these options are thorough, and a little goes a long way.

      • Seconding Ponds. Used with tissues, it’s very effective and gentle. I also use it to moisturize my legs in the shower post-shave (apply, rinse off lightly).

      • Diana Barry :

        Thanks. Does either of those rinse with water only or do you need a washcloth? I am not good about extra steps/tools. :)

        • Water only for both! I am also very averse to getting anything else involved.

          • Diana Barry :

            Great! One additional question, how does the coconut oil come? I have some for baking but it is a solid.

          • Yes–in a jar in the store it may be a solid. That’s ok if you get “medium heat” grade (I’m pretty sure it’s at least something like that label). It hovers right around the liquid/solid transition point at room temperature, which usually means that in summer it’s runny and ready to go, and in winter I just take a pinch from the container and add a few drops of warm water. Really, once it’s in contact with your skin it melts anyway. I don’t even have to add water when I’m just applying it as a moisturizer.

          • My experience with the unrefined version is that it melts into a liquid with just the body heat from your hands. You could just keep a little dish in the bathroom (we like it as a moisturizer and skin protectant)

          • Diana Barry :

            Hum. My room temp/hand temp must be low, because I’ve tried to break up the baking kind with my hands, and it doesn’t turn into a liquid at all. I will try the pond’s first.

      • I just take a tiny bit of coconut oil (stored in the pantry not fridge) with a knife and spread on a cotton ball.. usually the pressure is enough to get it to spread so that I can wipe my skin.

        • Yup! Coconut oil. I wash my face with warm water/no soap, then massage coconut oil into my face for 10-15 seconds. I then wash it off. That removes my makeup, clears gunk, and moisturizes in one step. I do nothing else. It does cause breakouts in some people, so consider patch testing.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Maybe this is totally wrong of me, but I just use my regular facial cleanser with a dark hand towel (it’s specifically my “makeup towel” and hides in the drawer when we have guests).

    • Famouscait :

      I like the eye makeup remover Sonia Kashuk makes at Target. It gets all my long wear/waterproof eye makeup off and doesn’t sting. I soak a cotton pad and leave it sitting on my eye for a few seconds before gently wiping away.

    • I use baby oil and a cotton ball. Works like a charm. Then I use a neutrogena face wipe to get off any remaining oil residue and then wash my face w/clarisonic and cleanser.

      • SAlit-a-gator :

        Yup, I use a cotton ball and DermaE Vitamin A and E oil (my local grocery store carries it, I imagine Whole Foods would have it as well since its a natural product). Works like a charm, it’s super moisturizing, and not greasy at all.

    • Clementine :

      I’m also unhappy with mine and recently started using olive oil. That plus my cleanser takes off all my waterproof eye makeup.

      Added bonus- you probably already have it in your kitchen, so if you try it and it doesn’t work, you’re not out the $8-25 for a tiny little 4 oz container.

    • I use Neutrogena’s combined makeup remover and cleanser (http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=328543&catid=183591&aid=338666&aparam=47370363315id328543&device=c&network=g&matchtype=). If I’m wearing very heavy eyeliner it sometimes takes 2 washes to come off, but it works like a charm for everyday makeup and doesn’t hurt my eyes at all.

      • I have this stuff and love it. I posted on here a while ago to see if there were any recs for similar products because I bought this on a whim at the grocery store. I think this might be pretty much it for washable makeup removers. Philosophy has something at Sephora that I might try later.

    • I like Clinique’s makeup remover. I generally wash my face first and then take off the remaining makeup with eye makeup remover on a cotton pad.

    • Diana Barry, I used to use the almay makeup remover pads but now I use Sephora’s waterproof eye makeup remover. It’s awesome. Doesn’t sting and the makeup comes off SO easily. Link below. I use cotton balls to apply the makeup remover, and then I wet a cotton ball with just water to swipe off a final time to get rid of any extra residue. Works like a charm!


    • I use olive oil to take off the indelible lipstick I sometimes use.

      The ever-popular Paula’s Choice also has a nice makeup remover that is non-stingy.

    • dancinglonghorn :

      you should use eye-makeup remover and then a balm cleanser (which you massage in to your skin). This is standard practice is Europe – virtually every brand makes a balm cleanser – including Boots at Target. I buy most of my balm cleansers on the internet though. Check out Caroline Hiron’s Blog for recommendations. Once you go balm, you’ll wonder why you ever used alkalizing cleansers! :)

  8. OG assistance :

    For you all with OGs, do you use them every day or just for travel? I am trying to work mine into my life and want to keep it new and pretty but also want to use it. I am in a heavy-lugging period at work, so I could use right now but haven’t had enough time to load it up with all the stuff in my old, beat-up bag’s many pockets.

    • No advice, just an observation that when a bag is so expensive that one is afraid to use it for its intended purpose, that’s a problem.

      • OG assistance :

        :) A child of mine kicked a hole in the drywall over the weekend. I am just wanting to have one nice thing for myself at the moment. I am overreacting. And thinking that karate is not good when cooped up inside on yet another rainy day. I will get over it and start using it (if not now, next month when Mommy travels solo again and wants to be fabulous).

    • I really like the OG for travel, but it works well for every day use too. I’ve actually been using it as my work bag the past few weeks (rather than carrying a smaller shoulder bag & lunch box), even though I think it’s a bit big for my frame normally. I haven’t seen any wear and tear, so I wouldn’t be nervous about using it to carry what you need to.

    • Have been using for both, daily, for about a year. It’s in great shape.

    • I used my OG daily for 18 months. It looks great.

    • I usually use my OG for travel, but I have used my TT daily for years and it still looks great. You don’t have to worry too much about these bags.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’m so glad to read all of this. I ordered one this weekend (my frivolous bonus purchase), thinking I’d only use it for travel. But the fact that you can use it every day and it still looks nice makes me even more excited.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Me too. Mine will be my Christmas present this year and I plan to use it everyday.

        I want to bring gym clothes, lunch, tablet, and occasionally a laptop. Hopefully this works!

  9. chicago chic :

    Still looking for boots, especially that work for my narrow calves and will survive a Chicago winter.

    Wondering if anyone wears Hunter boots in winter? Is there a style that works better for narrow calves? I like the idea that I could just wear thick socks or those inserts they sell and use the same boot for rain/snow.

    • I wouldn’t use the same boots for rain and snow. The cold can do funny things to rubber – like make it slick. And Chicago will get cold. I can see using Hunters for snow/rain further south, but not for Chicago.

      Also, one of the best things about my snow boots is that the soles are frost plugged – which means that you don’t get the cold soaking in from the bottom – more of an issue for standing around than walking.

      Are you looking for knee high boots? Most of my snow boots (yes, I have multiple pairs) come up mid-calf and don’t even hit the fat point of my calf. As long as you have something with a tie, you can cinch as needed.

      • OG assistance :

        I agree. LaCanadienne makes boots with a stickier rubber sole (or look for something that looks like a car tire – black and lugged). I wouldn’t wear Hunters in snowy weather b/c of the morning / evening commute ice that the snow seems to freeze back into if you do any amount of your commute on foot.

        • chicago chic :

          Thanks for this.

