Coffee Break: Cynthia Avant Heels

Clarks Cynthia Avant HeelsPeep toes, of course, are not appropriate for every office. That said, though: I do like these basic pumps from the Clarks Artisan collection, one of the big reader favorites from our Guide to Comfortable Heels. For once the wood grain heel isn’t annoying me, and I like the very basic colors offered (tan, “nude patent,” and black).  The 2.5″ heel is available in sizes 5-12 in regular/narrow/wide widths for $100.  (6pm has a navy patent, dusty rose, and gray version on sale for $59.) Clarks Cynthia Avant Heels

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Comments

  1. How do y’all stock your guest bathrooms? Most importantly, what do you do about soap? I get that people don’t like to share soap, but I personally don’t like body wash either (I don’t feel like it gets me clean). What is the best option? And is it weird if I take home my soaps from hotels and use them?

    Beyond the soap issue, what else do y’all put in there for your guests? We’ve never had a guest bathroom!

    • PinkKeyboard :

      I normally put soap (still wrapped) and body wash in there to give people choices . Trader Joes has fancy looking bar soap that is still very affordable so that’s my go to. Toothpaste, a few toothbrushes (still in packaging), floss picks, basic lotion, small pack of tampons/pads, some basic medicines (ibuprofen, pepto, etc), extra toilet paper in an easy to find spot, a plunger (in case there is a crisis!), mouthwash, shampoo, and conditioner. Some of this is stuff we end up not liking (shampoo that makes my hair dry, body wash my husband thinks smells to feminine, etc) but I like to have everything available so they don’t have to ask or run out to the store.

      • Do you put a new full-sized bar in there every time?

        • I think you would need to and thus would probably create a lot of waste. I would either use the hotel soaps and throw them out after your guests leave or some body wash which you can keep in the guest bathroom until its empty (you don’t have to use it!)

          • Diana Barry :

            I am amazed at this! I would never ever think of doing that.

            Mine has soap for the sink and extra hotel soaps/shampoos, and a cheap thing of shampoo in the shower that someone left there a while back. And TP.

        • PinkKeyboard :

          we’re gross so we just use it up after they leave? I mean I only have guests I know and it’s soap so in my non-scientific mind it’s still clean. Well mostly it just kind of collected over time when I find good deal on toothbrushes etc. Also, *too feminine not to feminine.

        • I buy Pre de Provence guest soaps for this reason. You can get them on drugstore dot com in multi-packs, and some brick & mortar stores (easy to find in PDX, not so much where I live now) carry them too.

    • I definitely take and re-use hotel soaps/shampoos/conditioners in our guest bathroom (the unopened, unused ones). I’ll put a few extra towels, washcloths, hand soap on the counter, extra TP under the sink, and a hair dryer under the sink, as well. I also will put full-size bottles of stuff that I used a few times, but didn’t like: shampoos, face wash, etc. I put body washes in the shower but that’s because I literally cannot remember the last time I used bar soap in the shower (we’re a loofah and body wash family).

    • Clementine :

      I bought plain, fairly gender neutral bodywash and Suave shampoo/conditioner to leave in there. Something my MIL has (and I plan on doing as soon as I get around to it…) is a basket with razors and little mini toiletries from hotels plus other things- tampons, single serving packs of pepto bismol and tums, a mini sewing kit that is right on the dresser in the bedroom. When I was a visitor, I really appreciated not having to ask if I forgot a razor or a toothbrush.

      The thing we have in there that has been a big hit is a visible power strip and a basket with a couple spare chargers.

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe I’m a terrible hostess, but mine has towels, toilet paper, and hand soap for the sink. If someone forgets shampoo, they’re more than welcome to borrow mine, but I’m not going to buy or haul home from a hotel tons of crap I wouldn’t otherwise use. I’m enough of a packrat as it is.

    • Famouscait :

      Mine has a basket of clean towels (all sizes, so guests can use however many they need). In the cabinet is a basket with hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. There’s also some extra toothbrushes and razors, etc. In the shower I keep regular size bottles of gender-neutral-smelling Suave shampoo and conditioner. I never really thought about anyone being icked out by reusing a bar of soap, so I’ve always just left it in there… But all guests know about the supplies in the cabinet so taking a fresh bar is still an option. I also have a hairdryer and lady supplies under the sink, and TP of course.

    • I love the samples I get from Sephora for this purpose! I have a basket stocked with all of them for people to try and use. A spare contact lens case with a tiny bottle of solution has been appreciated a couple of times. I’ve never worried about the bar of soap thing, but most of my guests are family these days.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I use soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion from hotels. I also have extra toothbrushes/toothpaste, deodorant, razors, and so on. And lots of towels.

      At least, that’s what I do when I have a house with a guest bathroom. In the Bachelor e t t e Pad there’s only the one bathroom, so I put all of the above toiletries in a basket and put it on the guest bed. And the guest towels are a different color so they don’t get mixed up with the ones I’m using.

    • ContractsinTX :

      We currently have a drawer in the guest bath with sample-sizes of shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, toothpaste, etc. We have some extra toothbrushes, razors, and other individual use products, as well. Though when I stay with my friends, I like to play with the products my girlfriends keep around in their guest bath. It makes me feel like I’m at a spa. When we use up the products in the current drawer, I think I’m going to replace them with some fancier products – maybe Aveda. That way our guests feel spoiled.

  2. For all the ladies on continuous birth control that skip their periods, do you just assume that if it fails and you get pregnant you will know or do you regularly take pregnancy tests? I’ve been on continuous for four months. I just don’t want to end up on “I didn’t know I was pregnant.” I’ve never had kids so I have no idea if I would feel so noticeably off that I would know to test.

    • If I miss a pill or take them inconsistently or something, I’ll usually go off the pill about 2 weeks later to make sure I get my period. I don’t think there’s a need to constantly check if you are very good about being consistent though, since it’s over 99% reliable. If you have classic early pregnancy symptoms all of a sudden I’d take a test, but otherwise, I don’t think it’s worth it.

