Wednesday’s TPS Report: Side Gathered Crepe Sheath Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. Ellen Tracy Side Gathered Crepe Sheath Dress

This dress isn’t amazingly exciting — but it’s the kind of wardrobe workhorse that you wear year-round, can dress up or down, and keep for years. I think it would look great for the office with a strand of pearls, a tweed blazer, and pumps. On the weekend (in winter) I’d wear it with tall brown boots and a slouchy, comfy gray cardigan with a long necklace. For a night on the town I’d wear it with a sparkly bib necklace, a wrap, some patterned tights or hose, and some strappy pumps.  In the summer, I’d switch to bare legs and pastel accents… the possibilities go on and on.  The dress is $118, and available in sizes 2-16.  (It used to come in red as well, but seems to have sold out — maybe call your local store if you’re interested.) Ellen Tracy Side Gathered Crepe Sheath Dress

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


  1. Morning threadjack, inspired by end-of-year reviews:

    What’s the most helpful advice/comment you’ve received in a review?

    • This wasn’t in a review, but the first time I chaired a faculty peer-review committee, I talked with my senior colleague (they were her supervisees) about what we perceived the problems to be. I was feeling overwhelmed by some of the feedback I felt we should give them. She advised me to strip it down to the most important issues and not to focus on all of the little problems. Cut to the core and focus on a couple of important things. She was also the one who taught me about planning difficult conversations. Think carefully about the words you want to use so you aren’t talking off the cuff in a difficult situation.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      As a baby lawyer, one of the most important pieces of advice my old supervisor gave me was that in practising law, you can’t always find The Answer in the way you do in law school problem, but you have to give your client An Answer. There may not be a case or statute that exactly fits what you are doing, the point is pulling together the available information and proposing a solution. Though I’m not now a litigator, this was great advice and applies just as well to transactional work!

    • Famouscait :

      “You’re the same person at work day-to-day as you were in the interview process.”

      This is pretty specific feedback, but I really took it to heart. It reminds me to be genuine even when I’m trying to impress/get a job/close a gift/etc.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Again, not in a review, but one of the most helpful things that I try to remember when I do my job is similar to Woods,Elle’s response–customer service.

      As a regulator, I have to tell people “no” a lot. I have to do it in the best way possible, and I have to respect the customers’ concerns. I also have to be prepared to tell them that I don’t have the answer right away, but that I will look into it. And then follow through in a timely manner.

      I think that if you are pleasant to the people that you work with (not your co-workers–but you should be pleasant to them too!), and bite your tongue when they’re being jackwagons, allowing them to fully unload before you respond, you’ll go a long way.

      It is always a really great feeling to tell someone “no” with a legit, clear reasoning, and have them appreciate your helpfulness and sincerity at the end of the day.

      • This +infinity. It can be really hard to be the one who always has to be the bad guy/say no. No one ever wants to hear it. Especially when some one is being a jackass about. I keep telling myself you catch more flies with honey. I wish some of my co-workers would remember that. Most of the time some one is being a jackass with me is because the first person who said no was a jackass.

  2. Can anyone recommend a travel book for Burma/Myanmar. I see the regular Fodor’s and Lonely Planet on Amazon, but just wondering if anyone who has been there has a preference!

    • applesandcheddar :

      Not a book, but check out the lonely planet forum. There are a lot of seasoned travelers there who can offer great advice, trip reports, and they have the most up to date information. They can also usually answer any questions you have. It’s my first and last stop before any international trip.

    • Thanks! I’m not going (sadly), but I am looking for a guide book for my sister and BIL for Christmas. They live in Singapore and take lots of amazing trips of which I am jealous.

      PS. Your screen name is making me hungry!

  3. Killer Kitten Heels :
  4. applesandcheddar :

    I’m starting a new position where I will be traveling to developing countries (mostly in Africa) and providing technical assistance to small government agencies, and I’m wondering what I should wear. I would ask someone in my office, but everyone is male. Any ideas. In the U.S. I usually wear pencil skirts, a top, and a cardigan. I will wear tights if it’s cold and bare legs if it’s warm enough. Any advice at all would be appreciated.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I haven’t traveled extensively for work, but a close friend does (travel industry, the lucky thing!) and she wears pretty much what you’re describing (although she prefers blazers), but will adjust accordingly for local cultural norms (i.e. in more conservative countries the pencil skirt might be replaced by a long skirt or wide-leg pants, looser-fitting/decidedly not body-con clothes, etc.). You can definitely ask the men you work with about formality levels – they may not be able to comment on skirt lengths, but they’ll be able to tell you whether they show up to those meetings in business suits or shirt sleeves, and then you can plan to wear the female equivalent (maybe just a hair dressier if they’re doing jeans and a t-shirt or something).

    • wildkitten :

      How modest you need to be will depend on the country and situation, but you should definitely wear skirts.

      • A friend working in South Sudan wears knee or mid-calf length skirts and 3/4 to long-sleeved skirts. I think it depends on the country but maybe googling some photos of different organisations or events could provide some guidance?

      • I think that depends on the country. In some countries it’s more modest to wear long pants than a knee- or mid-calf skirt (e.g., India – I learned the hard way).

        • Globalemily :

          I would agree with TBK that it depends on the country. When I interned at a large firm in India, none of the women wore skirts or dresses. Dress pants with a nice top (it was summer so no sweaters!) or the traditional salwar kameez were the outfits the women in the office wore. I wore an ankle length skirt on a few occasions, and even without showing any leg I felt like I stuck out.

    • DC Wonkette :

      Slightly different, but I did a lot of traveling in the Middle East a few years back. Despite the heat, I just gave it up and switched to all pants suits. It’s easier to travel in, you can move around a lot easier, and you don’t have to worry about whether something is appropriate. I packed 1-2 pairs of black pants and just wore different tops/blazers depending on the length of the trip.

    • I worked briefly in West Africa and one thing I was not prepared for was how difficult it can be to keep your clothes clean on the street, in taxis, etc. (The local women all looked immaculate all the time — head-to-toe white cotton with not a speck of the red dust that was everywhere — but I just lacked that skill and usually looked rumpled and dirty.) So even if the weather is warm, I’d suggest leaning toward darker colors, prints, texture, etc. that just doesn’t show the dirt as much.

    • I’ve spent time in East Africa and would recommend skirts below the knee. The female expats often wore skirts just below the knee with a nice cardigan.

    • West Africa :

      I studied in West Africa. Women dress more formally in my experience. +1 to skirts longer than the knee and +1000 to how hard it is to keep things clean. Probably not an issue if you’re traveling for business but: if you air dry any clothes make sure you iron everything before wearing – there are bugs that lay eggs in wet clothing and this can get pretty gross…

  5. Thanks to everybody who chimed in yesterday about the hydrocodone cough syrup. I ate a real dinner last night and took it, even though I was worried about getting up for my flight this morning. Everything was fine, I didn’t get sick this morning, and I’m off to the airport!

    • kjoirishlastname :

      yay! glad you’re feeling better

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I read your post too late to respond but wanted to give you my tidbit of advice. In the past I used to get yearly bronchitis and nothing would stop my cough. I pulled muscles and near broke ribs. The narcotics made me sleepy and woozy but I would still be coughing.

      My grandmother told me to drink a modified hot toddy. Honey lemon tea, extra honey, some whiskey, and cloves. I took a few sips and my cough was GONE. I shared my cure with my doc and he completely approved it, and suggested a few cautious sips at work too. From a medical standpoint, the side effect/risk of a few sips of a diluted whiskey drink are a lot lower than narcotic drugs you aren’t supposed to drive on.

      I avoided making or drinking this at work though I had discussed my cure with work people. One day I was coughing so bad my boss ran out and came back with a nip of whisky, some honey, a lemon and a teabag and begged me to just drink one at my desk. I complied.

      As you know, the annoying thing about *the cough* is you are no longer contagious but the darn thing can last months.

      • I’ll come back later to get your hot toddy ingredients! A guy I was singing with the other day recommended a hot toddy but I honestly didn’t know how to make one. I’ve been avoiding alcohol with all of the medication but I am definitely on the mend. I had taken codeine cough syrup before and it didn’t really work (other than knocking me out) but this pulmonologist wanted me to try a new cough syrup with a stronger antihistamine for night. That seems to be doing the trick. I’m hardly coughing at all and, when I was driving around last night, I was singing along with the radio and I realized I got my low notes back. It dries me out but I’ve been hydrating well.

