Wednesday’s TPS Report: Outdoor Café Dress (Plus, Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale!)

ModCloth Outdoor Cafe Dress | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. This week’s guest posts are from Auntie M — welcome back!  Note that Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale for women and kids has started, with savings of up to 40% on lots of good things, including denim, spring coats, Theory, Cole Haan, Stuart Weitzman, and more  we’ll try to do a deal roundup later this morning! 

I love perusing ModCloth, but rarely end up ever buying because the dresses are often either too va-va-voom, or too twee, for the office. This Outdoor Café Dress, though, seems to strike a really nice balance — conservative cut (sleeves! high neckline! knee-length!) but in a rich and interesting color. I also think the pleats are fun  and I’m hoping I’m not the only Corporette reader who has used “pleats” and “fun” in the same sentence without irony. Another plus: the reviews are mostly great for all sizes, from S-4X. I’d pair this with simple black patent pumps and neutral jewelry, letting the dress be the focal point. It’s$79.99, marked down from $114.99 at ModCloth. ModCloth Outdoor Café Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] (the email is working again, woo hoo!).

(L-all)

Comments

  1. Comment & Q :

    This is cute! The sort of thing that we say “wear to work with a jacket / blazer.”

    I keep trying this and my problem is that jackets are cut and darted for someone bustier than me (e.g., everyone — I’m 5-4, 125#,and 30D [don't let the D fool you -- this is a 36A in volume terms], so I’m built like an eighth grader (but with hips, so the juniors section isn’t really an answer b/c the hips are a problem unless the jacket is very cropped, also the fabrics are terrible)). Petites often don’t give my arms enough room to move.

    Can anyone recommend brands of jackets / blazers that tend to fit the flat-chested?

    • This is almost exactly my height & weight and how I’m built, but I wear a 34A (or even 34AA). If you wear a D cup, can you really be flat-chested? Not trying to be snarky, just curious.

      • Comment & Q :

        It’s a volume / band size thing. I had been trying a 34A, but had quad boob and the shoulder straps were always falling off. So 36A cups, but on a much smaller band and they call it a D. It is most definitely not a D by boom-chicka-wow-wow standards.

        • But cup size is the difference between the fullest part of your bust and your ribcage (band) measurement. It might be an A cup on a 36 inch band, but that band is 6 inches bigger than it’s supposed to be. You are busty for your frame, but may not consider yourself busty compared to someone with the same cup size on a larger frame.

          I think what you might be trying to explain is that the blazers you are looking at are cut for a larger bust (fullest part) measurement than you have . Is the rest of the jacket large on you (shoulders, waist, etc), or just are just having

        • It sounds like you have narrow shoulders, and I guess I don’t. Makes sense. I learn something new every day!

        • I’m a 32D and the same – I feel hilarious calling myself a D cup because there is no boom-chicka-wow-wow up top, but petite ribcage and shoulders calls for it. I have wide hips as well. The only place I have luck with blazers is White House Black Market. Some of them have too much embellishment, but if you can find a good simple one, they are much more fitted at the waist and very flattering.

      • Chesticles :

        I am a 32D (so just one size up) and I dont consider myself flat chested at all. I have major cleavage even in entirely unlined bras. Obviously my boobs in volume are quite small, but the rest of me is small too. That’s the whole point of bra sizes being a volume to chest circumference ratio.

        • Comment & Q :

          I think this is me: I had no idea that you could even have a 30″ band based on what I’d seen in stores and it was only after going in to a specialty store and getting measured that I have found bras that work. Even then, I often have to have the straps moved more towards the center in the back. [I do have non-existent shoulders and I carry a clutch.]

          I think with jackets, they are for people of a broader circumfrence around the ribcage (who may also be bustier).

        • I, too, am a 32D. Which is not enormous, but busty for my size.

          I think the issue women with this proportion have is what Comment & Q said at 10:20 am – most jackets and shirts that are cut to fit around the bre@sts are also cut too wide in the ribcage and shoulders for women with a full bosom but smaller shoulders and ribcage circumference. I cannot wear “crisp shirts” at all – to fit around the bust, the shirt is much too big in the shoulders and through the body and I just look dumpy.

          I have no useful solutions, except maybe ponte blazers or getting things tailored.

      • If you are that height and weight, unless you have a HUGE ribcage for your size, there is no way you are a 34. Go get sized (Nordstrom or a specialty boutique). You’re probably more like a 30C.

    • I have a similar problem but very different measurements. I have broad shoulders and ribcage, but small chest. When I button my jackets, there is very clearly room for a chest I don’t have. If I get the back taken in, there is not room to button. My tailor has not been able to figure out a way to remove the chest volume easily. We’ve tried messing with the chest darts, but it doesn’t come out that great. I tend to leave things unbuttoned for that reason. Jackets should really have chest sizes.

  2. Miss Behaved :

    I had another great morning on the T. A construction worker sat down next to me and promptly fell asleep on me. After he got off the train, I realized there was paint on my pants.

    Any tips for getting paint off clothing? It’s not like I keep turpentine in the office. Luckily, it’s the staff picnic today so I’m wearing khakis instead of a nice skirt or trousers.

    • Nail polish remover may help?

      • Miss Behaved :

        Thanks. Just saw something online about hairspray. Found hairspray in the ladies’ room. Fingers crossed!

        • Clementine :

          Also maybe try dish soap- dish soap breaks up oils and often works for both latex and oil paint.

          • Miss Behaved :

            I couldn’t find dish soap and now I have a headache from the aerosol and the the flowery scent of the hairspray.

