Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: ‘Adona’ Tweed Jacket

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

Classiques Entier® 'Adona' Tweed JacketHappy Monday, ladies! I’m loving this bright turquoise jacket from Classiques Entier — the cut looks flattering, and for once I like the belt it comes with (the reviewers also note that the belt is nicely made). It’s $268 at Nordstrom. Classiques Entier® ‘Adona’ Tweed Jacket

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Comments

  1. Anon For This :

    Good morning ladies. Do any NYC-area ‘rettes have a recommendation for a good and reasonably-priced estate attorney in New York? My aunt passed away last week, and I just found out that I was named the executor of her will. This will be my first time taking on a job like this, and it’s a bit overwhelming. Though I’ll be ‘shopping around’ a bit (I’m told that the firm that drew up her will is quite expensive and has a reputation for overbilling), I’d appreciate any recommendations from someone with personal experience.

    Thanks very much.

  2. Veronique :

    I really love this jacket, both the cut and the color. Too bad I’m on a shopping ban…

    • I like! Does anyone know how it is without the belt? I often use short boxy jackets to help balance out my bottom-heaviness / draw the eye up. Didn’t J. Crew have something like this back in the fall?

  3. Wildkitten :

    Hive help –
    What do you tip for a manicure? Flat amount? Percentage? Same question for haircuts.

    • 20% for each trip, with a year-end bonus of another 50-100% for my hairstylist. Love her. I don’t consistently go to the same nail salon but if I had a regular person, I would do a year-end gratuity there too.

    • Anonymous :

      I go to the cheap Asian salons, so my manicures end up often being $10-12, and I tip another $2-3 on top of that, typically. I type $5 on a gel manicure.

      • I’m convinced lots of salons pick $12 as the mani price to convince everyone to pay $15 including tip, which is a 25% tip — but you can’t ask for $1 change because that’s awkward and it would then be a 16% tip. Mine charges $15 so I pay $18.

        As an aside, I’m more and more amused by my nail place. First they taped little signs everywhere saying no credit cards for under $10, and that only Visa/MasterCard accepted, NOT AMEX OR DISCOVER (entertainly, displayed in a Discover-branded little stand). Then they added “CASH TIPS APPRECIATED.” This Saturday I see they’ve installed an ATM, despite there already being one in the doorway of the diner two doors down. Gee, did you want me to pay in cash??? At least I see them writing down the correct price of the service on little receipts…

        • Anonymous :

          Ha! I never thought about that $12 thing but it’s totally true!

        • My nail salon doesn’t even let you do tips on a CC. I usually do 20% for a haircut and probably more like 25% or a little over for mani/pedi, but that’s because the salon I got to is so inexpensive, I feel bad giving less ($25 and change for both).

    • I pay $19 for my manicures and I usually tip $3-5 depending on what I have on me (tips are cash only where I go). Haircuts I tip on percentage.

    • I cut my hair at the Devachan salon for 80 dollars and tip 30 dollars.
      This is typically because the hairstylist is also the one washing and de-tangling my hair – which should be a service of its own in my case :)
      But I do this only twice/year so not sure how representative.

  4. TJ: Big job interview at 1:00. I’m so excited/nervous. Outfit is flawless. Studied up on my book “101 Toughest Interview Questions” (Seriously, why didn’t I realize that everyone asks the same things and the best answers are in the book until now???) Now just have to keep myself occupied to not get overly freaked out/caffeinated beforehand.

  5. Love the jacket :

    Love the cut ,the color, the styling (maybe a bit too obvious but seems the perfect work outfit to just “throw together”)!

    Quick TJ – DH and I are really late to planning our July 4th holiday plans. Didn’t decide until this past weekend that maybe we should go for a 1 or 2 day beach trip. Thinking about a quick getaway to any of the NJ or Delaware beaches, or maybe head down to Myrtle Beach (we’re located in DC). We’re not really beach-y people so have no idea what the best family friendly places or best beaches are…(we have a toddler).

    So questions for the ladies out there:
    1) Which beaches would you recommend (either quick driving distance or a very short flight)?
    2) Any nice hotel recommendations? We don’t do this very often so we do want to splurge a little bit…

    Thanks so much!!

    • Bacon Pancakes :

      I’m almost loathe to tell people and encourage more crowds, but Bethany Beach is fantastic. It’s getting a little crowded, but nothing like most beach towns, and the tiny downtown shopping area is great, particularly if you’re within walking distance. And it’s only 3 hours from DC!

      • Agree-we adore Bethany (and drive 9 hours to get there). I don’t think there are too many places which can accomodate a short weekend stay, though. Most rentals are a week only, unless perhaps you look at the golf communities which are a shuttle ride away from the beach.

      • Rehobeth is crowded, but super kid friendly. Loved it when I was little. And you can get weekend rentals there (otherwise I’d say 100% go for Bethany). I wouldn’t recommend Myrtle – unless you do North Myrtle. Wilmington, NC and the whole intercoastal waterway are GREAT because they are warmer than OBX, cheaper, and about the same distance!

        • +1. I love Rehoboth and my parents took me often as a kid. Definitely very crowded, but there is also more restaurants, shops, and such. I also definitely spent lots of time in Funland; they have a lot of rides for small kids. At least worth a half-day or day trip if you end up in Bethany or Lewes.

    • What about Rehoboth or Ocean City? When I was in DC, all the guy’s wanted me to go with them to the beache’s in Maryland on the weekend’s!

      But Back then I looked great in a BIKINI, but now, not so much b/c of 5 year’s of sitting on my tuchus at the law firm — that my dad say’s is why I need to exercise EVERY day. And today is a HOTTTTT Day! Lots of HUMIDITY, and I hope the manageing partner is goeing to get us new SPACE in a buildeing that has a gym, or at least a shower! Yay!!!!

      Otherwise, I am goeing to have to to go to the nearby NYSC, but that one has alot of greeazy guy’s there who LOVE to stare at me. FOOEY!

    • Lewes, DE is quieter than Bethany and the sea is calmer, too. We usually rent houses for a week, but for our only short-term, last-minute visit we stayed at the Beacon and it was serviceable and conveniently located.
      I love Myrtle Beach but IMO it is not worth the distance for a brief trip, whether you fly or drive.

    • I’d advise against doing a 1-2 day beach trip from DC over the 4th. You’re going to spend more time in the car getting to the beach than being at the beach.

    • Not the beach (but you’re not beach people), but what about the Greenbrier? Pretty drive, no traffic drama, pool, lots of other things, and child-friendly. We stayed in a cottage when we had a similarly-aged baby.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Another idea– why not drive to Annapolis or Kent Island, MD and make that a vacation? Much shorter drive, and if you want the beach there is the Bay– Sandy Point State Park has almost no waves– you could definitely go in holding a toddler without worry. It does get crowded and the beach fills up early, but I think it’d be much more doable with a toddler than one of the ocean beaches. Also there are great places to walk around downtown Annapolis, so your whole day wouldn’t have to be about the beach (since you’re not “Beachy people”).

  6. That belt is so high up that I’d look like solid b**b from belt to chin. Oh, how I envy B cups…

    • “Solid b**b from belt to chin.” LOL – thank you for this. Yes, the combination of the high belt and the moderate neckline means that it would just be a fortress of bustiness on me as well. Although, the belt is removable – I would probably do this sans-belt and open… if I had $300 to spend on a turquoise jacket. (I like the color a lot but too noticeable to wear all the time.)

  7. Anonymous :

    I am so DONE with my roommate. I rented the room on Craigslist from him – I posted earlier about our landlord having trouble with him and rental showings while he was home. That situation is mostly resolved (in that the landlord has pretty much agreed to wait out the end of the lease) but he is still drinking a TON.

    Last night, I asked him to turn the TV volume down around 130am, since it was so loud that in my room with the door closed, I could hear each word of the dialogue, as if I was watching it – he was pretty drunk at that point, and I don’t think he realized how loud it was. I was really nice about it, I was just like “Hey do you mind turning it down? It’s carrying into my room. Sorry!”

