Coffee Break – Mold Resistant Shower Cap

Betty Dain Stylish Design Mold Resistant Shower Cap, The Fashionista Collection, "sassy Stripes" I know what you’re thinking: SEXY. And while I’m sure there are some fashion bloggers who will tell you that this is THE latest thing to wear on dates, I’m just grateful to commenter AIMS who recommended something similar during our recent discussion on how to make a blowout last. I had previously just been using the same shower cap I got at the local drugstore, and I must say: this is WAY better. It’s bigger so all of my hair fits inside neatly, it’s more comfortable, it’s mold-resistant, and — oh yes — far more stylish. It’s $8.45 at Amazon. Betty Dain Stylish Design Mold Resistant Shower Cap, The Fashionista Collection, “sassy Stripes”



  1. Senior Attorney :

    Love this! I am always trying to make my flat-iron jobs last and my one and only shower cap is getting a little tatty! Thanks, Kat!

  2. AIMS gets the nod yet again??? On fire!

    Trying to do good TJ: I subscribe to a bunch of fashion magazines. Is there anything better I can do with them after reading than simply recycling? Like– do non-profits with client lobbies take them as donations? Or is there some other good place to try to give them? I feel like they should go to some kind of use if possible. Does anyone do this? Thanks.

    • emcsquared :

      Some nursing homes/hospitals have book racks and will take used book donations for swaps. You might see if they want used magazines (specifically cool fashion magazines, not National Geographic collections).

      Otherwise, can you do a swap among friends? I mean, I personally would love to read month-old fashion magazines (since I’m usually at least a year out of date).

    • Dude, I know, my head is totally going to explode right now! ;)
      And, to Kat — I am so thrilled it’s worked for you! And, I even do kind of think they’re sexy — in a sort of throwback, Doris Day type of way.

      As for the magazines, I have this problem,too, and I usually leave them in our laundry room for other tenants to have something to read. My building has a sort of informal exchange: magazines, trashy romances, etc. Some libraries will also take issues, esp. anything more topical (i.e., Glamour, yes, US Weekly, no) and I have donated various magazines to my local branch in the past.

      As for giving to other places, definitely try. When I was on jury duty, I noticed there was a donation pile of books and magazines, so if you’re near a court house, that’s one option. I know I appreciated catching up on current events while doing my civic duty. I am sure hospitals and similar institutions would also be very happy to take them. I’d just look for somewhere convenient to drop off so it doesn’t become a hassle.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I remove my name from the cover and take them to the gym. Sometimes I re-read first on the elliptical and then leave in the magazine racks. Sometimes I just “donate” them there after I read them. Not sure if everyone’s gym is like this, but most of the reading material at mine seems to be magazines left behind by gym-goers after they have read them.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I leave mine at the gym for others to read. However, much to my annoyance, the staff seems to be tossing them which I totally do not understand.

      • Cornellian :

        That is weird. The only insight I can provide is that maybe they’re not considered “appropriate.” When I worked at the YMCA, nothing that was seen as too out there or too sexual was kept around. But then, the YMCA has an obvious ideological bent I don’t think private gyms share.

    • I drop mine at the gym, in common areas of work, or hand them to flight attendants when I’m on planes.

    • I’m not a charity, but I love it when people leave their old fashion magazines in lobby or the gym of my apartment building. I read them and then put them back for someone else. It’s like the circle of Vogue.

    • Cut out the mailing label and leave in your workplace lunchroom.

      • Correction: leave the magazines in the lunchroom with the labels cut out. Oof.

      • I leave them in our staff lounge and everybody loves it. We also have a clothing/accessories exchange box. But I work in a primarily female workplace so YMMV!

    • I’ve taken them to my boys’ elementary school in the past. They use them for all kinds of crafts, collages, etc. They were happy to receive my stack.

    • I donate mine to my local library which has an ongoing book and magazine sale.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      I subscribed to Entertainment Weekly one year. It came, uh, every week, and I could not keep up. So I donated them to Planned Parenthood. They checked first to make sure there were no “anti-choice” (their phrase) messages in them. But they were very thankful.

      • Hospital waiting rooms definitely need them — if you have a specialty hospital near you or even x-ray place, they would really benefit. Old fishing/sports magazines don’t cut it for distraction while waiting for stressful exam/treatment!

        • SoCal Peach :

          I do the same. The receptionists at my local hospital know me and I am always greeted with “here comes the lady with the good magazines”.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes! I was in the ER with Mr. Senior Attorney last week (he’s fine) and there were no decent magazines at all. I would have loved some nice fashion mags!

    • Thanks to all for the ideas! At least one of them has got to work. I do have a number of hospital buildings near me, and a library branch. I also don’t know why the laundry room in my building didn’t occur to me!

    • While This sounds like an OK idea, but you have to be careful what you pickup to read, as the prior readers may have taken the magazine to the toilet with them and left calling cards on the pages. So make sure YOU wash after turning the pages and remember NOT to lick your fingers. PTOOEY!

  3. Oh, perfect, I could use a new shower cap. Also, per your suggestion, I will try wearing this on dates and to parties (I’m not having any luck anyway, might as well bring my own conversation piece). ;)

  4. Anon for this :

    Following up from the post this morning about what search committees are looking for, I have a question about resumes. When I graduated from law school in 2008, I started at a regional firm. Three months in, during the Big Bad, that firm’s litigation department folded and they laid everyone off, including me. I was very lucky to quickly get a new job at a big name, Biglaw firm. I worked there for two years before moving to a litigation boutique, where I’ve been for two years. I’m not currently looking for a new job, but I’m always keeping an eye out just in case something great comes along.

    My question — can I leave that first firm off my resume? I was there for three months and had no work the entire time, and was then laid off. My resume reads a lot better as law school –> Biglaw –> small law. The gap in time is small enough that it doesn’t look weird, especially in 2008. I feel like that first firm is just an ugly blemish on my resume that adds nothing and only forces me to explain why I worked somewhere for only three months.

    Also, does the answer change if I’m out of law school for 4 years vs. 8 years vs. 15 years? I would really like to cut that first unhappy experience off my resume at some point.

    • No Problem :

      Ooo interesting question, and I’m curious what others say. I have a similar situation: I worked for a company for 5 months immediately after graduating college, was fired, and started my current job about 3 months later. I’ve been here now for over 5 years but looking to start interviewing for other places sometime in the next year. The first job is totally unrelated to what I do now and what I hope to ever do in the future, but I didn’t start the current job until the year following my graduation year (so if graduation was in 2006, I started here in early 2007) so there is a gap on my resume even if I just go with the years worked and leave off the months. I would obviously include it if asked to complete an employment application at any new job, but do I need to include it on my resume? It was a terrible work experience and I don’t want it to be a topic of conversation in any potential interviews.

      • I don’t think you need to include it if it’s not in your current field. It’s just really not relevant to your candidacy for a job in an unrelated field.

    • emcsquared :

      I would leave it on. If it was not one of the big name failures, I’d put an explanation in the date space that you left due to closure of the litigation department.

      Remember that your resume gives people social cues to where you’ve learned your trade, who else has hired you in the past, and who you might know, so professional strangers can find points of commonality and shared understanding.

      For instance, people from failed firms often try to find each other and help each other out, even many years after the failure. The first firm also gives the information that you were considered desirable straight out of law school, which makes you look more desirable today (but maybe not in 10 years). It also gives some information about what types of firms thought you were a good personality fit (maybe not a big deal with the mega coastal firms, but a somewhat big deal with the large regional firms).

      • Good idea to add an explanation that you left due to closure of the department.

    • I think you could easily leave the first firm off…

    • I think if I interviewed someone, and I later found out through a reference check or something that she had held a legal job not listed on her resume, I would suspect that she’d deliberately deceived me and was hiding something about that job. I would probably call you and give you a chance to explain, but if there was another equally good candidate, I might just offer the job to the other candidate instead. So I think it’s in your best interest to leave it on. It’s one awkward 30-second question and answer during the interview, but it could be an embarrassing mess if it’s discovered later on.

      • Leave it off – a 3 month gap isn’t even noticeable; most will assumed you took time to unwind after the bar; many do. If I saw it on your resume I’d assume you were fired without thinking too hard about national events/the recession, not that the firm imploded, and then toss your resume. So if you must leave it on, put an explanation.

    • Alison from Ask a Manager says: “Your resume isn’t required to be a comprehensive accounting of how you spent each month of your professional life. It’s a marketing document intended to present you, your skills, and your experience in the strongest light.”

    • Do not leave it off. I’m a recruiter for a big law firm and we conduct background checks on all candidates. If it came up on the check results and you had omitted it on your resume or application, we would likely rescind your offer.

      • You would rescind someone’s offer because they didn’t include a job on their resume, even though it’s incredibly common to only include jobs on a resume that you feel are relevant to / strengthen your candidacy? A resume is a marketing document, not a comprehensive listing of everything you’ve done in life.

        I know there are all kinds of crazy recruiter practices out there, but this is really difficult to defend.

        • Anonymous :

          In another industry, I would support leaving the job off your resume, but in law, your resume also tells a prospective employer what potential professional conflicts you carry with you (if you do pro-insurance co litigation, no policy holder firm is going to take you generally, both bc you could be knocked out from cases and bc clients may be upset by your previous affiliation). I used to work in biglaw, and leaving a job off your resume would get you dinged. If you really need to leave it off, take the risk, but employers may still question the blank months after graduating — people used to take time off like that, but they geneerlly dont now unless they couldnt get a job at all. Would recommend leaving it on and explaining the closure. If I were interviewing you, I’d be impressed that you got another job so quickly in 2008.

  5. emcsquared :

    Hivemind, help! I have a corn allergy that I’d been casually ignoring until it got really uncomfortable last week, and I swore off all obvious sources of corn for a while. Problem: I have a raging sweet tooth. I love gummy worms (love) and Skittles. BUT – corn syrup is not my friend. And apparently aspartame is also corn-based, so fruity diet sodas are also out.

    Are there any sweet fruity snacks you can suggest that might replace my beloved gummies? Peaches, grapes and cherries have been satisfying, but they’ll only last so long before they get seasonally nasty. I’ve tried several types of dry fruit (mango, pineapple, papaya), and it’s too tough and chewy to be satisfying plus a lot of it has sweeteners or preservatives that are corn-based.

    • Fruit leather. I am pretty sure the one at Trader Joe’s is made without corn syrup.

    • Cornellian :

      jello, maybe?

