Tuesday’s TPS Report: Edward Peplum Jacket

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

 BCBGMAXAZRIA Edward Peplum Jacket The peplum trend is still going strong, and I like this poppy-colored blazer from BCBGMAXAZRIA. The flap detail is interesting on an otherwise fairly streamlined blazer, and the zipper actually looks functional. It’s $248 at Zappos (poppy only), and BCBG.com has it in poppy, black, and a “vintage blue” combo (for $298).BCBGMAXAZRIA Edward Peplum Jacket

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

Psst: It turns out Lord & Taylor has it in black and poppy as well.  Unfortunately, the current 20% off code does not work with BCBGMAXAZRIA.



  1. I like that a lot! Thanks so much everybody for your helpful tips on my personal episode of Dog Meets Baby. Hopefully everything goes okay!

  2. Italy bound! :

    DH and I are going to be in Rome and Amalfi on vacation the first 2 weeks of October and I have no idea what to pack. We will mostly be walking around the city and doing touristy things but one day we do want to hike the trail along the Amalfi Coast. Can you ladies help me put together a packing list??

    • I have nothing helpful to add but have a wonderful time! That sounds like a wonderful trip.

    • Comfortable shoes and sundresses.
      Big scarf/shawl for when/if you go into churches.
      Crossbody bag.

      Rome gets very hot through October/November. Haven’t been to the Amalfi Coast, but I’d bring a bathing suit.

    • Please post back on the hiking bit – am really intrigued, that’s such a beautiful part of the world ! Packing for Rome in October is pretty straightforward – I’d take jeans, a blazer, trainers or flats, and a mix of long/ short-sleeved tops and Ts for a daily change. I’d avoid high heels of any kind – central Rome is not well-served by taxis or trains and you’re likely to find yourself walking a lot, including in the evenings.

    • October will probably be beautiful. I was there in August and it was dreadfully hot!!! Comfortable shoes/sandals that can stand up to the cobblestones (had a pair of flip flops break on me in Venice). Definitely a shawl/pashmina/cardi for cathedrals, as AIMS said. Sunscreen– Rome has like no shade!!

    • Italy bound! :

      Thanks all! The weather sites all say the region we will be in should be in the low 70’s in Oct but has anyone traveled to Rome/Amalfi during the fall? Is low 70’s accurate?

      Also any rec on clothes that I can pack tightly and won’t wrinkle? Any good websites for travel packing? What about shoes?

      • The last time I was in Rome was in early October and it was hot! (On the plus side, it was also mushroom season and I ate mushrooms pretty much every day — sooooooo delicious).
        Not sure about the Amalfi coast.

        For packing, I roll my clothes and this tends to minimize wrinkling. For some reason Italian hotels don’t usually have irons in the room so I brought a travel sized Downy wrinkle release spray with me and would spray it on and steam the item while I was showering. This more or less took care of the wrinkles.

        For comfy travel shoes, I swear by Gentle Souls. Worth every penny.

      • I think low 70s may be the high temperature for the day, cooler at night and out of direct sunlight. I’m not really convinced by the suggestions of sundresses – it seems to me that folks are mostly out of summer clothes by October and definitely into coats and jackets by November.

      • I was in Rome last month, so different time of year, but to try to answer your packing questions, I’d go with one pair of versatile sandals (flat sole is an absolute must for Rome) and one pair of flats (casual or sporty, depending on your plans). For clothes, I think for October a pair of jeans (cropped, even) would be good. It was really hot when I was there but I still think a pair would have been handy and folks were definitely wearing them; I’d guess more so in October. I find casual dresses & skirts more versatile and less wrinkly when traveling but I also wore the heck out some capri pants, especially for side-trip travel days. Skip fancy clothes unless you know you plan to eat at fancy restaurants. Lots of (relatively) expensive restaurants are trattorias and not dressy— you can dress up a day dress or pants and be fine. Agree on having at least one sanctuary-safe outfit, meaning shoulders and knees covered.

        And +1 on sunscreen/sunglasses/hat for outdoor sightseeing days. Or go to the Forum et al. on a cloudier day if possible!

    • If you’re planning on visiting the churches (St. Peter’s specifically – but really any of them) – a sun dress or a skirt and blouse combo that hits below the knees and covers the shoulders but is still light and airy is going to be really helpful. A shawl can do this as well, but I personally don’t love carrying around extra pieces with me all day if I don’t *have* to – so may be able to do it with just a dress. But a shawl can also be useful since it can be cool in the older stone buildings and then hot outside.

      Also – though I know sandals will seem like your best bet because of the heat – I would find a well-ventilated pair of closed toe walking shoes. Not only are all the roads/sidewalks uneven and thus toe-stubbing central there, but I also found that when I wore my open-toed sandals around, I came back with the dirtiest feet I’ve ever had in my life. So, I actually found I preferred my close toed shoes most of the time.

      On the Amalfi (I love it there, BTW) – I would bring clothes that you can wear over your swimsuit and that will dry as you hike – because as you hike between towns you may stop to swim and then want to throw your clothes back over your swimsuit. Thus a good wicking material is key. On the same note – one of those little travel towels that can attach to your daypack is probably helpful. And lots of water.

      In Rome – my other best tip is to buy the entrance passes to the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Palatine Hill at the entrance to the Palatine Hill – which has much shorter lines than the Colosseum – or even better – you can buy the Roma Pass or the Archeologia Pass (which is what we did) which allows you to skip the lines all together. Also – if you’re going to see the Vatican – I cannot stress enough how much happier you will be if you get there first thing in the morning and see the museum portion EARLY. What we did was see as much of the museum as we could before lunch – then we left the Vatican entirely and got lunch in a nearby neighborhood – and then we came back and saw St. Peters. It was MUCh better than eating in the Vatican cafeteria.

      Anyway – those are my quick tips. Have fun!

      • You’ve received lots of great tips which I won’t repeat, but I would like to second TCFKAG’s comment about visiting the Vatican early in the day. The second component to this tip is – don’t go on the weekend if you can possibly help it. There are so many amazing things to see in the Vatican, and unfortunately when I went my schedule forced me to go on a Saturday. Bad idea. There were so many people there that I was basically pushed along in one huge long line of people – I couldn’t really stop to look at anything on my own time. Try to avoid that if you can.

        Also, if you have the time, do try to visit the Trastevere district – it is so different from the centre of Rome, less touristy and quite fun to walk through.

        • PS One further tip: My absolute favourite museum in Rome is the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj. It doesn’t form part of the average tourist itinerary but I highly recommend looking it up. Gorgeous, and so interesting. Get the audio guide.

          • Yes! I was there last month; the audioguide was a riot in addition to being informative.

          • The posh and plummy-toned Jonathan Doria Pamphilj ? There’s some interesting family history there, easily g**gled up.

  3. Trivial problems question right off the bat: is this lampshade too girly for my (biglaw) office? And/or do you guys like it?

    Trying to add some personal touches as I’ve been here a year and haven’t done much with the place.

  4. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Re the discussion yesterday about the royal baby names, the top odds for girls are Alexandra, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Victoria and Diana and for boys George, James, Philip, Alexander and Alfred.

    Interestingly, 250/1 odds for ‘Wayne’.

    Somehow I can’t imagine a King Wayne I.

    • King Wayne would be a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

    • Ha! One of my friends has the middle name Wayne. I always tell him it’s a serial killer middle name.

    • I could actually see them experimenting with the first name – as long as the child has a bit more regal middle name that could be used once he/she reaches the throne.

      For example, Beatrice is not a monarch’s name in the UK, but Princess Beatrice also has the names Elizabeth and Mary – just in case. Likewise with Eugenie, who has Victoria as a middle name.

      None of the two are likely to get to the throne – but there is also the example of Denmark, where Prince Nikolai was third in line to the throne when he was born – and has the traditional Danish royal name of Frederik last. Likewise his brother, Prince Felix – who has the other Danish monarch name of Christian as a middle name.