          I do have a pair of LaCanadienne booties which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, but their higher boots are too wide in the calf for me. I also don’t like wearing these very expensive boots in 1-2 foot dirty slush. I am frequently shoveling in messy muck for my relatives….

      • chicago chic :

        Thanks for this. I guess part of me was also hoping to save $$ and buy one boot for multiple purposes. I feel like I am already destined to pay much $$$ for a quality boot that works for winters and work-appropriate (eg. Aquitaine). But I realize I need something for the terrible snows and weekends etc… that is less pricey and I wont feel terrible about soaking in dirty snow/slush. And I need rain boots….

        You are right about the snow boots often going mid-calf. I honestly was hoping to avoid the Uggs and heavy looking Sorels etc… but something functional will likely not be very nice looking.

        I’m looking through Nordstrom’s and will try to buy something in the after-Xmas sales. I appreciate hearing your recs.

        • If you just want something warm and sporty – look at the boots at Lands End. They aren’t going to be nearly as expensive as Sorels (and Uggs aren’t winter boots!). And will last you at least a season, if not more. Which gives you a chance to stalk the end of season sales for next winter. North Face and Columbia also make serious winter boots, if Sorels aren’t your thing.

          • I just looked at Lands’ End boots this morning. They have huge sales, 40% of regular priced items and 20% off sales items, plus free shipping over $50. The boot reviews seem to say that their sizing is very inconsistent. If you have the time/ability to return items to a Sears store, you can order several sizes to try to get the right fit.

            If you want to try on reasonably priced snow boots, I’d suggest a chain store like Famous Footwear that has many styles in stock.

          • chicago chic :

            Wow – Lands End may be a great compromise. Many thanks!!! Some are even cheap…. have you had any luck with these, quality wise? Do they keep your feet dry?

          • Lands End – Yes – I haven’t had a problem with wet feet. I mean, I haven’t gone splashing in puddles with them, but they are generally good quality wise.

            Just remember that you don’t need a tight fit with your boots – you want a little bit of air space btwn the foot and the boot. I swear, it will keep your feet warmer than cramming your foot it with a thick sock.

          • Thank you! I laugh every time I see some silly woman (and it’s always a woman) sloshing through NYC filthy slush in her Uggs. I hate Uggs!

          • Land’s End boots are not for the narrow-calved.

        • Wore my Sorels this weekend in Boston. They do not have enough of a lug sole for ice (I have Joan of Artics). they are warm, I looked cute, but I was sliding all over the place relative to the waterproof backpacking boots I wear casually when it’s snows (in the mountains). Big thumbs down on the Sorels.

      • Yes, you make a very good point! I need LEATHER for some thing’s, and swade for other thing’s. I got a new pair of UGGS (which are swade). I am shoppeing for a new coat–the guy’s at the Homeless Care’s place were VERY happy that I gave them my old coat, but thougt I should hold ON to it b/c it was cold out. I said I was giveing back to society this way and they said I was like JOAN OF ARK! YAY!!!! When I told my dad that, he stopped bieng so mad at me for giveing it away!

        I went Ice Skateing with David this weekend and the ice was wet and I slipped and got my spandex tight’s all soaked right in my tuchus! I was walkeing around squishing b/c of a wet tuchus. We went back to my place to change and then went out for a while. He is not that bad, tho he is NOT IPOeing any time soon. FOOEY!

        Dad says I should MARRY him, but I am NOT sure yet. I will go out with him again b/c he was NOT grabbey. YAY!

    • I have Hunters and feel like I need better foot/arch/ankle support in the winter when it’s so slippery. Overall I’m disappointed with my Hunters though. I’ve had them for 3 years and they just don’t keep my feet dry!

    • Did you look at Sorel? I have Hunters for above-freezing weather in Chicago and Sorels for below. They are warm and fuzzy and DRY DRY DRY. Also they lace up, so you can tighten as needed for a narrow calf. I have the Tivoli high, I also have heard the Joan of Arctic come highly recommended. If you wear Hunters in snow you will freeze your toes off, no matter how many thirty-dollar fleecy socks they try to sell you.

      • chicago chic :

        Thanks to both of you for being practical about the Hunters. Sorels are a little “hard core” for me, but I am realizing that you can’t have everything in one boot!

      • Diana Barry :

        I have the Joan of Arctic. They are awesome and my toes only got cold after 2 hrs of shoveling yesterday. No leaks. I also have fairly narrow calves but they still have room to tighten so they would prob work for you.

        And ditto, your feet will get cold IMMEDIATELY in rain boots with fleece or wool socks.

        • Lady Harriet :

          +1 When i moved from Wisconsin to Florida I got rid of my old snow boots that leaked like crazy. I went back for Christmas last year and made do with my rain boots and an extra pair of wool socks over my regular socks, plus the insoles from my old snow boots, which were supposed to block cold. It was okay for a short time, but my feet did get cold. If I were to live in a cold climate again I would definitely get dedicated snow boots.

    • Aquatalia? Most styles are also waterproof.

    • chicago chic :

      THANKS everyone.

      I just bought a pair of Land’s End Women’s short chalet boots for my dirty/slushy weather ($40!!! on sale). Good for weekends, and days I don’t want to make a mess of my La Canadienne’s.

      I will keep waiting until the tall, black, narrow, work-appropriate, water proof beautiful Aquitaine boots go on sale (Aquatalia “Orso”…. $498!!!). And I’ll keep waiting on rain boots, I guess.

    • I love my Hunter boots but never wear them in the snow. They are not made for snow – you will slip and slide; plus, even the fleece liner won’t keep your feet warm enough. These boots are for wet and mud. My original purchase was for a good barn boot. I bought a second pair for wet, rainy work days. Find a pair of proper snow/winter boots that will help you keep a better grip on icy/frosty sidewalks, properly insulate your feet for the truly cold weather and keep your feet dry. I’ve had good luck with LL bean.

    • Hunters are great for rainy weather but slip on ice. I learned that the hard way last week when I twisted my ankle (again).

    • YouLookFab recently did a roundup on narrow-calf boots.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I was unaware of Aquatalia boots before this conversation, and now I’m in love! I’m going to be doing some serious sale stalking.

      Any other boots recs out there for casual it’s-snowing-outside-but-I-didn’t-want-to-change-my-shoes office days and also for walking on snow and ice?

      I’m trying to figure out where to invest my money to get the most wear out of items, so I’m planning on going with a Patagonia Tres jacket (not as professional as a wool/cashmere blend, but plenty professional, especially when it’s under 15 degrees), and I’m looking for a boot equivalent.

    • La Canadienne boots work well for narrow calves, are waterproof, and are very comfortable. However, you pay for that waterproofing and comfort. Check out the Mazy, which I have and love (though it does have a heel). There are other flat boots that are also very attractive.

  10. I see women wearing Hunter boots all the time in the winter here (Boston), usually with thick socks that peek over the top. I don’t know about narrow calves (having wide ones myself), but you could definitely get away with that style of boot in both rain and snow.

    • This is what I did in Boston. I couldn’t understand the people in “snow” boots that only came up to mid-calf, so that their pants got wet when they inevitably had to walk through drifts or slush puddles.