        • Oh and I have strained muscles around my ribs twice!!

        • A ‘regular’ hot toddy is technically a kind of brewed tea with sweetener and spices with alcohol added. Not as complicated as it sounds ;o) But the way I do them quickly at home is just to brew a cup of some kind of tea (i like ginger, but as Blonde Lawyer said, lemon tea is good) adding a cinnamon stick/cloves, whatever while the tea is brewing. Then after removing the tea bag, add a bit of honey and liquor. I like to make them a lot in the winter just for the cozy factor. Altho back in the day my voice teacher always recommended just straight hot water with lemon and honey added, so I guess that’s basically the same thing. ;o)

    • Yay, I’m glad it worked! and safe travels!

  6. anon in tejas :

    my brother wants a g/c from banana republic for xmas. He’s 17, and I think that it’s cute that he wants to pick out some adult clothes. anyone here know if I go to Old Navy and pick one up (much easier to access for me than BRs in the mall), will it work at BR?

    thanks in advance,

  7. Baconpancakes :

    Trends You Hate To Love Poll:

    There are some trends I love that I refuse to wear because everyone else is wearing them.

    Examples: Army-style jackets. LOVE THEM, but more because of Freaks and Geeks than current styles. I refused to buy one because everyone and their mother had one this year. Also, puffer vests. I’m glad they’re in style because my navy one from the fishing lodge eight years ago is wearing out and the current ones are prettier than my old one, but every single fashion blog and co-ed is wearing them. I’ve put off buying the forest green Lands’ End one I wanted, and now it’s out of stock. *headdesk*

    Is anyone else ridiculous about overdone trends like this, even if you love them?

    • No. I wear what I like, regardless of whether its trendy or not. If I hate a trend, I will not wear it. If I love a trend, I will.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Uggs. I would LOVE to have a pair, but I just think that they are so overdone. Especially in my college town where ever girl wears them with leggings.

      Crocs too, but I can see their usefulness in gardening outweighing the fact that they annoy me too.

      I did succumb to the skinny jeans last year. And then I tucked them into my riding boots.

      • The Uggs trend makes me angry. I have a pair from 15 years ago, still going strong, because they were pre trend and are extremely well made, with reinforcement around the toe, a serious lug sole for ice, and so warm. Still soft after all these years.

        I also have another pair my mom got me a few years ago, post-trend. Supposedly the same boot. No reinforcement around toe, sole is like a freaking flip-flop sole. I guess they figured out that more of their purchasers were in California than Wisconsin, but I was so bummed. They were the same “title” of boot, and the same PRICE range. But most decidedly NOT the same boots.

        The ones that are closest to the ones I got the first time “which were just original uggs at the time” are now called the “ultimate tall boot”, and even those aren’t as good as my first pair, and are twice the price.

        • Yes – most of their customer base IS in California. And Australia, and other surfing communities. That’s where it was started and how it proliferated in the first place. It was never meant to be a winter boot.

          And was totally trendy in the late 90s.

    • Yep. I always feel a little sad when stuff I really like becomes very “in” because inevitably it means it will be considered “out,” not to mention that seeing too many people in a certain item tends to ruin it for me aesthetically. I felt this way about florals (I love all flower prints with a passion), and also about maxi dresses (have been wearing them waaaaaaay longer than they’ve been “in”). You’re not alone.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Bubble necklaces and associated knockoffs.

    • No, if I like something I will wear it. Worrying about being ~unique~ is something I left behind in my teenage hipster days.

      • Yes, me too. Although I will admit that I kind of like the bubble necklace and its knock-off cousins, but I would feel weird wearing such a conspicuously “trendy” piece. Not sure they’d look that good on me anyway, I think it would be too big.

        But otherwise, I wear what I think looks good on me. I just try to avoid mutton-dressed-as-lamb.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Owls. I found this really fun steampunk-ish owl pendant about two months before owls got “cool” and were suddenly in, and while I still wear my fun pendant, I kind of hate that they’re so darned “in” now.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Owls are suddenly everywhere aren’t they?

        I love it though. I say “Hedwig, RIP” when I wear my owl necklaces.

    • Stripey t-shirts except I love them and rather like that they have become so easy to find. This year was the first time I passed on stock-piling multiples when we saw them in local markets in France.

      • Senior Attorney :

        OMG I am such a sucker for stripes! I have at least half a dozen striped tops in my wardrobe, and just got another one yesterday. Love, love, love. Love. I always feel like I look all fashion-bloggery, ca. 2011, when I wear them, but the heart wants what the heart wants…

        • I like stripes too. Not only that, I realized that like 80% of the tops my boys wear are striped (because I’m buying for them, of course).

          • Me too! I can always tell the shirts I buy for my boys, because they are either striped or plaid, vs the ones they pick out on their own (camo or graphic tees with sayings on them). Makes me sad that the ones I pick are worn far less. How dare they have their own tastes? LOL! ;p

          • kjoirishlastname :

            +2. My boys generally wear stripes or plaids. We have some graphic t-shirts, but not many anymore. I only shop consignment for them (because they’re going to outgrow or trash whatever I buy), and the cute graphic-y stuff doesn’t seem to make it, especially in my eldest son’s size (6-7). Funny thing is that HE is the one who wants the plaid button-downs! My little man!

          • Yeah, I’m very lucky that my boys prefer to shop at Old Navy – even my almost 14yo is very happy with his ON wardrobe. He loves the tees & doesn’t care about brand name jeans (yet). He’s just on the cusp of adult sizes, though, and then the prices sure go up! He’s already there for shoes, and so his shoes are more than double his brothers! Ahh, the joys of having a teenager. Actually, that’s my biggest complaint about him, so I’m counting myself lucky & waiting to see when the teenager attitude is going to kick in.

    • Uggs. Loathe them. They are not winter boots. I own a pair and only wear them inside as slippers.

      • To be fair, they are perfect winter boots for California – I would never wear them in a really cold, snowy place but in California they are perfect for when it dips down into the 30s and 40s and my normal footwear (sandals and ballet flats) is inappropriate.

    • Yes. I bought a gorgeous evening gown in 2008 with a dramatic hi-low hem – I loved it because it was unique. Fast-forward a few years and the dress looks like something that would be featured in Seventeen Magazine. I’ve still kept it, but it is way too trendy for my tastes and will probably look dated in five years (I’m hoping to find a tailor to hem it into a short c-tail dress, which will hopefully be a bit more versatile and timeless).

    • “It” handbags and mens-inspired gold watches (a la Michael Kors).

    • Hunter boots. I started looking at them a few years ago before they became so popular, because I needed new wellies. But I didn’t buy them at the time because they seemed too expensive. Now I just can’t bring myself to buy them because everyone and their dog is wearing them – and they’ve gotten even more expensive with their newfound popularity!

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        I got my Hunters on ideeli for $29 around 2 years before they became the “it” shoe, and I laugh every time I see them “on sale” for $90+.

      • Funny to think of hunters as a trend. I realize they are but I’ve been wearing them for years for their original purpose – Wellington boots for the barn. I had to buy my first pair in the UK because they weren’t available in the US.

    • I totally am. I have a delusion of non-conformity that is ridiculous. ;o)

      I really want to replace my lace up combat-ish style boots that are falling apart because they were SO comfy, but this year the entire SF Bay area is wearing lace-up combat boots and I just can’t bring myself to do it ;oP

  8. kjoirishlastname :

    wardrobe help needed. I bought this top (asymmetric ruffle shell in black from Loft) to wear to a christmas party. I also realized that it’s a pretty useful piece for work too, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to style it. I had every intention of wearing it with black/gray tweedy dress pants & heels today, with a cardi overtop, but none of the cardis looked right. I tried on a black crew-neck w/ long sleeves; a pink (not baby pink, not quite hot pink) v-neck w/subtle beading on the shoulders & long sleeves; and the same pink crew-neck w/3/4 sleeves. Nothing seemed to look right. I tried belting with a skinny patent belt & the 3/4 sleeve cardi, and that didn’t do it for me either. So instead, I ended up with a baby pink cable turtleneck…and the shell back in the closet.