    He then sent me several passive aggressive and angry text messages at 2am (then an apology text messages around 4am) about how I don’t clean enough (I actually clean pretty often considering the fact that he has virtually taken over our living room and never leaves it, and I barely spend any time in our apartment except to sleep. Saturday, I cleaned up the 25 beer bottles he stacked by the couch, along with all his laundry) and I need to buy more dishes (I started the year with 4 dinner plates, 2-3 salad plates and two bowls – a reasonable amount for a single person, I think. I now own 2 dinner plates, and one bowl – he has gotten drunk and knocked all the other ones from the tables. I’m not investing in more dishes to be broken, sorry). I texted back something like “I’m so sorry this has been bothering you! Please feel free to bring up stuff to me as it happens – I don’t want you to have to just deal with things that are bothering you, definitely talk to me about it!” to which he responded “I am a great roommate and I don’t deserve this.”

    I have just… had it. There’s no way for me to move out – I make <40K/yr and I just put down my deposit for graduate school, bought my required computer, and put down first/last/security/fee for my housing during school – my bank account is at sub $1k at this point. I'm not from the area so unfortunately I can't go stay with family. There are only 2 months left in our lease and I couldn't sublet my room in good conscience and subject someone else to this.

    At the same time, I'm becoming increasingly concerned about living with him – while he has not (until yesterday) directed his drunken anger at me, I'm getting more and more nervous that that might happen. I'm thinking of asking my landlord if he can install a lock on my door.

    Ugh. Sorry for the vent. I'm just in a situation where I don't see any viable options except to deal with him for the next few months, and I'm feeling so powerless about it.

    • Please get that lock ASAP. Surprised you don’t have one already.
      Any chance you could move in with friends? Maybe crash on their couch….?

      • Oh, and why are you cleaning up his bottles etc? And your text to him sounds like you agree with him….he is at fault here. Not you.

        • I cleaned up the bottles because we had people coming by for a showing and he has created problems with showings in the past (to the point where the landlord told me “I really like you, but I want to evict him and both of your names are on the lease so I may have to take action against both of you”) so I have been trying really hard to broker the peace so I don’t end up with some blot on my record because of this.

          Internal locks are not allowed as per my lease and I’m afraid if he saw someone come in to install one (which he would, since he rarely if ever leaves the apartment) he’d interpret that as aggressive. Basically, I’m trying to inflame the situation as little as possible so that none of his anger comes my way.

          I guess my text to him does sound that way. It was late at night and I was confused and nervous when I texted him back, and I definitely didn’t want to get into an argument or debate with him about anything while he was drunk. He’s rarely, if ever sober, so there’s little opportunity to talk to him about this stuff when he’s in a normal state of mind.

          • A Nonny Moose :

            You should at least swap the doorknob out for one with a lock. That wouldn’t take long, would not be expensive, and you wouldn’t even need your landlord to do it. A push button or twist lock on a knob is better than nothing.

          • And/or you could put a quick chain up with a screwdriver. (Yes, it would leave holes which the landlord would probably be annoyed with, but I think he’d forgive you given the circumstances, especially if you promised to fill them in later.

    • This does not sound safe. If you couldn’t subject someone else, can you really subject yourself? Could you sublet to a dude and split the rent? Basically explain the situation – you have to live with a drunk guy but I will pay 1/2 so you are not unwittingly subjecting someone to it? If you do sublet get everything in writing – the sublet agreement, the agreement releasing you from the lease, permission from your landlord to sublet.

      • Another thought – can you talk to your landlord and say you need out of the lease one month early b/c his drinking has progressed to a point where you don’t feel safe? Then you could tell your roommate you are moving out, covering one month’s rent so he can find a new place and you won’t have to come up with two months rent? It seems like a nice landlord would be fine with this but I’ve definitely had mean landlords who wouldn’t have cared. What’s your landlord like?

        • My landlord is mostly concerned that rent gets paid – I already broached maybe leaving early and he said I should keep myself safe, but he wants rent on time from me (it’s only one more month of rent, really, that I owe him since I prepaid our final month already). So I don’t know how open he’d be to me leaving – and to complicate things, my parents cosigned so I really don’t want them to have to take a credit hit if I leave early.

          • I would absolutely complain to the landlord and I would put it in writing. I would state in a written complaint that you do not feel safe, that there is excessive alcohol abuse occurring and that you have been the subject of verbal abuse by your roommate. Make sure that you say that you don’t feel safe. Specifically ask for a interior lock in the letter. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter. Tell your landlord that if you cannot get a lock immediately and, preferably, break the lease early, you will continue to make written complaints documenting everything in writing. This way, the landlord cannot say he does not have notice of this situation.

          • What Anon @ 10:50am said, and what Brant said.

            Keep safe, hon. And keep us posted so we know you’re still doing OK.

          • Safety first.

            Money is money. You only need 1 months rent and a place to sleep for 2 months. If you parents can front you money, please sublet somewhere else for two months. Stay with friends!

            It’s not your landlord’s responsibility to keep you safe BUT if you need a lock in addition to the doorstop and other nifty gadgets to keep the roommate out of your place, do it. Forget any lease provisions. Your landlord will have bigger problems if you end up dead or beat up. vs. 4 screw holes in the doorframe/door.

      • One more thought – it’s unfair to you that his drinking has made you shaken and scared and trying to accommodate him but it’s also totally normal. It may be helpful to read up a bit on the effects of living with an alcoholic so that once you’re out you can see the effect this has had on you and thus more easily move on.

    • Wildkitten :

      When do your student loans come through? Can you borrow extra to move out? Starting grad school, especially on top of working, is very stressful and you deserve to feel safe.

      • Unfortunately, my student loans won’t come through until I am pretty much out – that’s part of the reason right now is such a $$ crunch for me.

    • I think you need some time to think about your options. Can you crash with some friends for a few days while you get some space and put a lock on your door? Even if you don’t move in with them, maybe a breather will help both of you?

    • Always a NYer :

      In the meantime while you wait for a lock on your door, get a doorstop to keep folks out when you’re in your room. In college I learned that a doorstop worked just as well at keeping a door closed as it does open.

      • Thank you! I will get a doorstop today.

        • You can also buy something called an Add-a-Lock. Google it or look on Amazon. No tools necessary. Great for traveling too.

        • There are also those door club things, you wedge them under the doorknob. But doorstops work pretty well, too.

          If you already paid the last month’s rent, why not move out at the beginning of the last month instead of the end? I’m not sure I am following correctly, but if you have to find a new place anyway, just start at that place a month earlier. It still leaves you with a month to get through, but I think you wouldn’t be paying double rent that way.

        • There are these things that go under the doorknob and prevent anyone from getting in. The harder they push, the more it jams. http://www.lowes.com/pd_202346-382-265D_4294710792__
          My SO bought it for my back door and it’s amazing.

          • Thank you for this – I am going to try to buy one if I can find one in a store today. An ex of mine actually used to have one of these (his mom gave it to him when he moved into “the big city”) and I forgot that they existed!

    • Bacon Pancakes :

      Depending on where you live, you CAN actually get out of your lease, and your landlord doesn’t have to evict both of you. In DC, at least, there are provisions to allow tenants out of an unsafe or unsanitary living situation that is clearly documented as not their fault (even if it’s not their landlord’s fault), and it definitely sounds like that’s your case here.

      In DC, look into http://ota.dc.gov/ and http://www.dctenants.com/. Other states may have similar laws.

      Failing that, a few nights with friends might be your best solution. Just getting away will make you feel better, even if it’s only for a few nights!

    • If this were me (and it isn’t), I’d swap the bedroom door knob for one with a lock– the really basic kind you see in basically all bathrooms. It won’t lock him out when you’re not there, but it will enable you to lock yourself in if you don’t feel safe. I seriously doubt your LL would even NOTICE, much less care, given the situation. It takes about 15 minutes and a screw driver to do. If you don’t want to do that for whatever reason, just put a doorstop under the door when you go to bed.

      I get the sense your roomate is a drunk and a jerk, but from the limited stuff you’ve described, it doesn’t sound like you have reason to fear for your personel saftey (again–just going by what you’ve said). It’s not like he charged into your rooom at 2am to rage about the apartment cleanliness, or snuck in at 4am to make a creepy peace offering.