    • I switched to minipill last year and stopped getting my period. I started to get freaked out and took a pregnancy test. It was negative, and that basically calmed my fears.

      But yeah… I just assume it works and if I got pregnant somehow I’d know?? With minipill if you stop your period entirely this generally means ovulation has stopped and getting pregnant would be impossible. However, it seems like it could be possible to start ovulating again, be off on your pills a tiny bit, and get pregnant without knowing (bc minipill also works by messing up your cervical mucus and/or interfering with implantation – and these methods are the ones that require you to be super exact about taking your pill at the same time every day).

      I don’t remember what the deal is with combination pills – if you always stop ovulating or not.

      • I’m on the minipill as well and only occasionally have my period. I have a quarterly routine of thinking I’m pregnant, freaking out, and taking a test.

    • Also anon :

      Different context, but I didn’t get my period for >1 year after having a baby and I bought some very cheap pg tests on amazon (dip strips that you’d use with a dixie cup) so that I could know I wasn’t pg every month. I felt a lot better about drinking and caffeine knowing that I was not pregnant. Years ago, I used to miss periods due to being overworked and skinny (or who knows) and sweating it out at the drugstore hoping no one I knew was in there was not fun, so this time I ordered in bulk (something like 25 tests for something like $5).

      • Meg Murry :

        This was the advise a friend got from her doctor after going on the continuous pill. Just stock up on cheap tests (but look for the exp dates) and take them as often as you need to re-assure you (or on the 1st of the month if you want monthly reassurance).

    • No advice, but this is one of my worst phobias. Knowing that it happened to someone in real life too makes it that much more scary.

      Otherwise, I’ve done what others have done – if I’m worried, buy a test. It has always been negative.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      No. I’ve been on continuous BCP since college (at least two reunions ago!), and have never thought to take pregnancy tests regularly. I take the pill at the same time every day, and in exchange, my body does not ovulate – no surprise pregnancies happening here!

      Remember too, that even when you’re taking BCP as usual and not skipping placebos, the period you get is not a real period – it’s bleeding in response to the absence of hormones – but if you’re taking your pills correctly, you’re not ovulating.

  3. Has anyone ever dealt with a very.early. pregnancy loss? Found out we’re pregnant on Sat (first kid), very exciting, but then because I’m a total type A I’ve taken like 5 extra pregnancy tests, and this morning the test line was extremely faint (almost not there). Thinking it’s not a real pregnancy. Called dr’s office and they were extremely unhelpful, said they couldn’t see me until 8 weeks along so call back (note to self: get a new OB if this is “real” – any recs in NYC?). What would you guys do? I’m terribly impatient and driving myself crazy, feel completely distracted and unfocused at work! Feel like I can’t even plan the rest of this week and next week out and my deadlines, etc. because I’m just so clueless about what’s going on with me physically. Any advice or commiseration?

    • If you’ve taken 6 pregnancy tests and they all came back as positive (though one was a faint positive), what would make you think you’re not pregnant?

    • You’re pregnant! A faint line still counts. Mine never got very dark even after multiple tests, and I have a little boy at home waiting for me. :)

      • Thank you… it was so, so, so faint this morning, which is leading me to believe it’s not real! And had a negative test on a digital over the weekend also (but then of course googled and found that they aren’t as sensitive). I’m not meaning to seem like a crazy person – just seems so tenuous!

        • anonforthis :

          I’m sure this may vary from person to person, but I had an early miscarriage and there wasn’t really any mistaking it. I started getting cramps, then I started bleeding like I was having my period, etc. I wouldn’t sweat it unless you get your period or something like it.

          And FWIW, in my area (not NYC), OBs don’t see patients before 8 weeks because of the high likelihood of early miscarriage. Unless you have preexisting high risk conditions, my practice has you see a nurse at 6 weeks for blood/urine tests and to give you an information packet and some dos and don’ts, but you don’t see a doctor until 8 weeks.

          • I’m amazed at this 8 week stuff. I got a positive test on a Saturday, called as soon as they opened Monday morning, and was showing off ultrasound pictures to my coworkers that afternoon. Living in flyover country has its advantages.

          • anonforthis :

            At the time it seemed like an ETERNITY to wait and was ridiculous that they wouldn’t see me for so long, but after the early miscarriage, I was glad I had not made it to the doctor for pictures or anything yet. The second time around I was terrified enough at the 8 week appointment that they wouldn’t see anything or find a heartbeat, even though the 6 week nurse’s visit had confirmed pregnancy via a blood test. I can definitely understand that it seems like forever to wait, but now I can kind of see why they do it.

            (Although I am glad you got your pictures and I certainly hope everything goes smoothly from here on out!)

        • The darkness of the line has nothing to do with whether or not you are pregnant and everything to do with how dilute your urine is.

          And the OB won’t see you before 8 weeks because there is literally nothing they can do for you.

          Calm. Down.

    • Did you have diluted urine? If you’re nervous, call to see if you have have a beta done — it’s just a simple blood test to confirm pregnancy.

    • I had a very early pregnancy loss. In my case, I took an early pregnancy test (4 days before I would have gotten my period), and got a faint line. I kept testing every day after that and the line got slightly darker, but eventually faded again about two weeks later, followed by bleeding and very painful cramps that same afternoon.

      All that said, with my successful pregnancy, the lines were still all over the place, especially with cheapo tests. A lot depends on how much dye is in the test, so you can’t tell much from how dark the line is. I would just keep testing every morning (and only once a day!) for peace of mind, and do your best to not stress out about it. If you’re getting faint lines, you’re pregnant. Good luck!

      • Thanks so much for sharing this, it’s helpful to hear! Will just keep testing and going, and perhaps get a blood test, and will assume pregnant until dr says no or bleeding starts? I’m so bad at this waiting.