  11. Equity's Darling :

    Last night I was heading home from drinks with a friend and a man approached me while I was waiting for the train. I felt pretty uncomfortable, and he said “are you scared?”, and I, quite rudely just said “no no” and walked away. I’ve been feeling kind of guilty, like I did something wrong, but I didn’t owe this strange man a conversation at 11pm at night, right? I probably could have been less rude, but at the same time, I didn’t want to invite further conversation… Sigh.

    • OG assistance :

      His mother should have brought him up better than to do that. You don’t owe a rude stranger anything.

    • What kind of question is that!? It was a rude question that didn’t deserve a polite answer. You were fine – you didn’t owe him any conversation, especially when he sets you up to be scared by asking a question designed to make you feel uncomfortable.

    • Lila Fowler :

      creepy! You did NOTHING wrong. I would have hightailed it away too.

    • How is that even possibly rude of you? Are you scared is ALWAYS an aggressive comment. You did good.

    • You did the right thing, and he behaved inappropriately. We are socialized not to upset people but remember that you NEVER owe a stranger any interaction that feels uncomfortable to you.

    • The polite thing for him to do, if he didn’t realize he’d scared you, was to apologize and say, “sorry, didn’t realize I startled you” or something to that effect. He totally knew what he was doing. Creep.

      And I don’t blame you for walking away. Protecting yourself comes before protecting the projected feelings of strangers. Your first instincts are usually correct.

      • Second this and all comments above. Also, would-be male assailants sometimes use women’s obligation to be kind and polite to get them into vulnerable situations. Gavin De Becker calls this part of the “interview” of a prospective victim. Just in case this was such an interview, you handled it exactly as you should have. Notice that it started on his terms but ended on your terms. And even if it wasn’t an interview, to echo others, you had no responsibility to make him feel comfortable or welcome.

        • I was just going to say, have you read the gift of fear? (by Gavin DeBecker). If not, you should. And no, you weren’t rude. He was at BEST rude, and at worst, a potential offender. Which made you a potential victim. But you were not victimized. Ergo, you responded correctly.

        • This x 1000. This guy was a creep through and through. He doesn’t deserve to be handled with kid gloves.

      • prof on a bike :

        Agree with all of the comments on this thread that the socialization into being “nice” often keeps us from doing what’s in our own best interests (or, if we do it, makes us feel guilty about it). Years ago I tried a bit of an experiment for myself in situations where I was getting unwanted attention — I’d respond politely once (“Thanks, but I’m not interested in talking”) on the off chance that the man in question had genuinely misread the situation and thought I was interested in talking. If he persisted past that, then I gave myself license to be as rude as necessary to stop the interaction since I had stated my desires clearly and he was obviously disrespecting them. I tried this two step approach because I was afraid that I might be blasting “nice” guys unnecessarily, but FWIW, in the years that I did this not ONE man responded to a polite but firm request to disengage.

        • I have had very similar findings. Politely declining to continue a conversation with a guy who seemed like he could go either way has never once revealed a kind, sensitive, respectful person who just wanted to get to know me. It has always, at best, drawn an insult and at worst escalated his harassment/threats. I don’t feel so bad anymore working on the basic assumption that guys who approach me out of nowhere are suspect.

        • bananagram :

          A friend of mine says the big lie told to boys growing up is ‘keep asking, she’ll get interested’. Definitely seems to be in play here.

    • Do not feel guilty for even a second. Any strange man that approaches you, esp. late at night, should realize that he may be making you nervous for obvious reasons. This is not on you, but on him. And that’s a creepy question to ask, or really stupid at best. You don’t need a creep or an idiot in your life. And worst case scenario – he was harmless and walks away being insulted somehow, let him think maybe as a guy who statistically can cause harm to a woman alone, I should think about how I approach people from here on out.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Totally agree with everyone and this in particular – men are often totally oblivious to how they can unintentionally make women feel uncomfortable as it is, but in this case, he was clearly aware he was making you uncomfortable and should have backed off or at least apologised. Someone approached me on Friday night on my way to catch a train around 10.30pm and said ‘excuse me’ – I just said ‘no thank you’ and kept walking, but as it was outside a busy station, I was almost tempted to stop and tell him exactly why it was inappropriate (though I decided against it ultimately).

    • You have absolutley nothing to feel guilty about. Maybe he was just asking if you were scared, or maybe he knew exactly what he was doing… Either way, your only responsibility is to yourself, to make sure you make it home safe, not to be polite to some stranger acting creepy late at night.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Seconding all the wise responses here. You did right.

      And this reminds me of this quote, variously attributed to Margaret Atwood and Gavin de Becker, among others: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

      • That statement is in The Gift of Fear, but de Becker says it was findings from a survey without citing the survey. I would have wanted that reference for sure. It sounds like gospel but I can’t substantiate it.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I never took it as an empirical fact. I always thought it was more of an aphorism illustrating the fact that women are physically vulnerable to men on a daily basis, in a way that men generally can’t fathom.

    • I think I read in The Gift of Fear that you shouldn’t be worried about being “rude” to anyone who approaches you in a creepy situation (such as at night or in a parking lot or whatever). If the guy is actually nice, no harm done – he’s not going to turn into an assailant because you told him you didn’t want to talk. If the guy is a creep, then you’ve at least made it clear that you are not interested and that you won’t engage with anything he says. Ideally, you could get away to a well-lit area with other people around.

      Also, my boyfriend (who is the nicest, sweetest guy imaginable) told me that when he’s walking home from the subway at night and a girl is walking ahead of him, he’ll slow down so she doesn’t hear his usually fast footsteps and get freaked out. I think he’s a keeper and that more men need to be aware of things like that.

    • Oh. goodness. This reminds me of a time when I had just had foot surgery and could barely walk. A stranger started approaching me in a parking lot and I felt so unable to defend myself or run away that i decided to start waving my arms and talking to myself. I think he thought I belonged in an institution but I was so scared. So please don’t feel bad about walking away.

  12. Job seeker :

    I have an interview with a large firm that has made the news in the last couple of years for being sued by women in the firm on the grounds of sex discrimination (not making them partner.) It’s a male dominated field, I’d be the only woman in the group. Would you consider lateraling to this firm as a second year associate?

    • Honestly, not unless (a) I was pretty out of options; or (b) I had good inside information that contradicted what you put in your post. They may be fine; the law suit may be meritless; it could be a great place to work. But the stakes are kind of high and you have limited information as a job seeker, so I wouldn’t be inclined to take the risk if I had a choice.

      • Job seeker :

        I know the lawsuit is legit, at least for another group in this office. No inside information for this group. I am close to out of options and this firm would be sn easy springboard in house in a couple of years.

    • Would you lateral into the same group that the woman was in?

      • Job seeker :

        I applied for another group while in law school and one of the women partners had a close friend tell me to run. So I did. =)

        • I think I know what firm you’re talking about. One of my very smart, nice, female friends just left and actually quit her job there before finding another job because it was so awful.

    • Is it otherwise a good fit? Is your proposed group at the center of the suit? Unless you know for certain that this a universal firm culture that will not change in the next x years until you are up for partner, I don’t know that I would get too worried. There can be bad actors in any large company.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I tend to agree. If you need a job, you don’t have any other options on the horizon, and you have a medium-term escape plan, I think it makes sense to take the job and maybe even continue looking after you’re hired.