      You can also talk to your roommate when he’s sober/rational (if that happens) and let him know you’ll be starting to pack up. Don’t buy new dishes; buy yourself some paper plates for the next few months. Or the washable Chinet stuff. Yes, you’re compromising, but you’re also just making due with a lousy situation.

      Spend very little time in the apartment. Do your best to keep things tidy for the showings, which does mean at the very least get rid of the trash he leaves behind. Can you do something like move the big trash can into his booze nest so he can at least attempt to throw the bottles into it? :)

      • or even a tiny little hook-and-eye lock. You can DIY install those and just patch over when you move out. But a doorstop would be fine for me (I’ve lived with all kinds of jerks before including a gem that punched his girlfriend in the face during a drunken spat and I drove her to the doctor the next day.)

      • Yeah that’s the thing. For a while it was like – he’s drunk, and a jerk, but he’s not aggressive toward me. He does get *really* aggressive toward other people (he has been in two fights — like actual chipped-tooth-black-eye-barroom-brawl fights — that I know of, since I have moved in, and I’ve heard him screaming/ranting on the phone to who-knows-who telling people he’s going to “f*** them up”, and my landlord has shown me some of the really aggressive texts he’s sent him threatening to sue him, threatening to never pay his rent again, threatening to punch holes through walls, etc).

        This isn’t that, and so I’ve mostly been okay with it – not happy, but this is livable, if it’s not directed at me. But it seems to be escalating (e.g. the drunk texts last night whereas three months ago he would have just let it go) and I’m afraid it might turn toward me since he *is* aggressive to other people, you know? And I *live* with him. But it may be an overblown fear.

        And yeah, part of it (maybe a lot of it) is that I’m legitimately frustrated with stupid roommate stuff, like that I’ll have to buy all new pots and pans, since he has brought 4 of mine out onto the porch to use as ashtrays to put out his cigarettes in, or being pissed in general to come home at 4pm and find him passed out on the floor of the living room. But that stuff has been mostly “stuff” – getting angry texts from him feels like a step up.

        I didn’t know you could just install a doorknob lock – thanks to people who suggested it. I’ll go to Home Depot to see if I can find a cheapo one.

        • Ah, and there is my original reply.

        • Safety First :

          I’m sure I’m not the only one on this site that’s read The Gift of Fear.
          Talk about pre-incident indicators….
          It’s time to get out. Please find someone to help you financially and move.

      • I wrote a long response but it disappeared but the gist of it is:

        Yeah, it’s possible this is my frustration with regular roommate stuff translating itself into a general anxiety about my living situation and fear of him. My biggest concern is that he *is* an aggressive drunk (he has gotten in two fights, that I know of, since I moved in – like black eye brawl type fights, I’ve heard him yelling/ranting on the phone, my landlord showed me some of the really aggressive texts he sent to him threatening to sue him, threatening not to pay rent, threatening to punch holes through the walls, etc). I guess I’m getting especially concerned that with the texts last night, he may be turning that drunken anger toward me and I just do not feel at all safe/comfortable with that, knowing that he has escalated in the past toward others, you know?

        • Ugh, my detailed response to you got eaten as well, but the short version is: google “warrantly of habitability” and “tenant’s right to peaceful/quiet enjoyment.” Try to find things specific to your jurisdiction. You can also see if any law schools local to you have a landlord tenant clinic and get some free help.

          I once had a dangerous, scary roommate and simply by telling the landlord that by allowing that person to continue living there, he was violating my right to quiet enjoyment, and the guy was evicted the next day. This is because if under the definitiions in your jurisdiction the LL is violating either of those things, it constitutes a breach of the lease and *may* give you the right to also breach the lease. Of course for just 2 months it may not be worth the hassle but it is worth looking into to know your options.

          Finally I agree with everyone about blocking the door somehow at least when you are there, and I definitely do not think you should buy any more dishes or the like!

        • It sounds like you have good reason to be afraid and are not translating anything! Stay safe and check back with us.

    • Silvercurls :

      You can buy cheap dishes at a thrift store but honestly, it sounds to me like you need to prioritize ensuring your own safety ASAP. Not trying to make you feel awful; I’m just really concerned about you.

      Can you borrow from your parents (or friends) to cover the cost of getting out of that apartment ASAP? I realize you’re trying to get through the last stretch until you can move into your grad student housing, but I don’t want all of your carefully assembled plans to be wrecked because your creepy roommate gets violent and harms you enough that you need to spend time in a hospital recovering. If my child were ever in such a situation I would gladly find the money or make as many phone calls as possible if I didn’t have a spare dime.

      To repeat TO Lawyer’s comment, can you stay with friends, even for a few days, perhaps long enough to string together consecutive gigs doing house-sitting or being a live-in nanny or elder companion?

      If you’re in a congregation, ask the community for shelter. If you’re Jewish, most communities have emergency low-interest loans. I’m sure they’d work with you even if you’re a) already taking on grad school debt b) less religious than they are (some of these loan societies are based in more traditional/Orthodox organizations). You could also ask the appropriate campus ministry at the school where you’re enrolling. For totally secular help, try a local social service organization or your county department of social services. There’s NO shame in advocating for yourself and you can pay it forward in the future. Or–long shot–ask one of us job-hunting e t t e commenters to make the phone calls for you!
      Good luck and keep us posted.

      • “If my child were ever in such a situation I would gladly find the money or make as many phone calls as possible if I didn’t have a spare dime.”

        This x1000. I would also offer to shelter my friends or help them financially.

        • Mighty Mouse :

          Cosign. Have done this for friends in the past—and if you lived near me, you’d already be in my guest room!

    • I think your roommate is my ex-roommate. For serious – are you in the DC area? And yes, I installed a lock on my door. The landlord didn’t pay for it, but I replaced it with the original knob before I moved out. I kept my bedroom locked while I was out, and used the little poker-thingy to get back in when I came back home. If your current roommate is my ex-roommate, you can take the doorknob – I think I still have it. For serious. I’ll even take you out for ice cream and help you install it.

      Agreed with asking for move-out help. Otherwise, I spent as little time in the apartment as possible, mostly coming home to sleep, shower, eat breakfast, and pack meals for the rest of the day. It sucked, but it was also for a finite period of time.

      • Anonymous :

        Not in DC though I’m a bit scared to realize there are more of him out there!

        I am just not sure that moving out is feasible at the moment. I will try to do what you suggest – just be gone as much as humanly possible. It helps that for 2.5 weeks of the last month, I will leave the state to visit family (prior to starting classes) – so it’s really just one more month that will be super rough and then besides that, a few days here and there at the beginning and end of the month.

        • Are you in Seattle? I have a guest room with a desk and air mattress. Not fancy, but would be happy to help out a fellow ‘rette! Even if you just want to know that you can come stay with me if things get particularly bad…

          Email me at [email protected] if you are local.

    • Please move out now :

      Another possible resource is your local women’s shelter. In my state law, domestic violence can occur between platonic roommates as well as in dating or family relationships. I would hope that where you live, DV assistance services are available to people in your situation. It doesn’t matter that he has not (yet) assaulted you physically. If you feel unsafe living with this man, you must not stay. Forget about the landlord, the rent, and the money. Use your credit card and go to a motel. Create a new gmail address and post it here. I will send you $50 by PayPal.

      • If you live in a large city, consider looking up hostels in your area. If money is tight, I know it would seem extravagant to stay at a hotel, but if things get really scary, you can leave your place and turn up at a hostel pretty much any time and they’ll give you a place to sleep. Also, be ready to leave at a moment’s notice – car facing outward, driver door unlocked, backpack with essentials packed. You might even consider putting a bag with some clothes, toiletries and cash in the trunk of your car. Not only is it a good idea but having an escape plan might help you feel safer.

      • Silvercurls :

        Thanks for saying this. I thought it but didn’t get the right words into my comment earlier. And +1 to sending her funds via PayPal.

        Anonymous, please stay safe. You are _so totally_ worth it!

        Let us know how you solve this problem, but that’s way less important.

  8. Mispronounced Words Threadjack: Have you ever realized only many years later that you’ve been mispronouncing certain words or names?