        • First – congrats! Second – please do yourself and your baby a favor and stop testing and obsessing! Be happy and enjoy and look forward to your appointment here in a few weeks! FWIW, 8 wks is a standard time for the dr to see you the first time, mostly because the baby is too small to really see on an ultrasound and b/c of early losses. At 8 wks the risk drops and you’ll be able to see your little peanut. I guess I’m just trying to say that what is best for your baby is to relax, instead of over-analyzing a dozen p-tests (says this very impatient – so i hear ya on this – , but experienced mama of two)

      • Joanna Toews :

        I had the same experience. Good luck to you, Emo Anon.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Honestly, if you have a chemical pregnancy (where it tests positive, but then you end up not pregnant because it doesn’t really stick), you’ll probably start bleeding before you lose the positive test. When you miscarry, you’ll often still test positive on the stick after you’ve already “lost” the pregnancy.

      • First-hand knowledge that this is true. You would likely know, physically, that you were losing the pregnancy way before the tests were negative. Even with a chemical pregnancy. Congrats!!

      • anonforthis :

        +1. When I miscarried early on I didn’t make it to a doctor until the day after I started bleeding and I still had measurable hcg via a blood test (although it was low enough given my other symptoms-bleeding and cramps-to assume that my hcg was dropping and I had lost the pregnancy).

      • Not necessarily true. I had a chemical pregnancy and did not get a period for another week after the loss. Good luck!

    • Congrats! The darkness of the test line can vary by time of day – you may be more or less hydrated, etc. Mine went back and forth for a week or so before starting to get darker. And some people don’t have them get dark at all. Maybe try (as hard as it is) to take just one a day at the same time each day. The OB won’t typically do a blood test unless you have a history of miscarriage, are a fertility patient or other special case. For now, just try to practice patience… it’s a good skill to have later on, too! Hope all goes well!

    • AnonLawMom :

      Yes, I have. First rule is “a line is a line.” But, I won’t blow smoke up your ***. If the lines are getting fainter rather than stronger it can be an indication of an impending loss (it can also be an indication of how much liquid you drank, that test being wonky or any other number of things that are not something to worry about). Also, just a note, watch saying stuff like “not a real pregnancy.” For many who actually have experienced miscarriages, even early ones, those pregnancies were very, very real. I am not offended at all because I know what you mean, just giving you a heads up.

      My advice is to take it easy (physically and mentally) and try to get into your doctor earlier. An ultrasound at 6 weeks can show you a heartbeat and make you feel better. Full disclosure though – I would never take my own advice an I’d instead be peeing on sticks twice a day every day until I drove everyone around me totally insane.

    • Need to Improve :

      First off, don’t decide it’s a loss. A line is a line. You need to wait until tomorrow and test again with first morning urine.

      The doctor’s office is par for the course. Most won’t let you in until you are 8 weeks. All you can do is wait, which is no fun, believe me! I also am totally OCD about testing early (starting 11 days post ovulation), which means I learned about about all the “chemical” pregnancies that I never would have known about had I been patient. When I was trying with my first, I eventually stopped testing until well after my due date, and lo and behold I got knocked up that month. Of course, I did not learn my lesson, and went back to my old ways of testing compulsively when trying for #2.

      If you know yourself well enough to know you can’t stop yourself from testing, then give yourself permission to do it and over-analyze every test. It’s ok to be distracted.

    • My friend and I both used to see Dr. Hsiang Chen. She’s on the UES, 1112 Park Ave. (I only stopped seeing her because I stopped working in the city.) 212.369.8192

      • I’ve never had a chemical pregnancy or miscarriage, but I know that sometimes an early ultrasound will help — something about looking at the shape of the gestational sac? See here:

        http://www.hellobee.com/2011/09/12/the-journey-to-charlie-part-1/

        I bought a book a while ago — thank you, Amazon history: Dr. Robert Greene’s Perfect Hormone Balance for Pregnancy: A Groundbreaking Plan for Having a Healthy Baby and Feeling Great — and they had a LOT in there about how to prevent early miscarriages with supplements (progesterone, omega-3s, etc) and so forth. It’s an old book (97?), and obviously I don’t know if any of it works, but it might be a good point to start your research and a conversation with your doctor.

        THAT SAID: if this is your first pregnancy I think it’s likely your doc will make you wait for 8 weeks.

        • anonforthis :

          Not to be a jerk, but that’s total crap (and infuriating) for some of us who have had a miscarriage. 10-15 out of every 100 pregnancies end in miscarriage. In most cases there is NOTHING you can do about it. OBs won’t even investigate the cause unless you have multiple miscarriages because it is so common.

          • It’s actually even higher than that. 15% for women under 35. 20-35% for women 35-45. And I completely agree that the advice above about vitamins is crap.

  4. Famouscait - Reupholstery disaster update :

    (Re-posting from the end of the morning thread for more eyeballs.)

    Thanks for the insightful debate on Friday about my re-upholstery disaster. I have an update and would love some advice…

    So my husband talked with the shop owner on Friday evening over the phone, and he (the shop owner) was really irate. We agreed to bring the chair back on Monday and discuss the details then. The owner said he could do the work how he wanted – we could not tell him how to do his job, etc. etc. He said he steam-cleaned the original fabric he left on the chair and it was his prerogative to do so. (This is totally unacceptable. He never mentioned steam-cleaning and I never would have agreed to such. He said he’d be removing the fabric).

    Fast forward to today, we weren’t able to take the chair there (its raining out and it would get wet in the back of the truck we borrow) so my husband and I stopped by. Told him 1) why we couldn’t bring the chair by today and that we’d bring it on Wednesday when the weather cleared, and 2) that we had put a hold on the check, and we wanted him to hear that from us before his bank told him it wouldn’t clear. That’s when things just got ugly. He accused me of thinking it was “slavery times” (this man is black; I am white) and started yelling again that he could do the work how he wanted and he absolutely wouldn’t be taking fabric off the chair. We reiterated again that it would be better to discuss all this on Wednesday when we’d be back with the chair. Exit shop.

    As I was driving back to my office, he called and left me a voice mail. Identified himself, his shop, and said that we could “keep our check and the chair. He didn’t want to be bothered by this any longer. Thank you and have a nice day.” This seems almost too good to be true, based on how deceitful and unprofessional he has acted up to this point. I have the voicemail saved on my phone; is this enough if we had to prove at some later point that he’d said the case was closed? Is there something else I can/should do to document that he said this?