      • If you’re planning to go in-house in a few years, the fact that they don’t make many women partner is kind of immaterial. Sure, no one wants to work someplace where women aren’t given their due respect, and you would want to make sure you’d be getting enough good work to build the skills you need to go in-house, but if in-house is what you want, this is likely to get you there, and you don’t have a lot of other options, I’d go for it.

        BUT after you get an offer and before you accept, ask to meet with some of the women in your practice group — people at least at your level and ideally a mix of your level, a couple years above, and a partner. Go to lunch with them and say “I’ve heard about this law suit and it’s frankly made me feel I need more information about the firm’s culture before I accept. What’s your take on it?” Also use your alumni networks and LinkedIn to see if you can connect with any women who are former employees or partners of the firm.

      • Agreed. I would think that the firm would be hyper vigilant about discrimination now with the lawsuit pending.

  13. Brooks Brothers :

    Anyone know how Brooks Brothers fits? I am a 8/10, curvy, 5’10″. Should I size down (i.e. take an 8?)

    • Don’t size down–they cut things relatively short (although their dress shirt arms are long). If you are at all long-limbed, size up and take the waist in at a tailor. If you buy at BB, they will tailor for you for a nominal fee or free.

  14. Ciao, pues :

    Any recommendations for commuting crampons? I’m 8 months pregnant and living in recently iced-over Boston. Realized on my commute this morning that I am way too unstable to rely on my boots alone, given how the sidewalks are really icy in some places.

    • OG assistance :

      No recs on this, but I found that it made a world of difference to work from home until the sun had been up long enough to dramatically reduct the ice and then go in. It maybe shifted things around by an hour or so. Not sure if this is an option for you (but you’ll be having to do this with a baby next winter, so your stability will be off one way or another next winter, too).

    • Diana Barry :
      • CapHillAnon :

        The Yaktraks are amazing. I got a set a few years ago during an icy/ snowy winter here (after a friend slipped on ice and broke his arm), and they were so good that I promptly bought them for my husband and children. They are worth every penny. They are fantastic. They collapse to be very small, you can’t really notice them when you have them on, and you will not slip.

    • I know some runners who like to use Yaktrax (spelling?), but they might be better for packed powder than ice.

    • Seconding (Thirding?) the recommendation on YakTraks.

      My Monday-addled brain recalls that my 12-yr old self though crampons were a special type of tampon. Of course, my mother thought tampons were The Satan.

      (Yup, the joys of growing up in East Bumblef-ck southern Jersey.)

    • OttLobbyist :

      Support the recommendations on the Yaktracks, but get the Pro if you are going to use them often (or have two pairs of the Walkers). I use them twice a day for a 25 minute walk on packed snow/ice combo. Make sure to take them off before you get on the metal floor of your mode of transit. It gets slippery and the bus driver may yell at you about them.

  15. Riding Boots :

    Is it weird or tacky of me to get actual made-for-horse-riding riding boots to wear with jeans?

    I am thinking of getting a custom pair of riding/hunt boots made. I like the style and I have pretty large calves, so the normal 14″ widths are tight. Is this like a fashion or cultural faux pas though? Will the people at the boots store be confused?

    • I think that’s a rather nice solution. Why would it be considered a faux-pas? I mean, it’s casual attire with jeans, not a suit for a BigLaw interview. :-) Do you see what stuff people are wearing in general (EVERYTHING- from great to utterly wretched, and everything in between, in all styles)?

      I think we’ve mostly moved away from rigid dictates of fashion and people can pretty much adopt whatever style suits them. There was far greater conformity in past decades. And while there’s some downside to being freed from the shackles of fashion conformity (e.g. sweatpants at the Opera), it also means you can wear these boots with jeans.

    • I say whatever, and I’m sure custom boot makers have gotten weirder requests than this. That said, if you’re looking for a riding-style boot that has room in the calf I recommend Corso Como. My calves are very muscular but true wide-calf sizes are usually too loose on me, and these have worked well.

    • Not at all, I bought my flat boots at a riding store in Argentina.

    • Hmm I find it a bit “poser”, more amusing than faux pas. If you go to an equestrian tack store and tell them you don’t ride just want the boots for looks, they may snicker a bit. But really it’s an issue of comfort. Riding boots are designed to be worn in the saddle, ie. not for walking, where your legs are at a slightly different angle. They are usually quite stiff when new and take a little while to break in. Plus traditional riding boots do not have zippers so are tougher to get on/off.

    • Small Town Atty :

      I don’t think it’s weird or tacky. That said, I’m not sure I’d do it. From what I understand, (real) riding boots are made very specifically to support your feet while you’re riding, which is different from the sort of support you need just going about your day. I’d hate to spend a bunch of money on custom boots and then not have them be comfortable. People who ride may have more to say about this (all my riding has been Western which is a whole different deal).

      • Riding Boots :

        Hmm…thanks for this input (and also to the above poster who mentioned the same thing) on comfort. I hadn’t thought of the walking comfort problem before, but it totally makes sense. The ones I was looking at would run $1000+, so I definitely want them to be comfortable.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Fashion-wise, I think it’s fine, but real riding boots aren’t going to be as comfortable to walk around in as “fashion” riding-style boots. Also, custom riding boots are not cheap.

    • If you want custom boots check out Duo. They are not equestrian riding boots, but they make them custom to your measurements and i’ve heard nothing but amazing reviews.

    • As a rider, let me caution you. Real riding boots are not comfortable off the rack, even when custom made. Real riding boots are made with shafts that are much stiffer and higher. The shafts are stiffer to keep your leg in alignment in the saddle. When new, the boots dig into the back of your knee, causing painful blisters and scrapes. Breaking in a new pair of boots can take weeks as you wait for the ankle to crinkle and the back of the boots to drop from the back of your knee. The boots even after being broken in are not comfortable to walk in – look at any barn, we all change out of our tall boots ASAP after riding (and not just to keep them clean).

      I have a pair of the Frye Melissa boot for wearing with jeans. If you want custom boots, pick something equestrian inspired rather than real riding boots.

      • This. You are also going to have a hard time finding a custom riding boot maker who understands that you want them measured to fit over skinny jeans or not hit the very top of the back of your knee (talk about painful break-ins). They will do it, but be mighty perplexed and there is a chance it could affect the fit out of the box. Keep in mind that tall riding boots are meant to be pulled over thin breeches and slippery boot socks. You certainly can order them with zippers (add about another $250), but the zippers would not look quite like those on fashion boots styled like riding boots.

        I will also echo what has already been said about the comfort of riding boots for daily wear + walking. I love my Vogels, but I do not want to stand around in them all day at a horse show. There is a reason I have zippers on mine and keep my Danskos handy! :)

  16. Long girly anonymous TJ warning.

    About two weeks ago, out of the blue, I got back in touch with a man I’d had a brief but intense flirtation with when I was 16. Back then, it ended because he was too old for me (a scandalous 4 years). Having not seen or spoken to him in about seven years, I found an old, hilariously gushy diary entry about him and emailed it to him, just as a hello-how-are-you kind of thing. He emailed back, it turned out we were both quite single, and it very quickly escalated to instant messages, then telephone calls, then Skype. We’ve talked every day since we reconnected, for hours and hours, about everything under the sun. As far as I can tell, he’s everything I’ve been looking for in someone: smart, kind, ambitious, weird in the ways I am, and handsome to boot. How’s that sound for idealism?