    For years, I’ve been saying Vladimir Putin’s surname as if it were that food Kanye East likes so much. POOOTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!

    I’ve not watched TV news for decades, so when I finally did this weekend, I heard some TV broadcaster say the name: POOT’n. For a moment, I wondered who they were talking about.

    Am chuckling at myself for not realizing that this is the generally the same syllabic stress one would apply to the name “Stalin” which I had pronounced correctly. (I wasn’t running around saying: STALLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN.)

    • I’m Canadian and I mostly read news online/in newspapers, rather than watching TV, so for a long time I thought “Boehner” was pronounced “Boner.” The first time I vocalized this pronunciation was in front of my husband (who typically watches news), he just about died of laughter before correcting me. I still think my pronunciation was at least accurate in spirit..

      • Don’t worry – the Boner/Boehner joke went around south of the border when he was first made Speaker of the House. So, you aren’t far off in thinking that would be the pronunciation.

    • Actually, you have been doing it right and most American broadcasters are doing it wrong. Stah-leen would also be correct. If you listen to Chrystia Freeland that’s how she pronounces it and she is both a Russian speaker and a Putin/Russia expert.

      Of course, it’s a little Alex Trebek to pronounce it that way, but it is the correct way if that’s your concern.

    • I cannot ever get the word “opaque” and it drives me crazy, even though English is not my first language and I get a pass.

    • You’re good as long as you’re not saying EYE-ran or EYE-rack (cringe).

      • Anonforthis :

        My MiL (whom I LOVE) says Eye-talian and it makes me cringe every time. And she is totes not a racist…just from a small town where there are no Italians. But STILL.

        • My MIL is Italian and she says eye-talian. Every. Single. Time.

          She was born in Canada but both parents were immigrants. I find it terribly sad. She also thinks anyone that visits northern ‘It-lee’ may know her cousins… God love her :)

    • Anonymous :

      OP, how can you not heed the consistency of these warnings? Everyone is on the same page: get out now. There is always a way.

  9. Hey gang. I realize this isn’t pregnancy/fertility board, but I really hoped I could benefit from your collective wisdom.

    I had some bloodwork done to test my FSH and AMH (anti-Mullarian hormone) levels. I’m 34 and have been dating my SO for a little over a year. We’ve talked in general terms about getting married and having kids, but aren’t quite at the point where we’re ready to pull that trigger (though I suspect we will be by the end of the year). I have been (reluctantly) considering egg freezing for a while now — initially because I hadn’t met anyone yet and now because I worry about my ability to have a second child in a few years (no child yet, but I mean that i worry less about having a kid at 36 than I do, say, 38).

    I got the results back and they weren’t great. FSH was 10.5 and AMH was 0.62, indicating a declining ovarian reserve. My gyn and I only spoke for about 5 min, and she basically told me that I should “hurry up” or freeze my eggs.

    I was hoping that I could get some perspective from you guys. I was extremely upset when I found out about these numbers and am leaning heavily toward freezing, but I wanted to get a more objective medical opinion before doing so. I don’t know if you can see a fertility specialist when you haven’t even been trying to get pregnant, but any advice would be much appreciated.

    I’d also love to hear from anyone who has had these sorts of numbers and froze their eggs, did IVF or (even better) went on to have kids years later.

    Thanks so much.

    • Wildkitten :

      No personal experience but, did you read this article in the Atlantic? http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-long-can-you-wait-to-have-a-baby/309374/ I think you should definitely see a fertility specialist – or at least have a longer conversation with your gyn – so you can have more information for making such a major decision.

    • Wildkitten :

      No personal experience & kicked to moderation for posting a link. You should read the Atlantic’s article “How long can you wait to have a baby” – and then have a longer conversation with your gyn or a specialist.

      • Thanks so much. I actually saw that last night and it did make me feel MUCH better. Still, it’s all very scary. Thanks for posting.

        • Anon in NYC :

          I don’t have personal experience with this, but I second the recommendation that you talk to a fertility specialist, especially since you now have blood work that a specialist can reference to come up with options specifically for you. Hugs. I know this has been on your mind for a while, and I remember some of your previous posts about it, but I think in this instance knowledge really is power. You can now take a proactive approach to this.

        • I wouldn’t put too much stock in the Atlantic article. That article talks in general terms. You now have hard numbers about your specific situation so “most people have no trouble getting pregnant” means nothing unless it’s “most people WITH YOUR NUMBERS have no trouble getting pregnant.”

          • Right, I realize that. But these numbers are also hard to interpret (according to my doctor, too).

    • Don’t know if it’s too late for you to see this. My FSH is fine, but my AMH was low when we did IVF this time around (I’m 37 now). We had very little impact on number of eggs, fertilization rate, or success. When I was 32, we had 6 eggs, 5 fertilized, 2 great ones transferred and stuck. At 37, we had 5 eggs, 3 fertilized and great, 2 transferred and one stuck. So I didn’t find it to affect our IVF success rate at all, although our doctor did use it to justify pushing us to transfer two embryos when I only wanted to do one (and got me to agree, while I was sitting naked and emotional on the table). But really, I don’t think the AMH affects whether an embryo successfully “sticks.”

      I would strongly recommend that you go to see a reproductive endochronologist. If you were going to freeze eggs, that would be the route I’d take–regardless of whether you are currently “trying” to get pregnant.

      • Thanks so much–I did come back to see if anyone else had written. :)

        I’m sure it’s too late for you to see this reply, but I guess what I’m trying to figure out is whether it’s worth it to go ahead and freeze eggs now when IVF may work just as well later (the success rates seem similar) and then I’d be incurring the cost (financial and otherwise) when there was a demonstrated need to do so (rather than just an anticipated need). But when I think about it, I probably won’t be able to start trying until 35.5 or 36 and then a second baby would be at 37.5 or 38 if things were to go as planned. I think that if my numbers were better, I’d consider holding off on the eggs, but this seems to be a heavy thumb on the scale.

        Thanks for your response–glad to hear it worked out so well for you!

        • If you are still reading, I’d talk to the RE. I think freezing eggs is harder than freezing embryos, with less of a success rate, so that may impact your decision. I would also suspect that, if you find yourself doing IVF down the road, they’d try a “fresh” cycle with your then-existing eggs and only go to frozen eggs if you just weren’t producing any/enough to matter. I know on our end, our reason for IVF was male factor infertility, and we definitely had frozen sperm many years before we actually did IVF but we never used it. Even with my husband’s very low count, we were always able to collect at the time of IVF. So maybe talk to the RE, get advice, weigh costs and pros and cons. Then all you can do is make the decision that seems best to you. There are no guarantees in any direction. I do know a lot of people who have done IVF though, and I only know of one couple for whom it just never worked (heartbreaking–they tried like 9 cycles). Everyone else I know, it worked in 1-3 tries. First time both times for us, even with a lower AMH.

          • Thanks so much for taking the time to write this. I really appreciate the advice.

  10. This may seem like an obvious question, but what do y’all do for snacking at home? My husband and I are religiously tied to our grocery list, which I make out every week based on the meals we’re eating at home. But then we don’t buy any extras, so we never have any snacks at home. Sometimes that is a good thing, because it means we don’t have junk food and don’t just eat for eating’s sake. But sometimes you really do need a snack. I’m just not sure how to hit that sweet (ha) spot of snacking that is healthy.

    This seems like something I would have figured out by now . . .

    • goldribbons :

      I snack on avocados, carrots, apples, crackers, and cheese. I always have cheese and crackers around — string cheese if you’re inclined, or any type of a block of cheese. I don’t really like hummus but you could probably snack on that if you wanted.

      • goldribbons :

        Oh! I also snack on unsalted mixed nuts.

      • I always have babybels in the fridge! Delicious.

        • I read that as baby eels. I like an unagi don as much as the next person, but at first, I thought: whoah, AMB is hardcore if that’s her snack.

    • If you really want it to be healthy trail mix or dried fruit is often a way to satisfy some sweet cravings, or greek yogourt (especially the lemon or lime ones they have) or even better, frozen yogourt.
      I just tend to usually give myself one extra thing on my grocery list every week for snacking/a treat, etc. This week it was chocolate cookies that are supposedly richer in fibre.