      • I saw this article on buzzfeed about 25 quick ways to make “normal” food taste better and one suggestion was to roll grapes (frozen or not) in the jello mix. Apparently it makes them taste like sour patch.

    • I think this calls for a trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joes. They both have a lot of gummy candies, and I bet if you look closely at the ingredients some will be made without corn syrup. Also check in the snacks area for fruit leather / fruit chewy things made with real fruit. Dried cherries are also very good and more like a gummy candy than mango / pineapple.

      • Agree w/ Fiona about the Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s fruit leather idea in a pinch, but as per my comment below getting a fruit humidifier/dryer is the best thing you can do.

      • Whole Foods has a brand of gummy bears that come in a box with French and English on it (I think there are 3-4 baggies of gummies in each box, they come in sour and regular). They are delicious (no gelatin, and I’m sure no corn syrup). I also like the WF brand gummy stars, but they are not available in all WF stores. I would look in the candy aisle and bulk bins of WF or your local natural market.

    • My bf has a humidifier to dry his own fruit and it is fabulous since you can make them as dry or moist as you’d like, plus no added sugars or preservatives. Nature’s candy as they say.

      IMO you should def quit your gummy habit. I’ve stopped eating those kinds of candies altogether myself even though I have no allergies. Unlike fruits and chocolate, which in moderate quantities poses no harm and is arguably good for you, the artificial stuff and gelatin in gummies offer no nutritional benefit to your body and are hard to digest (almost like swallowing gum). They are processed packaged foods, about as far from the ‘whole foods’ ideal one can get.

      • emcsquared :

        Nobody is perfect, and candy is my completely useless thing that makes me happy in moderation. I’m sure you have one too, and I promise not to judge you for it. *grin*

      • emcsquared is right, fresh jd. She didn’t ask for commentary on whether it was wise to eat gummies. We all have things we love that provide no benefit to us except that they make us happy. (Gummies, by the way, make me totally happy. They’re what got me through my English thesis.)

        • I offered a proposed alternative as requested, and threw in my 2 cents. Sometimes I feel like many commenters are way too defensive on this site. My intention was not to judge…apologies if that is how it came out.

        • Gummies are my favorite thing in the world. One of my friends gave me the sideeye for picking up haribo at the grocery store and I pointed to the “made with real fruit juice” label. Hot tamales, shipped from the States, are fuelling my dissertation at the moment.

      • LinLondon :

        As Phoebe would say: That is brand new information!!

      • Mighty Mouse :

        +1 on the dehydrator! “Real” dehydrated pineapple is way better (ie, delicious) than the stuff on the shelf and is more satisfying to this gummy-lover!

    • Cornellian :

      oh, also Mexican sodas. cane sugar rather than corn.

      • Research, Not Law :

        This! Jaritos have sugar and are available at regular grocery stories (but usually in the Mexican section), and rumor is that you can get coke with sugar at Mexican groceries.

        There are all-natural gummy candy in the bulk section of both our regular and WF-ish grocery store with sugar. They are also fantastic. I can’t remember the name, but they are wedges (like fruit slices) and pink, yellow, orange (naturally colored).

    • Haven’t tried them, but Annie’s also makes fruit snacks. If it’s anything like the mac & cheese (yum), maybe that would help.

      • This was going to be my suggestion, too. The main ingredients are tapioca syrup and cane sugar. Assuming those are okay, I say go buy yourself some fruit bunnies (I like the orange ones, personally).

      • Maddie Ross :

        I LOVE the Annie’s bunnies. And I love that you can buy them in the snack size packs at Halloween. I always stock up.

    • On the soda issue, it you’re ok with natural sugar, you should have a lot of options. We have a seltzer maker and make “soda” in small bottles by adding a little frozen juice concentrate to the seltzer. Depending on what kind of juices you use, you can cut down the sugar.

      • emcsquared :

        This is a good idea! Reminds me that I have a little popsicle mold that I could use with fruit juice.

    • Have you checked out the ingredients in mochi? Not sure whether the commercially available ones involve corn syrup, but you can make it at home with rice flour and potato starch, and natural flavors. it should replicate some of the gumminess in your gummy worms.

    • associate :

      Have you tried Lara bars? Or just dates?

    • anon in tejas :

      one of my go to snacks is nuts and dried fruit. they feel a bit like gummies to me, and they taste good.

      here are two suggestions:
      — cashews and golden raisins
      — almonds and dried cherries

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Stock up with “Kosher for Passover” candies at Passover time. No corn. The holiday is coming up soon.

      • Well, in March/April, so not really soon, although there might still be some K4P items in the stores. But yes, no corn syrup!

    • In place of diet soda, maybe Vitaminwater Zero? It’s sweetened with stevia. Also, the gummies at Whole Foods may not have corn syrup.

      Good luck with the allergy. I was allergic to oats as a baby/child but thankfully outgrew it. I was deprived of Captain Crunch as a child and I never got over it.

      • Oops, that was me!

      • Zevia diet soda is also sweetened with stevia. You can find a lot of flavors at Whole Foods. If you can have splenda, Hansen’s diet sodas are sweetened with it, and they have them at lots of grocery stores.

    • I have a huge sweet tooth too — I love sour gummy candy and Starbursts in particular. Two of the best candy substitutes (when I’m trying to eat somewhat more healthy food) I’ve found are Kirkland Dried Cherries – Tart Montmorency Cherries (at Costco) and Craisins (I like the original flavor best). Both have sugar, but no corn products.

      Also, I’m not sure if this is true everywhere, but here in SF you can get Mexican Coke (made with sugar instead of corn syrup, as others have pointed out) at Costco.

    • Are you me? I have a terrible sweet tooth and a corn allergy! I love jellies, peachy-os, Haribo, hot tamales.

      • emcsquared :

        My allergist said that it’s a common symptom for people with corn allergies to get cravings for sugar in the evening – ain’t that grand?

        Also, I just found a recipe for DIY gummy bears using gelatin and cane syrup. It might be a weekend of cooking experiments!

    • Hang in there – stave off your cravings with some fruits (not too much), and wait for the sweet tooth to disappear. It will.
      To some people, sugar is like a drug – you get withdrawal symptoms, but afterwards it’s all good (been there … ) .
      In any case, avoid sweeteners as much a possible. They foster the sweet tooth unnecessarily and are mostly bad for you.

      • Ugh, I overlooked your answer about candy making you happy … Forget what I just wrote :)

    • Dried banana chips maybe?

    • Silvercurls :

      Late but I wanted to share these resources:

      frozen fruit helps me when I crave something sweet without unwanted ingredients

      www (dot) cornallergens (dot) com — it’s the first thing to come up on a Google search on “corn allergy”; the site’s creator is good at identifying “hidden” sources of corn-derived products

      the magazine “Living Without” — I think you can get copies at Whole Foods — provides in-depth coverage on avoiding a variety of foods (corn, dairy, soy)

  6. Thanks for the rec Kat and AIMS! I had asked for recommendations for a shower cap in the blowout thread. I can’t wait to get this and see my DH’s reaction.

  7. Relationship TJ:

    As some of you may recall, I moved in with my BF about 2 1/2 months ago. We are coming up to our second anniversary. Obviously moving in together is a big step and we are both still in the process of adjusting. Generally it is going very well, and I think it was the right decision. However, something has recently come up that concerns me and I wanted to ask if any of you had dealt with it before and have any tips.

    BF is definitely not an alpha male type. He is a nurturer by nature (and in a health care profession), very good at helping people, likes to feel useful, etc. He does not feel a need to be “in charge”, but is good at expressing his opinions. He is a peacemaker. I am your classic Type A lawyer. I am an introvert by nature, but pretty independent and an analytical thinker thanks to my legal training. I am also an organizer, partly because my career demands it (transactional lawyer).

    BF and I often have debates about things (current events, politics, etc.), and in doing so I don’t necessarily take a strong view one way or another, but, in typical lawyer fashion, like to consider other options….”what if…?” Over the past week, BF has been expressing frustration at the way I express myself when we have these debates. He thinks that by expressing different points of view the way I do, I am being argumentative. He says that I continually take a different point of view from him and finds that frustrating. He also commented that in organizing an event recently, I “bullied” him into it.

    Oh dear. That was tough to hear, and I feel terrible (and told him so, and apologized). I certainly don’t mean to be argumentative, and in organizing the recent event, I thought we had discussed it and decided we would do it – so I signed us up (turns out he didn’t think it was the right time to do it, but didn’t want to say so since I had my heart set on it). Clearly we have to work on some communication issues, which I am very happy to do, but I am concerned because I clearly need to temper my Type A lawyer ways with a little more sensitivity. This is hard for me. Has anyone else found that their lawyerly training seeps into their personal life, in a not-so-good way?

    Tips and tricks from other driven women greatly appreciated.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Oh my. Yes. I get accused of “lawyering” my husband a lot. I’m afraid I don’t have much of a solution other than to try to be conscious of when you’re doing this. Sometimes I try to phrase things in a nicer way — “Have you ever thought that…” or “I’ve heard the argument that…. what do you think?” An actual debate rarely ends without hurt feelings in my house.

      On another note, your boyfriend has to adjust his communication style, too. It’s really not fair for him to expect you to be a mind reader. In the example you gave, he did not speak up that he didn’t want to do this event. My husband sounds a lot like your boyfriend (down to the profession as a health care provider — mine is a nurse). He does this sometimes where he thinks I’m being inconsiderate of his feelings, but really he’s never told me his feelings. I point it out in a nonconfrontational way, and he is getting better. We both have to try — him to be more assertive and me to “lawyer” less.

    • Context: My husband and I are both lawyers, and he’s much more relaxed than I am. We debate all the time, but neither of us does the “what if…?” thing, just because it’s not our personality, not because there’s anything wrong with it. So I can’t help you there. On the other topic: I get how it can be hard to say no when your partner really wants something but he either needed to 1) tell you he wasn’t into it or 2) not pout/complain when you assumed based on the conversation that he agreed. He is an adult; you are not a mind-reader, so he needs to say “I know you want to do this, but I don’t think it’s the right time” and you need to make it okay for him to say that (I don’t know if you do or don’t — I’m giving a general tip). Acquiescing through silence then calling you a bully is a terrible, immature action. I don’t think this has anything to do with you being a lawyer — it had to do with how the communication is working (or not working). Good luck!

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Your description of yourself fits me perfectly. In my first marriage to a man who had a similar personality, we ended up fighting a lot over silly things. In retrospect, I now know that I was too bullheaded about things that didn’t matter. (Example: I asked if he wanted to come select wedding china. He said no. I insisted that he come. He came. He didn’t like what I liked, so I fought with him about what to get. Duh. When he said he didn’t care, I should have gone alone.)