    How would you wear it?

    www dot loft dot com/asymmetrical-ruffle-shell/315491

    • The volume that the ruffles have make it really hard to pair with something over top. If you have narrow hips, I think you might be able to wear it with skinny pants and a cardi or blazer on top and just embrace the volume contrast. If you have wider hips though I can’t really think of what to wear on top of it without making yourself look wider – I’d just save it for occasions where you can be sleeveless.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I’d go with a long grey cardigan and a long station necklace.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      What about a shrug? That way you’ll have sleeves without the added-volume effect.

    • Open waterfall cardigan and a slim cut pencil skirt.

    • I agree that the flowiness of the top needs more structure on the next layer – so, a blazer on top rather than a cardigan of any sort. And a structured fabric on the bottom as well.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      You ladies are brilliant. THank you for your advice! As it happens, I have such a long grey waterfall cardi that I received last year from DH for christmas. And a black pencil skirt. Or a velveteen teal blazer.

  9. Hmm, it would not have occurred to me to wear a dress like this on the weekend, but I actually have all of the suggested pieces. I’m intrigued!

  10. Ladies–any suggestions for thicker TALL leggings? I see the polartec power stretch ones from Athleta. I own some thin/not great ones from Long Tall Sally. Anybody? TIA!

  11. Husband med issues :

    Since we got together, my husband has been on a pill to help him get to sleep. He’s been promising that he’d stop taking them. I finally got around to reading the package insert and it seems that they’re just for short term use (he’s been on them for years) and you’re supposed to take them and then go straight to bed (he seems to stay up late and binge eat, which is not good for him b/c he’s already a heart attack waiting to happen and is on statins for that). I am amazed that he has a doctor who lets him do this (and if it were something like Ocycontin, yikes). But this is like watching him be a zombie every night and doing things that are destructive (in a death of a thousand cuts way, although he left a burner on the other night which I caught because I was up later than I usually am). This is craziness, no? Husband is all about promising to change, but short on delivering; I am now steaming mad at the doctor for enabling this and really want to call him up and give him my two cents.

    • This is a suggestion that is definitely not right for everyone, but maybe your husband could be helped by smoking weed to get to sleep. Ideally he wouldn’t need anything, but if he’s struggling with a prescription drug that isn’t meant to be taken in the long term, maybe a non-harmful plant substitute (especially if you live in a state where medical marijuana is available) could be a way to bridge the gap. I have two family members with insomnia issues who have reported good results with this.

      • Husband med issues :

        I think he uses his pills the way one would use pot (and reacts just like you would with it, down to eating all of the crunchy salty snacks). And no pot for us for various employment-related reasons and we’re not anywhere near places where that’s legal.

        I think the burner being left on was the final straw.

    • similar husband :

      I don’t have much to add, other than to say that I’m in the same boat, and it seems like a lost cause sometimes. It is disheartening to see my overweight, non-exercising husband who is filling his body with Modern Medicine to keep his cholesterol/BP/and associated various & sundry ailments at bay. Especially considering he’s 14 years older than I am, and both his parents have had strokes, at very early ages.

      I am living in gripping fear that I am going to be alone at 55 or 60. Or sooner. And that’s not too far away.


      • My variation is to dread becoming an impoverished, overwhelmed, and emotionally & financially inadequate caretaker. I don’t see myself being able to retire if he gets felled by disease. I also don’t see how I can go on working fulltime if he’s falling apart at home.

        My current solution, which I’m happy to share: Leverage your concerns. Get somebody else credible on your side. We’re in marriage counseling. The counselor has strongly suggested that DH needs to start exercising and taking much better care of his health.

    • Could you write up a description of the side effects that you are seeing for him to review with his doctor? Or could you go with him to the next visit? If he says he’s going to stop taking them and can’t/won’t, then he may have some sort of dependency that is worth addressing with a his doctor. Also, its possible that the physician has a legitimate reason for prescribing these for long term use despite what the package insert says.

    • This isn’t right for everyone, but I would insist on accompanying my husband to doctor’s appointment where I could raise my concerns and ask about weaning him off and trying other methods to treat his insomnia. If you’re not happy with the doctor, get a second opinion. (This assumes some willingness on your husband’s part…).

    • He needs to see another doctor and get on a regimen to taper off, stat. (It’s not your place to call his doctor, though – the doctor isn’t allowed to discuss his medical info with you without his permission, so it wouldn’t do much good). Your husband may be at fault for not taking the meds as recommended, but it’s not his fault that he can’t suddenly stop – sleeping aids can be addictive and it takes help to get off them. Sit down with him and voice your concerns about his safety, and instead of demanding that he stop, offer to help him find another physician (perhaps a sleep specialist, if you can get a referral) to find another solution.

      • bananagram :

        The doctor can’t discuss your husbands health with you but you are free to mention your concerns about your husband’s health to his doctor.

        • +1 Your husband might not tell the doctor about the burner, but it’s something the doctor should know. The doctor can’t talk to you about your husband, but you can provide the doctor with information.

          • Your husband’s doctor CAN talk to you about him – if your husband consents. He can give consent orally or in writing.

    • anon-oh-no :

      it may be that your husband has other issues that need to be worked out, which is causing the sleep problems, but why dont you let your husband’s dr. work it out with him. just because a package says they are for short term use doesnt mean a dr cannot appropriately prescribe them for longer term use (and ocycontin, to use your example, is for long term use). it sounds like you are concerned tht your husband may not be using the meds as prescribed and that youre taking it out on the dr.

      • Husband med issues :

        I think my husband is an addict and that the doctor enables that. There’s the demand side of the equation, but the package labeling was so surprising and upsetting that I am thinking about the supply side, too. [And this is with my lawyer hat on, but what if my husband had burned down the house or gassed us to death??? I hope our CO detectors work. Or what if I were out of town and he had to drive our children to the ER?]

        Husband reacts like an addict “noooo don’t take my pills; I’ll taper off, really, this time” and “it’s none of your business and I don’t want you to talk to my doctor.” I realize that the doctor can’t talk to me, but I do expect him to listen.

        • You can call the doctor and state what you’re seeing and that you think your husband is addicted to these pills. If the doctor continues to prescribe them, you should contact your state’s medical board for advice. You should also consider seeing a therapist asap, one who specializes in family addiction issues.

          Promising to change and actually changing are two very different things. Recognize that and take steps to product yourself.

        • I’d suggest putting your concerns in writing over a phone call. Is it possible your husband has several people writing him prescriptions? People can be very creative when it comes to getting drugs. “Oh, I spilled the bottle down the sink” to get around physicians asking for pill counts, etc. It could be that your husband has a bad doctor, but it could also be that the doctor has no idea the severity of the issues depending on what your husband is telling him.

        • I’m very sorry that you are dealing with this. My mother has been addicted to Ambien for about ten years and is finally getting treatment. Apparently if you take more than the prescribed dose Ambien acts like Xanax. She had to hit a rock bottom before she got treatment. My mother took a ton of them and fell down the stairs. She ended up in the emergency room and then in detox and then in outpatient treatment. My sisters and I raided her house to find out what she had taken and called her doctors and the pharmacies to get it in their records that she was abusing them so they wouldn’t issue them again.

          I think doctors are negligent when it comes to this. My mother was getting two different prescriptions from two doctors (her primary care physician and her GYN) for years, filling them at two different pharmacies and paying for one of them with insurance and one with cash. Why were her doctors prescribing it for years? Why was her gyn prescribing it at all? It’s effed up.

          Hopefully your husband will stop on his own or get treatment before things get dangerous. I suggest that you start to intervene with your husband’s doctor and watch closely what your husband is doing. Watch to see if he is taking more than he is supposed to by checking to see if there are bottles of the same prescription from different pharmacies. Check to see when he filled a prescription and if there are the right number of pills still in the bottle.

        • Medications do not have to be prescribed as labeled. For example, Lupron, which used to be used (and may still be used?) for IVF, was always prescribed off-label in the old days, since it was only approved for prostate cancer.