    • Latex paint or oil paint? If it’s oil – your going to need a solvent (like turpentine) to remove it, I think (I’d see what the G o o g le had to say)? If it’s latex, then water and scrubbing is your best bit. You might even be able to pick/peel it off after a couple hours.

      I don’t think acetone (nail polish remover) would be particularly helpful.

    • I have had good luck with hand soap and scraping it off with my fingernails. I always seem to have something on my pants, and it is usually a very unpleasant surprise.

      I am dying over the construction worker. In any other world, this would be your meet cute.

      • It’s true! He would be super hot and the paint would somehow contain the impression of his email address so that she could email him and be all annoyed about the paint. And then there would be squabbly flirt-fighting.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Oh dear. I think I’m getting a cavity from the romcom trope before my coffee!

          I blame romcoms for millions of failed relationships where the couple thinks that squabbling is the key to a long-lasting love and mutual trust and affection. That said, is Ryan Gosling coming out with any movies anytime soon?

          • I thoroughly agree with both those sentences. Rom coms are awful at portraying actual relationships, and I would like to watch another really good one soon, please.

            (Not exactly a rom com but you may enjoy About Time – recently came out and does fill the sweet romantic movie gap. I did end up sobbing through part of it though.)

          • Hey – my 25+ year relationship is built on bickering! It’s how we communicate.

          • Yum. Ryan Gosling. The only thing better is James McAvoy.

        • Hildegarde :

          Also he would secretly be a brilliant artist in his spare time.

          • Anne Shirley :

            Except she’s in Boston, so he’d actually be an MIT drop out who walked away from academic life after he realized his discovery was being used for evil. Miss Behaved would work for a non-profit and would discover, after many missed connections, that his discovery was actually healing all the children. There would be a scene in an airport, and then they’d lose track of each other until . . . Three months later . . . She gets on the t and it’s full of roses, and him clean shaven and they all live happily ever after.

          • Brilliant!

        • You all should work on a screenplay.

    • Silvercurls :

      I used something called “Krud Kutter” this weekend to remove latex paint splatters from the floor. Spray, let sit, wipe. It might be worth walking into a hardware store & reading the ingredients (because maybe you could buy the components elsewhere, especially if it turns out to be stuff similar to nail polish remover). I’d also try talking to a really, really, skilled (thus probably expensive) dry cleaner. As another commenter said, latex paint is water-based. If you’re dealing with oil-based paint you will need other chemicals or solvents.

  3. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Following from last week’s topics on ‘things that annoy you’ on an everyday basis, I had to share the following…

    1. people who arbitrarily remove other people in your organisation/your clients from cc. That person has been copied by me for a reason, you have no idea what that reason is, so please don’t make arbitrary choices about whether or not they should be copied (though this is a fine balance, as being copied on pointless e-mails that are of no relevance to me is also vexing); and

    2. cashiers who return change by giving you the note first and then the coins on top of the note, so you have to balance everything very carefully in order to avoid dropping the coins everywhere.

    That is all.

    (yes, it’s time for a vacation)

    • Ahhhhhh yes x a million to your second point. Really, just hand me the coins first, let me put them away and then I will take the bills – it will go so much faster that way for everyone involved.

      • I do not understand this at all. Is there a grocery store association that’s telling every cashier to do this? It makes the least sense of all the options (hand you coins and then bills separately, put coins in your palm then bills).

        • I think it started about 20 years ago, and every cashier in the universe started doing it at once, so yes, maybe there is a secret cabal to make us drop our change on the floor. When I was a kid, no one did this.

          • It’s because they don’t have to count back change anymore. The registers tell them how much to give back, so they start with the dollar amount instead of the coin amount.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes! Counting back change is a lost art, and oh! How I miss it! On the rare occasions somebody counts back my change, I want to kiss them!

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I got in the wrong line at the grocery store a few days ago and watched the cashier have the hardest time getting the correct change out of the register. The problem wasn’t counting back the change because the register told her what to give, but she had trouble counting $8 in bills and whatever amount in coins. It was painful.

        • It’s because no one wants to touch hands. Bills are easier to hand over w/o contact and then you put coins on top of the bills which at this point act as a skin barrier.

    • Clementine :

      I’m going to add onto this list:

      - People who make notes on your work product that are completely undiscernable either due to handwriting or because they insist on making notes in pencil and then giving you a copy. You are then forced to spend 10-20 minutes attempting to decrypt this secret message and then the illegible writer gets all cranky that you’re bothering them to ask a question and/or haven’t made their edits fast enough.

      - People who smoke directly outside my office window. If you’re on the bottom 2 floors, it can be downright terrible.

      -People who automatically assume that Mr. Smith’s wife is named Mrs. Smith and address mail to that end. Very likely 50 years ago, very much less likely among professional couples with established pre-marriage careers. Especially annoying when it’s your mother in law who knows that you’re Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Jones, yet insists on addressing mail to Mrs. John Smith.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Re number 2 – YES! I have this problem in my flat. I’m on the second floor and the people on the ground floor smoke in their garden and it all moves upwards and comes into my flat (even when the windows are closed). I realise there is absolutely nothing I can do about this as they are smoking (i) outside and (ii) in their own garden but MAN it drives me crazy.

      • Dr. Jones :

        I find this to be especially annoying when wedding invitations are sent to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith when they should be addressed to Mr. John Smith and Dr. Jane Jones because I then feel obligated to write “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” on the RSVP to avoid confusion.

        • You should just RSVP as “Mr. and Dr. Jane Jones” and let them figure it out!

          • Husband and I have different last names, and this is exactly what I do. It’s never seemed to cause any confusion (although my husband has a rather unique first name, so there’s really no mistaking him for anyone else…).