      After many years single, I am now remarried. Your description of your husband fits my husband perfectly. I had “grown” enough between marriages to realize what I had been doing and that I needed and wanted to change it. The thing that forced me to change it is that my husband is not a native English speaker. He is fluent, but not native, and sometimes he just doesn’t quite say things in a way that makes sense or that I can understand. I trained myself, when he says something that upsets me, to ask him “I didn’t catch that. Can you repeat it?” instead of my standard MO, which would be to give him an outline-format explanation for why he is wrong and I am right. (Unlike you, I am a litigator.) Over time, I also trained myself to do this when he says anything that makes me want to respond “a la attorney,” even if there is no language issue.

      I don’t know how I would have managed to make myself take the proverbial breath and count to ten before attacking if I hadn’t had the built-in language issue to make me do it. But this is what works for us. And, I must say, it works beautifully.

      Another trick our therapist taught us is the phrase things “I prefer.” “I prefer it when you put your dishes away.” “I prefer it when you talk to me before making plans.” Etc.

    • I am a similarly analytical person, with a tendancy to come across as overbearing and condesending. I also have a real distaste for “playing the devil’s advocate” in discussions/debates with people I care about. So I think I can see both sides of your conundrum here.

      My totally personal advice: never go into a discussion with your partner thinking it is a debate. A debate is an argument – someone wins and someone loses. In a debate, you look for the other person’s flaws or weaknesses in an attempt to outwit them – behavior that has no business in a happy relationship. Instead, I approach these types of conversations like information-gathering expeditions. I want to learn about my partner, why he thinks what he does, how he arrived at that position, etc. And I also want to share information about myself and my opinions with him. If we find we disagree, well that’s interesting, but nothing to pick at. No one needs to change in order for us to move forward with our lives or our day together.

    • This is hilarious to me because I am a litigator and my husband is a bailiff and I often find myself telling him to stop “lawyering” me about stuff. (Admittedly I am miserable as a litigator and he wishes he were younger and could go to law school to be a prosecutor). I agree with others who said this needs to be a common ground type situation. You need to practice being aware and he needs to practice speaking up. And you both need to discuss phrasing to make sure you’re not accidentally pushing each other’s buttons (for example, if he says “I don’t really feel like debating tonight” and your reaction is to say “we’re not debating! We were just talking!” then maybe ask to him to avoid the word debate when he feels like crying uncle on a subject).

    • Can you come up with a code word that he can say when you lawyer at him? Perhaps “objection!”?

      Lawyers tend to operate on hypotheticals. The real world does not operate on hypotheticals, because it is real. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of that.

    • Oh jeez. Mr. TBK is also a lawyer and just as hard-headed as I am, but he totally pulls the “I agreed to it because you wanted to do it but I never really wanted to and so I was bullied” thing. It makes me insane. The only thing I can suggest is to be absolutely explicit and say “here’s this thing. I would really like to do it, but if you don’t want to, that’s okay. It’s something I’m okay with not doing.” Or “if you don’t want to, that’s okay, but I’d still like to do it even if you don’t come along.” Or “I realize you might not want to do this, but it’s something that means a lot to me. If you really don’t want to, that’s okay, but that will be disappointing to me.” Some people might still see any of these options as bullying, but at some point, he has to be okay with disappointing you once in awhile (and you have to be okay with being disappointed but not holding a grudge). As for the political discussions I wonder if there’s a way you can present the issues that just takes the edge off. I know we’ve all had it drilled into our heads to never say “it seems to me” or “I think” or “it’s just my opinion, and I don’t know, but maybe…” But I think some of us more type-A people sometimes need to use those softening phrases in our personal lives (I know I do) just to keep from ruffling feathers. Not sure if that would work for you, but I find it helps in my relationships.

    • im a litigator, but i generally don’t have the personality for it and am very easy going in real life, so I can’t relate. But I will tell you I know a lot of married lawyer couples and watching them “lawyer” each other is possibly the most painful thing in the world. I’ve seen some awful fights erupt out of little life debates.

      • new york associate :

        As another litigator without the personality for it, I hear ya.

        • Anonymouse :

          I don’t understand what is lacking in your personality to “be a litigator?” If you don’t have the personality for it, does that mean you aren’t successful at it, or are lacking in the qualities you see in other litigators? Just curious about these comments.

          • LeChouette :

            i feel like these commenters too. there is a stereotypical litigator personality — hard charging, aggressive, win-at-all-costs, argues you to death — many litigators aren’t like that including myself. I am successful at my job. I actually think an easy going personality can be an asset in the courtroom and at a deposition.

          • I don’t think I would call it lacking or a lack of success, it’s more about not enjoying one bit. I don’t think anyone would call me easy going. I’m just as tightly wound as the stereotypical litigator but I am just so over the constant conflict. I leave each day at work feeling emotionally drained. I have so much trouble letting nasty comments from opposing counsel roll off my back. Intellectually I understand it’s all part of the game and that there’s no need to take it personally, but emotionally I find it really hard. It’s not that I’m not successful, I just don’t enjoy what I do at all. I find other litigators have a much easier time just letting it all go and some even thrive on the conflict.

            Not sure that is a particularly cogent explanation, but it’s my two cents.

    • TurtleWexler :

      Ooh, happens to me all the time. I’ve learned that sometimes, all my hubby really wants is for me to say “yes, dear” and leave it at that. Which is totally not in my nature. Even if I just want to discuss something further, or if I’m playing devil’s advocate, he sees it as me disagreeing with him and (depending on the subject) gets very frustrated. I then end up feeling like my opinion is being silenced or discounted and also get frustrated. I’ve gotten better at picking my battles and if it’s not something I’m all that interested in or if it’s something that really, truly doesn’t matter, I will just nod and smile and let things be. In turn, when I do want to have a discussion and he gets whiny, I can say, “how long has it been since we had a convo like this where I disagreed/challenged you?” and the answer won’t be yesterday. Not a perfect solution, but I find it does help a bit…

    • Oh yes, this is very common. Lawyers have a particular way of arguing/debating things without taking it personally. It can definitely cause clashes with non-lawyers. DH is not a lawyer and he is, in my opinion, a terrible and illogical arguer. But he is stubborn. This works out b/c arguing with him is so frustrating that it isn’t worth it to me, so it is easier to just let things go. It was a sort of negative reinforcement that made me change my behavior.

      This sounds like it could be a bad thing, but it’s actually fantastic. I can’t speak for all lawyers, but I love that DH is not a lawyer so I can turn that all off when I get home and just be normal. So I guess my best tip is that you shouldn’t feel badly about backing down from arguments (especially when you know you’re right). There is a tendency among driven women and especially lawyers to feel like you can’t give up any ground. Being able to turn that on and off is a good thing. I’m in litigation, so I debate/argue with people most of the day without taking it personally. It is nice to not do that at home too. Honestly, I think I would be miserable married to another attorney, even if they “got” my argument style.

    • I can understand your boyfriend’s frustration about the political discussions. If I were two years into a relationship and had no idea where a SO stood on certain issues that were important to me, I would be frustrated too. If you agree with him, then just say it! If you disagree, then just say it. Don’t go into lengthy diatribes about how the other side might feel X way if you really don’t agree with the other side at all.

      As for the planning aspect, I think that’s something you’ll both need to work on. There are a lot of people like your boyfriend who don’t really feel comfortable saying no, and it can take some adjustment. I think it’s best to follow TBK’s advice and make it clear that it’s totally okay if your boyfriend says no. Let him know that you’d much rather him be upfront with you early on than be bitter and angry later on because he was doing something he didn’t really want to do.

      • Agreed. I also “lawyer” my sweet, introvert, scientist BF. I also have had things where I thought “we discussed it” and he thought “she wanted this so I said yes when really I didn’t want to.”

        I have definitely had to make sure he had room to disagree with me. I would say, “Would you prefer the yellow or blue placemats tonight? I could go with either.” if I really didn’t care. If I did care a little more, I could say, “I kind of think the blue placemats would look nicer with our salmon tonight, would that be ok with you?”

    • Does lawyering seep into personal life sometimes? Oh yes!
      Just be happy you’re only being argumentative, and not doing the deny-in-the-face-of-all-evidence thing :-(.. That one really drives me crazy,

    • i don’ think I saw someone mention this yet, so I’ll suggest it: have you taken a myers briggs type personality test? My husband and i are very much the way you describe your relationship, and when we took the test and read each other’s profiles, it was very helpful to understanding where the other person was coming from. I think it also can help you step back and see how you approach situations. Being conscious of certain triggers and behaviors is half the battle, in my opinion. For example, my husband is a “feeler” while I’m a “thinker.” While that’s an overly simplistic way to think about us, reading it did help me realize that he processes his emotions in a very different way than I do: I feel close when we debate important issues, for example, while he really needs to be held and told and that I love him (and can interpret “debate” as “argument.”). another example: my profile told me that I like to play devils advocate and suggest and analyze many different options, but that I don’t like to be in the position of making a decision. That really hit home for me, and I realized that I unwittingly irritate the crap out of my husband by “taking the other side” even when I don’t believe what I’m actually saying, then refusing to make a final decision and dumping it in his lap.

      Anyway, this is rambling, but I do think those tests can sometimes be helpful for showing you what your patterns of behavior might be, and how they might conflict with someone else’s behavior. once you can recognize that stuff, it becomes easier to nip it in the bud before it starts (i.e. take a deep breath and let it go).

    • I agree with everyone’s comments about each of you adjusting your communication style. I also want to add that being in a serious relationship means learning how to be each other’s partner. That means you have to get into the mindset that it’s not you against him, but you two against the rest of the world. Somtimes there’s no better feeling than having my significant other side with me out of pure, unconditional loyalty.

  8. To Rome with love :

    Yay, coffee break. Not a frequent poster, but a constant lurker. I always read the travel posts here with much appreciation, taking lots of mental notes because the posters here seem to have been everywhere and know things I could never find through my little Frommers’ and Lonely Planet guides. But I don’t think we’ve done this one yet.

    As a 5th wedding anniversary present, the husband and I want to go to Rome and Florence this year. Any recommendations on where to stay and what to do? Specific hotels and/or areas top stay in would be greatly appreciated. We are big walkers so somewhere central that will let us visit lots of stuff but won’t be overly touristy is our ideal. Also, any sketchy stuff to avoid. Nothing too expensive but no hostels either. Any other tips would be great also. We’re looking to go for about 8-12 days. Thanks a million in advance!