          So prescribing off-label is not unethical in itself.

    • Would it help to challenge to your husband to see if he can do without for a week, if he’s in denial about the fact of an addiction ? Won’t work for everyone, I just mention it in case it might be helpful for you.

      • I really wouldn’t suggest this. Abrupt withdrawal from sleeping pills can have serious and scary side effects. He really needs to taper off under the supervision of a doctor.

        • Yes. +100. Especially if he’s been on it for years. This is why you have addicts detox in an appropriate facility and not on someone’s couch.

        • +1. My spouse was hospitalized recently for having a paranoid/delirious reaction to his meds, one of which was a sleeping pill. you need to work with a doctor on this, esp if an addiction is at play.

      • Silvercurls :

        This is a good suggestion in theory, but somebody upthread commented that some meds can’t be stopped cold without serious side effects.
        Ugh, why do people (meaning DH & possibly the doctor) get into these situations? Hugs to OP. I hope DH can be persuaded to change.

        • “Ugh, why do people (meaning DH & possibly the doctor) get into these situations? ”

          I think you’re asking a question that I’ve asked many a time myself when I read about these situations, and, when I look at the way my mother has chosen to live in the last 15 years (not addiction, as she’s a modern day Puritan, but self-defeating holding patterns.)

          The world is scary. Life is scary. The unpredictability of existence is scary. I think that kind of existential …fear, plus other more concrete fears (perhaps, fears about not being ‘successful enough’, whatever that means, or *something* enough) can be paralyzing. I always get irked when people just chalk it up to either nature or nurture as if this were binary.

          And I am probably a broken record on this, as I’ve said this on this site dozens of times, but: one should never underestimate just how much energy it takes to structure a stable, reasonably comfortable life for yourself. I think if one is paralyzed by fear, all the energy is consumed by the sheer animal terror of that. That sheer animal terror can be spinning around in your head, preventing you from sleeping, or budging from the couch. Depending on the person, this fear can manifest in various ways (depression, anxiety, manic behavior, etc.)

          Even without the fear, everything takes energy. It takes energy to notice that you’re falling into a pattern. It takes even more energy to decide to do something about it. It takes even mor energy and will to get back on the wagon, if you fall off in the process of “doing something about it.” Much easier to just let the inertia, and the self-defeating habits slowly eat you away, because it’s so slow, it’s almost imperceptible.

          It’s also easy to let certain habits, some of which are outright bad for you, or totally nonproductive (cleaning the house obsessively every day, to fill up the time and avoid thinking about the really honking big issues, as my mother does) become the routine, almost like religious ritual.

          So, as I end my too-long musings on this broader question– it’s a wonder more people don’t get into the situations, because, well, life is very hard. I feel a lot of empathy for the OP, and completely understand her frustration, but I also feel compassion for her husband.

          • +1. I like that you always seem willing to go a little deeper, Susedna

          • Husband med issues :

            Thanks. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Before, talking about the pills felt like I was piling on, to use the football term. But the burner changed that. Maybe he can’t help but self destruct slowly, but he can’t confine how or when that happens and its effects on others (he is super-paranoid about our children getting into his meds and b/c he’s so out there when he’s on them, he has weird rituals he does around them in response to losing a fragment once that I found (so once that I found — how many are still out there???). I do our flex spending, so I’m surprised that our health care keeps paying for his refills (they do require that the prescription be written each month and not a “refillable” one) but unless he’s paying cash, there’s only one doctor involved.

            I think that pills can be so very gray (like alcohol, in that you can use it a little, and maybe it’s OK and maybe it’s not). If it were something illegal, the black and whiteness becomes much clearer.

            Part of the reason I posed this was to see if this is just done, by normal people acting normally (so I am the over-reactor, b/c I truly, truly can’t relate except that I do come from a family of closet alcoholics and feel like there’s some pressure just to let it go and hush up about it).

    • Anon for this :

      It could also be that husband’s doctor and husband’s doctor’s philosophy is different from your own. I currently see a doctor for ADD that is constantly trying to prescribe me a higher dose than I feel I need. We have different ideas of how to treat this and I only go her because my primary won’t do controlled substances.

      I also take xanax for flying yet this same doctor recommends it and wants to prescribe it to me for all sorts of other issues that I do not agree with medicating. I was a bystander to a traumatic scene and was having anxiety when I heard firetrucks for a few months after. I talked to her about getting a referral to a therapist and she instead suggested I just take a xanax every 4 hours for a month or so. I chose to do neither but she still sent me away with the prescription slip “in case I changed my mind.”

      I don’t necessarily think there is anything inherently wrong with taking a prescribed medicine that causes dependency so long as you continue using the medicine for its intended purpose. I wouldn’t have a problem with someone taking xanax daily for anxiety even if they became physically dependent on it. I just didn’t think it was appropriate for me or the right choice for me.

      There may be nothing medically wrong with taking a sleeping pill nightly for life. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. I think the bigger issue is if your treatment philosophy differs from your husband’s and his doctor’s. Ultimately, it is his body and his medical decisions so as long as it is within the standard of care I’m not sure I’d intervene on the prescribing end. I would, however, insist your husband only take the pills if he is going right to bed (so no sleep-cooking) .

      Regarding taking your kids to the ER, he could always call an ambulance, a taxi, a neighbor, a friend. There are times people can’t legally drive. I’m sure many parents have had one too many drinks at home before after the kids were asleep. If you travel and are worried he won’t wake up if there is a fire or something then you need to get a sitter for everyone when you are away. Just because a drug impairs you does not mean it is being abused or that it is improper to take it.

      You also seem to have a negative opinion of oxycodone. I work with the permanently injured and many many people need long term narcotic pain relief in order to live a normal life. They don’t get high from it. They feel normal when they are on it. Their bodies may develop a physical dependency and they may need increasing doses to get the same physical effect but again, this does not make them “addicts.” It is a legitimate medical treatment.

      • Husband med issues :

        Thanks. Sorry for the neg mention for pain meds — my part of the country has a lot of pill mill issues. So that makes it harder and more stigmatizing for legitimate users. And I agree on philosophy (I think too many drs are pressed for time and often tend to medicate rather than dig to get at multidisciplinary problems that may not be easily fixable). Plus, the drs only get as full of a picture as the patient gives them and half the time my husband can’t remember what he did the night before even if he were inclined to tell (which he isn’t).

    • It sounds like it’s gotten to the point of addiction. With addictions the person has no control over whether they stop, they only have control over whether the seek help treatment/support/etc. in stopping. The question is does your husband want to stop? If not, what boundaries are you going to set to take care of yourself?

  12. For those of you who had a serious debate over whether to have a wedding or not, what were some factors that went into your decision-making? Which way did you end up going? Did you regret your decision?

    We are having a tough time deciding whether to just get hitched at city hall or to have an actual wedding. Costs aren’t really an issue (in the sense that spending $25k will not affect our lifestyle), but we just don’t know if a wedding is for us.

    • We’re still in the planning phases but I think for us, acknowledging that it wasn’t just about us was important. Our families would be heartbroken if we didn’t include them. I think we’re both quite conscious of posing a strain to people’s time and resources and getting past and realising that there is no obligation implied and people will be there because they love us has been helpful.

      This doesn’t mean I don’t fantasize about eloping. I have very little interest in the details of wedding planning.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        This was me as well.

        I would’ve been happy to elope to city hall or a beach or something, but H was MIL’s “only wedding,” and it was important to him not to deprive her of that experience. I’m also my mom’s only daughter, and while she would’ve been cool no matter what we did, she took a lot of joy in doing the “traditional wedding” stuff with me, and I’m glad I was able to share that experience with her.

        I still don’t know if the money we spent (roughly in the ballpark of what OP is thinking of spending) was “worth it,” in the sense that the wedding experience was *more* valuable to me than other experiences I could’ve had with H for the same amount of money, but overall, I’m glad we did it the way we did, and I really enjoyed my wedding.