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I’d likely RSVP back with the correct way to address us even though it might be confusing. I was just thinking about it this morning actually and left myself a note to verify last names when gathering addresses for our wedding invitations.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Speaking of RSVP cards, I love it because often the space for your name is like this:

          M____________________

          Where you are supposed to fill in “Mr. and Mrs. Whoever” or “Ms. Whoever” or… whatever.

          My first name begins with M so I always fill in the rest of my first name and then my last name, and it makes me giggle each and every time.

          That is all.

          • That’s pretty standard and your opportunity to say who is coming and how you wish to be addressed. I learned the hard way that many people leave it blank so you get RSVP cards with no idea who is coming. Fortunately, a friend advised me to put #s on the back that corrolated with the guest list.

          • Heh, I do the same thing.

          • Wildkitten :

            This is amazing. I’m an M. I’m going to do this from now on!

      • SuziStockbroker :

        My MIL insists on calling my children by my husband’s last name. Their last name is hyphenated. She is well aware of that fact.

        His cousins routinely send mail (wedding invitations, big family) to Mr and Mrs Smith, or the Smith Family, instead of Mr Smith and Ms Jones, or the Smith-Jones Family.

        I’d like to think they just don’t know any better, but seriously, I’ve been married to the dude for 18 years now.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Have you just resigned yourself to it or do you keep correcting them? That would seriously bug me and I’d like to think that I’d correct them each time because it is rude but I’d likely get tired of it and just give up if they never changed despite my corrections. You deserve to be called by your name and I’m sorry they don’t do that.

          • SuziStockbroker :

            I correct them where possible. Latest example was my husband’s cousin’ wedding. My children were in the wedding and noted on the program as having only my husband’s last name. To be fair, the cousin hadn’t realized (just assumed) and felt very bad when he fou d out a few days before the wedding. He asked me if I wanted them to redo the programs. No. But they hadn’t done the table cards yet and so they did those right.
            I always fill in the RSVPs with our correct names. I always sign the guest books at weddings and funerals/wakes with our correct names.
            My MIL is another story. She spoke to my husband before we got married and once our oldest child was born about how ‘disappointed’ she was we didn’t have his name.
            Too bad, so sad lady and my H told her that I had a lot of strong opinions on things and that was one of the things he loved about me.

        • I have a hyphenated last night and had the same issue as your children growing up, but it never really bothered me. My mother’s family refered to my by her last name and my father’s family by his last name. I always just thought it was funny. Plus, it made it really easy to tell which side of the family a card was from before even opening it

        • Wildkitten :

          My bf’s mom calls our dog by his last name. She’s my dog and we’re not married.

          • Wildkitten :

            Or maybe she hyphenated the dog’s last name? Is that more or less ridiculous?

          • applesandcheddar :

            My bf’s mom does this with my dog too. I know she is *just* a dog, but for some reason it infuriates me!

        • I am so happy I don’t have a hyphenated name. I wouldn’t do that to a kid.

    • I think it’s from all the computers. . . cashiers used to “count up” with change first, then the bills. Now with computers, you just look, see the $5.xx, and go for that bill first.

    • Yes to number 2! I worked as a cashier/birthday party hostess at a roller skating rink in high school and, knowing how much I hated getting paper back, I would ALWAYS give the coins back first and THEN paper.

      But I think I’ve met exactly -0- other people who do that. Irks me.

  4. I’m debating getting this dress from the NAS half-yearly sale: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tahari-belt-detail-jacquard-sheath-dress-petite/3769797. I love the color – I need more brights for summer – but am unsure whether the neckline would look funny. I would wear it to work, FWIW. Anyone happen to have it?

    • It’s a pretty color but the neckline wouldn’t work on my personal torso.

    • S in Chicago :

      I have a split-neck gray sheath in suiting fabric of the same style from them and it’s one of my favorite go-tos. I feel like it’s really flattering–it doesn’t close off the way a crew neck does and I don’t need to worry about a necklace.

  5. Anyone have recs on makeup remover / face cleanser wipes that are both: good for sensitive skin and removes waterproof makeup?

    I got the Burt’s Bees one, but it doesn’t fully remove all my eye makeup. On top of that, it stings a bit when I use it directly on my eyes.

    • I use the Neutrogena face wipes (blue package) for quick cleaning. Sephora’s waterproof eye makeup remover doesn’t irritate my eyes (I take out my contacts before using it though). For cleanser, I used Purpose for a while (no irritation), but am trying Burts Bees Radiance cleanser right now (so far so good). I get good results when I use eye makeup remover first and then my normal face wash. I don’t like using face wash on my eyes.

    • I love the shu uemura cleansing oil.

    • I have sensitive eyes and I use the Almay non-oily eye makeup remover. I don’t use a face cleanser wipe on my eyes.

    • Platinomad :

      I have recently moved over to the Aveno face wipes and love them. I think they smell pretty pleasant compared to a lot of other face wipes, and I have extremely sensitive skin/eyes (i am the person of 100 allergies and unexplained rashes) and they have been great for me. I typically wear mascara and face make up and it all wipes off with them, but honestly I’m not sure if my makeup is water proof or not now that I think about it.

    • Second the Neutrogena in the blue package. They’re also very portable. For travel, throw as many as you need in a zip close sandwich bag to save room. Also a nice refresh post-flight.

    • I have pretty sensitive / reactive skin, and I like the Yes to Cucumbers ones.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I use the Neutrogena (or CVS brand) liquid makeup remover. It’s very gentle, and comparatively non-greasy.