    • Having just dealt with a home contractor from the devil that outright stole from us, here’s what I’d do. I would write a letter to the shop owner outlining everything that has happened to date, and how unhappy you were with the quality. Include the details about his voicemail and let him know that you will be stopping payment on the check. Keep a copy for your records and have that delivered certified mail. Then stop payment on that check.

      I’ve also discovered that the BBB is next to useless for disputes like this, and the only recourse is legal or places like Yelp.

      In our case, the contractor gave us a discount for paying with a check versus a credit card. When we realized that he had stolen from us (that check was cashed the following day and the contractor never provided any goods or services), it took 6 months of wrangling to get a refund. I’ve learned that I’ll never pay for services like that with a check again, no matter the discount. It’s not worth losing the protection that a credit card gives you.

      • +1 that BBB is useless. Don’t even bother.

      • hellskitchen :

        Second this advice. Even if you have the voicemail, write an email jotting down everything that’s happened (or send a certified letter) and write down that you want to acknowledge that you got his voicemail where he gave up claim to payment. I had a bad experience with an online vendor who sold a faulty product. It took me two years to get my money back. I filed a BBB complaint as well as a small claims one since I had a detailed written record of all communication. I basically refused to acknowledge anything on the phone and insisted that I get it in writing. BBB wasn’t much help but as soon as I filed with the small claims court, I magically got my refund.

  5. Anonforthis :

    Brief Gifting TJ:

    I would like to gift a friend with a prenatal massage. She likes the idea of this (I asked to be sure). The spa I use and would recommend generally just does straight up gift cards for monetary amounts and my understanding is that you can’t use those gifts for the tip. I don’t want to give someone a gift that she then needs to tip on, so what’s the norm with this? Do I just find out when her appt is and call them saying I want to cover the tip or what?

    Sorry- I was suprised when they told me they didn’t offer gift cards for specific services… It seemed weird to me.

    • You could throw cash in with the gift card for a tip? But yes, I’m surprised they wouldn’t let you add tip via a giftcard. That’s typically what I do (the spas I like near me also don’t do giftcards for specific services).

      • hoola hoopa :

        I’ve always been able to tip with the gc, but if they won’t then do this with a note explaining you wanted to gift the tip also.

        I usually receive a gc for a monetary amount equal to the intended service rather than for the specific service. That doesn’t seem odd to me at all.

    • Philanthropy Girl :

      If you regularly go into the spa yourself, could you go in and leave the tip yourself? That would be what I would do, since I feel like giving cash along with a gift card is awkward. Just include a note with the card that the tip has already been covered.

      • I’m not sure I’d trust a spa to keep track of this — my guess is that the service provider will never see the $. I’d just use a spa that regularly offers tip-included gift cards (several in my area). At any rate, if the tip-included service provider doesn’t see the $, at least they know to be mad at their employer (which, I think, gets a ton more $ b/c of their gift card policy).

  6. Hubby's 30th :

    My husband is turning 30 next month. He works a ton and has specifically requested no party, no dinner out, just wants a nice dinner in with me. He has, however, indicated that he is not adverse to an extra-special birthday gift to commemorate the big birthday.

    I turned 30 last year and he gave me a pair of Louboutins, without me ever asking for them (he just paid very close attention when I commented on fancy shoes). What can I give him that will match his level of thoughtfulness/be something he will remember for a long time? He already has a very nice watch and good shoes, so those are out. TIA!

  7. Has anyone climbed Half Dome in Yosemite and want to share their experience? I just found out I won the permit lottery this year (woo!) but I’m nervous about it. I’ve done a fair amount of (non-technical) hiking so I’m not worried about the long hike and elevation gain but the cables seem really scary. I’ve heard you have to pull yourself up with your arms – is that true? My arms are pretty weak, I don’t even think I can do a single pull-up. Any recommendations for footwear and/or other gear? I have LL Bean hiking shoes that are grippier than sneakers but not true hiking boots – will those be sufficient or do I need to invest in hiking boots? And I suppose this is a longshot, but anyone have any comparison between Half Dome and Ayers Rock in Australia? (I climbed that a long time ago as a kid and there was also a cable involved although you pretty much just walked up.)

    • Never climbed Ayers Rock so I can’t compare, but I am so so so glad that I hiked Half Dome. I loved it.

      The cables were far and away the hardest part of Half Dome and took me forever because I also have no arm-strength (pull ups? Puh-lease!), but they were totally doable. It’s not like a rope climb in gym class (which I never ever managed to do). You’re walking with your feet on the rock but it’s so steep that you really need the cable to make forward progress and assist with balance, but if you’re taking a moment to rest, it’s more like holding on to a handrail. Definitely strenuous and exhausting, but not scary.

      I wore my really heavy duty hiking boots and that may have been a mistake. While they had excellent soles for gripping (which helped on the cable part), they were so heavy that the hike back down once we were off the rock was just kind of painful. Every step was pretty brutal on my knees and ankles. If I did it again, I would still wear hiking boots for the ankle support/grip, but I would invest in a lightweight pair.

      Also, I would advise a headlamp and starting out really early and lots of water because even if you’re in great shape, 17 miles take a long time.

    • I’ve done half dome a few times but not Ayers Rock. If you’re in reasonably good shape you should be fine. You sort of pull yourself, but still rely on your leg strength for a lot of it, not like doing a pure pull-up. Going down is scarier than going up. But you see lots of kids, and older people, and out of shape people doing it (just takes a little longer). Your hiking shoes sound fine. It is ideal to have some ankle support.

      • I haven’t’ done it myself, but my husband has with two different groups of varying athletic abilities – take way more water than you think you’ll need! They used harnesses, too, just a thought.

    • Anything that involves cables usually means that they’re there for balance and that the strength is going to come from your legs and core to push yourself up. I wouldn’t worry much about having weak arms.