    • I’m a big snacker. I try to have a mix of carbs and fat/protein in my snacks or include whole grains. Some of these are more of mini meals than snacks, but can be scaled back depending on your preferences. Some of my favs include fruit with plain greek yogurt (mix in vanilla extract for extra flavor), apple with natural peanut butter, toast with peanut butter, roasted chickpeas (roasted until crispy), popcorn (seasoned with cumin and sea salt), avocado on whole wheat toast (seasoned with salt, garlic and cayenne or sriracha), frozen grapes, low fat pudding (the kind from the mix that takes about 5 minutes to make), hummus and carrots/celery, granola thins (granola with dark chocolate), triscuits with peanut butter or tuna, and sliced deli meat wrapped around a piece of string cheese (microwave to melt cheese).

      • Cucumber slices also make a healthier cracker alternative. I use them to eat dips, make mini sandwiches with lunch meat, etc.

    • My mainstays are: tostitos + guacamole, and roasted almonds. Occasionally (1-2x/week), I have pistacchio ice cream.

      Those are part of our grocery budget.

      I must snack. Hunger makes me ragey.

      • just Karen :

        +1 love the phrase “hunger makes me ragey”! I snack on fruit, cheese and crackers, nuts, granola bars, greek yogurt, or carrots and hummus.

    • Baby carrots and grape tomatoes with the Whole Foods original hummis.

      • Thanks, all! These are really helpful suggestions. I tend to think snacks = processed foods, which is why I try to skip them altogether, but that plan isn’t working for me. These are great healthier alternatives. Very much appreciate!

        • I don’t buy snacks much either, but one thing that I usually try to have on hand are apples or, better yet, apple slices. For some reason, I don’t think to eat an apple as often, but I am always happy to snack on pre-cut apple slices.
          Likewise, grape tomatoes, red peppers, berries & pineapple slices (I usually just cut up a pineapple at the beginning of the week).

    • I love the “Snack Salad” Snap Pea Crisps that you can get at Trader Joes or most grocery stores now. I wouldn’t really call them “healthy” – they’re not much of anything really – but they are satisfyingly crunchy and have been a great replacement for me to swap out for Cheetos or potato chips. Also, I LOVE popcorn, although I make it on the stove, which might be a bit too much effort if you just want a quick snack.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        If you want more popcorn with less effort, you may want to try the paper bag method. Pour a 1/4-1/2 cup of kernels in a paper lunch bag. Fold the top over a couple of times. Microwave until the popping slows. Spray popcorn with cooking spray. Add any flavoring you want and shake.

    • We snack on apples with peanut butter, string cheese, nuts, popcorn, veggies and hummus and chips and guacamole. We don’t have a snack every single day at the same time or anything, but every now and then you do just need something in between meals.

    • Miz Swizz :

      I’ve started freezing brownies so I can defrost them individually when I want something sweet. I also have on my to-do list to make a batch of chocolate chip dough and then scoop and freeze it so I can make cookies one or two (or four) at a time. I find that I eat less when I give myself a generous portion and freeze the rest.

    • Yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit, almonds, piece of cheese or if very hungry, pb sandwich (or just a meal)

    • Dates rolled in coconut, figs, cherries, grapes, grape tomatoes, unsalted raw nuts. green smoothies, fresh green juice or tea can sometimes work as a snack but sometimes they don’t touch the sides

  11. DC Wonkette :

    Anyone have suggestions for day-long volunteer opportunities in the DC area? I’m getting furloughed soon and would like to use my new-found free time for something constructive (especially since it’s a hit to the paycheck).

    • I think if you are looking for something for a full day, every week, you should check with your local public elementary school to see if they need a tutor or teaching assistant. I know many teachers who would jump at the chance to have this kind of regular extra help.

      I can’t think of an organization that does a full day every weekday, but you might find some opportunities through One Brick (http://washingtondc.onebrick.org/) or Everybody Wins (which has a lunchtime program for kids’ literacy and may be able to refer you to a more substantial volunteer opportunity).

    • Habitat!

    • You might want to check out idealist.org. I just did a quick search of weekly/monthly opportunities in the DC metro area and there seem to be a lot of options. You can filter it by your interests too. Good luck!

    • Check out Volunteers for Change with VolunteerFairfax. It’s centered around one-time activities in the evenings and on weekends so it’s perfect for working professionals who can’t make a long term commitment. Activities are all around the DC area, not just Fairfax.

    • If you’re single, check out Single Volunteers of DC – they have lots of volunteer opportunities and handle all of the logistics, so all you have to do is show up.

    • big dipper :

      Not in DC, but I’ve used this organization in both NYC and Boston. The “City Cares” organizations are amazing, in my opinion. You attend a brief training, and then you can sign up for any discrete volunteer activities. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen one week, and an animal shelter the next, or you could consistently do the same thing each week.

      They are amazing if you don’t have a lot of flexibility in your schedule – I frequently sign up the night before if I decide I want to volunteer that weekend or if something shifts in my schedule.

      http://www.greaterdccares.org/

      • hellskitchen :

        Seconding the DC Cares program. Also check out the Taproot Foundation if you prefer to use your professional skills (finance, law, PR etc) to support social causes.

    • DC Wonkette :

      Awesome – thanks, ladies!

  12. Need a break, but don't want to look like a slacker :

    How often is it appropriate to take a break at work? Meaning a quick coffee run or 5 min walk outside. Every 2 hrs? Twice a day? Only at lunch?

    • Cornellian :

      What do you do? How long have you been there? What do your coworkers do?

    • I think it’s appropriate to take a quick break (5 mins or so) that require you to leave the building once or twice a day, not including lunch. You have a lot more leeway for breaks within the building. I would add a caveat that this is also a know your office situation. In some places the occasional break might be ok, but not every day. In others, someone might make an office coffee run every morning or afternoon.

    • This is a know-your-office and know your department and office-layout type thing.

      In the cubefarms where I sit, people come and go as they please — bosses mostly just care if you are meeting your objectives. Being away from your desk for a short time every hour or two would not be frowned upon, if you were getting stuff done by their deadlines.

      In open “bullpen” configurations, it becomes more obvious. If you were, say, a government bond trader, yes, you’d need someone to cover for you whenever you took a break, and yes, it would be noticed.

      So, depending on where you sit and what your function is, and ultimately, how cool or uncool your coworkers and boss are, you could conceivably take a break every hour, or, perhaps, only at lunch.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’d say as often as you need one, but my job gives you a lot of discretion over how you spend your time (i.e., nobody is walking past my office checking to see if I’m here). If it really is just 5 minutes, then I don’t see a problem with a quick break every two hours. If it is really more like 15-20 (time to get out of the building, wait in line for coffee, get back to your office), then I’d try to be more mindful of the frequency.

    • Lunch break plus one more break (quick walk around the block in the afternoon) would be ok and conservative I think. Every 2 hours would not look good in many places I worked.

    • I would agree with the above – get your work done and know your office. Also, I think there are things you can do to reduce the perception on the part of co-workers that you’re taking a lot of breaks. For example, if you time your breaks for when you’d be away from your desk anyway – i.e. immediately before or after a meeting, it will be less noticeable than just getting up and leaving every few hours. Also, vary your break location so that people won’t form the perception that they “always” see you taking a break somewhere.

  13. Looking for dating advice, please. (Why is dating SO HARD?) I went on four dates with a guy (Guy A), decided the chemistry wasn’t there and at the same time I met someone I really had chemistry with and developed a huge crush on (Guy B). I told Guy A that I had met someone I had developed feelings for, and that I was ready to stop dating other people (i.e., him). I think I hinted that I didn’t have those feelings for him, but I was trying to be nice and respectful and frame it as a “thanks, it was great to meet you, but I’ve met someone I really like, and once I develop feelings for someone I can’t date multiple people.”