    • Bioderma Crealine H20. This is one of the few products I consistently buy. And a full bottle lasts me about 9 months! Takes off mascara and eye makeup with one application (but I also hold the cotton pad over my eye for a few seconds to let it soak in). No breakouts, no traces of makeup, no oil/weird residue. It’s PERFECT.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      Very sensitive skin.

      I use a Norwex facecloth and water. It removes even waterproof eyemakeup, is antibacterial, and since I don’t rub hard, is very gentle.
      Easy for travel too, just bring a ziploc bag to bring the damp cloth home.

    • I like the yes to cucumbers wipes and the garnier ones in the green packet. Really soothing.

      For an eye makeup remover, I really do not like the ones that are super oily so I found one by Bliss that is more of a gel and it works really well.

    • Thanks, everyone! I forgot to mention that I like wipes because I travel a lot and can’t take bottles of remover, so will definitely check out these out. I’m also almost done with my current full bottle remover (Dior duo phase-something), so will also use these remover recs.

    • I like the yes to cucumbers wipes

    • I like the Neutrogena wipes (blue pack) and the Yes to Cucumbers one (green pack). Most of the time I use the general store brand from Loblaws, though, and they work fine, although they don’t feel quite as luxurious and soothing. (They’re about $7 for a giant pack rather than $10+ for a small pack.)

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Thirding Yes to Cucumbers wipes, though I also like the Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit wipes (especially for post-run cleanup @ work). No troubles removing eye makeup with either, but I also don’t wear liner or waterproof mascara.

    • Neutrogena deep cleansing lotion

    • Almay eye makeup remover wipes.

  6. I'm an associate :

    Threadjack. Do any of you ladies run alone in the morning or evening? If so, do you carry pepper spray? (Does it make you feel safer? Have you used it?) I had an incident this morning where a shady man said some inappropriate things to me on the bike path and then started jogging behind me. He was wearing jeans/chains/etc. so I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just an innocent runner on his 5am bikepath jog. Ughhhh.

    • I don’t carry, but after an experience like that I would start immediately. That, or borrow a doberman pinscher to run with.

    • locomotive :

      I do run with pepper spray (it’s made by a firearms company named kb something, and is in a water gun format so you can’t accidentally spray yourself bc it’s a directed stream) and a whistle, but I was mugged at 19 and have been really terrified of that happening again after, so I do tend to be more on the cautious (paranoid?) side.

    • I’m definitely thinking about it…I’ve encountered an increasing number of creeps on my runs lately (early evening on weekdays and mid-morning to mid-afternoon on weekends). I’m interested to hear what others have to say (or if anyone knows of a rent-a-Rottweiler organization…).

    • My SO is law enforcement, and I workout indoors because of him freaking out about this. My only tips are to never run the same route, carry pepper spray (you can get baby sizes that fit in the back pocket of running pants), and to remember that statistically stranger attacks on women are actually very rare especially in comparison to family/friend attacks. Happy running

    • I don’t run alone, but I guess it depends where, as to whether its safe. I think I would be fine running around the Mall, because there are plenty of people/police so I wouldn’t need pepper spray. But if I were running Rock Creek Park? Well, I would NEVER do that alone, but I would carry pepper spray anyway.

      Side note: I have long hair that I usually wear in a braid or pony tail when I run. Once another runner, a guy, actually stopped me and told me to never do that again, because it would make an excellent way to grab me and drag me away. Still not sure whether he was being sweet or creepy… But I do wear my hair in a bun now.

      • Creepy. I had someone stop me on the sidewalk to say it was a good thing I had my dog with me because there had been a mugging in the area recently.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I’ve heard that as a running tip for women, generally. So, he was probably being nice but I still would have been a bit creeped out.

      • Honestly, an attacker could grab anything, like your arm, and use that to drag you away. I’m sure he meant well, but it reminds me of my family members watching lots of daytime tv and then warning me not to do things like play outside as a child because I would be raped to death. Yes, it’s a risk, but it’s extremely unlikely to happen .

        • This. A bun vs. a ponytail isn’t really a major distinction – either way, it’s something to grab. And so is your ear, so…

          The best defense isn’t figuring out what kind of hairstyle is most tactical. It’s knowing how to react when someone grabs your hair/ear/arm.

          • This is one of those tips (often circulated in magazine articles/ posts on the internet along with “rapists look for women with overalls because they can snip them off”) that has NEVER been validated by any study. Men who assault women are looking for an opportunity, period. Hair up or down wouldn’t matter one iota to them- and it’s pretty easy to grab hair that’s down, too!

      • At least in DC, there are restrictions on pepper spray. There have been multiple attacks on runners in the area recently so try to run in populated areas and don’t wear headphones.

    • I don’t run with pepper spray, but I’ve never encountered a creep on a run in my neighbourhood, and I’m rarely away from houses, or off the bus route, so I feel fairly safe.

      However, Monday a fellow runner warned me about 2 coyotes that chased him & his dog, and then this morning I saw a coyote with 2 pups, so now I’m thinking pepper spray wouldn’t be a bad idea just in case the wild animals get aggressive. For now I just keep an eye on them, and stay on the other side of the street. I hope the coyote population isn’t increasing in my neighbourhood!

      • The coyotes were probably more worried about the dog than the runner, so I wouldn’t be too concerned. But still a good idea to try to steer clear of the pups. And dog owners, keep your dog on a leash during baby season, both for the wild animals and your dog’s sake!

    • I run with pepper spray, but it’s more for dogs than people. I’ve been bitten before… by a dog on a leash.

      For the people issue, I try to run in busy areas and look alert. No headphones.

      • Famouscait :

        +1 to your second point – no headphones. I also make a point to acknowledge or make eye contact with everyone I pass. This establishes a “I see you seeing me” dynamic that means I’m not caught unawares. I think ignoring people or pretending you’re oblivious to passersby can be an opportunity to someone who is looking for one.