      I really don’t see Diana as a first name – what a burden for a small child to have.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Yeah to be fair I think because this child would be directly in line to the throne, they have to choose a ‘royal’ name for the first name, but in reality he/she could get called something else (like Prince Harry is really Henry) or have a non-regal middle name and go by that.

        So it could be like Mary Isabella and then just get called Isabella. Although I doubt they would pick that name because the Swedish princess is called Isabella (and even that is only a middle name).

        Anyway, I digress… the point is that I doubt the first name would be anything too adventurous but the middle name could be.

        • Probably, yeah. And I really want one of those traditional royal names, after the recent crop of Estelle of Sweden, Isabella of Denmark, Athena of Denmark and Ariane of the Netherlands…

          At least Princess Elisabeth of Belgium and the Princess of Orange, Catharina-Amalia – the two youngsters who became/will become 2nd in line ot the thrones in 2013 still have fairly traditional names.

          • Woods-comma-Elle :

            Yeah, sorry, you are right, Estelle, not Isabella, I stand corrected.

          • I love that I’m not the only random European royalty lover on here. I hope the new British baby has as much personality as Estelle!

    • I know they have to stick with tradition and those are lovely names but I was really hoping for a Princess Penelope or something whimsical and fun!

    • Weezy F. Baby :

      He would go by Lil Wayne, obviously.

  5. The King of Pop :

    It is a bit straight out of Thriller, no?

  6. This is such a shot in the dark, but maybe someone knows. I saw a girl at the metro station today, (Courthouse, in Arlington VA, in case anyone saw the same girl) with the most beautiful light blue paisley shift dress. It wasn’t a total shift, as it came in at the waist slightly, but it was just beautiful – pretty traditional paisley all over, that shade of blue that they make those plates and tablecloths from? Does any one know what I’m talking about? I work in an office of pretty much all men so I can’t try to explain it to them. Has anyone seen any dresses like this lately?

    • Go to shopstyle and type in blue paisley dress. There are a lot of possibilities. I think putting in shift dress narrow it too much. This sounds like maybe what you were talking about? http://www.anntaylor.com/tall-paisley-border-shift-dress/309319?colorExplode=false&skuId=13598433&catid=cat140006&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=1618&CID=aff_7078679

  7. Wedding Bound :

    Hey y’all,

    I have a wedding to head to this Sunday and I just realized that I don’t have a good cover-up for the dress I am planning to wear. (It’s black and sleeveless, with 2 inches of white/black lace at the hem.) It’s summer and it’s outdoors, so I’d like something really light and and breezy; ideally the cardigan/bolero/shrug comes to my elbows and is in a bright or a pastel color.

    Upper bound is $80, and obviously express shipping is a must. Any thoughts? I didn’t like what I could find on Nordstroms online.

    • I have something similar to this that I purchased from Macy’s this spring. It’s Calvin Klein (the cheaper line that they sell at Macy’s) but its a shrug, I guess, and has actually been very useful and held up great. I got it in white, but I think they had it in light blue and maybe a coral? I’ll hunt around for it, but maybe a good place to start (with that Calvin klein brand, which i think they have on amazon/zappos)

  8. If anyone is wondering, I love BCBG blazers. I don’t have this one but I have a few others. They look fairly structured but are SO comfortable. I can wear them all day without feeling constricted like I do in other blazers. I would highly recommend if you’re looking for a blazer with some interesting details

  9. Question for the hive re: friendship. When a friendship goes sour, and you no longer communicate with the person, what do you do about mutual friends? I’m trying to navigate this with consideration to both my value of a relationship with the mutual friend and my own need for emotional space/distance.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think it depends on why the friendship went sour but I think there are some thing that are universal –

      1) Mutual friends have no place in a conflict between two people. We’ve all moved on from middle school. So definitely avoid trying to get mutual friends to take sides. I have a friend who does this and it’s both annoying and childish.

      2) Because of (1), if both you’re being good people and not having your mutual friends choose sides, you *should* be able to maintain a friendship with your mutual friends. If you are not bringing them into the conflict, then those friendships shouldn’t be at issue.

      3) It’s perfectly fine to gracefully decline events where Ex-Friend will be, if you don’t feel that that will be healthy or remain civil, and suggest other activities to do with mutual friends at alternate dates.

      4) I think regardless of any fight or argument, everyone deserves to be treated with politeness. So if you happen to be at the same event (due to mutual friends), I think it’s always best to be polite but keep your distance.

      This is a hard situation though – “breaking up” with a friend can be as or more difficult than ending a romantic relationship.

      • (1) and (2) really depend on the reason for the break-up. If it’s something like, the ex-friend is generally not a great person and you don’t want to deal with the drama, then yes, you have to respect that not all of your friends will feel the same way. If it’s something more serious, then I think you have to be really honest with yourself and your mutual friends what you want and need, and perhaps be prepared to walk away from friendships that can’t meet those needs.

        I had an ex-friend whose male friend sexually assaulted me, ex-friend took his side and blamed me, and then our (ex-friend’s and my) mutual friends said they didn’t want to get in the middle of it. One mutual friend even said, “I can see both sides.” By trying to stay neutral, they implicitly took ex-friends/the guy’s side in not believing, or at least doubting, my story. I sat down with each mutual friend and told them, I don’t want friends who don’t believe me when I say I was sexually assaulted. I’m not telling you how to handle your friendship with ex-friend, but I am telling you that I will not have a relationship with you if you can’t look me in the eye and tell me you believe I’m telling the truth, that I’m not the kind of person who would lie about something like that, and that if I say this man sexually assaulted me then this man DID sexually assault me. If you want to continue to be friends with a woman who takes a perpetrator’s side over her friend’s, and who blames the friend for being assaulted, then that’s your decision and I will do my best to respect it and you even though I disagree.

        • Thanks Anonymous. I’m really sorry you experienced this. I think you made all the right choices here through what sounds like a really *&%tty ordeal.

          My situation doesn’t involve assault but does involve sour friend being particularly unkind during a rough time. Mutual friend was there for the situation and I assume she knows that sour friend would likely treat her or anyone similarly.

        • Not using my regular name :


          While I was not sexually assaulted, a guy in my group of friends got angry and violent with me drunk one night. I couldn’t stay friends with him after that. Many of my mutual friends agreed that he was wrong to do that to me but that they were going to stay friends with him to help him fix his issues. It really ruined those friendships for me. I couldn’t stay friends with people friends with him though I understood that he still needed a support system. He wasn’t taking responsibility for what he did and that was what was hardest. If he admitted having an alcohol and anger problem and said he shouldn’t have done what he did, that would have been one thing. Instead he said that I was in the wrong, I provoked him, I wouldn’t leave him alone and that he did what he had to do.

          I think it is hard for anyone to believe that someone they love could do bad things. It is easier to believe the victim is “mistaken” then to believe that someone they trust is an assaulter. I think they have that pang of “but what if he IS telling the truth.” Someone I worked with was accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. I thought for sure it had to have been a false allegation and stood by this person through their internal investigation at the workplace. Then they finally admitted it. That friendship ended fast. I was so hurt that my coworker manipulated me into a supporting role all the while guilty.

          • I’m so sorry your friends ultimately took his side, when he was clearly in the wrong.

            I think people who don’t want to see anything bad in their friends or loved ones are willfully blind. And I don’t think they love their people more. I’m not blind to the faults of my friends and loved ones– I love them despite those flaws, so I’m loving the complete person, not a fantasy image of that person.

            There’s also the problem of some people being very selfish — their philosophy is: as long as person X is nice to me, I don’t care how mean, cruel, or evil person X is to someone else.