    • We did a two-week trip to Italy last year, and my favorite place that we stayed was the Hotel Teatro Pace in Rome, near the Piazza Navonna. The location is fantastic – very central and easily walkable to everything. The hotel itself is an old cardinal residence and has this big sweeping staircase up to the rooms. It was a pretty good deal, too – I think we paid about $130/night at the time.

    • In Florence we stayed at the Albani Florence Hotel (we got a good deal on it on the inter webs) and it was nice and clean and the rooms were relatively large (for Europe) and its quite central (Florence is pretty small, anything central will be walkable). But its close to the main train station, so you won’t have to haul your bags too far. My biggest criticism of the hotel was that their restaurant recommendation wasn’t great at the front desk — they sent us to a tourist trap. I hate when they do that. In Florence if you do your research in advance, you can get some amazing food, but try to steer clear of anywhere with tourist menus or menus with pictures! (Actually, that’s true of Rome too). Also, book a wine tour out in the country — its well worth it.

      Our hotel in Rome was, unfortunately, in the suburbs and was a HUGE pain. It was beautiful but the train ride was long and then we had to wait for an infrequent bus. I’d pay more for a central hotel definitely. Hopefully someone will be able to give you a good tip on that.

    • Motoko Kusanagi :

      Eat ALL the gelato!

    • I studied abroad in Rome a couple years ago, and we visited Florence, so while I have no recommendations as far as hotels, I do have a couple suggestions re sites and things.

      Florence: definitely check out the Cathedral (Duomo). You can pay a little extra to climb up to the top dome, and while some of the steps are pretty narrow (and there’s a lot of them!) the view is absolutely breathtaking. Also, check out the “David” in the “Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti.” I wasn’t really expecting much and was just blown away when I went to see it. It’s one where you get in line to get tickets before it opened, but we didn’t really have any problems getting in to see it.

      Rome: As a history lover, I never got tired of going to the main/usual historical sites: the Colosseum, the Forum, Vatican, etc.. There’s a great gelato place right outside the vatican walls, although I can’t remember the name of it. There’s also some really cool churches around if you’re interested in seeing them. The Basilica of Saint Clement was one of my favorites: its a church that was built on top of another church, which was built on top of an ancient Roman house. As you descend down each layer, you see a different time in history.

      Also, I’ll just make a quick plug for visiting Assisi. It is an absolutely gorgeous town – up on the hills, and definitely worth checking out.

      • Just a warning. If you happen to have vertigo or issues with heights, the climb up the Duomo in Florence may not be for you. Because you have to walk around two interior catwalks on the inside of the Dome that basically are wide enough for only one person and then otherwise you look down straight to the floor of the cathedral (there’s a plastic barrier, but still.) Never knew I had a serious issue with heights until I had an anxiety attack going up there….and there is NO getting down once you’re up there. :-P

        • Oh wow, someone else felt that! First you get to feel totally claustrophobic while you go up in that endless little bowel of a staircase, and then you are thrown out in the open air with nothing but a little knee-high chicken wire between you and that inviting slope to the sidewalk. Brrr. I thought I was going to die.

      • Oh, and in Rome, I’d add the Borghese Museum — its a small museum in the middle of a beautiful park (a nice walk there) and it has what I think are the best Caravaggios. Plus make sure you visit at least a couple of the little Baroque chapels that dot the city (I’m sure your tour book will mention them) — they also tend to be tiny, but they’ll be quieter than anywhere else and they’re beautiful.

      • By the way, you can get tickets for the Uffizi (totally worth it, especially if you’ve taken any art history) and the David at any of the nationally run museums. My friend’s husband discovered this little tip and he stopped and got us tickets at one of the little minor museums where there wasn’t a line and we totally bypassed the long lines at the Davis.

    • RussiaRepeat :

      We stayed at the Palm Gallery Hotel in Rome and I highly recommend it! The owner is huge travel buff, the staff are incredibly helpful, and they’re about a 5 minute walk from the subway, so easy access to central Rome without being in the hubbub of the Spanish Steps. We also had very nice dinners out in the area with more local diners than you might otherwise see. They couldn’t take us one night and sent us to another hotel nearby, Relais 6, which was more a sophisticated vibe, rather than the homeiness at Palm Gallery. We found Relais 6 also wonderful.

      In Florence, we stayed right in the center of things, since Florence is so small, at a gorgeous Palazzo, the NH Porta Rossa. High ceilings and chic red and white modern furnishings. Only issue was they charged for internet in the rooms–we also found this in Venice and that kind of nickel-and-diming really irritates me.

      • I stayed at the Hotel Capo D’Africa in Rome. It is near the Colosseum. Although I liked our hotel, if I was going back, I would want to stay somewhere in central Rome. In Florence, we stayed at the Contintale, right next to Ponte Vecchio.

        I’m sure you already have a list a mile long of things you would love to see. I was in Rome and Florence almost two years ago and fell in love with the cities, especially Rome. My favorites in from Florence were the Bargello, the Piazza Michaelangelo (great view of the city), and climbing the bell tower next to the Duomo. In Rome, my favorites included the Vatican Museum and the Church of San Clemente. I would suggest a tour of Ancient Rome and/or the Vatican Museum.

    • Rome: I would recommend staying on Via Venetto. Quieter part of town, but easy access to all the places of interest.

      Go to St. Peter’s early in the morning. By midday, lots of tourists, and your be jostling to see the Pieta and other items of interest. If you get up and go early, it much quieter and you can really appreciate the space.

      Spend an evening in Trastevere. Beautiful, great food, good nightlife, less touristy.

      Florence: Check out the Montastery of San Marco. Fra. Angelico painted his murals on the cell walls. I was never a fan of his artwork until I walked up the stairs and saw his Annunciation in person. It truly blew me away.

      And I totally agree with the “Eat ALL the Gelato!” Have fun!

    • Honey Pillows :

      No real suggestions, but I know you’ll have a fantastic time!

      In general, I’d say it’s absolutely worth it to stand in line with all the other tourists and see the standards like the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, etc, partially because it’s just a good idea to see them, and also because they really are that magnificent.

      • RussiaRepeat :

        This reminds me, you can pre-book a ton of things at various places online for reasonable surcharges. Completely worth it! We pre-booked a Tour of the Colosseum, the Villa Borghese (sold out almost every day if you want to buy in person), the Uffizi, etc. It was nice to have a mix of pre-booked things and freedom to wander around near those things. The Vatican museums can also be prebooked, but St. Peter’s cannot (to my knowledge). If you’re big on museums, research closing days in advance–lots are closed on Mondays, so prebooking the few that are open on Monday can save a lot of time in line.

        • English Rose :

          I definitely second the advice to pre-book everything. I have never seen queues like the ones for the tourist sites in Rome.

          In Rome I’ve stayed at the Hotel Aventino, although it was a few years ago so I’d want to see some recent reviews before rebooking. It was beautiful and in a really quiet area, although it was a fair walk uphill from the centre.

          In Florence I really loved Villa la Massa. It’s out of town in its own grounds, but they run a shuttle bus into the city. I’ve also rented an apartment there in Palazzo Alfani and would recommend that. It’s really central but on a quiet street and the owner gave us some good restaurant recommendations.

          Also in Florence, you will find absolutely the best coffee in the world at La Cantinetta dei Verrazzano on via dei Tavolini. I actually daydream about that place it’s so good.

    • I went to Italy in college when my priorities revolved much more around bar-hopping than they would if I went now. But, I would definitely visit the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome and spend some time in the area around it. It has gorgeous views, and from my recollection it’s slightly off the beaten tourist path, and there are some great, more local and homey restaurants around there.

      In Florence, I would budget plenty of time for walking aimlessly and hanging out in outdoor cafes. Florence has amazing leather goods. You can find things like designer leather jackets at big discounts before the tags are put it. I’m not remembering the best stores right now, but if this is your thing it might be worth doing some research ahead of time.

      Have a great time!

    • For eating, please check out Sandra Gustafson’s Great Eats Italy book. It has both Rome and Florence restaurants listed, in every price range. Every single meal we ate from a recommendation from it was spot-on. The ones we tried to wing, not so great. In Florence, we had probably my favorite meal at the Cinghale Bianco (I can’t remember the exact location, but it’s in her book). She also does a Great Sleeps book, but we used Rick Steves to find most of our hotel rooms.

      Also, there’s no shame in staying in an American chain while you’re there. The bathrooms are bigger and there’s actually water pressure, which you cant always find at the quaint, local places.

      Also, if you plan to see the David at the Accademia in Florence, get your tickets in advance. We waited in line for 4 hours to get in, which was not really the best use of our time.

    • Florence was our favorite part of our Italy trip. We enjoyed our stay at Hotel Orto de Medici and would recommend it highly. The room was huge with lovely light. The Duomo museum was great because it wasn’t at all crowded. We were the only ones in some of the galleries and had lots of time to commune with the art.
      Through Eternity has good Vatican tours for Rome and you can book tickets ahead of time (which you can do for most of the big sites)
      Rick Steves has free podcasts for all sorts of sites in both cities along with diagrams.

    • SoCalAtty :

      All great tips! We stayed at the Piazza di Spanga di Prestige, and it was really really great! They only have 5 suites, but you can pick out your exact suite and reserve it on the website.

      Nearby the Piazza di Spanga is a restaurant called “Ginger.” It is all local fresh meats/cheeses/produce, and has really incredible food.

      I’m a gardener, so I really enjoyed the Vatican garden tour. You have to reserve those in advance, but it was fun. The Castel del Angelo had a 10:00 pm night tour which was really interesting, and let us (sort of) beat the heat of the day.

    • Not sure if you’re still reading but I can’t resist this – I love Rome, my husband and I go every couple of years, so I can soak it all up afresh. Some thoughts :

      : I highly highly recommend Hotel Ponte Sisto – we’ve stayed in lots of different places over the years and this is my favourite. The location is wonderful, walkable to most things you’ll want to see, and in a really beautiful but still ‘homey’ part of Rome’s historical centro. The nearby piazza Farnese is wonderful for people-watching – you can sit on the stone benches in front of the palazzo and watch the world go by in the evening, the pedestrian footbridge to Trastevere is right nearby, the Campo de Fiori market is a couple of blocks away and there are lots of great places to eat within walking distance. The hotel itself is gracious, impeccably maintained and feels more luxurious that its mid-level price.