    • anon a mouse :

      We made it up to Little Yosemite to camp, but then the weather turned and we had to bail on Half Dome. (I did not want to be up there with even a tiny chance of lightning!) I strongly recommend camping for the night at Little Yosemite. It’s a long hike and you’ll welcome the chance to do Half Dome on fresh legs, plus you’ll have fewer crowds than starting at 2 a.m. at the bottom.

      Also, I have very weak arms, but everyone assured me that if you could hold the cable and stand upright, I’d be okay.

    • locomotive :

      I’m terrified of heights and I climbed half dome with the two-carabiner set up (google it for the details). Although I never slipped or needed them and the majority of people never will slip or need them, they really helped give me peace of mind (although I was still pretty scared the whole time). It’s a great accomplishment though!

  8. Not a fan of these shoes; particularly the tan ones read so frumpy to me. I went to Catholic elementary / middle school, and I find this shoe really reminiscent of the elderly nuns’ dress pumps (which in reality, probably had a lower / wider heel).

    • Baconpancakes :

      The tan does look frumpy, but I think it’s just the photo and color, combined with the “flex” of the shoes that makes it curl up. Look at it in the black and in the video at 6pm -actually quite cute! And I really doubt the nuns were wearing 2.5″ pumps – probably 1″ block heels!

  9. Guys! I think we’re booking our wedding venue for Labor Day weekend! Are we insane to think we can plan our wedding in 4.5 months?? (I know Labor Day is annoying for some, but it’s a perk for others in our group.)

    I need some encouragement! Or tips! We’ll be in the Northern VA area.

    • From what I remember, the items that were hardest if you weren’t planning way ahead were the dress (if you’re planning to wear a traditional wedding dress and are ordering) and the photographer. But, if you’re willing to shop around for a photographer, I think you’ll be fine. But get your dress right away! Still — I’d say stop worrying about whether or not it can be done and just do it!

      • I’d be fine getting a dress from J. Crew or something–not that set of anything in particular! That will be the next step. Probably booking today!

      • I second the dress as the thing with the longest timeline (I think mine took 8ish months to come in but maybe I could have paid more for rush delivery?). Also book the officiant as soon as you can, particularly if you’re getting married on the traditional day for that religion.

      • +1 to “just do it”

        If you want to get married sooner rather than later, and you found a venue you like on a date that works for you and yours, book it and move on to the next thing. I have commented before that DH and I put together a rather large and elaborate affair in 3 months time. So long as you are not heart-set on a bunch of super-specific things, you will be fine.

        Re: the dress issue, my friends who had year(s) long engagements all had to wait forever for their dresses from big chain bridal stores, but I went to a smaller boutique and had mine, made to order in a split-size no less, within a month and didn’t have to deal with added time/money for alterations. The store owner told me this was possible because I had missed the summer wedding rush and the dress-makers weren’t as busy. I guess my point is that the traditional wedding timeline does not apply to you–assume nothing.

    • Congrats! I’m from NoVA and we planned my sister’s DC wedding in 5 months. Finding a venue was the hardest part so if you’re booking that, I think you’re good to go!! Just lock in your caterer and photographer next. And like NOLA said, get on dress shopping ASAP. But in NoVA you have a ton of places you can buy dresses and might be able to buy off the rack and have it altered.

    • My little sister planned her wedding for the weekend after Labor Day last year in 3.5 months, and it was a fabulous wedding. She chose a venue that included a lot of things (flowers, tables, chairs, catering, etc. all in one), so it made for very easy planning. All she really needed to do was pick a dress, choose a cake, and book a photographer! It can absolutely be done.

      As someone who is now staring her own 15-month engagement in the face, I’m kind of wishing we had a speedier engagement now! Being engaged is fun, but I really just want to be married.

    • lucy stone :

      My BIL and his fiance are doing this. She found her dress off the rack at David’s and it looks beautiful on her. We got bridesmaids dresses at Target and they’re adorable and fit well. As long as you have reasonable expectations and can find a venue, you’ll be good to go!

    • I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I’m in NOVA/DC and would be happy to help at all. A few of us are married/getting married and have done it cheap/quick than typical DC standards, so I know a few people who may be able to help. Post an email and I’ll contact you!

  10. Anonymous :

    Have two pairs of these shoes (black and tan) and LOVE them. Wear them all summer long. I spend the winter months longing to wear them as I have not been able to replicate their comfort in a closed toe heel. Will be buying more.

  11. Wardrobe Update Budget :

    How much should I expect to spend to refresh/overhaul my work wardrobe, for a high-powered but casual law firm (Bay Area)? Post-maternity leave, and mostly back in shape, I have essentially nothing that fits me or that suits the professional image I want to be conveying, except a few random tops and some too-small suits that I don’t need for everyday wear anyway. I’m a reluctant shopper (discount stores/big sales are overwhelming and literally make me cry from frustration), so I’m planning to work with a Nordstrom personal stylist at least in part. But I’m generally very frugal and cringe at the thought of what this will cost, and I have no idea what is actually reasonable to spend. Because the cost is more of a mental constraint than a budget issue for me (I can spend whatever it takes, within reason), I would love to hear what others without my shopping/spending hang-ups would expect to spend on this project. Thanks, Hive!

    • AnonLawMom :

      Similar situation here recently. Did exactly what you are going to do. About $2K for me, but I bought a few designer pieces to mix in. Vince Camuto is a great brand at N for law firm wear and reasonably priced. You might also ask for them to waive your tailoring for anything you buy that day, which will allow you to buy some less expensive brands and have them tailored to look more expensive. Nordstrom is pretty good about accomodating you if you are working with a stylist or spending a lot in one day.

    • mama of 2 :

      I think $2000 is the right ballpark.

    • Budget Girl :

      I am a stickler for natural fabrics (wools, silk, cotton, ect.) and pretty strict about quality. That being said I am on a shoe string budget so what I tend to do is find pieces I like and them stalk them until they are on at least 70% sale (there are websites that can do this for you). I have spent about 500 on a complete wardrobe over haul going from university to working professional. People always make comment on how nice my clothes are, but little do they know the most expensive thing I own was $50.