    • Sadly, worries about those sorts of encounters keep me from running early in the morning. I would think carrying pepper spray would help with peace of mind if you made sure you know how to use it. Is there an alternative route near you that’s more populated at that hour or at least in view of a fairly steady stream of traffic?

      • The area I run is probably one of the more populated areas, its an exercise/bike path. My city isn’t huge though.. and there can be a minute or two that that goes by before you see another runner. I think my best bet for now will be running in a group. I will also get some pepper spray in the meantime and a whistle. Also I’ll make sure to carry my phone. (I feel like I’ll be carrying so much!) I have a dog to run with but she’s a 15 pound terrier mix. Not sure how much good that’ll do lol. Maybe someone will let me borrow their dog ;)

        • When I go out for my long walks, I carry my phone, keys, and ID in one of those travel pouches, kind of like this.

          http://www.ebags.com/product/eagle-creek/silk-undercover-neck-wallet/220461?productid=10150393

          I don’t wear it around my neck though, i lengthen the strap and wear it cross-body. It keeps things out of my hands and out of my way, but they’re available. Maybe that will help you feel less weighed down.

        • Honestly, a 15-lb terrier would probably be enough to make someone think twice. Not exactly a Doberman, but those things are LOUD and, IME, aggressive. Someone shady would probably avoid the person with the dog that’s going to make a loud, attention-drawing fuss and get in their way.

          As far as running alone in the early morning/evening goes, I usually allocate those as my city street running days, since there are more people and cars around. And this is really bad, but basically my theory of running is to avoid being the low-hanging fruit–totally zoned out, headphones in, trail runs at midnight. So far so good.

          • Wildkitten :

            A 15 lb terrier is enough to make the mugger choose a different victim.

      • Maddie Ross :

        This. While there is a greenway near my house that I use on weekends – when I tend to run mid-day – when I run in the morning, I run on the sidewalks on the main (4 lane + turn lane) road instead. It’s not as pretty, but I’m pretty certain that even at 6am someone would notice me being grabbed or I could get someone’s attention as there’s a steady stream of traffic and other walkers/bikers out, too.

    • I run alone in the mornings, often starting out when it is still dark. I stick to the busier streets (and never the jogging trails), I don’t wear headphones, and I look every single person I pass in the eyes and say “Good morning!” which essentially translates to “I see you – I am aware of my surroundings”.

      I don’t carry pepper spray, but I’ve trained for many years in different styles of martial arts and self-defense, which definitely gives me a level of both comfort and awareness.

      If you are going to carry pepper spray, please take a course in how to deploy it effectively. Also, for any defensive implement (pepper spray, or something more serious) you need to know your deployment distance for it to be effective (ie, if crazy man is charging at me, can i deploy this before he gets to me if he starts running at me from 10 feet away? 5 feet away? 2 feet away)? Also – carry position is important. I saw someone mention baby sizes of pepper spray that fit into the back pocket of your running tights. I can pretty much guarantee you that if you get tackled and your assailant is on top of you, you aren’t going to be able to reach a damn thing in the back pocket of your pants. A defensive weapon is only as good as your ability to access it, quickly and effectively, when it matters.

      • +1 on location of pepper spray. I have a hand holster that allows it to fit into the palm of my hand, but does not require me to grip the canister (bad for running form). Quick reaction time is necessary if you have a dog charging you. The biters do not bark. And you can probably apply that to two-legged “biters” as well.

        • I have the hand holster too, and I really like it. If I had to use it, time is of the essence and it would take longer to get it out of a pocket. Mine is always strapped to my hand.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’d also recommend seeing if you can do the training law enforcement do to carry. It involves getting sprayed and still being able to call for help, get to your car, etc. You want to know that if the wind blows it back in your face you are going to maintain your cool and act through it. Some LEOs have panic attacks the first time they get sprayed because it burns so bad. You don’t want that to happen while you are trying to get away from someone. I don’t carry it. Also, I’m not sure how effective it is with dogs. Will it just make them angry so they keep going forward and biting? I don’t actually know.

    • I run in the mornings and I carry pepper spray. I just started running a new route, which is downtown. I haven’t had to use the pepper spray but I feel better knowing it’s there.

    • I run alone in the morning and evening. I don’t carry pepper spray, and I also don’t have anything of value on me–my watch is a cheapo $5 timer from Kmart and I don’t carry my phone (hello, mugger magnet). I walk to the trail from my apartment and don’t bring a key (roommate is home) so I don’t even have keys that they could steal. I agree with the above though that this is a know-your-area issue–on my trail, the only problems that have ever happened are (1) iphone/purse thefts, and (2) runners with headphones getting run over by bikes because the runners couldn’t hear the cyclist approaching and crossed into the bike’s way at the last second. If there were more serious crimes, I’d be more likely to carry pepper spray, stick to daylight, grab a buddy, etc.

    • I don’t think pepper spray is legal here. I feel safer running in the morning than the evening (or in autumn I will run in the middle of the day but not while it’s warm and the sun is beating down).

      I agree with Running on never running the same route twice.

      I do run with music, but it’s pretty quiet, such that I can hear creepy guys making comments (happened last week for the first time – or the first time while I was running, anyway) and throw them the finger.

      Also I try not to run to complete exhaustion anywhere that isn’t *very* public. On purpose, I plan the walks home from the ends of my running routes so that I finish running on a very busy road, and therefore the bit of walking where I’m most vulnerable is very very visible. So I could always run away if something seemed dodgy.