        As for the planning, don’t let bridal magazines fool you – a wedding need not be a year-long endeavor in Etsy purchases and mason jars and crafting with burlap. For H and I, we set our budget for each item on the “must plan this” list, interviewed 2-3 vendors that were within that budget, picked the one we liked best, and called it a day. We specifically focused on identifying vendors we could trust to run with things, so our decision-making was limited (i.e. we picked a catering hall that included linens/silverware/bar service/etc. in the price, so there was no “what table linens do we pick?!” nonsense happening, we picked a florist who was happy to work with “red flowers, not roses, no more than $75/table” as the centerpiece guidance, etc.). I’m definitely not knocking those who are crafty/love planning parties/etc. – in some ways, I’m jealous of that skill set, as I sorely lack it – but for those of us without the “crafty” gene, planning a wedding doesn’t have to be painful.

    • I would love to hear others’ thoughts on this as well. For various family reasons, I’m not sure I would want to have a wedding, but I also don’t want to be in a position where I regret that choice in the future.

      • I’m not sure I ever really understand the concern about “I’ll regret not having this one day” later. It’s a marriage. It’s supposed to last a lifetime. That’s the important part, and that’s the part you want to get right. Who cares how you start it off?

        • Despite the fact that American weddings have gotten enormous and unwieldy and many women don’t want that, there’s still the underlying tradition and cultural considerations to take into account. I know I enjoy looking at my grandma’s wedding photos with her family in attendance and I know she looks back on the day as a wonderful celebration of the marriage ahead. There’s something to be said for celebrating life milestones with the people you care about. Of course that can be done at City Hall as well as the Plaza, but it seems like the OP was asking about not having a wedding celebration at all.

        • I think that’s true and I agree with you. But the reason that it was important to me to have a traditional wedding is that I don’t see a marriage as just between two people. To me, that’s dating. Marriage, for me, is between two families, between the couple and society (including the government, but also society at large), and, depending on your beliefs, between the couple and their faith. I wanted all of these people to be part of my marriage, and therefore wanted them at my wedding (since I was starting something that I wanted them to join) because I knew marriage wasn’t going to be easy all the time, and I wanted the support of my family, friends, community, and God to be there for me and support me and support the marriage when it got tough. In exchange, I invited them to be part of its beginning. I know not everyone feels that way, but for me, that was the difference between being married and being boyfriend/girlfriend.

        • +1

          My teen daughter watches those tv shows on purchasing the wedding dress and I tell her the dress is one day, the marriage is a lifetime, worry about that more

    • Famouscait :

      I had an intimate, mid-week ceremony with just our siblings, parents and grandparents in attendance, and a dinner afterwards for everyone. A few days later we had a large party/reception for extended family, friends, etc. We re-wore our wedding attire (including me in my dress). It was exactly the wedding I wanted, although it was certainly not the one I began planning at the outset. Almost 10 years later I look back and have no regrets! Hope this helps.

    • We were similar in that cost was not an issue that would affect our lifestyle, but it still was the main factor holing me back from wanting to have a wedding. It just seems like such a waste of money. Other factors included the pain in the rear aspect. Neither of us every really dreamed about our wedding or had any strong desires when it came down to the party aspect of the wedding. However, it was also important to us to have our family and friends witness the actual ceremony in a church, and it seemed weird to do that without having a party afterward.

      In the end (and after spending $30k–although we could have spent WAY more), we went with the full-out wedding. We both have large families and a lot of mutual friends, so I think the wedding was “for us” because every person there was so meaningful and was truly celebrating our union. A year later I do not regret that decision at all. To me, that’s what life is all about—celebrating huge milestones with your family and friends. My husband and I both work really really hard, and if our marriage didn’t justify having a huge party with everyone we loved, then nothing does.

    • Senior Attorney :

      For myself, I had a wedding (uh, both times) and was reasonably happy I did so.

      However, I have performed the equivalent of City Hall weddings as part of my government job, and I will tell you that the wedding parties always seem so happy and relaxed and joyful that I have always said if I had it to do over again (which I guess I do, what with the divorce pending and all), that’s the way I’d go! I especially loved the ones where they made some little stab at wedding attire!

    • We had a very small wedding, about 30 people, family we actually like and very close friends. We had to cut out a lot of people that we would’ve invited with a larger event because inviting them meant inviting a lot more (like some of Hubs co-workers, bc if we invited 3 we would’ve had to invite all 50 bc small office) but it was EXACTLY what we wanted, and bc we kept it small we were able to have the classy, cool party we wanted and have no debt in the end.

      Our parents would have been really sad not to be there, so this was a good solution. We did not have any attendants (bridesmaids/groomsmen), we had hubbys best friend get ordained online and officiate the wedding instead of being best man, and my best friend and her husband are amazing musicians so they sang/played guitar while I walked down the aisle and during our first dance. It was just perfect. I wore a non-wedding (silver) wedding dress and hubs wore a suit he owned. It was perfect, and everyone still tells us it was their favorite wedding ever.

      • Oh, and we had it at a fancy, art-deco themed hotel that was awesome, with a full sit down dinner, and spent under 6k totally. Keeping it small was HUGE.

        • Lady Harriet :

          My parents had a similar small wedding, as several of my aunts, with the wedding & reception in family members’ houses. Everyone was really happy with the way they turned out. One bonus is that you can have really nice, homemade food with a small group because the logistics aren’t completely overwhelming. My parents had a party later for extended family/friends in a different part of the country who weren’t at the wedding itself.

          My only suggestion is don’t invite people to the ceremony but not the reception. My family sang for the wedding of some friends once (for free), and then were not invited to the reception. We were invited to a party several months later, where they showed us pictures of the real reception. It was really tacky.

    • Destination elopement followed by big party in our city. No regrets AT ALL – and many friends have since said they wish they had done the same. Total cost for everything was around $15K, including a 2-week vacation for the elopement. Just being married was far more important than having a wedding to us – neither of us were excited about the process of planning a wedding and having a big event.

      We both had families that were supportive – no one guilted us about not having a wedding, which made it much easier.

    • Eloped – sort of. Told parents we were getting married without a wedding, went to city hall to sign the license, went on a hiking trail and did a 2 person “ceremony” a few days later. Definitely no regrets. I had a bunch of reasons, but the most important was this: I am a very private person. I absolutely dreaded the thought of having to spill private emotional thoughts in front of an audience. At the same time, my “ceremony” and marriage are very important to me, and I don’t want to have to water down the honesty/emotions so that I’m comfortable sharing.

      There were also other reasons: Neither of us are big “do everything with/for family” people. We love our parents and we like them just fine. We don’t do long vacations with them or stay overnight on holidays. I don’t like long social events. I didn’t feel like it was a good use of money (even though it would not have been a financial burden).

      The funny thing is, I guess I always assumed I’d have a wedding. Then as we were talking about getting married, I saw a random article on NYT about couples doing 2 person ceremonies on hiking trails and it just clicked. It was like “oh my god, why didn’t I think of this as an option before?”

      • Yes, the factors you listed are exactly the ones that are holding me back from having a full-blown wedding and keeping me up at night.

        • Reading these responses, I thought I should add that both my husband and I are sort of outliers on the “family” front. I totally respect what the poster said above about marriage being joining together of families, but that’s not what my husband and I believe. We have both always been very independent. Getting pushed by people to have a wedding because it’s “not just about you, it’s also about the family” just wasn’t going to work on us because that’s not our values. Again, not that those values are wrong – it’s just not us. If you value the family, it might be worth it to “water down” the vows to something that you’d be comfortable with. The point I think everyone is trying to make here is: Don’t just have/not have a wedding because it’s what other people are telling you to do or it’s what you feel like you “should” do.

      • prof on a bike :

        I can relate to the sentiment of not wanting to share very personal emotions in front of a big audience — this was one of the many reasons for me not wanting to have a wedding as well. The biggest con to not having a wedding was my parents’ desires — I was (very) surprised to find out how meaningful the idea of a wedding was to my Dad, especially. We went through a long and painful process of trying to figure out what the things were that were truly important to each of us and what we could agree on (for me, getting married by a religious figure was a total non-starter despite the fact that my Dad wanted this, but I was willing to compromise on letting him do a “father of the bride” speech at dinner after our city hall marriage even though these public emotional displays are not my thing). I don’t regret not having a dress, party, bridesmaids, showers, etc etc at all (all of these things would have given me much more stress than pleasure), but I am glad that I made some compromises to involve my immediate family and the things they wanted. I think just going to city hall without them would have done our relationship some pretty significant harm.