            It’s how many prominent members of the British aristocracy kept on being pals with high level Nazi officials. They were using the very specious argument that, “well, if this guy is nice to me, that’s all I care about. I don’t care how many people he kills or puts in work camps and death camps.” It’s also a very selfish way of looking at the world.

    • I have dealt with this. In general, I strive for “containment” of the conflict–making it clear to mutual friends that I don’t expect my decision to cut off contact with this person to be their problem in any way. This means I assume we will still both be invited to events, and it’s up to me whether to come. I don’t ask whether X will be there, and I don’t make any scene if he/she is there. In return, I hope they will not judge my decision, make assumptions, or demand that I warm to this person just because it will make them more comfortable. If I need to talk about my issues with the person, I do it with others who are removed from the situation so nobody feels torn or like they’re being asked to take sides.

      It’s possible that mutual friends still think or say that I’ve been unreasonable, but no one has expressed this to me. In general I feel everyone has handled it like adults, and I feel great about my decision because my life is so much happier and more peaceful since I gave up a years-long struggle by cutting this person out.

    • Just accept that it will be awkward. Don’t discuss the conflict with mutual friends but please do address it briefly so it’s not the elephant in the room. When this has happened, I’ve told mutual friends that I had an issue with friend X and will be staying away from her but that I did not expect them to change their friendships with friend X or choose sides.

      • Anonymous :

        This has been my general approach. In some instances, mutual friends were inviting small groups of people to a gathering and including me and ex-friend. Ex-friend was never responding to the invitations one way or the other, so I mentioned the “break-up” to the mutual friends and suggested that they might consider inviting us to different events to be sure they maintained a relationship with ex-friend. In another instance, I learned ex-friend was becoming jealous that I was spending more time with a mutual friend and mutual friend was then lying about our growing friendship to cover it up. I cut off that mutual friend, as ex-friend had always been closer. I was being a martyr, but I didn’t enjoy the dishonesty aspect.

  10. Can anyone recommend books about dealing with anger? This isn’t in terms of preventing violence, but just about how to cope with frequent anger/resentment. Thanks.

    • I haven’t read this but it’s been recommended on here: Women, Anger, and Depression. Also, a book with something like “When Strangling Isn’t An Option” in the title.

  11. Conflicted Anon :

    Argh, I think I need a reality check one way or another.

    I’ve been in my relationship for close to 4 years now, about half of it has been semi or actually long distance. Currently semi-LDR (2 hr drive for them, close to 4 hr public transport trip for me) and have been for close to a year now. They live in an area where cell phone reception is non-existent inside the house.

    When we first started living apart, when I got home I would ask them to call me (I didn’t call since they had to find a spot with good reception first). Sometimes they would call, sometimes it would be “give me an hour,” sometimes it would be “I’m really tired, how about tomorrow.”

    Eventually I expressed, “I really feel like I have to remind you to call me. I would like it if you called me on your own sometimes so I know I’m not the only one who wants to talk/so I know you’re thinking of me.” They followed through on this maybe a couple times, but now it’s that I will remind them, when we see each other on the weekend they will promise to call me during the week, and then I still have to remind them. Pretty much every time.

    Additionally, because of the reception issue, what usually happens when I remind them to call and they do, is that they have to go outside and within 5 minutes says “It’s hot / the bugs are biting / something similar, I’m going to let you go and go back inside.” To be fair, I usually don’t have a lot of important stuff to say, but I still don’t feel like a few minutes during the week is enough for someone I only see once a week.

    Other relevant points: last week they got rejected from a job and I asked if they wanted to talk. They said no, and didn’t text or call the rest of the day, which isn’t unusual when they have a bad day. I expressed that they usually close off from me when they’re upset, and the response to my tears was “We have different ways of dealing with being upset, you’ll just need to learn to accept that it’s not personal.” Relevant point B: they are job-searching closer to me but there’s no official end to the distance.

    This is really starting to bother me and a) I don’t know if I’m being ridiculous and do just need to learn to live with all of this, and b) what to do to either fix this or get over it. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

    • Does your significant other not have a landline?

      Because that would have been the first thing I would have taken care of if I’d moved to a location that didn’t have good cell reception.

      • Or Skype? Or Google Voice? Or some sort of videochat/internet phone service?

        • Conflicted Anon :

          I’ve thought about Google Voice before but never actually tried it for some reason… I’ll try that! Hopefully that will fix the reception issue. I dunno if that will fix the issue of me having to always be the one to ask to talk, though.

          • Or even Google Chat/Hangouts with video. There are so many calling apps/programs now that cell phone reception really shouldn’t restrict communications. There are also many texting apps as well.

          • I think your SO needs to proactively find a solution to this reception problem. Tell him/her that the cell reception is a serious problem making you question being in the relationship and he/she needs to either get a landline, set up and initiate google voice, or get a cell booster or switch providers. Then see what happens. If he/she isn’t willing to do that I’d take it as a strong sign that he/she won’t put in the effort needed to sustain a serious relationship long term.

          • +1 to S. I’ve lived and worked in some remote places while in college. Your SO can find ways to communicate with you (even if it’s snail mail and a 15 minute call once per week) if it’s a priority.

      • He could also get a cell-phone booster to improve reception. It seems like there are many solutions, but he is being a manchild and not doing anything about it.

        • Not to split hairs, but Conflicted Anon never said that her SO is a man.

          • Does this not seem like overkill to anyone else? Based simply on the numbers, there is like a 90% chance that her SO is in fact a male. So now we are supposed to say “he or she” every time anyone doesn’t identify her SO’s sex, despite that 90% chance? I mean . . .

          • Well, I’d say the fact that the person didn’t specify the gender of the SO doesn’t make it overkill. It may be a guy, it may be a girl; both genders have the capacity to be immature.

          • Sorry – it seemed to me that the OP was going out of her way not to identify gender.

          • I agree with NOLA – and I think the fact that OP specifically used gender neutral pronouns changes the “chances” that it’s a man.

            And, y’know, it’s not actually that difficult to use “he or she” or the generally accepted singular “they,” and it shows respect to OP.

          • I was totally confused by the plural pronoun. I had to read a couple of times, trying to figure out if there were three people in this relationship. I’d prefer he/she over they when it’s a singular pronoun; that would at least be more clear.

          • Agreed. Generally, when people use plural pronouns to describe one person, it’s to intentionally avoid mentioning that person’s gender.

          • Anonymous :

            I agree with NOLA.

          • Well, if you’re bothering to split hairs, why are you assuming the OP is a woman?

    • you’re not being ridiculous. your relationship sounds kind of one-sided. if i had to ask my SO to reach out to me instead of doing so upon their own initiative, i’d be very hurt and doubt whether they cared about me. as far as how your SO acts when he/she has had a bad day, i think it’s true people have different coping mechanisms, but it’s not an excuse for ignoring you. especially given that you’re long distance, it’s not like you can read their body language. it’s up to them to say, hey, i’m upset and need some space but i’ll call you tomorrow, or something like that. it’s the mature way to handle things.

      • Conflicted Anon :

        Thanks LilyB. I do feel that way when we’re apart, but it doesn’t feel one-sided when we are able to spend time together in-person, which makes it harder to determine. It’s just sucky when it comes to long-distance communication.

        • How does SO feel about talking on the phone in general? Is it possible that SO just doesn’t like talking on the phone, and that’s where you are getting the disconnect between long distance and in person communications?

          • Conflicted Anon :

            I don’t think so, though I admit I’ve never asked outright (because there never seemed any reason to). They don’t seem nervous on the phone. If anything I’m the one a little phone-averse and, for example, if I don’t want to place a phone delivery order or something they’re willing to do it for me.

          • video chatting might be a much easier / enjoyable form of communication for both of you.

          • I think Mpls doesn’t mean nervous, but that your SO may just not enjoy communicating by phone. While SO may be fine making calls and such, perhaps just chatting on the phone isn’t enjoyable for them? I know when my boyfriend and I were long distance, we rarely talked on the phone and frequently used Skype because neither of us are phone/auditory people so having someone to look at and interact with was much nicer.