    • I run in the morning in a major park in a big city and no, I don’t carry pepper spray or vary my route. It’s actually nice running the same route because I see a lot of the same people every day. I don’t go out until it’s light though and I stick to a very populated route.

    • Yay! I love RED Dresses and the manageing partner love’s me to wear RED now, b/c the judge all of a sudden love’s RED! I think I flustered the plaintiff’s council when I told the judge I was weareing a specific RED dress JUST for him, b/c the Judge said that as long as I wore RED I would WIN my case’s!!!!! YAY!!!!

      As for the OP, yukkies on men that stalk us. I should think about getting some kind of MAN repelent b/c I get into troubel sometime’s walking on LEX below 42nd b/c there is a homeless shelter nearby I think, and alot of men come out and make coments when I walk by. One guy did it while PEEING into a store entreance — like that is suposed to be exciteing to me? Beleive me, I have seen weenie’s before, and alot cleaner one’s then his. God only know’s where that has been over the year’s. I would NOT be suprized if that looser did thing’s that are unspeakeabel with that smelly thing. FOOEY!

      If I were you I would NOT go alone, or else get BEAR SPRAY. If a guy aproache’s you, you spray him in the eye’s and he will stop on a DIME, dad say’s. Dad has bear spray for me but I have NOT brought it back from LI. There are plenty of wierdo’s out there that follow me whenever I walk around Rosevelt Field. DOUBEL FOOEY! Why can’t MEN just find some other way to satisfy their sexueal urges? We are not sexueal repositorie’s for their weenie’s! TRIPEL FOOEY!

    • I run with my dog, who is black and not the friendliest beast in the world. He won’t attack you, but he’s not all tail-wag-and-smiles, either. Nobody messes with us.

      I am NOT recommending you purchase/adopt a dog, but maybe you have a friend with a pooch that would love the exercise? I also have friends that volunteer to run shelter dogs in NYC…

    • Are you in DC anywhere near the zoo? I sometimes run around the zoo when the grounds open at 6am or right before they close at 8pm (“last admittance” is 7pm, tourists start clearing out after 6pm). It is safe, there’s security, and BONUS! restrooms and bubblers. You can also see animals being fed, etc.

      • I WISH! I’m in a smaller city. There are no big city streets to run on if that makes sense. No sidewalks on the city streets and just a freeway lol. I’d probably get hit by a car. I’m going to get the pepper spray for sure. Thanks everyone for the advice though!

    • I carry pepper spray anytime I walk outside my house alone in the dark, pretty much. But I suspect it is likely to do more to give me a false sense of security than any real protection. I’m in Atlanta. The local blotters tell me that our attackers carry guns.

  7. I’m admitting and realizing that my badonk is looking more like a badonkadonk these days. I was really successful at losing about 60#s a few years ago, but it looks like about 20 has crept back. I feel really angry with myself, upset, and a bit overwhelmed at the idea of healthier eating and more serious exercise regime. I feel a bit like a failure. Suggestions on how to deal with the feelings and move past them? Every time I try to think constructively about what to do, I become overwhelmed with feeling like a failure and get really discouraged and then can’t work on a constructive plan.

    • I know what you mean. I think what has worked for me (I went back to W*W* 3 weeks ago – this time with DH and we’re doing it as a team – yay team!) was to first decide to love myself exactly as I was, extra pounds and all. I stopped waiting to buy new clothes until I was thinner and went out and got a few things (thrift shops and resale stores) that fit me at that moment, bought some new shoes (shoe retail therapy, nothing better) and then walked into weight watchers.)

      • I think this is a great strategy. I also started Weight Watchers back in February after feeling exactly like the OP… frustrated but not quite motivated enough to do something about it. I finally just made myself sign up for Weight Watchers and go to weekly meetings. Yesterday I also ordered the Focus T25 workout videos- I’m hoping since they’re only 25 minute long I stay motivated to do them before work.

        Finally, I totally agree that you should buy a few clothing pieces that look awesome on you now. I believe feeling good about the way you look will help you be motivated to lose weight.

      • Tangent, but I once read some Michael Kors quote about why he focuses on accessories — you can keep a handbag for 20 years and it never “doesn’t fit anymore” like clothes can. It’s such a fun way to treat yourself when you don’t want to worry about shifting sizes.

        • This is why I have always been a handbag girl. Since I’ve been clothes-shopping for myself, I’ve been tall and at least a bit overweight, and a handbag is never too revealing.

          I’m just starting the Slimming World plan – it seems focussed on making healthy meal choices and not snacking too much outside of them. I did lose twenty pounds through MyFitnessPal and calorie counting last year but put most of it back on when I was recovering from my various illnesses in the winter.

    • If you feel like the 20 lbs just crept up without you noticing, I think becoming more mindful about your eating will go a long way towards helping you get back some control. Start by just logging everything you eat – don’t try to change anything yet. Apps are *super* helpful for this (I use MyFitnessPal, but there’s a lot out there). Once you see everything that you’re taking in, identify some specific foods or habits that you can relatively painlessly cut out or replace; e.g., having a bowl of oatmeal instead of a donut for breakfast. Try this for a few weeks, and if the numbers don’t start slowly going down, amp up the exercise or reduce your daily calorie goal. Basically, this strategy will ensure that you’re doing the minimum possible to get the results that you want, so it won’t feel like you have to radically overhaul your life to get back on track.

      • This is good advice. I’d also add – try and focus on how you feel rather than how you look. For example, if I eat that donut for breakfast I don’t feel as good as if I had something healthier. Days I exercise I feel better than days I don’t. For me, if I focus on how good choices make me feel good, it kind of tricks my mind into thinking that I look better than I do. And then I’m encouraged to continue to make good choices because I feel good.