    The catch is that he lives on the opposite coast, 3,000 miles away. Out of sheer coincidence, he was coming to my city to spend time with family over Christmas. He’s now planned to extend his trip and stay with me (for potentially as long as two weeks). At once, it feels like a complete stranger is coming to stay with me, and that sounds crazy. At the same time, he is an old friend and we have enough mutual friends that I know he’s not some kind of sociopath.

    Is this utterly insane? Has anything like this ever happened to any of you ‘rettes? It feels like, worst case scenario, we hate each other and he’ll change his flights. But best case scenario, we fall madly in love and I move to his city (a possibility) in a few months. Similar stories? Or do I just need a hard slap in the face?

    • I have never done something like that (though I did reconnect with an old high school friend after he moved back and now ten years later we are married with 3 kids….) But I say see where it goes! It sounds romantic and exciting! And you are realistic enough to realize it may not work out, but I think it is worth a shot.

    • Not really insane, except for the length of stay and at your place.

      There are sides of people their friends don’t really see. If you two hit it off, awesome. If you really really have a problem with him, then, do you feel confident enough to boot his @ss out after 1 day? If yes, then go for it!

    • wildkitten :

      Worst case scenario you hate him and he’s creepy and he’s staying in your house. Can he stay somewhere else and you meet up for coffee first?

    • DC Darling :

      I fell for someone 1,500 miles away whom I’d never met before he flew out to see. It terrified me for the same reasons you mentioned above so I had him stay at a hotel. I’d be cautious about having him stay with you….just be willing to kick him out if things start to make you uncomfortable.

      Anyways, 1,500-miles-away guy and I got married this past September. I still lie about how we met though :)

    • I did this and it resulted in an incredibly intense relationship. The only thing that would give me pause is the length of the proposed stay. I would say that two or three nights is the most I’d commit to, and then if it works out you can arrange/plan a longer stay later.

      Long distance relationships can work. I made it work with my husband before he was my husband and we did it for about a year. I missed him, but I also enjoyed my personal space. Also, I felt like it was an incredible way to get to know him because we were forced to talk every day on the phone, send letters, be thoughtful, and etc.

      Good luck! Those giddy feelings in the beginning of a relationship are so much fun. I can’t wait to hear how it works out.

    • Yes, something like this actually happened to me twice in my 20′s. In both circumstances, the lead-up was better than the meet-up. The first time, we just had no physical chemistry in person, despite having flirted with each other years before (when I was 16/17 and he was 21/22, coincidentally). The second time, the guy was on the rebound and had constructed some idea about who he thought I was (from when he knew me in college) but when I turned out to not be like his memory, it was a bust. Don’t let my experiences worry you, though – I know plenty of similar success stories!

    • Platinomad :

      This is so timely, as I just did something similar this past weekend. I had a friend from college (a few years ago for both him and I now) who I sort of reconnected with via text/calls and he came out to spend a weekend with me. I think a weekend (2-4 nights) is the most I would commit to. Like Lori, the lead up was better than the meet up, I think we just didn’t have the chemistry I had hoped for. That being said, it was fun enough and could have been awesome with someone different.

    • I think this sounds cool. I’d have a backup plan for alternate place for him to stay if it all falls to crap, if your place isn’t big enough to have some space, but I think it’s romantic and hopeful!

  17. Ladies, thank you to those of you who responded about my hubby’s unwanted/assaulting LGP behavior. I read all of your comments and really took them to heart, and I don’t know why I didn’t realize that it was definitely assault before.

    I tried to talk with him yesterday morning before he went to church, but he ended up bending me over the bed and … well, you can guess. And then he went to church smugly smiling and I called the police and now I’m staying with an understanding family friend of my parent’s. How did I let it get so bad.

    • Wow. This is absolutely chilling to read and I’m so glad you’re safe now. I’m sure this has been awful. I wasn’t on that thread but I am so glad that you got necessary support from people here. I’m sure others have better input about what comes next, but I’m definitely thinking of you.

    • Oh my god, that is horrible. I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine how you must feel. Glad you are staying with a relative. Don’t blame yourself, under any circumstances. Nothing that you did justifies what he did. Hang in there and be strong.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      This is terrible and I’m so sorry that this happened to you.

      Get yourself a lawyer – look for one with experience working with cases involving domestic violence, they’ll be more prepared to understand and to deal with the type of man your H apparently is. Your lawyer will also be able to give you specific advice as to what your rights are and the safest/best way to enforce them.

      Don’t let him persuade you that things aren’t that bad, or that you “owe” him anything – a phone call, a dinner together, a counseling session, whatever. He COMMITTED A CRIME against his own wife, and then went to CHURCH, smiling. That is so far beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior, he’s officially relinquished ANY claim he EVER had to your time, your attention, or your care/concern.

      Find yourself a therapist or counselor. Again, you should be looking for someone with experience in counseling people in abusive situations. Having an objective outside who is fully in your corner will be a big help.

      Be strong. Take no sh!t. Good luck.

    • This is not your fault under ANY circumstances. Assault is assault, no matter what, no matter how many times you’ve had s** with him before or what things you’ve said yes to in the past. Don’t let anyone try to make you believe that it’s anything other than a crime. Good luck to you – this is a really sad situation and I’m glad you have a friend you can stay with.

    • Somehow my comment to this got eaten. I just wanted to say how glad I am to hear you’re safe. Also, please think about getting some counseling to help process all of this. Wondering how you “let” it get so bad isn’t productive for you right now. A good counselor will help you work through your thoughts and feelings so you can let go of guilt while feeling like you have the tools to recognize a bad situation in the future. Thanks for sending us an update. I’ll be thinking of you.

      • I’m so sorry.

        Maybe if you read the thread above re creepy subway guy, you can see how this so easily happens. We ladies are often people pleasers to a fault or we don’t want to upset people. A person who makes a mistake will usually be so sorry that they never do that again; a person who escalates things after being told that they hurt another was never a good guy to begin with.

        I have seen a lot of children who were abused by someone they trusted and it has a lot of parallels to these stories. People trust. Others abuse that trust.

    • Oh my god. Good for you for getting out of there. I’m so sorry it came to that.

    • Wow, that is just awful. I’m so glad you got out.

    • That’s awful, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Glad to hear you are staying with an understanding relative. There are resources out there and people who can help you. One place to start might be the National Domestic Violence Hotline http://www.thehotline.org/. Good luck to you.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Wow, wow, wow. A million, billion, gazillion hugs to you for being so brave and strong and getting your awesome self out of there!

      I am SO MAD at him for doing that to you!!! And SO PROUD of you for calling the police!!

      In addition to Killer Kitten Heels’s awesome advice, please see whether the court system has a victim assistance program that can help you.

      Be strong. You are so, so worth it.