      : Rome’s historical centro is actually quite compact, if somewhat hilly, and a keen walker should be able to get from a central point (say Piazza Navona or Campo de Fiori) to most parts of interest in 20 – 30 min. The ‘good’ problem is that you’ll be distracted by the wonderful streetscape on the way, atmospheric little streets opening up into big dramatic squares and vice-versa, sudden glimpses of iconic stuff “oh my goodness, there’s the Trevi fountain!” Walking is also good because the metro does not serve the historical centro, buses can be extremely slow and taxis can be hard to find when needed.

      : I’d try to allow at least 5 – 6 days, bearing in mind that closing for a couple of hours at lunch is still the norm (longer for historical churches). For a first trip, it’s hard to go past a list of ‘must sees’, which may effectively mean a day each for St Peter’s, the Vatican museum, the Forum and the Colosseum, the Borghese museum. But do try to give yourself at least some time to just wander the streets in the centro – some lovely ones are Via Giulia and Pellegrino, Via Governo Vecchio (great boutiques), Via Coronari (antique shops).

      : There are a couple of blogs which are great for getting in the mood, lovely pics and all – google up Katie Parla, Elizabeth Minchilli – but be aware that the bloggers have tourist oriented businesses on the side, tours, cooking classes and the like. Also take a look at the Time Out guides, which are nicely pitched between Lonely Planet and Frommers in terms of adventurousness vs. comfort, and which I’ve found pretty reliable – you can check some but not all of their content on their website.

      : On stuff to avoid, many rentals/ B&Bs in the centro are amateur conversions of old buildings and may have issues with noise, cleanliness, less than professional management. Tripadvisor will help. Termini, the train station area in Rome, is pretty seedy – one option to minimise contact is to get straight on the train to Florence from the airport at Fiumicino (there may be 1 change but I recall it’s pretty painless). Finally Rome is a magnet for tourists with touts and pick-pockets attached. Stash cards and cash in an inside pocket, don’t let yourself or your husband be sold flowers in the street if you don’t want them, beware up-selling in tourist-oriented restaurants eg. the 200 euro grilled fish sold by weight.

      I haven’t even begun on eating, drinking, shopping and favourite things to see … post again if you’ve firmed up your basic arrangements and want more info !

    • recent grad :

      Make sure you eat at Acqua al due in Florence. Try the pasta sampler. The balsamic steak is also incredible. We went back two nights in a row because it was that good.

    • Hi- that’s a fantastic trip! You’re going to have a wonderful time (and I’m a little jealous- I’d love to go back). For a hotel in Rome, I highly recommend this place:

      (the hotel’s site)

      It is very centrally located (a couple of blocks from the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain) and possible to walk just about everywhere.

  9. Hey Ladies!

    The BF has an away rotation at Columbia starting in September, and I’m going to visit him! I’m going only for a weekend at the start, but plan to go back towards the end of his rotation and stay longer.

    It’s my first visit to NYC, and we’re staying at a hotel near Times Square. I’d love some of your thoughts on the top places to see/places to eat while I’m there just for the weekend. I’d like to stay closer to our hotel, as I figure I can check out places that take more time in a later visit. Any recommendations/or other threads that covered this subject would be appreciated. (I tried to search through the site, but apparently the words “NYC” and “visit” are used quite frequently!)

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I always suggest Whym or Eatery for weekend brunch–they’re on 9th avenue somewhere in the 40s and 50s (I always forget where). In fact, if you use one of those names as a search term, you can probably find some of the other threads on NYC. And if it’s your first trip to NYC, go to the Met (the museum, not the opera house).

    • The bar at W Times Sq. is quite nice, though pricey (then again, so is everything in the city).

      Try to catch a Broadway show, you can get same-day discounted tix at the TKTS booth.

      Go for a nice walk in Central Park in the day and perhaps stroll through the Metropolitan Museum or MOMA if you have the time, then grab dinner at night.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      What do you guys like to do? Since it sounds like the BF is a student, you can get cheap Broadway tickets by student rushing for some shows early in the AM (I saw a ton of shows while my sister was in college there, but it does require you to get up at 4am and wait outside… so you may prefer to just pay full price if you are okay, budget wise). Since you’ll be in Times Square already, I think it’s worth entering the Wicked lottery or the Book of Mormon lottery, it doesn’t take a ton of time out of your day (be warned though, the guy that runs the Wicked lottery is an @$$hole). Stardust Diner is kind of a tourist trap (and definitely overpriced) but it’s fun to go to if you’ve never been before.

      I really like Beauty Bar, if you’ll be meeting up with girlfriends at all while you’re there, or even if you’re bored with time to kill before the BF gets off. It’s a little place where you can get a manicure and a drink (or several…) for ~$10 if I remember correctly, and is a really fun way to start a night out. I’m sure other people have better and closer ideas for “local” things to see/do around the Times Square area. I definitely recommend a lot of shopping though!

      Expect a few things (unless you’re cooler than I am) – at several points during the weekend, especially if you venture outside the Times Square tourist area, you will feel like a hick. I live in a major metropolitan area and dress pretty normally, and without fail, every time I visit Manhattan I feel overweight (even though I’m not) and unfashionable. I think it’s just the way the city moves. Most New Yorkers, contrary to popular belief, are pretty friendly though, if you ask for something! But you should expect to be treated like a tourists. Expect a $1-2 markup on most things in the city (like Starbucks drinks) but weirdly, both mani pedis and cab rides will be cheaper than almost anywhere else.

      That being said, New York is SUCH a fun city. Enjoy it!

    • I hate the Times Square area so take this with a grain of salt :)

      If I were you, I’d wander of just a bit and walk over to Central Park (starts on 59th street); go to the Met or the Museum of Natural History (5th ave. & 82nd or Central Park West & 79th, you can walk through Central Park to get to both); maybe go downtown to do a little shopping or walk up Madison avenue/along 5th ave., and enjoy some window shopping there. You can also walk down to Bryant Park and see the big Public Library (it’s gorgeous) on 40th and 5th. The park (behind the library) is nice and often has fun events going on. There is a very pretty, if somewhat overpriced, outdoor patio bar behind the library that can be really fun for a few drinks at dusk.

      For food near Times Sq., you should probably wonder west to Hell’s Kitchen and the restaurants & bars on 9th and 10th avenue. For breakfast, lunch or coffee, you may want to check out a little chain called Le Pain Quotidien. It’s wonderful. There’s one on 40th st and 6th ave and one on 7th ave and 58th.

      If you want Broadway tickets and there’s a huge line at the Times Sq. TKTS booth, do yourself a favor and hop on the train downtown to the South Street Seaport (2/3 to Fulton St.) – you’ll be there in 15 min. and the TKTS booth at the Seaport almost never has a line). Download the TDF app to see that day’s availability.

      If you happen to go up to Columbia to visit the boyfriend, check out the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and have some brunch at Kitchenette on Amsterdam Ave.

    • AnotherLadyLawyer :

      (If this posts twice, sorry! I got a posting too quickly message, even though I didn’t post at all!) I’m a Hell’s Kitchen resident and love it! So this is right up my alley… (Hell’s Kitchen, in case you aren’t familiar, is the area west of the Times Square area — from 11th avenue east to Broadwayish, from roughly the bottom of Central Park (59th) to somewhere in the 30s or 40s depending on your view). A lot of the suggestions above are great! Eatery is at 53rd and 9th Ave and Whym is up the street between 57th and 58th). Whym is Eatery’s little sister and of the two, I’d pick Whym for brunch, since it’s a bit less crazy.

      Additional recommendations for eating:
      – Toloache – upscale-ish Mexican at 50th and 8th avenue
      – Kashkaval – a cheese shop/wine bar/mediterranean restaurant on 9th avenue between 54th and 55th; seriously good hummus and actually super affordable
      – Medi – a wine bar at 54th and 9th that has Mediterranean-ish food
      – Serafina – Italian on the corner of 55th and Broadway; also one somewhere in the 40s

      And for things to do:
      – Rooftop bars, if that’s your thing: Dream Hotel (55th and Broadway); Hudson Terrace (46th between 11th and 12th avenues); there are also others nearby
      – Broadway (download the TKTS app and check the day of to see if there is anything you want to see to save yourself the trip)
      – If you like jazz, Dizzys (in Columbus Circle) has a great vibe and incredible views of Central Park, especially near sunset
      – MoMa (you can walk from your hotel)
      – If you venture a little bit south, the Highline Park (a converted elevated subway track) and Chelsea Market are fun

    • Someone (maybe Gail) recommended Whym and Eatery to me here some time ago. I went to Whym and was very satisfied with brunch. Thanks!
      I also agree with the Hell’s Kitchen suggestion, esp. if you want to try ethnic foods. It is very easy to get to from the TS area and there are a ton of smallish, newer ethnic restaurants popping up there, including one by Top Chef contestant Angelo. Budget Travel did a huge spread on the neighborhood last November (could be December issue) if you can find it. Hopefully it is available online.

    • hellskitchen :

      You can already figure out where I live by my title :-) I second the recommendations for Medi and Eatery. There are also some great Thai restaurants in hell’s kitchen. In terms of things to do:

      * walk over to 43rd St and West Side Highway to the Hudson and see the Intrepid Museum – a military and maritime history museum that is housed in an actual warship! Right now the Enterprise Space Shuttle is on display. Surrounding the museum, there’s a nice open public space to sit and grab a beer and this is probably a 10 minute walk from TSq
      * Right at 42nd and West Side Hwy, there’s Circle Line tours where you can take a short boat tour around the island. It’s pretty affordable
      * the Marriott in Times Square has a revolving rooftop restaurant – if you go before 8 pm you don’t have to pay cover charge. It’s a great place to grab a drink and get a 360 deg view of Manhattan. It’s also very affordable
      * Second the advice about catching shows if you are into those since the theater district is very close to TSq. If you like shopping walk down 10 min to 34th and 6th for a bunch of shopping options, including Macy’s flagship store.

      Manhattan is a very walkable island and from Times Sq, most of the interesting stuff is not more than 20-25 minutes walking (except for downtown NYC of course) so don’t worry about staying too close to your hotel. Have fun!

    • Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I’ll definitely be checking these out!

  10. I posed this Q in the prior thread, but it got lost in the shuffle:

    Thoughts on this structured straw bag? Work-appropriate for NYC? How would you style it? Which seasons can you pull this off? It’s from R&Em, a very affordable non-leather line by Rebecca Minkoff. TIA! Link to follow.


    • Straw = weekend for me.

    • Honey Pillows :

      Definitely summer-only, and casual office only. But it’s very cute!

      It’s fairly structured, but if you don’t work in the kind of office where you’re comfortable wearing something like seersucker, I wouldn’t carry this purse.