        And if you have a bad day and eat that donut, don’t beat yourself up over it. A bad decision does not have to ruin your day. Focus on each decision as it comes instead of ‘Well, since I had a donut for breakfast, the day is shot, so I might as well have a burger for lunch as well’.

        Finally, make one change at a time. Sparkpeople always starts with tracking food, then drinking more water. If you try & overhaul everything all at once it’s overwhelming and way more likely that you will get discouraged.

        And I’m big on rewards. Reward yourself with something non-food related when you exercise x number of times, or have x number of healthy lunches, or even when you lose x number of pounds. Doesn’t have to be big, but it can be very motivating, ime.

        Good luck!!!

        • On the donut for breakfast:

          If I have doughnuts in the cupboard, I know I *will* eat them, because they go stale and what a waste (unlike chocolate that can stay a few weeks). So I will have a doughnut and a banana for breakfast instead of my usual porridge/ cereal/ bircher muesli. Not ideal, but better than having my full usual breakfast *and* a doughnut an hour later.

      • I’m in the same boat. I knew that I had regained some weight but didn’t realize how bad it was until I got an email with photos from my last race. Yikes. I’m going to go back to logging food with my fitness pal since that has worked in the past. Good luck and don’t be so tough on yourself.

    • Maybe try not thinking of eating healthier and exercising as a punishment? It’s summer. Consider this your license to buy all the fresh fruit and veg at the farmers market, get to go for a walk after dinner every night and enjoy the weather, join the local pool if you have one, sign up for a bike tour etc.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yes! I love fresh fruit and veg thrown on the grill with just a twist of lemon and salt and pepper. But then I also love ice cream, burgers, BBQ, beer, margaritas, hot dogs…

      • +1 I’m pretty budget-minded, but there are zero budget rules in the produce section! Weird fruit that costs $4 for one? Sure! Tiny basket of perfect berries for $6? Cherries at $8 a pound? Have at it! Make sure you have snacks available to you that are healthful and easy to access.

    • To combat the overwhelming feeling, focus on one issue at a time. Focus on the healthy eating first or starting a regular workout routine (maybe not serious, but can you add an extra 30-40 minutes in somewhere before/after work or at lunch?) That’s been my first step recently and while I haven’t quite gotten to the second, I did some results with the first, which was encouraging.

      Also, every time I use the word overwhelmed, I think of the question in “10 things I hate about you”: can you be underwhelmed? A little humor quip to get your morning started right :-)

      • When you type ‘Can you ever just’ into Google, the first suggestion is ‘be whelmed’. Love it.

      • I have lost 18 lbs but 5 are creeping back on. I want to get them off, plus another 5..anyhow I believe if is been quoted on this site that 80% of weight loss starts in the kitchen. I would get your food organized then start exercising

        Too many changes at once sets you up for failure

    • Senior Attorney :

      When I’m overwhelmed and gaining weight, the first thing I tend to do is avoid the scale and then the weight creeps on and I’m even more afraid of the scale, and the weight creeps up more, and it becomes this awful scale. So as soon as I can, I try to concentrate on getting on the darned thing every morning and just trying to get the number to stay the same instead of going up. At least it’s damage control until I can get my head in a place to think about trying to get it to go down.

    • I have 20 Lbs to lose and it was bothering me a lot…I started walking outdoors, but I was not seeing any results. About 10 days back, I started doing Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and 45 minutes walk in the morning. I started feeling so much better because I felt satisfied that I was doing whatever needs to be done. Also, I noticed that I automatically became more mindful when eating as I didn’t want so much hard work to go waste. I have lost around 2 Lbs. I had never worked out in the mornings before but I think it works the best for me. I go an hour late to work and come back an hour late. But I don’t have that constant feeling that I need to work out throughout the day.

    • Feel all your feely feelings, and don’t feel bad about having them.

      Then: slow down, and log your meals to find the trouble spots. It may just be that your portion sizes have crept up. Six fewer bites at each meal can be enough to make a big difference even without drastically changing what you’re eating.

    • One thing that has really helped me is eliminating processed foods from my diet. Of course I make exceptions when I’m out with my husband or friends, but I try to eat only non-processed foods about 80% of the time. I have a few basic rules: 1. Nothing that is pre-packaged, unless I could make the item from scratch if I did buy the ingredients and the packaging just saves me that step rather than adding a ton of preservatives/additives. 2. No added sugars/artificial sweeteners. 3. Only whole grains. 4. As a corollary of the above, nothing “diet” or “low-fat/low-carb.” This forces me to eat a lot healthier without even thinking of it as a diet, and I just feel so much more energetic. I used to be a huge calorie counter (tracking every meal for years), but now I don’t do that because I’m not eating empty calories (i.e., I actually know when I am full, and stop eating!). I also think this has shrunk my stomach, since even when I’m having a “cheat” meal now I simply can’t eat as much of it before I feel full.

  8. militarygf :

    What are you ladies cooking up this holiday weekend?

    My guy is home (yay!) and we’ve rented a cabin in the mountains with a grill and a nice kitchen. We both love to cook and are eager for some summery recipes. Complicated/labor-intensive is fine, but we’re both low carb.

    One idea I had is eggplant lasagna/manicotti, with grilled strips of eggplant in lieu of the pasta. Other ideas?

    • Clementine :

      These are all very grill oriented, because for some reason when I think ‘cabin’, I think ‘grill’.
      -Grilled eggplant with steaks/chicken breasts
      -Cedar plank salmon with broccoli slaw (I would probably do an asian twist on both- sesame miso dressing for the slaw and a similar glaze on the salmon)
      -Kebabs! Glorious, glorious kebabs!
      -Stuffed peppers full of deliciousness wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill
      -Spatchc0ck an entire chicken and grill it under some weight- look up ‘chicken under a brick’ serve with delicious grilled peppers, onions, etc.