          • Ginjury – exactly. I was the phone-adverse one in the relationship. The Ex was in Big Law (and I don’t have those hours) so he’d call every day to say hi…but then we didn’t have much else to talk about (part of the reason for not being together anymore). He couldn’t/wouldn’t talk about work, and I’m not one to chatter on, so the phone calls were kind of a waste. I also like having the physical cues that come with having a face to face conversation. I would have to focus a lot more on a conversation with Ex – it wasn’t relaxing and didn’t feel like a connection. So – it could be the phone calls just to chat on such a regular basis don’t really work well with SO.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Are they deployed military? Working the oil fields? There are very few places where bad cell reception would fly with me. Landline? Cell signal booster? Change providers? If someone doesn’t care about me in a way that involves wanting to talk to me, I don’t want a relationship with that person. I like talking!

      • LoL, not to poke fun at OP’s situation but that is funny, Anne Shirley.

    • It’s an issue if you’re not communicating. My DH and I were in a LDR for many years and I feel that we know each other better than couples who lived in the same location because we spent hours talking to each other. Cell phones don’t sound workable in your situation so check out the other options suggested already.

    • [apologies if this posts twice!]

      IMO, it’s totally normal that your partner may have less desire or motivation to talk on the phone than you do. Not everyone grows up having long phone conversations on a regular basis, and it can feel awkward even when you are talking to someone you love and care about. However, s/he should still be able to recognize that it’s important to you, and has a responsibility to work on making it happen. Maybe not as often as your ideal, but at some compromise level. It’s probably worth explicitly hammering out what that compromise looks like. “I’ll call you more often” is vague, easy to promise, and then easy to ignore. “I’ll call you at least three times a week, having blocked off enough time to talk to you for at least 45 minutes each time” is a more substantive commitment.

      I also 100% recommend looking into Skype or Google hangouts, and not just for solving the cell phone problem. In my 2.5 year LDR (with my now-husband), it made a huge difference for us to be able to actually see each other. Conversation flowed more naturally, and we felt much more connected. Especially for people who don’t love talking on the phone, being able to use a video chat service can make it all seem much more natural.

      Finally, one thing we do to stay connected when I travel for work now is to set times when we watch movies or TV shows together (on Netflix or similar – we are currently working our way through Game of Thrones) while we are on a call. It’s a way to share an experience when one partner doesn’t feel like making conversation for an hour.

      • Conflicted Anon :

        Thanks for all this advice!

        I completely understand it can feel awkward. I’m not normally a big phone person either, and I’d be happy with a couple 20-minute phone calls a week (like I said, it’s not like I have a ton of important stuff to talk about, I just want to know we’re still talking). As it is, our current level of communication is usually a few texts a day and maybe one call a week if I ask for it. It just feels like silence during the week.

        • Cordelia Chase :

          Talking on the phone for 45 minutes (especially as deemed as me “having to” block off that time would really, really make me feel uncomfortable and unhappy.

          It is completely possible to love someone very much and not be able to talk on the phone for so long. I will never understand the many people that are all “we talk for hours” (or even one hour, heh).

          • Cordelia Chase :

            At the same time, I’d be completely rattled if we didn’t talk at all for even a day. What I am trying to say, I guess, is that people really differ in these things, and the only relevant matter is being able to talk about it and finding a mutually-acceptable solution.

    • I was recently in a LDR and I had a lot of these same issues (though not with reception). My ex would go out with our friends and then get home too late to call me (we also had a time difference issue) and not understand that I just wanted to know he was thinking about — even a simple text message while at the bar would have let me know he was thinking about me. But I hated having to make rules or sound so demanding — I wanted him to *want* to talk to me, not talk to me because I required a certain amount of communication per day.

      It got worse for us once my ex found out that he wasn’t going to be able to transfer to the city I’m in. He stopped saying basic things like he missed me or was excited to see me, stopped making plans to visit, stopped wanting to video chat, etc. I finally ended things because I was so unhappy. I then learned that he had essentially given up on our relationship months before. As soon as he learned that there was no quick end in sight to the LDR, he stopped putting in the effort to make the relationship work, though he never would have broken up with me first.

      So while your situation is certainly different, the feeling of it being one-sided is probably a pretty big warning sign. If your partner isn’t willing or able to put in the effort necessary to make LDR work, then you may have a partner who has already given up but just isn’t willing to end it.

      • Conflict Anon :

        “But I hated having to make rules or sound so demanding — I wanted him to *want* to talk to me, not talk to me because I required a certain amount of communication per day.”

        Yes, EXACTLY. Like I said to LilyB though, I feel valued when we’re physically together (with rare exceptions; and when I expressed some doubts when we were first going semi-LDR it upset them, so I don’t *believe* they’re just putting off being the one to do the breaking up), it’s just this thing that makes me sometimes go “Geez, am I the only one doing any missing here?”

        • Cordelia Chase :

          Can I ask: is your SO going through a particularly tough or stressful time? No excuses, but people can really withdraw into their shells when under a lot of stress.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I know it’s pretty late, but I had to comment on this topic. I don’t think this is about the phone calls. It sounds like the bottom line is that your needs in the relationship are not being met. Whatever those needs are, your SO should care about them and make them a priority. It sounds like you are in a LDR and trying to make it work, while your SO isn’t putting in as much effort as you would like. It doesn’t matter that it is a phone call. It could be anything! E-mails, quality time, affection, etc. LDRs take more effort and people aren’t always that devoted which is why they often don’t work out. If I were you, I would really think about where this relationship is headed and have a talk with your SO.

  12. Any advice for how to avoid telling my idiot boss to go [email protected] himself until I can find a new job?

    • Don’t. Just curse at him in your head and keep looking for a new job.

    • I want to say this to my current awful, awful roommate who I only have to live with for three more weeks. Everytime she does something terrible I go in my room, close the door and mouth/whisper the most awful curses I can think of. It might make me seem psycho, but honestly I do feel better after! Maybe do this with your door closed in your office, if you have one, or after you leave work?

      • Are you the one with the drunk roommate whose lease is about to expire? How are things going?

        • That was me. Things have not gotten better, unfortunately. It seems like once or twice a week, he will get drunk and text me vitriolic things about how I do not clean enough, or how I don’t buy enough paper towels (he goes through about one roll a day and so I’ve been mostly leaving it on him to buy them – I’m pretty environmentally conscious/try to use washcloths where possible so I go through 1 roll a month if that) and how he deserves better and he is not a pushover and this cannot continue. I switched out my doorknob with a locking one, got a little thing that fits in the doorframe that stops the door from being opened when I’m home. I also try to be out of the house (and generally succeed) from 8am – 9 or 10pm most days, so I don’t see him much.

          When I do see him and he’s sober, he’s friendly and normal. I tried lightly bringing up the whole texts thing and he was like “oh I didn’t send you any texts” and I didn’t want to push it — and then later that night, he sent me a bunch of texts about how it’s not fair that I just make up roommate issues with him and stress him out. Basically, the whole thing freaks me out and I want out.

          Luckily, I only have a few (2.5) weeks left before I go home for a bit, and then after that I come back and move into a new apartment 3 days later, so I’m just focusing on getting out ASAP. I have a couple of friends that said I can stay with them if things get really bad.

          Ugh. What is my life. Seriously.

          • Hey there, Anon 12:25pm, I’m relieved to hear from you and glad you’re still doing OK despite the crazydrunk roommate.

            I’m also glad you’ve got friends you can crash with temporarily if things get really bad. But it still sounds really awful to me. Are you willing to post what city you’re in? Everytime I think of your situation, it makes me cringe, and I’m thinking either we need a Kickstarter to raise funds to put you in a hotel, or some of us put you up for a few days each. I’d be willing to do it (and yes, if we’re in the same city, we can meet at Starbucks so you can determine that I’m not cray-cray like your current roommate.)