    • Anonymouse :

      Very annoying to post multiple times, instead of waiting a few hours to see if anyone responds. Courtesy people!

  11. Okay, I’m freaking now. Our lives are on a parallel pattern. You and I are the same age, we had babies at the same time, we’re professional women with long hair, and we’ve both been doing that thing with not washing our hair every day. But this … this takes the cake — THIS IS MY EXACT SHOWER CAP!!!!

  12. Love this showercap, but alas I rarely have reason to use one.

    Threadjack: you guys are GREAT at thinking up creative gift ideas, so I thought I’d send up a Batsignal (‘r e t t e signal?) for help. My BFF from college’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I cannot emphasize enough what an amazing, true-blue friend she’s been to me over the last ~15 years. We’re now separated by many states but I want to get her a great gift that shows her how much I love her. I’ve trolled etsy and similar sites and keep coming up empty handed.

    Background: she writes for a living, is getting married next summer, and travels extensively. When she’s not traveling, she lives in a major metropolitan area (i.e. small apartment) with her BF. I’m dying for ideas that will help convey what a great friend she is and how much she means to me…any thoughts?

    • How much are you looking to spend?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Budget? I feel like for friends like this, I really like to give “experience” gifts, ie, tix for the two of us to go to a show, a surprise trip to visit her, a day at the spa together, etc. Since you guys are far apart, that’s harder though. Does she like jewelry? Check out for some cute and unusual gifts, too.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Montblanc pen, smythson journal, trip for the two of you to Iceland.

      Or, back in real world with bills land, a collection of vintage aka used books that speak to the relationship you two have. Or write out a toast as if you were at her wedding, but just to her fabulousness, have it printed as a pattern on cocktail napkins, and include champagne.

      And remember the first rule of gifting: when in doubt, custom m and ms with a photo of you two on them.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’ve been planning on getting this print for my well-traveled and long-distance good friend:

      It could be sweet with a heart on your state and hers.

    • emcsquared :

      I think the most powerful thing you could give her would be some of your time – can you travel to see her, or buy a ticket for her to come see you, or pay for a get-away for the two of you?

      Otherwise, maybe a book of her own writing or favorite authors’ writings that is bound is nicely. Something that she won’t get as a wedding present and would be important to her personally.

    • Ohhhh these are good ideas! Keep them coming.

      For a THING, I was thinking around $100. But if we were to go on a trip together, I’d say it could be much more. I couldn’t pay for both of us to go somewhere but I could go out and see her (or bring her to me). We both have some personal stuff going on this fall that may make that prohibitive, however.

    • Have you ever made a scrapbook? I had never made one and then did one for my college BFF when we graduated. I included photos of her, us, and other friends from the years that we’d been friends, as well as some inside jokes. It was a lot of fun for me to make, and she was pretty touched.

    • Honey Pillows :

      Or on a completely different note:

      Does she like vintagey things? Does she just write for a living, or does she identify as a Writer?

      If yes to the above, space isn’t at a SUPER premium in her apartment (like those 50 sq feet places), and she doesn’t already have one, think about getting her a well-restored typewriter. They’re extremely classy, and I’ve yet to meet a self-described writer who doesn’t own or covet one. You can find good ones on eBay for under $100 if you watch carefully and pounce. The shipping can get steep, though.

      Plus, you can create a great guestbook at a wedding with a typewriter. Just load up the typewriter with paper, set a stack next to it, and let the guests loose. People LOVE typing on typewriters, particularly at parties.

      • Ooh, what an awesome present. In my imaginary Cool Vintage Apartment, I would have a neat old typewriter like this…

    • I like to give (and to receive) subscription gifts for/from close friends – whether food or magazine or wine – because I think of the giver every time the montly installment arrives, plus it’s a present every month! So, maybe a literary journal/magazine and a wine of the month club (which would send you over $100, but not necessarily by too much, depending on the wine club).

    • In case you’re still reading, the Conde Nast website has reprints of classic photos, magazine covers, cartoons. I always have good luck finding an image which will resonate with the recipient. They are 125 dollars though.

  13. Research, Not Law :

    Favorite boyfriend cardigan?

    I’m looking but not seeing much. I’m seeking a neutral color (grey, off-white, etc) that’s somewhere between the Target cheapo with poor reviews and JCrew’s cashmere. I’d prefer no pocket or shawl collar, but could be flexible.

    • I bought this one at the NAS in the green and navy stripe, but also comes in black, grey, and navy solids (as well as other decidedly less neutral solids). I loved it on, but haven’t had the chance to wear it yet.

      • Research, Not Law :

        I saw that one! I was afraid it would be too sheer or that the snaps would be odd. I’ll see if my local store has it.

    • Merabella :

      Old Navy. I buy the v-neck cardigan and get it in tall. It is the perfect length and not too heavy.

    • lawsuited :

      My favourite boyfriend cardigans are the merino wool ones from Gap, but they don’t have seem to have them right now. Boo.

      This cardigan from Ann Taylor is a similar style, also in wonderfully soft, warm merino wool. It’s available in tan, black and grey, or you could get one of the GORGEOUS jewel tones for fall, just sayin’!

  14. e_pontellier :

    Awkward body image TJ that I just can’t ask my IRL friends, so skip if not interested.

    I was anorexic in college. I’m now at a more normal weight (I’m a JCrew size 4) and working to maintain that. However, whenever I look in the mirror, I see that I have more substance to my stomach/hips/”tuchus” area, and I basically panic. I’m hugely tempted to get to the gym for hours of running (in college, I was running 10-13 miles/week instead of eating) but I realize that’s not exactly healthy. Does anyone have experience balancing this urge to stay healthy and fit with an unhealthy desire to be a stick? Thanks.

    • anonymousesq :

      Have you been to counseling? I have no expertise in this but it sounds like you are still struggling with body dismorphia (sp?) and perhaps talking it out in therapy would help. Good luck!

      • I second the question about counseling. While obviously part of having an ED is being concerned about your physical appearance, that’s generally just a manifestation of something deeper…usually having to do with needing control. And I don’t mean in a judgmental “controlling person” kind of way. I mean that outside circumstances can make things feel so out of your control that you react by trying to at least exert some ownership over the one thing you can, yourself.

        Honestly, when I was your age I was much healthier eating-wise and weight-wise than I had been for a long time, but I still occasionally experienced the “panic” (which I can totally relate to) when I looked in the mirror. I honestly didn’t think that I could ever really look at myself and not feel disgusted. But a lot of getting over that feeling was really coming to terms with what caused my body dysmorphia and disordered eating in the first place…most of which wasn’t really about my looks (though thanks to my upbringing it was partially that too). There are many different paths, but for myself it was a combination of talk therapy and also learning to be more open with people I care about. Friends and family. Honestly, I spent so much of my life ashamed of so many of my thoughts and feelings it’s kind of no wonder I ended up being ashamed of my looks as well.

        Now I still am very hard on myself about my weight, exercise, and diet. but it’s nothing like before. I don’t get the same anxious panic…which makes it all much more manageable and healthy. It’s very tempting, especially today when there is so much talk of an obesity epidemic, to equate “skinny” with “healthy”, but those are two very different things. It’s very different to eat healthy and take care of your body through exercise if it’s motivated by feeling good about yourself and wanting to maintain that than it is to starve yourself and workout incessantly to punish yourself for a few pounds. I don’t have a prescription for getting there, but I do want to tell you that you can.

    • Anon For This :

      Yes – I’m a size 2, former 0 and went up to a 4-6 a few years ago, during my first year of law school. When I realized I went up 2-3 sizes in a matter of months, I became obsessive about my weight and counted calories and worked out obsessively. I forced myself to stop when I realized I couldn’t talk about anything but calories.

      When work is busy, I subsist on starbucks and takeout so I don’t have time to notice. This summer, I started to cut out carbs and work out again and I found its in my nature to be obsessive I think. It didn’t help that the constant working out made a noticeable difference – I lost some flab around my stomach and my thighs are smaller and more toned. I’ve had quite a few people notice, even though the weight loss is only like 8 pounds (I’m really petite so I guess it’s more noticeable?)

      Tiny bits of extra fat do make me obsessive, but I try to remember that I look good in my clothes and feel much better so the fact that I don’t have a completely flat stomach is not the end of the world. I try to limit my workouts to 1 hour of cardio and 15 mins of weights/abs. (not to say that this is the right or perfect balance but if i don’t, I’ll push myself more and get obsessive again). I also make sure I have fairly healthy food to eat after a workout so I don’t feel like I’m ruining my effort.

      I don’t know if that’s helpful? I know it’s a constant battle to be content with your body but I find if I make workouts part of the routine in a really busy life, it’s more difficult to get obsessive because I don’t have a lot of time to obsess.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Big hugs to you, and congratulations on being in recovery. I can only imagine how hard that must be, and how mentally strong you are ignore body dysmorphia when you look in the mirror. I fear that anything I might suggest would be inadequate. Are you in therapy, hopefully with a therapist experienced in eating disorders? As I recall, anorexia and bullemia are deadlier mental illnesses than even depression, so it is very important for you to have support as you work on recovery.

      Also, one of our regular posters is open about being in recovery for anorexia for over a decade and hopefully will see your post. You may want to site search this website on Google for previous posts on eating disorders/anorexia. I think you’ll find her there, even if she doesn’t make an appearance this afternoon.

    • You sound a lot like me, glad to hear you’re at a more normal weight. I’m not sure the panic every completely goes away (although I’m only two years out of college, so maybe someone with more experience may say otherwise), but my best way to combat it is by comparing what other awesome things I could be doing/will be doing with the hours I used to spend obsessing. Instead of beating myself up, I can: go for a drive on a back country road and enjoy the sun! I can get together with a friend for a day of thrifting! I can read a good book! I can go on a walk with my best friend and her dog! By choosing to focus on the good things in my life and my overall mental and physical health and not a number, I feel like I”m making more empowered choices (even if I feel silly talking to myself when I look in a mirror–yup, I’ll actually say “I’m going to choose to be happy and read a great book today”).

    • Anon for this :

      Honestly, for me, the only thing that worked is accepting that I’m like an alcoholic – some people can’t have drinks in moderation, I can’t diet in moderation. The only thing I could do was shift my paradigm so that eating is about nurturing myself rather than about controlling my weight, and exercise was about fitness and strength, rather than being thinner. Am I bigger than I’d like to be? Yeah, but I’m also happy. The trade off is well worth it, even though making that paradigm shift was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

      • “exercise was about fitness and strength”
        THIS! It took a long time to realize feeling physically strong and powerful was more important to me than feeling/looking skinny.