    Now, Guy A just won’t. let. it. go. At his request, I already went over to his place to “explain what happened” – it was rather excruciating and he asked a million questions trying to figure out what he could have done differently (I told him there was nothing he could have done differently, the chemistry just wasn’t there for me). Now he texts me almost every day, sends photos of his dog, mentions that he hopes things really don’t work out with “mr. chemistry,” and casually mentions that he’s made a voodoo doll of Guy B. I know he’s joking about the voodoo doll, but it’s getting irritating. I respond to about every 5th message with something really breezy, like “nice photo. hope you are well.” He’s asked for my address (he never went to my place) so he can send me a gift, but part of me thinks he wants to just show up at the door and try to convince me to go for him instead (so I won’t give him my address). And I really don’t want him to send me a gift.

    Now, my conflict here is between being nice and just letting him get over this (I’m thinking that if I become less and less responsive, he’ll get tired of it and move on), or do I send him a stern email saying there is no hope in hell of us ever getting together so just drop it already?

    Any advice?

    • Wow, that’s ridiculous. I think this is the perfect example of an instance where it’s kinder to be cruel (well, not really “cruel,” but “direct”). I would either cut off all contact or send a curt “I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to be in contact any more” or “I’m sorry, but my gut just tells me this will never work.”

      • Do not apologize. There is nothing to be sorry about. This guy is being a creep. Anonymous’s response below is appropriate. You could also just cut off contact. You owe him nothing.

    • Don’t be nice. Be brief. If he emails you, respond with,

      “Hi Joe,

      I’m no longer comfortable continuing to talk. Best of luck with everything.”

      and rinse and repeat as necessary.

    • The problem is you are being too nice already.

      Some guy (A) you went on a few dates with that you dropped politely DEMANDED THAT YOU GO OVER TO HIS PLACE TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF? AND YOU DID THAT???

      Pfft. You already gave him an explanation. That alone was a red flag. You could have walked into an ambush. Seriously think about how dangerous that could have been. Do not repeat that mistake again.

      I’m glad it didn’t turn out that way, but you didn’t owe him more than what you already told him. I would do some self-examination to find out why you feel the need to explain yourself to people like this. Implicitly, you are saying that he has power over you and you owe him something. Why? This is something to do more work on. A lot of women have been socialized to behave this way, and it’s counterproductive and darn unsafe. This is why I’m so vehement on this issue. Your safety > anybody else’s fricking ego or feelings. Repeat that previous sentence to yourself 1000x.

      Tell this psycho to stop contacting you and that this is the final warning. If he so much as sends another text, get a restraining order on this psycho. And seriously, read _The Gift of Fear_. This guy is exhibiting all sorts of red flags.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        +1 to this.

        This guy’s a stalker. Tell him once, clearly and directly, in writing (preferably email because the hard copy can be printed and saved) that you don’t want him to contact you anymore. Then STOP RESPONDING. Seriously. With a guy like this, any response at all (even just a second or third “hey, I said back off, stop calling me”) perpetuates whatever wacko fantasy he’s developed that’s causing him to fixate on you. Don’t feed the crazy. Also print/save records of his ongoing attempts to communicate with you, especially any attempts made after you’ve directly told him to stop contacting you – it will be strong evidence if/when you need to get a restraining order.

        • +1

          Document, document, document! He definitely sounds like he’s potentially dangerous. I’m just glad that nothing happened to you when you went over to his house to explain. You need to realize and internalize that your safety always trumps someone’s hurt feelings.

        • Agree with this. Also, there are smartphone apps that back up your text messages. I’d do that to keep a record.

      • theirway11 :

        This. Blunt but true. He is scary and you are being too nice which is only encouraging his scary ways.

      • +1 million to what Susedna says, RAWR BACK. And by RAWR, I mean block his number and forget him. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING? Good grief, you’ve already told him NO like 19,000 times. Everybody else on here is being too nice. Do not pass go, do not collect your $200, JUST STOP ENABLING HIM.

        RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

        • You’re all absolutely right. Seriously, what is wrong with me?! He made me feel so bad about ending things (not that after 4 dates there is much to end) and it probably comes down to some stupid wish to please people, but I really felt bad and was trying to be gentle on him (but still clear – I’ve learned not to leave any doors open). I just sent him the email – I hope this is the end of it and it’ll all go away.

          • I’m glad you got some really good, spot-on advice. Also, his behaviror was not caused by you and I’m glad you realize that. No one should ever ever ever make you feel like that about yourself.

          • Good, now BLOCK HIM. AND STAY AWAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

      • Calling him a psycho or a stalker is unfair to him. He’s needy and persistent, but OP is sending mixed messages. She’s making it out like, “Oh I really like you, and if it weren’t for this other guy I’m interested in I’d totally be into you – it’s super new though so who knows what’ll happen in a few weeks!” Why go to his house? Why respond nicely to his texts? OP is encouraging him to continue contacting her and making him think he has a chance. OP, just text him that you are not interested in him and further contact is inappropriate, but you wish him the best of luck with his other dates.

        • No, actually, I made very sure to make it clear that I wasn’t leaving the door open for anything (I’ve learned this from mistakes in the past). Never said I’d be into him if I wasn’t interested in the other guy. As far as I’m concerned, I closed the door on a relationship.

        • Reasonable people don’t hear, “I like somebody more than I like you” (which is basically what Granola told him) and interpret that as:

          “How can I scare her into liking me more” or “How can I escalate this into a crazypants competition?’ That’s psycho-thinking. Stop blaming the victim here.

          If some guy or gal you were dating, Anon, told you s/he liked somebody more than you, would you continue pursuing and emailing/texting non-stop?

          If no, then you see what I mean. If your answer is yes, then there’s no way I can get through to you until your subscription to the Crazypants School of Dating & Possessiveness expires.

          • Oh my goodness funny x 10 million: “Crazypants School of Dating & Possessiveness”

            – Signed, Dolores Jane Umbridge

          • I don’t think there’s any reason to be condescending or to accuse me of “victim blaming.” Frankly it’s offensive to anyone who has been a victim of a sexual assault (including myself) to compare what I said above to “victim blaming” or to call OP a “victim” when all the guy has done is not pick up on the boundaries that, from OP’s initial post, she didn’t appear to be establishing very clearly.

            I said he’s needy and persistent – clearly not good qualities. Clearly it is not an emotionally healthy response to hear “I like someone better than you” and say “Then how can I make you like me more???” But just because he’s needy doesn’t make him a “psycho” or a “stalker” when OP keeps responding to him saying “Your dog is so cute! Hope all’s well!” instead of “Please stop texting me.” OP, I’m glad you responded to him more forcefully and I hope he gets the clear message you’ve now sent.

          • @ Anon 3:02pm

            Seriously? You’ve now got a patent on the word victim, that gives you sole authority in when people are allowed to use a widely used term?

            You’re just irritated that you’re being made fun of, but instead of owning it, you get defensive and try to PC word-police others.

            As the OP has said, she wasn’t leading him on. Maybe you were condescended to because you’re either incredibly stupid or pretending to be purposely obtuse just to shift responsibility for the crazy stalkery behavior on the OP.

            You really don’t know what you are talking about. Go read up on stalkers before you so confidently leap to this one’s defense.

    • Yes, seriously, I agree that I’m being way too nice – I’ve definitely been socialized like this and it’s hard to break away from. Thanks all for confirming what my gut tells me to do – to tell this guy to stop contacting me NOW.

    • Also, Susedna, good to see that you’re back! (I’ve been off the site for a while – missed your return)

    • Read The Gift of Fear. He’s obviously thinking every time you respond that he has a chance. Tell him once that it is never going to happen and to stop contacting you. And then have no contact with him. He’s not being nice to you, you don’t need to be nice to him

      • +1000000 to this! Get the book and read it now! It’s by Gavin de Becker and it’s about just this kind of thing (including being too “nice”). Glad you’re safe!

    • Pre-stalker material? I would be careful, say you’re stopping the conversation, and never respond again.

    • Granola, thanks for posting this question. I have a similar situation with a guy that’s REALLY not getting the whole “I don’t want to be dating you because I am JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU” message (that’s actually a direct quote), and I’ve been super frustrated but hadn’t actually gotten any creepiness alarm bells. The responses here are definitely making me rethink my perspective and replay our last several exchanges — and now my skin is all crawly.

      And yes, I just downloaded the book to my Kindle.

      • Actually, while I think reading the book is extremely helpful, the Wikipedia entry has some very useful summary tips. Just type “gift of fear” into the Wikipedia search.