      • hellskitchen :

        Could you share more about where you buy clothes from – which websites and which brands?

        • Budget Girl :

          For silk blouses I go for Joe Fresh, I wait until they get to $15, and they always do! They hand wash and air dry beautifully. You have to buy those in store though since they sell out online before they get marked down. For shoes I like aldo, nine west, and beyond the rack. I stack sales, coupons, and free shipping, though you need to know your size, always make sure its all leather as well ( I recently found a pair of Cole Hanns for $23 at marshalls, so you never know). If you have a gap/banana republic outlet near you they let you stack sales and coupons again, I find both are a great place for wools (sweaters and pants). I am in Canada so my department store is the bay, but I know macy’s does this too, the semi annual sales always have “bonus” days with extra % off, and if you become friendly with a sales person they can help with the disaster of sales racks, I get my Tahari dresses this way, I cap my spending at 40 for those. Unfortunately I find most brands only do 2 or 3 things well so my closet is pretty diverse in terms of brands. I find it helpful to find brands who don’t target your demographic, for example Jones New York their demographic is older than I am, and larger, so I always have full pick during sales everything is still in stock in my size. If you want any more tips, or have specific pieces in mind I would love to help :)

  12. Am I the only one that hates peep toe shoes? I feel like they’re uncomfortable and unattractive for my toes.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Angie at YouLookFab had a post about this recently – she defines feet as “high profile” and “low profile” based on width and arch and bunions, etc. I find peep toes way more comfortable than closed-toe shoes, and I think it’s due to my wide toe box, high-arch, narrow-heel feet – the peep toe lets me size down a bit for security without cramping my toes.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      I hate them too. I just cannot stand the look. I have never owned a pair, and can pretty safely say that I don’t think I ever will.

    • I don’t consider them unattractive or uncomfortable, just inappropriate for work.

    • Nope, I don’t really like them either. Why would I want you to see just two of my toes? If it’s ok for you to see my toes, it’s ok for you to see all of my toes. And if it’s not ok for you to see my toes, just showing you a subset of my toes doesn’t help.

    • I generally don’t like them – I have long toes, so mine tend to hang out of the whole and it feels like I’m flipping people off with my toes.

      However, I do have some wider hole shoes that I do wear (you can see more than just one or two toenails.

  13. Has anyone ever done work assignments in the UAE? I’ve received a potential short-term assignment that I can take or reject and I was curious if there were any major drawbacks I was overlooking. Generally it seems fine, but there are always negative stories out there about traveling or working as a woman and I don’t know how much weight I should give them, if any.

    • My best friend worked for McK there for a few years (stationed out of a different office) and then moved there with her husband, who worked there, for a few years more.

      It’s hot. Really hot. All the time hot. And muggy. Her shoes melted on a factory floor tour once!

      Sometimes there are cultural issues in the ME with being a woman in business–like, at times, her bosses would have a male colleague present her ideas/work at a meeting bc it would go over better (and she knew it). (This was not at McK, but at her subsequent job, for the record.)

      You can’t show much skin in the workplace (lots of breezy, drapey clothes, no sleeveless items).

      She found it super-enriching and very cool to travel from–a bunch of never, ever in your life will you have time to get there destinations are just a short flight away.

      Tons of her friends stopped through to visit her (camel rides, indoor skiing, ridiculous malls!)

      There are a lot of expats. People hang out in malls, because they have A/C are _the_ spot to hang out.

      The people-watching (and ostentatious wealth) are really something to behold. It’s absurd (in a fascinating way)

      She would tell you to do it! She enjoyed her time there, and was glad she did it…and was equally glad to come home after years as an expat in several countries.

      Have a good journey!

  14. Paging New York Associate looking for jewelry :

    I have two suggestions:

    1. For very high quality fake pearls, Mallorca — at major department stores and in some duty-free shops.

    2. For all else, museum shops. Especially the Met, but also the Chicago Art Institute and the Smithsonian. These are also great for silk scarves.

    — Basics

    • Paging New York Associate looking for jewelry :

      PS: Spend an hour walking through the main building on the south-west corner of Fifth and 47th one day. The prices there are good (and you should negotiate), and the quality is good. If you find designs you like, no reason not to purchase.

    • new york associate :

      Thank you! I appreciate the suggestions.

  15. Anonymous :

    Has anyone ever gotten rid of warts using nail polish or superglue? I have one on one of my fingers and because of its location it can’t be duct-taped. Wart remover liquid, wax, and freeze-spray have not been successful (probably because the acid doesn’t survive handwashing).

    • Anon for this :

      I highly advise that you get yourself to a Dr who will burn the bejeezus out of your wart with liquid nitrogen. No need to worry about handwashing. It works much, much faster than any other method and is actually effective.

      • I’ve seen OTC versions of liquid nitrogen treatments in drug stores, too. But I have no idea how well it works. I second going to the dr. and just having them burn it off, though. Way more effective than anything else, although expect to deal with a blister for a week.

      • Anonymous :

        I went to the derm every other week for a year to have one burned off. It hurt like a SOB and didn’t even work–we finally gave up because my mom was tired of the 2 hour trip into the doctor, and seeing me bawl every time. Ended up getting rid of it in a week with an old bottle of DuoFilm I found in the bathroom cabinet. You have to let it dry, of course, but 10 minutes before bedtime and then letting it soak in overnight is much less of a time commitment than regular doctor visits.

      • Anonymous :

        Sorry – meant to add that I haven’t seen a doc because of stories like Anonymous’s at 4:29 – hurts like hell and doesn’t resolve even in multiple visits. I don’t have a ton of time off for that approach.

        I’ll check out the DuoFilm!

        • Salicylic acid like DuoFilm or curad pads are the only thing that ever worked for me. You have to use them daily for a long time (in my case multiple weeks) in order to be effective. The pads are more concentrated and effective than the liquid, in my experience, and then I wrapped the heck out of the spot with medical tape. Fabric band aids also work way better than regular band aids on your hands and hold up to bending repeatedly.