    • This was a huge issue for me. I could write a lot about it. I didn’t want a wedding at all because I’m not into the expense, the attention, or the implied obligations of others. My husband did want a wedding, and as a gift to him and to lots of relatives who were excited to attend I agreed to do it. (Sidebar: it was super annoying to have people assume the opposite–that I was driving the whole thing because I was the bride).

      It was 80 guests, siblings only stood up with us, and I wore a white cocktail dress. We were firm about not asking for any gifts. I actually had my sister and SILs wear white dresses “with me” as well because it helped me feel like it was a group celebration and not all about me. It was a very simple, short ceremony followed by dinner and a dance party. Many people told me they had fun, including some who hate weddings.

      How do I feel about it now? It was touching to have everyone there, especially in the personal things people said. At the same time, I hate that in our culture you have to get married to have this experience. No way would everyone have come and made such a big deal over any other occasion in my life. Also, the money and time are substantial sacrifices. I wouldn’t say I regret doing it, but I will say I probably would have been happier doing city hall if it wasn’t for others’ wishes.

      • I could have written this, almost word for word, except for the choice of attire. Down to the frustration with our culture for making the “wedding” the all-important, eclipsing event.

      • +1 as well. I don’t regret my wedding, per se – I ended up having a lot of fun and it would have caused my husband and his family a lot of heartache if I didn’t agree to it. But the things that his family/society in general expected to go along with it were maddening and very much not to my taste.

    • I’m really happy that we spent the money on a wedding. It took most of our savings but it was great to have all of the family together and happy. Unfortunately there were a couple deaths in the family in the year after our wedding, so it ended up being the last time the whole family was together. We could have done a lot with the money (appx 25K) but I truly cherish the memories of that day.

    • We are in the process of wedding planning now, but were on the fence about it. Mainly because of cost (we can afford it, but it does affect our lifestyle, and that is stressful). Guessing we will end up with about 75 guests.

      We ended up deciding to go with the wedding for three main reasons. One, my family would have been really disappointed if we hadn’t. Two, it seemed like the only time we’d ever have all of our close friends and family together, and I have really enjoyed that aspect of others’ weddings. Three, we live across the country from our immediate (and extended) family, and our closest friends are spread throughout the country. So a small city hall ceremony attended by parents/siblings would have required at least half of the people involved to make major travel plans, take time off, pay for hotel, etc. So we figured we might as well have a party and feed people.

      Also, child of divorce, so “only parents” doesn’t sound so great. I like the idea of lots of buffers!

    • We did not have a big wedding (though money and time were the driving factors since we were in law school.) We had a very small ceremony with just our parents, my best friend, his best friend, and siblings. My husband’s family is really big and so we did not feel like there was any fair way to cut down on a guest list without making someone upset. So we just didn’t have the big event. We have no regrets at all, particularly because my husband’s father died about six months later from cancer. If we had waited until we were able to afford and plan the big wedding, he would not have been there for it and it was really important to my husband that his dad was there. As an aside, I am also very introverted and my husband is too and it would have been awkward and uncomfortable for us to have a large wedding with all that attention on us. That was not the main reason for not having one, but I am glad we avoided that.

    • Umm city hall is an “actual” wedding thank you very much. It was very real and just as binding. You are talking about the party part. I you don’t wan that it’s fine but a wedding is where two people are wed. That happens at city hall

    • kjoirishlastname :

      If I had it to do over again, I would. We paid for our own wedding, and it was lovely, but it was not at all the group of people that I would really want to share that occasion with. We were both fairly new in our jobs, and there was a “political” element to it. In that the majority of our non-family guests were people that we worked with. And that just wasn’t fun.

      In the end, the wedding, the reception, the food…all that (well, I’d have gotten a different photographer too) were perfect. I would just want to transplant a much “funner” group of people than the ones that we did end up sharing it with. We were somewhat limited with funds, but also with the location–we had it outside at my aunt & uncle’s antebellum cabin, for lack of a better term. Lots of lovely gardens, one bathroom.

    • Elopement :

      We didn’t want a wedding so we eloped. It was the best decision ever.

      What we did: went on a fantastic vacation and got married mid-trip. We found a woman who planned it ALL for us – ceremony, flowers, champagne, cake, photographer, cottage, you name it. It was in a beautiful location, our pictures are epically gorgeous and there for our great-grandkids to look at, we had the most amazing time and it was so romantic for it to be just the two of us and have that focus only be on each other and not on whether we took a picture with Aunt Ida or talked to that friend of my dad’s who I haven’t seen in ten years. All we had to do was get wedding rings, pick up the license, and show up. He wore a suit and I bought a pretty white dress. Everything else was taken care of. And we got to have the experience of a beautiful day with none of the stress. The woman who did our wedding even told me where to go in town to get my hair and makeup done because I wanted to do that. Our families were also okay with this because we told them ahead of time of our plans, got their blessings, and kept them updated throughout the process. Now, it’s been a little while already and all we hear is from people who tell us how they wish they’d done the same thing! I highly recommend this.

    • We were planning a more traditional wedding – small, family and friends, sit-down meal, etc., but ended up eloping – us, the minister, her husband as videographer, and two friends of my husband’s as witnesses. Why? Families of different religions, both unhappy about our choice of minister; one family drinks and typically has an open bar at weddings, the other family are teetotalers; both mothers unhappy about their child’s choice of spouse. I’m very private, didn’t want the public event, but we thought we needed to do it to try to paper over our families’ differences – until we realized that there wasn’t enough paper in the world to do that. My only regret – we should have gotten married on a beach – still just us, with a random witness or two, but I would have loved a beach wedding and bare feet. Still, we had a really happy day that I will always love, which we wouldn’t have had if we had gone ahead with the wedding we were planning.

  13. Ladies – has anyone ever had botox? If so, how did it work out for you? I am 30 and have some thin wrinkles on my forehead that I despise. I am also starting to get crows feet – is that something botox can help with too?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I’m 32 and get Botox 2-3 times a year to get rid of the lines between my eyebrows and some horizontal lines on my forehead. I’m very happy with it and think I look more relaxed/less cranky as a result. I don’t get a lot, so my face isn’t frozen (e.g., I can still raise my eyebrows).

      • Thanks Anonymous, I am really starting to think about it. I’ve talked to my derm about it before and she suggested a small amount and said it would last up to 6 months so 2-3 times a year sounds about what I would be interested in. After you get it, does it feel weird? Like does it feel different on your face?

      • Are you willing to divulge pricing information?

        • Anonymous :

          I go to a plastic surgeon in LA and get 20 units. It’s priced per unit and I pay somewhere between $150 and $250.

          The day of, and sometimes for a few days after, my forehead feels kind of numb. There are also little bumps under the skin where the injections were done that go away within 24 hours. But I usually go back to work afterwards and no one notices (and I work with old men with no filter, so if my face looked weird, they would say something).

          • Another question – does the botox actually make existing wrinkles disappear, or does it only prevent them from getting worse?

          • Anonymous :

            yes, it makes them disappear.

  14. Platinomad :

    Purse/Promotion Splurge Question:

    I just heard about my promotion, and was shopping after drinking last night at Barneys Warehouse and walked out with this beautiful bag in royal blue with silver hardware, which I imagine as a work bag:

    It was on sale (got it for 550), but now I am second guessing my tipsy purchase. What do you all think? Worth it??

  15. Cutting out Sugar :

    Anyone have realistic tips or success stories to cutting out sugar? I have recently realized that I have a sugar addiction, which wouldn’t be so terrible (otherwise healthy), except that lately, I have been feeling sick after I eat too much sweets.

    I say realistic because I’m not sure I want to be vigilante and cut out things like yogurt with sugar in it and my morning coffee (sweetened) and most things I’ve read say you have to cut out all of that, too. Ideally, I’d just like to not crave obviously sweet things like candy and baked goods.

    I feel like willpower carries me for a few days, but then I always revert back and eat some delicious looking treat and end up with a stomach ache.