  14. For those who rent and have renewed a lease recently, what was the percentage of your rate increase? We just got our new rent and it’s a 9.7% bump.

    • I’ve lived in the same location for almost 3 years, renewing every year, and the rent hasn’t increased at all. One of the few benefits of living in a relatively undesirable Midwest city.

    • Frugal doc.. :

      Ouch. What city? I think it varies dramatically based on the city currently.

      I’ve found better stability in rents when I rent from condo owners (who are underwater) then from the career landlords.

    • Check with your local municipality or state regarding tenant rights around rate increases and your ability to contest the rate increase. You may also just be able to negotiate with your landlord if you think you have a decent relationship with them. If you’re a good tenant (quiet, pay on time, don’t cause trouble or damage) who might leave due to that significant increase, it may be worth it to them to keep you at a lower increase. Depends how hot the market is too, though.

    • Cornellian :

      I did NOT renew, but my last lease in Austin was going up 11% between 2011 and 2012. Of course, that’s a hot housing market… it probably depends a lo ton where you are. I’ve finished a year here and have gone month to month at previous price ( I think out of laziness on my landlord’s part).

    • I live in a Southern college town, and our rent has gone up at least $20/year for the last 5 years. That was part of the reason we looked around at other places in the area, and inevitably moved into a slightly smaller place recently. Rents have been going up pretty steadily in the last few years across the board from what I understand due to the housing bubble bursting and the economy.

    • Our LL last November raised rent 17% for a renewal, and 25% for a new tenant. We moved out to a place that is smaller and about 10% more than the previous place. Rents have consistently gone up at least 10% each year for the past five years or so. Freaking Bay Area.

    • Anonymous :

      If I has renewed my lease at my last apartment, it would have been a 6.3% increase. I live in Portland, which has a really tight rental market right now.

  15. I posted about my awesome trip in September a few days ago. I’ve been obviously mentally packing since I found out I was going. I think I’m going to go for an Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday type look – you know my fantasy life.

    Any suggestions for comfortable/cute shoes that can stand up to walking all day? I figure having 2 sets of shoes would be good. Any suggestions of brands to look at and brands to avoid would be helpful.

    • Mighty Mouse :

      Have heard good things about Cole Haan Air Becara ballet flats. Very Audrey. ;) No experience with them myself but will be ordering some to test-drive for a trip to London at the end of the summer.

      I have some Born flats that are…meh. Not too bad for daily wear but kill me if I’m in the hospital or other industrial floors.

      • I love those from CH. They run a little shorter than most, so I end up ordering a half size larger than my normal shoe size. They actually have a bit of arch unlike so many other flats.

        I like CH’s air Tali lace (closed-toe) even more though. They have a slight wedge, which for me at least makes them a lot more comfy. I wear them on any trips with serious walking, conferences, etc. I’ve walked more than 8 miles one day in them without a blister or bad rub of any sort. They almost have some bounce to them and the leather is so soft. They tend to stretch though. So I order a half size smaller than normal. I have a very wide forefoot (bunion surgery on one) and very narrow heel, and they fit like a glove. Can’t say enough good things about them except for the price (retails around $160).

    • I’ve had good luck with ECCO, although they can run a little narrow for me. Clarks is also good – I just got a pair of Clarks’ Un.cedar and while they haven’t broken in yet they look to be comforable. (I have them in black, which is a little clunky, but I saw a very light colored pair on someone else who was wearing a skirt and she looked very nice.) I always look for something that is very supportive (not just a thin, flat piece of rubber between me and the pavement) and does not have a 100% synthetic lining (which makes my feet overheat). I’d also suggest wearing the shoes in advance of your trip so that they’re broken in by the time you want to wear them 12 hours a day.

      • To put this in perspective, Cole Haan runs too narrow for me. If they work for you check out ECCO.

    • Nordies Lover :

      I had a pair of Cole Haan sandals that I wore all over Spain last year. Check out their Molly sandal or their Grove sandal. I also recommend alternating shoes, either switching out in the afternoon or every other day. I found this helped prevent any blisters and kept my feet a little happier.

    • I’ve had good results with Geox. Both their ballet flats and other (flat) styles.

    • Gentle Souls

  16. Not sure what advice I am asking for but just need to vent..

    I took this job because DH wanted to move here for a great opportunity for his career but it is a very small town with very few career options. I really want to have a career of my own so I found what I could and have been here for 3 years. I never really liked what u do but I have tried to do my best and earn a few promotions but because of some internal politics I was given a poor review last December. I have worked to change by reputation but I just want to throw in the towel. I can’t stand what do and I know my efforts won’t pay off. I work in a tech focused oconpany but my background is in marketing so I don’t have a lot of options because of my degree and am basically pigeon holed here. I am taking adderall just to motivate myself to do my job. I am medicating myself to go to work – that is how little I care about this job. I am so sick of feeling this way. This is definitely not how I pictured my career. I feel like I am trying to cobble something together but I have just lost all motivation. I don’t have support from my supervisor to get projects going so I feel like I can’t get anything accomplished in my job so I feel incredibly bored and under-utilized.

    To top it off my husband is excelling at his career, which makes it difficult to leave. While I am happy for him it is hard to see his career growing while my has completely stagnated. DH keeps saying we can’t leave until I have a career plan but I feel trapped. I’m not able to try new things at current company because of my background and there aren’t a lot of opportunities in the city we live it because of its small size. I feel trapped. I’m so desperate for a change I have contemplated grad school just to get out of here.

    • Sorry for typos…

    • I’m so sorry for your situtation that sounds terrible.

      If you’d like to do something more marketing related, it might help to really start networking in your small town. Most companies use some sort of marketing so the jobs are there, but they may be harder to find. I’d honestly recommend quitting your job and volunteering or working a low-wage job before going to grad school, expecially if you’re in/interested in marketing. I’m not sure how dire the job market is in your town, but it might be helpful to look at job boards just to see if anything is out there that catches your eye. You could also try doing some free or freelance marketing services for smaller companies in the area just to give you something to be excited about again.

      • Thanks for your response. My employer laid off 80% of the marketing dept 6 months ago and have make it clear they don’t view it as something important. I’m also not even sure I want a career in marketing – because the culture around here is that marketing isn’t important I’ve gotten very little exposure to it. The majority of marketing opportunities around here are marketing communications with my employer being the major client and I really have zero interest in marcom. I just feel so stuck and I don’t know how many times I’ve told my husband how unhappy I am but his response never changes. How much longer do I stick it before telling my husband we need to have a serious discussion about relocating?

        • Like roses said, first you need to distinguish whether it’s your job, your workplace, or your field that’s making you unhappy. I also wouldn’t judge the marketing industry based on your current job. Marketing jobs are quite varied, so there are a lot of opportunities with that type of background.

          I still recommend that you look through job boards (even ones outside the town you live in) and try to really identify what looks appealing to you. What would you like to be doing every day? Figure out what specific tasks you’d like to be doing and see if you can’t find a job that includes at least some of them and remember that nothing is permanent. Either way, it seems like you need to start job searching.

          You also seem pretty bent on relocating so I’m wondering if you’re also just unhappy in general with the town you’re in. If that’s the case, getting out and meeting people might help you.

    • I think you need to sort out whether you are miserable because of your work environment or because you can’t figure out what you want to do in the long-term. I think it seems more of the latter, in which case I’d recommend consulting with a career counselor to figure out what you want to do in the long term and how you can leverage your current skills to get there. But if you just want out of your current job and feel like a lateral move could give you time to think about your career goals in a more pleasant work environment, just look for a new job. I realize marketing isn’t in high demand but the fact that you managed to work in a tech company shows that you are versatile and could probably do something in another industry as well.

    • Jenolen2161 :

      Your workplace sounds pretty horrible. You may just need a change of scenery workwise before you can even begin to evaluate what you’d like to do long-term. Are there other companies in your area? Would you be able to build up a freelance/consulting career with the next closest big city (or even a not-close big city) to give yourself some more freedom? I’d be wary of your rush into grad school as a way to escape this place because grad school can be really expensive, and if you don’t have a great focus on what you’d like to do with your advanced degree, it can leave you even more unsure (speaking from personal experience here) … plus in debt. And if you’re in a small town, you may not need an advanced degree to do what you want to do (whatever that is).