          • If you think he is going to make a scene when you are moving out, you should check in advance with your local sheriff’s department – they may be able to supply a peace officer. My sister did this when she moved out of a similar situation and it was very helpful. Services may vary by jurisdiction.

          • Anonymous :

            Aw that really is lovely of you but I think (hope?) it’s going to be okay. It’s honestly just a few more days — and I do have a couple of places I can go if things get really bad. I definitely have a mental line in the sand that if he threatens me physically in any way, or tries to get into my room or generally escalates from angrily and drunkenly texting me, I’m out and calling 911. I even (this is probably overkill) planned out an escape route from my bedroom window to the balcony/overhang into the neighbors’ flowerbushes.

            So hopefully it stays where it is (tense/terse but no actual threats of physical violence) — he has been violent/abusive toward others in the past (gotten in a couple of barfights, threatened our landlord) but not ever toward me and that is my bright line. I think if I continue to appease him it will (hopefully) remain that way, at least for the next couple of weeks which is all I really need to get through.

          • It’s great you’ve taken these steps. One thing to think of is taking advantage of the free counseling most schools have once you start grad school. This sound horrible and I’m sure has warped your thinking in ways that are unavoidable but may be good to process. Stay safe!

      • Oh goodness, yes that was clearly not me. I have the very good fortune of not having a dangerous roommate, just one that does not respect my privacy, hogs our common space, and refuses to turn on the air conditioning when the temps are hitting 100. Sigh. (No advice needed on how to handle this – for various reasons, including the fact that she owns the place, I can’t do much about it except wait it out. So close….).

    • Jenolen2161 :

      When I was at previous awful job, I used to write myself emails to a Gmail account I created specifically so I could shoot myself nasty emails about awful job. Clearly, this may not work well if you’re afraid someone is actively watching your work computer, but it helped me clear my head. I never read those emails, but just knowing I could tell my former boss where to stick it when I got the 30th ridic request for the day made my time there (while I was SO actively job searching) much more tolerable.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Pretend you are an anthropologist studying the boss species. Pretend he has some rare illness that makes him a jerk and your mission is to work for him long enough to study it and report on it to the AMA. Try to find a pattern to what makes him tick. Just for fun. Try to see how your behavior changes his behavior. For the study. How does he react when you roll with the punches to an absurd level? “You are right, sir, I’ll get right on that.” How does he react when you push back “there just wasn’t enough time in the day to get all this done.” Blow his mind by going out of his way to make his life easier for a day or two. Bring him back lunch when you get lunch. Make him really start to think WTF. When you find a new job, write an anonymous blog about your anthropological study of the jerk-boss. I would love to read it. Even if he recognized himself, he’d never admit it because he would have to tell the world he was the big jerk.

      • I love this.

        Also, if you can draw, rude cartoons can be fun.

        One of my former bosses was a nutjob– he liked ordering people off of their computers to show that he was the Big Boss (TM). I always told him that he couldn’t have my computer and get his project done quickly, because I needed my project to do that and that if he wanted to use my computer, he would delay a deliverable he just told me was really important.”

        The cartoon I drew of him was that of a very ugly tomcat, peeing on every computer to mark his territory.

      • Orangerie :

        This is amazing.

      • Nordies Lover :


  13. Woods-comma-Elle :

    A random slightly philosophical question – how easy do you think it is for a person to really, fundamentally change?

    Example (a bit frivolous, I know) – somehow in my head, one day I will be one of those women whose house is always immaculate and her nails are always done and everything is organised. I can make a concerted effort for a few days, weeks etc, but it isn’t sustainable. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough, or maybe I will always be a little bit lazy about these things. Or maybe the two are connected and it isn’t in my personality to try that hard. Thoughts?

    Obviously this question has other, more serious connotations, like ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ and that kind of thing, but I’d be interested to know what you guys think. Has anyone experienced a significant change (for the better or worse) in their personality and at what age? Is there an age or stage in your life when it’s really just never gonna happen.

    • This speaks to your first example: I’m much neater now than I used to be. The basic cause was that (several years ago) I invited a new dude over to my place on a whim and then felt like I’d invited him into an episode of hoarders. For me, the key was creating new habits. I made incremental cleaning a regularly part of my routine instead of cleaning for a few hours every couple of weeks. I had an excellent motivation though.

      • OK – previous example wasn’t a personality change, but I think that it changed how people percieve my personality.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yep. Not really a personality change, just a couple of new habits.

        What worked for me was Flylady.net. It’s a little annoying that her attitude is so self-sacrificing and sexist, not to mention the cutesy purple illustrations, but it really works!

        Feeling in control of your home might not change your personality, but having habits, routines, a clean house, and knowing where everything is and has to go does free up your mind from stressing about the house and lets you get even more done, which feels like a personality makover.

    • I have intentionally changed, even since becoming an adult, through concerted effort. However, the changes I’ve made have been important things I really care about, and it’s taken a long time. I’d like to be one of those women you describe, too, but apparently I just don’t care enough about it to keep up the effort (which is fine with me – I have given up on that).

      I do care about being hospitable and kind to people, even though I am a strong introvert, so over the last few years I’ve really made an effort to talk to people in social situations, particularly people who seem uncomfortable. It takes a great deal of effort for me to do this, but it’s become more natural as I practice, and I’ve gotten much better at it. I see this as a fundamental change for me, because being an introvert feels like part of my personality. This is the kind of change that I’ve been able to make happen – the stuff about organization, not so much. Maybe you’d like to have polished nails all the time, but do you really, really care about it, so much that you’d make other sacrifices of comfort, convenience, time, and expense to have them?

      I am 28 now, and I think people can make fundamental changes at any age, but I think it gets harder the older and more set in your habits you become.

    • Diana Barry :

      So I used to be EXTREMELY type A with some things. School first and foremost, then work, but then also I had disordered eating and exercise habits for a long time during law school and after. Everything had to be clean eating, I was obsessive about my abs, I counted all of my calories for years and would freak out if I didn’t exercise for a day (like 20 minutes of crying, seriously). Plus I was paranoid about being late to things and if I had it in my head that we would leave to go on a long car trip at 9 am and it got to be 9:15 I would totally freak out.

      Then we had kids.

      Now I am much more relaxed. Probably too relaxed with exercise since I hardly ever go; I try to eat healthy but don’t worry about “clean” and don’t count calories; I don’t get freaked out if I am bloated one day; etc.

      So I don’t know if it was having kids or just general maturity, but I have learned to let go of a lot of the obsessive type-A things that I used to do, and as a result I am much happier now.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I have no solutions to your problem, but I also have this problem re: immaculate home, nails always done, being organized, schedule in place, etc. I try hard, but honestly, it seems like a lot of work, and I seem to only have so much willpower, which I use to work, and go to the gym, and clean once a week, which seems to be enough to keep thing from getting truly out of hand.

    • I really believe people can change, but it’s all about personal motivation. If you don’t really care about it deep down, it’s just not going to be a priority. Easy to see how neatness could be something that you think would be nice, but just doesn’t really mean that much to you, and therefore doesn’t ‘change’. People change things that really matter in their life, to them personally, including serious things such as cheating and alcohol abuse and little things such as saying ‘like’ all the time.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      What I find amusing is that I am super-organised at work and am known for having like an immaculate empty desk and everything in order, so I have got it in me, but somehow this doesn’t translate to my wardrobe/drawers at home, which are a mess!

      • It sounds like you just have a very different mindset toward work and home. If you felt that your “performance” in your wardrobe/drawers was going to be evaluated the way your work is (probably) scrutinized, you’d likely be much neater at home too.

      • Are you me? Seriously, I had/have the exact same issue.