      • My nephew had a wart on his finger and after multiple rounds with the doctor my sister tried duct tape and that worked! I know you said you can’t because it is on your finger, but maybe you can still figure out a way to cover it and then put a band-aid over or something if you don’t want to walk around with duct tape on your finger.

    • NWanalyst :

      The only thing that has ever worked for warts on me is going to my physician and doing the liquid nitrogen approach. That, while a bit inconvenient, has worked every single time.

  16. thyroid--from the hunt :

    Copied from The Hunt, as there is more traffic here…

    hypothyroid TJ:

    went in for annual labs for hypothyroid last week. I’ve been on synthroid now for 3 years, and have increased dosage from 25mcg up to 75mcg now.

    Labs were normal (2.7) for TSH, but I still feel awful. Deepening depression, bruising, fatigue, dry skin & hair, cold…Nurse practitioner (who is with an ENT, not an endocrinologist–there aren’t any in my immediate vicinity) ordered T3, T4 and thyroid antibody labs, along with a CBC from my PCP to see if there are other issues contributing.

    She (ENT NP) said that if the labs were normal, she would switch me from brand name synthroid to Armour thyroid. This freaks me out a little, but it shouldn’t considering I’m a carnivore…However, she said that there are folks who get better results from Armour than from Synthroid. She said that if the labs were off, she’d increase my dose of Synthroid.

    She said that she was hesitant to include Cytomel (T3 supplement, whereas Synthroid is T4) in addition to Synthroid, just because of the variability of Cytomel. Apparently the half-life of cytomel is a few hours (8-12) whereas therapeutic dose of synthroid takes about 6 weeks–which is why you have to get labs drawn 6 weeks after every dosage change.

    I’m not running out of hope yet, but I am feeling like I’m reaching the end of a road with little room for improvement. Has anyone experienced this/had luck with alternative methods of treating? FWIW, it is more likely that my hypothyroid is a result of thyroiditis (which is why my thyroid antibodies are usually abnormal), as opposed to some other condition. Thoughts? Options?

    • Anonymous :

      Go to an endocrinologist. Even if it means traveling. How far is ” immediate vicinity?” Is there a hospital nearby? In rural communities sometimes specialists fly in one every few weeks, you might contact them. If you’ve been seeing the ENT for a while and you aren’t satisfied I think that an endocrinologist is the obvious next step. When you make the appointment have them note that you have been receiving care for a while and fax a copy of your records including all test results before you go. If it’s > 2 hours away I would also ask to speak to the doctor by phone first and ask that any tests be ordered pre visit if possible so you can review those results together.

      • +1. Don’t mess with the endocrine system. My husband drives an hour to see his endocrinologist, but as anonymous suggested, usually is able to have labs done locally 1-2 weeks before his visits.

    • I feel your frustrations. I’ve had hypothyroidism for the past 8 years and have felt utterly helpless with all the symptoms especially the weight gain and fatigue. I used to take synthroid and have switched to Armour Thyroid for the past 3 years. I would recommend Armour Thyroid because it has helped with lessening some of the symptoms. I feel like I have more energy and can live a somewhat normal life. Even though AT has a shorter half life, you can take half of the dosage in the morning and the rest in the afternoon to give you a boost. You can also take AT and a smaller dosage of synthroid which will last you all day. From my experience, doctors are hesitant to increase your dosage when your lab results fall in the normal range even if you have all these symptoms. I would push them to prescribe a higher dosage and see if that will help with your symptoms. Try some of these options. It may take awhile for you to figure out what works besy for you. Good luck!

  17. Anonymous :

    I declined to attend a friend’s destination wedding a few days ago, and she just called me, quite upset that I said no. I don’t really have the vacation time, and I don’t want to spend $2000 on this wedding, and I already sent a cheque and a card, but now I feel guilty.

    From what I understood, people who have destination weddings know the burden they are placing on their invites, and risk a lot of declines, I think she was wrong to be upset with me.

    • long-distance wedding :

      See my post in this morning’s thread for a similar situation. How can people not understand that spending thousands of dollars to get to their remote weddings is not in the cards for most?

      • Oh gosh, as someone having a destination wedding (where I live, but 7,000 miles from my hometown), I totally understand. A card and sincere well wishes is all that I hope for.

    • Clementine :

      This is a ‘her’ problem, not a ‘you’ problem.

      Your second paragraph is what I also understand. If you have a destination wedding, you know people won’t/can’t swing it. If there are people who you know your day will be ruined without, you either a) talk to them ahead of time and make sure they can make it or b) talk to them and make sure they can swing the vacation days and then cover all/a portion of their costs.

      She may be just dealing with disappointment or she may be totally unreasonable- only time will tell.

    • Don’t feel guilty. Any couple has to realize that some guests will decline and that’s especially true when you hold your wedding in a hard to reach place. Most couples do realize this. Anonymous, your friend was rude.
      @long-distance wedding, your friend didn’t do anything wrong – its fine to hold your wedding wherever you want. It’s rude to call your friends and criticize them when they politely decline and send a card & gift.

    • She was completely wrong to be upset.

    • Just tell her you’d love to attend her wedding, but it’s just not in your budget right now (and if it’s that important to have you there, she shouldn’t have scheduled a destination wedding).

      Is she just upset because you’re not attending or because you didn’t call her to explain the situation? If you’re a close friend, I could understand being hurt/upset to find out that you weren’t attending via the RSVP card, but beyond that, there’s no reason for her to be upset. As it’s been noted here many times, wedding invitations are not a summons and you have every right to decline for whatever reason you want.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Agree with all of this. If OP had not told her friend that she couldn’t attend prior to sending the RSVP card, then I can see why the friend was upset/hurt. If you want to smooth things over, I’d try taking her out for drinks, telling her that you’d love to be there but you just can’t swing it financially or time-wise, and then chatting about wedding stuff. After the wedding, ask about it, the honeymoon, etc. I know that a lot of people here will tell you that you don’t owe your friend an explanation (and I agree, generally), but I also think that if this is a friend you care about that it could soften the blow.