        • Absolutely. I went through “recovery,” got to a “normal” weight, but the panic never went away. And it’s still there to some extent, but I’ve been able to shift my thinking to being serious about being healthy and strong rather than skinny. I probably still have some obsessive tendencies in this pursuit, but at least it results in me being healthy and not a complete mental wreck.

          e, I recommend reading up on Dotsie Bausch, the Olympic cyclist who turned to cycling after a battle with an eating disorder. I’m no Olympian, but I totally relate to her idea of channeling her stress to something unrelated to your past triggering behaviors.

    • Diana Barry :

      Don’t look in the mirror with no clothes on! Honestly, that’s what it takes for me to not feel bad about my tummy. I am really busy with kids etc – and found that when I am busier, I have less mental space to focus on how my body is ‘too big’.

    • e_pontellier :

      Thanks you guys! This is incredibly helpful – and knowing I’m not the only one is helpful, too.

    • It may be too late for you to see this, but hopefully not. I’ve been in recovery from anorexia for about ten years, and I really, really remember that feeling so well. You’ve made a huge step in getting your body physically well, but your mind hasn’t come as far.

      Here’s what helped me: I had to channel that feeling of panic and fear and disgust into something that would not physically harm me. When I felt that feeling, it was like this seething cycle of negative self talk about how unattractive I was, how fat, how worthless, etc. I would just write all of that down in my journal, like a writing binge, until I’d released all of those feelings without hurting myself.

      The other thing that really helped me was a technique that’s used in cognitive behavioral therapy: I trained myself to stop those obsessive thoughts. Whenever I started to freak out, I would repeat a sentence to myself . I didn’t do well with touchy-feely, you-are-beautiful sorts of mantras, so my go-to was “this is a lie.” It was a reminder that my anorexic-self told me lies, while my healthy-self told me truths. Negative self-talk feeds on yourself; you just have to crack the cycle.

      It’s kind of a fake-it-’til-you-make-it thing for a long time – I repeated that to myself until I believed it. And eventually, it worked – I’m fully recovered now, and I have a healthier body image than most people I know.

      Another thing to realize is that when you are at a place where your mind is more healed, it will be possible to enjoy exercise again in a self-nurturing (rather than self-harming) way. I run marathons now, and I can honestly say that I do it for the joy of it, and not as a way of controlling my body. It takes a long time to get there, but it is possible. I truly believe that full recovery is possible for every eating disordered person, if that person gets the right support and has access to the right resources. I have gone through some very hard things since I went into recovery (including my divorce) without a relapse. There is a life out there without the shadow of ED.

      If it’s of any help, you (or anyone else who reads this) should feel absolutely free to email me at my username at gmail. I’m always happy to listen to anyone who needs an ear on this subject.

    • Not sure if you’re still reading but this is just to say you’re not alone. I stopped intensive dance training at 16 and put on weight very quickly, at a vulnerable and self-conscious age. For my subsequent teen years and 20s, my weight was always the #1 thing on my mind. Really horrible – I basically never ate lunch for 10 years and was constantly thinking about food and exercise choices, despite maintaining the illusion of getting on with life (studies, and later a demanding job, meeting my husband, moving countries a couple of times).

      It got better for me in my 30s when career and family pressure stepped up a couple of notches and I didn’t have the luxury of constantly fretting about food and exercise. Instead, I had other accomplishments to take pride in, my body eventually settled at a size I’m happy with and my enjoyment of good food and drink came back. These days I’m just thankful I didn’t do permanent damage and a tad regretful about mental energy consumed in my 20s – I’d have a Nobel prize by now if half that energy had been put to more productive use !

      I don’t want to over-simplify because unlike you or cbackson, I wasn’t a clinical case of anorexia, just a young woman who grew out of her own problem with bad body image. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help if you need it but otherwise do take comfort in the fact that you’re already on the road to recovery, that you’ll get validation from many different sources as life takes over, and one day will look back at this and wonder why the anxiety.

    • e_pontellier :

      Thank you both for posting, and cbackson, thank you so much for offering your insight and email. I will keep your email on file if you don’t mind, for when the going gets particularly tough, but everyone has suggested great ideas.

      • E. Parsons :

        I hope this isn’t too late but I’ve been struggling with the same problem for over a decade. Now, I tell myself that I need my body to be strong and nourished to get through a work day. I still have the daily struggle with my weight but also tell myself that I can control it using healthier means (i.e., exercising). I hope this helps and I extend e-hugs!

  15. Recent threads and this morning’s thread on divorce have been particularly insightful and yet painful to read. Up until recently, no one in my family including extended family have been divorced. There have certainly been difficult times, but through thick and thin all parties have stuck through their marriage and made it work. Pretty recently my brother had a huge fight with his wife and to cool off he spent the next few days staying with me. I’ll skip the details, but basically it all went downhill from there and he’s been staying with me since. She now refuses to speak to him (only limited emailing), has moved out of their apartment and is demanding a separation and eventually divorce (no kids here). They’ve had their share of problems before, but this has come at a complete surprise to my brother. She basically blames him for all her unhappiness for the past decade. I won’t say that my brother is perfect; he certainly has some issues that he’s working through. But he is willing and trying to change and he has told her that he is willing to do whatever it takes to try to work through things to save the marriage. He’s even seeing a counselor (something that she had requested too). She, on the other hand, is completely unwilling to try and is now completely walking away from the marriage (and essentially broke this news to him over email). Obviously this is devastating to him and my family as we try to help him through this difficult time. It makes me extremely sad that someone who took a vow on her wedding day would so easy just walk away without even trying to see if the marriage could be saved. It be okay if they tried, and it didn’t work, so ended in divorce; but to not even want to try… Anyway, I’m realizing that I’m just rambling and that I don’t really have a question – maybe I’m just seeking some sympathy and seeing if anyone has gone through something similar and may have some guidance on how to help my brother (and my family) get through this difficult time. Thanks for listening/reading.

    • I am very very sorry for your brother and can only imagine how devastating that must be for him. The only insight I can offer is that an ex of mine was “blindsided” when I broke up with him and moved out after 5 years of dating (admittedly not the same as taking a vow). But I had repeatedly said “I’m not happy, we need to change things” and and he would agree to work on things, but then nothing ever changed. I was at my wit’s end and tired of having the same arguments every single week. It was draining and I was depressed. When I finally walked away, I was done and while I felt awful for devastating him like that, it was too late to save anything. In her mind she may have been trying to save the marriage for some time now and feels it’s now broken beyond repair.

    • I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you don’t know what went on in their relationship, or how hard she “tried” to save it. She isn’t required to put in some minimum amount of effort necessary to convince you – she gets to make her own choices and live her own life. You need to support your brother and love him. Beyond that, his marriage – or lack thereof – is not your business.

      • And besides she’s put up with him for 10 years, which is more than enough to give it a go.
        Of course he’s your brother and you want to support him, but this ranting about her sounds totally inappropriate to me.. I’d want out too if I were her, just from hearing you talk about your family’s standards.

    • I’ve heard that many men feel blindsided when their wives ask for divorce but, from the wife’s point of view, she’s been making all kinds of efforts over months and years and getting no response from the husband. I’m not saying this is your SIL or your brother, but you’re just getting one side of the story. If you overheard her talking with her friends, you might hear that she can’t believe that she’s put so much effort into saving the marriage and is just exhausted and can’t believe that a man who made a vow on his wedding day would be so unwilling to do anything to save the marriage. Ultimately, he’s your brother and you’ll side with him, but I’d keep an open mind and not judge her too harshly until and unless you learn more.

    • I have not gone through this specific situation (sibling divorce) but unfortunately have a lot of divorces among my close peers. One thing I know–and Carolyn Hax so often says this too: you obviously have a side here, and acknowledge that it might be clouding your view. You love your brother, and it looks to you like he’s being unfairly abandoned, but in the end you don’t really know what went on in his marriage or why his wife is 100% done. It’s possible that she’s already done everything she could. It’s possible that what he sees as sudden and unexpected was actually obvious and a long time coming. It’s possible that your brother’s promises to work on changing, and even going to counseling, are way too little and way too late. I’m not saying SHE is necessarily the victim or good guy; I’m just saying try not to let your love for your brother turn this into a black and white case. Of course you want to be there for him. But his side of the story is just that: his side. Try listening and supporting without getting caught up in blaming and demonizing your SIL.

      I’m also from a family in which there were no divorces (until the last few years). My parents’ generation and grandparents’ generation were all on their high horses about it, acting like our family somehow held the key to permanent marriages in our genes. Well, not the case. Several relatives have now gotten divorced, and re-partnered, and thought it was sad, everyone is fine and I think those who used to be judgmental have since come around. In other words, if the idea of a divorce-free extended family is part of the difficulty you and your brother are having, it too will subside (whatever the outcome with their marriage). The affected families heal and move on, and onlookers realize that life happens.

      I hope this doesn’t sound un-sympathetic. Just things to think about. Best to you.

    • It must be so hard to see your brother in pain! That said I agree with anon, you really have no idea what went on in the marriage. I would think its extremely, extremely, unlikely that your sister woke up one day and said, hmm today I want a divorce. She may have been trying for a long time, but even if she didn’t, it is not about you or your family. I realize how hard it is to see a family member hurting, but your description about how no one in your family has been divorced and your line about how it makes you sad that someone who took a vow on her wedding day could easily walk away.. it sounds like you might be taking this as a personal rejection. I highly doubt this was an easy “walk away” for her. I would focus on how you can support your brother but try to focus less on your sil and her motivations.

    • This is not a fun situation and I am sorry your brother is going through this. I think you should continue to be there for your brother – do what you can to cheer him up while he’s staying with you, help him find divorce resources if he’s overwhelmed, work with him on language he can use to discuss this with relatives if they don’t already know, etc.

      The fact that divorce is not part of your family’s history is relevant only insofar as this will be a little extra tough for your brother. Not insofar as how hard your SIL should have been expected to try to patch things up or deal with a bad situation because your family “doesn’t” divorce.

      I have a dear friend who stayed with a man who cheated repeatedly. The relationship otherwise looked (and was) great. They seemed like a fantastic couple – both professionally successful, compatible, loved each other’s families, etc. She forgave him more times than I can count. But finally enough was enough and she left him. His family had no idea why and he played blindsided – a few relatives even what so far as to contact her and she decided to be the bigger person and let him save face. They still have no idea and think she’s a horrible b*tch who didn’t take her vows seriously and never gave him a chance to work through whatever minor problems he said they had.