    • I’d suggest trying South Beach or another sugar-free diet plan for a few weeks – a wholesale change in my eating habits was the only way I was able to break the sugar cycle. You can then start adding it back in with small portions/habits (for me, adding Splenda back in coffee and mixing fresh fruit into plain yogurt rather than buying pre-sweetened). I also started limiting myself to desserts only when they were “special” – meaning dessert at the really good restaurant on my birthday, but saying no to sweets in the breakroom at work and not keeping ice cream in my fridge.

      • +1. South Beach worked for me to break the sugar addition.

      • Diana Barry :

        I tried this a few years ago for a while. I found it did lessen my physical cravings, but my MENTAL cravings got much much stronger. I spent so.much.time THINKING about cookies or whatever, it was terrible.

        Now I have a cookie after lunch and maybe 2 after dinner, and (more importantly) don’t spend so much time thinking about it. Could you try eating less of whatever it is that you want and see whether that helps?

        • Cutting out Sugar :

          I could definitely try this.

          I hate the feeling that I’m dependent on something. I hate the cravings. I don’t deprive myself of things normally and I eat just find. I just hate feeling like I NEED some sugar at 3:00 or after a meal or whatever.

      • ExcelNinja :

        +2 South Beach worked for my husband and I to break our sugar addiction too. I would say I spent about a month miserable (I was truly addicted to the point of binging on an entire box of sugary cereal every once in a while and NEEDING something sweet after dinner), but it was so worth it.

    • Cutting down artificial sweetners helps my cravings. I also found that one piece of “fancy” chocolate seems to satisfy my chocolate craving more than hershey’s minis sitting around the office.

    • I know this isn’t the advice you’re looking for, but maybe the problem isjust that you’re trying to cut out foods that you obviously like, thus causing a greater desire for the foods. In many cases, when a food seems forbidden or “bad”, people are inclined to want it more. Perhaps you should just try to be more mindful of what you’re eating and why you’re craving it. I’d also suggest not doing anything else (reading, working, watching a show) while you eat the sweets so you can actually enjoy them. Since you say you eat healthfully otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

      • Cutting out Sugar :

        The problem is that I end up feeling sick after eating sugar. It doesn’t stop me from doing it, but it makes me pretty miserable for a good hour or two afterwards. Its just a terrible cycle.

        • Gotcha. Is it just eating a treat or is it that you’re overeating them? If they just make you sick, I would think after a few times, you wouldn’t want them anymore.

          • Cutting out Sugar :

            Ha ha. One would think I’d be able to stop eating sweets because they make me sick, but lately, it has not stopped me (and sugar seems to be making me sicker than before). I am not overeating as in feeling sick because I’m too full, but I’m probably overdoing the amount of sugar I need.

            I’m going to try upping the amount of protein in my diet. I am not a vegetarian, but don’t love meat, so I never seek it out. I think the lack pf protein fuels the carb —-> crave more carb cycle.

            I love fruit, so I will never cut that out (I’m a firm believer in the idea that fruit cannot be unhealthy).

          • There are many healthy and filling sources of vegetarian protein if you don’t like meat! Lentils, eggs, greek yogurt, beans, tofu, soy (if you don’t like fake meat, edamame is delicious and natural), quinoa, spelt, bulgur…I could go on…

          • Don’t forget nuts – almonds, cashews, peanuts.

        • I used to think sugar was making me sick until I cut out gluten. Lo and behold, I can eat gobs of gluten-free sugar and I feel fine. A bite of glutenlicious gluten makes me RAWR in frustration – it affects the way my stomach feels and gives me other digestive issues. Bring on the chocolate and ice cream.

    • DC Wonkette :

      We did an office challenge for the month of November because my boss brings in so much crap. I did a lot better with not eating it during the day when I had colleagues to hold me accountable. Maybe you can do something similar with a couple of friends and check in with one another. My cravings and candy habit was broken by the end of the month; however, I fell back off the wagon this month…

    • I’m doing this right now because I realized that I have just been eating a ridiculous amount of sweets and in a way was not enjoying each bite as much. I have not gone cold turkey but instead am replacing bad sugar with better sugar. E.g. instead of my usual chocolate snack in the afternoon, I’ll have tea or fruit. I’ve also replaced my regular yogurt with plain greek yogurt and berries.

    • CPA to be :

      I broke my candy habit by always keeping a ton of different kinds of sugar-free gum in my desk. It’s sweet, there are multiple options, and when I get tired of one piece, I spit it out and chew another. I still eat candy from time to time, but the gum has cut out about 90% of that bad habit.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      This is pure anecdata, but I find my sugar cravings go way, way down when I add beans (chickpeas, black beans, etc.) to at least one meal a day. I imagine it has something to do with the fiber content.

  16. Threadjack: A partner I work with a lot just gave me a nice card and a bottle of wine for Christmas. Should I get him something in return and if so, what?? TIA!

  17. Jessica Glitter :

    Ok…there are two travel mugs that I have seen highly recommended on here. Can someone remind what they are?

  18. Equity's Darling :

    A friend of mine at work is having an awful day – what’s a good “cheer you up” mini-gift?

  19. Long time lurker here! Any recommendations on high(er) quality suiting? Most of my suits are Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. While I am happy with those suits, I am looking to diversify with other brands, and am also hoping to step up in quality. Theory seems to be popular here, so I will try those, but are there any other recommendations? Thank you!

    • on ebay.

    • hellskitchen :

      Classiques Entier line from Nordstrom is good. Not too high fashion but better quality than BR or AT

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Brooks Brothers? I haven’t pulled the trigger on a BB suit yet, but I visit them when I’m in the store and have been impressed as compared to my BR suits.

      • Be aware that Brooks Brothers has a couple of “tiers” for their clothing and it’s not always transparent. Red Fleece is more youthful/casual. Black Fleece is their high-end Thom Brown collab. Beyond that, there’s roughly 2 levels of suits that are just labeled “Brooks Brothers”. The slightly lower quality (but still good) one will have jackets in the $400 range. The higher end one has jackets in the $600 range. You can get both types on sale for much less.

    • Anonymous :

      I used to wear exclusively theory, but was unhappy with their re-design of the basic suiting this summer. I switched to Hugo Boss, and have been pretty happy. Hugo Boss runs a bit bigger than theory, similar to Ann Taylor/BR (I used to have to size up in Theory, but wear the same size in Hugo Boss as I do at mall stores).

    • Thanks all!

  20. kjoirishlastname :

    wardrobe question #2: Goodwill was very nice to me today. I went in looking for ugly christmas sweaters (a total bust, this late in the game) but happened upon 2 total deals. I found a Gap navy pinstripe blazer NWT; and a teal velveteen Halogen blazer (with dry-cleaner tags still on!!). The Gap blazer is a little more conservative in cut, if nothing else. It appears that it’s probably their Classic Two-Button Blazer, but it has slightly different pockets. The Halogen blazer is this gorgeous teal color, two buttons, very slightly puffed sleeves @ the shoulders, oversize buttons on the cuffs. It’s more cropped, almost shrunken, but not exactly.

    How on earth do I wear these?

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I’d style the Gap with gray or medium brown (not dark brown because I feel like mixing dark neutral with dark neutral makes it look like I got dressed in the dark and didn’t know they weren’t the same color, but but that’s my own particular neurosis). I’d probably do the same with the teal, although it sounds like you could also pair the teal with navy blue or black.

  21. just for fun vol. 2 :

    What occupies your life outside of work? And by occupies, I don’t mean kids. Because they’re pretty all-consuming. What do you do for you?

    I run rescue (12 years!) as a medic, and I do crossfit. Gardening, cooking, hiking. Would love to get back into skiing

    • ExcelNinja :

      DH and I go on a hike every weekend. We try to find hikes around 5 miles with not too crazy elevation, and bring a lunch along with us. I really value that time that is “just us” with no distractions of computer, phones, work, or chores. Sometimes we don’t even talk, just walk/scramble over rocks peacefully together.

      I love to read, DH plays computer/phone games.

      I would love to get back into running, yoga, and weightlifting. Hopefully in the new year (work has been totally insane/understaffed this year but yay, we are fully staffed now!).

    • Music! My spouse and I are both lawyers and have a young child but we still keep performing as much as we can. We’d both go a little insane withou thaving this in our lives.