      • Silvercurls :

        + 1,000 to everything here. So sorry this is happening to you, but all kinds of credit to you for getting out of the situation. Keep on keeping on re taking care of yourself. This includes not blaming yourself. You didn’t create the situation: HE did. Sometimes “being strong” means taking time to grieve about having had a horrible experience, but you are so much more than that.

        Senior Attorney said “Be strong. You are so, so worth it.” Keep that in mind. You are worth the trouble and the effort! You already know this on some level, because you sensed a problem, questioned the situation, and took action to protect yourself.

        You are not alone in the world. You have family friends and cyberspace people who care about you and want you to flourish.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I can’t say it better than senior attorney. You are amazing. You are so brave for calling the police. I hope they treated you with respect and dignity. Things might be hard for awhile but they will eventually get better and you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER out of there! Lots of ladies on here have been through divorces and can help you through the “is this worth it?” moments. I am so glad you got the support you needed here.

        I hope your family supports you. If they are part of the same religion he is and women don’t have a say in that religion, make sure you get some secular advice and support too. Post here anytime you need support.

    • Anon, I am so sorry you are going through this, but think you are an amazing person for having the courage to protect yourself and leave. Best of luck getting through these next few weeks.

    • Oh, no, I am so sorry!! But I am so glad you came here and that you have someone you can stay with and you are out of there. You know everyone here is here for you whenever you need us!! And as everyone else said: I am so proud of you for being so strong. lots and lots of internet hugs.

    • Anon for this :

      You didn’t let it happen, but you are wise and strong for stopping it now. I can hardly write this, but here is what happened in my family this weekend.

      My sister has been with her husband 31 years, since she was 19. He was somewhat physically abusive when they were younger, seemed to have stopped that but was always controlling, possessive and jealous (without cause). They had an argument Friday night after a party, he began to assault her violently in the car on the way home. She called 911 but was too afraid to let him know, so the dispatcher listened to the assault for 8 minutes. When they got home, she ran to a neighbor’s. The police were called but said they couldn’t arrest him because the assault occurred in the city limits of the major city here, not their suburb. (I know, this makes very little sense.) They did take her for a statement and photos and another sister took her to her own house.

      It was clear my BIL would be arrested for felony domestic violence, and I believe he saw his life falling apart. Combine that with alcohol, and maybe steroids I suspect he was using to keep looking like he’s 30 when he’s 50, and it was a bad.
      When the police escorted my sister to the house Saturday night to get some clothes they found he had shot himself in their kitchen. This is so horrible that it is hard to wrap my head around it, and our parents — who had no idea about this side of his personality, although the sisters did — are utterly shocked.

      I have no doubts at all that, if my sister had been in the house, he would have killed her, too. And I don’t blame her in any way AT ALL – but maybe if she had been able to be stronger when she was 19, before they married and had two kids, things woulld have been very different.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’m so sorry to hear what your family is going through. While you are trying to help her, make sure you help yourself too. I wish police departments had better procedures for handing off cases. I’ve heard of sexual assault victims going to their local PD and being sent to the PD where it occurred instead, even if that is hours away.

        While the outcome of your sister’s case is so very tragic, the one little positive glimmer is he can never again physically hurt her. She no longer has to live in fear that he will get out of jail or send someone else after her.

        • Thanks for the support, and you’re right – I believe that, even if he had been arrested, he would have done something horrific as soon as he was released, and she would have lived in fear. He was a successful, popular guy, and my sister does not want people to know what really happened or why he committed suicide. So we’ll be smiling and pretending at the funeral . . .

          • Senior Attorney :

            Gah. That’s horrible.

            Sending all my best cyber support to you and your sister.

    • anonymous... :

      I am so proud of you for leaving, and I feel such empathy over the circumstances surrounding how you left. I am so sorry you have lived through this.

      Right now I’m guessing you’re experiencing shock and confusion and many other emotions. Your emotions might be all over the place. And I want you to know this is completely normal.

      Each state and each case is entirely different, so please know that you have done the right thing even if the police investigation is ultimately unable to hold him accountable for his actions. Never ever regret stepping up for yourself in this way.

      I am so glad you are staying with a family friend. I beg you, do not let him know where you are staying. If you are able, don’t have any contact with him right now. Statistically, the most dangerous time is after you have left. If you see escalating or confusing behavior from him, please do everything that is necessary to ensure you are safe. If this means going to a shelter, by all means, go.

      Your sentiment of “how did I let it get so bad” rings true to me and to many others who have experienced physical and s*xual violence at the hands of loved ones. Many others have suggested counseling, and I speak from personal experience when I say that it can be helpful and, in my experience, was absolutely necessary to helping me heal. I also suggest a domestic violence and/or s*xual assault support group. It’s hard to show your face, but it can help you understand you’re not alone and to learn from very wise, strong women.

      Please be gentle with yourself, and know that you are welcome to seek support from this community. I am so, so glad you have reached out thus far, and my thoughts have been and will continue to be with you.

    • Anonymous :

      Re-post to avoid moderation:

      I read your weekend post this morning and was hoping you would update us. Your story really resonates with me, so I want you to know you’re not the only one and it does get better. My ex-husband would choke me or hold a knife to my throat when he r@ped me. After, he would tell me he knew how much I liked it even though I wouldn’t admit that I liked it. Sometimes he would pick me up, n@ked, and throw me out the front door of our house. He said I liked the rush.

      At the time, I was too afraid to call the police and I’ve always regretted it. Kudos to you for doing it; I wish I’d had your courage. It’s been almost 10 years since I got my divorce and I really can’t imagine what my life would have been like – if I would still be alive – had I not left him. I’d never felt more free than when I realized I would never have to see him again. I have a great life and great friends, and I know you will be able to build a fantastic life for yourself, too. Hang in there and please keep us updated.

      • Senior Attorney :

        At the risk of sounding condescending, I’m so proud of you, too, Anonymous!! And mad as can be at your ex!! Please try not to spend too much time on your regrets, and concentrate on how super awesome you were and are to get out and build yourself the great life you deserve!

    • Anonymous :

      oh my god. I am so sorry. I am so, so, so glad you called the police and are out of the house. Please keep us updated, I will think of you all the time. My heart is truly with you

    • ExcelNinja :

      Oh my gosh. I’m so very sorry, Anon. My thoughts are with you. He is horrible.

      • I would also start a written narrative of the situation, to help with any legal preparation you’re going to undertake. What life was like *before*, then the first time, what you said, what he said, how many times after that, etc.

        I’d been wondering about you and hoping you were okay.

        STAY STRONG! You can get through this!

  18. I send my daughter to daycare in the midwest. She has been going there for about 10 weeks now, and she’s about 6 months old. She has 3 teachers in her infant room who are great to her. It’s the most expensive place in town, so it’s a sacrifice for us to send her there, but the only place I felt comfortable.

    What kind of Christmas gift? Straight cash? I always hate to get the Visa/Master gift cards because there’s an activation fee, and it seems like I never use the last amounts loaded on the card. What amount? I’m open to other gift ideas, but wonder what the norm is?

    I’m new to all of this! I appreciate your help.

    • My bank will do gift cards that have no fees for the buyer or the recipient if you have an account there. Yours might, too.