    • Sorry to be all over this thread but I am really excited about my weekend plans. Friday the SO and I are flying to Houston, then going to the Texas hill country with my previously conservative mom and dad (who took on alter egos after my sister and I graduated and now attend more live music events than I ever have). We’re then going to New Orleans next Tuesday and Wednesday. And the reason this is relevent to your post is because I expect to indulge in amazing southern food throughout the whole long weekend! Yummmmmm.

      • Haha! When my sis and I were out of the house my parents relaxed all the rules for the cat! Suddenly he could be on tables, counters, beds where he was previously not allowed.

    • Meat. Memorial Day is for meat. Burgers, steaks, chicken thighs, lamb kabobs, with whatever veggies look good tossed on the grill as well.

    • Ooh, eggplant lasagna sounds delicious. Not a holiday weekend here but my best friend is visiting and I am so excited to see her. Recovering from a stomach bug so things will be a bit more mellow than planned but still should be awesome.

    • Diana Barry :

      We are going away, so I’m not cooking. Just made my packing list!

    • Grilled lobster

    • Philanthropy Girl :

      We’re grilling Italian sausages. We’ll top them with sauteed green peppers, mushrooms and onions, pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. This is a pretty typical holiday grill out meal for us – so typically midwest and a bit of a treat because we generally only do lean meats.

      The family is responsible for the rest of the meal, but I’m really hoping for pie for dessert!

  9. Re: Modcloth, I’ve had good success with specific types of items: blouses, scarves, accessories. I even found one cute skirt that was work-appropriate. But I agree, you definitely can’t get your whole professional wardrobe there.

  10. Need to finish my staff’s evaluations but instead I want to browse the half-yearly sale. Must. stay. focused.

  11. Always Anon :

    Have you ever gone to a career counselor? If so, did you find it helpful? And how many sessions did you have?

    • My dh went to a career counsellor – I think it was 3 or 4 sessions. They did all kinds of tests to see where his strengths were, and what his personality type was, and gave him some ideas on what he could use his skill set & education for besides teaching. He actually has his current position because of some of those ideas – it was something he really hadn’t thought of before. We found it helpful.

  12. For anyone who loved Monday’s blazer, it was marked down to $178 as part of the Nordie’s sale. I know the one commenter said that was still out of her price range (and UK shipping was an issue) but thought this might help others!

  13. This is a very cute dress but I was told by my dry cleaner that knife pleats (like these) will fall out after a couple of cleanings, so something to keep in mind. I’m now afraid of cleaning one of my favorite dresses from last summer and it’s not cute – I just sit there and stare at it and think what’s worse, smudge of dirt on the side shoulder or no cute, kicky pleats? I’m going to try spot cleaning the smudge of dirt, but not sure I would spend more than $50 on any knife-pleated items again.

    • Charlotte York :

      Sounds like it’s time for a new dry cleaner. Your dry cleaner just doesn’t want to be bothered because it is labor intensive. I have several items with accordian/knife pleats and my cleaner has handled them fine. While the pleats will “fall out” over time (especially if it’s a natural fabric), a good dry cleaner will press them back into place.

      • +1 – my pleated skirts always come back nice and crisp. They might charge a little more because it is a long ironing job as compared to simpler garments.

        • Hmmm…. Thanks for this! I am going to look into getting a new one then. They’re usually very good about their stuff but if someone else can do it, I will bring my dress to them.

      • a passion for fashion :

        this. I have 3 or 4 skirts/dresses with knife pleats and they are always fine.

  14. I’ve been using Hypercare Rx Antiperspirant for the last 5 years. We are currently TTC and I googled Hypercare during pregnancy and it says it’s a category C drug:

    Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.

    I don’t think I can take this kind of risk so I quit using it and am not planning to resume using it, but man I just can’t stop sweating and it’s so annoying! I can’t wear a lot of my wardrobe because I sweat through it.

    • It’s hard to understand either the quantitative or qualitative risk from what you posted, but it’s your call.

      • In other words – what are the animal testing studies? Did they give the animals full-body baths in Hypercare throughout their entire gestations, while you are just putting a small swipe on your underarms once a day?

    • My understanding is that this language is extremely common in drugs that have shown some fetal effect in animal testing since, you know, it’s not permitted to then test those drugs on pregnant women. However, if you ask your OB, he/she should be able to advise you. Even though many drugs have not been studied in controlled studies in pregnant women, there is generally robust anecdotal evidence available which guide OB’s. In addition, depending on the nature of the Rx drug in the product, there may be information regarding pregnancy using related drugs. If it makes you feel better, the same category C classification applies to things like anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications-so clearly, MD’s have to be able to advise their pregnant patients about whether there is a risk to continuing those meds in pregnancy.

  15. Anon in Canada :

    If you’re in Canada or not adverse to calling a Canadian resource then try motherrisk dot org – they have a helpline run by Canada’s leading children’s hospital (Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto) and were recommended by my doctor as the go-to source for up to date information. Maybe they can help with alternate product suggestions.

    “Motherisk Helpline, – 1-877-439-2744 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in each of Canada’s time zones OR 416-813-6780 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST for information about the risk or safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, chemicals, x-rays, chronic disease and infections, and everyday exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding”

  16. Oooh, I like this dress…must investigate!

  17. hellskitchen :

    I wish Auntie M posted more regularly and frequently. That description of Modcloth is everything I feel about that site but couldn’t articulate.

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