    • Anonymous :

      The biggest two are:
      -Working out. I go to barre classes and go running.
      -Reading (read 20-25 books last year, attend a book club)

    • What does run rescue mean? So you’re like a volunteer medic? (So cool if that’s what it is!)

      Outside of work, I like to:
      - Workout. Only workout 3 times a week but when I do it, I go pretty hard. I’ve always been into fitness/health so it’s just a part of my lifestyle.
      - Eat out with hubby. We live in Chicago and love trying new restaurants all the time.
      - “Plan” for stuff. I feel like there’s always the next thing to plan for….first it was wedding, now it’s planning to buy a home next summer and perhaps kids will be next.

      • Yes! I’ve been on our volunteer squad since December 2001.

        • Good for you. Can you share some more details about how you got involved and how you balance it with your paid job (and maybe what it was like to do the training while working FT)? I would love to volunteer like this.

          • I actually got involved when I was in college. My older sister joined a wilderness search & rescue group while she was at college. I thought it sounded interesting, and upon investigation of my univ. of choice, found a similar group. I showed up at the first meeting of the year (like 3 days after I moved into the dorm), met my future-husband there, and never looked back. I moved up the ranks in the SAR group, ending up as captain for several years. I was in the office of one of the rescue squad lieutenants to sign some paperwork for a mutual-aid agreement (at the time, the 2 groups were totally separate, now SAR is a sub-group of the rescue squad), and he half-jokingly pushed an application across the desk to me. I joined, took an EMT class (while I was a fulltime univ. student), and never looked back again!

            Honestly, the work-life-volunteer balance is very hard. I am required to pull 40 hours of recurring duty group per month. I chose Thursday evenings 6p-10p and Saturday afternoons noon-4p. It wasn’t quite as much of an issue when we were kidless, but it is very tricky now. Trickier still, that my husband is the chief (also volunteer–as in, has a day job!). He doesn’t have to have a duty group, but he ends up doing probably 30 hours of work/officer-on-call per week, though most of it happens while he’s at work/managing crew issues from the phone, etc.

            I took just about 2 years off when I got so pregnant with my first son that I couldn’t get back up off the floor when moving patients! I stayed current with my certification and participated in squad events/trainings as much as I could with an infant. We planned to have our kids pretty close together, so it wasn’t long after I was done nursing the first that I was pregnant with the second. So, another 18 months went by before I was back in a position to get a duty group again.

            My work is flexible enough that if the Big One goes off, I can leave to help. Several years ago, we experienced a mass-shooting, and I was able to leave work to respond. Obviously, not every employer would be so accommodating. I don’t carry a radio at work, so if something big happens, I’d be notified by text message.

            Now, it’s just another fact of life. My kids know that I have duty 2x a week, and other obligations sometimes, and they just roll with it. I am thankful for this, because I feel it is important to teach our kids 2 things: 1) we’re our own individual people, and we were before we had them. 2) what it means to be a volunteer, and have a deep connection with the community. I don’t care if neither of them join the squad when they’re old enough, but I do want them to be good citizens. But, between our jobs, and our squad obligations, at least one of us is out of the house at least one evening per week. Which is also why we have a nanny, rather than conventional daycare, because we could never make it work.

            If you are interested, and there are opportunities in your area, I would encourage you to call them, and see if you can schedule a ride-along. It will let you get the feeling of what it’s like to be on a call, to hang out with those people (we have a really deep, dark sense of humor that a lot of people wouldn’t understand or appreciate), and see if it is something that you could see yourself doing. Hopefully there are options, and hopefully the options are varied. One of the reasons that it works for us is that our squad is accommodating in providing a number of membership opportunities. Full members (like myself) have voting rights, but have the duty group obligation. Associate members don’t vote, but have fewer obligations. Student members (college kids) don’t vote, but they’re required to pull the 40-hour commitment when school is in session. They get a free pass at Christmas break & over the summer. And then there are even more options. Some of the other local squads are not as progressive in providing options for membership.

            I could go on. I love it, it is definitely my passion, to the point that it very nearly wrecked my ability to graduate! I was pulling a lot more time at the station than I was on my school work, and in the end have a pretty crummy GPA to show for it, but by god, I had (at that point in my life) a lot more life experience than my classmates. I’ve seen a lot of things, and some of them are things that no one should ever have to see. That shooting I mentioned was not the first, or the only in our community. I’m a valued member because of my age and experience, and it really fills a community-need void that I would have otherwise, because we’re not church people, so this is kind of our religion/spirituality. Happy to answer other questions too!

          • Thank you so much for this thoughtful response and the work that you do.

          • Mary Ann Singleton :

            This is awesome. I’ve been thinking about taking a Wilderness First Aid course and you just inspired me to get up and do it!

    • I was just realizing the other day that I don’t do as much as I want to (and in my 20s!). I’ve been completely slacking on exercising, although I do bike a fair amount, and I’ve spent more time screwing around online than reading books. That being said, I’m working on getting back into the things I like, which include biking, working out, reading, skiing, writing, and being outside in general. I’d also love to get back into something crafty, like knitting or making my own jewelry, and something music-related (used to play the piano).

    • I work out a lot, read, knit, cook, sometimes bake.

    • Playing the piano is my main hobby at this point. I am very good friends with an excellent cellist who’s a software engineer.

      I semi-jokingly tell him that he and I should chuck our day jobs*before we hit 40, create a duo, and play everything written for piano & cello by Schumann, Brahms, Saint-Saens, and Shostakovich.

      *Every time I joke about this, our respective husbands look a little worried…

    • Miss Behaved :

      -Reading – I’ve read 125 books in 2013 alone.
      -Working out (I read on the treadmill)
      -The beach – in the summer (I do a lot of reading there)
      -Can I say kids, if they’re not my own? I adore my nieces and nephew.

    • Anonymous :

      -Hiking with fiance when possible. Probably once a month right now.
      -Walking my dog (20 mins every day, longer on weekends)
      -Exercise but I don’t find it that time-consuming
      -we travel a lot to visit friends/family

    • Work out (mostly run), read, sew, watch tv, digital scrapbook

    • Senior Attorney :

      Gym almost every day.
      Tap classes (although on hiatus at the moment).
      Recently joined my local Rotary Club, which has a lot of activities including a nice book club.
      TV. I admit it. I love TV. Good, bad, indifferent. I love it all.
      Theatre — have subscriptions to two and go to other shows here and there.
      And lately I have been spending a ridiculous amount of time on this ridiculous divorce. Gah.

  22. Split Ends Prevention :

    Can anyone recommend a product to help protect your hair during styling that will help prevent split ends? I don’t want one of those products that claims it can “repair” them, because that is just to hide them, essentially, right?

    After being a straightener addict for 10 + years (yes, really!) I recently stopped straightening and now only use a blow dryer (to blow it dry in sections straight) and a curling iron for some loose curls. My hair is definitely a bit healthier already but I”m still getting split ends from using the curling iron.

    • long time lurker :

      I went to a salon recently and had a makeover of sorts and bought all the products they used. The Keratase Lait Vital for dry hair is what they gave me to use a small amount of on my ends before blowdrying. Hard to say if it works in terms of protecting from my blow drying, but it smells nice and my hair is softer. It’s pretty pricey though.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Regular trims, but I recently switched to Dove shampoo & conditioner. Seems to have helped with the general texture of my very fine, but tons of hair.

    • Hair oil applied when wet, before using a heat tool, and after? Lots of moisturizing conditioner?

      I’ve got 4 year old hair at my tips and rarely get split ends. I also rarely use the blow dryer or a curling iron. I let my hair air dry as much as possible – wash at night and let air dry before bed, and then I’ll put it up in a bun with a couple clips for bed to continue to air dry. My curling iron has adjustable heat, so I make sure that it’s set relatively low – high enough to work, but not the max (which would just fry it).

    • Anonymous :

      Are you using a heat protectant every single time you blowdry? That’s the only thing that I can really recommend. I like the Living Proof stuff, though its expensive.

    • I use the It’s a Ten leave in product. It’s a heat shield among other things, also helps with tangles. I just spray a light spray over before using heat every time. It doesn’t weigh my hair down, and I think my hair is doing much better between cuts/coloring.

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