      I’m of course not suggesting this is what happened specifically in your brother’s case, but I am saying that the idea that she just decided willy nilly to end her ten year marriage suggests perhaps you don’t know the full story. And you don’t need to necessarily, but at least in my friend’s case, this was a gut wrenching, heartbreaking decision for her even though it was clearly the right one.

    • hellskitchen :

      perhaps when he came to your place to cool off, she took it as abandonment on *his* part and felt that she couldn’t rely on someone who seemed to have walked out on her? I think your brother needs to apologize for that if he wants her to be willing to try to save their marriage. But this has to come from your brother and my advice to you would be to be there for him but not try to intervene on his behalf

  16. SoCalAtty :

    I wanted to update re: the brother issue.

    He didn’t show up. He also revealed that the car was still somewhere in hometown…but it sounds like he went in the car with friends and wasn’t with it.

    Consequently, I’m a huge failure and didn’t get anything at all accomplished. I think I’ve resolved to transfer the car into his name, which means he’ll have to figure out the insurance. Unfortunatly I have to get within 10 feet of him to get a signature to transfer the thing, which will probably never happen. I just hate the idea of him driving illegally without insurance, because he can’t get a job where he lives without a GED and he won’t go take the test either.

    KK had suggested just giving him the phone/car as a gift, no strings – but I’m not willing to do that. If he is in school or working or doing anything at all, I’ll support that, but I’m not going to continue funding his social life. So I guess I just cut everything off – but then he really will be homeless, with no transportation and no GED and no job.

    For now I give up, because with the motion work and hearing schedule on my desk right now, I just can’t deal with it. I sent him a text that said basically “School starts August 20, we’ll get together and talk after that.” I seriously want to transfer the car into his name, get him a go phone, and say “insurance is X per month (my dad does insurance for teenagers, he can set up a policy with auto debit out of my brother’s account in my brother’s name), you are now in charge. I will give you X per month so long as you are going to school and doing [very specific list of chores around MIL’s house]]. If you choose not to do those things, ultimately it is your responsibility because you are an adult and you can figure it out yourself.

    That way at least he has the choice to help or not, and it’s in his hands and out of mine.

    • Aw hun. I’m sorry he’s not cooperating – I see so much of my brother in yours.

      “That way at least he has the choice to help or not, and it’s in his hands and out of mine.”
      No matter what you decide to do, or have done in the past, it sounds to me like its been in his hands for awhile. You’re not a failure, you’re trying (way harder than I have tried) to do right by a kid on a troubled path. But you can’t be expected to drag him there if kicking and screaming. He’s his own person, and has to make the right choices on his own. You’ve set him up to make them – now you just have to decide what consequences you’re comfortable with now that he hasn’t. No matter what you decide, you are NOT a failure for trying to help him out.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Hugs SoCalAtty. I’m glad you updated. I’ve been thinking of you today. Personally, I think you need to physically take the car back. I think you two live pretty far apart if I recall but if you have the title, maybe you could work w/ a repo service to get it back for you. Likewise, you could hire an investigator to sit on the house, give them a spare set of keys, and have them bring it back to you. This would get you the car back without him getting a criminal record.

      Unfortunately, I think the time has come that you just have to let him fail. Keep checking in with us.

    • *bighugs*

      You are not a failure. You’re amazing in your generosity, but you do have to turn that off at times, or else it’ll keep enabling him, it’ll hurt him more in the long-run, and it’ll hurt you.

      You’re doing the best you can, and I think it’s time he took responsibility, and took some pressure off of you. You’ve got your own life to manage.

    • I’m sorry, I hoped for the best for you guys.

      If it’s any consolation, I think you’re doing the right thing. Either he realizes how hard it is to stand on his own two feet now or he swallows his pride and accepts help. He is lucky to have a sister who cares so much about him.

    • I’m sorry that you are going through this. But when it comes down to it, your brother is an adult, not a child, and he is perfectly capable of caring for himself. As I said on the last thread, I don’t think it’s fair to take things away without notice, like 30 days on the house, But you will not do him any favors by propping him up while he slacks off indefinitely. You love your brother and want what’s best for him, and even if he gets mad at you in the short term, in the long term I bet he will realize that.

    • Thanks for the update. I think you just need to accept that he will not be who you want him to be, at least not right now, and figure out the relationship you want with the person he actually is. The quid-pro-quo thing isn’t working and is really screwing up your relationship, so it needs to stop. That can mean either cutting him off from all assistance, or giving him some stuff w/o expecting anything (even, you know, appreciation). Only you can decide which of those options you’re more comfortable with, and it sounds like you have. I agree with all others who said that you have gone above and beyond what an average sister would and you shouldn’t feel bad about cutting the strings for your own good. It will likely be the best thing for him too.

      I also think you should make it clear that you are cutting him off financially only. Still be there for him, call to check in, be his sister.You need to decouple your sisterly love from the money. So even if you take everything back, don’t let him forget for a second that you love him and you are not abandoning him. Your money can be conditional, but your love and family relationship shouldn’t be.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I think (in my head, at least) I’ve found the middle ground. I hadn’t heard from him, so I sent him a text saying “I don’t care if you are mad at me, we’ll deal with that later, but please let me know you are ok so I don’t have to worry about that at least.” And I did get an “I’m fine” message, so I feel better.

        I think I’m resolved to just give him the car and put it in his name. Then he has the resource to use for good or evil, so to speak, and I’m not liable for whatever he chooses. I’ll keep paying for the cell phone, no strings, because I want him to be able to at least reach me in the event of real trouble.

        In the text today I basically said “even though we are arguing about this right now and you’re not happy with me, I want you to understand I’m still your sister and I want you to know I am here for you if you need me. We’ll work something out.”

        I’ll let him use his imagination as to what that “something” is. What I really wanted to say was something in the vein of “hey kid! Get off my lawn!” But I didn’t :)

    • Whew. That’s all so hard. But you’re right to put it in his hands as much as possible..

    • SoCal, repeat after me:

      I cannot fix other people.
      I cannot fix other people.
      I cannot fix other people.
      Other people’s irresponsibility is not my responsibility.
      Other people’s irresponsibility is not my responsibility.
      Other people’s irresponsibility is not my responsibility.
      I cannot fix other people.
      I cannot fix other people.
      I cannot fix other people.

      And repeat again as needed. Cut the apron strings. It’s his life.

      • SoCalAtty :

        Bluejay: I think we’re going to have to make that into a ringtone. That way, when he calls or texts, the phone will say that first! The more I visualize me saying to him: here is the car, it is now your responsibility, once it’s gone it’s gone! The better I’m feeling about it. I’m a little emotionally attached the the dang car than I should be (my first car, got it when I was 16, has 190k miles and still runs great because of the care I’ve given it) but it is time to just…let all of it go.

        • lawsuited :

          It seems like you are thinking about giving your brother the car as a gift? I think it’s a really good idea. My parents-in-law gave my husband and I their old car as a wedding gift and it’s been a blessing to us in 2 ways: 1) It made it easier for us to find work because we can commute via car if transit is not feasible, 2) It’s taught us fiscal responsibility on a small scale because if we don’t budget money for gas, the car doesn’t move, if we don’t have a contingency saved to pay for repairs, the car doesn’t move.

          Also, perhaps sleeping in a car for a while until your brother can figure things out is better than sleeping on the pavement? I feel awful typing that, but I think it’s probably true. I agree with previous posters that paying ongoing expenses will create a difficult employee/employer relationship, but the car is a one-time gift you can give that could improve his life if he decides to turn things around or not.

          I’m so sorry.

        • You could make some form of that his contact name in your phone. :)

  17. Rural Juror :

    Anyone know what the shoes pictured here are? They’re all over the piperlime site in pictures of skirts and dresses, but I don’t see them for sale anywhere!

  18. Men are from Mars :

    Remember that episode of S*x in the City where Carrie got broken up with by a post-it note and we were all appalled on her behalf? Well, I recently got broken up with by a guy I used to think was pretty great, but a post-it note would have actually been preferable to the way he chose to do it. I’m far more hurt by his insensitivity to my feelings and the manner in which he ended things than the fact that we’re broken up.

    So for the dim-witted men, or the ones not observant enough to realize the error of a post-it note break-up, how do we help educate them so that the next poor female isn’t blindsided in the same way? I feel like we as females spend so much time agonizing over the right course of conduct (this site is such a super example) and polling our peers and anonymous cyber friends on how best to handle things, yet it’s not at all clear to me that men have any such resources or even would bother if they had the male equivalent of this site. I try to impress upon my male friends how important it is not to be a doosh, but when I think about it, it’s rarely because they’ve asked for advice (and more likely that I offered it unsolicited). I guess it’s just a further example of the gap between the way men and women think and interact, which is perhaps what scares me the most — that the next seemingly great guy that comes along could fall into the same patterns, not out of malice or ill-intent, but just because he’s dumb or doesn’t have a good friend to give him [unsolicited] advice.

    • I think there’s an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine dumps a guy because she learns he’s a bad “breaker-upper,” and that’s an important part of the relationship to her. Something like that. :-) Doesn’t answer your question, but thought you’d might find it funny.

    • I’m sorry that guy was such a doosh.

      But no we dont need to educate these dooshy men to protect the next “poor woman.” That guy was just a dbag, not all men are like that. there’s a lot of dooshy women out there too. You can’t give etiquette lessons to the whole world

      • “You can’t give etiquette lessons to the whole world”

        I love this! I have this horrible negative reaction to chewing noises – especially loud gum chewing – and often fantasize about running a huge public service announcement campagin in my city teaching everyone to chew with their mouths closed. Next time I think about redoing my estate planning, maybe I’ll just remember what you said, cfm. :-)

        • Oh, but that would be *such* a good PSA!

        • haha trust me I often want to scold the whole world, and I realize I am my grandmother times a million. I just give some people the side eye on the metro instead of a lecture

    • Wannabe Runner :

      I wish I could send my BF to a this-site-for-men to improve his wardrobe.

      I tried, but he was like, “Oh, I’ve already seen that.” Didn’t happen to notice that the main article was about how men should get rid of pleated pants, and how he still had some.

      • Yes! I need a site like that too. My husband, (I’ll give him some credit.. he usually dresses himself reasonably well) really, really needs to never buy pleated pants again.

        I’ve learned that if I call anything “old man ____” he gets rid of it pretty fast, though. (The old man shoes disappeared pretty fast after that! I should try it on the pants…)

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