  18. –j TJ:
    any tips from anyone on Team Awesome for making bj more enjoyable (read: tolerable) for me? I hate it. SO basically wants nothing else in the entire world.

    • What do you hate about it?

      • taste of projectile…. I don’t like that SO is pushy about it either, but that is neither here nor there. Iit is a gift that I do WANT to give, given how much he does like it. Though I wouldn’t ask him to do something he’s not thrilled about…

        Haven’t tried flavored stuff, am certainly willing

        • You could brush your teeth first, make him eat a lot of pineapple on a regular basis, and/or use your hand/a tissue at the end. If you feel like you are being pressured into something you truly are opposed to doing, you should discuss it with him.

        • taste can be improved by SO’s diet – google should tell you what he should eat and what he should avoid. Compromise may be that you do it but not to completion?

    • Maybe try flavored edible lube? Have you told your SO how you feel about it? Bit surprised that he’s so pushy about something you aren’t just uninterested in but actually hate. Reminds me to be grateful for DH who doesn’t push stuff I’m not comfortable with.

    • Anonattorney :

      Don’t do it for very long. That’s my tip.

    • One thing that takes BJs from decently enjoyable to intolerable to me is when my BF puts his hand on my head. Once I realized that was what I hated, and that certain positions were much better (him lying on the bed = super painful crick in my neck), it became much better.

    • NWanalyst :

      I used to hate them too, due to some early bad experiences/unfortunate geometry; and after many years of practice find them rather enjoyable. Several thoughts that basically sum up how I overcame that problem:

      1. Don’t do it if you are in pain/uncomfortable/resentful. It will only build bad associations or add to those that are already there. Also, your whole head tends to tense up when you’re unhappy, which makes it way worse.
      2. If you still want to try to do this, do it *only* as long as you can have a good attitude about it. The second it starts becoming a negative experience, stop. Try to consciously relax and have a good time while you’re doing it… it will be easier that way.
      3. Tell SO the plan. I told my now-DH that I wanted to do this for him, but only if I could have a good attitude about it, and that meant I needed to learn to enjoy the experience. He absolutely did not want me resenting him or his desires, and having this on the table made the whole issue much easier to deal with. For a long while, he wouldn’t ask for it… he’d just let me decide when I was in the mood.
      4. Try to find ways to get into the idea. Maybe working it into your fantasies, letting it be an ego thing, asking him to tell you what he gets out of it. I found that the ego thing (i.e. I’m getting good at this) made a huge difference for me.

      Hope this helps. I do understand the issue and there was a long while when I thought I’d *never* want to do that again… but I think you can learn to like just about anything if everyone’s willing to be flexible.

      • Joanna Toews :

        +1,000,000. Excellent advice.

        I learned to really enjoy given BJs by making them about me being in control of everything: Position, angle, depth, touch, etc. Getting good reactions is a huge ego trip. On a night when I’m just not feeling it, I use lube and hands, with just a bit of mouth to make things interesting.

  19. Another AF question :

    Ladies, has anyone had a much lighter than normal AF but accompanied by worse than normal cramps? I am usually so regular and this is really weird for me. Part of the normal range/variation of AF?

  20. Friend in Need :

    Ladies, can you offer some perspective? Sorry in advance for the novel. A friend of mine is going through a really rough time, and I want to help, but the more I try to help, the more I realize her problems are way bigger than I thought, and I simply don’t know if I have the emotional energy to give her what she’s asking for.

    We became casual friends based on a shared interest, and shortly after, she went through a breakup of a 10 year relationship. Since her SO owned the condo, she moved in with one friend out in the burbs, than another. As things have begun to fall apart, it’s become clear she was relying on her SO to keep her life together. Her personal life began impacting her professional life, and she lost her internship. Her full-time graduate program seems to be on hold, not sure what happened there. She was hospitalized a week after the breakup, in conjunction with a gallbladder surgery, but the hospitalization seemed to be related to mental illness. She has cut herself off from her family. She’s recently started calling and texting me, blurting out a lot of really personal details about her past, and I’ve listened and tried to be there for her, but she’s now begun texting and calling during work hours, and she’s intimated to my SO that she might need a new couch to crash on. This weekend, she crashed her car and was in the ER with whiplash.

    I’m not sure why she’s turning to me, when I’ve actually hung out with her a total of maybe eight times, and I’m worried about becoming a support system for someone I don’t really even know. I’ve helped a close friend through a very, very difficult mental illnesses, and as anyone who has been that support system knows, it’s exhausting, even when your friend has a good therapist. The late night calls, the flakiness, needing someone to talk her down, someone to give her a place to stay, someone to make sure she takes care of herself and doesn’t engage in self-destructive activities (like staying out until the bars close every night the way she’s doing right now). I’m terrified my friend now is going to start leaning on me more and more, and I feel terrible wanting to back out, but I just don’t have that emotional energy to give to someone I honestly hardly know. She has a therapist, and she’s on meds, but she still seems to be falling apart.

    What can I do to help her without basically becoming her mother? I feel terrible pushing her away, when she clearly needs someone, but I’m not sure why it falls to me, and I’m starting to feel taken advantage of. Any advice or help?

    • I would explain to her that you would love to be here for her in this time of need but you cannot take personal calls or texts at work and then do not respond if you receive calls or texts from her at work. You should certainly be supportive (talk on the phone after work/weekends, take her to lunch/dinner, give her advice, help her job hunt, etc.) but figure out what boundaries you are comfortable with (no late night calls if it is not a life-or-death situation, no staying at your house, etc.) and then stick to them. As you said, this is not a close friend or family member so, while you should still be a good friend and do what you can to support her, I don’t think you have an obligation to step in and be her mother.

    • You might try National Alliance for Mental Illness NAMI [dot] org for helpful referrals and or services. Sounds like my ex-SIL with borderline personality disorder. I’d be wary of getting more involved. She sounds like she needs a lot of help.

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