    • OG assistance :

      Cash. Think of it as a bonus for their job that you pay them (so, not a present). If you got a non-cash bonus at your job (or a card where the balance declined or you couldn’t use it to pay the bus fare), that wouldn’t make you happy.

      Daycare teachers are horribly underpaid and with small class sizes, they don’t get the gifts in the infant room the way they do in the older kids room (so 1:4 ratio classes v. 1:8 ratio classes v. 1:12 ratio classes). I would give them as much as you can (so $100 per teach if you can do that, and if you can do more, do more; if you have a parent friend who has been there a while, maybe you can find what is market for your area / center).

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        +1 to this. I don’t have a child, but I have friends who are or have been daycare teachers, and it’s an underpaid industry, even at the best/most expensive daycares. I think cash is the best call.

    • Seventh Sister :

      My suggestion would be a gift card for each of them from a big-box store like Target, etc. along with a card thanking them for all of their hard work.

      Another thing that might be nice (but possibly hard to coordinate, definitely ask the director) would be to send something like lunch or an Edible Arrangement thingy for the teachers. Our daycare is in a residential area, so the teachers have to bring lunch or order from one of the very few places that will deliver in that part of town.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Question along these same lines — my child’s daycare parent group sent out a request to all parents to give a specific amount per child that would then be divided equally among all teachers as a bonus to “simplify” giving. I’ve paid my child’s share, but should I do more? Should I be giving an additional monetary bonus to the teachers? Or is it a faux pas now that the school is ostensibly handling it?

      • I think you can give something sweet / sentimental to the teachers. I think of it as my firm may give me a bonus, but it is nice if the direct boss takes us to lunch / has us over for a party, etc. But along the lines of something with a human touch (as opposed to more $). Like a snowflake your child cut out and put a sticker on or some cookies etc.

        • Maddie Ross :

          Thanks! I was thinking of doing something like that (peppermint bark or similar, plus card). That confirms my suspicions.

    • Woah, do people really give $100 per teacher? I mean, I am willing to, but this is higher than I have seen. Can others comment? I was going to do personalized tumblers (all my daughter’s teachers use those insulated tumblers) and a gc but I wasn’t thinking that much…..

      • My sister runs a daycare…she said $25 is about average for the teachers; some parents give $10, some do $50. $100 is a lot, but may not be extreme in a big city center. FWIW my sister’s center charges $1500 per infant per month- maybe that helps?

        My daycare charges $1900 per month for infants; we did $50 for the main teacher and $25 for each of the 2 assistants.

      • OK, we are in a small-ish suburb of a southern town. Our school’s infant tuition is $1300, I think, and that is the highest in the area by a decent margin. My daughter is in the toddler room, though. That is helpful – I was thinking in the $50 range. Thanks!

      • Anonymous :

        My daycare center in a major city asks for $30 per family, which it divides among the teachers.

  19. Miss Behaved :

    Apparently, bomb scares are to universities what fire alarm pulls are to elementary schools. It’s exam week at the universities in my area.

    An emailed threat has cancelled exams at one university. Just now another is reporting the possibility of a gunman. What are the chances that we’ll be evacuated at my university? It’s 16 degrees out with windchill and the sidewalks are pretty icy.

    • Ack. I’m sorry! My best friend works at the same university as you — I’d better lob a text msg to check in.

    • From what I understand of the bomb threat one, they’ve only evacuated certain building, so hopefully if you’re there, you can find warm shelter somewhere else on campus.

    • So, right after I read this comment, I went to check my phone and my husband who works at the bomb threat school had sent a text that said “I love you.” I’m hoping he’s just on his lunch break because the timing could not be more disconcerting!

  20. Thailand Threadjack! :

    My husband and I are going to Thailand in February for two weeks and need some tips from the hive. We’ve bought our tickets to and from Bangkok, but we’re still trying to decide on other destinations in Thailand. We were thinking Chiang Mai for 3-4 days, but were uncertain about Phuket since I heard its super commercialized and overrun with tourists. I was also thinking Ko Samui instead of Phuket, but uncertain if there would be enough to do there besides laying around on the beach. Has anybody been to Phuket or Ko Samui? Any suggestions for places to see, places to stay, places to eat, how long to stay in Thailand? How do the locals dress? Any other tips?

    • I do recommend Chiang Mai, but if you have the time, why not go further north to Chiang Rai or Mae Sai? Chiang Mai is definitely different than Bangkok, but is ultimately still a big city – it might be fun to go further afield. There is lots to do around Chiang Mai, though.

      Phuket is overrated, in my opinion – I’ve never liked it for the reasons you describe. If you want a couple of days of beach time but can’t deal with more than that (which is the category I usually fall into), don’t bother going all the way to Phuket – Hua Hin is good and there are some nice hotels there. If you do decide to go further south, Ko Samui is OK or you could take one ferry more and go to Ko Tao, where there is decent snorkelling.

      A nice day trip from Bangkok is Kanchanaburi Province – you can go on the train from Bangkok. The train goes through Nakhon Pathom, which has a wonderful temple and is known for its sticky rice cooked in bamboo. At Kanchanaburi, you can visit the Kwai River (of “Bridge on the River Kwai” fame), a really interesting POW museum, and go on a rafting trip down the river (on a “party raft” or not…).

      Ayuthaya, the old Thai capital, is also a good day trip – if you go on the train, once you arrive hire a tuk-tuk for the day to drive you around between sites. The tuk-tuk drivers all know all the sites and act as unofficial tour guides.

      There is tons to do in Bangkok so you will have to decide what is important to you, but one of my favourites is Jim Thompson’s House, near Mahboonkrong Centre – a pleasant oasis and gorgeous artwork to look at, and then you can go to MBK Centre afterwards for lunch in the food court.

      Re how to dress, in general there is as big a range as in North America, but there is kind of a double standard for foreigners and you will be treated better if you dress better. Do not wear flip-flops – Thais only wear them around the house or for quick runs to the market in the morning. As a woman, I recommend a nice tank top and knee-length skirt, or sundress, with flat shoes since the sidewalks in Thailand are very uneven and sometimes downright dangerous.

      As far as accommodation goes in Bangkok, even if you are on a budget, do not stay in Khao San Road – you can do much better and people get ripped off there all the time. There is a nice, clean guest house on Silom Road that I have stayed in before and highly recommend – For You Residence – it is geared towards budget business travellers so is nice and quiet, and well located. The Bangkok Christian Guesthouse is also good.

      I may think of more as well as I am prompted by other people’s responses….

      • DC Association :

        I agree 100% about Chiang Rai. I went to Thailand in 2003 I think (gosh, doesn’t seem that long ago) and we went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Phuket. Chiang Rai was by far my favorite. It is just gorgeous. I’d go back again in a heartbeat.

        Phuket was quite nice, but we stayed at a resort all the way at the southern tip of the island which is not commercialized at all.