        What I did: Recognized that I can organize my stuff to the level is needed for the flat to be cleaned but I really hate cleaning afterwards. Hired a cleaning service to come to my house every 2 weeks.

        It means that at least every 2 weeks, I have a razzia where I clean up/put away all the mess that has gathered up over the weeks – but also that it never really gets that messy since it’s every 2nd week – so it does not feel overwhelming when I do it.

        I’ve only had the service for about a month now, and it definitely feels worth it. I therefore also will find the time to tackle my “messy” room (which they don’t clean) where I put away all the things I don’t know where to put as I’m organizing.

    • espresso bean :

      I think as long as you believe you can change, you can change. Once you believe you can’t, you won’t.

      Of course, it’s not always that simple, but a lot of the time, it’s true!

    • If there are truly qualities and behaviors which you find desirable, surely it doesn’t matter whether you “really fundamentally change” or merely do an excellent job of consistent persistent faking ? I am much calmer, more thoughtful, more empathetic and more generous now than I used to be as a younger person, and only I really know that it’s an overlay atop a lot of aggressive and impatient impulses !

      • anonymama :

        This reminds me of Little Women, when the mother talks to Jo about being patient and holding her temper, and her own struggles with it.

    • I think there’s a difference between trying to change things that are habit based and thing that are value or character based. For the latter category, it’s my personal belief that real, sustained change is possible but not likely. Things that may be changed by changing or modifying habits are a matter of priority and discipline. How hard is it to change? How important to me is it to change? For the habit-based change I would also suggest that it is not necessarily all or nothing. If my nails could and should be better groomed, or if my car is such a rolling pigsty that you need to wipe your feet when you get out of it, then 100% change would be great, but even just an improvement that is within my time and energy and desire constraints is worth the effort and does constitute change for the better.

    • mama of 2 :

      I don’t think you can really change. But I do think you can build in systems that fix the problem. For example: immaculate nails? Make a standing appointment to have them done once a week. Messy drawers? Get rid of clothes, or find more storage space, or do something to make them structurally more organized. Change your context, and trust that internal change will follow.

  14. TJ: Suggestions for cell phone case for Iphone 4 that will not be flashy or too obviously “designer”? THANKS! I think I prefer bumpers or soft shell (those hard shell cases are so hard to pry off).

    • I really like Jcrew cases for the iphone. They’re soft, not too bulky, stay on and the design doesn’t rub off. http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/accessories/funfinds/PRDOVR~70844/99103143896/ENE~1+2+3+22+4294967294+20~~~0~90~all~mode+matchallany~~~~~iphone%204/70844.jsp

    • If you are prone to dropping, I think lifeproof is amazing:


    • I like my ifrogz case. It’s textured which helps me keep a grip on it.

    • I use speck candy shell cases and I really like them. They’re hard shell but pretty easy to pry off, there’s a little cut out for the camera and I can just push it off with my finger. They come in lots of color combinations, from bright blue/raspberry to plain white with a single accent color. I like the white ones because my phone is white and it all blends in, it almost looks like I don’t have a case. It’s also pretty slim profile, not bulky like an Otter Box.

    • espresso bean :

      Do you want something plain or a pattern? I really like Rifle Paper Co’s cases. They aren’t designer-y, necessarily, but they’re still unique and cute:


    • I love my Speck CandyShell Grip, though mine is for iPhone 5. I did a ton of research before I chose a case, and the general consensus was that Speck cases were the next best level of protection below an Otterbox type case. It’s slim, has grips that help me keep it in my lotion slick hands, comes in both basic (black on black) and fun (black on purple) colors and offers great protection. I’ve dropped my phone from waist/counter height onto hard surfaces and neither the phone nor the case has a single scratch. It has a hard-shell, soft center design that offers the best of both worlds in terms of protection and ease of removal and a lip that extends beyond the phone to protect the screen.

  15. Baby Shower :

    Informal poll: how much do you spend on a baby shower present for a good couple friend?

    • ~$6o

    • As much as I’d want them to spend on me if I had a baby.

    • espresso bean :


    • 50-75

    • $30-$40. Less if I’ve knit the gift, which I sometimes do.

      • It seems that whenever I knit the gift, it turns out more expensive than if I’d just bought something in the first place!

        • Equity's Darling :

          No kidding. I made a blanket for a close friend’s baby, and I think I spent $80 on yarn alone. It was partially my fault because I insisted on getting washable merino, but still, good yarn isn’t cheap (or if it is…let me know where I can find this good cheap yarn?).

          We joke that given my billable rate as an articling student, and the 40 hrs it took, that blanket is worth several thousand dollars.

          • Hah, I agree, blankets can be super expensive, but I find they take too much time for me as well. I have a go-to sweater that I knit, and I usually use washable sock yarn for it, which comes to about $10 or $12, plus buttons. Sometimes I can get a pair of booties out of the same skein of sock yarn (booties don’t take much yarn).

    • $40-50

    • Really good friend? Sky’s the limit, as long as it’s in your budget and reasonably likely to be something your friend wants / needs.

    • I’m also in the $50-$60 range, but I make exceptions if there’s something on the registry a little outside the range but I’d still love to get them.

    • $175-200

  16. Does anyone have good product(s)/treatments for reducing skin discoloration/scar from acne? My skin is finally clear, but I have scars on problem areas from years of breakouts. They aren’t deep like most acne scars, but I’d like my skin tone to be even.

    Also if someone has a derm they love in the DC area, I’d be open to suggestions there too.

    • It's Just Me :

      CapHillStyle just posted about this. Look at the Ask Belle Roundup from July 15th. The 2nd or 3rd question.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I’ve always used cocoa butter mixed with Vitamin E oil. My aunt told me about this to even out the skin tone on my elbows and knees, but I use it for every scar and blemish and they always lighten up. And even though the oil is a bit on the expensive side, it’s still less expensive than say Mederma.

    • Clarisonic Mia has helped my scarring.

    • I struggled with this for a long time, finally went to a dermatologist and ended up getting laser treatments. It was a few years ago now so I don’t remember the exact name of the laser type or treatment, but I had really good results.

      It’s fairly pricey (in the low thousands, probably), you’d need to take a bit of time off from work for your skin to get past the scabby stage (ew, I know, sorry) and heal, but for me it was the only thing that gave me visible improvement. The derm recommended I do 4-5 sessions because my scarring was fairly severe and I only ended up doing 2, and I’m still really happy with how it turned out. You can see the slight texture when you look closely at my skin in the sunlight, but I would generally categorize my skin now as “normal” rather than “acne scarred,” which for me was incredible.

      Probably more intensive than you were looking for given that your scarring is light, but I’m inclined to say that it could possibly get your skin back to totally normal and if nothing else works, it’s worth the consultation. Plus one for the Clarisonic, as well.

      • Thank you! I’ve been interested in them and may need to go get a second opinion. I asked my derm about laser treatments and he seemed to think they wouldn’t help since it’s spotty, rather than textured (if that makes any sense). He’s basically given me the same cream every time I go and it doesn’t work and has no other suggestions.

    • Nordies Lover :

      Retinol! I tried a lot of things for my scarring, including chemical peels, but a good retinol product has worked the best. Right now I’m using Derma Doctor’s Poetry in Lotion, loving it.

      • Veronique :

        This! I was on Retin-A for acne and it was a huge help in fading my scars. Like you, I had hyperpigmentation, not texture issues. Prescription retinols are the most effective, but also have higher likelihood of side effects (dryness, flaking, etc).