      My 2 cents:
      –get a counselor, career or otherwise, to talk about your frustrations.
      –Make sure your hubby is really listening to you when you complain, but make sure you’re not just complaining constantly. When I was in a job I hated, I’d have a 5- to 10-minute vent session every night to the hubs, then that was it. I knew it was on me to make the changes I needed to get out of the situation.
      –What sorts of jobs can you do? / skills do you have? You said marketing may not be what you want to do, but can you write? Can you freelance copywrite for an agency? Do you have any other skills that would work well for telecommuting / freelancing that you could do now while you’re employed at CrapJob?
      –Bounce back from that bad review. OK, there’s politics. Get back on your horse, and resolve to get a good review of this place. I’m not saying you need to kiss butt, but make yourself proud of the job you’re doing, even if it’s “hey, I didn’t think ‘idiot’ every time the boss said something to me today.” I was stuck in my OldJob for two years looking for a new opportunity. Some days were better than others as far as motivation goes. Pick something you’d like to learn and learn it. If you can apply it to this job, great. If you can’t but it will help you get a new/better job, then that’s great too.

      Good luck!

    • This varies by industry and role, but can you network your pants off and get job at a company that allows you to work at home? I’m in healthcare tech, and we have a TON of remote/ mostly remote employees. It often means more travel than a standard office job, but hey, better than somewhere you hate.

      Your success here will largely depend on how connected you are in your industry (hiring a remote worker can be risky, so you’ll want to come recommended!) and how interested you are in working out of your home vs. in an office.

      I work on the east coast, mainly in my house but i do have an office about 60 miles away. My employer is on the west coast. I travel maybe 20-30% of my time.

  17. Silicon valley chick :

    Hi all,

    I’m sure this has been posted here before, but I would appreciate some reminders….

    I like to keep my personal life private at work, and even in casual social encounters with people who aren’t friends (ex. waiters that “know” you at restaurants, the host/owner at the theater I visit etc… and even the occasional neighbor that sometimes appears a bit too “friendly”).

    What are the good answers to give people who ask the nosy questions about your dating situation and “Why aren’t you married?” questions?

    I also do not want to be too rude to these folks (even if they are the ones being nosy) because I may interact with them occasionally. I also find that saying something like… “why do you ask?” or “excuse me?” never goes the way I might like.

    Thanks.

    • I hate people.

      Honestly, a disgusted WTF look, arched eyebrow and eye rolling will get you far in life.

      Barring that, I’d deflect and say something like “Wait, are you married?” and just start interrogating them. Answer questions with questions. But I’m a terror.

      • I’ll second the answer questions with questions – but to the extent that if you are going to engaged someone in conversation, then ask them genuine questions about themselves. Unless you are trying to get a “don’t talk to me” reputation, which could be a legitimate goal…

      • he he he he he he

        I am also a Camus fan.

        I have a hard time pulling this off. It is always a struggle trying to be professional and not coming across as a stuck-up b*tch.

        Of course, these people asking are “always” married themselves (ie. then judging me…) or even worse, waiting to pounce….

        I do not care what people think. I do not care what people think. I do not care what people think. I do not care what people th…….

    • Anon in NYC :

      Q: “Why aren’t you married?”
      A: “Because I don’t want to be married yet.” or (if you feel the need to be a teensy bit more polite) “I haven’t met the right person yet.”

      If they persist beyond that just say “I’m really happy with my life, and don’t feel the need to get married right now.” Then just start ignoring the questions.

      • Silicon valley chick :

        Usually I wind up saying things like this, but gosh people just don’t let it go… If I walk away I can, but often these conversations happen when you are trapped.

        “WHY!?!?…” is usually the next question. Or even worse, “don’t wait too long.. you’re not getting any younger….. you’re too picky…. how long are you planning on waiting?…. (or the worst….)… have I GOT someone for you…..”

        So I’m trying to search for the perfect phrase that somehow nips it in the bud.

        “I’m not the marrying type?” …..

        Then they will probably presume I’m gay. Oh well, big whoop. But even that will backfire as soon you will be able to get married in most places if you are gay (I hope!).

        • Anon in NYC :

          Haha, if someone asked me “why” my response would probably be along the lines of a clear joke, like, “well, I’m a terrible human being, so that might have something to do with it.”

          Or if someone told me that I wasn’t getting any younger: “yes, you’re right, I am getting old.”

          Re how long are you planning on waiting: “Oh, I don’t know. Long enough to meet someone and figure out whether or not I think I can stand him for the rest of his life.”

          As for the unwanted set ups… I don’t know what to tell you there! Maybe just a “you’re so sweet for thinking of me, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”

          • Nooooooooooo, stop! They don’t have the right to ask you these questions! Don’t enable them! There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s them!

          • Anon in NYC :

            While I agree in theory, OP said that she wanted to be polite because she still has to interact with these people on occasion. And, I don’t think I could be really rude to someone who was well-intentioned but inappropriately nosy. I think my answers still stand for dealing with a situation like that. I don’t think every interaction like that needs to turn into a behavior correcting exercise (however completely rude and annoying and inappropriate they may be).

    • I got a question of that level of intrusiveness lately.

      My answer was a semi-jokey, “hey, you know you can ask the NSA for a transcript for everything you want to know about my private and personal life? You don’t have to even ask me directly.”

      They laughed, but it shut them up, because the NSA/private reference reminded them that they were pushing where they had no business to push for info.

      • Merabella :

        I really love this response. I’m keeping it on file to rebuff inappropriate questions.

      • OOOOOHHHH, good one!

        The problem I have with the responses like the one Anon in NYC gave (not the right time, right person, etc) is that people will take a polite answer as confirmation that their question was legitimate and appropriate. It’s not. I will not give anyone the understanding that what they asked was okay (see crazypants guy above). BULLDOZE THEIR STUPIDITY.

        • Silicon valley chick :

          Totally agree with your point.

          I do usually say things like Anon in NYC (yours is definitely the approach I favor… trying not to be too rude/b*tchy). All good responses Anon.

          But it definitely opens the door for more discussion. Once you go down that slippery slope, it is a tacit agreement that it is ok to ask these questions.

    • Anonymous :

      “because Congress hasn’t fixed the marriage tax penalty yet.”

    • I got a question like that recently, and actually said something along the lines of “It’s a beautiful day, I’m in a good mood, and I suspect you didn’t actually mean to be offensive, which is the only reason I’m not going to open up a whole crate of rage at you right now. But just so you know, that was kind of a dumba$$ insensitive question.”

      I don’t necessarily advocate that response verbatim, but it worked very, very well.

  18. How do you respond when someone addresses you as the wrong gender in an email, and your response will be by email? This is one of a series of careless mistakes by this place – my name isn’t masculine and my picture is on the firm’s website – and I don’t want my annoyance to come through in email, but I definitely want to nip this in the bud. I think I need a line from someone with some distance from the situation. Thanks!

    • Senior Attorney :

      If they addressed me as “Mr. Senior Attorney,” I might reply as usual, and then at the bottom add something like “P.S. it’s Ms. Senior Attorney.” Short and sweet.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I’ve actually done this when somebody got my title slightly wrong and it solved the problem with no angst as far as I could tell.

    • Anonymous :

      I work with people from Asia a lot, and many of the women sign their emails and letters “Firstname Lastname (Ms.)”

  19. Merabella :

    I guess it is that time of year again for my mom to be crazy. Is there such a thing as couples therapy for your parents?

    • I think that’s called family counseling.

    • One of my friends (who is in his mid-30s) made his parents go to a family counselor with him for a few sessions as a condition of continuing to be a part of his life. They were very controlling/overbearing and manipulative about his life choices. The situation is still strained, but I do think it has improved. So, yes, it does exist, even for adults and their adult parents.

      • I think it’s really encouraging that people are willing to do this as adults. It gives me hope for humanity.

        And, props to your friend for getting his parents to go, and more props to his parents for agreeing to do so.

        • Merabella :

          I was just thinking, the real problem would be convincing my mom to go…

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