    • frustrated academic :

      We went to Thailand last January for two weeks–we spent a few days in Bangkok (one day touring, one day at a fishing park), several days in Cambodia (an hour or so flight) to see Angkor Wat, then a few days in Chiang Mai, a few in Phukett, and then a day in Bangkok before flying home. If you have a chance to go to Cambodia, I really recommend it–the temples are amazing, as is speaking to those who grew up under and after the Khmer Rouge. Phukett is commercialized, but by the end of the trip, it was nice to stay at a resort, lay on the beach, and relax–we stayed at Twin Palms, which was a little more out of the way and catered to families and couples rather than twenty-something backpackers.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I went to Phuket in 2008. We had spent time in Singapore first. We were at the Laguna Sheraton. We had booked a basic room but were upgraded to this ridiculous huge villa with our own private pool next to the golf course. We never ended up leaving the resort. We biked around the resort, went kayaking, laid by the beach, ate lots of awesome food and just had an overall awesome relaxing time. It was not at all overcrowded on the resort.

      The only thing I didn’t like is we were told to not swim in the ocean because there were a ton of very dangerous men-of-war sighted. I like to swim in the ocean so I was pretty bummed about that.

    • I did three weeks in Thailand for my bar trip. I’d definitely recommend Chiang Mai — I think it was my favorite part of the trip. (Definitely check out Patara Elephant Farm if you can get a reservation). We also did the Gulf of Thailand islands — Ko Samui, Ko Tao, and Ko Phangan. I’d skip Ko Phangan, but Ko Tao was insanely beautiful, had nice snorkeling, and was a great experience. The nice thing about those islands is that they’re all close, so you can take a day trip to different islands. For example, when we stayed on Ko Tao, we took a boat to Ko Nangyuan for the day and the snorkeling there was great.

      • Yes, Ko Nangyuan is the first place I ever went snorkelling. I haven’t been there in quite a long time now, but it was gorgeous and I now know that the snorkelling was pretty good!

    • Anonymous :

      Phuket is gross. Koh Samui is fine, but it’s just a bunch of big box resorts on the (admittedly nice) beach, without a lot of character. If you want to go to the beach, try to make it down to Krabi, Au Nang, or Railay beach.

      Also, if there is any way you can carve off a few days and go to Cambodia, DO IT. Angkor Wat is the most spectacular place I have ever seen.

  21. This has nothing to do with anything, but I need to share…

    I made the last payment on my student loans today!!!! Six figure debt, 2 1/2 years out of school, small firm salary. Boom.

    • Please share how you did it!
      And huge congrats!

    • Awesome! Can hardly wait to hear how you out-mustached Mr. Money Mustache (and other extreme savers), if that’s the route you took. :-)

    • A.Carlyle :

      CONGRATS!!!!!! What an awesome feeling.

    • lucy stone :

      AWESOME! Congratulations!

      Tell us your secrets!

    • Thank you everyone!

      Refinancing/consolidating the loans with a home equity line of credit was KEY. The interest rate was substantially lower, and, because the credit line has been “open” this whole time, we did not have to deal with amortized payments that have 10 years worth of interest built in. Consequently, the large payments we made every month went almost completely toward paying down the principal balance. In addition, any extra money (i.e. bonuses) went to the loan.

      We also did not change our standard of living from when I was in school and began aggressively paying down the loans as soon as I got a job, so I think it was easier to stomach because we were not accustomed to spending that money anyway. We are not quite at Mr. Money Mustache’s level, but we definitely have a lower cost of living than most who are similarly situated and have delayed all non-essential big ticket purchases (every Halloween, the trick or treaters look into my empty front room and ask if we are moving, lol). Although we will likely redirect a good chunk of what was going toward the loan every month to savings now, I am beyond excited at the prospect of finally replacing our terrible dryer and starting to live like a real live adult :-D

    • Senior Attorney :


      Hooray for you!! Welcome to the other side!!

  22. Ladies, my husband and I plan to take a trip to Europe next summer. We want to hit up Paris, London, and someplace in Spain TBD. I’m just starting to do initial research and was wondering if there were recommendations on guidebooks/websites/articles for such a trip (aside from trip advisor). Thanks in advance!

    • Guidebooks really cater to different audiences so it really depends on what kind of a trip you want to take. Paris, London and Spain are a LOT to take in — how much time do you have for your trip? Have you been there before? What kind of a trip do you envision?

      If you just want a general overview, maybe get Rick Steves’ Best of Europe book – I find that he usually has a pretty accurate idea of how much time you should allocate at a minimum for any place and some good ideas on where to stay, neighborhood wise, and what to do. If you’re not going to have a lot of time to spend in any one place, the NY Times has a great 36 hours in X feature, and they’ve certainly covered your destinations. And as for Spain, if you want to continue your capitals theme, Madrid is one of my all time favorite cities. For a change of pace, I would also include at least a day trip (but overnight is so much better) to nearby Toledo. Or do something different after London/Paris and go to Barcelona or thereabouts. Also, try to avoid travelling in August. Everything is more expensive and most of the locals are on vacation. In Paris, esp., lots of stuff may be closed.

      • thanks AIMS! We have never been to Europe (outside of Sicily) before. We plan to make the trip about 2 weeks, so we were thinking about 4 nights in each city. I know you could easily spend 2 weeks in just one of the cities, so the trip is more of a general overview itself than a deep immersion. We definitely want to do the touristy things – see the eiffel tower, buckingham palace, etc. Appreciate your recs for the NYT and Rick Steves.

    • This may seem strange, but consider talking to an old-fashioned travel agent. My husband and I at one point were thinking of (but ultimately weren’t able to take) a trip to the Benelux, Germany, and Switzerland. We met with a travel agent and she had some amazing ideas we never would have considered, plus she had lots of ideas for how to cut costs without making any real sacrifices. I also used a student travel agency for my post-bar trip (just for the air travel, which was a little complicated) and it was incredibly helpful. Just make sure you find someone who’s actually a real travel agent and not just someone who acts as a middleman for tour companies (tour companies are fine, but only if you want a tour company kind of vacation).

    • So I’m late on this and I don’t know if you’re still checking but a friend and I did a two-week Eurotrip and did exactly what you’re looking for – Paris, London and both Madrid and Barcelona. Two weeks was honestly plenty of time for a general tourist trip. I would maybe skip Madrid and split up the extra time between the other three cities. We booked our flights to/from Europe and also within Europe using the smaller/cheaper airlines and hotels/hostels in each city and then I did a lot of research and figured out what we wanted to do. We made a long list of what we wanted to do in each city and then did everything we could without sticking to a strict itinerary.

      • To Lawyer – thank you for responding! I am def still looking at this and stressing about it! Could you tell me in what order you visited the cities? And what time of the year did you go (as in what month)? We were originally thinking July but I just read that July is the worst time to go due to the high tourist season so we might go in late May instead. Planning vacations really stress me out!!

        • So I did a lot more work than my friend in planning our vacation, mostly because I love planning and also because I was avoiding studying for my 3L finals. We flew into Paris, went to barcelona (and then Madrid) and ended in London. We went in early May which was perfect – the weather was a little cool in Paris (it rained one day and we needed jackets) but perfect in Barcelona. I think late May would be perfect.

          I would avoid July because it is peak tourist season and is WAY TOO HOT. I was in Italy one July and thought I would melt.

          I would actually love to re-live my trip. I think I still have my itinerary around somewhere which I am happy to send you if you email me at toronto [dot] name of this site @ gmail [dot] com

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