  17. Tahiti recs :

    Has anyone been to Bora Bora and Moorea? DH and I are going later this year and are looking for activity recommendations. We have flights and hotels already. We for sure want to do a snorkel with sting rays and sharks in Bora Bora. Is it worth doing a separate snorkeling excursion just to see fish or would that be repetitive? What should we do in Moorea? We like beautiful scenery and wildlife (especially underwater wildlife), not so into history and culture. We only have 3 full days in Bora Bora and 2 in Moorea, so we will probably not want to do more than 2 excursions and 1 excursion, respectively, so we have down time at our beautiful hotels (which also have lots of free activities like paddle boarding and snorkeling). If you have specific vendors you can recommend, I’d appreciate it – I don’t want to go through our hotels to set these up because it seems super overpriced that way.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Do an ATV tour in Moorea. I can’t remember the vendor, but there are a few of them. It was fantastic. We got to see some beautiful areas of the island. It was one of the best things we did while there. We did find the scuba diving somewhat dull on Moorea – the reefs in the region suffered some sort of parasite or killer starfish and everything is a bit gray.

      I can’t recommend anything specifically in Bora Bora – we mostly stayed at our gorgeous resort!

    • We were in Bora Bora and Huahine for our honeymoon. The only “excursion” we did was the shark/stingray snorkeling, which was awesome. There was actually a third stop on the excursion, too, to just snorkel with non-scary fish (though there was an electric eel!). I loved that last part of it, and wouldn’t have minded going snorkeling again for more of that, but you might also just want downtime at the resort (also, you will likely have snorkel equipment at your resort). We spent a lot of time just jumping off of our bungalow’s dock into the gorgeous water, canoeing around, reading, etc. We also rented a car in Huahine for a day and drove around the island, which I’m sure you could do in Bora Bora or Moorea. That was a nice way to do something on our own and pretty affordable. Have so much fun, we LOVED our trip there and are saving our pennies to go back!!

    • Never been, but have many (many!) friends who have gone for their honeymoons. The general sentiment is that it is gorgeous and a great place to relax and enjoy couple time, but that there really isn’t much to “do.” I have a feeling most of your time will be spent lounging by the pool, hanging out in your over the water hut, etc.

  18. So I need to order checks. Any recommendations for cool colorful checks that aren’t outrageously expensive?

    • Modern person / non lizard :

      What is a check?

      • Ha. I’ve finally finished using the free box of checks I got from the bank…..ten years ago. Yikes. Yeah, landlord likes checks.

        • Ha. I just finished my second book of checks that I got from the bank… seven years ago… with my maiden name… with my mom’s address. I’m never getting through these things.

      • Equity's Darling :

        As a Canadian, I was like “checks, like the pattern? no no, she’s talking about cheques”.

        I order mine from the bank…they cost maybe $30 for 100? But I use like..2 a year, so these should last me until I’m 75.

        • Hah! That’s funny, I had the same reaction. “Checks?” OH, Godzilla means “cheques”. Weird how this Canadian/American spelling thing works…

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        A negotiable instrument (for the bar studiers out there…)

        To actually answer the question, I ordered my last set of checks from Walmart. Which I don’t think I even put an address on because I got tired of having to cross out the address after I had inevitably moved since I so rarely use checks (I was still using ones with my college address on them until I think last year, and switched only because I changed banks, not because I ran out of checks).

    • Anonymous :

      If it’s just for your landlord, you can set up an automatic bill pay from your bank. You can have the check sent to yourself or to the landlord — thus eliminating the need for you to write the check or pay for more checks.

      • We do this. LL loves it because the check always arrives on time and then funds are already set aside by the bank so there is zero risk it wouldn’t clear (not that would ever be a problem for us but still).

    • Check unlimited, google for a coupon code.

    • I’m not surprised that a Classic Monster uses a Classic Instrument of Banking, rather than something modern. :-)

      I use checks myself when I suspect that it will be a pain in the @ss to cancel. Like with my cellphone provider. There have been some articles about how you can’t get a live person to cancel your account, and then they just keep autobilling you. I’m thinking one could easily go log back in and choose the options to stop autobilling after cancelling. But, that’s an extra step. Not writing them another month’s check requires no effort on my part.

    • If you have Chase, I recently ordered new checks straight from them and they were free. Some of their designs were reasonably cute too. (Not sure if you have to have a certain type of checking account for them to be free, but it’s worth checking out).

    • I use a surprising amount of checks. I think my next set will come from Costco.

    • Carousel Checks. Lots of options, or you can upload pictures and design your own.

    • I order mine from St. Judes. They have children’s illustrations on them, and a percentage of the cost goes to the hospital. (I think they are $22 and 10 or 11 is a donation).

  19. Anonymous :

    I’m overdue for a phyiscal by approximately 4 years. I’m 30, and slightly overweight, but I have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc. I know I’m avoiding it because I’m afraid of bad news, and being told “you need to start taking medication every day for high blood pressure”. How can I get over this overwhelming fear? Does anyone else hate the doctor?

    • Find a doctor you feel comfortable with and be honest that you’re totally freaked out, if you haven’t done so already.

      Some tough love for you – Going to the doctor doesn’t preclude any of those bad things from happening to you. The doctor can help you prevent/treat these things or catch them at a stage where it doesn’t have to be life-threatening. Being told you have to take medicine for high blood pressure, is much better than having a stroke at 32.

      • Oh, also consider having a friend go with you or drive you if you’re super nervous. I go with a friend of mine and after a doctor visit we always go to a nice lunch (reward).

    • goldribbons :

      Absolutely I hate the doctor!! I try to think of it as though I woke up in someone else’s body, and it’s up to ME to take care of this other person’s body. (Ideally, I think of it as though I woke up in a Very Important Person’s body — like Wonder Woman, or Michelle Obama, or Princess Kate.) I absolutely hate going to the doctor, but what’s your alternative? Dying young because you didn’t get something checked out? That hardly seems worth it to me. Also, it’s very easy to take health news personally — as though it’s a judgment on your life — but it’s not. It’s genetics and it’s out of your control. Just like if the doctor told you that you had purple hair: if you wanted it to be brown, you’d just dye it. If the doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure, you can just take medicine, or drink less coffee, or whatever the doctor tells you the options are for treatment. Take care of yourself! You only get one body!

    • No advice, but I hate going to the doctor, too. I hate how it smells in there, and I must have picked up some doctor anxiety from my parents — we were severely underinsured when I was a kid, so we only went to the doctor when school required it or when we were very seriously ill/hurt. And even then, we went to walk-in clinics, so I was always seeing a stranger. My mom actually put off taking me to the doctor after I broke my wrist for a week, to see if it would get better! (She didn’t know it was broken — it wasn’t obvious.)

      So now I never go, even though I have good insurance and it wouldn’t cost me anything. It’s stupid, I should definitely go.

    • Anonymous :

      Baby steps. . . . I started with a diabetes assessment at my local MinuteClinic, then added on a gyn appointment several months later. . . . then got a doctor’s visit when I developed allergies.

    • Think of yourself as doing the biggest favor ever for your future 50-year-old self who doesn’t have prediabetes and your future 70-year-old self who is living a full, happy, and awesome life. 30 is the end of getting a pass on a lot of life issues, but think of what a great life you *can* have.

    • Wait, we’re supposed to get physicals? In addition to paps? I haven’t gotten a physical since I started getting paps… I didn’t even know this was a Thing I’m Supposed To Do. So, no advice, but you’re ahead of me.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah you’re also supposed to get tetanus boosters every 10 years.

      • This. I haven’t had a physical since filling out my college forms. I’m pretty sure the AMA also stopped recommending annual physicals recently.

      • Hahahah, I thought the same thing when my doctor suggested getting a physical, when I was in for some specific illness. I was like wha??? I went in for one eventually (around 31) and still am not sure what the point was, except to check cholesterol.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        For what it’s worth – I went in for a physical for health forms this year for school. My PCP said “Yep at your age, they’re good to do but not a must-do. Just make sure you’re getting regular paps, make sure at some point in your 20s you do some comprehensive bloodwork, and otherwise, if you feel good, don’t worry too much. So maybe we’ll see you next year, or maybe we won’t – don’t worry.”

    • My family has a history of all of those things, and I am also 30 and a bit overweight. I had my physical a couple of weeks ago and had blood testing for diabetes and lots of other things–and everything came out normal/healthy. Just because your family has a history of something doesn’t mean you are doomed! It’s just a sign that you should be watchful so that the worst does not happen. Go! You will not regret it!

    • It’s not the doctor–it’s the dentist for me. Here’s what I did: I got a recommendation for a very good dentist–my friend has been seeing him for 20+ years. I was very upfront about my fears to the dental assistant and the dentist. Before agreeing to anything, I got as much information as I could and ran everything by a trusted friend (a dental hygienist many states away) and got her approval. It turned out not so bad.

      Hopefully, your issues won’t be as bad as you think they will be. Getting on a daily pill isn’t so bad. Many of your family problems are in my family too. But many people in my family are also morbidly obese. The members who have managed to stay “merely overweight” are actually much healthier. So maybe you aren’t at quite the risk level you think you are?

    • I refuse to see any doctor that can’t look me in the eye and tell me I could stand to lose a few pounds. I’m on the literal edge of normal vs. overweight on the BMI scale, and truthfully, ought to weigh at least 10 lbs less. Other than that, I’m healthy as a horse, so typically I just get the “keep on doing what you’re doing!” nod. I fell in love with my current PCP because she NOT ONLY was able to tell me “you’re fine now, but you’re at the age where if you don’t make a push to lose the weight now, it’ll just creep up on you. How do you feel about your weight?” [answer: I’m 10 lbs over my comfortable weight because I got lazy after I got married. I hardly ever run anymore and miss it. I could also stand to eat better than I do, and probably don’t need as much wine as I think I do.] She also straight up told me that my sister with a mental illness is a huge stresser, spent time talking to me about how to support her, what to look for, and made sure I knew what to watch for in my children should it turn out to be genetic.

      We are a fat, unhealthy nation. Doctors should call us on it, but they don’t. Did you know that many MANY docs won’t write down “obese” or ” possible alcoholism” in a chart for fear the patient will see it, get annoyed, and leave the practice?!

      • That may work for your, but I can imagine where it would turn a lot of people off. Physicians have an obligation to help you through your health, but 10 pounds doesn’t make a difference in most people.

    • anonymama :

      Maybe think of it like brushing your teeth, or getting new glasses… maintenance, not big scary bad news. Also, it helps me to break it down… instead of thinking of it as, I need to go to the doctor, I start with, I will ask around for recommendations for a good doctor. And then, I will call and make an appointment for far far in the future. And so on.

    • Litagatrix :

      Go to the darn doctor!! My beloved, 40 year old co-worker with a five year old disabled child, just died because she had a dental phobia. She had tongue cancer –could feel the lump — and was just too afraid to see the dentist. She waited two years. When she told me about this lump, I forced her to make an appointment with a dentist. I drove her there. And then, she came back to the waiting room sobbing hysterically. The dentist told her he had only seen a lump like that once before — on another young woman. The woman died in two years. The dentist was freaked out (further terrifying my friend) and called a surgeon and we had to go directly there.

      Anyway, too late. First surgery cost her the ability to speak; cancer spread. Second surgery cost her most of her jaw. We took turns in our office taking her to chemo and sitting with her there (boss kindly allowed this). One other lawyer and I alternated week-ends at her house, playing chess, holding her hand, cleaning the house, playing with her child. And because things were not horrible enough, her husband is an alcoholic, completely incapable of caring for her or the baby.

      But she died a grueling and unnecessary death. I learned a lot about the disease because I went online trying to find a drug trial for her. What I learned is that if she had gone to the doctor as soon as she saw/felt the lump, chances were almost 100% for cure. So I grieved for her and was furious for her at the same time.

      Don’t play with this s**t. Get yourself together and see the doctor. Look for a respected internist in your city, preferably one affiliated with the medical school.

      I don’t need to be mean; but please take care of your self. Take care. And DO IT!

  20. Planning a successful maternity leave (non-law) :

    I’m looking for advice (either direct, or some other blogs/resources) on how to manage my maternity leave. I am a director level department head with several manager/specialist direct reports. I was recently (within the past 2 months) promoted to this position.

    My maternity leave benefits are such that I will be out for 6 weeks on disability, then any remaining time will be PTO. My plan had been to be out for the entire 4th quarter, using 6 weeks of PTO, and come back after the new year (i’m due in October).

    As my due date creeps closer, I’m starting to think through my maternity leave…and absolutely freaking out. I’m confident that the teams under me can continue to function in my absence, but I’m worried about my “special projects” as well as overall departmental duties (eg. I’ll be out during budget season!!) There are some projects that will sit on hold during my leave, some that will plug along under my team, and some that I’m just not sure how to handle–things I can’t delegate, can’t hit “pause” on, etc.

    How have y’all handed staying plugged in to work while on maternity leave, while keeping the boudnaries clear? Even if it isn’t maternity leave, I’d assume anyone on medical leave could chime in as well. I know I do need to be extra careful during the first 6 weeks that are “disability” because I cannot work and be paid disability at the same time.

    For those that had managers out on maternity leave…what worked well vs. not well? Is a weekly or bi-monthly check in with my direct reports appropriate? Asking for a weekly update via email (to be reviewed whenever I get around to it?) Would it make more sense to take 6 weeks of disability, then 6-7 weeks of “work 1 day, take off 4”? I have an ungodly amount of PTO, so i’m not trying to stretch it out…but I do want to maximize time home with baby while continuing to ensure my team kicks butt in 2013 (esp. since I JUST got promoted).

    • Anonymous :

      Read Balance is a Crock, Sleep is for the Weak. ASAP.

    • Anonymous :

      The anticipation of 12 weeks leave is a lot scarier than the actual leave. I’ve done it twice.

      Set up email filters. I do one per project and one per non-project listserv. It will make catching up after leave or following during leave so much easier.

      Identify which of your tasks can (a) wait for your return and (b) be done by others.
      — For (a) Prepare anyone in need of the tasks that will wait for your return for the delay, which can range from a simple email notification to a temporary workflow adjustment.
      — For (b) Identify the person who will take on each of those tasks and begin cc’ing them etc a month or two before your EDD.
      If something doesn’t fit into either of these two buckets, it’s an organizational issue not a personal issue. Work with the stakeholders and/or your supervisor to identify the appropriate coverage.

      Identify major deadlines during your leave. Have your team draft a plan/timeline for your review and approval prior to your leave, preferably at least one month before your EDD for delivery flexibility and to give you time to monitor progress on the plan to calm your fears (or, worst case, make adjustments). When you return, check in with each team with the plan in hand. It will serve as a cheat-sheet for you. I like this to be my goal for the first week back, simply checking in with each project and getting the status.

      The most common issue I see is that the supervisor had some sort of permission that no one above or below them had and no one realized until their leave started. The best defense is to do a trial run of the plans for a and b above in advance.

      Your message right now should be at most “I will be out on maternity leave for 12 weeks. I will be unavailable for the first six weeks. I will check my email during the following six weeks as time allows.” Do not commit to more. If you are ready to call in to project meetings and chime in on email strings starting at 7 weeks, go ahead and surprise folks, but do not plan on it. It’s much easier to plan for 12 and come back earlier than it is to plan for less and need to extend.

      I do actually like the idea of the weekly status emails. Easy for your team to produce and for you to review. It would be a good way to document timeline, too, should there be questions in the future. Thinking about my own leave and being in the office while others are on leave, the next step would be to call into project meetings, even if you’re just on mute. If you do want to return to some extent after 6 weeks, your focus should primarily be putting out potential fires or signing off on next steps, not doing actual work.

      If I’m doing my math right, they knew you were pregnant when you were promoted. You don’t need to move mountains or set records this year. Use your team and let them do their work.

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